ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

Hello, hi!! How are you all January-ing and coping with the Monday of Months/post-holiday slump/dry weather? Warning, I’m about to be the overly cheery person in the room but once I re-arranged my open shelves with all of my pink and purple kitchenware to be Valentine’s Day themed and also splurged on a tube of Kiehl’s coriander hand cream, I remembered how I’ve actually become kind of obsessed with January. I used to dread it soo much but that was back in college when it’d still be dark when I emerged from the practice room and then have to schlep around the streets in the dirty slush if I wanted to do anything social. These days, however, winter means Eggboy’s version of summer, which means we can go on more trips and stuff! It’s the most fun time of the year. And I want to tell you about our most recent adventure, our Great Midwest road trip!!

We drove from Grand Forks to the cute town of Red Wing, MN, to Chicago, to Kalamazoo, MI, and then up around the Upper Peninsula, through Wisconsin, on to Duluth, and then back home, by way of Bemidji, for pizza. We stuck to smaller roads and searched out historic and one-of-a-kind places that bursted with personality. It was delightful and tasty and we saw so many adorable cute towns that all felt like they came right out of a snow globe.

Here were some of the best places we went:


Red Wing, MN

St. James Hotel- A beautiful historic hotel in the little cute town of Red Wing. It was so beautiful that I didn’t even care that it was exactly the type of place that would be a little bit haunted. We’d seen it a bunch of times from when we’d pass by on the train from Grand Forks to Chicago but this was our first time inside and we loved it.

Hanisch Bakery- The coziest homiest bakery, with a killer sprinkle donut and orange slices as a side to their breakfast sandwiches. The donut had like a sprinkle crust. It was perfect.

St. Ignace, MI

Bentley’s Cafe- Ok, I don’t know whose idea it was to take a pasty tour of the U.P. in the dead of winter (oops, it was my idea…) but basically the first four stops on our tour were closed for the season and Eggboy and I got soooo hangry, I don’t think we’d ever been that hangry before. Finally we found Bentley’s and they had pasties! OMG they were amazing. Their crust was extra buttery and flaky and the veggie one had lots of cheese in it. I would eat this pasty again and again. 

Marquette, MI

Landmark Inn- Another beautiful historic hotel! (We hit the beautiful historic hotel jackpot on this trip.)

Lawry’s Pasties- Amazing pasties!! The crust was way sturdier than the one at Bentley’s but in a really satisfying way.

Jean Kay’s Pasties- More amazing pasties!! Between Lawry’s and Jean Kay’s, these had a higher ratio of vegetables to meat, but I couldn’t choose a fave, they were both delicious. 

Pence, WI

Reinerio’s Sausage- Secret basement sausage!!! This was recommended to me by my instagram friend Britt and it was just a little bit out of our way, in the itsy bitsy unincorporated town of Pence, WI. The owner makes sausage in his basement and it’s so good! We came home with a cooler full of fresh salami, breakfast sausages, other sausages, and a giant chunk of Asiago. 

Duluth, MN

Duluth’s Best Bread- This is new since we were last in Duluth (on our mini moon four years ago!) and I’m so glad we went. We bought a giant soft pretzel for the road and crusty loaves of flax seed bread and wild rice bread to take home that I have been toasting up in the morning to have with the Asiago from the secret sausage man.

Northern Waters Smokehouse- We ate here on our anniversary and it was the tastiest most casual anniversary there ever was. I ate a pastrami sandwich that had the perfect amount of mayo (aka a gigantic load of mayo).

Uncle Loui’s Cafe- A perfect diner. In my storyboard for the Duluth curling team Olympic gold medal movie, at least two important scenes take place here.

Bemidji, MN

Dave’s Pizza- We finally went here after hearing about it for years! I’d been craving classic Midwest square cut cracker crust pizza (I know, I know, shame on me for talking smack on square cut pizza, I knowww, I’m terrible) and it was perfect. Finished it off with a spumoni.

Chicago, IL

We spent time at some of our old trusty favorites: Russian Tea Time, Christkindlmarket, and Furama!

Things I learned on this trip: 

-Using a real paper map is wayyyy more fun than a cell phone map.

-Sometimes places that are the cutest and have the most personality and history (and that I end up loving the most) have lower star ratings on the internet than newer hipper places. So I’m learning not to put so much weight on star ratings on Yelp and stuff.

-I will never take another road trip without my Birdling Weekender. It’s set up like a clothing bento box, with different compartments that you can access quickly and easily. We stayed in a different place each night on our trip and I was not *once* stressed out about packing/unpacking/locating my underpants. 

-I like my pasties with both gravy and spicy ketchup.

-Small cocoon-like bedrooms/hotel rooms rule. We stayed in two very large rooms and I barely slept those nights. The best sleep was in the smaller rooms.

-Ok, yes, I LOVE square cut cracker crust pizza.

-Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker is bananas!!

-Trips where you only bring sweatpants are the best trips.

In other news, I have to tell you about this miraculous recipe that I have been obsessing over since I first read it. It’s in Cynthia Chen McTernan’s book, A Common Table, which was a book that I was counting down the days to because I have been a fan of Cynthia and her delicious blog for years and years and years. She makes all of my favorite foods: mochi, steamed buns, potstickers, black sesame things, matcha things… and she makes them all look so darn beautiful! One time we shot a bacon and sweet corn ice cream sandwich blog post together and it was the best day ever. Cynthia is truly just as sweet and awesome IRL as she comes across on her blog and now in her book, I am definitely a good candidate for president of the Cynthia fan club. My copy of A Common Table is filled with bookmarks and dates scribbled into recipes that I’ve already made. We had her bulgogi on New Year’s Eve, mochi pancakes for the premiere of GMF season 2, and I’m planning to make like all of her sweets. I just love how her recipes tie in her heritage with her southern upbringing and beautiful stories, and they’re all so playful and fun too! I think it goes without saying that if you like good food and also fun, then you need her book. 

Here is my favorite recipe from her book. I like it because its ingredients produce the 1 + 1 = 3 magic. You’ve seen the magic in Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken recipe, it’s the thing that happens when a stunningly short list of simple ingredients produces a thing that explodes with flavor and awesomeness. After making Cynthia’s chicken and dumplings once, I had the recipe memorized. It’s ginger, scallions, and chicken. Just memorize that! Then you make chewy rustic dumplings which are like thick potsticker wrappers and, holy smokes, I could eat them all day. It’s nourishing and strikes a perfect balance between comforting and not too heavy. Eating it makes you feel like you’re curing ailments you didn’t even have. I’m so in wuv.


ginger scallion chicken and dumplings

from cynthia chen mcternan’s a common table

serves 4

ingredients

2 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 or 4 scallions, sliced into 1” pieces (about 1/2 c)

3 inches ginger root, peeled and sliced into 1/8” pieces (about 1/3 c)

6 c water

1 c (130g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

soy sauce, for serving

chili garlic paste, for serving

clues

make the soup: season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. place it in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (if desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer.

make the dumpling dough: after the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes, start the dumplings. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. ladle about 6 tablespoons broth and trickle it into the bowl of flour while stirring the flour with chopsticks or a silicone spatula. a wet dish towel under the bowl may help keep it in place while you stir. after you’ve added all the broth, continue to stir until the flour mixture becomes pebbly and the water is evenly incorporated. make sure the dough is a comfortable temperature to touch, then use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and taut, 5 to 10 minutes. the dough should be fairly firm, not tacky, and should not stick to your hands or the bowl. if it does, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is firm. place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag and allow to rest while the broth simmers for another 25 to 30 minutes (for a total of 1 hour altogether).

skim any scum off the top of the broth and remove the ginger, if you’d like. transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.

form the dumplings: by now, the dumpling dough should be nice and pliable after its rest. the traditional method of preparing flat dumplings is to roll the dough out to a large rectangle, 1/4” or less in thickness, and then slice the rectangle into 1” x 2” strips. alternatively, you can form them the way noodles are torn for kimchi sujebi: pinch off a tablespoon of dough and pull it in half so that it forms 2 flat pieces. flatten the pieces to about 1/4” or less, if needed, but otherwise the pieces need not be uniform. roughly torn edges create a nice texture. repeat until the dough is gone.

bring the soup back to a lively simmer over medium heat, then drop the dumpling pieces into the pot. simmer until the dumplings float to the surface, 1 to 2 more minutes, then serve, with soy sauce and chili garlic paste on the side, if desired.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

oh baby!

Friends! I am so soo excited that I can finally talk about our forthcoming little nugget!! Do you know how hard it was to keep this secret from you for almost four months?? Harder than sitting in front of a pile of cheese fries and not eating any of them. Or, harder than not eating bagels and matzo with cream cheese every other hour during my first trimester. I feel like we need to ketchup on a lot of things. 

Number one, zucchini is gross! Cream cheese, citrus fruits, bagels, matzo, and Sonic tater tots drenched in honey mustard after three hours of sitting at the hairdresser are… the most amazing things in the entire world. So is Korean BBQ with Aunt Lucy. And hand pulled noodles on Rob’s rooftop. And potstickers!!!!! Wow, eating while pregnant is incredible, as long as it’s not zucchini. At one point I did have to test a zucchini recipe for Girl Meets Farm, a recipe that I used to love, but it grossed me out so much. I think it was the only thing during the whole month of filming that I couldn’t scarf down in the meal scene at the end (aside from things that were just off limits, like the runny yolks in the scotch eggs and the salami on top of one of the salads). 

Cravings aside, nutrition was the first thing that I threw myself into after learning that I was pregnant. Eating immediately took on a new meaning to me since I felt like it was the biggest thing I had control over in that moment to take care of little Poppy Seed (oh, Poppy Seed is our nickname for him/her since that’s how big he/she was when we first learned of his/her existence). I read everything I could get my hands on about getting enough protein, calcium, carbs, omega-3s, iron, etc., etc., and found myself in a new world where I now get cheese on all of my sandwiches, drink milk every morning, and sprinkle Trader Joe’s super seed mix into my oatmeal. It was a slightly clumsy ride because in the beginning I miscalculated my protein and took in probably twice as much as I needed, so I puffed up like a puffer fish/body builder combo. There were days when I got a little stressed about it and just wanted to puff up in peace and sweatpants, and not in front of a camera and in TV clothes, but I got over it anytime I’d just think of how it’s all in the name of Poppy Seed. (And also I’ve just become more comfortable asking for a higher angle on any camera pointed at my face lol.) These days I think I’ve gotten a grip on what I should be eating, and it’s similar to before I was pregnant with just a few modifications, like a nice big breakfast since I’m often starving in the middle of the night and when I wake up.

Figuring out my wardrobe for Girl Meets Farm and Gingerbread Showdown (which was filmed in my first trimester) was a challenge because everything just fit differently, right from the beginning. It was all confusing. I suddenly didn’t know how things were supposed to fit or how they were going to look on camera, even little things like my aprons fit so differently. It all hit a head last week when I suddenly had to fit into fancier clothes for some events and everything exposed my belly! (Hatch saved me, and for basics, Old Navy and Gap saved me. And for my winter coat—this is my new favorite find—Bridge the Bump worked perfectly. So I’m slowing figuring it out!)

By far the biggest challenge though was how sleepy I was throughout my first trimester. I was glued to my couch. I’d sit and do work on my computer, and then nap a little, and work a little more, and then on most days Eggboy would peel me up and we’d go for evening walks that felt like I had lead strapped to my feet, but they almost always helped. Toward the end of the first trimester I got soo frustrated with how hard it was to be productive, but one day I woke up and all of my energy was back, like magic! Thankfully, that day happened about a week before filming for season two started.

Workout wise, I’ve been doing as much as I can with weights, resistance bands, and cardio, but it’s just bonkers how much easier it is to get worn out! My biggest inspiration with workouts has been the Lamoureaux twins (Monique and Jocelyne), who are due in a few months. They post tons of their workouts on IG. And In two weeks I’m going to start swim lessons, which I’m really excited about. 

These days, I am enjoying second trimester energy, the 300 extra calories I get to eat each day, and the little dances that Poppy Seed recently started doing! We’ve been researching cribs, bassinets, strollers, baby monitors, and baby names. It’s all so fun. I never thought I’d say the words “the sage green uppa baby vista stroller is absolutely gorgeous!” And yet, here I am. Nursery wise, I think Eggboy and I are both in agreement that it will basically be a library of baby books with a crib in the middle. Although we aren’t planning to go all out on the nursery until Poppy Seed is born. According to Jewish custom, doing anything extravagant for an unborn baby could cause very bad luck. So necessities will be set up, and everything else (like the insanely cute toddler-sized tractor from Eggparents, omgggg) will stay in our garage or another building on the farm. 


Next up on our to-do list is to read about baby sign language (my dad and stepmom did this with Mia and it was incredible!), breastfeeding, and doulas. And following mom/baby/maternity Instagram accounts with abandon. 

Ok, I think that’s everything that’s been on my brain for now. 

Thank you soo much for all of your sweet words on our announcement!!! Sending hugs to all of you <3 <3

-Yeh!

P.S. Here are some pics from this weekend’s GMF episode, Thanksgiving!!! I’m making a grilled sweet and smoky turkey, charred creamed corn, soft pretzel stuffing, and my lemon olive oil cake with cranberry glaze! And there are some very special guests :)

apple and honey pizza + wheat harvest!

Today is the last day of wheat harvest! It was earlier than expected this year because it was such a hot and dry summer. The wheat fields are soooo pretty so I'm kind of sad they'll all be picked now but one perk of this earlier wheat harvest is that Eggboy will have some breathing time before beet harvest, some of which will be spent at summer camp!!! Since it’s been a good few years since I took a camera out to the fields, I thought it would be fun to have Chantell and Brett come out and capture the harvest, the wheat, and a fun thing to do with the wheat: mill it into flour and make pizza with it! 

Wheat harvest is less intense of a harvest than sugar beet harvest because you can only harvest the wheat when it’s very dry, meaning that you can’t really start until 11am, and then you have to stop at sundown, so there’s still time at night to sit on the couch and eat a taco and watch half an episode of Breaking Bad. (Sugar beet harvest goes 24 hours a day… no time for couch or TV.) But that doesn’t mean it’s less dramatic!! The way the fields are so golden and create big poofs of dust when the combines roll through creates the coolest scene. 

Once it’s harvested, the wheat, which is hard red spring wheat, gets brought to the mill in town where it’s ground into flour and shipped all over the country. Some of it becomes King Arthur Flour! Some goes into pancake mix. And some of it (the high protein variety) gets sent to the Bronx to make bagels!!!

And then there’s like .00000001% of it that Eggboy has brought in for me to blend in the Vitamix and play around with. I added some to challah and it came out reeeeally dense. It was bad. But that density works really well in pizza dough, so I’ve been adding it to my current favorite pizza dough, which is based on the recipe in Bread Toast Crumbs. It’s a no-knead recipe that only needs to rise for an hour and a half, so it’s the best on pizza Fridays when I forget to make dough the day before. And the nutty whole wheatiness of our home-milled flour goes splendidly with this new concoction: apple and honey pizza! With apples from our trees!!!

Apple and honey pizza is a Rosh Hashanah-ready recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a while and it works because sharp sharp cheddar, pepper-y arugula, and punchy balsamic all balance out the sweetness of the apples and honey so it definitely does still feel like a good salty savory situation. In a slightly dainty move, the crust here is really thin and crisp, so you could totally house the whole thing for supper or serve it as an appetizer flatbread thing. There’s no real sauce, just some slow cooked olive oily onions, and brie would be en excellent alternative to the sharp cheddar. Overall it strikes a perfect combo of sweet, salty, and acidic, so it's fully ready for a sweet (yet balanced!) new year!

apple and honey pizza

serves 2-4

ingredients

Dough:

1 1/3 c (173g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 c (86g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 c (236 ml) lukewarm water

Toppings:

1/4 c (50g) olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz (170g) sharp cheddar, shredded
1 apple, thinly sliced
leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
Black pepper
Kosher salt
4 tsp honey
Crushed red pepper
2 handfuls of arugula
A drizzle of balsamic glaze
 

clues

In a medium bowl combine the flours, salt and yeast. Mix in the water until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours (or overnight).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat and add the onion and thyme sprigs and cook for about 45 minutes, until very very soft.

Preheat the oven (ideally with a pizza stone) to 500ºf, cut out two big sheets with parchment paper, and dust liberally with flour. Divide the dough into two parts, and place each on a piece of parchment. The dough will be very sticky, so don't be shy in dusting it with enough flour as needed to handle it. Roll out until the dough is very thin, just a little thicker than 1/4” (and again, feel free to dust dust dust with flour as you're rolling). 

Discard the thyme leaves from the onion mixture and transfer the onions and the excess olive oil to the dough, spreading it around to distribute evenly. Top with the cheese, apple slices, rosemary, and black pepper, and sprinkle the edges with salt. Using a pizza peel or baking sheet, slide the dough onto baking stone and bake until the cheese is splotchy with brown marks; begin checking for doneness at 7 minutes. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can simply bake on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle the pizzas with honey, sprinkle with crushed red pepper, top with arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

apron by enrich and endure, necklace by marian bull

chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

Sugar beet harvest is well underway!!!! It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s by far the busiest and the sleepiest, but also the most exciting. Eggboy has a weird, vaguely nocturnal sleep schedule which has me waking up way before him (this has been a little nerve wracking since he’s the only one who knows how to operate our very complicated coffee grinder) but it means that I can make a big breakfast when he wakes up in the afternoon. Tonight will be my first night home during harvest since I was away over the weekend and I intend to just binge Pretty Little Liars and restock the freezer with pita and soup for quick harvest break snackees. Good thing there are enough PLL seasons to take me through even the longest of harvests, which luckily this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be. Based on my extremely limited knowledge, I’m gonna bet you a dollar that this harvest will take shorter than last year’s verkakte muddy harvest but longer than the easy breezy beautiful year before that. Which affects you and me in the sense that it determines how many baked goodies I make for the crew. I filled our deep freeze with pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, and a sprinkle cake last week before I scampered off for a quick trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a Molly on the Range event and then to Boston for the Forbes Under 30 summit. 

Wow, Harbor Springs is one of the prettiest cutest places in the world! I could eat it all up. Or at least see myself going back again and again to crash the book festival and look at the beautiful houses. I got to stay with Maureen, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, and we made raw kibbeh!! It was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting to make raw kibbeh since reading about it in her book but was never confident enough in my butcher finding skills to get clean enough beef that could be eaten raw. So I waited until I got to Harbor Springs, and then we feasted on raw kibbeh, baked kibbeh, fattoush, hummus, knafeh, and this amazing sticky date cake with orange blossom caramel. I also got to hang with Nicole and a whole bunch of new sweet people. It was heaven! 

After Michigan I zipped on over to Boston for a quick day and a half at the Forbes Under 30 summit, surrounded by break fast at Mamaleh’s (with a truly inspirational kasha varnishkes), brunch time tahini buns, sofra with family, and then sofra again with friends, and some hardcore catching up with old college homies. I was in a cloud of congestion and snotty tissues (ew gross sorry forget I said that) but came home with a full heart and a full suitcase of saffron gummies, aleppo pepper, the la boîte halva mix, and Maureen’s nougatsA+ souvenirs

Ok one last thing before we get to cake: Molly on the Range turns one today!!!!!! I can hardly believe it! This last year has been a year filled to the brim with your sweet posts and messages about recipes you’ve made from MOTR and they make me the happiest bean in the world. I love seeing you guys celebrate birthdays and holidays with MOTR cakes and challah and schnitzel and I am so freaking happy that I've gotten to meet and hug so many of you at book events. I cannot thank you enough for how much joy your support of Molly on the Range has brought me over this past year. I am going to try and express all of my gratitude by making some of your favorite foods though!! Since so many of the recipes in MOTR were homemade versions of my childhood favorite foods (lunchables, pigs in blankets, you know…), I want you to hop over here and tell me some of your crazy childhood favorite foods and then I’m going to pick a few to recreate from scratch! If yours gets picked, you’ll get a special one of a kind edition of Molly on the Range :) Head to Instagram for more details.

Alright, cake time!!!! Because all of this harvesting and book birthdaying is calling for celebration. Eggboy put this cake out for all of our harvest helpers on the first day of harvest and from what I can tell, it got gobbled up immediately. It’s your basic super rich chocolate sheet cake covered in a buttercream that has my current obsession, pistachio butter, all up in it. It’s the same pistachio butter that was in these pudding pops but now that it’s getting a little colder I’m giving you a more weather appropriate use for it. Pistachio butter, the fanciest of the nut butters (?), is so great in this buttercream. Just think of how great peanut butter frosting is and then... make it pistachio. This frosting is rich, pistachio-y, a little lemony, and almondy. AKA basically perfect and greenish, the best color. Hooray!   


chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

makes one 9" x 13" sheet cake

ingredients

for the cake:

1 3/4 c (350g) sugar

1 3/4 c (223g) all-purpose flour

1 c (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1 c (240g) buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

3/4 c (178g) boiling water

for the frosting:

1 c (128g) roasted pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if pistachios are salted)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tb heavy cream

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottom of a 9" by 13" pan with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. whisk in the boiling water.

pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. let cool in the pan.

for the frosting: 

first, make the pistachio butter. in a food processor, blend the pistachios, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and pistachio butter until creamy. add the powdered sugar and mix to combine and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, and then heavy cream. 

spread all over the cake, decorate as desired, and enjoy! 


-yeh!