Rugelach, Redux (Again)

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I’ve already shared two very wonderful rugelach recipes on my site, so who do I think I am writing about a third? Well, this one is my favorite. I think. Who knows, I’m fickle. But the world can never have too many recipes for rugelach.

These are from the Bar Tartine book (which I love, see Gift Guide), though for various reasons I had to adapt these to work for me, lil ole’ me without kefir butter or home dried fennel flowers. To be honest, no stages of the recipe worked as smoothly as I would have liked them to work, and there is a major typo in the recipe that is published in the book. But despite all of that, here I am. Maybe that will convince you of how delicious these are? I hope.

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Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2014

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My favorite fragrance company (D.S. & Durga) is now making candles and I am totally freaking out over them. This candle, man. It brings me back to the 80′s and being cuddled up in the backseat of a car with my mom and her fur coat. As the creators describe it:

On saffron tanned leather seats, in clothes that look like rugs, singing “we must never break the chain”. Lacquered chestnut paneling with puffs of burning fuel.

DAMN.

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Jessie Mott and I went to grad school together, and since then she has been working as a successful artist (Whitney Biennial, yo!). I was most excited when I discovered she was printing some of her weird/wonderful animal drawings on baby clothes and selling them. Perfect for the kids in your life.

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The Tartine empire continues to rule. This is easily my favorite book since the original Tartine, and features the compelling recipes from Bar Tartine. By next year at this time we will all be dehydrating everything, trust me. The book is smart, thorough, and aspirational. The first half of the book is a guide to the preservation techniques the restaurant uses (spoiler: many of them involved drying of fruits, veg, herbs, etc). I don’t know how many of these techniques I will actually follow, but I am really glad to know about them. The books feels fresh, which is rare in a cookbook. (caveat: My only wish for the Tartine crew is that they were more careful about editing their books. I always find errors, this one included. BUT! Don’t let that discourage you. The errors are usually easily detected and forgiven.)

 

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Spice blends had always struck me as unnecessary, until I tried the work of Lior Lev Sercarz at La Boîte. Really sophisticated blends that you probably could not recreate yourself. I am an especially big fan of Orchidea, which is great in baking and sweets. Try using it in place of cinnamon in your favorite cinnamon/sugar donut recipe

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Nic Newcomb makes beautiful ceramics that I have admired from afar for years. These plates, though, I had to have. Like a sad rainbow. Also a good canvas for plating food.

 

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I am using this to keep track of recipes. I think it gives me a real edge. read more+++

Cookbooks

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I’m really honored to be included in a wonderful series about cookbook over at Serious Eats. Maggie Hoffman has been interviewing some of my favorite people (Luisa! Amy! Dorie!) about their cookbook collections, I have been eagerly following the column since it started and so it was a real treat to get to talk about my own collection.

It has made me curious about your collections. What are the cookbooks on your shelves that are your absolute favorites? What am I missing?

Also, I promise to have my gift guide (including some of my favorite cookbooks from the past year) up by the end of the week. See you then.

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Profiteroles with Tahini Brown Butter Cream, Sesame Cashews, Caramel and Halva

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There are a few restaurants in this world that have become iconic for me. Places that manage to provide everything I dream a restaurant could provide. Some of them are in Chicago, and I am grateful for that. Some are further away and I pine for them. A restaurant at the top of my list is Ana Sortun’s Oleana, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The restaurant has been there for a while and received heaps of praise since its opening, but we only ate there for the first time a few years ago. We were in Massachusetts to be married, and so of course that colors all of our experiences with a warm glow. But the meal blew my mind. Plate after plate of food elicited wows and mmmms and sometimes silent awe from us. It doesn’t hurt that we were sitting in the beautiful garden behind the restaurant and that the service is among the the best I have experienced anywhere. The staff is friendly and charming and eager to teach you about the food. Bryan and I both agreed it was the perfect restaurant.

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The Shortbread

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My friend Marjory started The Shortbread, a new online project about food. It features interviews with a diverse collection of people about their personal relationships with food. I love it and I am really looking forward to following along. I was honored to be included in the project, you can read an interview with me here. xo

Buffalo Cucumber Salad

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Someone on the internet mentioned a Buffalo Cucumber Salad and I was like: WHA?

Frank’s RedHot Sauce (or Frank’s®RedHot® according to their website) is one of the great products of Western Culture. I am very devoted. You can imagine my excitement at the idea of this salad. A quick search taught me that this salad was served at Parm in NYC and that the recipe had actually been published by Lucky Peach. I LOVE THE INTERNET. read more+++

Espresso Burnt Sugar Shortbread

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It’s cookbook season, and new books are hitting the shelves (and my mailbox) daily. Most of them are just okay. And then once in a while a book comes along that, for a variety of reasons, really speaks to me. I had never heard of Ovenly before opening this book. It turns out it is a bakery in New York. According to the cover of the book it is “New York’s Most Creative Bakery”, which is a ridiculous thing to claim. The bakery was started by two friends, Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, who met in a book club, both with Eastern European roots and a serious interest in baking. I really liked the introductions written by the owners, they both seem thoughtful, charming, and passionate about what they do. My first flip through the book had me wanting to bake everything, from Nutella and Banana Coffee Cake to Bloody Mary Scones and Jelly Donut Muffins. These are the sorts of things that you actually want to bake at home.

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Turn and Face the Strange

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Public Service Announcement: David Bowie Is is the name of an extraordinary touring exhibition that originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is currently making its only United States stop in Chicago. It’s an incredibly moving and inspiring show that I hope you all get to see (seriously, come to Chicago!). I am famous for how quickly I move through museums. I spent almost two hours in this exhibition and would have probably spent more time if I didn’t have plans to see it again. The show includes music, costumes, hand-written lyrics, artifacts (including the crystal ball from Labyrinth!), and videos, all tied together through an audio experience that seamlessly guides you through the exhibit. I generally feel ambivalent about museums. While I am optimistic about their educational possibilities and their role as collectors/protectors of culture, they often feel dead and I feel bored. It was nice to be in a museum space that felt alive. Crowds of people swaying to the sounds of Space Oddity. I left wanting to make things. I also left thinking about how much awesomeness one person can bring into the world.

Crisp Baked Tofu

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We’re always freaking out about what to eat for dinner. Not on the weekend, on the weekend we enjoy the question, but during the week it is another story. At some point during the workday one of us will text or e-mail the other something along the lines of: WTF dinner?

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I like cooking, but like many of you I have a 9-5 (ish) job and a commute on either end of that day. I don’t have the energy to do too much for dinner. We tend to eat a combination of pieced together pantry/fridge meals, pick-up, and occasionally eat dinner out. You would not believe I had a food blog from my typical weeknight diet. It consists of a lot of improvised salads, fried rice, and the occasional pizza bagel. But once in a while, we’ll put in a little more effort. We might even plan ahead and make something on Sunday that will last us a few days into the week. This tofu is a good example.

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The Torte

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Make this cake.

In case Deb, Amelia (whose enthusiasm inspired me), or the scores of others who have written about this cake did not convince you, I am here to repeat that this is one of the best recipes ever. If you don’t consider yourself a baker, this will change all of that. It could not be easier, and the results could not be more impressive. It looks like something you’d find in a rustic French bakery and tastes even better. Seriously, people, make this cake. read more+++