hey everyone! great news, i still fit into my mom jeans after my trip to philly where i ate at every single one of michael solomonov and steve cook’s restaurants in 48 hours. i’d like to thank benjamin franklin for having his bridge so close to my hotel which, paired with the coldplay spotify radio station and consistent 69º temperatures, allowed for highly enjoyable 3-4-mile morning jogs that helped me feel less irresponsible about engaging in so much eating research. also, defo could not have done it without the help of brandiego, jorge, brett, zoe, and sarah, who were also miraculously in town visiting and helped me tackle mountains of donuts and boloney sandwiches and more.
every single bite was sooo great, which i expected. but at every meal there were things that were more than great, which had that wild over-the-top x-factor that left me no choice but to stop mid-bite and do an audible o-face. they raised the bar for what a donut should taste like and how a fried cauliflower should crunch, and there was a caesar salad that kept me up last night. a caesar salad! 10 out of 10, this trip was a solid success and i am filled to the brim with inspiration. also the panel was a blast!! and an added bonus: philadelphia is no longer ex-boyfriend land (see: spaghetti and my boyfriend’s meatless balls in molly on the range), now it is food inspiration land.
here were the top o-face worthy things:
the insanely rich chocolate tahini shake at goldie (and their perfectly crispy fries, dipped in the shake, duh)
the schug-a-rita at rooster soup, cilantro-y and spicy!
the smoked matzo ball soup (#teamsinker) with a fried boloney sandwich at rooster soup
the cookies n cream donut, followed closely by the honey donut at federal donuts, mmmm, hot and melty
the fried chicken sandwich at federal donuts, the bottom bun was like lined with pickles, it was the pickley crunch that every fried chicken sandwich needs
the za’atar fried chicken at federal donuts, with a crispy salty shell that wouldn't quit
the ceasar salad with fried rye bread pudding croutons (!!!!) at abe fisher
actually, all of the things that came on fried rye bread at abe fisher
the lamb and persian wedding rice at zahav, i don't normally love lamb but this lamb, i loved
the very hazelnut-y carrot basbousa at zahav
my only regret was that i didn't have time to cook in my really pretty jersey ice cream co hotel kitchen. instead i just looked at it and instagrammed it. (shout out to the lokal hotel for an awesome stay!!!)
i can't wait for my next trip to philly. whenever that will be. first i should eat some kale.
for my second flower practice session, i made cookies because i was inspired by this instagram post and also i thought that maybe with cookies, i could forgo the parchment paper step altogether. but it was actually kind of hard to pipe directly onto the cookies so i went back to the method of piping on parchment squares, freezing them, and then peeling off the flowers and plopping them onto the cookies. it didn’t add that much time, maybe only one or two episodes of the mindy project. and eggboy was planting late that day so it all went by really quickly.
i used italian buttercream this time. my lack of patience got the best of me and i ruined it because i added the butter while the egg white mixture was still hot. so it looked like poop for a while, but then i poured in a couple of tablespoons of cold heavy cream and beat the crap out of it and it came back to life!! that was very satisfying.
i liked how it tasted. it’s a lot lighter and probably more suitable for eating a big blob of frosting in the shape of a rose than american buttercream is. but my hands were so used to a stiff heavy american buttercream that piping with italian felt almost too delicate. it was like switching to the lowest gear on a bike. but the lightness made the petals and succulent nubbins stand up more easily on their own, so i feel like once i get it down i’ll be able to do more with it. the biggest downside is how long it takes to make. if i’m going to be making a million zillion flowers for eggsister wedding i’m going to need a hot tub of buttercream, but i still have some time to experiment with more recipes.
my favorite part about this cookie situation is the cookie part! i was obsessed with cookies n bloom cookies when i was little, they were so thick and almondy and cakey, and this recipe yields cookies that come super close to those! the princess emulsion gives them that little boost of nostalgic bakeriness but you can sub it for more vanilla if you don’t have princess emulsion. and as far as the actual piping of the roses and succulents, i still don't feel qualified to tell you how to do it or make a video about it (honestly i don't think that i ever will haha, look at my roses, they are so *rustic*) so i will send you back to my post about my last practice session that has a bunch of links to how-to videos!
rose rose cookies
makes about 20 cookies
3 3/4 c (510g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c (137g) sugar
2/3 c (80g) powdered sugar
zest from 1/2 of a lemon
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp princess emulsion (or another tsp vanilla)
3/4 tsp almond extract
for the frosting:
this recipe, plus a few drops of rosewater and food coloring
in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
add in the lemon zest and mix to combine. add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, and then add the extracts.
turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into two large discs. wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or up to two days.
when ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2” thick. use a cookie cutter to make 2 1/2” circles and then transfer circles to a baking sheet, 1" apart. re-roll scraps and cut out more circles.
bake until they're barely starting to brown on bottom, begin checking for doneness at 12 minutes. let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
make your frosting and then decorate as desired (see notes above)!