things 10.30.16

Listening: On repeat every year around this time.

Watching: Damn, I love this show. Just started this one too.

Craving: Big Comfy Sweet Potato and Gypsy Soup

Chosen words: Stevie Nicks on Being a Romantic

Halloween reads: What the Real Witches of America Eat, When Tomatoes were Blamed for Witchcraft and Werewolves

Above:

My mama and me at Westwind Orchards in the Catskills a couple weeks ago. Today is her birthday! Happy Birthday Mama!

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hyggeligt

(n.) The Danish word for a feeling of extreme comfort or coziness.

It’s actually cold enough to feel like fall in New York, and I’m currently accepting any and all Netflix/TV recommendations to go with these pumpkin magic bars and my sweatpants that I’m never taking off. Also, my love for pumpkin is so strong and so deep that I didn’t even realize how real of a thing pumpkin spice shaming is! Sorry pumpkin shamers, guess this one isn’t for you. 

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a gluten-free clafoutis with saffron and pears

I said goodbye to my mama yesterday after a week straight of baking together and blasting Carole King records. I love having her in town because there’s always some perfectly executed dinner party involved. Some people are really good at low-key entertaining. They just whip something up from what they have in the pantry and don’t even bother to plan a menu. That’s not us. We are matching plates people. Place settings people. People who have their shopping lists done a week in advance and the meal cooked the night before so all we have to do is warm it up. I may be a hot mess in 99% of life, but I inherited the Type A dinner party gene from her and I’m proud of it. This visit she made her signature duck and mushroom cassoulet (post forthcoming if I can get a proper recipe out of her) and I made this clafoutis. Half of my brain thought I shouldn’t post two pear recipes in a row, but the other half said to me, “It’s your blog. Do whatever you want.” Truthfully, I just couldn’t resist making this dessert after I spotted it in my new cookbook.  We ate dinner like civilized humans on a perfectly set table. Dessert, however, was eaten on the couch while we projected First Wives Club because we still know how to keep it loose, ya know?

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pear cider doughnuts

Rather annoyingly, I’m about to wax poetic on how idyllic it is to bite into a fresh apple cider doughnut. In the first weeks of fall. On an apple orchard. Amidst the changing leaves. For those of you who grew up in the Northeast with seasons, this is probably as obvious as someone saying, “Hey you know what’s good on a hot summer day? An ice cream cone!” Believe it or not, I  had never seen or heard of a cider doughnut until I moved to New York. The closest I ever came to this autumnal doughnut experience was buying a dozed maple-glazed Krispy Kremes and eating them in the car with my mom when she picked me up from school in Central Florida.

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harissa roasted carrots + hummus, pita and zhoug

I could eat my weight in hummus. I probably have on many occasions. Knowing this about myself, it’s a little embarrassing that I’ve never made the real deal thing. In fact, until recently I was totally cool with supermarket hummus. Food of the gods, I thought. That all changed last week when I made Ottolenghi’s famed recipe. Yes, it takes a little planning because of the chickpea soaking, but it’s a lot faster that most traditional hummus recipes and OH my GOD it is good. My dinner party wasn’t even supposed to be about the hummus. It was just supposed to be there for dipping into with fluffy homemade pita a lá Molly or to accompany the chicken skewers I marinated in yogurt and spices until they practically tasted like lamb. Those were supposed to be the highlights, but the hummus stole the show. In Israel they eat hummus right after it’s made, still slightly warm, so that’s what we did and that’s what I will always do from this point on. If you decide to make Molly’s pita you should know that it freezes really well. You might not think you need 12 of them but you do because you’re going to eat 5 straight off the bat dipped in this life changing hummus. I know, I know…say hummus one more time. 

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firgun

(n.) The Hebrew term in Israeli culture that describes genuine, unselfish delight or pride in the accomplishment of another person.

 
When I think of firgun I automatically think of my best friend Lindsay and her mother, Mushy, as we affectionately call her. They are my second family and my biggest supporters and the reason I’ve had a life long obsession with Jewish culture, traditions and food obviously. Lindsay and I have been best friends since the womb (born only a day apart in the same hospital!) which means we did everything together from Hebrew school to family dinners at each other’s houses. What I loved more than Sunday morning bagels at the Kramer house and more than Mushy’s chicken and farfel was the overwhelming sense of comfort and support I felt every time I came over. I lapped it up. I let them force feed me until I couldn’t physically eat another bite and tell me how awesome and special and beautiful I was even at the pinnacle of prepubescent awkwardness. Since Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner, I wanted to make Mushy and Lindsay proud with my interpretation of a Jewish apple and honey cake.

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shemomedjamo

(v.) The Georgian expression for eating past the point of being full because something tastes so good. Literally, “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

We need to talk about these salted caramel crack brownies. I made them for a friend’s birthday a couple weeks ago and people are still talking about them and asking me for the recipe. They are without a doubt the best brownies I have ever made/eaten, and they completely live up to their name. I shamelessly stole the recipe from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones. Anna is one of my favorite cookbook authors and she also has a great column over at The Guardian if you need some gorgeous vegetarian inspiration in your life, like this and this. I followed the recipe exactly, using the coconut oil and spelt flour options (but I bet rye flour would be terrific). For the actual brownie (not the caramel) I used coconut sugar, per Anna’s suggestion. You basically start off making the caramel, which Anna makes super simple and doesn’t even call for a candy thermometer or any of that business. Then you take that caramel, freeze it, chop it up and dump it in your brownie batter so it melts into these oozing pools of  goodness when baked. They are supremely gooey and cozy, and I can’t think of a a better recipe to share on this first week of fall.  I’ll be shocked if you don’t accidentally eat the whole thing. 

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goodbye summer pancakes

I’m going to press pause on all the first day of fall excitement that’s been buzzing around because I’m not quite ready to face the music. I can’t hep it. I’m a Puerto Rican girl from Florida, and I’m happiest when melting and miserably cold when the weather drops below 70. I promise I’ll be more excited about butternut squash and sweaters next week but right now I just want to keep eating all the summer things.  My favorite way to eat out-of-season berries is to roast them until caramelized and sweet and throw em’ onto some carby thing, pancakes in this case. I love the log cabin-esque feelings that buckwheat pancakes conjure up, but sometimes they taste a little too, well, buckwheaty.  I added some oat flour to lighten them up a bit and some kefir because I had no buttermilk. They are hearty but fluffy and maybe, just maybe, are making me a little more excited about the cooler weather.

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bodhi

According to Buddhist legend, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) achieved enlightenment in 528 B.C while sitting under a type of fig tree called the bo (or bodhi) tree. 

My favorite fruit to eat this time of year has a fascinating anatomy. Figs, like breadfruits and pineapples, are considered “collective fruits” because they contain hundreds of tiny male and female flowers inside. In other words, they are not so much fruits as they are inverted flowers. In botanist speak, this is called an “enclosed inflorescence”. You can’t see these flowers from the outside of the synconium (the part you actually eat) but slice one open and there it all is. Figs contain multitudes. Figs are lusty and mysterious. Figs are feminine. Figs are also really, really delicious when roasted with wine, as I learned from Claire Ptak’s column in the Guardian a couple weeks ago.

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zucchini loaf

zucchini

This is sayonara summer week on the blog aka my last-ditch effort to cook up the rest of my zucchini, tomatoes, berries and the like before it’s deemed seasonally inappropriate. First up, a heartier zucchini bread made with spelt flour and dates with loads of seeds on top for crunch. Basically me in loaf form!

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