• Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
  • Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
  • Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
  • Mushroom Chicken Pie
  • Pistachio Wasabi Beets
  • Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches
  • Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
  • The Fort Greene
  • East African Sweet Pea Soup
  • Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
  • Malaysian Chicken Satay
  • The Wildman’s iPhone App
  • Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
  • Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
  • Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
  • Peposo
  • Toasted Hazelnut Chai
  • Kentucky Coffee Spread
  • Banana Guacamole
  • Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
  • Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
  • Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad (with frisee, parsley, and cardamom)
  • Chevre Truffles
  • Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
  • Jack is Closed (but you can vote for our pie on Sunday)
  • Our Wedding
  • Pecan Mole
  • Son-in-Law Eggs
  • Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
  • My Triumphant Return, with a Book Giveaway!

Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup

Spring may be on its way, but it’s not here yet. It was snowing in Brooklyn today! Plenty of time left to hunker down with winter vegetable based soups while shivering our way through March.

(I’m on this big kick now where I make a pot of soup every weekend to eat for breakfast for the next week, because I don’t like oatmeal and bourbon and cornflakes (à la Humphrey Slocum) is not an always food.)

Also, rutabagas are delicious. Did you know that? They are rich and buttery and sweet and amazing. And beautiful here with crunchy salty smoky things mixed in.

Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
(fairly dramatically adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen)
1 3/4 lbs rutabagas (1 truly enormous one, or 2 merely large ones)
2-3 tbsp duck fat or lard or butter (I used half duck fat, half butter)
1 big pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 medium leeks (sliced, white and pale green parts only)
4-6 C chicken stock
1 smoked chicken breast (honestly, a plain one is probably fine) (shredded)
1-2 big handfuls finely chopped fresh dill
1 bunch celery (the more leaves, the better)
1 child-sized handful salted capers (rinsed and coarsely chopped)
ground green peppercorns to taste (honestly, black pepper is probably fine) (lots!)
salt to taste

1. Peel the rutabagas (removing a thick peel, until you hit the nicely golden actual innards) and chop into 1/2″ cubes.

2. Slice the celery ribs into slices about 1/8″ thick and set aside. Chop up the celery leaves and set aside separately.

3. Melt the butter/lard/duck fat/whatevs in a large soup pot with the thyme and bay leaf, stir in the leeks, and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.

4. Stir in the chopped rutabaga and 1 tsp salt and cook partially covered for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the stock and bring to a boil. (How much stock? Well, do you prefer your soups to lean towards thick and chunky or towards brothy? You can always stir in more stock later, so I tend to err on the low side to start.)

6. Reduce to a simmer, add the dill, and cook until the rutagas are approaching tender but not quite there yet (about 15 minutes).

7. Partially puree the soup (I like to use my immersion blender).

8. Stir in the sliced celery ribs, shredded chicken, and capers. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

9. Stir in the chopped celery leaves and season with salt and ground pepper (I use green, but black is surely fine) to taste. Lots of pepper! And really do taste it as you season it – remember that even though you rinsed them, the capers did add some salt already.

10. Eat for breakfast every morning for the next week, happily. A bit of paprika sizzled on top might be nice, but I never got around to trying because I was plenty happy as is.

Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling

We went to Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ for my mother’s birthday last month, where the owner helped us celebrate by plying us with meat, whoopie pies, and shots of some sort of moonshine that made my mother scrunch her eyes shut after every sip.

“Whoopie!” we declared in lieu of the usual cheers. Happy birthday, Mom! Whoopie!

Today, my friend Nicole came over to visit with a treat – sakura extract and powdered salty sakura (cherry) leaf. Why not make whoopie pies together, we figured? The best and most interesting whoopie pies ever, for the record. I love the moments where you notice salty bursts of flavor from tiny clumps of sakura powder in some bites.

Whoopie!

Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
for the cakes (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C butter or Earth Balance
2 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk (or 1 tsp vinegar plus enough milk to reach 1/2 C liquid total)
1/2 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp matcha (green tea powder)
for the buttercream filling (recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery)
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
1/4 C whole milk
1 tsp sakura extract (I have no idea where to buy this without a friend traveling to Japan, sadly)
0.2 oz sakura cherry leaf powder
Maldon salt (or any sea salt with nice big crystals)

First, make the cakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beach sugar and butter/shortening together thoroughly.

3. Mix in the buttermilk and water, then the eggs and vanilla. It’ll look lumpy and curdled; don’t panic.

4. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat only until they come together, taking care not to overmix.

5. Place 1 tbsp scoops of batter about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

6. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes are springy to the touch, rotating the baking sheets from back to front and top to bottom once halfway through.

While waiting for the cakes to cool, make the frosting:

1. Beat the butter and 2 C confectioners’ sugar together.

2. Add the milk and sakura powder and extract.

3. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1/2 C at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

When the cakes are cool, fill the whoopie pies, adding a sprinkle of Maldon salt on top of the frosting before covering each with its top cookie. Whoopie!

Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage

I got the new Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook! Oh, come on, you know you’re jealous. It’s as delightful as the last few, but with more non-spicy recipes and simple home cooking. My celebrity crush on her remains undiminished.

As usual, even when testing a recipe from a new cookbook I couldn’t leave well enough alone. We made a larger batch, added the cabbage to increase the veg:meat ratio and the Sichuan peppercorn for a bit of tingle, increased the relative quantity of ginger, and made a few other tweaks here and there.

It feels a bit strange to stir-fry without any soy sauce at all, but I think that’s what allows all the flavors to come through so clearly and intensely, and the dish as a whole is wonderfully delicious.

Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
(adapted from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
3 skinless chicken breasts (~1.5 lbs without the bone), thinly sliced
~1 lb mushrooms (we used 2 big portobellos and 3 big oyster mushrooms), thinly sliced
1 small head garlic (about 6 large cloves), thinly sliced
about the same quantity ginger, thinly sliced
1 napa cabbage (a bit on the small side), cored, quartered, and sliced into ~1/4″ thick pieces
safflower oil (or any other neutral oil with a high smoke point)
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
for the marinade
1 tsp salt
4 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (plus more for deglazing the wok, later on)
4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn

1. Prep all ingredients as described above.

2. Stir the chicken in with the marinade ingredients and set aside.

3. Heat your wok, then swirl in some oil. Stir-fry the sliced mushrooms – forget everything you know about stir-frying in small batches and crowd the pan, letting the mushrooms wilt down as their moisture boils away until all their water is gone and they saute in the oil that remains. Remove the mushrooms from the wok and set aside.

4. Let the wok heat up again, and swirl in some more oil. Stir-fry the shredded cabbage (again, just let it fill the wok -you’re more wilting than frying it, and that’s okay) until slightly softened and reduced to about half its previous volume. Remove the cabbage from the wok and set aside.

5. Spread chicken out in wok, ideally in a single layer. Leave it alone until it’s nicely browned on the bottom. Patience, darlings, patience.

6. Once the chicken is seared on the bottom, stir in the sliced garlic and ginger, then stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked.

7. Deglaze with a good splash of Shaoxing rice wine and scrape up all that tasty stuff from the bottom of the wok.

8. Stir the mushrooms and cabbage back in, along with the sliced scallion greens and the additional 1 tsp salt.

9. Season to taste. (I definitely like to add more black pepper at this point, at least.)

July 2014
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