Thursday, August 29, 2013

Poached Salmon with White Wine Butter Sauce

(Adapted from Food & Wine)


  • 4 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots—2 finely chopped, 1 halved
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 3/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 2 lemon thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves


  1. Set a colander over a bowl. Add the zucchini to the colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini dry.
  2. In a large, nonreactive skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the corn and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.
  4. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine 2 cups of the wine with the thyme, bay leaf, the halved shallot and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. 
  5. Season the salmon with salt, add the fillets to the saucepan and cook at a bare simmer over low heat, turning once, about 6 minutes.
  6. Transfer the salmon to a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the poaching liquid.
  7. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  8. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt. Stir the basil into the vegetables and transfer to plates.
  9. Nestle the salmon into the vegetables, top with the butter sauce and serve.

Pain Au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants!)

Chocolate croissants are probably my favorite pastry. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're boyfriend's favorite pastry, too (He has told me stories of eating chocolate croissants at Whole Foods as a kid while his mom did shopping, and he's told me a thousand times that the best chocolate croissant he's ever had was in Paris, France.) I've been itching to try my hand at making them for years, but I wanted to do it right. I didn't want to buy puff pastry from the store-- I wanted to make it from scratch. I wanted to understand and master the skill behind that flaky, buttery pastry dough.

This was my first attempt, so the croissants aren't that pretty, but they were delicious! The dough was certainly complicated to make, but it wasn't necessarily difficult. It was just a long and tedious process. For that reason, I've included step-by-step pictures to show how it's done!

(Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures)



  • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cold whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Butter Square

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Don't skimp on this part! Good quality chocolate is worth the money, believe me.)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)


  1. To make the dough: 
    1. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 3/4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt.
    2. Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
    3. Add the dry ingredients and turn to the mixer to low, beating until the dough comes together in a rough ball, about 4 minutes.
    4. Add the pieces of butter and continue kneading until the butter is completely incorporated, about 5-6 minutes.
    5. The dough will still be sticky, but should form a rough ball and mostly clear the sides of the bowl (if you make bread regularly, this dough will be more sticky than you're used to and won't clear the sides of the bowl as fully as a typical yeast bread). If it's too sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. 
    1. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. 
    2. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  1. To make the butter square: 
    1. Place the pieces of butter on your work surface and sprinkle the flour over the top of them. 
    2. Use a bench scraper to smear the butter/flour mixture back and forth against the work surface. 
    3. Continue until the mixture is uniform and smooth.  Gather in a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a 7-inch square. 
    4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  1. Making the Puff Pastry:
    1. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll into an 11-inch square, lifting and turning as you go to make sure the dough isn't sticking.  Place the chilled butter square diagonally in the center of the dough. 
    2. Lift each of the four corners of the dough up and over the butter square. 
    3. It's fine if they don't meet exactly, just pinch them together to seal completely.
    4. Use your rolling pin to gently tap the dough, starting in the center and going outward, until square gets larger and the butter begins to soften slightly.  Roll the dough into a 14-inch square, flouring your work surface and rolling pin as necessary to ensure the dough isn't sticking. 
    5. Fold one side of the dough to the center and then bring the other side up and over it - basically, you're folding the dough like you would a business letter.  This is also called a "turn" of the dough. 
    6. Complete a second turn by folding the top half of the dough down to the center and then bringing the bottom up and over it. 
    7. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
    8. Repeat the process above (roll into a 14-inch square and fold like a business letter twice) to complete 2 more turns of the dough.  Again, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Making Pain Au Chocolat:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a 20-inch square (flour as necessary to make sure it's not sticking).  Cut the dough into 4 equal 10-inch squares. 
  2. Cut each of those squares into 3 rectangles (about 10 x 3 1/4-inches each) - you should have a total of 12 rectangles. 
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon (about 1/2-oz) of chopped chocolate to the center of each rectangle.
  4. Fold the top of the rectangle over the chocolate and down to the center, then lift the bottom up and over it (again, we're folding it like it's a business letter).
  5. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, seam-side down. Try to keep the croissants horizontal as you move them so the chocolate doesn't spill out the sides. 
  6. Loosely cover the croissant with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until they're puffy (they won't necessarily double in size).
  7. While they're rising, preheat oven to 400 F with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
  8. Brush the croissants with the egg wash then bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they are golden brown, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point.
  9. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the croissants cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  10. They're best warm, but will keep for a few days at room temperature if tightly wrapped.

Makes 12 croissants

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sirloin Strip Roast with Roquefort Mushrooms

(Adapted from Food & Wine)


  • 16 large white mushrooms (about 1 pound), stemmed
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 ounces Roquefort cheese
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 large anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • One 2 1/4-pound sirloin strip roast
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.

For the Mushroom Caps:
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron or stainless steel baking dish, toss the mushroom caps with the wine and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the caps stemmed side down and roast for 10 minutes, or until they release their liquid.
  3. Pour the liquid into a glass measuring cup.
  4. Turn the mushrooms and roast for 10 minutes longer, or until well browned on the bottom.
  5. Transfer the mushrooms to a large plate.
  6. Set the baking dish over moderately high heat and when it starts to smoke, add the water.
  7. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, and simmer until the water reduces by half, about 3 minutes.
  8. Pour the liquid into the measuring cup.
  9. Return the mushroom caps to the baking dish, stemmed side up.
  10. In a bowl, combine the Roquefort with the cream, anchovies, garlic and mustard.
  11. Stir in the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Stuff each mushroom cap with a heaping teaspoon of filling.

For The Sirloin:
  1. Season the sirloin roast with salt and pepper.
  2. Set a large ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and when it starts to smoke, add the roast, fat side down. Cook until the fat is deeply browned, about 5 minutes, then quickly sear the roast for 1 minute on each side.
  4. Turn the roast fat side up and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Roast the sirloin in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120° for rare. Transfer the meat to a carving board and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

For the Sauce:
  1. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
  2. Set the skillet over moderately high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Add the soy sauce and the reserved mushroom liquid and boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and plenty of pepper and pour it into a warmed gravy boat.

To Finish the Dish!!
  1. Broil the mushrooms for 3 minutes, or until browned. Rotate the baking dish as necessary.
  2. Carve the roast into 4 thick slices and serve with the stuffed mushrooms. Pass the sauce at the table.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watermelon, Ginger, and Lime Granita

(Adapted from Kelsey Nixon)


  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 cups roughly chopped seedless watermelon (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger divided, 1-inch cut into coins, 1-inch peeled and grated
  • Fleur de sel, for garnish


  1. In a blender, blend the lime juice and watermelon together, creating watermelon water (We actually don't have a blender currently, so we just smashed the melon up with a fork!) 
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
  3. Place 1/2 cup of the watermelon water into a saucepan and add the sugar, lime zest and ginger coins. Bring the mixture to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and infuse the liquid with the ginger and lime flavor. Set aside to cool.
  4. Add the grated ginger to the remaining watermelon water. 
  5. Once the syrup is cool, remove the ginger coins and mix into the watermelon water.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. 
  7. Place the dish into the freezer to chill. Every 30 minutes, scrape the mixture with a fork to break up the ice crystals and to keep it light and fluffy.
  8. Continue scraping every 30 minutes for at least 2 hours.
  9. Scrape the granita into glasses or bowls and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Prosciutto and Mascarpone Stuffed Chicken Breast

(Adapted from Food & Wine)


  • 4 5- to 6-ounce boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked and minced (optional)
  • bread crumbs (optional)


  1. With a small, sharp knife, cute a slit in each chicken breast to form a small pocket. With the breast lying flat, slide the knife into the side of the fattest part of the breast and slide it across to form a pocket. make sure the entry cut is not wider than an inch or two and be careful not to cut through the sides or bottom of the chicken. Fold the prosciutto slices and slip 1 under the skin of each breast.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup of the mascarpone with the thyme, lemon zest, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper. Carefully stuff 1 tablespoon of the mascarpone mixture into each chicken breast pocket, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Use a tooth pick to close up the opening.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonreactive ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add breasts to skillet. Sear each side for 5-6 minutes. Transfer to oven and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook for 2 more minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter; keep warm.
  5. Set the same skillet over moderate heat. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of mascarpone and simmer, stirring, until thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, pour the sauce over the chicken. Top with bacon and bread crumbs, if desired. Serve.

(I served this chicken with Alex Guarnaschelli's Leeks Vinaigrette!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Petit Sirloin Steak with Marinated Broccoli and Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

My new obsession is a cookbook Boyfriend got me for my birthday by Alex Guarnaschelli called Old School Cooking. There is not a single thing in it that I don't want to make, and the best part is that none of the recipes are too complicated or pretentious. They're just simple, delicious, to-the-point, and still pack a punch of complex flavors. Some require skills I'm not particularly familiar with, but I love that I get to learn new things!

This particular recipe was intended to be made with hangar steak, but we had sirloin, so I improvised. Alex mentions how the combination of chilled marinated broccoli and warm seared steak creates a more interesting eating experience, and I must agree! This dish was not only simple, but it was interesting and it was damn good.

(Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli)


  • 2 medium heads broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 petit sirloin steaks
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fleur de sel for garnishing


  1. Marinate the broccoli: Make raspberry vinaigrette, see recipe below. Cut the broccoli lengthwise into smaller pieces. The goal is to create “stalks” of broccoli with the florets on top, kind of like oversize asparagus spears. 
  2. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in a handful of salt.
  3. When it comes back to a boil, plunge the broccoli into the water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring from time to time. 
  4. Drain the broccoli on a kitchen towel.
  5. Arrange the spears on a platter and drizzle them liberally with the balsamic vinaigrette. Refrigerate the platter.  
  6. Cook the steak: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the oil (2 tablespoons). 
  7. Season the steak on all sides with salt and pepper.
  8. When the pan begins to smoke lightly, use a pair of metal tongs to gingerly place the steak in the hot oil.
  9. Cook to medium-rare, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. The total cooking time will be 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare (or an internal temperature of 130°F (This also depends on the thickness of your steaks. I used some really thick cuts and I had to pop them in the oven to finish!)
  10. Remove the steak and allow it to rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve the steak: Slice the steak against the natural grain (or lines) in the meat. This will make the meat more tender for chewing. Taste for seasoning. Arrange it on its own platter. Serve the broccoli straight from the refrigerator, tossing it to recoat with the dressing (about 1/2 cup, see instructions below).

For balsamic-raspberry vinaigrette: 

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/8 cups canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, raspberry vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt (1 tablespoon), and pepper (1 teaspoon). Whisk until well blended and then slowly drizzle in the olive and canola oils (1 cup canola), whisking constantly, to make an emulsified vinaigrette. This will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to 3 weeks. Just shake vigorously before using. If it separates, blend it for a minute with a splash of cold water.

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Cookies are delicious. Pie is delicious. Put 'em together and it's pretty impossible to lose.

(Adapted from Very Best Baking)


  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell *
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. 
  2. Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Beat in bourbon. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell. 
  3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. 
  4. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

* If using frozen pie shell, use deep-dish style, thawed completely. Bake on baking sheet; increase baking time slightly. 

Crispy Buffalo Salmon

You may be familiar with my strong relationship with buffalo sauce. If I can put it on something that it may realistically pair with, I will do it. When I found this recipe for buffalo style salmon, I was both intrigued and a little scared. This dish was surprisingly delicious, and not just because I'm obsessed with buffalo sauce. Boyfriend loved it, too!

(Adapted from Ian Knauer)


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank's Redhot
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 salmon filets (6-7 oz each)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third. Lightly oil a shallow baking pan.
  2. Melt butter with hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat. Set aside 1/4 cup sauce.
  3. Toss panko with oil in a bowl. 
  4. Put salmon in baking pan and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then brush with remaining sauce. 
  5. Sprinkle panko evenly over top of fish, then bake until panko is golden and fish is just cooked through, 16 to 22 minutes. 
  6. Serve reserved sauce on the side.

Halibut with Lemon Butter and Crispy Shallots

(Adapted from Giada Di Laurentis)


Lemon Butter:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

Halibut and Crispy Shallots:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 halibut fillets (each 4 to 5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, cut into rounds, separated into rings
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish


For the lemon butter: 

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, lemon zest and butter in a deep medium bowl until well blended (mixture will be like a thick sauce). Set aside until ready to use.

For the halibut and crispy shallots:  

  1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and garlic in an 8-by-8-by-2-inch glass dish. 
  2. Whisk the marinade to blend. 
  3. Add the halibut and turn several times to coat evenly. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Combine the canola oil and shallots in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. 
  5. Cook, stirring often, until the oil heats up and the shallots turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the shallots with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels to drain and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper just before using.
  7. Heat a large dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  8. Lift the halibut from the marinade, letting the excess drain off. 
  9. Add the halibut to the hot skillet and sear 3 minutes. 
  10. Turn the fish over using a flexible metal spatula. Sear until still slightly pink in the center, about 3 minutes longer, depending on thickness. 
  11. Transfer the halibut to plates. Top with a generous dollop of lemon-butter and pile the shallots alongside or scatter around the fish. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.

Orange Chicken

(Adapted from flume027)


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper
  • canola oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Orange Sauce for Stir Fry

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 orange, zest of


  1. Place chicken pieces in large bowl.
  2. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
  3. Stir cornstarch and flour together.
  4. Dredge chicken pieces with cornstarch mixture, dip in egg mixture, and then coat with cornstarch mixture a second time. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
  6. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp.
  7. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.
  8. Clean wok (or a regular skillet!) and heat 15 seconds over high heat.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon oil.
  10. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds.
  11. Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions.
  12. Add rice wine and stir 3 seconds.
  13. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil.
  14. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.
  15. Stir 1/4 cup water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken.
  16. Heat until sauce is thickened.
  17. Stir in sesame oil if desired.
  18. Serve over jasmine rice.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bourbon Pickled Jalapeños

Boyfriend absolutely loves jalapeños and absolutely loves bourbon. This recipe was a must! They're great on sandwiches, or just to eat by themselves!**

**Note: These pickles are EXTREMELY spicy if you don't remove the seeds just before eating them. We learned this the hard way!

(Adapted from Country Living)


  • 1 pound Jalapeño Peppers, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 1/4 cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Coriander Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Bay Leaves


  1. Transfer sliced jalapeños into one or two screw-top jars.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, bourbon, honey, coriander seeds, salt, mustard seeds, and bay leaves.
  3. Bring to a boil; then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour hot liquid over jalapeños and seal jar with tight-fitting lid.
  5. Let cool to room temperature; then refrigerate for 3 days before serving. (Jalapeño pickles can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

Chicken Breast with Artichoke Olive Sauce

Greek-inspired, healthy-ish, boyfriend-approved, delicious as fuck. You will not be disappointed.

(Adapted from Marcie Turney)


  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic and oregano. Fold in the artichokes, olives and feta; season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. 
  4. Add the chicken, skinned side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 3 minutes; turn and transfer the skillet to the oven. 
  5. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes, until white throughout. 
  6. Transfer the chicken to plates and spoon the sauce on top. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer Balsamic Peach Pie

My cooking philosophy starts with the Three B's: 

Booze. Balsamic. Beyonce.

These three things are often my secret to deliciousness, particularly when it comes to baking (Another of my favorite B words!).

Booze takes on two roles in my kitchen. I use it to cook and I also use it for cooking. Most of the time, I just get tipsy and the magic happens on its own. Other times, I add a bottle of beer or a splash of wine or a cup of Bailey's Irish Cream to my food and somehow it works out. I'm not an alcoholic! I'm a chef, dammnit!

Balsamic is one of my favorite flavors in the entire world. I love that it goes with both savory and sweet things. I love that you can reduce it and drizzle it over just about anything. I love that a splash of it can completely change the direction of a dish and give it that little something extra.

Beyonce is my Kitchenaid Artisan Series Stand Mixer. I got her as a gift from Boyfriend and I use her two to four times a week for all kinds of things. I named her Beyonce because she's fierce and because the sound she makes kneading bread or mixing cupcake batter or whipping butter is like music to my ears. Cheesy? Maybe. But who doesn't love cheese?

The following recipe uses all Three B's AND is a testament to my own self-development.

I used to hate summer. I hated it with a passion. I hated the sun, I hated the heat, I hated wearing a bathing suit, and I hated sand. While I still hate sand, and while the heat is still not my favorite, I've found it more bearable over that last couple of years. I've developed a love for the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables and I've found the love of my life, who loves every part of me, even when I hate how I look in a bathing suit. 

Boyfriend and I have gone swimming almost every day this summer, I've got a kick-ass tan, and now instead of seeing the sun as a problem, I see it as an advantage. When I walked into the grocery store today, I saw an enormous display of fresh, peak-season, ripe-as-fuck peaches. Of course I decided to make a peach pie....

...with a little BabyBakes twist, of course!

(Adapted from Food Network)


Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bench and cutters
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed
  • coarse white sugar (for topping!)


  • 6 ripe but firm peaches
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon or pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg


For the crust: 

  1. In a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter.
  2. Beat with flat beater attachment until mixture forms pea-sized balls. 
  3. Add the ice water to the mixture. Beat just until the mixture rolls itself into a little ball. If the mixture is a bit dry, add more ice water by the tablespoonful until it comes together. 
  4. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the mixture evenly in half. 
  5. Shape each half into a disk. Do NOT overwork.
  6. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. At this point you can keep the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze for later use.

For the filling: 

  1. Peel and cut the peaches into 1/4-inch thick slices and toss with the lemon juice, balsamic, and sugar in a large bowl. 
  2. Allow it to marinate (macerate)  for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in another bowl, making sure there are no lumps. 
  4. Add the dry mixture to the peaches and mix until well incorporated.

Putting it all together!

  1. Flour your rolling pin and roll out 1 pie crust to about a 12-inch round and drape over a 9 1/2-inch fluted pie plate. Roll out the other pie crust to about a 10-inch round, and cut this into 1-inch strips with a fluted pizza cutter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Stir the flour mixture into the peaches and mix well. Pour the peaches into the pie crust. 
  4. Scatter with the pieces of butter. Top with the lattice strips. 
  5. Brush away any flour underneath the lattice to make sure it seals well. 
  6. Crimp the edges to seal. 
  7. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the lattice and edges with the egg wash.
  8. Pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake until the crust gets brown, about 50 minutes more. 
  9. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. 
  10. Turn oven off and allow pie to sit in the cooling oven for ten minutes. This will bake off some of the liquid to combat any soupiness!
  11. Top with coarse white sugar and cool about 30 minutes before serving.