babka straws

Happy Tuesday, friends!! We had a very delightful, very chill weekend at home which I am going to tell you about in list form:

-Watched Whip It, an under-celebrated movie! I was really craving a teen-y bopper early-2000s movie and this hit the spot.

-Visited the New Flavors Food Truck, which had a new chef on board who was cooking up the tastiest Mexican food. Our big yellow town food truck makes me the happiest.

-Engaged in my favorite Saturday routine of Gym and Jimmy Johns, which is something I haven’t been able to do that much with all of our traveling this past month! It was perfect in every way. I listened to Radical Face cover “Jolene,” lightly dipped my toes back into jogging, brainstormed new recipes, and then got cheese and mayo on my regular Turkey-Tom-With-Onions-And-Mustard. Really living life on the edge. 

-Made a brunch for some fronds, which included recipes that I am testing for Unglued Camp: a kale and swiss sourdough strata and a party breakfast sandwich. You know, like a party sub from Subway but a breakfast sandwich. It’s going to be so good!!!! I can’t wait for camp. I will definitely be posting both of those recipes soon. Also, Nile straight up brought a Jell-O salad with sour cream to brunch. We Midwested so hard.

-Supported Eggboy’s Tour de France fanboyness. He really put his all into watching the cobblestone stage and woooooooweee, was it stressful. That’s all. 

-Went on a bike ride with our friend Keith and saw a bunch of spots in Grand Forks that I had never seen before!!! There were beautiful parts of the Red River, cool new houses, and the butt of the golf course which is apparently about to employ a beer drone delivery service?! I love living in the future. We also kept getting whiffs of everyone grilling outside so the whole ride smelled like a burger. Afterwards we had two options: rush home and try to catch my judginess on Food Network Star or go eat burgers at JL Beers. We chose a combination of both and facetimed our friend Zach who held the phone up to his TV so we could watch it from the parking lot of burgers. 

-Saw Girl Meets Farm for the first time in real time on the TV! It was so much fun. I loved reading your posts, comments, and questions about the episode as they came in on IG and Twitter, it was like we were all hanging out!!! A+ Sunday morning, totally worth waking up way earlier than I normally wake up on a Sunday. 😜

Ok so one of the things I served at brunch was a new brilliant invention from the brain of my friend Chani. Yes, Chani of hasselback salami fame!! I’ve long known she was a genius but when I opened up her new book, Millennial Kosher, and found the Malawach Egg-in-A-Hole, I heard a mic drop, all the way from Brooklyn. And then I flipped further and found these babka straws which are absolutely perfect because if I had a dollar for every time I wanted babka but did not have the patience to make a dough, knead the sucker, and let it rise, I would have enough money to charter an airplane directly to Russ and Daughters.

Babka straws use store-bought puff pastry and are covered with crumbly stuff!!! Like an avalanche of crumbly stuff. Inside the pastry is a super simple and delicious chocolate spread which I feel like could be improvised upon if, like, you wanted to stir in tahini or peanut butter or add nuts or--wait for it--sprinkles. The options are endless. They take less than an hour to make and when they’re all baked up, they’re crunchy, flaky, and not too sweet, which I feel like is an under-appreciated characteristic of babka: it’s distinct not-too-sweetness that leaves you wanting more. 

Also, bonus: they freeze well! I made some a while ago, froze them for a few weeks, and then defrosted them and they were perfect!

So bottom line, make these any time you need a quick babka fix or an easy cute dessert or want to experience a crunchy flaky babka. And buy Chani’s delicious book!!!! I am giving away a copy over on Instagram later this week too :)


Babka Straws

yields 4 dozen

from Chani Apfelbaum’s Millennial Kosher

Ingredients

for the chocolate filling:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/2 c (40g) cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp cinnamon 

pinch sea salt

1/4 c (50g) canola oil

3 tb water

 

for the sweet crumbs:

1 c (130g) flour

1 c (200g) sugar

1/2 c (100g) canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

 

2 sheets (490g) puff pastry, thawed

1 egg + 1 tb water, for egg wash

Clues

line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (work in batches, if necessary). set aside. preheat oven to 375°f. 

prepare the chocolate filling: in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, oil and water. stir until creamy.

prepare the sweet crumbs: in a second bowl, combine flour, sugar, oil, vanilla, and salt. mix until crumbly.

prepare the babka straws: working with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, roll the dough out to form a large rectangle, about 12x17 inches. with the short side facing you, spread half of the dough with the chocolate filling; fold uncoated half over chocolate side.

using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 1/2-inch strips. twist the ends in opposite directions to give the straws a spiraled look. transfer each strip to one of the baking sheets, spaced an inch or so apart. refrigerate for 10 minutes. while straws are chilling, repeat with second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining chocolate filling.

remove pans from the fridge; brush straws lightly with egg wash. sprinkle with sweet crumbs.

bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

note: if the dough becomes too soft to twist, place into refrigerator about 10 minutes to firm up.


everything bagel mac and cheese

Ok, as long as no one we know gets surprised engaged and decides to surprise go to Hawaii and get married at the last minute, we are done going to weddings for a few good months, which I’m kind of sad about because the Rent the Runway dresses I’ve been finding have been off the hook. And I love a good dance party. And the far off destinations that we get to go to. This past weekend we were right on the Idaho/Wyoming border for an Eggcousin wedding at a ranch that made me want to go back and watch Hey Dude reruns. (Was that a good show? Or just an obstacle on the way to Bug Juice and Double Dare? Will we ever know?)

It was my first time in Wyoming and I gasped when I saw the scenery. Mountains are so good. On our first night we stayed at the adorable Anvil Hotel in Jackson and had a delicious and inspiring crispy honey chicken with creamed corn at Glorietta. I pretty much never order chicken at a restaurant unless it’s schnitzeled but our server said get the chicken so we got the chicken and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made at a restaurant all year. The next morning we hiked up Snow King mountain, ate an apple and peanut butter at the top, and then came down and drove across a Teton to the ranch in Idaho for the wedding. Wowee zowee, it was beautiful. We rode horses, saw a bunch of wildflowers, sat around a campfire, and Eggboy played music for the ceremony!! It was the best. 

Now we’re back, just in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day!!!! Which is the only food holiday besides donut day that I take seriously for now. It’s on Saturday. And I know, it’s kind of dumb to have it fall in the middle of summer when we should be taking advantage of fresh summer vegetables, but I don’t make the rules. So here is a recipe that I’ve been making in my low key mission to everything bagel (v.) all of the things. It was partly inspired by Alex and Sonja’s Everything Bagel Pasta, which looks sooo good. And the things that make this mac bagel-y are: 

-Cream cheese in the cheese sauce, which adds a delicious tang 

-Chives, because chive cream cheese is the best cream cheese

-Just a tiny bit of barley malt syrup, a sweet sticky substance that’s a key ingredient in making bagels taste bagel-y 

-Tons of everything bagel seasoning on top. It seems like a lot when you’re making it but it gets all crunchy in the oven and adds perfect texture. (I’ve included measurements below to make your own seasoning but you can certainly use store bought. If you use storebought: sprinkle it on to taste because some of them, like the one from Trader Joe’s, are extreeeeemely salty.)

 

-And if you’re feeling extra, sub out the panko breadcrumbs for bagel crumbs!

-And for bonus points: add hot dogs or veggie dogs and then it’s bagel dog mac and cheese.

…And there is no bagel-driven reason for the ketchup. I just like it.


Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb (226g) pasta, I prefer rigatoni
Olive oil
1/4 c (68g) unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 c (33g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c (590g) whole milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
4 oz (113g) white cheddar or gruyere or a mix of both, shredded
1 oz (28g) parmesan, shredded
1 1/2 tsp barley malt syrup, optional
Crushed red
Black pepper
1/2 c chopped chives or scallions
Bonus points: 2 cut up cooked hot dogs or veggie dogs

Topping

3/4 c (75g) panko breadcrumbs
1 tb unsalted butter, melted
1 tb each: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion
A few pinches of Kosher salt

Ketchup, for serving
 

Clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box, cooking for one minute less than directed. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside. 

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking continuously, until thickened, and then repeat with another cup, and then the remaining 1/2 cup. Add the cheese and stir until melted, and then add the barley malt syrup (if using), a few pinches of crushed red pepper, a few turns of black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in the pasta, chives, and hot dogs, if using. Transfer to an 8” baking dish or a dish that’s a similar size. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter and then distribute it over the top of the mac and cheese. Combine the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, and salt in that same medium bowl and sprinkle it liberally over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly and then serve with ketchup.
 


-yeh!

mac and cheese photo by chantell and brett


P.S. I have a few fun appearances on Food Network this weekend!! 

On Saturday at 11am eastern I will be making peanut butter cake on one of my favorite shows, The Kitchen!!!!

👆🏼👆🏼Feeling very at home in the presence of Jeff Mauro and his great Chicago accent.

And on Sunday at 9pm eastern I will be a guest judge on Food Network Star!

Bobby and Giada were soo nice!!!! 

And on Sunday at 11am eastern on Girl Meets Farm, we will be celebrating Eggsister's baby shower!!! There will be donuts!! And ~walking tacos~! 

challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

Hello from the delightful state that is westbound jet lag, when waking up with the sun is easy as pie and pre-lunchtime productivity is at a height. Falling asleep tonight is going to be a breeze! To be honest though, I’m actually surprised that I even have jet lag because over the course of this past week in Amsterdam and Paris, we did not put an ounce of effort into adjusting to the time change. We danced to Yallah Yallah at the Melkweg until the sun came up and slept way past breakfast every day. We regularly ate dinner at 2am. Our method of traveling was a string of what Rob calls stream of consciousness days. That is, we planned nothing and did everything we wanted at the moment we wanted to do it. We sat for hours watching ducks in the Tuileries and climbed the adult jungle gym in the Vondelpark in the rain, we rode bumper cars and boats, and then royally freaked out when we discovered endless free chocolate samples at the Tony’s Chocolonely Superstore. On the way to eat Rijsttafel, we smelled pancakes and they smelled so good that we decided to eat those instead. In Paris we went to Rose Bakery every afternoon and Canal Saint-Martin every night, and I had a lot of ice cream cones. My new friend Catherine introduced me to Glace Bachirwhere Lebanese ice cream gets covered in bright green pistachios. So so so so so good. We had no restaurant lists, no schedules, no places we needed to be (except for when it was time for Rob to get married), and it was… fantastic. 10/10 would recommend this method of traveling. Especially with your old college homies, because there is something about wandering aimlessly around a city that feels extra nostalgic and school-kid-like. But most importantly: Congratulations, Rob and Hansaem, on getting hitched!!!!!! Thanks for having a wedding Paris! 🤗 (And, guys! My rhubarb rose jam made it safely all the way to their wedding!!)

Here are some photos of old fronds and good food:

Now let’s talk about these pizzettes! The idea for these was born during the brainstorming phase for the Girl Meets Farm episode that aired this past Sunday. We originally thought it might be fun to show a few different ways to use challah dough, and making mini pizzas was one way. We ultimately decided to go with just the garlic and onion challah, but I still really really wanted to make these for you because challah dough as pizza dough is fluffy, soft, and great. Texturally, it reads slightly more like a focaccia, but "pizzette" is such a cute word and calling it that makes it appropriate for Pizza Friday. (And with 4th of July tomorrow, today is basically a Friday!!!) These are topped with my current favorite pizza toppings of lemon, cheese, shittons of garlic, and green things. It’s an A+ mix of bitterness, creaminess, and acidity, and bonus: you get a slight sweetness from the challah dough. I feel like I’m cheating the Pizza Friday system when I use my pizza as a shovel for green vegetables, because you’re supposed to let loose on Pizza Friday… but just like anything that involves dough and cheese, you cannot go wrong with changing things up a bit, so if you’re not feeling the lemon and greens vibration, go wild and sub the chard for salty meat. Just let your biggest takeaway from this post be that challah dough as pizza dough is good. 


challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

makes 8

ingredients

Dough:

1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c (50g) + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3 1/4 c (423g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or sub up to 1 1/4 c (163g) for whole wheat flour)
2 large eggs
1/3 c (67g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable

Toppings:

Olive oil
12 oz (340g) swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, both coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and deseeded
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 c (250g) whole milk ricotta
Parmesan
Crushed red
Flaky salt
 

clues

To make the challah dough, in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook, for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. It will take slightly longer if you’re using whole wheat flour. Alternatively, you can stick it in the refrigerator overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before shaping. 


Once the dough has just about completed its rising, preheat oven to 400ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chard stems for about 4 minutes, until tender. Transfer the stems (and any oil from the pan) to a large bowl and combine with the chard leaves and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the leaves in olive oil, adding an additional drizzle if needed. 


Divide dough into 8 balls and flatten them into rounds about 1/2” thick. Place them on the baking sheets about an inch apart. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil and then top each with lemon slices, garlic, onion, dollops of ricotta (sprinkle the ricotta with a pinch of kosher salt), a shower of parmesan, a big pile of chard, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Sprinkle flaky salt around the edges. Bake until the challah is browned; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Top with more parm if desired and enjoy!


-yeh!

pizzette photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

peanut butter s'mores pop tarts

Omg I love a s’more occasion because it means it’s warm enough to sit outside but not so warm that you’d overheat near a bonfire. It’s a similar pleasure to having the temperature of your house on the colder side just so you can wear your coziest sweatshirts. 

I made these s’mores pop tarts last month for Eggboy’s cousin Sarah’s bridal shower. She’s getting married at a ranch in the Tetons next week and I cannot wait!!! We are staying one night in Jackson Hole, which will be my first time to Wyoming, and then driving to the ranch to hike and celebrate. Where do I need to eat brunch in Jackson Hole???

There are some very specific things I need to talk to you about with these pop tarts. I’m going to do this in list form:

  1. The magic is in the crust! It is a pie crust dressed up as a graham cracker and the measurements below are such that the crust remains thick. It’s true that I have a complicated relationship with pie crust and that I am so not opposed to using store bought pie dough in situations where the fillings carry the dish, however, 1) this crust is truly magical and nutty and oomphed up with cinnamon and nutmeg, and 2) the fillings require no preparation so the crust is the only place where you need to exert energy. It’s so good! 
  2. An unfortunate thing about marshmallows is that they really can be too sweet. It’s one reason why Lily doesn’t like them. But between the crust, which is not very sweet, and the unsweetened peanut butter, there is a really nice balance that happens in this tart that I think Lily and others alike would approve of. Where these tarts leave off in sweetness, they pick up in nuttiness from the peanut butter. Obviously almond butter or another nut butter or tahini would also be great here.
  3. Real marshmallows alone do not werk! They are firmed up with gelatin, which melts down to complete liquid in the oven and has a very, very high chance of oozing out. However, if they do stay put in the tart then when they cool back down to room temp, they leave you with some of that signature s’mores chewiness. Marshmallow fluff, on the other hand, does the opposite of all of that. It is thickened with egg whites and therefore gets firm in the heat of the oven so there’s little risk of that oozing out but then when it cools you don’t have the chewy marshmallow texture. My solution is to use both. Fluff to lock in the marshmallows, marshmallows to provide chewiness, and both to provide flavor. You can make both from scratch if you’re truly feeling extra (this fluff rules), or you can make neither from scratch. Just do whatever option will leave you with enough energy to make the pie crust because that really is the most important part of this picture.
  4. To me, Hershey’s bars are a very important part of a s’more. The waxy texture and milk chocolate flavor are what I latch onto when I dream of a s’more and that’s just how I am. You might have a need for a fancy chocolate and that’s fine, you do you. I’ve opted to use a straight up piece of the chocolate bar here rather than using a chocolate spread because I like how it firms back up when the tarts cool. (I also like my chocolate croissants this way, with a full on hard chocolate bar in the middle. It’s texturally more exciting to me than a soft spread. It makes me want to eat a chocolate bar sandwich. We’re getting off topic.)

Make these!!! 


Peanut Butter S’mores Pop Tarts

Makes 10

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 c (195g) all-purpose flour
1 c (130g) whole wheat flour
1/4 c (50g) sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A few passes of nutmeg
18 tb (253g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 c ice cold water


Filling and assembly

About 1/4 c (65g) unsweetened peanut butter (I like Smucker’s All-Natural)
2 hershey’s milk chocolate bars
About 3/4 c (60g) marshmallow fluff
30 mini marshmallows
1 egg, beaten 


Glaze

1 c (120g) powdered sugar
1/4 c (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tb whole milk
A pinch of kosher salt

Sprinkles

Clues


In a food processor, pulse to combine the flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized (a few larger bits are ok). Drizzle in the water and continue to pulse until the dough starts to come together. It may still look crumbly but it’s ready when it sticks together if you squeeze a handful of it together. Turn it out onto a clean surface and use your hands to smush it all together into a ball. Divide it in half and pat out into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to a day or two. 

Preheat the oven to 425ºf. Line two pans with parchment and set aside. 

On a lightly floured surface, working with one dough disc at a time and dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, roll it out until it’s just under 1/4” thick (3/16” is ideal but I don’t mean to freak you out with such an odd measurement). Cut out 10 3” squares, re-rolling scraps, and arrange them on the baking sheets at least 1” apart. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter, 2 chocolate rectangles, about a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff, and 3 mini marshmallows. I recommend adding the marshmallow fluff by piping it out of a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. It makes this process cleaner and allows you to make a little border that will hold in your mini marshmallows. (See the gif above as a reference.) And you can eyeball the tablespoon measurement, it doesn’t need to be exact. 

Roll out the remaining dough disc along with any scraps from the first disc and cut out 3 1/2” squares, re-rolling scraps as needed. Brush the edges of the bottom squares with a thin layer of egg wash and top with a larger square. Pinch the edges to seal well and crimp with a fork to ensure that they’re sealed. Trim the edges if desired so that they line up cleanly. Poke a few holes in the top with a fork and brush the tops with egg wash. Bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. 

Top the tarts with glaze and sprinkles and enjoy! These will keep for a couple of days at room temperature.
 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brettshirt from of a kindsprinkles from supernatural!