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A Season of Pies–Fall Edition

19 Dec

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I was upset with myself for not making a pie all summer. How I passed over the chance to toss summer berries and stone fruit into a buttery crust, I have no idea.

At least now I can say I’ve made up for lost time by making all kinds of sweet and savory pies and tarts this fall (yes, it is technically still fall, the first day of winter is Tuesday, December 22 ah!). Continue reading

Fairytale Pumpkin Soup with Shiitake “Bacon”

9 Nov

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Tis the season for pumpkin soup! My friend Lizzette gave me a ~*fairytale pumpkin*~ (look it up) the other week and it was almost too beautiful to eat. But, because I don’t like to waste food, I hacked the pretty pumpkin into quarters and scooped out the seeds, cleaned and roasted the seeds and baked the pumpkin quarters with olive oil until super soft. Tip: whenever you make a winter squash or pumpkin soup, the flavor is so much better if you have time to roast the squash/pumpkin instead of boil it.

This fairytale pumpkin was absolutely gorgeous outside and inside. The inside flesh was a kind of vibrant orange that almost looked fake. Stunning. Continue reading

Butternut Squash Tahini Spread from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

15 Jan

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On Tuesday I picked up my first ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box of produce from Corbin Hill Farm. Corbin Hill picks the produce based on what is in season, and all of the produce is grown in New York State using sustainable farming methods. There are options to add “extras” to the order, such as dairy, eggs, meat, bread, beans or extra fruit.

In my January box of produce, I received apples, butternut squash, cabbage, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, shallots, sprouts, arugula and an enormous Macomber turnip.

While I like to go to the markets and pick out my own fruits and vegetables, I thought the CSA box would be a nice mini kitchen challenge.

First up: butternut squash. Continue reading

Thanksgiving 2014

29 Nov

I hope your holiday was delicious and special. My friend Natasha and I co-hosted and cooked most of the food together. Our friends brought extra sides (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole), desserts (mascarpone tart with berries), and drinks (wine, beers, cider), all of which were amazing!

The menu:

Castelvetrano olives

Kale salad with apples and walnuts

Extra-buttery mashed potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes

Kale stuffing with dates

Brussels sprouts with bacon

Green bean casserole

Spatchcocked turkey with gravy

Roasted garlic

Cranberry sauce (homemade and jellied)

Dessert:

Upside-down cranberry cake

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

Peanut Butter Pie

Mascarpone tart with berry sauce

Hand-whipped cream

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Clockwise from left: stuffing a la Samin (and Charlie!), with dates instead of prunes and no sausage; spatchcocked and carved turkey from the Serious Eats recipe and video; cranberry sauce (can be made one week before TG) Continue reading

A Pie Class with Joy the Baker: Pics, Tips, and Memories

28 Oct

I started Figs in My Belly in June, 2009. At that point in my life, I was living in California, getting a degree in Nutritional Science, staging (interning) in the kitchen at a small handful of restaurants, working at a cooking camp for kids, and making dinners for my housemates at the co-op where I lived. Oh, and I was totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

That August, I heard about a rooftop picnic in downtown Los Angeles that Joy was hosting and jumped on the opportunity. I brought my mom along and we spent the afternoon enjoying Joy’s biscuits, fried chicken, coleslaw, and cupcakes while mingling with other Joy the Baker fans.

Cut to more than five years later, and I now live in New York City with a short (four-year-long) pastry cook career currently on pause while I finish up a graduate degree in Nutrition Education and a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. And, as you might have guessed, I am still totally obsessed with Joy the Baker and her blog.

Joy is currently on tour for her latest cookbook, Homemade Decadence. I attended her book signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen, and the following weekend, my friend Michelle and I drove up to King Arthur Flour in Vermont, where Joy was teaching a hands-on pie making class. Joy taught two four-hour pie classes on the same day. She is a warrior.

I’ve made my share of pies in the past, but pie still intimidates me, and I wanted to gain some pro tips to boost my pie confidence. Plus, my friend Michelle never made her own pie before, so this was the perfect opportunity to learn. We road tripped for pie! Continue reading

Overnight Steel Cut Oats Method

5 Mar

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Steel-cut oats can take 20-30 minutes to cook, so I usually save them for the weekend or for a lazy morning when I have a lot of time.

Last night, though, I stumbled upon The Kitchn’s method for making creamy steel-cut oats overnight. Starting the oats the night before make them virtually instant the next morning! Just heat, eat, and run off to wherever you have to go.

I made enough for two servings, but you could certainly make a batch that will serve four. Steel-cut oats reheat well as leftovers.

I ran out of milk, so I added a hefty scoop of pumpkin puree and accompanying spices upon simmering my oats after their overnight stay. For serving, a drizzle of maple syrup, a small splash of cream, and a swoosh of sunflower seed butter. A perfect breakfast with black coffee on yet another COLD day in New York City.

Here is the basic method:

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats Method

method adapted from The Kitchn

makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon of butter or olive oil

1/2 cup steel-cut oats

1 1/2 cups water

small pinch of salt

For the next morning: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree + spices (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch each nutmeg, ginger, cloves) + 1 teaspoon vanilla + 2 tablespoons maple syrup + splash of cream + sunbutter

(you could also just add in 1/2 cup of milk in the morning instead of the above pumpkin accouterments)

Method

1. Start this the night before. You want to have steel-cut oatmeal. Measure out your oats. This quantity will make about 2 servings.

2. Heat about 1/2 teaspoon butter or olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add the oats and fry them for about 3 minutes, or until they start smelling toasty.

3. Pour in the water and add the salt. Stir.

4. Bring to a rolling boil.

5. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Leave it on the stove, and go to bed!

6. The next morning, uncover the pan and bring the oatmeal back up to a simmer. If you would like creamier oatmeal, stir in the pumpkin puree and spices before reheating. Add a splash of vanilla.

When the oatmeal is warm, scoop out and enjoy with maple syrup, a splash of cream, and sunbutter!

Additional Notes:

• Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
• Re-heat leftovers in just the same way: warm up on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

29 Oct

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There has been a lot of pumpkin around these parts lately. Last week, I ate a pumpkin-laden something or other every single day. This week, I’ll be cooling my pumpkin jets, but just because I am taking a pumpkin break doesn’t mean you should…

These oatmeal cookies are magical because the only “glue” holding them together is 1 egg and 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. No butter, no oil. Just pure pumpkin goodness. Reminiscent of a trail mix cookie, every bite is full of something oaty, fruity, doughy, and chocolatey. Who else is with me in that they love the softness of a chocolate chip once it has been baked into something?! So tempting to pick out all of the chips from the cookies!

You know when you make something with pumpkin puree and always have leftover puree to finish off? These cookies are perfect for using up that last 1/2 cup of puree. You could also swirl some puree into hot cereal

Don’t like pumpkin? Try using mashed bananas instead!

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Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Sally’s Baking Addiction

makes about 12-15 cookies

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup granulated and 1/4 cup dark brown)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used chopped, dried figs and dried blueberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, chocolate chips, and dried fruit. Fold together the wet and dry ingredients until just combined (I like to use my hands at the end!). The dough will be very thick.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and slightly flatten to the shape you want your cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container.