orange juice challah

I realize that posting a Rosh Hashanah recipe almost a month in advance is a bit… much… but Christmas decorations are out before Halloween now, so just give me this, ok??? I’m excited. The older I get and the less I care about presents (unless it’s a Caboodles), the more I care about holidays that revolve around big feasts and merriment and being cozy and autumnal, so Rosh Hashanah: check. Thanksgiving: check. Beet Harvest party: check. And wheat harvest has begun, so we are on the fast track to fall and all of my favorite days. It’s on like donkey kong, fronds!!!!

First we did have to endure a couple of weekends in the 90s though, which I’m hoping will be dunzo asap because this coming weekend I’m judging a hotdish competition outside, and surely a hot hot hotdish competition would have less than optimal comfort. However, rain or shine or shvitz, I’m willing to put myself second in the name of choosing an East Grand Forks hotdish champion. There better be a tater tot entry this year. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one last year.

This past weekend we had visitors! The Butnick Cohens of Manhattan came over and we ran through wheat fields, ate cheesy pickles, made challah, spent good quality time in the climate controlled indoors, and attended the Prince cover band street dance and it was all extremely fun!!!!! I got Stephanie a Caboodles and she got me one so now we have Friendship Caboodles and my life is complete. I organized all of my nail polishes in mine. 

Speaking of 90s things, this challah is inspired by a thing my mom used to do in the 90s, which was pour a bunch of orange juice into bread dough. It sounds weird, but it works! It makes the bread slightly tangy, sour, and sweet. And it’s oddly good with turkey sandwiches. Kind of in the same way that cranberry sauce works with turkey. The OJ bread my mom used to make was just a simple white sandwich bread, but this year for Rosh Hashannah I figured what better way to ring in a sweet new year than with OJ challah?? The hit of citrus in this is subtle and great. It would be equally at home as a turkey sandwich or as a sweet french toast, it’s a versatile little loaf! I’ve made eight mini loaves here, but you can totally make fewer larger loaves, just increase the baking time.

L’shana almost tovah!


orange juice challah

makes 8 little loaves (or fewer, bigger loaves)

ingredients

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 c (236ml) warm water
1/2 c (118ml) orange juice, from about 2 oranges
6 c (780g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 c (50g) sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 c (132g) flavorless oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tb water
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
 

clues

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and orange juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until slightly foamy. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil and 2 eggs.

Add yeast mixture and egg mixture to the flour mixture; stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook on medium speed for 7 to 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 dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, chill dough in refrigerator overnight, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping.)

Divide dough into 8 pieces. Divide each into 4 logs and shape according to the gif above (alternatively you can make mini swirls or mini 3-strand braids or even just blobs!). Place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing evenly apart, cover loosely, and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until they are golden and have an internal temperature of 190ºF; begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool slightly and enjoy. 

Challah is best eaten within 24 hours, after that it’s ok if you toast it or use it for french toast. It also freezes well!
 


gigantic party breakfast sandwich

~*~*~ how to win brunch in six easy steps! ~*~*~

1. pick stuff from the garden that looks good! herbs, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and zucchini are all great choices. and don't forget to swing by the coop eggs!

2. make a sheet pan of focaccia and use your biggest serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally, almost like you're leveling a cake.

3. make a big baked egg situation that's the same size as your focaccia and flop it onto the bottom of the focaccia.

4. top it with cheese, herbs, tomatoes, bacon, any other toppings you'd like.

5. top it with the top of the focaccia and bake until the cheese is melty. now you have a hot sheet cake of breakfast sandwich!

6. cut it into squares! yay!

yeahhhh baby!

I am knee deep in development mode for recipes to make at Unglued Camp and have been testing this as a way of making breakfast sandwiches for a huge group of people! I'm so excited about it. It's my take on this thing that I discovered on the internet, the breakfast sandwich casserole. Google it, it's wild.

I am digging this recipe for these reasons:

-Most of the prep can be done in advance. You can bake the focaccia and egg a day before serving, and then the day of all you need to do is assemble and heat.

-It's endlessly improvisable based on what you've got in your garden or what looked good at the market! Think of the egg layer as one giant quiche: cram in as many or as few veggies as you'd like, change up the cheeses, fux with the seasonings, you know the drill. 

-You get geometrically pleasing sandwiches where the filling lines up exactly with the bread.

-It's vaguely reminiscent of those really long Subway party subs, which were the most underrated birthday party food.


party breakfast sandwich

makes 12 sandwiches

part 1: focaccia

ingredients 

1 1/2 c (354ml) warm water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tb sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c + 2 tb (175g) olive oil, divided
5 c (650g) all-purpose flour, or sub 2 c (260g) for whole wheat flour
Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped (thyme would also work!)
1/2 purple onion thinly sliced
Flaky salt
 

clues

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 1/2 cup olive oil, and then gradually add the flour. Add the rosemary. 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.

[This is a good time to make the eggs!]

Coat the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” rimmed sheet pan with 1/4 cup olive oil. Pat out the dough all the way to the edges, but keep it slightly thinner around the edges (it will seem like there’s a lot of oil in the bottom of the pan but that will make it good). Brush the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and distribute the purple onion slices all over. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Let rise uncovered another 40 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top. (While it’s baking the dough might start to creep over the edges of the pan but that’s ok, some overhang will actually make it easier to cut it when the time comes.) Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. If making this the day before, turn onto a wire rack, let cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap, and store at room temp. If you’re wanting to serve asap, let the focaccia cool until it’s just cool enough to handle and zip down to the assembly steps.
 

part 2: eggs

ingredients

2 tb olive oil
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
Other optional veggies: 1 small zucchini thinly sliced, 1 jalapeño seeded and thinly sliced, a handful or 2 of leafy greens like spinach, kale, or chard
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 oz (85g) shredded cheddar (swiss or mozzarella would also work!)
8 large eggs
1/2 c (120ml) Heavy cream
3/4 c (180ml) whole milk
1 tsp sweet paprika
Hot sauce, to taste
 

clues

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Grease and line a 9” x 13” rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper, leaving 1” wings on two of the sides. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the pepper, onion, and other veggies and cook until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to the sheet pan, spread them out evenly and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, paprika, hot sauce, 1 tsp salt, and a few turns of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and bake until set and lightly browned on top; begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

If making the day before, let this cool in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If not, go straight to assembly, below.
 

part 3: assembly

ingredients

About 8 oz (226g) shredded or sliced cheese
Optional toppings: sliced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil or other tender herbs, cooked bacon, cooked sausage
 

clues

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the focaccia back in the sheet pan if you took it out to cool. Use the largest serrated knife you have to cut the focaccia loaf in half horizontally, using the rim as a guide. I like to rotate the pan with one hand as I saw off the top with the other (it’s just like leveling a huge cake). Flip the egg onto the bottom piece of focaccia. Top with cheese and other toppings as desired. Top with the top of the focaccia. Bake until the cheese is melted, the edges of the focaccia are crispy, and the egg is warmed through; begin checking for doneness at about 20 minutes. If the focaccia begins to get too browned for your liking but the middle still needs some time, then tent with foil. Slide onto a cutting board, slice into squares and enjoy!
 

citrus rose thyme loaf cake

This is a fantastic phase of summer!!! Everything in our garden is suddenly ripe or about to be, the weather is still warm but hints to us in the evenings that fall is coming, school supply commercials are on the TV (!!!!!!!), and Eggboy is in his calm before the harvest storm. July is the month that is safely nestled between the end of spring planting the beginning of fall harvest, which means that he can take full days off at a time to do things like zip down to Chicago for a quick lil visit and clean out half of his office to make room for a desk for me so that I can clear out my kitchen desk to make room for our rice cooker and microwave. Going to Chicago and making room for our rice cooker have both provided me with endless amusement and excitement.

We had just a couple of days in Chicago last week, but we packed them to the brim with fun awesome summery things: Rite of Spring at Ravinia followed by a trip down Steak n Shake nostalgia lane with Jaclyn and Katie, falafel twice from my favorite falafel place, a Cubs game (which felt a little weird since I grew up a Sox fan but the Sox were at an away game and E-boy wanted to see Wrigley Field), a stroll around the Botanic Garden that transported us to Japan and back, and a Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour which honestly freaked me out because his houses, while beautiful, look dark and haunted. I also got to sample a ton of sweets that Mia made at baking and pastry camp. Baking and pastry camp!!! Kids are so cool these days. Overall it was a successful trip but I unfortunately could not locate the Caboodles in my stash of childhood things at my mom’s house so after this I’m going to put on my helmet and dig through Ebay. I mean, name a more perfect food coloring and piping tip container.

Speaking of cake decorating supplies, here’s a cake!!!

In Paris I spotted a beautiful citrus rose loaf cake at Rose Bakery and promptly wanted to recreate it. My version is similar to the grapefruit olive oil yogurt loaf in Short Stack Yogurt but uses lemon in the batter and rosewater in the glaze, and is sprinkled with fresh thyme since the thyme in our garden is currently very happy. The texture of this cake is what I love most: it is soo dense and luxuriously moist, yet it doesn’t feel too heavy thanks to the brightness of the citrus. And this is a really versatile cake! My friend Sam used orange zest/juice in this to make a layer for her wedding cake, and while I’ve never tried it, I feel like lime would be delicious in this as well. Overall it's a very simple cake to make but between the olive oil, rosewater, and thyme, it totally tastes ~fancy~.


citrus rose thyme loaf cake

makes 1 loaf

ingredients

1 1/2 c (190g) all-purpose flour
1/2 c (56g) almond meal
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, from about 2 sprigs, plus more for decorating
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c (68g) lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
3/4 c (169g) whole milk greek yogurt
3/4 c (150g) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 c (250g) sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Glaze
1 c (120g) powdered sugar
2-3 tb (28g-42g) whole milk greek yogurt
3/4 tsp rosewater
1/4 tsp almond extract
A pinch of kosher salt

red or pink food coloring, optional

sprinkles, for decorating, optional
 

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that the parchment comes up all the way on two of the sides. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, thyme, and zest. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and yogurt until very smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking very well after each. Stir in the almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and yogurt mixture in three alternating additions, whisking after each until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then use the parchment wings to lift the loaf out of the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons yogurt, rosewater, almond extract, salt, and food coloring, if using. It will seem like there isn’t enough yogurt at first but keep on stirring. If the mixture is too thick to spread once it’s fully combined, add more yogurt bit by bit until it becomes spreadable but you want it fairly thick so that the drips hold their shape down the side of the cake. Spread the glaze onto the top of the cooled cake, sprinkle with thyme leaves and sprinkles and enjoy.
 


-yeh!

smoked butter shortbread with violet buttercream

Alright nerds, I have a Twelfth Night cookie for you!!

Last month, North Dakota Shakespeare put on a production of Twelfth Night in our town square and it was so great!! Eggboy and I packed the cutest ever picnic and I was brought way way back to Mrs. Meyer's junior year English class when I triumphed my way through Shakespeare, thanks to Sparknotes. You too? Ok cool. 

Just like last year’s rose cookies for Romeo and Juliet, I created this special Twelfth Night cookie to be sold the week of shows. This cookie is kind of all over the place but Twelfth Night kind of is too?! Like that play’s a lil drunk right?? But the important part is is that these cookies taste good and get you thinking about the play. So here are all of the references wrapped up into this chocolate and smoked butter and floral sandwich cookie:

Smoked butter cookies with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves: these cookies have the same spices as the traditional English Twelfth Night Cake which was the predecessor to the King Cake. And what’s great is that the spices compliment the smoked butter element, which was a nod to this particular performance being outside during the summer, as they smelled faintly like a campfire. 

Yellow lemon buttercream: a nod to Malvolio’s yellow stockings!

Purple violet buttercream:

 “O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour.” 

Green rose buttercream: the fact that the rose buttercream is colored green and not pink is a reference to the theme of mistaken identity that’s all throughout the play. Rose is also inspired by Orsino saying something about lying on a rose covered bed.

Yellow, green, and purple buttercream: A nod to the King Cake, which grew out of the Twelfth Night Cake tradition.

Pink buttercream: it symbolizes the role of gender in the play and love, and also throws off the King Cake reference because having something as straightforward as a King Cake reference wouldn’t be in the spirit of this very wild play. It’s also pretty.

Chocolate shortbread: This represents the darkness of Malvolio’s prison. And it makes this a sandwich cookie, which represents the twins! I was also inspired by the cookies in this photo that I've had saved on my phone for forever.

…that’s it! Did I get a good grade??

My awesome friend Mollie drew a picture of it that was displayed during the shows with all of these references:

Here is the recipe for the full cookie, four kinds of frosting and everything. The chocolate shortbread, rose buttercream, lemon buttercream, and vanilla buttercream are all things you’ve seen here before, so what I’m most excited about in this recipe are the smoked butter shortbread and violet buttercream. 

Smoking butter is something I first read about in Katrin Bjork's beautiful cookbook, From the North. I always figured I’d need fancy tools to smoke stuff but when I read this recipe I realized that all I needed were wood chips and a dutch oven. What you do is you heat up some wood chips and then place a bowl of butter on top of them (propped up by some balls of aluminum… if you look in the photo below you can spot them). I found that heating it for about an hour gave it a smoky enough flavor to hold up in baking the cookies, but if you're just smoking butter to serve with bread or radishes, you can smoke it for less time. The process makes the house smell like a campfire which is never a bad thing. The options for what to do with smoked butter are endless and range from spreading it on toast to making a cake with it (how wild would smoked funfetti be?!). It adds a smoky flavor that’s much more subtle than liquid smoke. These shortbread cookies are fairly simple and have some warm spices tossed in that amp up the smoky flavor.

Violet buttercream is a display of my new loyalty to melodramatic purple as the new millennial pink. I ordered violet syrup from Amazon and it smells like a snow cone! Not a specific flavor of snow cone, just general snow cone. Or like, how the blue sparkly snow cone flavored lip gloss that I owned in the 90s smelled. A few splashes of the syrup in a basic buttercream give it a light floral/candy like flavor, and then I added some purple food coloring because the color of the syrup isn’t that concentrated. 

Twelfth Night Cookies

Makes 12

Ingredients

Smoked Butter Shortbread: 

1 c + 2 tb (146g) all-purpose flour, more for dusting
1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
a pinch of cloves
1/2 c (113g) smoked butter, at room temperature (recipe below)
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Chocolate Shortbread:

3/4 c + 2 tb (113g) all-purpose flour, more for dusting
6 tb (30g) dutch cocoa powder
1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Violet Buttercream:

3/4 c (168g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2c (240g) powdered sugar
A pinch of kosher salt
1 tb heavy cream
2 tb violet syrup
A squeeze of lemon juice
Purple food coloring
 

Clues

To make the smoked butter shortbread, combine the all of the dry ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low until crumbly. Sprinkle in the vanilla and continue to stir, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula occasionally. Increase the speed and continue to mix until the clumps start to get bigger and the dough starts to come together. Scrape the dough onto a surface and bring it together with your hands into a big ball. Pat it out into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On surface dusted with flour, roll the dough out until it’s 1/4” thick, dusting with additional flour if it’s sticky. Cut out 2 1/2” circles and transfer to the baking sheets, an inch apart. If desired, cut out smaller circles within the big circles using a round piping tip. Bake until lightly browned around the edges; begin checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes un the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


To make the chocolate shortbread, repeat the same steps as the smoked butter shortbread.

To make the buttercream, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until creamy. Add the heavy cream, violet syrup, lemon juice, and food coloring and beat to combine. Taste and adjust as desired. Alternatively, to make the four buttercream flavors pictured: don’t add the violet syrup or food coloring. Divide into four and mix in 1/2 tb violet syrup to one part, 1/4 tsp rosewater to another, 1/4 tso vanilla extract to another, and a pinch of lemon zest to the last. Add food coloring as desired.

To assemble, pipe the buttercream between two cookies and smoosh. Enjoy! 

These can be stored in the fridge for up to a few days!
 


Smoked butter

Makes about 1/2 cup

 

Ingredients

About 2 c Hickory wood chips (other wood chips work too)
10 tb (131g) unsalted butter

Clues

Cover the bottom of a big dutch oven with wood chips. Ball up three big pieces of aluminum foil to make three golfball-sized balls. Place them on top of the chips; they’ll be used to prop up the bowl of butter. Cover the dutch oven and heat over medium high for 10 minutes. Place the butter in a heat safe bowl and place the bowl on top of the aluminum balls. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot, allowing a small opening to vent. Cook for 1 hour. Let the butter cool and allow it to come back to around 65-70ºf. You can let it sit at room temperature overnight or stick it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until spreadable and opaque.