falafel sliders with spicy yogurt, mint, and sumac onions

i have some advice for you! if you ever want your feet to fall off and your back to tell you no, silly pants, you won't be leaving your couch today unless it's to toast a bit of pita or fetch a bite of halva then do exactly this: get two hours of sleep tonight, two hours of sleep tomorrow night, fly on three airplanes including the 9:55pm msp-gfk flight which is basically a flying refrigerator, and then prep and cater a seven-course production in fargo the next day where two of the dishes are brand new things you've never made before but just *have* to figure out last minute because the rhubarb is here and the schnitzel doesn't feel right anymore. i'm not complaining. i'm just soliciting an energy drink sponsorship. 

i loved every minute of it though!!! i have a new favorite thing to do, and that's waking up at dawn, snooping around our yard filling up baskets of chives and rhubarb and any other edible plant i can find, and then hurrying back in to chop everything up before organizing them into labeled deli containers and prepping the day away. the dinner in fargo was at this beautiful old ginormous mansion and i got to cook on an 8-burner range that had its own warming shelf under the hood. i made fried olives and rhubarb malabi and in between served a hummus course, a soup course, a shameless hotdish 😛., and then ended it with a halva course. (those in favor of making halva courses the norm, say aye!) all of the guests and kitchen folks were so darn sweet and even though i actually could not stand up straight at the end, my heart was so full and happy. 

i am off to france tomorrow. pray 4 my feet.

to celebrate the upcoming memorial day weekend, i made you a recipe that's dressed for a party! mini falafel sandwiches on hot fresh pita with hot pink onions and a quirky yogurt sauce that's refreshing and spicy all at once. it's inspired by the fact that i'm conditioned to always want tabasco on my falafel. i don't know where this came from, it's just a habit, a really tasty habit, but it sucks when you accidentally add too much and then can no longer taste your food. yogurt (or any dairy) helps calm spiciness though, a thing i learned at hot sauce camp on avery island, so even though there's a ton of tabasco sauce in this yogurt, your mouth won't be on fire, you'll just get the lovely flavor of the pepper. fresh mint and pickled onions also carry their weight in making these little sliders refreshing and ready for the summer. 

falafel sliders with spicy yogurt, mint, and sumac onions

makes 12



1 1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting (optional: sub out 1 3/4 cup bread flour for 1 3/4 cup for whole wheat)

sumac onions:

1 cup warm water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sumac
1 large purple onion, thinly sliced


1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for 10 hours or overnight and drained
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, freshly toasted and coarsely ground in a spice grinder
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves with stems, roughly chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves with stems, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Black pepper
Tabasco original red sauce
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Olive oil or flavorless oil, for frying

spicy yogurt:

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons tabasco original red sauce
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


a handful of nice big fresh mint leaves



to make the pita:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the salt and oil, and then gradually add the flour. Increase the speed to medium high and mix for 7-10 minutes, adding just enough additional flour so that the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Do not add too much flour. The dough should be smooth and slightly sticky. Lightly coat a clean large bowl with oil or cooking spray and then place the dough in the bowl and turn it once or twice to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide it into 24 equal pieces. Mold each piece into a ball by stretching the top and tucking the edges under. Place the balls 1” apart on a piece of parchment paper, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 500ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment.

With a rolling pin, roll out the balls of dough into 3" circles. Place them on the baking sheets and bake for about 5 minutes, or until they're puffy and just starting to brown. This will make more pita than you need for the sliders. Leftovers are tasty and can be frozen and reheated in the toaster. 

to make the onions:

whisk together all ingredients except for the onion. add the onion, cover, and let sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight. 

to make the falafel:

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, a few turns of pepper, a few shakes of tabasco sauce, flour, and lemon juice and pulse quickly, about 80-100 times, until the mixture is combined, but still slightly grainy. 

In a large skillet, heat 1/4” oil over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Form 2" patties of the falafel mixture, packing them firmly. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel. 

to make the yogurt:

combine all ingredients.

to assemble:

cut open a pita, spread it with the yogurt, and top with a falafel patty, a mint leaf or two, and a pile of onions. enjoy!


thank you, tabasco, for sponsoring this post! check out the #tabascotastemakers hashtag for more tabasco recipes!

red velvet cake

I rang in my birthday dancing to techno with a gaggle of new girlfriends in the great big shed at the Ballymaloe Litfest. I wore my favorite pastel horsey romper and smelled faintly of Francis Mallman's fire. We laughed, we screamed, we sang. It was nothing like what I'd planned, which was to take a midnight moment by myself in the Castylmartyr gardens with Mahler's Adagietto and layers of fleece and reflection, and then to wake up for an early morning stroll by the ponies and a civilized breakfast on hotel china. Lol. Even though what actually went down on Saturday night came with a gnarly hangover, it was without a doubt one of the best ways I've ever rang in a birthday. I highly recommend it. 

On my birthday I had about six nespressos, a rasher and egg sandwich that was covered in the most beautiful coating of grease, a bite of an apple scone made by Claire, labneh and carrots in the rain, and a cone of pork fat fries covered in rosé vinegar and vodka ketchup. And seaweed! And a Sunday roast with Imen and a side of giggles.

Then there was more techno, like *so much* techno, techno that made me love techno. I slept in all of my clothes and woke up to begin my long journey home, which is where we're at right now (hi from the Minneapolis airport!).

So in other words, this birthday was a very solid 12 out of 10 and I will remember it forever and ever. It included three birthday cakes! (And if Eggboy pulls through with his mission to bake me a yellow cake, it'll be four!) There was a cashel blue cheese cake from sweet Clodagh in a little house by the sea, a fimo clay funfetti cake from jewhungry, and this red velvet cake that I made before I left. I'm going to tell you more about my Ireland trip very soon! But for now let's focus on cake...

question: what's better than a red velvet cake?

answer: a red velvet cake made with coconut oil!

question: what's better than a red velvet cake made with coconut oil?

answer: a red velvet cake made with coconut oil and topped with a marzipan crown 👑 👑 👑 👑 👑 !!

tbh this is a very standard red velvet situation. the only difference between this and other red velvet cakes is that i used coconut oil instead of butter, which when you use unrefined coconut oil, you get a nice hint of coconut flavor tossed into the mix. a great thing! i went with red velvet for my birthday this year as a nod to my birthday cakes of yore, which were bright red, covered in pistachios, and from buca di beppo. i'd have a big slice on my birthday and then smaller slices for breakfast every morning for the rest of the week. this recipe makes a baby 6" cake but if you'd like a larger one, double it and bake it in two 8" pans. yay, happy birthday to me (and my pops)!!! 

red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

makes one 6" cake



1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c coconut oil (unrefined for a hint of coconut flavor, refined for no coconut flavor)
1 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tb red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup buttermilk


4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt




to make the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease two 6" round cake pans and set them aside.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the coconut oil and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. add the egg and mix to combine. mix in the food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 2-3 alternating additions and beat until just combined. divide the batter between the cake pans, spreading it out evenly, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. using a rubber spatula, gently press down the top of the cakes to even them out while they're still hot (this way you won't need to level them). let cool for 10 minutes in their pans and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the frosting:

cream together the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer until combined. mix in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. 

to assemble:

stack up the cooled cake layers with a thick layer of frosting in between. frost all over. top with a marzipan crown, if desired.


tater tot shepherd's pie

it f*%&*$*# snowed this weekend. !!!!!! mid-may. lol. i mean, i don't care that much, i was indoors making hummus all weekend and it gave me a good piece of snapchat content and a conversation starter, but it was just so goofy and awkward to see. do you think the weather gets embarrassed sometimes? like it accidentally tooted? do you think it just meant to let out a little wiz of rain but snow came out instead? it actually could have been kind of bad for the beets though and led to a situation where eggboy would have had to replant a lot of them, but the beeties persevered and lived through the storm, so we're in the clear. yay yipee! 

other than hummus-making and snow-talking-abouting, we had a great weekend that included buying garden plants and making zucchini noodles. we tried to get caught up with game of thrones but i got bored again! is there something wrong with me or do others feel like this season is going at a slug's pace? all i really want to do is watch broad city but i watched them all already. 

oh! and i saved the best thing for last: i'm going to ireland today! i've never been, but i'm so excited and i've been listening to this song over and over and over again. i'm gonna eat butter and drink guinness and pet cows. i truly do not know what to expect other than beautiful scenery because anytime i tell anyone that i'm going to ireland they have a similar reaction to when i told people i was going to hawaii: eyes to the back of the head while muttering "it's suuuuhhhh beeeautifullllllll." do you have any tips? things i should do/eat/see?

in honor of my lift off, i've got an irish-midwest mashup recipe for you that is from imen's book, the farmette cookbook. imen is a gem!!!!! i'm so excited to see her in ireland. the last time we hung out, which was also the first time, i'm pretty positive i was convincing her to take seven shots with me or something along those lines, so now i'm ready for payback and also i have matzo meal in tow because out of all the things in the states that i offered to bring her she requested matzo meal. hehe. 

the farmette cookbook is so so beautiful and amazing. i thought i was a farmy lady but imen is **next level** and she has the epic pie chapter, 45-minute commute to the nearest grocery store, cows in her yard, and homemade tater tots to prove it (!!). all of her stories and recipes are perfect for my upper midwest existence and i've already dug into a few, including her paddy's day potstickers and toad in a hole. 10/10, would absolutely recommend. and now i'm obsessing over this shepherd's pie, which eggboy and i gobbled up in like five minutes. admittedly i completely missed the part in the recipe that says you're supposed to bake and cool the potatoes before turning them into tater tots, but the tots turned out so well regardless. crispy and salty and it's miraculous that any of them actually made it onto the pie because there are few things better than a freshly fried tater tot. i would definitely advise making a double batch of them so that you can have some to snack on while the pie bakes.

ireland, here i come!

tater tot shepherd's pie

from imen mcdonnell's the farmette cookbook

serves 4


1 tb sunflower or canola oil, plus more for frying

1 large onion, chopped

2 to 3 medium carrots, chopped

1 lb ground lamb

2 tb tomato purée

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

2 c lamb or beef stock

For the tots:

4 large russet potatoes, baked and cooled

2 tb all-purpose flour

2 tsp fine salt


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then cook the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until softened. Turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb, and brown, pouring off any excess fat. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce; fry for a few more minutes until browned. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and shred them on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle in the flour and salt, and gently mix until combined.

Scoop 1½ tablespoons of the potato mixture into a short cylinder, about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch wide. Press the mixture in tightly and then press the tots onto a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

Line a second baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Pour ¼ inch of oil into a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Fry the tots in batches of 8 to 10 pieces (do not overcrowd the pan), turning once, until light golden brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tots to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and season with salt. Repeat for all the tots.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Put the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with the tots to completely cover the meat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tots are starting to turn golden brown and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. Serve with a salad of crisp garden greens.


sweet potato curly fries with yogurt, sriracha, and cilantro

we're installing our new dishwasher today!!!! well, errrm, eggboy's installing it. i'm sitting on the couch eating a breakfast panzanella and waiting until the kitchen is cleared of all of the dishwasher-installing tools so that i can work on dirtying some dishes to christen the thing. i've got lots to make today! tomorrow my friends and i are serving a giant hummus feast in fargo, so there are chickpeas to soak, labnehs to drain, zhougs to blend, etc. etc. etc. what are you up to this weekend?? are your gardens planted? are you reading anything good? tell me tell me, just don't. mention. how. much. you. hate. the. new. instagram. logo. we're better than that. 

i have fries for you! they are inspired by a roasted squash dish from plenty more that i made for a dinner party when it was still slightly cold out. you basically roast squash in cinnamon and then cover it with yogurt, sriracha, and a bright cilantro garlic sauce that dashes all of your beliefs that a cinnamon-y squash should be exclusive to the fall. that's why i like it, its flavors are vaguely seasonally ambiguous and they work together like a well-oiled machine.

so because it's my birthday month* i've lowered the brow and adapted this experience to sweet potato fries. and they're curly, à la ali! they're crispy, salty, unexpectedly refreshing, and as flavorful as they are colorful. and fun/messy to eat, so b.y.o. wet wipes. 

*why is this month different from all other months? in this month we eat french fries with abandon!!!

for a lazier option: put these toppings on sweet potato chips.

for a baked option: put these toppings on sweet potato oven fries.

sweet potato curly fries with yogurt, sriracha, and cilantro

makes 4 servings (but it's fries so what are serving sizes really?)


cilantro sauce:

25 sprigs fresh cilantro (stems and leaves), roughly chopped, plus additional leaves for serving

1 clove garlic

1/4 c olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper


oil, for frying

2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), spiralized on blade c

kosher salt



plain greek yogurt



to make the cilantro sauce, combine the cilantro, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor and blend to combine. season to taste with salt and pepper.

to make the fries, heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot to 360ºf. fry the potatoes in batches until lightly browned and crispy. transfer to paper towel or rack. sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and a small pinch of cinnamon. 

to assemble, drizzle with the cilantro sauce and yogurt. dot with sriracha and sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves. serve immediately and enjoy!