Lottie + Doof http://www.lottieanddoof.com Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:05:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 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)

Cake:

  • 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)

Topping:

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We Are Everywhere. For real.

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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For my fellow Midwest lovers.

1

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.)

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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

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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.

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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

BY NATALIE SHAPERO

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]

Please.


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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.

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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.

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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?

***

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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:

SERVES 6 TO 8

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.

SAUCE

  • 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

PASTA DOUGH

  • 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

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

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.

TO MAKE THE PASTA DOUGH:

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.

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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?)

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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.

NOW TELL ME ALL ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU LOVE STRANGER THINGS!


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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.

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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.

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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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Here http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/06/here-and-there/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/06/here-and-there/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2016 01:35:31 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15885 hole

We were in Iceland for the last two weeks of May. It was the fastest I have ever fallen in love with a place. From the moment my lungs first filled with Iceland’s sea air that smelled like the earth and tasted better than anything I have ever eaten, I knew I was in love. We were explorers. We found glaciers, sea birds, volcanoes, seals, and so many waterfalls that at a certain point we no longer pointed them out to each other. We took waterfalls for granted. Iceland focuses your attention on our earth. It is hard to think about anything else. It is so big, and makes you feel so small. You are confronted with a land that didn’t have to endure humans until very recently. I thought a lot about death, but not in a morbid way. I mostly wondered why the earth isn’t enough. Why do we have to imagine heaven when it is enough for me to know that I will dissolve into a rock, a tree, an arctic tern. I am forever. I thought a lot about entering the earth, communing—sliding into the crevasse of a glacier, burrowing into ash, letting moss grow over me. Iceland does this to you, if you are doing it right. Even in Reykjavik, metropolis of 120,000 people, spring water falls from the faucet in your smartly designed hotel room. The puffin still appears. The lamb you saw grazing on a hill is served on a plate and tastes of the land you explored. It is easy to access the pleasures of Earth in Iceland. It was all we had to do.

We flew back home after Memorial Day weekend to news that everyone in Chicago had been shot. At least it felt that way, though we all know that it isn’t white people being shot in Chicago. Chicago, my troubled homeland, felt like a particularly difficult place to be. We sat in traffic. We read depressing political news. The streets smelled like garbage and car exhaust. I struggled to drink the water coming out of our tap because now it just tastes like chlorine. Bryan and I were short with each other and easily frustrated. It was an acute version of the post-vacation blues, but also something more.

On Sunday a lot of people were murdered in a nightclub by one of our fellow citizens. He murdered people because they were gay or danced with gay people. In the aftermath of the shooting I have watched politicians, who have spent their entire careers trying to destroy gay people, relieved to turn the conversation to Islamic extremism to avoid having to express false sorrow. I’ve wondered about all of the prayers being directed at the victims. Churches are often the first community to reject us for our sexual preference. Families were supposed to be in our thoughts, another group that often turns us out. I wonder how many victims were outed to their families as a result of this tragedy? How many parents received the news of their child’s death after years of estrangement? I also wondered about my own safety and the safety of my husband and friends. These are morbid thoughts.

I’ve thought a lot about hate, too. I’ve lost track of what we are all talking about when we use the word. I wish language was more precise. Hating injustice is different than hating gay people. It’s not all bad. I get confused because some people call their hate “religion” or “patriotism”.

Of course I know that Iceland isn’t really a utopia, it has its own set of problems. But as a visitor it was for a couple of weeks. I didn’t worry about much and tried to just feel and exist and enjoy. I called my best friend halfway through the trip and she said it sounded like a spiritual journey, I don’t know about that but it was something. It reminded me that we don’t have to accept the things we don’t like. There actually are better ways. We can create a new world. It also reminded me of the privilege I have in my life. It is almost unfathomable my privilege in the context of our world. I do not have the right to be as complacent as I sometimes am. It is unforgivable.

Some of you like to remind me that this is supposed to be a food blog. You’d prefer I “stick to food”. I have no patience for that line of thinking. And besides, when did I ever? I don’t think we deserve an escape. Your privilege in being able to read food blogs needs to come with the price of not forgetting. I provide occasional reminders.

Our kitchens are, in many ways, the most vital and important space for political discourse. We learn at the kitchen table, we argue, we affirm, we try to figure things out. We imagine the world we want and start creating it in our homes. We have a better chance of convincing someone who sits down to dinner. There is a lot of work to do. There are children to educate and friends to inspire. The revolution starts at the kitchen table, not in the voting booth. The future holds the possibility of freedom, the past does not. There is no Again.

Iceland is fading for me. It is already getting hard to recall how I felt there. I want to return, but more than that I want to help create a world from which nobody needs an escape—where we don’t need to be waiting for vacation, or a revolution, or heaven. The next few months are important for our country. We need to act. We will win.


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Rose Petal Harissa http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/05/rose-petal-harissa/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/05/rose-petal-harissa/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 14:13:56 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15868 IMG_5037

There are recipes for certain things that I will always try—coffee cakes, for instance. If you write a recipe that has coffee and cake in the title it is likely I will make your recipe. Scones and shortbread cookies are also on this list. My list is mostly sweets. But hot sauces claim a spot. Hot sauces are great because they are easy to share, so if you make too much you can give it to a friend. They also keep well so they can improve your everyday eating for weeks or months.

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Even within the category of spicy sauces, harissa holds a particular allure. I have 3 or 4 recipes that I really love and all approach the task from fairly disparate directions. I am particularly fond of this recipe from one of the most charming cookbooks of 2014, A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus.  Renee Erickson’s recipe requires some ingredients that you will likely have to seek out, and some time. But you are rewarded with jars of a stellar harissa to share or hoard. Now if the perfect time to make this recipe because it will last much of the summer and spices up any vegetable you might be grilling or egg you might be scrambling. It isn’t much work, mostly measuring and blending, but manages to satisfy.

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Erickson suggests this be made in a food processor, but mine is not large enough. I make mine in batches using a blender and puree it smoother than the recipe calls for (harissa generally has more texture than what you see if the photos). This makes a big batch, maybe 4 or 5 cups?

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Rose Petal Harissa (from A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus by Renee Erickson and Jess Thomson)

  • 6 ounces dried guajillo chilis
  • 3 ounces dried aji amarillo chilis (aji mirasol)
  • 1/3 cup whole caraway seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dried rose petals
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice (about 10-12 medium limes)
  • 1/2-1 1/2 teaspoons rose water (rose water varies in strength, so taste and adjust)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for storing
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons kosher salt

Place all of the chilis in a large pot and add boiling water to cover. Over high heat, return the water to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat, weigh the chilis with a smaller pan to ensure they are all submerged, and allow them to sit, covered, for about 24 hours, or until they are soft. (This only took me about 12 hours, this will vary depending on how soft chilies are.)

Next, put the caraway, cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook the seeds for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and fragrant, and some of them begin popping. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool.

When the spices are cool, transfer them to the work bowl of a food processor (or blender-see note above), and whirl until the spices are ground almost to a powder. Add the garlic and rose petals, and pulse 10 times to form a dry paste.

Working with gloves on if you are sensitive to spice, pull the stems out of the chilis and add the chilis to the food processor, along with any water that comes along for the ride. (Discard stems, but reserve chili soaking water.) Add 1 1/4 cups  of the lime juice and the rose water, and whirl until the chilis are very finely chopped., stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. This might take as long as 5 minutes, depending on the machine you are using, you are looking for the texture of small curd cottage cheese. If the mixture is too thick to whirl around the processor, add a little of the reserved chili soaking water until the mixture moves.

When the chilis are finely chopped, add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the salt, and mix again to blend. Taste for seasoning, adding more of the lime juice and salt, if desire. Store in pint-sized jars, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to seal, and store in fridge for up to 2 months.

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Fuck Lemon Zest http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/fuck-lemon-zest/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/fuck-lemon-zest/#comments Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:15:13 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15847 DSC01348

Sometimes, while wandering around the internet looking for recipes, I will read the comments. A consistent, and deeply troubling, theme over the last decade is well represented by the following comments:

  • -Do you think lemon zest would brighten this up?
  • -Added lemon zest to these and they are even more yummers!
  • -These needed a little something so I added the zest of 7 lemons, LOVE the recipe!

What the fuck is wrong with everyone?

I love lemons, and lemon zest certainly has its place (specifically in recipes that have the words “lemon” or “citrus” in their title). But it sure as shit doesn’t belong in half of the places it ends up. Especially when it comes to pastries. Why do we*, as Americans, feel the need to “brighten up” all of our baked goods? Why are we so uncreative that adding lemon zest is apparently the only thing we can think to do to make a recipe our own? Adding lemon zest is usually the wrong choice.  I would estimate that 99.9% of the time it doesn’t improve the recipe,  it just makes it taste like lemon zest.

The next time you reach for your microplane, I want you to ask these questions of yourself:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What is this really about?
  • Why not orange zest? Or grapefruit or lime? Or rose? Or vanilla? Or ______?
  • If I want a recipe for something lemon-flavored, why I am baking this chocolate pound cake?
  • What is missing from my life?

Lemon zest problems play out with their most dire consequences in the case of the blueberry muffin. A blueberry muffin is a glorious thing, rich vanilla cake with those complex and piney blueberries suspended throughout. It doesn’t get much better. But it gets a hell of a lot worse when you start zesting a lemon into that bowl. The blueberries barely get a word in edgewise. Lemon zest is a bully and has no place in a blueberry muffin.

If you don’t believe this is a real issue that has real world consequences, consider the following personal story that I have bravely decided to share:

A few years ago, I was shopping at our local farmers market on a beautiful spring day. The sun was out, the bluegrass band was playing, I was feeling powerful having just bought some ramps. I stopped by the table of a vendor new to the market, a local baker selling trays of gorgeous looking pastries. After chatting with the owner (who seemed like a perfectly normal person), I bought a cinnamon roll to enjoy as I finished shopping. Life was good. Until I took my first bite of that cinnamon roll and discovered, to my horror, that it was full of lemon zest—the frosting, the filling, probably even the dough! What kinds of monster fills a cinnamon roll with lemon zest? Cinnamon rolls are supposed to taste rich and low and brown and buttery—they don’t need to be sunnied up. This “baker” had decided to play god. He thought he could improve on the cinnamon roll. I threw that evil pastry in the garbage and had to avoid that part of the market for the remainder of the summer.

Listen, unlike that baker, I am sure you don’t mean any harm but you are killing me with all of this needless lemon zest. Please, please think twice before “improving” your next recipe.

*Obviously I mean you.

 

 

[In case you are looking for a solid recipe for blueberry muffins that does not need (much) improvement: I like this recipe, though I only use 3/4 cup of granulated sugar.]

 


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Racine, Wisconsin http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/racine-wisconsin/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/racine-wisconsin/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:07:33 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15802 IMG_4407

We accidentally ended up in Racine, Wisconsin at the same time as Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. We realized when we saw a copy of the local paper at a bakery stop on our way into town. Oh, look, Trump is going to be here. Today. What. We’d made the trek to Racine for the most noble of travel reasons, to eat kringle.

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Kringle is the state pastry of Wisconsin. Did you know that states had pastries? Some do. Illinois’ is the Pumpkin Pie. Maryland’s is the Smith Island cake. (This is a cookbook waiting to be authored.) Kringles are originally from Scandinavia, but through the Wisconsin lens they became these giant rings of danish pastry that are filled with something sweet and typically topped with a glaze. Racine claims the title of kringle capital of Wisconsin. I happen to love both Wisconsin and pastries. But our innocent visit to our northern neighbors (Kringle Krawl 2016 is how we christened it) was suddenly under the dark (orange?) cloud that is Trump. We were all a little tense. Would there be traffic? Would kringles be sold out? Would all of this end in national controversy?

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We cautiously proceeded into downtown Racine. A giant billboard on a local church proclaiming #ALLLIVESMATTER was a foreboding sign. But Racine was, basically, a ghost town on this unusually cold spring day. Like many small Midwestern cities, it seemed a little sleepy and a little economically depressed. The streets were deserted. There were a few Trump signs in front yards, but also a few Sanders signs, which I guess makes sense. Having already made it to three of our planned kringle stops, we needed something not sweet for lunch and chose the Kewpee hamburger stand (please check out their website—it is a treasure). It is one of only a few remaining outposts of this once abundant fast food chain. Burgers here are $1.70 each, which I still haven’t been able to reconcile with my limited understanding of economics. The burgers were good. They could have easily charged $3.70. We liked this place and quickly realized it would make a great location for a photo-op for Palin or Trump. We spent some time contemplating what we would do if they entered the restaurant. I’d vowed to make some sort of dick joke. They never showed.

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At the local art museum (RAM) we viewed an exhibit of works by local artists made entirely of peeps. The exhibition included a portrait of Donald Trump titled “A Man of the Peeple”. We couldn’t be entirely certain of the artist’s intention, though I was sure it was satire. It was my favorite work in the exhibition, unless it was wasn’t. We then stopped at a local art gallery where we discovered that the elderly man working there and my friend Molly had the same wrist watch. Small world.

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When we exited the gallery, we finally encountered Trump supporters. As we stood on the desolate main street, a car drove by and the occupants shouted at us:

TRUMP 2016! YEAH.

It felt like a threat. We just silently looked at them as they sped away. It was less confrontational than I had been mentally preparing for, so I felt some disappointment. That was basically it, though later we saw a man dressed partially in a clown costume carrying a Trump sign. Again, hard to read the intended meaning.

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Overall, we had a fun day in Racine. We ended up trying kringles from four different bakeries. They were all good. The differences between the bakeries were hard for me to detect, and even harder to describe. Maybe you need to grow up in Wisconsin to develop a very refined kringle palate. I’d say: You can’t go wrong! If you could only stop at one bakery (why would this be the case?), I’d suggest you go to Bendtsen’s. I liked theirs the best (for reasons I can’t articulate) and I really loved their oven (pictured above), which I learned was from the 1950’s. I also really liked the kringle from O&H, which feels lame because they are a giant operation mass producing kringles and distributing them throughout the region. Still, they were good. My testing was ultimately flawed because at each place we tried a different flavor of kringle. Apples to oranges. I can tell you that all of my favorite kringles contained a filling combining cream cheese and fruit.

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While in Racine, we also toured Wingspread, a Frank Lloyd Wright residence owned by the S.C. Johnson company. It is one of the most incredible interior spaces I have ever been in and I can’t recommend a visit highly enough. Especially if you are a Wright fan or like to see cool interiors. It was the highlight of the trip for me. The tour is free, and mostly self-guided. Tell Amanda we said hello, she’s wonderful.

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On our way home we stopped at The HobNob, a classic Wisconsin supper club that has been in business for 61 years. It is a real dream. It feels like you have wandered into a David Lynch movie. The food and service are both good enough, but the atmosphere is wow wow wow zing. I look forward to returning.

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As we were leaving the restaurant, the hostess (who definitely had the mostest) said: Come see us again. As the days get longer, the drive only gets better.


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Chopped Tofu Salad and more…. http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/chopped-tofu-salad-and-more/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/04/chopped-tofu-salad-and-more/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:49:59 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15793 DSC00991

We can’t stop with this chopped tofu salad that is posted over at Sprouted Kitchen. I can always rely on Sara for solid recipes that make me feel good. Love her cookbook, too. This recipe makes enough for 4 moderate servings. It keeps well in the fridge, even with the tofu and cashews, so I’d consider increasing the yield if I were you.

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ALSO! If you’re in Chicago, Floriole is turning 6 and they’re celebrating with what is sure to be an amazing dinner this Sunday. A bunch of us who have worked there in the past are contributing a recipe from the archives and we’ll all be hanging out in the kitchen. Dessert will be a new version of the pineapple upside down cake that Sandra (chef/owner) and I developed for the very first Floriole dinner, many years ago. That dinner was held the night a blizzard hit Chicago and I will never forget all of the wonderful people who braved the mountains of snow to eat with us. Who knows what the weather will be on Sunday?!

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Prune, Oat, and Spelt Scones http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/03/prune-oat-and-spelt-scones/ http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2016/03/prune-oat-and-spelt-scones/#comments Wed, 30 Mar 2016 14:14:17 +0000 http://www.lottieanddoof.com/?p=15779 DSC00724

A quick note to say: make these scones! They’re superduper amazing. You should make the whole batch and freeze a bunch to improve future mornings. They are definitely best served hot from the oven.

The recipe is from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, a book that I am slowly growing to love. I didn’t trust it for a long time (see issues below), I don’t believe some of the recipes and there are some conversion problems between weight and volume. But the book is very beautiful and the kind of dumb dreamy read that I often enjoy. I was surprised (and happy!) by how far it made its way through the recent Piglet cookbook competition this year, which is partially what prompted me to use the book more. You can read those reviews to get more perspective on the book.

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I also really loved the raspberry and star anise muffins from the book, though again those really are best fresh from the oven. Didn’t care about the cinnamon rolls, though I didn’t dislike them. I’ve avoided all of the recipes containing chocolate, though it seems like those are the ones other reviewers are trying and liking. Have you cooked from the book? Let us know what else to try/avoid.

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There are some things I do not understand about this recipe. Like, why is there so little tea to steep the prunes in? Why not just brew a cup of tea so the prunes get a proper soaking?I know in part because you end up spreading the tablespoon or so of leftover tea on top of the scones, but surely that liquid would just ride along with the prunes if they had a more proper soaking.  Why do you tear the prunes after steeping instead of just chopping them before steeping? Also, and this is just personal preference, I think there are a little too many prunes here. I think it should be closer to 8 ounces, instead of 10. It will still seem like a lot as you start to tear them up and cover the dough. In fact, almost the entire surface of the dough will be covered in prunes. That it okay, because once they bake they will puff up quite a bit and spread out. I used weight measures when baking baking these, so can’t vouch for volume. The recipe below is basically the original, so make any adjustments you agree with from my recommendations.

But seriously brilliant scones. Go for it!

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Prune, Oat, and Spelt Scones (from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak)

  • 1/4 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 10 ounces (300g) pitted prunes
  • 2 cups (200g) rolled oats, plus more for topping
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 g) whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup (80g) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (300g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup (250g) plain yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for egg wash

Butter a 1/4 sheet pan and line with parchment paper.

Put the prunes in a small bowl and pour the hot tea over them. Toss to coat, and then set aside.

In a bowl, combine the oats, spelt flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk together. Use a pastry cutter to cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients. continue until it resembles coarse meal.

In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, eggs, maple syrup, and yogurt. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out.  Tear the soaked prunes into bite sized pieces and dot on top. Push the prunes into the dough, then pour the remaining liquid from the soaked prunes over the top and spread flat with an icing spatula or rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 390°F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pop the chilled scone mixture out of the pan and cut into 12 triangles. Do this buy cutting the block in half lengthwise. Cut each half into three squares and then cut each square into two triangles. (This is when you can freeze any scones you do not want to bake right now. They can be baked from frozen.) Place the scones you want to bake on the lined baking sheet(s) about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle with the remaining oats, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden.

 


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