cozy braised chickpeas with squash

Blogging on a Saturday night?? It’s like I’m back in college again! Only this time as soon as I post this I am entering a pillow fort and only resurfacing when it's time to go to brunch tomorrow, not going uptown to drink boozes at Kyle and Sam’s house and then coming back downtown and eating Gray’s Papaya hot dogs, ketchup and kraut please, Brian do you want my papaya juice?

The truth is I’ve been in recovery mode from summer camp all week, and on Wednesday when I meant to post about braised chickpeas I had a big long flight and got distracted by watching I Feel Pretty.

Summer camp was off the hook!!! We put as many foods on walls as possible and used a record amount of sprinkles. We served cinnamon rolls with tahini frosting, bougie bug juice (watermelon, mint, a.c.v., salt, fizzy water), pan pizzas, breakfast sandwiches, and vats of late night beer cheese. And I had my annual summer camp Uncrustable and it was still a little frozen but totally perfect. I also led a 90s themed cookie cake making workshop and was tasked to make marzipan boobs. A first for me! But I think I did ok?? Out of all the boobs in the world surely they looked like some of them.

Now I’m racing to the finish line of 5778 and planning my Rosh Hashanah menu. Our apple trees are looking good, the potatoes are ready to be dug up, and the squash miiiight be there?? My current menu draft is this but it will probably change because that’s just how I operate:

Potato challah
Matzo ball soup
Grilled honey chicken
Some charred corn situation
A green thing
Apple and marzipan crumble

But I want to also share with you these braised chickpeas that we’ve been enjoying on these newly cooler nights and that would make a delightful vegan main course for your new year's feasts. The concept is simple: make the same braising liquid you’d make to braise a brisket but instead of using brisket, use chickpeas and squash. Hence the name I originally gave this: Brisket Braised Chickpeas! It's like how chicken fried steak doesn't actually have chicken in it. We are braising chickpeas à la brisket, with red wine, fresh rosemary, delicious home smells, and all. Ultimately, having "brisket" in the name of a vegan dish sounded confusing. But never mind that. Potatoes or parsnips in this would also be good. And this is best enjoyed out of a bowl with a large hunk of bread, torn from the loaf, and I believe it would ring in the coziest of new years!

Shana Tovah, friends!!!


cozy braised chickpeas with squash

serves 6

1/4 c olive oil 

1 large onion, chopped

2 large or 4 small carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cayenne

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 c dry red wine

1 small butternut squash, cubed

1 (14 oz) can tomatoes

2 c veggie broth

2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed

2 sprigs rosemary

2 bay leaves

chopped fresh parsley, for serving

hunks of bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350ºf.

In an oven-safe dutch oven or cocotte, heat olive oil over medium, until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. (Alternatively, you can work in a non-oven safe pot and transfer your mixture to an oven-safe dish when it's time to move to the oven.)

Add the cayenne, a few turns of pepper, and the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant.

Add the red wine and cook until it's reduced by half. Add the remaining ingredients, give everything a stir, and cover.

Transfer to the oven and braise for 2 to 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, top with parsley, serve with bread, and enjoy!


overnight cinnamon rolls with tahini cream frosting and pistachio rose dukkah

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Helloooo, vest weather!!!!! It's here! It's here! I got off the plane yesterday from L.A. and there was a cool refreshing chill in the air, the kind that says cozier days are a comin'! I promptly put on my vest for our evening walk and did a happy dance because vest weather (and quarter zip fleece pullover weather) is the best weather. 

Now I'm just doing all of my laundry and packing right back up again to head to Unglued Camp for the weekend but before I leave I want to talk about these cinnamon rolls that I'm going to be making for all of the campers! (I also wanted to post these in time for Yom Kippur break fast menu planning purposes since the fact that these can be prepped a day in advance makes them perfect for that meal!)

In my kitchen, tahini and cinnamon function together in a similar way that chocolate and espresso, broccolini and lemon, and melon and salt work. In each of these pairs there’s one true star and the other enhances. You add espresso to make chocolate more chocolatier, a squeeze of lemon over broccolini brightens it into its truest best self, and behind every great bite of melon there is some salt (or salty meat). When you add a little bit of cinnamon to anything with tahini, its warmth adds depth to the flavor that’s subtle but great. 

With these rolls though this relationship has been inverted and it works just as well: in their heart, they are cinnamon rolls. Buttery, soft, doughy, delicious classic cinnamon rolls. It’s cinnamon’s time to shine! The tahini plays the roll of support, offering its seedy richness to an otherwise very tangy cream cheese topping. That nuttiness bridges the gap between sweet, tangy, and cinnamony for a beautifully autumnal swirl of tastiness. And a pinch of cardamom also adds a very special something. On top, I like to finish these with a dukkah that's heavy on the crushed pistachios and rose petals, for color and crunch!

You can prep these a day in advance or--if you're up before the roosters--you can make them in a few hours. And if you don't have tahini (why don't you have tahini???) peanut butter or almond butter or pistachio butter would be dope in its place. 


Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Tahini Cream Frosting

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 c (236ml) whole milk

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter

4 1/2 c (585g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (100g) sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

a pinch of cardamom

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 large eggs, room temp

 

Filling

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, melted

1 c (200g) brown sugar

2 tb cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

Frosting

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

1/4 c (64g) tahini

2 c (240g) powdered sugar

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Sprinkles and/or pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado sugar, and flaky salt

Clues

Combine the milk and butter in a large saucepan and heat over medium, stirring gently, until the butter is just melted and then remove from heat. It won’t be very hot, just warm. Set it aside to cool slightly while you combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once that’s combined, check on the milk/butter mixture to make sure it’s just lukewarm or slightly warmer than room temp- you don’t want it to be hot otherwise the eggs will cook. Add the eggs to the mixture and whisk to combine. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients and then knead, either on a work surface or with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7-10 minutes. Place in an oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roll it out into a large 16” x 14” rectangle. Brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal. Cut into 8 rolls and place in an 8” x 11” baking dish. (Alternatively you can roll it out into an 18” x 12” rectangle, cut 12 rolls, and place them in a 9” x 13” baking dish.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or let rise at room temperature for another hour and then go directly to the baking step.

When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the rolls are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. 

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting: beat the butter, cream cheese, and tahini together in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. 

Spread the rolls with the frosting right when they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with sprinkles, pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado, flaky salt, and any other pretty toppings you’d like, and serve. Enjoy!


-yeh! 

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

necklace by marian bull // dress by whowhatwear // glasses by warby parker

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!
 


harissa chickpea hotdish (vegan!)

(you are a hotdish!)

It feels like we are living on a cloud or another planet right now. Outside the window it’s just all white, there’s no real dividing line between the snowy ground and the air and the white sky, it’s a total snow globe and it’s been like this since last week. Driving into town has been the trippiest thing because it’s as if we’re floating down the road or in a bright white roller coaster tube, a Buick LeSabre roller coaster, which I guess would be the knock off of the Back to the Future DeLorean ride, but instead of going to 1955 you go to the Super Target.

We’re basically in a snow cocoon. A+ for coziness, but I’m starting to run low on indoor activities to do: over the weekend we brunched with friends, went to the gym, went to the toasted frog for pizza, made a new friend at pizza who gave us UND basketball tickets (omg! So fun!), went to the Valentine’s Day candy section and inhaled the unique Valentine’s Day candy smell, and danced on the dance floor at Eggboy’s trombone gig. It was all very good times!!! But this morning I woke up stressed that it’s still been too cold to practice our skiing skills or test out the new ice skating path at the park and nervous about my vitamin d levels and now I’m just hitting refresh on the Nike website over and over until their podium set is for sale. I don’t think I’ll buy it I just want to admire everything in depth. I asked Eggboy if he’d like to take up a new indoor sport like racquetball but he has something going on with his leg that makes him sound like he is 97 years old, so it looks like I’m on my own for running around. Maybe I’ll finally take up swimming at the gym. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to buy a Mara Hoffman bathing suit. Maybe I’ll take up fondant. 

This slight restlessness came out last week at the grocery store when I went to replenish my tater tot supply to make this chickpea hotdish. I just got a little bored with tots and wanted to explore other potato nuggets, namely those smiley faces that I’ve seen around the internet. I didn’t find the smiley faces but I did find potato letters!!! So cute. I bought all of them. I wanted to write “chickpea hotdish” but there was no “k” so I thought about “chic-pea,” like a fancy chickpea, and then tried out writing “fart” over and over after Kristin suggested warning people that they will fart a lot if they eat this, but decided against it and went with something more valentine’s day appropriate.  

Wouldn’t you rather be called a hotdish than a q-t pie? Or at least rather eat a hotdish than a conversation heart?

You want to eat this hotdish!!!! It’s chickpeas, braised in a little wine and smoky harissa, that go swimming in a delicious, just-spicy-enough tomato sauce. And everything gets soaked up with potato nuggets. It is an awesome hearty filling comforting meal that oh just happens to be vegan. I first made this at camp last summer as the vegan option on hotdish night, the only difference was that I used some of eggmom’s tomato squash soup, thickened with a little potato starch, as the base instead of the tomato sauce (find that recipe in Molly on the Range). That was delicious too!! The tomato sauce version is way less time consuming and equally tasty but if you happen to be making a big batch of that tomato squash soup, I’d highly recommend using the leftovers for this. 

I love serving this with feta, which de-veganizes it, but it’s not necessary, or you can use your favorite vegan cheese. And grilled lemon adds a great hit of smoky brightness at the end (and it looks cool). Also, this dish requires ingredients that are all pretty easy to have on hand so if you don’t want to go out in this snow, look in your pantry because you probably have at least most of the ingredients already??

A harissa note: any harissa will do here but I've made this with Ray Restaurant's Harissa and NY Shuk's Fiery Harissa Spice, both are on the spicier end of the Harissa spectrum and I'd def recommend both!

A potato nugget note: the letters are really good but they don't get as crispy as tater tots! And if you're gluten free, check the label because the ones I bought contained wheat flour but the nutritional facts on the website didn't list it as an ingredient. "Adventures in potato nugget googling" was the title of my afternoon.


harissa chickpea hotdish

serves 4-6

ingredients

Chickpeas:

2 tb + 1/2 c olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tb harissa
1/2 c dry white wine
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 sprigs thyme
Black pepper

Sauce:

2 tb olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 tb harissa
1 tb tomato paste
2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika
1 (28 oz) can or carton chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
 

About 1 1/2 lbs tater tots or potato nuggets
1 lemon, to serve
Fresh cilantro and parsley, finely chopped, for serving
Optional serving accoutrements: crumbled feta or other cheese/vegan cheese of your choice

clues

Preheat the oven to 425ºf. 

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and harissa and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the chickpeas, 1/2 cup olive oil, thyme, a bunch of turns of black pepper, and a few good pinches of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are soft.

Meanwhile, make your sauce. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, harissa, tomato paste, and aleppo or paprika and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to the tomato sauce, draining the chickpeas of excess olive oil (and discarding the thyme twigs when you come across them). Transfer the mixture to an 8x12 casserole dish and cover with tater tots. Season with salt, pepper, and more aleppo and bake until the tots are golden, 30-40 minutes. 

At some point while it’s baking, grill your lemon: heat a skillet over medium high, cut the lemon in half and then place it face down on the skillet until it gets nice brown marks. 

When the hotdish is done baking, let it cool slightly, top with fresh herbs, squeeze with lemon, and serve with feta or other cheese/vegan cheese as desired. Enjoy!


-yeh!