and all of these other silver lake good times...
for one week last month i lived in a little house on a hill in silver lake, los angeles, and cooked the days away.
a work-cation of sorts! done in a kitchen equipped with: a blender, some forks, no mixing bowls, and a very cute old oven.
every morning i picked herbs and tomatoes from the garden and every night brought something new and bright and bursting with the glee of **california produce**.
there were eggs in a basket made with rainbow potatoes from the hollywood farmers' market, salads upon salads upon salads galore, and in a moment of small triumph: lily and alana guided me through my first ever fish cooking experience, a pair of branzini, stuffed with herbs and lemon and olive oil we found in the cabinet.
heather came over with maple butter and cheddar scones, alana brought poke bowls and that fancy matcha bread, and then there were those two 105º days spent with the freezer and our popsicles. (i tried to run it all off but, you know, in silver lake, that's just kinda like huffing and puffing and walking up hills.) at the end of the week, lily brewed up some rye dough onto which we dumped all of the leftover vegetables and petaluma cheese, and that was my pizza friday pizza, enjoyed on the redeye out of town.
the whole thing was like living in a secret clubhouse up in a tree and to get in you just needed to bring your appetite and a vegetable. it was all so fresh and delicious.
today i'm sharing two recipes that can be made in even the most bare bone kitchens: a vegetarian version of kibbeh, which is a levantine meatball made with bulgar, and an interpretation of huckleberry's blueberry cornmeal cake, made with stone fruit and a blender and a slightly paired down ingredient list that allowed me to buy a few less groceries for my one short week. i did a lot of eyeballing in my rental kitchen, and used a literal tea spoon (meant for tea, not baking) for all of the small measurements. but that's ok in both of these recipes! the kibbeh, especially. you really just want it to be a consistency that will hold its shape when fried, past that you can add any seasonings or herbs or cheese that you please. and for the cake, obviously feel free to use a regular electric mixer instead of a blender. i was just so excited that multiple respectable cakes came out using this method. so, idk, make these in your home kitchen or bring them on the road the next time you vacation somewhere with a kitchen!
walnut feta kibbeh
makes about 4 servings
3/4 c cooked bulgar
1 c toasted walnuts, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh mint, finely chopped
1 c crumbled feta
2 large eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
A few turns of black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
oil, for frying
yogurt or tahini, a salad, more feta, fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon
combine all ingredients.
heat a layer of oil until shimmering (if using olive oil, take extra care not to let it smoke), fry up a test patty of the mixture and taste it. adjust seasonings as desired. roll the mixture into small balls and fry, in batches, turning until all sides are golden brown.
serve over a salad and drizzle with yogurt or tahini and a squeeze of lemon. top with additional feta and fresh herbs, if desired.
stone fruit cornmeal blender cake
adapted from huckleberry's blueberry cornmeal cake
makes one 10" cake
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c coconut oil, at room temperature
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c olive oil or canola oil
3 tb maple syrup
1 tb vanilla
2 c full-fat plain yogurt
A bunch of stone fruit, sliced
chopped fresh rosemary, if you want
2 raw sugar packets, if your airbnb host has any to spare
preheat the oven to 350ºf. line a 10" cake pan with parchment and set it aside.
in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
put the coconut oil and sugar in a blender and blend it all up. add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each. blend in the oil, syrup, and vanilla. add the dry ingredients and blend a little and then add the yogurt and blend to combine. pour into the cake pan, top with stone fruit, rosemary (if using), and raw sugar (if using) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 1 hour. let cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then serve.