Lottie + Doof http://www.lottieanddoof.com Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:23:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Lottie + Doof + Spilt Milk http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/09/lottie-doof-spilt-milk/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/09/lottie-doof-spilt-milk/#comments Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:23:04 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16307

When we moved to Oak Park seven years ago, it was not a town with a thriving restaurant scene. We have a bunch of restaurants that are fine, but I am never really excited to eat at any of them. It bummed me out. When someone visits from out of town, we almost always leave Oak Park to eat. Seven years later things are basically the same—this isn’t a redemption story—but there is one very important exception. Last autumn, sisters Meg and Molly Svec opened Spilt Milk Pastry, a tiny storefront bakery near the center of town, and just a couple of blocks from our house.

Spilt Milk specializes in classic American pastries like muffins, cinnamon rolls, giant cookies and, of course, pie. Molly, the pastry genius of this operation, makes the best pies in Chicago. A bold claim, I know. But honestly, I love them so much and really believe it to be true. Pies are kind of the hardest thing for bakeries to get right and I’ve loved every slice I have had at Spilt Milk. I really respect that Molly regularly makes double-crusted fruit pies. So many pie shops lean too heavily on graham-cracker crusted custard pies because they are easier to make and store. I get it, but those are not what I want when I want pie. I want Molly’s ridiculously good Cherry Berry pie that is a pure expression of butter and the best of summer fruit.

But, as ever, who cares about a restaurant if all it offers is good food. Spilt Milk is also one of the friendliest, sweetest places around. Molly, Meg, Adrian, Julio, and the rest of the gang are always so good-spirited and welcoming, even on a weekend morning when the shop is swamped. Adrian will bring you a glass of water, Julio will offer to get you more coffee or walk around with samples of something delicious to try, Molly will take a break from baking to talk with customers. This crew is further ahead in customer service than places that have been at this for many years. It brings me so much joy, and I can tell my fellow Oak Parkers agree. So many of us have become regulars and have gotten to know the staff and everyone greets each other like old friends. It is the first place* in Oak Park that I am excited to bring friends to when they visit, which is sad in one way, but kind of exciting in another. I am hopeful that Spilt Milk helps pave the way for other good places to find an audience in Oak Park.

My two favorite things to eat at Spilt Milk, besides the pie, are the cinnamon rolls that show up on weekend mornings, and the blueberry muffins which are easily the best I have ever eaten. Bryan, who is a connoisseur of all things blueberry, agrees. There are a few secrets to these muffins. Molly uses a hearty dose of coriander in the batter, rather than the ubiquitous lemon zest. Because Molly is not a monster. She then tops the batter with a dollop of tangy cream cheese that bakes into a cheesy filling that perfectly compliments the rest of the muffin. They are baked in jumbo muffin tins which give the best crust to filling ratio. Eating one of these muffins warm from the oven is one the best things you can do with your life. And best news ever, Molly agreed to share her recipe with all of us. I hope you make these and then I hope you let them cool for about 15 minutes before tearing into them. Muffins are truly at their best in the first hour out of the oven.

Thanks to Spilt Milk for being my favorite place to eat in Oak Park, and for sharing some secrets.

Spilt Milk Pastry is located at 103 South Oak Park Avenue in beautiful Oak Park, Illinois.

I happen to have a 12-cup jumbo muffin tin, which I love. But I know most home jumbo tins are 6-cup, so feel free to cut the recipe in half to make 6 muffins. Bryan prefers these without cream cheese, but he is wrong. You can do what you like. And these truly are best warm. You can reheat in the oven or slice in half and toast in a cast iron skillet.

*We also have a pretty terrific butcher shop in town called Carnivore, but I don’t really bring out-of-town visitors there for obvious reasons. Come visit!

Blueberry Coriander Muffins (recipe by Molly Svec of Spilt Milk Pastry)

  • 4 3/4 cup (680 g) all-purpose flour
    1 1/3 cup (290 g) granulated sugar
    2 teaspoon (6 g) kosher Salt
    1 tablespoon + 2 1/4 teaspoon (16 g) baking powder
    1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    4 large eggs
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    12 ounces (340 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
    2 cups whole milk
    4 cups frozen blueberries
  • coarse sugar for finishing
  • cream cheese (optional, but they use about 2 tablespoons per jumbo muffin)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F convection). Butter a jumbo muffin tin, or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vanilla, milk, and eggs.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter cubes and use a pastry cutter to cut them into the dry ingredients until the largest pieces of butter are about pea-sized.

Add the wet ingredients in two additions, being careful not to over-mix. Stop short of totally combined, add the blueberries, and mix to combine. The batter will be thick. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing evenly among the tin. Drop two tablespoons of cream cheese onto the top of each muffin and then sprinkle generously with course sugar.

Bake for 25-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Fight the Real Enemy http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/fight-the-real-enemy/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/fight-the-real-enemy/#comments Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:53:37 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16297

I keep thinking about my long-standing feud with Madonna. It began in 1993.

The previous year Sinead O’Connor (one of the most underrated musicians of all time) performed on Saturday Night Live as the musical guest. At the end of a moving cover of War by Bob Marley, she famously held up a picture of Pope John Paul II, tore it into pieces, looked into the camera and commanded: Fight the real enemy. It was, as you can imagine, controversial. It was also, for teenage me, the best thing I had ever seen. O’Connor used her platform to call attention to the sexual abuse rampant in the Catholic church and covered-up by its leaders, though few people understood that at the time.

The response to O’Connor was predictably conservative and fueled by misogyny (multiple male celebrities said she should be beaten). She was dismissed as a troublemaker and hysteric. It would be years until the media wanted to pay attention to the horrors of the Catholic churches involvement in sex abuse and even longer before any action was taken.

A few months later, Madonna was the musical guest on SNL and she used her platform to mock O’Connor’s action. She sang some forgettable song and at the end of the performance tore up a picture of Joey Buttafuoco. It would be one thing if it was just the sketch. Offstage Madonna criticized O’Connor for being disrespectful, “I think there is a better way to present her ideas rather than ripping up an image that means a lot to other people.” People who prefer propriety over human beings are some of the worst kind of people, watch out for them. Nothing in the history of Madonna’s career revealed her to be more of a vapid fraud, than that moment. It proved, once and for all, that Madonna was all style and no substance. Another privileged white woman playing around with oppression and rebellion for kicks. She had no problem using sacred iconography as a sexy backdrop to her mediocre dancing, but say something real and she is immediately offended. I turned on her then and have never looked back.

I learned in that moment that I like earnestness and resistance and people who are willing to speak truth to power. I also learned that O’Connor’s command was a useful one to keep in mind. It is easy to lose track of the enemy. (I promise that impoliteness is never the real enemy.)

I’ve spent the last several months struggling to stay focused and to contain my rage. My rage over how unjust and terrible our world can be, and over how useless I feel. My rage is an amorphous blob that I carry around with me and often gets misdirected at something as insignificant as traffic, or bad writing.

I try to remember O’Connor and her command: Fight the real enemy.

We’re currently talking a lot about statues, which should absolutely be taken down, but if they were all removed tomorrow we would still live in a white-supremacist state. And I worry that their successful removal will signal to some that the fight is over or that they can stop paying attention.

Fight the real enemy.

We are spending too much time fighting among ourselves about language subtleties and strategic differences instead of educating and supporting each other. People fighting for good, even in imperfect ways, are still fighting for good. Help them do better. And when someone tells you to do better, listen.

Fight the real enemy.

The enemy is also inside of me. I am worried that some well-meaning (?) white people are spending too much time in stunned awe of the spectacle of racism that we are faced with every day of the Trump regime. If we look to our brown and black sisters and brothers, you see no surprise. They don’t have the privilege of being surprised. Of having to stay away from social media because it is too depressing. The privilege of getting to prioritize self-care and eating cake. White-supremacy serves all white people. It allows us to dip in and out of the political process when we feel like it. It allows us to attend a march to feel better about ourselves but to do little else to help anyone and then to justify that in a thousand different ways. Sometimes the enemy is in us, or in our family or friends. It might be the toughest enemy to fight. But we must.

Fight the real enemy.

We need to focus and be brave and to spend every day resisting the oppressive forces of our culture. Racism, Misogyny, Homophobia, Ableism, Classism and all of the other forms of systematized oppression that prevent us from perfecting this union.

And maybe someday we can go back to celebrity feuds, and wasting anger on bad drivers. But for now: Fight the Real Enemy.

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Ispahan Sablés, bruh http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/ispahan-sables-bruh/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/ispahan-sables-bruh/#comments Wed, 23 Aug 2017 15:37:39 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16280

Dorie Greenspan posted a recipe for raspberry and rose sablés in her Times magazine column recently. They are absolute perfection and you should make them tout de suite.

But then you should also spend some time LOL’ing about the people who comment on New York Times recipes. This round many of the comments center around people being exasperated that they are not familiar with some of the ingredients. Whenever I don’t know about something, I definitely lash out at people who do. Of course!

Luckily, a hero arrives to say:

To other readers: clearly you go online to post a question here. Why not just google terms like “sanding sugar, ” ” dried raspberries,” “rose extract.” You can get an immediate answer!


Although props to the person who retorted: Because we crave human contact.

But seriously, these comments:

Why spend the money on fleur de sel if you’re going to blend it into the dough?

Huh? Why spend money on anything? Fuck capitalism!


It’s unfortunate that recipes like this have ingredients that are not easily found or available. Rose Extract?? Freeze dried raspberries?

“recipes like this”


I bought a 2-oz bottle of rose extract and used 1/2 teaspoon in making these cookies. Now, what will I do with the rest of it?

Let’s all work together to account for how he will use the remaining 11 1/2 teaspoons!


I’m a little disappointed, I thought Pierre Herme’s Ispahan was rose, raspberry and lychee but the recipe doesn’t include lychee. I was really curious to see how it incorporated that flavor element in the sable but I guess it can’t be done.

LOL, way to jump to a hopeless conclusion, reader.


Sadly, it was an incredible letdown. Unlike her French Vanilla Sables in “Cookies,” this recipe has no egg yolks, and less butter. They were so dry and crumbly it was impossible to make the logs tight, and the cookies didn’t look at all like hers. I’m wondering if this was a typo, because her classic sables have egg yolk, and a larger amount of butter.. I was really disappointed.

: (

Never change, dummies. Love you all.

Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan Sablés (recipe by Dorie Greenspan for the NYTimes)


  • 1/4 cup sanding sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure rose extract
  • a drop or two of red food coloring


  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure rose extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or other flake salt

To make the decorative sugar, place the three ingredients in a ziplock bag and toss until the sugar in evenly pink.

To make the sablés, crush the raspberries between two sheets of waxed paper or in a large ziplock bag until you have mostly powder with some smaller pieces. Don’t worry too much about perfection. Combine the raspberries and flour and in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for a minute or two until smooth and creamy (not fluffy). Add the sugar, rose extract, and salt, and beat for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low until dough starts to come together and clear the sides of the bowl. Give the dough a turn or two with a spatula to bring it together and then divide into 4 pieces and roll each into a 6-8-inch log.

Roll each log in the prepared sugar until evenly coated and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment. Unwrap the logs, and trim the ends if they are ragged. Slice each log into 1/2 slices and arrange at least 1 1/inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 18-21 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. The cookies are done when the they are firm along the edges and the bottoms are golden brown.

Notes: Please do not ask me if rose water can be used in place of the rose extract, see NYTimes comments. This is covered, ad nauseam. My dough logs were more like 6-inches long and cut into slices shy of 1/2-inch. You can do what you want. But watch timing if your size varies. Like Dorie, I used Star Kay White rose extract.

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Spinning J http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/spinning-j/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/08/spinning-j/#comments Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:31:19 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16253

Spinning J, a bakery and cafe in Chicago’s beautiful Humboldt Park neighborhood, is located down the street from The Chicago High School for the Arts. At the beginning and end of the school day, Spinning J serves as 60622’s Peach Pit and is full of fresh-faced teens sharing pastries and milk shakes. I love these kids and I wish I had a place that cool to hang out in when I was in school. And they make me love Spinning J more, because they prove it to be a place that is comfortable and fun for the truly diverse group of patrons who walk through the door each day. Old curmudgeons like me, future stars of Disney musicals, millennials, neighbors, foodies—we all love Spinning J.

It is easy to talk about how good the food and drinks are at Spinning J, all served from behind its beautiful vintage soda fountain bar. The breakfast pastries are perfect—the platonic ideal of a scone, a coffee cake. Their giant peanut butter cookie is the best I have ever had. The breakfast sandwich is the stuff of legend. The pies are inventive, seasonal, and always satisfying. And nobody can ever tell me the nutritional information on the peanut butter and jelly milkshake, because it is too good to quit. Even the soda syrups are all incredibly good and will convince those of you who would normally dismiss these drinks that they are worth considering. As if all of that was not enough, recently they have started serving pizza on Friday nights. It has my vote for the best deal in town. For $10 you get a slice of pizza, salad, and a homemade soda of your choice. I plan to spend as many Friday nights there as possible, the pizza is better than most places that specialize in pizza.

But food will only ever get a restaurant so far.

The people at Spinning J really make it so great. The staff is always friendly and good humored, they make us all feel welcome. The patrons have all come to eat pie or a milkshake, so they tend to be friendly and relaxed, adding to the good vibes. If you happen to be there when the high school crew is in residence, you will find yourself wondering: was I ever so young? and perhaps picking up some new slang.
The space itself is scrappy and lovable. Pieced together with love and a good aesthetic sense. The more time you spend there, the more you notice. The lights are hanging from soda taps! And don’t even get me started on the floor. Ask about it the next time you are there—it is a good story! It all comes together to make Spinning J the place it is, and one of my favorite spots in Chicago.

Dinah Grossman, who owns and runs the joint with her husband Parker Whiteway, is the source of a lot of the good vibes at Spinning J and agreed to share her recipe for the perfect coffee cake. She also completed the Lottie + Doof food quiz.


Sweet or salty?

  • Both together!

Chocolate or vanilla?

  • Chocolate

Hot (spicy) or mild?

  • Hot

What won’t you eat?

  • Octopus. They’re just too smart. Can’t do it. And veal.

Most memorable meal?

  • Turkish breakfast on Bozcaada Island. A spread of soft and crumbly cheeses, strong honey, tomatoes sprinkled with dried oregano and salt, cucumbers, sweet preserved cherry tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, and chewy bread covered with sesame seeds. The island is full of stray cats. One particular kitten followed us around for our entire trip and lay at my feet during meals.

Favorite object in your kitchen?

  • Toss-up between my well-seasoned cast iron skillet that my husband gave to me for our first Valentine’s Day together, and the French rolling pin I bought at TJ Maxx years ago that was the rolling pin I used to start my business, rolling pie dough alone at my kitchen table for years.

What are you scared of in the kitchen?

  • Overcooking things. Almost anything, but especially an expensive piece of meat.

Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?

  • Cooking with someone is like traveling with someone–if you can have a good time without too much stress, wonderful, but there aren’t a lot of those people out there. Otherwise, alone.

Where would you like to travel to for the food?

  • So many places! Sicily, Greece, back to Turkey, China, South Korea…

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?

  • This is corny, but…Artichoke–a little prickly on the outside, tricky to get to the heart but worth it in the end  (Bonus for this happening to be my husband’s favorite vegetable).

If you were not running Spinning J, what would you be doing?

  • Opening a cement tile business in my hometown in Maine.

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Chicago?

  • Bari for Italian subs, The Snack Corner at Joong Boo for instant ramen with an egg that’s somehow so much better than anything I could ever make at home. Qing Xiang Yuan Dumpling in Chinatown. Tank Noodle for pho. Spacca Napoli for pizza and a bottle of wine. Lula Cafe for a special night out.

It has been a while since we had a coffee cake recipe around here! This one uses the ole’ reverse creaming method which I am almost always a fan of. It is a bakery recipe, so ingredients given in weights. More encouragement for you to get a kitchen scale? I hope! Thanks to Dinah for sharing the recipe.

Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake

“Streusel” Filling:

  • 15 g all purpose or cake flour
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 25 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake batter:

  • 4 large eggs + 1 yolk
  • 340 g sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 350 g pastry or cake flour
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 160 g European butter (they use Plugra) cut into 1/2 dice and softened but still cool to the touch

Maple glaze:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

To Make the “Streusel” filling:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the cake batter:

In a small bowl whisk together 2/3 of the sour cream, eggs, yolk, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter cubes, and remaining 1/3 of the sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Decrease mixer speed to low and add the egg mixture in three additions, mixing for 20-30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary, but at least once after the final addition. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for an additional minute until batter becomes paler and aerated.

To assemble the cake:

Add about a third of the cake batter to the bottom of the prepared pan and spread to the edges using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle half of the streusel over batter. Add another third of batter on top, and carefully spread over streusel layer bringing batter all the way to the edge of the pan and making sure it makes contact with the pan. Add the remaining half of streusel. Add the final layer of batter and spread in the same way as the first two layers, bringing all way to the side of the pan including the tube in the center.

Bake on lowest rack of oven for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then remove cake from pan and cool on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (or a cooling rack set over a parchment-lined cookie sheet) until just slightly warm.

While cake cools, make the glaze:

Whisk the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. It should be thin enough to spread easily, but thick enough to coat cake in an opaque-ish layer. Adjust consistency with more confectioners sugar or a splash of water as needed. But don’t sweat it, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

When the cake has cooled, but is still slightly warm, use an offset spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake. Allow glaze to set before slicing and serving.

Store at room temperature.

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Turmeric Millet-nola http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/07/turmeric-millet-nola/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/07/turmeric-millet-nola/#comments Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:22:08 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16232

Are Instagram posts the new food blogs? Ever since Elisabeth Prueitt started posting recipes as captions to her Instagram posts, I find myself getting more and more kitchen ideas from Instagram. I even posted the recipe for my favorite galette filling there. Am I a Millennial now?

Recently, Jessica Koslow posted a recipe for something she called Millet-nola (groan). It was a puffed millet granola. I can’t really explain why I was so fixated on it. In part, it was her enthusiasm. I am also going through a Granola Phase. A Granola Phase being a period of time in which I keep experimenting with granola recipes in an effort to perfect mine. One of the things I have learned is that adding puffed grains really improves a granola. Also, maybe cinnamon is not a good idea? So this recipe kind of lined up with what I have been thinking about. And you know I have strong feelings about Koslow.

This stuff is so good. It is so unassuming, and yet I can’t stop eating it. It is cooling as I type this and every few minutes I get up and walk back to the kitchen and break off a clump. The turmeric and cardamom are both subtle and strong, and it has a really nice salty/sweet vibe. It is kind of like a grown-up version of those popcorn balls that people try to give you at Halloween. I am not sure about its intended use, I see it as a snack, but based on the punny name it seems like maybe it should be used as you would granola? But I don’t really care because it is so good and I can’t stop eating it.


Obviously, you need a kitchen scale and glucose to make this recipe as written. If you don’t have those, then use this as an inspiration and make up your own version with these flavors. You’ll be delighted!

Also, what is Nike Air Society? (I am not a Millennial after all?)

Turmeric Millet-Nola adapted (slightly) from a recipe by Jessica Koslow

  • 84 g puffed millet
  • 60g chopped pecans
  • 40g sliced almonds
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 32g butter
  • 111g glucose
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the millet, pecans, almonds, tumeric, cardamom and salt. In a small pot, stirring occasionally, heat the light brown sugar, butter, glucose, and molasses, until they reach 250°F. Whisk in the baking soda and immediately pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well with a sturdy spoon (the mixture will be stiff) and then spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool completely before storing at room temperature.


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Special/Limited Edition Oreo Flavors Ranked from Favorite to Least Favorite As of July 2017* http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/07/speciallimited-edition-oreo-flavors-ranked-from-favorite-to-least-favorite-as-of-july-2017/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/07/speciallimited-edition-oreo-flavors-ranked-from-favorite-to-least-favorite-as-of-july-2017/#comments Sun, 16 Jul 2017 20:19:45 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16220  


  • Marshmallow Crispy (Perfection)
  • Yellow Birthday Cake
  • Cinnamon Bun
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha (These taste exactly like those sugar wafer cookies that come in packages of Strawberry/Vanilla/Chocolate)
  • Choco Chip
  • Peeps
  • Fruity Crisp
  • Waffles and Syrup (Impressive flavor engineering!)
  • Coconut Thins
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Red Velvet
  • Salted Caramel Thins
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Jelly Donut (I am still confused by this one—it doesn’t taste like jelly or a donut)
  • Blueberry Pie (Fruit flavors are always the least successful)
  • Firework (This is so low on list mostly because it was such a dumb idea)
  • Caramel Apple (Is there anything worse than artificial apple flavor?)
  • Swedish Fish (Absolutely vile)


*I know some are missing, these are just the ones I tried and can remember. Who can keep up?!

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Galena and Mineral Point http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/06/galena-and-mineral-point/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/06/galena-and-mineral-point/#comments Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:01:56 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16198

We don’t have the dough for a big vacation this summer, so we’re spending time doing what we love: exploring the Midwest.

We just got back from a long weekend in Galena, Illinois and Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Both towns are in the Driftless region of the Midwest, an area (primarily Wisconsin, though it also includes a bit of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota) that is known for its natural beauty and unique topography. The landscape  is a result of it having been untouched by glaciers when they were last moving over much of the rest of the region. The material (silt, sand, gravel, boulders) that glaciers leave behind is called drift, so the region is driftless.

Despite having spent almost all of my life in the Midwest, I had never been to this particular corner of it and was overwhelmed by how beautiful it is. A rolling agrarian landscape dotted with farmhouses and cows and sheep. Ridges and river valleys. It reminded me of central England, and at times even of Iceland.

We started our adventure in Galena, a 19th century (former) port town that has been beautifully preserved. At one time the Galena surpassed Chicago in population and importance, but now the river that once brought steamboats and trade to Galena is reduced to a stream. The former glory of the city is evident everywhere, and in fact the town seems to be experiencing a bit of a new kind of glory. The charming curved main street that followed the form of the river has now been turned over to tourists, which means it is mostly fudge shops and places that sell flavored olive oil or hand-painted signs that say “Live, Laugh, Love” or something. Businesses seem to be booming judging from the lack of vacant storefronts on main street. I might not go to Galena for the shopping, but the beauty of its natural landscape and well-preserved architecture has me eager to return.

We stayed at the Aldrich Guest House, which I can’t recommend highly enough. I am generally wary of bed and breakfasts (especially in the Midwest!) for a variety of reasons. Often they are so visually offensive to me that the deal is broken on first glance. The faux Victorian fantasyland style (doilies on every surface!) that most of them have adopted bums me out. Also, they tend to be in rural locations and as a gay couple, you gotta be careful. Anyway, the Aldrich is owned by a friendly young couple who picked up their hospitality training in Chicago. Which means you get private bathrooms, individual temperature controls, and a truly delicious breakfast. The owners are super knowledgeable about the area and about the beautiful home they renovated and decorated in a way that manages to satisfy both me, and people who are harboring those Victorian fantasies.Judging from the group staying there when we were, the place seems to attract an interesting, friendly, and eclectic group of people. Also, Abraham Lincoln stayed in the home, which I really loved learning, especially having recently read the beautiful Lincoln in the Bardo.

In Galena, we had a meal we liked at Log Cabin Steakhouse, a Greek steakhouse that opened in 1937 on the main drag. Service was charming, food was satisfying, and the space was cozy. I look forward to returning. We also had some bad meals in Galena (though always friendly), so I guess you gotta be careful or do better research than we did.

After a night in Galena, we drove up to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, a small town in the southwestern part of the state known for its art scene. The main street is full of galleries, art studios, and antique stores—there is even an art school in town. I was totally charmed by Mineral Point. It is one of the friendliest places I have been. The kind of place where everyone makes eye contact with you and says hello. By our second day we were already running into locals we’d met the day before and catching up with them. We stayed in a beautiful 19th century cottage that had been thoughtfully updated and was super comfortable, it is also highly recommended. My favorite shops in town were Mayday press, a super hip print/graphic design studio that sells its well-designed line of paper products. I liked The Foundry Books, which specializes in “Haiku plus Wisconsin & Western Great Lakes Rare, Out-of-Print Books, Maps & Materials”. I also genuinely enjoyed all of the ceramic studios and galleries we visited. I came home with three new pieces of pottery that I really love. We had some great meals in town, including satisfying pub food at Brewery Creek and solid wood-fired pizza at Popolo. We spent a nice evening drinking wine and listening to music with locals at Esperanza, a recently opened wine bar. And I liked the good vibes at Cafe 43, a coffee shop in town that was gearing up for an upcoming Pride celebration. The Mineral Point Farmers Market which takes place on Saturday mornings in a local park was great, and we scored some pretty stellar local grains from Meadowlark Organics.

Mineral Point is also a good central location for exploring more of the Driftless region. We spent some time in Spring Green, where I loved Arcadia Books, which is a stellar bookshop and cafe. And then, of course, there is the famous (infamous?) House on the Rock which kind of needs to be seen to be believed (but I think the photo below gives you a sense). Unlike anything I have ever seen. I loved it.

On the way home we stopped in New Glarus and had one of the best breakfasts in recent memory at Cow & Quince. Perfect in every way. I also picked up some nut horns at New Glarus Bakery, which is a place I have grown to love over the years. It is an old fashioned bakery making quality products. Those nut horns are so good.

It was a great weekend. I always come home from trips like this glad that I live in the Midwest. It really is best.

But wait! I almost forgot the best part:

Somewhere near Dodgeville, Wisconsin, in the middle of farmland, I discovered my favorite cheeseburger, possibly ever, at the Pleasant Ridge Store. I can’t stop talking and thinking about it. The simplest thing really: some good beef, maybe with a sprinkling of seasoning salt, a hearty amount of Wisconsin cheese and a grocery store bun with sesame seeds. No toppings. No condiments. Perfection. It is a burger I will be dreaming of until I am lucky enough to return.


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It is Happening Again http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/05/it-is-happening-again/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/05/it-is-happening-again/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 19:01:00 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16181

It would be impossible for me to overstate the importance of David’s Lynch’s iconic 90’s television series, Twin Peaks, in my life. Nothing has had a bigger impact on my aesthetic development—almost anything I am interested in I can find some seed of in Twin Peaks. I’m not alone, the show’s influence on my generation is evident in so much of our culture. When I heard the series was coming back for a third season (I’ll see you again in 25 years.”) I was absolutely on board. People seem worried that it will be bad or disappointing or whatever, but I can’t imagine it not satisfying the part of me that just wants to return to the town where “a yellow light still means slow down, not speed up”.  It is with great excitement and emotion that I await Sunday’s premiere.

Twin Peaks had a real point of view on food that recognized the beauty of American classics like diner pies, cups of black coffee, and police station donuts; but also acknowledged the deliciousness of a baguette sandwich from Paris. It was aware of how food could be creepy (creamed corn) or sexualized (that cherry stem!). Lynch clearly cared about food. So it is important to carefully consider what you are going to serve at your viewing party. I am partial to this delicious donut cake. Basically a butter cake that is scented with nutmeg, filled with jam, and then crusted with a cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve it a little warm and you’ll be really happy. The sugar coating has a generous amount of kosher salt in it and makes this cake exceptional. I used a blueberry and blackberry jam that the original recipe suggested (see link for that recipe) but cherry might be a more obvious choice. Although, the violence implied in a black and blue jam might satisfy Lynch. Your call.

Jelly Donut Cake (recipe from Bake from Scratch)


  • 2½ cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) grated fresh nutmeg
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup jam of your choice (should be fairly thick)


  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2ish grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour, and line pan with parchment paper.

For cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla bean paste. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spoon remaining batter into a large piping bag. Pipe a ring of batter around the inside edge of the pan. Spoon Quick Blackberry-Blueberry Jam into center of the ring. Pipe remaining batter on top of jam, and smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, covering with foil during last 30 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.

For topping: In a small bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Run an offset spatula around edge of pan to loosen cake before turning out. Turn cake back over (so dome is on top). Brush top and sides of cake with melted butter. Sprinkle top with sugar mixture, and press into sides of cake.



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Toast Your Sugar, Friends http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/04/toast-your-sugar-friends/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/04/toast-your-sugar-friends/#comments Wed, 19 Apr 2017 22:08:27 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16173

A quick note to suggest that you all toast your sugar. I learned of the technique from Stella Parks (one of the greats!) over on Serious Eats. She uses granulated sugar in place of beans or pie weights when she is blind baking pie shells. The sugar eventually takes on color and a caramelized flavor. But you don’t need to wait for the next time you’re making pie, toasted sugar can be made anytime. Instructions here. I like the results after about 3 hours. And this stuff is great in a lot of places. Pavlovas! Ice cream! Scones! Cookies!

Speaking of Stella, she recently brought another pastry secret into my life. Her fruity whipped cream technique has you whip heavy cream with some sugar and some freeze-dried fruit in a food processor. The resulting thick and delicious cream (kind of like clotted cream) is super stable and can keep in the fridge for days. It is genius. I especially like raspberry. She explains the whole process here. Sweet!

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Coffee. Waffles. http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/03/coffee-waffles/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/03/coffee-waffles/#comments Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:43:12 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16164

You need to make these. Add some sour cream to the whipped cream. And maybe sprinkle some flake salt over the whole business.

Recipe: Coffee-Flavored Belgian Waffles


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Bowls http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/03/bowls/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/03/bowls/#comments Sun, 19 Mar 2017 14:09:25 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16139

Now feels like an awkward time to publish a cookbook on grain bowls. They’d become a joke in our house a while back and even lamestream food media seems to have recognized that they are over-hyped, at least as a trend. As a way of eating they remain wonderful and essential. But add them to the pile of faded cultural moments along with small plates (or maybe just having small plates explained to you at excruciating length?), “everything is better with bacon” (No, it’s not.), cupcakes, and prohibition-era cocktails. But from the trash heap of food frenzy we get to salvage the remains of what we like and incorporate them into our lives.

So maybe I am wrong and it is a good time for one more book of bowls. This one, Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole Grain Meals, is from Carolynn Carreño, one of my favorite cookbook coauthors, who is finally venturing out on her own. I know her mostly as the woman who collaborates on Nancy Silverton’s wonderful books, though her resume is long. She’s also proven herself to be a great internet pal, and she kindly sent me a copy of the book.

I’ve been cooking from it for a few weeks and have had only success. Carolyn’s grandmother’s oatmeal is delicious, and reheats as well as she promises. You can make a big batch on Sunday and have it for the week. It is made with steel cut oats, a healthy dose of raisins and a sprinkling of salty sunflower seeds. It maybe doesn’t require a recipe, but it is a good reminder that oatmeal can be thoughtful. I’ve become pretty fixated on her Rosemary and Buckwheat Crunch (a sort of granola), and have made that recipe a few times (I am including it below, in case you want to give it a whirl). Buckwheat groats really are nature’s Grapenuts–their particular tender crunch is so satisfying. She serves it with a dark honey (like buckwheat), and sheep’s milk ricotta (I used sheep’s milk yogurt) for a wonderful breakfast.

I was excited to try her recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad and it did not disappoint. You velvet some chicken, crisp some rice and throw together the rest of the ingredients. It is as moreish as the version found in chain restaurants while being more….wholesome? It is a fun thing to make for a Sunday lunch and then have the leftovers to bring to work on Monday. And the lamb meatballs included in her mezze bowl are truly exceptional. I will make those again a lot. The secret is a last minute toss in some pomegranate molasses that gives them a sweet/sour finish. They’re pretty irresistible.

If the last few weeks are any indication, I will be cooking from Bowls of Plenty of the regular. And I look forward to more solo projects from Carreño.

Rosemary-Buckwheat Crunch (from Bowls of Plenty)

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or another neutral-flavored oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

To make the crunch, toss the buckwheat, walnuts, oil, maple syrup, and salt on a baking sheet and spread the ingredients out in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until the buckwheat is barely golden. Remove from the oven and stir in the rosemary, and return the baking sheet to the oven until the buckwheat is golden brown and the rosemary is crisp but not burnt, 5-10 minutes. Remover from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature and crisp up. Store in an airtight container.

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Throwing Parties During the Apocalypse http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/01/throwing-parties-during-the-apocalypse/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2017/01/throwing-parties-during-the-apocalypse/#comments Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:29:41 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16091 IMG_2348

After the presidential election in November, we were suddenly (at least it felt sudden) confronted with the holiday season—for many Americans a time of celebration and gathering. But enjoying Thanksgiving can be difficult when your president-elect is filling his cabinet with people whose only qualifications are being white and rich. Watching lawmakers play games with people’s healthcare can make it hard to enjoy unwrapping gifts. Though the holidays were a salve in some ways, providing a distraction and an opportunity to spend time with people we love, they highlighted the fact that we need to change the way we live. Hopefully more of us who have had the privilege and disgrace of ignoring things for so long, are waking up.

Having the time, energy, and resources to throw a party is a privilege. Having something to celebrate is a privilege. I hope in the new year we can all spend some time thinking about how we use that privilege. I propose that it is possible to have fun and throw parties while also doing some good. In fact, I think our hosting and homes will feel better when we combine the two. Remember, everything is political. And rich people seem to throw fundraisers all of the time, why can’t we? They rent ballrooms and have Beyoncé perform, we might have to settle for our backyard and a boombox. Our parties will be more fun and have better food.

We hosted a small holiday open house in December and turned it into a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. The deal was, I would bake a lot of cookies (cookie parties are the best parties), Bryan would make some drinks, and our guests would bring cash to be donated to Planned Parenthood. We made it clear that our guests should not bring anything else (no host gifts or cookies or bottle of wine or whatever—CASH. But we all stressed that it was not necessary, we do not want to make friends who may be strapped for cash feel bad about not being able to donate—there are other ways to help.). I put some latent crafting skills to work to make a donation box. We designed and produced three custom buttons for the event (I bought a button maker years ago). And I printed some fact sheets about the great work that Planned Parenthood does and had them available throughout our apartment. Otherwise, it functioned as a fairly standard holiday party, though with perhaps a bit more talk about politics. At the end of the night we had spent time with some of the people we love, had eaten our fill of cookies, AND we had raised $750 for Planned Parenthood. Not a bad score for an afternoon with friends. Even if we had only raised $50 it would have felt like a success. Something is always better than nothing. The revolution starts with lots of little things. We need a revolution—now. (We needed it ages ago, but now is all we got.)

So, my fellow homebodies, entertainers, and bon vivants—what can we do? What have you done? What do you need ideas for? How do we make our domestic spaces RADICAL spaces of RESISTANCE? Let’s use the comments below to collect ideas that other people might be able to use.


Some thoughts to get us started:

  • Follow our lead and turn your next party into a fundraiser. Maybe instead of birthday gifts you ask for donations in your name to a favorite non-profit? Host a cocktail party where you suggest a $5 donation per cocktail with all of the donations going to your favorite organization? You could even have guests vote on which organization they would like to receive the money.
  • If you are going to dinner at a friend’s house, rather than bring the standard (and usually unrequested) bottle of wine, donate money (even $10 would be great!) to an organization you know your host would support.
  • Host a clothing or food drive at your place. People bring their useful old stuff and you agree to do the annoying part and deliver it to an organization who can use it. Maybe everyone gets an ice cream sundae for showing up.
  • Do you and your friends make stuff? What if you had a one-day only stoop sale where you sold your pottery or prints or knitwear and all of the profits went to charity? Or throw a big bash and ask friends to donate work for a silent auction?
  • Have an old-fashioned change jar where anyone who lives with you or visits you can dump spare change and then donate to an organization. Make it clear where donations will go. Keep it by the front door.
  • And it isn’t all about money! Make it educational—bring people together to share ideas for activism and resistance. You can make a pot of fondue and your friend who volunteers as a tutor can share what that work is like to help convince others to join them. You can have a brainstorming sessions to come up with ways of connecting with others in your community. Or spend your time writing to government officials to let them know what is important to you.

Like many of you and millions of others around the world, I took to the streets on the 21st to participate in the Women’s March. It was a great day (though I certainly acknowledge its shortcomings) that really did feel like the beginning of something. And then this weekend our airports were flooded with people who were protecting the American ideal. We can do this. But now the work gets harder and we have to be relentless. Please join me. Imagine how good it will feel to discuss what we cooked AND the good it did?!

I love you all, even the hater and losers. (too soon?)


I thought I would share one recipe from our December cookie extravaganza that was a big hit with our friends. These Cardamom and Walnut Snowballs are from my friend Malika Ameen’s beautiful cookbook Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice. They are a wonderful variation on the basic Mexican Wedding Cookie or Russian Tea Cake or whatever wonderful immigrant group they may be named after in your house. They have a remarkably long shelf life (at least a week at peak deliciousness, but they can also be frozen for longer storage). Bake a batch and invite some friends over to discuss how you’re going to change the world.


Walnut Cardamom Snowballs (from Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice by Malika Ameen)

  • 16 tablespoons (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups raw walnut halves
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat your oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and cardamom until light and fluffy. The tenderness of the cookie depends on how much air you incorporate in this step. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and beat on low speed until no streaks of flour remain. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the walnuts and continue to beat on low speed until evenly distributed and lightly crushed, about 30 seconds. Chill the dough for about an hour.

Spoon tablespoon sized mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced 1-inch apart. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans until they can be handled but are still warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Put the confectioners sugar into a medium bowl. Gently lift each cookie from the baking sheet and bury it in the sugar until all of the cookies are completely covered. Let the cookies cool completely in the sugar, about 10 minutes. Once cool, remove the cookies from the sugar and gently toss each cookie between your hands to shake off the excess sugar. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


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Lottie + Doof Gift Guide 2016 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/12/lottie-doof-gift-guide-2016/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/12/lottie-doof-gift-guide-2016/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:01:44 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16040 dsc03234

Julianne Ahn makes some of my favorite ceramics at Object & Totem. She has quite a following, so things go fast. But they are worth waiting for.


Okay, okay, this is a major splurge. But after years of being curious about linen sheets my friend Grace convinced me they were worth the money. She was right. We’ve become linen converts. I find myself talking about them way more than I should. The only problem is, they’re fucking expensive. But Bryan and I had been sleeping on the same cheap cotton sheets for most of our decade-long relationship so we felt like we could justify the upgrade (I am The King of justifying upgrades). We now have a set from West Elm that we got on sale and some from Parachute. I especially love the off-black (coal, as they call it) from Parachute–it is just such a great 90’s goth color. We like them because they are cool (we both run hot) and yet have a comforting weight to them. Hard to explain, but delightful.


We Are Everywhere. For real.


DS & Durga have made it to this guide before, and I can never get enough of their everything. They recently released a line of pocket perfumes. Oil-based roll-ons that you can easily transport. They even come in the perfect felt sleeve. And as always, the graphic design on these is A+. Spirit Lamp is based on a favorite candle of theirs, described as:

  • Tea service at the colonial parlor of Mme. Revere, topless psychic.
    Hot silver heated by open flame. Bohea vapours, radiant heat, milk.


These beautiful little match holders are from Evanston-based artist Julia Finlayson’s Grandmontstreet Ceramics. Each perfect little vessel holds a handful of matches and is ribbed for striking. They’re available at one of my favorite Chicago shops, Asrai Garden (who recently launched their very own web shop!).


Pillows! This pillow is great, but so is everything from Banquet Atelier and Workshop in Vancouver. I am pretty obsessed with their textile patterns and a lot of my domestic fantasies revolve around curtains for our dining room in one of their rad fabrics.


A lot of nudity in this guide, I know. These pots from Group Partner have become almost too much. I’d dismiss them, if they weren’t so damn compelling. After too long only stocking a female figure, they finally gave guys (link contains full frontal terracotta nudity!!) their due. Nice buns.


For my fellow Midwest lovers.


Swing Time by Zadie Smith. I don’t think I relate to anyone’s writing and thinking more than I do Smith’s. I still think she might be a better essayist than fiction writer, but I really enjoyed Swing Time. It is fun to read and a lot to think about—which is ideal. Maybe it is her most compelling work? (Photographed at a favorite bookstore because I read things on a Kindle now and LOVE IT, despite years of resisting.)


You can never go wrong with a plant, unless of course you do. If you’re going to give a plant, make it something easy to care for and in a beautiful vessel so that should the plant not survive, the pot will. Alapash Home in Chicago has a really wonderful selection of potted succulents.


This cookie cutter is genius. The efficiency! And it lead me to learn the word tessellation. (Thanks to Stella for alerting me to this and to Bryan for knowing all of the words.)


These are four cookbooks from this year that I really enjoyed and haven’t gotten a chance to write about yet.

Sweet Sugar Sultry Spice by Malika Ameen (I want to bake everything in this book.)

Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard (Howard is a treasure and her PBS series is one of the best food shows I have ever seen. She is brave and humble and a lot of things that more chefs should be. She is seriously rad, and the book is too.)

Big Bad Breakfast By John Currence (Fun and rowdy breakfast food.)

Soframiz by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick (A gorgeous cookbook from one of my favorite restaurants and two of the most talented chefs in our country.)


Never forget the Whoopee Cushion. The perfect gift for literally everyone on your list.


My mom and I watched the same episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they reviewed microwave pasta cookers, something neither of us knew existed. She bought me one  (kind of as a joke) for my birthday and despite some initial skepticism, I am a fan. For some reason, boiling water for pasta has always felt like a real chore. This thing works well, uses significantly less water, and cleans up easily.


Post-election, one of the things that has comforted me is poetry. The Poetry Foundation, a beloved Chicago institution, publishes Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language poetry journal. For a relatively inexpensive subscription price, you get the journal delivered to your house and exposure to all sorts of poetry you might not easily find. Like this beaut:

An Example


Where can the dead hope
to stash some part
of themselves, if not in the living?

And so when I had a daughter,
I gave her your name.

She does not use it.

She goes by a silly, other
thing she was called once in fun,
and then often enough

that it stuck. But oh her hideous pill-
eyed toys — to them each, she has given
her given name,

and so it is you

I hear her again and again calling to.
It is your name she shrieks

to the bale-head farmer, the woven
goat, the cop made of buttons and rags.

Your name, to the squat gray

dog on wheels, tipping on its side
as she drags it by a red string.

That dog, always prone
and pulled along, as though constantly
being killed and paraded

through town to make an example.
What did it do —

Whatever it did, don’t do it.



In conclusion: the above are mostly distractions, not solutions. Help people. Donate Money. I know it should go without saying, but the most important thing any of us can do with our money right now is donate to organizations that will protect the health and rights of our fellow citizens. I, for one, would much rather you donate $10 in my name than show up for dinner with a bouquet of flowers or bottle of wine. I give whatever I can to Planned Parenthood each year to help provide medical services to people who need them.


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The Cookie Crumbles http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/11/the-cookie-crumbles/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/11/the-cookie-crumbles/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2016 18:51:29 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16024 dsc03027

1. Cried.
2. Quit Facebook.
3. Hugged my friends.
4. Donated to Planned Parenthood.
5. Made this galette. (It’s wonderful.)
6. Read this. (Funny)
7. Read this. (Not Funny)
8. RAGE.
9. Went on some walks.
10. Visited the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.

That’s a list of some of the things that I’ve done since November 8th. I thought by now I would have something to say about something, but I don’t. I don’t know any more than anyone else. And I think that is why the present moment is so painful. None of us know what to do or what will happen. Sorry, it sucks. But there is work to be done. And here I am writing about cookies, which is both the best and worst thing I can do.


A few weeks ago, which feels like a year ago, I made some pumpkin cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s new tome, Dorie’s Cookies. The book is an invaluable resource for all of us who understand that cookies are the absolute best dessert. I was most excited to get my hands on the recipes for Dorie’s famous Jammers. (And I was delighted to even get a mention in the book. Truly a blogging career highlight. Thanks, Dorie!)

If you haven’t come across versions of these cookies before, what sets them apart is that rather than bake them on a cookie sheet they are baked in ring molds or muffin tins, giving them a tidiness and consistency that makes the home cook feel like a pastry chef. They’re wonderful. This particular version has a warmly spiced cookie, topped with a pumpkin and cream cheese filling and a crunchy streusel. They’re a real dream and perfect for this time of year. Make them, they’ll make you feel good.

ALSO! Dorie is coming to Chicago. And there will be cookies! I am hosting an event with her at Floriole in December. Details are all HERE. For $45 you get a copy of the book, and a cookie reception with booze! It is going to be rad.


Thanksgiving is Thursday. I hope you all are planning a good one. Was thinking now might be a good time to share some stuff we are thankful for. Wanna use the comments below for that? I’ll start.


Spiced Pumpkin Jammers (from Dorie’s Cookies)

For the Streusel

  • 3/4 cup (102 grams) all-purpose flour
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (Dorie says 1/4 teaspoon, but I like my streusel salty)
    5 1/2 tablespoons (78 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/3 cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 2 cups (271 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    2 sticks (8 oz; 226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Filling

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup; 113 grams) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
    1/2 cup (113 grams) canned pumpkin puree (drained if watery)


Make the streusel:

Whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the cubes of cold butter and toss all of the ingredients together with your hands until the butter is coated. Squeeze, mash, mush or otherwise rub everything together until you have a bowlful of moist clumps and curds. Squeeze the streusel and it will hold together. Sprinkle over the vanilla and toss to blend. Stir in the pumpkin seeds. Pack the streusel into a small container and refrigerate.

Make the Cookie Dough:

Whisk the flour, cinnamon, ginger and allspice together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and the salt together in medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One by one, beat in the yolks, beating for one minute after each one goes in and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Turn the mixer off, add the dry ingredients all at once and pulse to begin blending. When the risk of flying flour has passed, mix on low speed until the flour mixture disappears into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Gather each piece into a ball and shape into a disk.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough 1/4-inch thick between pieces of parchment paper. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet — you can stack the slabs — and freeze for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, Make the Filling:

Use a sturdy flexible spatula to beat the cream cheese in a small bowl until soft and smooth. Work in the pumpkin puree.

Get Ready to Bake:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Butter or spray a regular muffin tin, or two tins, if you’ve got them. Have a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter on hand.

Working with one sheet of dough at a time, peel away both pieces of parchment paper and put the dough back on one of the pieces. Cut the dough and drop the rounds into the muffin tin(s). Save the scraps from both pieces of dough, gather them together, re-roll, chill and cute. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely fill the cups; it will once it’s baked.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin filling onto the center of each cookie and use the back of the spoon to spread it across the cookie, leaving a slim border. Spoon or sprinkle streusel over the cookies to cover the entire surface.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the tins after 12 minutes, or until the streusel and edges of the cookies are golden brown. Leave the cookies in the tin(s) for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Repeat with the remaining dough, always making certain that the tins are cool.

The baked cookies will keep at room temperature for a couple of days or can be frozen for longer storage.


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#ImWithHer http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/11/imwithher/ Sat, 05 Nov 2016 21:56:13 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=16018 dsc03161

[poster design by Claire Hungerford for Commune]


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SQIRL 4EVA http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/10/sqirl-4eva/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/10/sqirl-4eva/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:45:58 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15990 screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-5-35-54-pm

I was both eager for, and dreading, the Sqirl cookbook (which is actually called: Everything I Want to Eat, Sqirl and the New California Cooking). The popular Los Angeles restaurant has become so beloved by both food-types and celebrity-types that it has become easy to hate. Until you eat there and kind of get it and kind of love it and wonder what it means about you. And Dave Franco is sitting next to you which is confusing and wonderful. I love Sqirl but never really wanted to discuss it with anyone; it is embarrassing, like trying to start a conversation about how great Beyoncé is—so obvious and overdone. (What can I say, I am a Gen-Xer, we were raised to dislike popular things). I had a lot of the same apprehension about the book.


But I guess what I am learning about Jessica Koslow, the chef and owner of Sqirl, is that she is good at stuff. She manages to capture everything I love and am a little frightened of about Sqirl in the cookbook (including Dave Franco). Even from the outside, you know that something different is happening here. The book jacket clearly references one of the most beautiful cookbooks ever published, Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell. Pawson is a minimalist architect who has a weird relationship with food and aesthetics (he doesn’t cook and maybe only wants to eat white things) but somehow food writer Annie Bell turns this into an amazingly weird and wonderful lifestyle book. We should talk more about that book another time, but I bring it up because if you’re going to reference another book—that is the one to reference. Living and Eating is what I always use as an example when I get into one of my “why can’t cookbooks be weirder and more beautiful” whining fits. Koslow answers my complaints before I even open the book.


But what’s on the inside matters most, probably. And inside you’ll find all of the recipes you love and think you want to make from Sqirl. To be honest, most of them are not things I will ever make myself, they just don’t seem worth the effort (Time. Consuming.) when I can just go enjoy them at Sqirl on my next trip to LA. But some of them I will make, and I look forward to attempting some of her techniques (burning brioche, frying grains, dehydrating pickled beets). But for once I don’t care as much about the recipes (don’t worry—I still care), because everything else is so spectacular. Koslow smartly used three photographers for the book (Claire Cottrell, Jamie Beechum, Nacho Alegre), and the photos are stunning. There are kind of good-silly portraits of celebrities (Busy Phillips eating porridge!) a wonderful homage to the Richard Olney’s The Good Cook series for Time-Life books in the jam making chapter, and the dessert chapter features portraits of deconstructed food sculptures. It all demonstrates that Koslow knows her shit. She is a mastermind. She knows about cookbooks, she knows why people like Sqirl, I think she even knows why people might be exhausted by Sqirl. And maybe most importantly, she knows how to choose the right people to work with (including food writer Maria Zizka, who rocks). By the time I was done reading the book I was ready to profess my love of Koslow publicly. So, here I am. Loud and proud.

Also, isn’t Beyoncé great?



Sqirl’s pastry chef, Meadow Ramsey, whose recipes fill up an entire section of the book, is wonderful. Her dessert recipes seem much more likely to be cooked than much of the savory stuff (but who knows…I’m just getting started). With Halloween on the horizon, I decided to make the spooky carrot and black sesame cake. It is a vegan quickbread, though the fact that it is vegan is barely mentioned, another bit of genius from Koslow. Los Angeles is the land of dietary restrictions, and so obviously they are taken into account when developing menus. Koslow addresses this fact in the introduction to the book. But as long as things taste good, the details don’t seem important to the average eater/reader. So why turn them off of a vegan cake when you can just play it cool? Easy, breezy, beautiful—Sqirl Girl. (too much?)

The cake is great, the generous sesame top coat adds a savory edge that makes this perfect for Monday’s breakfast or pre-trick-or-treating sustenance. It is best the day it is made, though it will keep for a few days wrapped well at room temperature.


Carrot-Ginger Black Sesame Loaf (from Everything I Want to Eat by Jessica Koslow)

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (145g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) almond milk
  • 2-inch (5cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large carrots (7oz/200g total), coarsely grated
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Brush the inside surfaces of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with a little oil. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, vanilla, and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, followed by the carrots, and finally the oil.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. You want it to be completely covered in seeds. Bake until the loaf has puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Let cool completely in the pan before slicing.

Store, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.



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Cooking with Recipes http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/10/cooking-with-recipes/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/10/cooking-with-recipes/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 19:43:52 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15968 dsc03033

Aaaaaaand: I’m back! The school year is successfully underway and I finally have more time for other things, like all of you wonderful people.

Have you noticed lately how online food publications want us to be cooking without recipes? Strangely implying that somehow it is better for us home cooks. Becoming free of recipes is some aspirational state that we should all dream of living in someday. It drives me crazy. Most chefs and expert home cooks I know rely on recipes, whether they are memorized or on paper. It is how we get the food to taste the same each time. Maybe it is mostly semantics and what the editors mean is that they want us to be better at improvising. But if that is the case then I am confused by their experience of the internet. You only have to read the comments of any food blog to understand that most people seem pretty comfortable improvising (I was out of chicken stock so I used maple syrup!). Anyway, most of the time immediately following their claim that they are going to teach us how to cook without recipes, there is literally a recipe. So I guess they can’t get away from them either.

This chicken larb(ish) non-recipe is a great example. Not only does it give us all of the instructions, it gives us very specific measurements. And yet claims to not be a recipe. What is happening? (gaslighting!)

I thought you might like it if I converted their non-recipe to a recipe for you. Because I fucking love recipes and I want a lot more of them. Also because this is so totally delicious, and the result of so little effort, that you’ll want to make it all of the time.

Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (adapted from a non-recipe on the Bon Appetit site)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons rice vinegar (preferable seasoned, or add a pinch of salt and sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • steamed white rice, for serving
  • Bibb or Butter lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, or parsley, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving

Toss the red onion and rice vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, garlic, scallions, and chiles and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and starting to brown. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and hot sauce and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed, a couple of minutes. Serve the larb stuffed into a lettuce leaf with all of the accompaniments and a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4? (I think it probably realistically serves 3 people)


But that isn’t the only thing I have been making in recent weeks. I am also pretty into the Chicken Tettrazzini recipe the Times published a few weeks ago. My main suggestions here are to use penne and to chop the mushrooms after soaking them. Otherwise, this recipe is golden and something I plan on making regularly all winter.

I’ve also been really into adding some cooked brown rice to my omelettes to make them more of a meal. You get sort of a cross between a rice cake and a frittata. Good stuff.

And if you want to think more about recipes, check out my friend Helen’s Tiny Letter. She has good thoughts. And makes good soup.

Back in the swing of it, baby! More soon.

And yes, it is too much to ask of me to have any photos right now. Baby steps!

This is such a bloggy post! Sorry? xoxo, Tim




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Victories, Large and Small http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/09/victories-large-and-small/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/09/victories-large-and-small/#comments Mon, 12 Sep 2016 11:44:52 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15938 dsc02924

I hope that Julia Turshen is the future of home cooking. There are a few voices in the crowd of people talking about food that are worth listening to–Julia’s is one of those voices. I would describe her, in lazy shorthand—the kind used to pitch a new television series, as Ina Garten with a sense of humor (she is the queen of #dadjokes) and a political conscience. This basically describes my ideal food writer. Full-disclosure, I also consider Julia a friend, but I think that only influences my judgment in positive ways. I can testify that she is authentic. Additional evidence for her greatness is the mountain of praise she has received in the weeks leading up to the release of her new cookbook.


After collaborating on several successful cookbooks as a writer, Julia recently published her first solo effort, Small Victories. I tested some recipes for the book last summer and have been cooking from the real thing for the past few weeks. Everything has been successful, from a boozy peach milkshake to her famous Caesar salad dressing (which is truly the only Caesar salad dressing we need). The book is full of recipes that you want to cook, for parties, for weeknight meals–for everything. But more than any other recipe I have fallen deeply in love with her lasagna. It is weird! As Julia said to me, it kinda feels like it won’t work. It works. You make the pasta yourself, but the recipe is so simple that it feels easier than boiling noodles. (Also, SMALL VICTORY: You get to use that pasta maker you bought on a whim or received as a wedding present (thanks, Emily and Aaron!).) You make a simple tomato sauce, using canned tomatoes, and then stir a cup of creme fraiche in at the end which turns the sauce into one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. Like, spoonfuls are missing before the lasagna is assembled. (SMALL VICTORY: I haven’t tested this but the sauce could definitely be pureed into a soup. (Right, Julia?)). The only other ingredients are mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. There isn’t any ricotta or vegetables or anything else.  It works so well that it is kind of the only thing I want to cook anymore. I recently made it for friends (SMALL VICTORY: It can be made in advance, making it the perfect dinner party recipe) and we all silently (in reverence!) devoured the entire lasagna in like 10 minutes. My friend Tini, who is a connoisseur of carbohydrates and cheese said: It is like some fancy restaurant shit. And it is. It will make you proud and then make you take a nap. I got permission to share the recipe (exclusive!) below, so get into your kitchen and make this now.


Julia is going on a book tour! You should all go meet her. She is coming to Chicago and I get to host an event at Local Foods. My friend Abra is cooking some recipes from the book. Julia and I will discuss food and dad jokes, and books will be available for purchase and signing. Best of all, it is FREE. But you have to RSVP. I hope we see you there. [It is worth noting that at Julia’s book party in Manhattan, Sofia Coppola was the host. Which leads to one very obvious conclusion: I am the Sofia Coppola of Chicago. FACT.]

Also, years ago Julia was featured on these very pages, check it out!

And order your copy of Small Victories here.

A Nice Lasagna (even the title of the recipe is rad), in Julia’s words:


The definition of a make-ahead dish, this lasagna is my absolute favorite thing to serve to a big group of friends. It is also one of my best friend Ivan’s favorite foods, and I like to gift it to him on his birthday (I assemble it in a disposable aluminum pan, wrap it up, and include instructions for baking it on the card). There are three small victories here. The first is using a food processor to make the pasta dough, which takes a lot of the fear out of homemade pasta (there’s no precarious mound of flour to navigate or work surface to scrub). The second victory is skipping both the American tradition of using ricotta (which can get watery and even tough when baked) and the Italian tradition of adding béchamel (who wants to dirty another pot and worry about lumps?) and go straight for crème fraîche. It gives you the requisite creaminess that all great lasagnas need to have, but without any effort. I mix it right into the tomato sauce rather than layering it on separately, because the whole point is for them to combine anyway. The third small victory is a high sauce-to-pasta ratio, the ticket to baking lasagna without boiling the noodles first. This way, the pasta absorbs the sauce and gets full of flavor and you get to skip a whole lot of labor. You can skip making homemade pasta (but try it sometime—it’s fun!) and use store-bought pasta sheets or a box of no-cook lasagna noodles.


  • Two  28-oz [794-g] cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup [230 g] crème fraîche


  • 2¼ cups [270 g] all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • 1 cup [100g] finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup [100g] coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces if large


In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands (this is a messy but fun job—it’s a very good one for children) until they are in bite-size pieces.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.

Whisk the crème fraîche into the sauce and season to taste with salt. Set the sauce aside to cool to room temperature while you conquer the pasta.


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, eggs and salt and run the machine until a firm ball of dough forms around the blade, cleans the side of the processor bowl, and doesn’t stick to your fingers when you touch it. If the dough is too dry, add a little water, 1 tsp at a time, until the dough comes together. If, on the other hand, it’s sticky when you touch it, add a little flour, 1 tsp at a time, until the dough comes together. (The exact amount of moisture in the dough depends on how you measured your flour, how large your eggs are, even the humidity in the air.) Once your dough is good to go, dust it lightly with flour and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have more parchment paper at hand.

Cut the rested dough into six pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep the rest covered with plastic), lightly dust the dough with flour and press it down with the heel of your hand. Run the dough through your pasta machine, starting on the widest setting and working your way through the narrower settings, rolling it through each setting twice, until it is very thin but not too thin. I usually stop at 6, but your machine might be different from mine, so I’ll just say that the final pasta should be the thickness of an envelope—which is to say thin, but not at all transparent. You don’t want it to disappear into the finished lasagna. If the dough sticks during the rolling, simply dust it with a little flour. Lay the rolled-out pasta on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough, keeping the rolled pieces separated with parchment paper.

Preheat your oven to 400°F [200°C].

Ladle a thin layer of room-temperature sauce onto the bottom of a 9-by-13-in [23-by-33-cm] baking dish. Spread the sauce with a spoon to cover the surface of the dish. Add a layer of pasta (brush off any excess flour), cutting the pasta and arranging it as needed to form an even single layer. Spoon over just enough tomato sauce to cover the pasta and then scatter over some of the Parmesan, mozzarella, and basil. Repeat the layering process until you’ve used up all of your components, ending with sauce and cheese (not naked pasta or basil, both of which would burn if exposed).

Bake the lasagna, uncovered, until it’s gorgeously browned and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, just like you would a steak, before slicing and serving. This lets the pasta fully absorb all of the bubbling sauce, so you don’t end up with soupy slices.

Reprinted with permission from Small Victories by Julia Turshen, photographs by Gentl + Hyers, Chronicle Books (2016)


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Scandibuns and Stranger Things http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/08/scandibuns-and-stranger-things/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/08/scandibuns-and-stranger-things/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2016 20:43:02 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15916 Processed with VSCO with a1 preset

It was easy to become a fan of something when we were kids. I wasn’t much of a critical thinker and knew less for comparison so I could easily get behind Star Wars or The Goonies and obsess over the story and characters forever. All kids are superfans. It is somehow more embarrassing for me to do this as an adult. It is harder to abandon all reservations and embrace something so completely. This is my nature, I am a skeptic—often at the expense of my own peace or happiness. I am always a little jealous when I see adults dressed as superheroes at Comic-Con or the wonderful weirdos who have turned their homes into mini-Hogwarts or something equally ridiculous. They seem to have held on to something I lost. But occasionally there are still moments when I enjoy something outright. I am able to ignore think pieces telling me why the thing I love is terrible and partially responsible for global warming. I don’t care. Fuck global warming, I love Stranger Things.


Stranger Things, which, for anyone who missed it, is a television series recently released on Netflix, has given me all sorts of good feelings. I love it unconditionally. I love the cast (which includes my original crush, Winona Ryder), I love the 1980’s setting and references, I love its willingness to not explain everything to us, I even love the typography. I love that it is sweet, and scary, and funny. I’ve spent much of the last few weeks thinking about Stranger Things or trying to get people to watch it and love it. It all has me feeling very youthful.

It started me wondering about food. It does seem easy for me to love food. Maybe that is part of why it remains a constant in my life. Cronuts are fucking good, and I don’t care if they are the least cool thing in the world. I’m not so worried about what anyone thinks of what I enjoy eating.

In between episodes of Stranger Things I managed to do some baking. I was especially smitten with these Demerara Sugar Buns, or Scandibuns as we have been calling them. They’re sweet little buns that are perfect for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The original recipe uses some ground juniper berries for a very subtle flavor. You could use cinnamon, fennel, cardamom—whatever feels right. I happened to have some juniper berries in my spice drawer (I hate myself for writing those words) so I followed the recipe pretty exactly. I increased the salt a bit and accidentally made 9 rolls instead of 12. I’ll make these again and look forward to experimenting with the basic recipe. You might say, I’m a fan. (See what I did there?)


Demerara Sugar Buns (recipe by Joshua McFadden & Sara Kramer from Bon Appetit)

  • 1 ¼-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
  • ⅔ cup whole milk, warmed
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus melted for brushing (about 4 tablespoons)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus more
  • 5 dried juniper berries (optional)
  • ⅓ cup demerara sugar, plus more

Whisk yeast, milk, and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer just to combine, then let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in eggs; add salt, whole wheat flour, 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, and 6 Tbsp. butter and mix on low speed with dough hook until a shaggy dough forms. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough comes together into a smooth ball and pulls away from the sides of bowl, 10–12 minutes.

Place dough in a buttered large bowl and cover. Let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1–1½ hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 13×9″ baking dish and sprinkle with granulated sugar, tapping out excess. If using juniper berries, finely grind in a spice mill or using a mortar and pestle. Mix ground juniper (if using), ⅓ cup demerara sugar, and ⅓ cup granulated sugar in a small bowl.

Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 3 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the other pieces covered in plastic wrap, roll out dough into about a 12×8″ rectangle. Sprinkle with one-third of sugar mixture and cut crosswise into 4 pieces (you should have four 8×3″ rectangles). Roll up each piece to make a long rope; squeeze ends gently and pinch along seam to seal. Tug rope to stretch so it’s about 10″ long, then tie into a knot. You should end up with 12 buns.

Arrange buns in prepared pan to make a 4×3 grid and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit until buns look puffed and lightly hold the imprint of a finger when gently pressed, 50–70 minutes. Bake until buns are golden brown and sugar is caramelized, 15–20 minutes. Turn out of baking dish onto a wire rack and let cool slightly.


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Digest: Charred Cucumbers and Pepperoni Pizza http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/06/digest-charred-cucumbers-and-pepperoni-pizza/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/06/digest-charred-cucumbers-and-pepperoni-pizza/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 18:38:48 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15901 DSC02734

Recently I came across a recipe for some charred cucumbers. I’d never charred cucumbers before, what did I have to lose? (A cucumber, I guess.)

You should use little Persian Cucumbers for this, they’re less juicy which will serve them well in a hot pan. Heat up a cast iron skillet until it is very hot. In the meantime, slice your Persian cucumbers in half lengthwise and toss them in a bowl with some mild olive oil, salt, and pepper. Now that your pan is good and hot, carefully put your cucumbers, cut-side-down, into the hot pan. Let them sizzle away for a few minutes until the underside is charred. You’re done.


I got the idea for this from a Tory Miller recipe I saw online. The original recipe called for a turmeric crema. The recipe for the crema was strange. It had an outrageous amount of sugar. Like, gross. I used a sixth of the sugar and still found it a bit too sweet. So, I’m not vouching for the crema. Basically, just make up your own business to serve with these. Start with a scoop of sour cream. Add some lemon juice and salt and pepper. You could stop there and be happy. I used a teaspoon of ground turmeric and a pinch of cayenne pepper in this version. I also topped with some chives and the grated almond that was recommended in the original. You could also do pickled onions or whatever tastes good to you.

Back to the cucumbers. They’re great. The char turns them into proper vegetables. I even liked them cold again the next day.

I also made a pepperoni pizza. It was one of the best things I’ve made. The recipe is great, easy, unreasonably delicious. I modified the recipe slightly by baking on two quarter sheet pans rather than one half sheet pan, I like crust. These reheated really well. The second night I preheated a cookie sheet in a hot oven (375°F-400°F) and then placed the entire second pizza on it. Crisped back up beautifully and may have actually been more delicious the second night. Anyway, make this one. My next go I will top with hot giardiniera. This is now my thing. I make pizza.


I haven’t made anything sweet it a while. What do you think that means? I hope to remedy it soon and report back.

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