Monday, June 27, 2011

Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment


Sometimes I wonder how I'm not 300 pounds. I bake a lot, maybe too much. I just really like it. I like following directions. I like knowing that when I follow directions, more often than not, things turn out all right. I like knowing that mixing butter, sugar, and flour together is going to turn into something tasty, the sky is the limit from there. Cookies are particularly a favorite of mine, although you all know how much I love making cupcakes. Cookies are fun because the basic recipe is some what the same, what you throw into them is what makes them unique and special.

The other day I realized that it had been awhile since I had made cookies. I like having them around the house. They make for an easy, satisfying dessert that doesn't quite pack the caloric punch of a frosted cupcake. I decided to see what kind of cookies my Bon Appétit Desserts cookbook had to offer.

I came across these White Chocolate-Granola Cookies. They sounded sort of healthy for a cookie, but the use of dried apricots and pineapple intrigued me. Especially since we bought some super tart, practically inedible dried apricots a few weeks ago, and I had been debating tossing them, or using them in baking. For the record, I'm glad that I saved them.

These cookies came out freakin' awesome. They are thin, buttery, chewy, and totally delicious. The oats make them taste a little bit like a granola bar, but the white chocolate screams back, I'm not healthy, I'm a cookie damn it. I'm always pleased when my food pipes up and speaks for itself, and these cookies have definitely got something to say.


White Chocolate-Granola Cookies (from Bon Appétit Desserts)
Makes about 6 dozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups packed golden brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granola, crumbled

Directions

Place apricots and pineapple in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup hot water and let soak until fruit is soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Using wooden spoon, stir apricot-pineapple mixture, oats, chocolate, and granola.

Using 2 heaping tablespoons dough for each cookie, drop batter onto 3 heavy large rimmed baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake cookies until golden. about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Violet, you're turning violet


Summer is finally here. The days are long. The weather is hot. The grocery stores and farmers markets are teaming with fresh fruit and veggies. It's totally the best. A few weeks ago, I spotted this blueberry ice cream pie on the Merry Gourmet and thought there could be no better summer dessert. Lucky for us, blueberries were on sale buy one pint, get two free when we went to the grocery store. It was destiny, kismet, and meant to be.

The pie turned out cool, fresh, and totally delicious. I don't know how Alex and I are going to eat it all, but we are sure going to try.

Blueberry Ice Cream Pie (from the Merry Gourmet)
Serves 12

Ingredients for the Crust
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the Blueberry Sauce
  • 3 cups blueberries, rinsed, well-drained, & carefully picked through for damaged berries
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon water
Ingredients for Putting it All Together
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream (store-bought or homemade)
  • ¾ cup blueberry sauce, chilled
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked-over, and well-dried on paper towel-lined baking sheets
  • Remaining blueberry sauce, heated
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine oats, almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Pulse until coarsely ground.Transfer to a small bowl and stir in melted butter. Dump into a 9-inch pie plate and press evenly onto the bottom and sides with your fingers.

Bake 8-12 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely, then transfer to freezer until ready to use.


In a large, wide, non-reactive skillet, stir together blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and water. Stir to blend. Cook and stir over medium heat until blueberries begin to pop and give off juice. Continue stirring until the berries come to a full simmer. Simmer for 1 additional minute until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Set aside to cool then refrigerate sauce until completely chilled before assembling the pie.


Transfer ice cream to a mixing bowl and let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until just softened. Spoon half the ice cream into the prepared crust and spread in an even layer. Top with the chilled blueberry sauce. Spoon on the remaining ice cream and spread to edges. Cover surface of ice cream with plastic wrap and freeze for 8 hours or overnight until firmly set.

In chilled mixing bowl, whisk sour cream, heavy cream, and sugar until just thickened to spreading consistency. Do not overbeat. Spread cream mixture over pie and top with blueberries.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Orange You Glad I didn't Say Banana?


I'm a big fan of beer. I love it. All kinds. Whether it's extra fruity, super hopped up, or a mild frothy wheat, I'm a fan. I love it in the summer when you are cooling down after a hard day at work, or in the winter when you are cozying up with a good movie on a Saturday night. Beer rocks.

A couple of months ago, the girls over at We Are Not Martha inspired me to make some delicious Chocolate Stout Brownies. I was totally hooked. Beer and baking, sounds like a great idea.

Leafing through my Bon Appétit Desserts cookbook this weekend, I spied a recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake. Since I don't have a portable cake carrier yet, and I didn't want a giant cake hanging around my apartment all week, I decided to see if the recipe would work in cupcake form. The chocolate frosting recipe that went with the cake called for more cocoa than I had on hand, so I decided to make up my own boozy orange frosting. The two paired perfectly and created a fantastic cupcake that ended up being super popular with my coworkers.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Boozy Orange Frosting (inspired by Bon Appétit Desserts)
Makes 18

Cupcakes
  • 1 cup stout
  • 1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon crème fraîche

Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Bring stout and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and crème fraîche in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin tins. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto rack and cool completely.

While cupcakes cool, whip butter until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add orange liqueur, milk, and orange zest and whip until fully combined. When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost cupcakes and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pretty Flowers - It's just that kind of Wednesday

Lately we've being doing quite a bit of sightseeing in DC. We've been spending a few more weekends in the city. So we have been trying to take advantage of all our nation's capitol has to offer. In the past few weeks we have been to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the National AquariumSmithsonian National Air and Space Museum, a Washington Nationals Game, the Washington Monument, and The White House. We have really been all over.

We've also been trying to walk every where we go to learn our new city. A few weekends back, on a trip from Columbia Heights to Eastern Market, we decided to spontaneously pop in to the United States Botanic Garden Observatory


Like most of the other museums and attractions in DC, the US Botanic Garden is free to the public. Visitors can explore colorful gardens representing different ecological habitats from around the world. As interesting as it is to listen to experts talk about the plants, it was equally as fun to just meander among the gorgeous flowers. I was especially enamored with the large and exotic collection of orchids. While not my favorite flower, they are probably the most beautiful, interesting, and fun to photograph.

If you ever have any time to stop and smell the roses while in DC, I would definitely recommend the US Botanic Garden as a beautiful and fun place to spend a few hours. Now, I'll stop babbling and just let you look at the pretty flowers.

Oh and in case anyone is interested in sending me flowers, my favorites are hydrangeas.











Have you ever been to the US Botanic Garden? What's your favorite flower?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pork, on top of pork, inside of pork


When I first started cooking, one of the dishes I used to make a lot, was my mom's lasagna. It always turned out good, but not quite as good as her's and I could never figure out why. Turns out, in addition to using ground beef in her lasagna, my mom also used to use ground pork. Trying ground pork for the first time, I was hooked. Definitely my favorite ground meat. I added it to lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf; anything I used to make with just ground beef.

A few weekends ago, while leafing through June's Food Network Magazine, I found an article titled, "Pick a Patty" that discussed the tried and true techniques for perfecting the perfect beef burger, salmon burger, veggie burger, turkey burger, and pork burger. Pork burger? Sign me up.

Apparently, the secret to a great pork burger is ground bacon inside the burger. Sounds like delicious to me.


Perfect Pork Burgers (The Food Network Magazine)
Serves 4
  • 5 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 4 buns, split
  • unsalted butter, softened for spreading

Directions

Pulse the bacon and garlic in a food processor until coarsely ground. Combine the ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoons pepper, and the sage in a large bowl. Add the bacon mixture and gently mix with your hands. Gently form the meat into 4 balls, then lightly press into 4 inch wide, 1 inch thick patties. Make a 2 inch wide indentation in the center of each with your thumb to prevent to burgers from bulging when grilled. Preheat a grill to medium high. Season the patties with pepper. Grill undisturbed until marked on the bottom, 5-6 minutes. Turn and grill until the other side is marked and the patties feel firm, 4-6 more minutes. Meanwhile spread the cut sides of the buns with butter and toast on the grill. Serve the patties on the buns; top as desired.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Famous but Still Tasty


Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods in the whole world. There is just something so filling and delicious about a creamy bowl of pasta and cheese. It's good out of the pan, but I especially love it out of the oven with a toasty, crispy, cheesy crust.

A few months ago, my friend Maia introduced me to restaurant just outside of DC called Rustico. One of the best things on their menu, other than the Grilled Romaine Salad, is their appetizer mac and cheese. Inventively, their mac and cheese is made with orzo instead of macaroni. They also top it with a crunchy sprinkling of pretzels instead of breadcrumbs. It is totally delish.

I decided to try to  make something similar for myself by shredding a couple of blocks of leftover cheese, smashing some random pretzels sticks from the last trip we made to Boston, and boiling some orzo I ran out and bought the day after Maia took me to Rustico for the first time.

It came out particularly tasty and was the perfect dish for dinner last night between ice packs, post having a root canal redone.


Orzo and Cheese with Crunchy Pretzel Cheez-It Topping
Serves 2-4

  • 1 cup of orzo
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 oz Jarlsberg, shredded
  • 1 oz Sharp White Cheddar, shredded
  • 2 oz plus 1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • a small handful of Cheez-Its, smashed
  • a small handful of pretzels, smashed

Directions

Fill a medium pot with water and boil. Add your orzo and cook to al dente. Mine took about 8 minutes. Once finished, drain and pour into a small baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together butter and flour using a fork. In a small sauce pan over low heat, combine butter and flour mixture with milk. Stir till combined. Once combined continue to stir until the sauce thickens. As soon as it starts to coat the back of your spoon, add the cheeses except 1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar, salt, and pepper. Heat until melted throughout, stirring occasionally. When the sauce is thick and creamy, pour it over your orzo and allow it to seep in between the grains to coat the entire dish. Top with remaining cheddar, Cheez-Its, and pretzels.

Bake for 30 minutes uncovered or until top is browned and bubbly.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tropical Italian BBQ

This weekend, Alex and I had a visit from my sister, my brother-in-law, and my two adorable nephews. I knew that we'd be super busy seeing the sights around town, playing at the pool, and hanging out catching up. I wanted to make meals easy, a head of time, and favorites that everyone would love. For Friday, I made lasagna ahead and stuck it in the freezer. For Thursday, I did the same with Mac and Cheese. For Wednesday, where I had to work and wasn't getting home till the moment they got in, I wanted something that would be ready when we got home, so I made Slow Cooked Pulled Pork.

Whenever I've made pulled pork, I always have tons of leftovers. I'm not complaining cause who doesn't want to eat pulled pork for days on end. However, with all leftovers, I try to see if I can morph something that was delicious the night before into something new and equally delicious the next night. I did a little searching for what you could do with pulled pork and came across this recipe for Caramelized Pineapple Pulled Pork Flatbreads on Cake, Batter, and Bowl and thought it sounded just delicious. So I made up my own pizza using similar ingredients.

BBQ Pork and Pineapple Pizza
Makes one 16"-18" pizza
  • 1 yield of 15-minute pizza dough, recipe below
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 6 oz Slow Cooked Pulled Pork
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
Directions

Heat olive oil in a pan over low to medium heat. Cook shallots until brown and caramelized.


Simultaneous, heat pineapple in a separate pan over medium high heat until juice is reduced and pineapple are lightly browned.


Cover pizza with barbecue sauce, top with pulled pork, pineapple, shallots, and cheeses.


Bake for 8-10 minute or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.


Serve hot.

15-Minute Pizza Dough (from Little Birdie Secrets)

Makes one 16"-18" pizza shell

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water (120-130 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together. Add hot water and olive oil. Mix for five minutes with your Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook or knead with your hands. Let rest 10 minutes. Press dough on pizza pan, pizza stone, or jelly-roll pan. Bake at 500 degrees for 3 minutes. Take out of the oven and cover with toppings.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bananas for Mommy

One of the most famous and delicious bakeries in Boston is Flour. Though I've never been to the original, the location on Mass Ave. in Cambridge was one of my favorite stops on the way home from work. With sticky buns, cupcakes, pastries, even homemade Oreos behind Flour's big glass pastry case always made it difficult not to stop in for a treat. So sweet.

For my birthday, my mom got me the Flour cookbook. Now, even though I'm not in Boston, I can still treat myself to tasty sweet every once in awhile in my own kitchen.

Banana Bread (by Joanne Chang of Flour)
Makes one 9-inch loaf

  • 1 1/2 cup (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) canola oil
  • 3 1/2 very ripe, medium bananas, peeled and mashed (1 1/2 cups mashed / about 340 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) walnut halves, toasted and chopped

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. On a low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil.. Don't pour the oil in all at once. Add it slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn't deflate the air you have just beaten into the batter. Adding it should take about 1 minute.


Add the bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla and continue to mix on low speed just until combined.


Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and the nuts just until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts should be evenly distributed.


Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.


Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until golden brown on top and the center springs back when you press it. If your finger sinks when you poke the bread, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, and then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.


The banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or, it can be well wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 weeks; thaw overnight at room temperature for serving.


Have you stopped by Flour for their banana bread? What did you think?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Beans and Franks

When I was little, we used to eat beans and franks like every other day in the summer. I figured with the frequency that we ate them, they had to be a pretty easy and quick dish. So, a few months back, I bought a can of baked beans and thought, awesome, easy dinner. Boy was I wrong when I read the directions. Though they are easy to make, baked beans are quite the slow cooked side dish. I put the beans back in the cabinet and thought, this is a better idea for a Sunday dinner.

Last week, when flipping through my Google Reader, I spied a recipe for Beer Baked White Beans from Everyday Food on the The Bitten Word. They looked incredible and got a great review. Though I had a can of baked beans in my cabinet, I knew that for the effort and the time they would both take, the Beer Baked White Beans would be much so better.

These beans came out delicious. All the flavor of mom's dish, but classed up a bit with the beer and the bacon. So good. By the way, if you don't read The Bitten Word, you must start. It's fantastic and one of my favorite DC Food Blogs.

Beer-Baked White Beans
Serves 6
  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 2 bottles Belgian-style white ale (12 ounces each), such as Blue Moon or Hoegaarden
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook bacon over medium, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp and browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Increase heat to medium-high; add onion and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 4 minutes. Add mustard and honey; cook 1 minute. 


Add rosemary, beans, beer, and broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil; cover and transfer to oven.


Bake until beans are tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 2 hours. I checked on mine at about an hour and a half and they had absorbed all of the liquid, but still weren't done. I added more broth and cooked them until 2 hours. In the end they came out perfect.

Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir in reserved cooked bacon.



 Serve as desired. We had ours with hot dogs.



What's your favorite classed up classic dish? Do you make baked beans from scratch or start with the canned version?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Koolsalade

To be honest, I've always thought the idea of coleslaw was a little gross. I used to have to make it every once in awhile when I worked at Unos in college. The mayo mixture was kind of runny and weird, and I was never a huge fan of cabbage. Because of this, I never really gave it a shot. I just figured I wouldn't like it.

A few months ago when I made pulled pork for the first time, I decided to try making my own coleslaw. The pulled pork needed something. Something sweet and fresh that gave it a little crunch. So, I went for it. Like most foods that I've developed an imperious attitude toward, coleslaw turned out to be great after all. I don't know why I waited so long to try it.

It was creamy, crunch, fresh, and delicious. This time, I made it again adding some bell pepper and a sweet corn. It was the perfect match for my barbecued chicken and grilled veggies.


Sweet Corn Coleslaw (inspired by All Star Sandwich Bar)
Serves 4
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppyseed
Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, shallot, and corn. Set aside. In a small bowl combine sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Mix together and pour over cabbage. Gently combine until cabbage mixture is fully coated. Sprinkle poppyseed over mixture and toss. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Eating, Writing, Retreating, and Recipes

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a CulinAerie cooking class as part of Eat Write Retreat, an intensive, learning weekend for food writers, photographers and bloggers. The full schedule for Eat Write Retreat looked fabulous, and I was sad not to participate in the entire thing. However, I had been browsing the classes at CulinAerie for awhile and when Eat Write Retreat offered the class a la cart, I jumped at the chance to meet some fellow bloggers and take my first ever cooking class.


I arrived at CulinAerie a little early, and had a chance to meet the assistants and instructor, Chef Susan Holt, before the class began. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I took a quick spin around the facilities, and it was gorgeous. A large, beautiful, industrial kitchen was set up with everything we would need to create a culinary masterpiece, which I found out was going to be Salad of Endive, Avocado, Tarragon, and Grapefruit; Olive Oil-Braised Endive with Gremolata; and Endive with Scrambled Egg with Chorizo.


I grabbed a seat near the front, but also close to the large flat screen televisions, so I could carefully watch the Chef's technique as she sliced, diced, and chopped her way through the recipes. Once we were given a tutelage, we were set free to create our own meal under the eye of the Chef and assistants.

Salad of Endive, Avocado, Tarragon, and Grapefruit (from CulinAerie)
Serves 4
  • 8 bulbs of red endive
  • 1 large or 2 small grapefruit
  • 1 medium avocados, cut in half, pit removed, removed from shell
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
  • Finishing salt and fresh pepper
Directions


I happened to be lucky enough to sit in front of the ingredients for the Salad of Endive, Avocado, Tarragon, and Grapefruit.


I started with the grapefruit. Using a sharp, flexible knife I sliced off both ends. I placed the widest end down on the cutting board and sliced around the grape fruit, removing the rind. Then, holding the grape fruit in my left hand, and my knife in my right, with a bowl underneath, I cut between each segment, freeing them from the pith. I let the segments drop into my bowl as I cut, squeezed the remaining juice on top. Lastly, I tossed the peel and pith.


Surprisingly, this is one technique I already had down, but I didn't know what it was called until the class: to Supreme.

I set my grapefruit aside and went to work on my avocado. I sliced my avocado in half, holding my knife in my left hand, keeping it still, and rotating the avocado around it. I removed my pit by whacking it with the knife and twisting. Then I took a large spoon and removed the avocado from it's shell. I placed each half on a cutting board face down and made tiny, vertical slits almost all the way through the avocado. I left a bit at the end unsliced to hold the avocado together. Then with the heel of my hand, I pressed on the avocado gently and twisted it to create a pretty fan.

Next, I cut my endive on a bias in 1" pieces, discarding the core. I set that aside and placed my avocado on a dinner plate. I added my grapefruit slices, then the endive, and poured my olive oil and grapefruit juice on top. Lastly, I sprinkled on my tarragon and finished my plate with some pepper and finishing salt.


I ended up with a gorgeous, summery salad. You might notice I added a little cheese on their too. Their happened to be some leftover Manchego from the egg dish. I borrowed a little since I don't eat eggs and it was a fantastic addition. I'll definitely be making this salad again and again. It was so great.

Here are some other pictures from the class:


Beth of eat. drink. smile pouring the eggs into the pan of butter and chorizo.


Jessica from Linday Olives preparing the Oil-Braised Endive with Gremolata.


The class was fantastic. In fact, it was so much fun, I signed up to be back as an assistant. I helped with my first class last night and had a great time assisting, learning, and in the end, eating and drinking. Such a blast.