If you’ve never cooked with miso, this is a fantastic recipe to start with. While many Americans are probably familiar with miso in it’s soup form, it’s also a fantastic ingredient in all kinds of dishes, from savory to sweet. It’s great in salad dressings, drizzled on roasted vegetables (try this same glaze on eggplant, yum).
One of the great aspects of miso is that it keeps for ages in the fridge (seriously, months and months), so you won’t have to go on a miso bender just so you won’t waste it. I mean, you’ll probably go on a miso bender anyway because the stuff is delicious but it won’t be for economic reasons.
This salmon dish is what I use miso for most often (and how I love it best). The glaze is delicate and doesn’t overwhelm the fish and the skin gets wonderfully burnished and crisp. It also takes just a few minutes to make so it’s a fantastic weeknight option. Quick or not, for me, this is one of the best salmon recipes of all time. I could have it twice a week, happily.
You’ll want to use white (also known as sweet) miso for this. Red miso, which is fermented for a much longer time, has too strong a flavor and would overpower the fish. I usually serve it with steamed rice (sometimes white, sometimes brown) and my go-to with everything Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad. I didn’t have cucumbers last night so we just made a quick salad of avocado, arugula and baby kale drizzled with lime.
Oh, and Matt wanted me to make sure to mention that this is his favorite fish recipe of all time. He says that about a lot of recipes (good husband), but I could tell he really meant it.
Read More →
I’m pretty sure Matt moved from London to New York mostly for the cheesecake. It is by far his favorite dessert so of course, good wife that I am, I’ve learned to make them.
Actually, funny story, ahem… many years ago, when we were first living together, we tried to make a cheesecake and we totally mis-read the recipe. Instead of 3/4 of a cup of sugar we used 3 cups. 3 friggin’ cups of sugar in one cheesecake. Neither of us had done a lot of baking yet so we didn’t immediately realize how insane that amount is. Needless to say, it was disgustingly sweet and even worse, never even set, remaining a thick, sweet soup that seeped all over our refrigerator. It was truly disgusting (though Matt gave it a go anyway, being a trooper).
Now we got that shizz down to a science (Matt is adjusting his glasses while explaining to me that baking, is in fact, science). We became quite well known (in our family) for making a chestnut cheesecake (based on a Nigella recipe) and we actually made 4 of them for Matt’s sister’s wedding in France.
While I like chestnuts, I love hazelnuts so this version (adapted from Bon Appétit) is now our Thanksgiving/Christmas favorite. I’ve changed the recipe quite a bit, eliminating the flour and folded in whipped egg whites from the batter. The result is a very classic cheesecake texture, with the added bit of crunch from the hazelnut praline.
What I like about it (other than its decadent deliciousness) is that it has to be made a least a day in advance which makes it perfect for holiday baking when you don’t want to have to deal with last minute dessert timing. In fact, the praline part can be made up to a full week in advance.
Read More →
This started off as a Thanksgiving “stuffing” recipe but then, several years ago, I decided that actually stuffing a turkey is a losing battle. It makes the turkey take longer to cook so the white meat will definitely dry out and all the delicious drippings that I want to go into the gravy get soaked up by the bread which just becomes soggy.
Technically I guess this is a “dressing” (stuffing cooked on the side), but I’ve found that many dressing recipes end up kind of dry and don’t have the lovely, soft texture with crispy edges that make stuffing so irresistible.
So what’s soft and custardy on the inside and crunchy on top? Don’t freak out, I’m not testing you! *Writes a note in a little book while smiling and nodding at you*. That’s right, bread pudding! Why not use the same technique and make it savory instead of sweet? Let me tell you, it works.
While this is definitely great for Thanksgiving, it would actually be a really nice side dish with roast beef or pork as a Christmas dinner. In fact, it’s so simple to make, it really doesn’t need to be for a holiday at all.
Like just about everything I make for a dinner party, most of it can be made ahead and then assembled and baked just before you need it. I find it so much less stressful to not have to start every dish from scratch on one day.
In fact, my absolute favorite part of holiday cooking is when Matt and I sit at our coffee table, chopping and prepping all our vegetables while watching a marathon of something or other (usually Doctor Who or Game of Thrones) and drinking endless cups of tea. Nerd with knife heaven.
Read More →
Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone!
This is going to be a quick post because we’re in the midst of Thanksgiving cooking madness and if I’m gone too long, Matt will glaze the dog and confit the chickens.
If you haven’t made your cranberry sauce yet (don’t panic, there’s still time!), this is a very simple, tasty recipe that is ready in minutes. You’ll want to cool it before serving and next year, you can make it up to 4 days ahead.
This is a great place to use Cointreau (orange liquor) if you have it, but Triple Sec is a fine, much more affordable alternative.
You’re aiming for a balance of tartness (more berries) and sweetness (more sugar) – it’s not a bad idea to have extra of both on hand in case you decide you want to shift the taste either way.
Read More →
For the last few years, my Thanksgiving philosophy has been “Everything that CAN be made ahead SHALL be made ahead”. I developed this philosophy (religion?) several years ago when Matt and I decided to make Thanksgiving for 13 people in our teeny, tiny Brooklyn kitchen. Our oven could barely fit a normal-sized turkey, let alone anything else at the same time. We made just about everything we could possibly make days ahead and heated things up while the turkey was resting.
Now we have a normal (ginormous, for us) kitchen, but the make-ahead strategy is still as useful as ever. That is what I love about this gravy (besides its heavenly flavor). I don’t know about you, but for me, the 10 minutes before serving Thanksgiving dinner are the most chaotic and I really don’t want to be measuring flour and reducing stock right at the last minute.
That’s why I really like this method. A few days ahead (or even a week or two), I make stock and from that stock, I make the gravy “base”. Then on Thanksgiving day, I reheat it (the longer it simmers, the better) and when the turkey’s done, I deglaze the roasting pan with some wine and add it to the already simmering gravy. Done! So much easier, seriously.
This gravy has a delicious touch of apple-y sweetness from the Calvados and apple cider. You could substitute Apple Jack, which is a really nice American equivalent and is a lot more affordable. I adapted a Barefoot Contessa recipe which has finely chopped onions in the base. Obviously this will give the gravy some texture so if you like it perfectly smooth, just use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree it.
Read More →
Ask me what my favorite Thanksgiving recipe is. Go on, ask. Fine, I’ll tell you anyway, but it might just blow your mind (not really, but just go with me here). It’s home-made turkey stock. Well, it’s really the gravy that is made with that stock but I’ll get to that soon.
I know it’s not gorgeously colorful like Mashed Butternut Squash. It’s not a crowd-pleaser like Sausage Stuffing With Apples and Sage, but it really does make everything it goes into taste so much better.
I wish I could say I was one of those people who always has a freezer full of home made stock ready for any culinary adventure, but the truth is I use boxed chicken stock all the time. It’s so convenient and the decent ones taste pretty good.
But for Thanksgiving I always go the extra mile and, funnily enough, it really kicks off the holiday season for me. It’s always the first recipe I make (often a week or even two before Thanksgiving) because I can make it on a weekend and freeze it until it’s needed. Honestly, I think it’s what makes this Make Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy) so irresistible.
We all have our culinary strengths and weaknesses and I freely admit that making pastry is a major weakness of mine. It’s frustrating because I’m really comfortable cooking pretty much anything, but pastry always trips me up. It’s like I see the combination of butter, flour and a rolling pin and I immediately begin to panic and look for the emergency exits.
As I’ve mentioned before, Matt has a real knack for baking and when he rolls out dough, he just gives it a stern British look and it knows to behave. Then when I try, it sticks, rips and clumps, leaving me covered in flour and wondering if frozen store-bought dough is that bad.
The thing is, I refuse to give up trying. A well-made pie or tart is a thing of beauty and I’m determined to create them. While I haven’t mastered it yet, I have found a dough that works even if you completely and utterly destroy it while rolling it out. Now, I’m not saying I definitely did destroy this dough, but I’m not saying I didn’t. Let’s leave it there. But look! Here it is in all its crusty glory and it looks great (and tastes amazing).
This is an incredibly easy tart to make which is perfect for holiday baking when you’ve got lots to do and don’t want to deal with a complicated project. I based it on this Williams-Sonoma recipe which, though lovely, was a little, um … cryptic with the instructions. When it comes to recipes, especially for baking, I need lots of details. You know, the devil and all that. So as well as clarifying a few steps, I also added ginger because I love the combination with pears but you could certainly use lemon or orange zest instead if ginger isn’t your thing.
Another nice thing about this tart is that it’s super fancy-looking, so no one would suspect how simple it is to make. I think it would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving dessert table or any dinner party. Especially after a big holiday meal, this light, elegant tart would be just the thing.
Read More →
What to do with leftover pork belly: Make Bánh mì sliders!
I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally do a very shameful thing when I buy too many vegetables. Since I’m already over-sharing, I might as well admit to another terrible habit. I really enjoy cooking for dinner parties and family get-togethers, but way too often I’ll wrap whatever protein is left over in foil and throw it in the freezer where it will stay for months, gathering frost and becoming less appetizing by the hour (I’m looking at you Easter ham).
I know, I know. There are so many great things to make with leftovers. Soups, stews, salads, casseroles, and honestly I do make these things but the sad truth is the thrill is usually gone and I’m doing it to not be wasteful, as opposed to being actually inspired. So you can see why I was nervous as I wrapped the remains of the Crispy Pork Belly with Soy Honey Glaze in its foil coffin (I’m feeling dramatic today) and tossed it in the freezer. “You were so good”, I said to it mournfully, “but it’s been two nights and I’m ready for a salad”.
Several weeks went by and every few days I would guiltily toss the little frozen pork belly package to the side as I looked for dinner options. Then it hit me; Pork belly Bánh mì sliders. As it happens, we were going to have a few friends over for a Halloween/birthday get-together and it would be nice to have something a bit more substantial than dips. Turns out they were good. Like, really good.
This is now officially my favorite use of pork belly. The sweet, vinegary pickled carrots and daikon really cut through the richness of the pork. The crisp cucumber and bright cilantro make it light and fresh. Seriously, not kidding, make the pork belly just so you can make these sliders.
Read More →
At the risk of sounding like a Portlandia sketch, I am a little obsessed with pickling. You take something yummy, plop it in some vinegar, sugar and spices and it tastes even better. And lasts longer! Win-win, right?
When Matt and I lived in Brooklyn, we used to go to this great place called Buttermilk Channel (I say that like we could just waltz right in, la di da, but there was almost always a line down the block. Damn you, Brooklyn!). Anyway, they have a chicken liver mousse that they top with two perfectly sweet/tart pickled grapes. Divine. Since we don’t live stumbling distance from them anymore, I decided to try to make it myself. I know it sounds weird but pickled grapes are really good.
If you swing that way, do yourself a solid and make this easy and delicious Chicken Liver Pâté with Thyme and Brandy and put a couple of these bad boys on top. You can thank me later (or invite me over and we can giggle maniacally about how good this combo is). You could also just put out a bowl of them and eat them by the handful. They would be great alongside a sharp cheese or even in a cocktail.
Read More →
I’m not gonna lie. Like most (all?) kids, I grew up hating liver. During the Jewish holidays, just the thought of that bowl of chopped liver, in all it’s grayish-brown glory, was enough to get me to fake a stomach flu. As I got older (and my mom, who is an excellent cook, took over Passover dinner from my culinarily-deprived Aunts) I came to really like it. Now I make my own (boozy) Passover version which is similar to this Pâté but with a much more rustic texture (and no butter of course).
If you think you don’t like liver, this is the dish that will likely change your mind. It’s rich and luxurious, silky and smooth, with sweetness from slow cooked onions and apple brandy. Stop making that face and try it!
Liver is also exceptionally nutritious, full of vitamins A and B12, and essential nutrients like folate and iron. That’s not why you should try it though. You should try it because it’s delicious and it’s time to experiment with grown-up things.
Pâté is also the most affordable, easiest, make-ahead appetizer (look at how much chicken livers cost!). Even fancy organic ones are a bargain. Serve it with crackers or baguette slices, and some tart cornichons, or even better, Spiced Pickled Grapes.
Read More →
I may have mentioned that Matt and I went to the UK last summer and ate a lot of pork belly. It was consistently one of the best dishes we had all over several parts of England and Wales. If there’s one thing the British know, it’s how to make excellent crackling (that sound you hear is Matt furiously listing all the other things British people are excellent at. (So far; crackling, funny shows, more funny shows, chicken keeping). I’m sure there’s more but we’ll leave it at that for now.
This was pretty much a nightly conversation on our trip. Emily: “We have to make this when we get back” (distractedly tries to figure out recipe). Matt: “Stop looking at me like I stole all the crackling!” (whilst licking crackling-glazed fingers).
Well, we’ve been back for six months and our local shop now has lovely local pork belly and we thought we’d finally try to make it in our local stove. In England, it was often paired with bubble and squeak, and a hard cider sauce but I really wanted to try a soy and honey glaze combined with the crisp crackling we found on our trip.
If you can get (good quality, ethically raised) pork belly with the skin still on, it’s definitely worth seeking out. It’s a very affordable cut and it’s also very rich, so you’ll want small portions. That being said, I wouldn’t bother cooking a piece smaller than about 2 pounds because it will shrink a lot in the oven and could dry out. There’s also so much you can do with the leftovers.
It’s absolutely lovely paired with a fried egg and this Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad (really any crisp, vinegary greens would be great). I also really love it with Sesame Roasted Pears and a tart kale salad. But my all time favorite use of pork belly is Bánh mì sliders. So, so good.