springtime oreos

ok as soon as i posted monday’s hotdish, it started to actually warm up outside and morph into spring, signified by the fact that nobody who came over this week needed assistance in the can i take your coat realm. which is a great relief because despite the fact that we’ve lived in our house for almost three years now, we’ve yet to nail down this choreography and half of the time the coats go directly from our guests’ bodies to eggboy’s arms to a hopeful pile on the couch. or a random closet on the other side of the house, or on the homemade hooks halfway down the cave to our basement if it’s not completely filled up with parkas and coveralls. there’s just a lack of space in our welcome area (or maybe an overabundance of shoes?) and the routine is that guests come in, they see this whale drawing, and in a single file they filter through a tunnel to the light and smell of the kitchen at which point eggboy shimmies in to take the coats but then that's the furthest we've rehearsed and it's nearly impossible to predict where the coats go from there.

(apologies in advance for the wrinkles on your coats.)

but the point is i know it's spring because we've gone a week without going through that mishegas. 

spring also showed itself this week at night when we sat down to finally finish the last episode of this is us and it was still broad daylight. ughghgggggh. on the plus side (!), longer days mean that macaroni’s egg production is through the roof and i’ve got matzo, so i’ve been jumping the gun on matzo brei and it feels gr8. 

other than observing spring, this week has included a great big mashup of things: cake baking, cake photographing, brisket over-salting, yogurt testing, meeting for the new town food truck logo, shooting with chantell and brett, planning fargo passover (you’re all invited!! details tbd) and preparing for the cherry bombe jubilee (you’re also all invited!! tickets are still available for their marketplace where i'll be signing motr!). and tomorrow morning i’m driving to fargo to make springtime desserts on north dakota today! i’m excited! i’ll be demoing the little rosemary planter cakes from motr, toasted coconut bird’s nest cupcakes, and these here oreos with pretty pastel fillings that are all naturally colored! here are the colorings that i used:

green: matcha powder, easy peasy. (if you don’t like matcha, you can pull a lily and add a dash of spirulina.)

pink: ground freeze dried berries. berry purée would also work (directions here), but i had fun this time experimenting with freeze dried berries because they make the frosting a little speckled and also the flavor comes through a bit stronger. you could also use a bit of beet juice! 

yellow: orange juice and zest + the tiiiiiiiniest bit of turmeric. too much turmeric makes it taste like turmeric, which isn’t good for buttercream, and the color gets kind of neon-y yellow. so when adding your turmeric, add the smallest amount possible and then increase from there if you want more color.


springtime oreos

makes 18 cookies

Ingredients

for the cookies:

2 c flour

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

for the filling:

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 c powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp matcha powder

2 tsp finely crushed freeze dried raspberries or strawberries

zest and juice of an orange

a tiny pinch of turmeric

 

clues

to make the cookies: preheat the oven to 325ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. divide in half, shape into flat discs, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour (or up to two days).

lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with cocoa powder. roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut out 2 1/2 inch rounds. transfer them to the baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 

bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 20 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the filling: with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until combined.

divide the frosting equally into three small bowls. add the matcha to one, the berries to another, and the orange and turmeric to the other and stir to combine. 

fill piping bags with each of the three frostings. place half of the cookies on a plate or work surface. pipe a blob of filling onto the tops of each of these cookies and then place another cookie on top, pressing slightly.

refrigerate for a few minutes to allow the filling to firm up. enjoy! store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


-yeh!

paprikash hotdish

I am not up and at ‘em at 3 o'clock in the morning like I thought I would be because it turns out I’ve not been caught by westbound jet lag, which is a shame because westbound jet lag is almost as good as airplane ravioli. It's all because we became night owls in Berlin. While at home we can barely stay awake to finish Homeland, in Berlin we had no bedtime and stayed out well past the last call for hummus, discussing deli culture and gefilte fish over *just one round of arak* (in Berlin, i know, we'll get to that!). And then in the mornings we were lucky if we'd acquired our ein kleiner kaffee zu mitnehmen bitte and gotten on the u-bahn by 11. It'd weird me out when I’d get text messages from friends at home around then, “What is Michelle doing texting me in the middle of the night?!" I'd think, and then it'd occur to me that it was a normal New York waking hour. 

Which is all to say that we did a terrible job of adjusting to Berlin time, and thus have very little work to do now in the way of adjusting back to Grand Forks time. (And which is also to say that we could have easily spent our entire Friday night at the Berghain if Eggboy would have allowed us to attempt to get in lol.) 

I have a bunch of photos that I'm going to put together for you and then I'll tell you more about my trip, but today I've got to get going on testing Passover recipes and unpacking and telling you about this hotdish! According to a lot of instagrams and the fact that Eggboy is laundering all of his insulated coveralls at once in order to put them away for the warmer months, spring is here. Peas are here, rhubarb is here, chives are here, supposedly, but out my window it is still deliciously cloudy parka weather, which means that hotdishes are still *ok*. And I am really excited about this Paprikash hotdish because if Chinese hotdish is my stripper name, Paprikash hotdish is totally my other stripper name, as a nod to my Hungarian half. I love Paprikash and typically have it with dumplings or crusty buttery sourdough, but do you know what is equally as good as both of those things? Tater tots, duh. 

The filling is based on my chicken pot tater tot hotdish but it's flavored like a paprikash, meaning more onion and a load of paprika. So much paprika. Get new paprika because paprika loses its flavor really quickly if it's sitting on your spice shelf. I realize that peas and carrots aren't traditional paprikash ingredients but neither are tater tots, and in the interest of adding more veggies to make this a one-pot meal, I've dumped some in. The result is a v creamy, v comforting supper that's best when shoveled into your mouth out of a large deep bowl. And as you can see, this can totally be wrapped up and stuck in the freezer for later or to bring to a friend's house, just allow for an hour and a half or so in the oven if you're baking it from frozen!

Happy hotdishing! 


paprikash hotdish

makes 6 to 8 servings

ingredients

1/4 c butter

2 large onions, sliced

3 large carrots, chopped

Kosher salt

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tb hungarian sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tb tomato paste

6 tb flour

1/2 c dry white wine

2 c whole milk

enough chicken broth base for 2 c liquid** 

20 oz pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces

3/4 c peas

20 ounces tater tots

**a bouillon cube or something of the equivalent, like better than bouillon or homemade concentrate. since different brands require a different amount of mix per cup of liquid, check the manufacturer's instructions. don't dilute it in water! 

clues

preheat the oven to 400ºf. 

in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. add the onion, carrots, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until the onions and carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. add the garlic, paprika, cayenne, and tomato paste and cook for one more minute.

stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed and cook for one more minute. add the wine and stir until thickened. then add half of the milk, stirring constantly until thickened, and repeat with the other half of the milk. stir in the chicken broth base and chicken. cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 15 minutes. stir in the peas. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

transfer the mixture to an 11" by 8" baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof dish) and cover with tater tots. arrange them snugly and neatly. bake until the tots are golden brown. begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. let cool slightly and serve!

or, let cool slightly, cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook. it'll last 2 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer. 


-yeh!

mint coconut chocolate cake

I needed to improve my cake track record because, you know, there was valentine's day and then in Arizona when I tried demoing tahini buttercream in a 90 degree tent it got all gloopy and ploppy. So I called a quick meeting with my editorial calendar and very subtly changed the words “salad pizza” to “mint coconut chocolate cake.” Because I love using coconut milk in chocolate cake for the rich, almost fudgey texture that it lends, and the super target has started stocking fresh mint again just in time for St. Patrick's Day! And I simply cannot think of a better threesome than coconut, mint, and chocolate.

lemon, feta, mint

peter, bjorn, and john

cheese, tortillas, ketchup

chocolate, tahini, more tahini…?

Anyway, the fact that I subbed salad for cake did not mean that I was an unhealthy ursula for the rest of the week. On the contrary, this week was one of those wonderful awesome weeks where at the beginning of it I sat down and did dinner planning! I do that once every five weeks or so and it’s just the best, I should really do it more often. I sit with my dinner planning notebook, a very large stack of cookbooks, my notebook where I keep my grocery lists, and the internet opened up to about 30 different good looking recipes, and then I compose four days of meals, leaving Friday open for pizza Friday. This week’s theme was yogurt because did I tell you that I am writing a yogurt short stack book??? It will be out a year from now and I am so excited because yogurt is one of my very favorite ingredients, not just for the flavor and texture, but also because it makes me feel de-puffed. As in, it has the exact opposite effect of eating a bunch of salt.

So we ate farro and kale with yogurt green goddess, yogurt marinated chicken (I am extra excited about this recipe), a yogurt frittata, yogurt on tacos, yogurt fattoush… and on top of all of this we went to the gym every night (!!) so am I feeling like a million bucks and ready to poke fun at it all with a week of schnitzel in Berlin? Maybe so! Or maybe I'll hunt down a vegetable in Germany, which I have never been very successful at since I am always so enthralled by Amerikaners and Brezeln and Döner kebabs, but there is no time like next week to change all of that. Do you have a favorite salad in Berlin? Tell me tell me.

But Molly what happened to the cake?? 

We had one large slice and then I redecorated it by frosting the inside where the slice was taken out so that it could lock in all of the moisture:

And then we brought it over to Emily and Evan the cow farmer along with a hotdish because they have a brand new tiny human in da house!!! Yay! I am like a little bummed that spontaneous gin and tonics and cheesy pickles with Emily at the Toasted Frog have been put on temporary hold, but I am also really getting into this new hobby of making freezer meals for E and E. It's so fun. Expect some more freezer meals up on this blog. 

So this cake is essentially this chocolate mint cake, oomphed up with coconut milk, coconut oil, and a bit of coconut extract. Mint and chocolate are awesome together but I often find I want a bit more richness to support it and coconut does just that. It also makes the cake part dairy free, so if you have a great dairy free frosting or want to mix up a quick coconut milk with powdered sugar glaze, you’ve got an awesome df dessert option on your hands. The cake pictured here is six inches-- this batter is enough for four six-inch layers, but I gave the fourth layer to eggpop as a thank you for driving us to the airport. You could also make a two-layer eight-inch cake. Or 24 cupcakes. You know the drill. 


mint coconut chocolate cake

makes one 2-layer, 8-inch cake or one 4-layer, 6-inch cake (see notes above)

ingredients

10 fresh mint leaves

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 3/4 c sugar

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 c coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

1 tsp coconut extract

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c boiling water

 

frosting:

10 fresh mint leaves

3 sticks unsalted butter

4 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/8 tsp salt

2 tb coconut milk

 

assembly:

food coloring, sprinkles, marzipan, rubber stamps, all optional but all very fun

clues

preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans or four 6-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

muddle the fresh mint leaves in a saucepan and pour in the coconut milk. bring to a simmer over medium heat, and keep it at a low simmer (lowering the level of the heat as needed), stirring often, for 15 minutes. remove it from the heat, strain out the mint leaves, and measure out 1 cup of coconut milk. set it aside to cool slightly and save the remaining few tablespoons of coconut mint milk for the frosting in the refrigerator. discard the mint leaves. 

in a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, mint coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. (it's important to make sure that the milk has cooled enough so that it doesn't cook the eggs, and that the eggs aren't so cold that they firm up the oil.) whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then gradually stir in the boiling water. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking 8" cakes for doneness at 28 minutes and 6" cakes for doneness at 25 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack.

to make the frosting, muddle the fresh mint leaves in a saucepan and add the butter. melt the butter and heat over medium low for 15 minutes, stirring. strain out the mint leaves and then add the butter to a large metal bowl. place the bowl in an ice bath and use an electric mixer to beat it until it becomes pale and fluffy. (alternatively, you can let it sit overnight at room temperature, allowing it to firm back up.) beat in the powdered sugar, coconut extract, and salt, and then add 2 tablespoons of the reserved coconut mint milk. when creaming the butter, it may look a little grainy and congealed, but keep on beating it, and add a bit more coconut milk if you'd like, which will help smooth it out. 

to assemble the cake, mix in some green food coloring to the frosting if you'd like. spread a layer of frosting between each layer and then frost all over the sides and top. top with additional frosting decorations and sprinkles. to make a little marzipan label, cut out a marzipan square and then use rubber stamps brushed with a tiny bit of gel food coloring to stamp out your words! enjoy!


-yeh!

cake stand by anna wallace

black and matcha cookies

we took the quickest ever little trip down to arizona this weekend! phoenix is one of the very few places where you can fly directly to from grand forks so even though we jumped one time zone there and two on the way back (arizona can’t be bothered to take part in daylight savings time), it felt like we were just visiting the neighbors. very, very hot neighbors because it was 90 million degrees and ok i am done talking about the weather. i kind of missed having my customary little layover at the minneapolis airport since i’ve gotten into the routine of buying moon cheese and a short green tea latte at the starbucks by the mall, but it was also a delightful flashback to my chicago and new york days when direct flights were the complete norm. 

other delightful things about this trip included a sunny hike fueled by cracklins and these tasty pb and j bite things i just discovered, happy hour with eggaunt, and stumbling upon our new hands-down-would-totally-fly-back-to-airzona-just-eat-them favorite breakfast burritos at the los favoritos in apache junction on the way from mesa to tucson. they were hot eggy loaves of glee, cheesy but not greasy, and wrapped in the softest chewiest flour tortilla i’ve ever met. the only thing that would have made mine better would have been if i had mustered up the nerve to ask for ketchup with mine. **i know, i know** but i think i have a ketchup addiction.

when we arrived in tucson, i made hotdish and cake at the tucson festival of books! it was such a huge festival, i couldn’t believe my eyes, and it was right on the university of arizona campus which made me want to go back to college. the demo was in a great big tent filled with a lot of midwesterners because i am learning that arizona is mostly made of midwesterners, and it was such a great time even though i was a little bit nervous making hotdish for midwesterners. and one of my homeslices from junior high came! afterwards we ate salad and cookies at time market, 10/10 would recommend. 

that night we drove into the tucson hills for a taco party where we got to hang out by a pool with julia and naomi and a bunch of other folks involved with the festival. everyone was so sweet!!!! it made me want to stay longer, but alas there was only like one flight option home and it was on sunday morning. 

so now i am back and gearing up for a week of green food because of st. patrick’s day! one reason i am extra excited this year is because i am officially over my great matcha overdose of 2015 and matcha makes the prettiest natural food coloring. these cookies are miniature versions of the black and matcha cookies from adrianna’s book a cozy coloring cookbook and i have to be careful not to eat too many of them late at night otherwise the caffeine will keep me awake. it’s so hard to though because they’re so tasty! and i love their soft chewy texture. the other green foods i plan on making this week are salad, salad pizza, and the avocado dressing from a cozy coloring cookbook because avocados were on sale. but most importantly, if you like fun and crafts and cooking, you need adrianna’s coloring book!! it’s got super cute quirky recipes that you can color and cook! at the same time. if you’re an octopus. 


black and matcha cookies

makes 50 mini cookies or 11 large cookies

from adrianna adarme's a cozy coloring book

ingredients

for the cookies:

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/4 c cornstarch

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

3/4 c milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

for the matcha glaze:

1 c confectioners' sugar

1 tsp matcha powder

1-2 tb hot water

1 tsp brown rice syrup or light corn syrup

 

for the chocolate glaze:

4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

2 tb unsalted butter

2 tsp brown rice syrup or light corn syrup

pinch of salt

clues

to make the cookies: preheat the oven to 350ºf. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

in another large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and butter. with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the mixture until it's pale yellow. Next, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mix just until combined. add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

for large cookies: using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, drop scoops of batter onto the baking sheets, gently flattening them. bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly risen. repeat with the remaining batter. for mini cookies: use a piping bag to pipe out 1 1/2" plops of batter onto the baking sheets and begin checking for doneness at about 10 minutes.

to make the matcha glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, matcha, water, and syrup until smooth.

to make the chocolate glaze: in a small microwaveable bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stirring once, or until melted. mix in the syrup and salt.

decorate the cookies by adding the matcha glaze to one side of the cookie and the chocolate glaze to the other half. repeat until you've glazed all of your cookies.


-yeh!