challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

Hello from the delightful state that is westbound jet lag, when waking up with the sun is easy as pie and pre-lunchtime productivity is at a height. Falling asleep tonight is going to be a breeze! To be honest though, I’m actually surprised that I even have jet lag because over the course of this past week in Amsterdam and Paris, we did not put an ounce of effort into adjusting to the time change. We danced to Yallah Yallah at the Melkweg until the sun came up and slept way past breakfast every day. We regularly ate dinner at 2am. Our method of traveling was a string of what Rob calls stream of consciousness days. That is, we planned nothing and did everything we wanted at the moment we wanted to do it. We sat for hours watching ducks in the Tuileries and climbed the adult jungle gym in the Vondelpark in the rain, we rode bumper cars and boats, and then royally freaked out when we discovered endless free chocolate samples at the Tony’s Chocolonely Superstore. On the way to eat Rijsttafel, we smelled pancakes and they smelled so good that we decided to eat those instead. In Paris we went to Rose Bakery every afternoon and Canal Saint-Martin every night, and I had a lot of ice cream cones. My new friend Catherine introduced me to Glace Bachirwhere Lebanese ice cream gets covered in bright green pistachios. So so so so so good. We had no restaurant lists, no schedules, no places we needed to be (except for when it was time for Rob to get married), and it was… fantastic. 10/10 would recommend this method of traveling. Especially with your old college homies, because there is something about wandering aimlessly around a city that feels extra nostalgic and school-kid-like. But most importantly: Congratulations, Rob and Hansaem, on getting hitched!!!!!! Thanks for having a wedding Paris! 🤗 (And, guys! My rhubarb rose jam made it safely all the way to their wedding!!)

Here are some photos of old fronds and good food:

Now let’s talk about these pizzettes! The idea for these was born during the brainstorming phase for the Girl Meets Farm episode that aired this past Sunday. We originally thought it might be fun to show a few different ways to use challah dough, and making mini pizzas was one way. We ultimately decided to go with just the garlic and onion challah, but I still really really wanted to make these for you because challah dough as pizza dough is fluffy, soft, and great. Texturally, it reads slightly more like a focaccia, but "pizzette" is such a cute word and calling it that makes it appropriate for Pizza Friday. (And with 4th of July tomorrow, today is basically a Friday!!!) These are topped with my current favorite pizza toppings of lemon, cheese, shittons of garlic, and green things. It’s an A+ mix of bitterness, creaminess, and acidity, and bonus: you get a slight sweetness from the challah dough. I feel like I’m cheating the Pizza Friday system when I use my pizza as a shovel for green vegetables, because you’re supposed to let loose on Pizza Friday… but just like anything that involves dough and cheese, you cannot go wrong with changing things up a bit, so if you’re not feeling the lemon and greens vibration, go wild and sub the chard for salty meat. Just let your biggest takeaway from this post be that challah dough as pizza dough is good. 


challah pizzettes with swiss chard, lemon, and ricotta

makes 8

ingredients

Dough:

1 packet (about 2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1/4 c (50g) + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
3 1/4 c (423g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (or sub up to 1 1/4 c (163g) for whole wheat flour)
2 large eggs
1/3 c (67g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable

Toppings:

Olive oil
12 oz (340g) swiss chard, stems and leaves separated, both coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced and deseeded
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 c (250g) whole milk ricotta
Parmesan
Crushed red
Flaky salt
 

clues

To make the challah dough, in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook, for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. It will take slightly longer if you’re using whole wheat flour. Alternatively, you can stick it in the refrigerator overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about an hour before shaping. 


Once the dough has just about completed its rising, preheat oven to 400ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook the chard stems for about 4 minutes, until tender. Transfer the stems (and any oil from the pan) to a large bowl and combine with the chard leaves and a pinch of salt. Toss to coat the leaves in olive oil, adding an additional drizzle if needed. 


Divide dough into 8 balls and flatten them into rounds about 1/2” thick. Place them on the baking sheets about an inch apart. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil and then top each with lemon slices, garlic, onion, dollops of ricotta (sprinkle the ricotta with a pinch of kosher salt), a shower of parmesan, a big pile of chard, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Sprinkle flaky salt around the edges. Bake until the challah is browned; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Top with more parm if desired and enjoy!


-yeh!

pizzette photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

peanut butter s'mores pop tarts

Omg I love a s’more occasion because it means it’s warm enough to sit outside but not so warm that you’d overheat near a bonfire. It’s a similar pleasure to having the temperature of your house on the colder side just so you can wear your coziest sweatshirts. 

I made these s’mores pop tarts last month for Eggboy’s cousin Sarah’s bridal shower. She’s getting married at a ranch in the Tetons next week and I cannot wait!!! We are staying one night in Jackson Hole, which will be my first time to Wyoming, and then driving to the ranch to hike and celebrate. Where do I need to eat brunch in Jackson Hole???

There are some very specific things I need to talk to you about with these pop tarts. I’m going to do this in list form:

  1. The magic is in the crust! It is a pie crust dressed up as a graham cracker and the measurements below are such that the crust remains thick. It’s true that I have a complicated relationship with pie crust and that I am so not opposed to using store bought pie dough in situations where the fillings carry the dish, however, 1) this crust is truly magical and nutty and oomphed up with cinnamon and nutmeg, and 2) the fillings require no preparation so the crust is the only place where you need to exert energy. It’s so good! 
  2. An unfortunate thing about marshmallows is that they really can be too sweet. It’s one reason why Lily doesn’t like them. But between the crust, which is not very sweet, and the unsweetened peanut butter, there is a really nice balance that happens in this tart that I think Lily and others alike would approve of. Where these tarts leave off in sweetness, they pick up in nuttiness from the peanut butter. Obviously almond butter or another nut butter or tahini would also be great here.
  3. Real marshmallows alone do not werk! They are firmed up with gelatin, which melts down to complete liquid in the oven and has a very, very high chance of oozing out. However, if they do stay put in the tart then when they cool back down to room temp, they leave you with some of that signature s’mores chewiness. Marshmallow fluff, on the other hand, does the opposite of all of that. It is thickened with egg whites and therefore gets firm in the heat of the oven so there’s little risk of that oozing out but then when it cools you don’t have the chewy marshmallow texture. My solution is to use both. Fluff to lock in the marshmallows, marshmallows to provide chewiness, and both to provide flavor. You can make both from scratch if you’re truly feeling extra (this fluff rules), or you can make neither from scratch. Just do whatever option will leave you with enough energy to make the pie crust because that really is the most important part of this picture.
  4. To me, Hershey’s bars are a very important part of a s’more. The waxy texture and milk chocolate flavor are what I latch onto when I dream of a s’more and that’s just how I am. You might have a need for a fancy chocolate and that’s fine, you do you. I’ve opted to use a straight up piece of the chocolate bar here rather than using a chocolate spread because I like how it firms back up when the tarts cool. (I also like my chocolate croissants this way, with a full on hard chocolate bar in the middle. It’s texturally more exciting to me than a soft spread. It makes me want to eat a chocolate bar sandwich. We’re getting off topic.)

Make these!!! 


Peanut Butter S’mores Pop Tarts

Makes 10

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 c (195g) all-purpose flour
1 c (130g) whole wheat flour
1/4 c (50g) sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A few passes of nutmeg
18 tb (253g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/4 c ice cold water


Filling and assembly

About 1/4 c (65g) unsweetened peanut butter (I like Smucker’s All-Natural)
2 hershey’s milk chocolate bars
About 3/4 c (60g) marshmallow fluff
30 mini marshmallows
1 egg, beaten 


Glaze

1 c (120g) powdered sugar
1/4 c (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tb whole milk
A pinch of kosher salt

Sprinkles

Clues


In a food processor, pulse to combine the flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the butter and pulse until pea-sized (a few larger bits are ok). Drizzle in the water and continue to pulse until the dough starts to come together. It may still look crumbly but it’s ready when it sticks together if you squeeze a handful of it together. Turn it out onto a clean surface and use your hands to smush it all together into a ball. Divide it in half and pat out into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to a day or two. 

Preheat the oven to 425ºf. Line two pans with parchment and set aside. 

On a lightly floured surface, working with one dough disc at a time and dusting with additional flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, roll it out until it’s just under 1/4” thick (3/16” is ideal but I don’t mean to freak you out with such an odd measurement). Cut out 10 3” squares, re-rolling scraps, and arrange them on the baking sheets at least 1” apart. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter, 2 chocolate rectangles, about a tablespoon of marshmallow fluff, and 3 mini marshmallows. I recommend adding the marshmallow fluff by piping it out of a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. It makes this process cleaner and allows you to make a little border that will hold in your mini marshmallows. (See the gif above as a reference.) And you can eyeball the tablespoon measurement, it doesn’t need to be exact. 

Roll out the remaining dough disc along with any scraps from the first disc and cut out 3 1/2” squares, re-rolling scraps as needed. Brush the edges of the bottom squares with a thin layer of egg wash and top with a larger square. Pinch the edges to seal well and crimp with a fork to ensure that they’re sealed. Trim the edges if desired so that they line up cleanly. Poke a few holes in the top with a fork and brush the tops with egg wash. Bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. 

Top the tarts with glaze and sprinkles and enjoy! These will keep for a couple of days at room temperature.
 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brettshirt from of a kindsprinkles from supernatural!

cucumber cocktail pops with honey and za'atar

Happy #popsicleweek, friends!! Yay! This week always makes me feel so confident that I am doing the correct summer thing. I am such a bad summer-er, with my fear of mosquitos and dreams of snowstorms and hotdish season, but this week I will stay in the climate controlled indoors and engage in the colorful frozen treats on sticks that are one of summer’s true gems. I am so excited to peruse all of my friends’ recipes this week and also look back on pops of years past, like pistachio pudding pops, coconut rainbow pops, and bloody mary pops.

This year’s popsicle week contribution is inspired in part by my new-ish daily green juice routine, which has made me feel all kinds of good and bright (and most importantly less guilty about my other new-ish daily routine of macaroni and cheese for lunch), and in part by the Gin Motek at Bar Bolonat, which features gin, honey, and za’atar. I like this cocktail because it’s the opposite of those cloyingly sweet cocktails that are the reason I avoid cocktails most of the time. It’s light, fresh, balanced, and zinged up with earthy savory za’atar. 

This is the the type of treat you want on a golden summer evening, after—or even alongside—a supper of fattoush and lemony smashed potatoes, or something like that. 

They have a crisp Persian cucumber base that I’ve enhanced with just a few great things: za’atar sent from my friend Inbal in Tel Aviv, just enough honey from Eggbro’s bees to prevent this pop from tasting like a salad, and gin distilled from local Minnesota grown single vintage organic yellow corn. Prairie Organic Gin is not the gin you sipped at dive bars in college, and avoiding it for post-college years of your life because it reminded you of such (like I did) relies on about as much logic as avoiding summer tomatoes because you’ve only ever had tomatoes in the winter. Which is to say that this gin is a good smooth gin, one where you can taste the sage, juniper, and spices. It’s great and it comes in a pretty bottle, which I will never complain about. I am fairly new to Prairie Organic but once I started mentioning it to people around here, it quickly became clear that all of my friends with extremely good taste are fans. So I now count myself fan and love that these pops get a lot of their specialness from this Minnesota gin. 

*Clinks two pops together* Cheers to #popsicleweek, friends! 

Cucumber Cocktail Pops with Honey and Za’atar

Makes 8

1 pound persian cucumbers, coarsely chopped

1/4 c Prairie Organic Gin

1/4 c honey

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp za’atar, plus more for topping

Combine cucumbers, gin, honey, lemon, and za’atar in a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. Pour into 8 dixie cups or pop molds and sprinkle each with a small pinch of za’atar. (I prefer dixie cups since it makes them easier to unmold, you just rip them off, and also I can literally never find my popsicle mold.) Freeze for 20 minutes and then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for 6 hours or until frozen solid. Rip off dixie cups and enjoy.

-yeh!

Thank you so much to Prairie Organic Spirits for sponsoring this post! This recipe is only intended for those of legal drinking age (21+) and should not be shared or distributed to any underaged persons. Please enjoy responsibly! 

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

rhubarb rose jam

Happy Sunday!!! It feels weird to have my computer open on a Sunday but Cousin Elaine and I made this rhubarb rose jam yesterday that I am first-day-of-summer-camp excited about. I wanted to write it down ASAP so I wouldn’t forget it and also so that we can all have time to make it over and over before rhubarb season ends. 

It is based on Claire Ptak’s rhubarb and angelica jam from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, only I’ve swapped out angelica and added vanilla bean and rosewater. Rosewater might be my favorite friend of rhubarb and because I was making this jam as party favors for Rob and Hansaem’s very elegant wedding in Paris later this month, I figured rosewater would be the perfect addition. And the vanilla bean just kind of gives the whole thing a luxurious hug. 

The measurements below are for a very big batch (triple of Claire’s), this made enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz Weck jars, and my 5.5 quart dutch oven was the perfect size to hold everything. If you don’t have a jungle of rhubarb in your yard that you need to use up or a zillion party favors to make, you can either get your calculator out and calculate a third of these ingredients (the timings stay the same), or come over and take some of my rhubarb. 

In a good container with a tight fitting lid, this will keep in the fridge for up to a month, but of course you can also can it with sterilized jars and seals and the whole bit. Yesterday was my first time doing the latter! Cousin Elaine is the canning expert of the family, so she and I spent the afternoon sterilizing jars and dipping things into boiling water to kill the cooties. Canning always seemed intimidating to me when I read about it on paper but when Elaine walked me through the process it all made complete sense. So if you’re considering canning for the first time, my biggest recommendation would be to get yourself a Cousin Elaine.

Happing Jamming!!


Rhubarb Rose Jam

Makes enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz jars

ingredients

1,500g (3 lb 6 oz) rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

1,125g (5 1/2 cups + 2 tb) sugar

juice of 3 lemons

1 tsp rosewater

1 tb vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped

clues

In a large heavy pot, combine the rhubarb and half of the sugar. Cover and macerate at room temp for 1 hour. 

Add the remaining sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once it comes to a boil, let it boil rapidly over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. It might get a little spitty, so be careful and wear an apron, and if it gets too wild you can reduce the heat a little bit. It’s ready when most of the rhubarb is translucent and the consistency has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Reduce the heat to low and stir in the rosewater and vanilla bean. Carefully give it a taste to see if the rosewater is where you want it. 

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal or transfer to containers and keep in the fridge for up to a month. 


-yeh!