PANCAKES SO FLUFFY

Possibly due to my obsession with Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos I can only see these babies each one as a tiny universe; light, airy, studded with a thousand tiny stars winking up at you from the plate. These pancakes are magical, easy, and you probably already have all the ingredients at home.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup bread flour

3 heaped tsps baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp granulated sugar (1/2 tbsp for savory style pancakes)

1 egg (let warm to room temp)

1 1/3 milk (also let warm to room temp)

3 tbsps salted butter (melted)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract for sweet breakfast pancakes (omit for savory pancakes you plan to stuff with pork and cheese)

METHOD

First, take out the egg and the milk so they can warm up. This step is worth it because the pancakes are SO MUCH FLUFFIER this way. Next, pop the butter in the microwave or over the stove top to melt. In a large bowl sift together the flours and baking soda and salt and sugar. Sift them again. Set aside for a moment. Next, crack the egg into a small bowl and beat lightly, just to break the yolk a bit. Add melted butter to the egg and beat lightly again. If you’re using the vanilla, add it to the milk and then pour both into the egg and butter mixture and beat lightly again, so it’s all incorporated. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and whisk until just smooth, try not to over-whisk or your batter will be dense. The batter will be pretty runny, almost like a crepe batter, but it’s ok. These are going to be awesome.

Heat a tiny slab of coconut oil over medium in a small frying pan. Using a small ladle or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter into the hot pan. Each pancake should be about the size of the palm of your hand. Cook on that side for a few minutes, until the edges go a bit opaque. Flip carefully and cook for another few minutes on the other side, watching the steam rise from all the lacy holes you’ve created by making such a light airy batter. When both sides are golden and star-studded, move to a plate (or eat them all standing up one by one as you make them, as I did). This recipe makes 10-12 smallish pancakes and each one will be even better than the last. You won’t think it’s possible, but you’ll see! We have them with syrup and honey and goat cheese and lemon and jam and parsley and pepper. We also have them with breakfast sausage and shredded pork and cilantro and fried onions and bananas and nutella. Not all at once, but, point is, now you’ll want all your other foods delivered to you on this little cloud of pancake heaven, and all of them taste marvelous.

SAM BROWN’S BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

I mean, everyone says their recipe is the perfect chocolate chip cookie. There’s just no other way to express how great your cookies are, particularly when you’ve eaten a lot of them and you’re in the middle of a sugar rush. However, in this case, it’s true. We adapted this recipe from Kortney Campbell at Vegan Housewives (http://www.veganhousewives.com/best-chocolate-chip-cookies-ever); I’m sure hers were amazing but since we tweaked the recipe I can only speak for these little babies here. And these little babies were unreal. Chewy, crispy, fluffy, sweet and warm and sea salty. You can eat a hundred. They’re not even cookies. They’re cookies PLUS. Cookies with something magical; gold-plated cookies. (These cookies have no real gold in them). 

And they’re a real beauty, too, from start to finish. Download this beautiful, high-resolution photograph of the cookie dough Sam meticulously mixed for us for a super fun new phone background! I did it and every time I look at my phone I get psyched.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup tiny chocolate chips (dark, milk, vegan, whatever. Just make them tinyyyyyy)

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp fleur de sel

1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup plain, unsweet almond milk

METHOD

Sift flour, fleur de sel, baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside. No flour sifter? Wire mesh sieve or just a whisk through works too.

Cream together liquid coconut oil and brown sugar. When it’s thickened up, add the milk and vanilla extract and blend again. Pour it into the sifted dry ingredients and incorporate it slowly, by folding and pulling the mixture with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Next, fold in the tinyyyyyyy chocolate chips. Now, I live with Sam Brown, a man who has the precision and consistency of a CIA-trained sous chef, and without whom I could not have baked these cookies. But he sure made it look easy. By now, you should have a beautiful cookie dough that looks as if it might have come out of a dream, or a fairy tale story. But it’s real. You made it. Just use the fold and pull method for a little bit, have faith, and then all of a sudden the flour and oil and baking soda and all the rest will react and bam! A dough will spring to life in your hands.

Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out small, tablespoon or smaller, sized balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet. (I never grease mine, I line them with aluminum and then I have the perfect size aluminum sheet to save them in later). Pop those round little cookie balls in the oven for 10-15 minutes and let them cool at least 5 before eating. Take pictures, because they won’t last. Make sure you have some milk in the house, soy, almond, full fat, lactaid, whatever, you’re going to want it. Bonus points if you don’t have to go out into a snowstorm to get it, like Sam did. But it’s worth it either way.

\\ CREAM BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH POTATOES AND KALE //

I’m not afraid to say it, I’m a bit tapped out at the moment and having all kinds of brain obstacles. So I went hunting for a little inspiration and found it! through one of my favorite food resources, A Cozy Kitchen. Her cream braised chicken with swiss chard and potatoes was exactly what everyone in this room needs right now. And here’s how we did it, on a bit of wire, but it turned out gorgeously, nonetheless. Thank stars for food friends.

INGREDIENTS:

6 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel

1 large bunch kale, most stalks removed (leave some in for FUN), chopped roughly

2 russet potatoes, chopped into wedgy shapes

1 half large yellow onion, or some shallots, or even leeks would be rad, chopped fine

2/3 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk maybe!? It’s also awesome here)

4 cups chicken stock

Juice and zest of one lemon

salt and pepper

Cumin*

Coriander*

Garlic powder*

* I always do all the spicing to taste, I’m usually a bit heavy handed, but you’re safe with 1 1/2 -2 tsps of each here

EV Olive oil

METHOD:

After rinsing ad drying your meat, sprinkle with a little light salt and cracked pepper on both sides. Warm some olive oil in a big honking pot. When it’s nice and hot, put the thighs down and cook for about four minutes, then flip when they’re getting brown and gold and cook on the other side for about two. You might want to do them in batches so the pan doesn’t get all wampus and overcrowded. Do two or three, then remove and set aside and put the rest in the pan.

When all the chicken has been through the rigamarole in the pot, set them all aside in a dish and let’s get on with the potatoes.

Cut up all in wedges and into the pot, with the oil and (some of; skim off the greasy looking bits first) fat from the chicken thighs. Add a pinch of salt and let them cook for about a minute per side. These might do in batches as well. Put them aside with the chicken and it’s onion time! Flop the finely diced onions into the pot and swish them around for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic powder, cumin, and coriander, a bit more salt, some pepper, and cook for about 2 more minutes. Deglaze a bit with a big squeeze of lemon and scrape the brown chewy morsels from the bottom of the pot. Throw in the kale and zest and scoot around with the onions, coating everything. Add the stock and turn up the heat to medium high, then return the chicken and potatoes to the pot, making sure everything is nicely nestled in together. It should be cozy. Simmer it all for about 45 minutes, turn the heat down really low, add the cream or coconut milk, and cook for another half hour. Serve, eat, love, repeat, blah blah etc.

** A note: this dish would GET ON FAMOUSLY with vegetarians, I’d suggest greens, root vegetables, mushrooms, beans…there are endless varieties, both for your taste and the season, that would just be glorious. For both vegetarian and meat version alike. The recipe is very friendly, cozy, forgiving, and you can swap in and out as you desire.

***Another note: you can find Adrianna’s original recipe and more information about her HERE: She’s amazing! Enjoy both!

http://acozykitchen.com/cream-braised-chicken/

\\ PERFECT BREAD //

20140222-192445.jpg

I’ve never done this before but I’ve been flipping out about this bread all week. This isn’t my recipe, but you can find it and the author here: http://www.simplysogood.com/2013/03/artisan-no-knead-bread.html?m=1.

The only thing I did differently was use bread flour, and only because I had it lying around. This woman is a genius!! Bread flour, yeast, water, salt, and a covered pot are all you need to have the easiest most amazing bread. And in light of Subway recently admitting to chemicalizing their bread, why not learn to make this shit at home?

\\ SPICY ITALIAN SAUSAGE SAMMIE WITH PEPPER AND ONIONS //

You know what everyone claims to love but I never actually see enough of?! SANDWICHES. And there’s no better sandwich for chilly, boring February than hot Italian sausEEEEGe, with peppers and onions. Bonus treat: this whole fandango fits INSIDE a roll, concealing it from everyone you want to hide your sandwich from. “What? This?! This is just a boring old roll. Move along. NO more questions.” But there’s really a sandwich inside! And it’s really good! And, of course, cheap and easy, but I don’t think I should have to keep repeating that about my recipes. Someone might get the wrong idea. Off we go!

INGREDIENTS:

Hot Italian sausage (one link per person/roll)

White onion sliced thinly

Green bell peppers, sliced thinly (also, obviously, the fancy red and orange and yellow would be amazing here, but the $1.50 cheaper green ones are NOT CRUMMY at all)

Small, unsliced sub rolls (we get Bolillos from the local Mexican market, they are amazing, shaped like footballs, work the best and are available wherever avocados, pinatas, and ten limes for a dollar are sold)

Pinch fennel seeds, smashed into oblivion

Pinch dried oregano, crushed into a powder (just put some in your palm above your bowl/skillet/workspace, and smush the heel of your other hand into it, creating “oregano dust” or “Italian pizzeria fairy dust”)

Pinch dried chili flakes

Salt and pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Dry vermouth, or lemon water, for deglazing

Spicy mustard for serving

METHOD:

This is very easy, but let’s walk through it; at least that helps my timing. First you want to caramelize the onions. Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium, and throw in onions and salt. Sweat them a bit until they’re soft, about 5 minutes or less. Add fennel, oregano, and chili flakes and continue cooking a few more minutes. Add the peppers and adjust seasonings. Cook until they begin to soften and sweeten as well.

Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium high to fry the sausages until they’re halfway cooked. Get them browned and blistered on each side then turn the heat down to medium low and cook for a few minutes. Then dump them in the pan with the veggies and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.

To deglaze: put the little sausage pan back on the heat and turn to high again. Pour some dry vermouth or, if you have none, a little water and a squeeze of lemon, into the pan. It will boil up and sizzle and steam immediately, during which you can scrape the bottom of the pan with a whisk, wooden spoon, or spatula to get up all the sticky brown bits. When the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has reduced, pour the remainder over the sausage, onion, pepper party and give everything a good turn. Put the lid or the aluminum back on, and let it all sizzle for about 15 minutes, during which time you can heat them rolls.

Preheat oven to 300 and pop the bollilos in. Let them warm for a bit, while the rest continues cooking and you’re almost there! When you’re ready to assemble these suckers, take out the roll, split carefully down the middle, but leave about a half inch un-split on either end. Line that baby with mustard and a some peppers and onions, and then wedge the sausage into you new little pocket of secret awesome sandwich. Top with more mustard and close it up. Hide from enemies. Enjoy on the sly.

\\ HERB AND ALCHEMY CALENDAR 2014-2015 //

 Twelve months of beautifully detailed hand drawn herb illustrations, inspired by a love of science, nature, and solid spellwork. Each month features one herb noted for it’s magical properties and a small hand-lettered day and date section.

These calendars start in March 2014 and end in February 2015. Adventuring in the mountains for the season, we can’t always be on time. They measure 8.5 x 11″ and have two small holes for hanging. They are individually shrink-wrapped with cardboard backing for safe shipping, and come with a handwritten thank you note.

Imagined and illustrated by Emily Caulfield.

Hand drawn and printed in the USA. Black and white.

If you’re interested, buy them here now!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/179539367/herb-and-alchemy-calendar-2014-2015?ref=shop_home_active_1

\\PUPUSAS CON CURTIDO FOR BAILEY AND CHAD//

I haven’t cooked much lately because I’m trapped in the customary post holiday apocalyptico barren cupboard flabby brained hellscape of doom and I couldn’t think of anything amazing to try or share. But then! I was inspired by two close friends who love awesome snacks and now here we are. Pupusa town! 

So come on kids! Gather round, for one more story from the tales of how to cook AMAZing food that’s cheap and easy! 

Pupusas are corn cakes stuffed with treats like cheese, refried beans, and pork. I kept everything vegetarian but BY GOD add pork if you have it. Curtido is pickled cabbage and carrots and herbs and sometimes onion or radishes and is best the longer it languishes in your fridge, so make it the night before ideally or at least a few hours before serving. Off we go!

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKES!

2 cups masa harina (Maseca brand is cheap and at every tiny latin grocery you can find)

1 3/4 cups warm water

Pinch salt

Coconut oil for frying

FOR THE CURTIDO:

3 cups purple cabbage, thinly shredded

2-3 carrots, peeled and thinly shredded (just peel it into the bowl until it disappears in your hand

1 half red onion, sliced into very thin little half moons

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tsps sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup water

1 tsp Mexican oregano (you can definitely just use regular oregano if you want)

BEAN FILLIN’!

Half can pinto beans

dash olive oil

Bay leaf

The other half of that red onion, thinly sliced

Cumin, achiote, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

CHEESE FILLING:

1 cup queso fresco, quesillo, or mozzarella, crumbled 

Salt and pepper to taste

Oregano to taste (IF YOU LIKE OREGANO); I think dried cilantro or parsley might do well here too, but any way you do it, try to squeeze something herby in the cheese

METHOD

Like we agreed, the curtido is best the longer it pickles, but there aint nothing wrong with a quick pickle either, so at least 4 hours before you want to eat, start dat curtido. Shred and slice up your veggies and put them in a heat resistant container. I used a glass wide-mouth quart-sized mason jar. Bring the vinegar, water, oregano, salt, and sugar to a boil and pour over the vegetable mixture. Let cool on the counter, then refrigerate.

Now that’s out of the way, the rest of the process is suuuper simple. First, pour the two cups of masa harina into a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Whisk quickly to combine, then add the water and knead until the dough is firm but malleable, like Play Doh. Add a little water if it’s too dry and crumbly, a little more masa harina if it’s too wet and sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside. Let the dough rest for fifteen minutes.

And set the timer! Because you’ll be amazed that the rest of this prep will take exactly fourteen minutes and it’s really satisfying when the planets align and you can pull off a goddamn meal seamlessly and perfectly timed. Which you will! 

Grate the cheese into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper and the herb of your choosing to taste. Set aside. Warm your extra virgin olive oil and a bay leaf in a small pan over medium. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the pinto beans and pour half into the pan. Let them warm through while you slice up the onion then add that too. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, achiote, garlic powder, and scoot everything around in the pan. When the fourteen minutes are just about over, use a handheld immersion blender to puree the beans into a paste. If you don’t have one, you can either transfer the beans into a food processor in small batches or even just mash them all up with a potato masher or a fork. Anyway, once it’s a paste set them aside as well. Time’s up! ‘Ssssgo!

Grab a piece of dough and roll it into a ball about the size of a lime. Gently make an indentation with your thumb, as deeply as possible without cracking or crumbling the dough or busting through the bottom with your giant fingers like I did. If you do make a crack or a hole, just smooth it over like you’re working with clay. Fill the hole with cheese or beans or both, pinch the hole closed, then GENTLY work the dough back and forth between your palms, patting it into a chubby disk. When you’ve got all your pupusas padded and patted, heat a large skillet with coconut oil to medium high and slip in two or three cakes. They need 4 minutes or so on each side, just until they get a bit gold with nice brassy burnished spots.

Serve warm with your curtido and some greens. Enjoy. Hooray! Yay. To Latin food. To something wholesome and warming and really cheap. To friends. To Chad and Bailey!