Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beignets with Vanilla Dipping Sauce


(Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli)

I've made these baby donuts a zillion times since Boyfriend got me Alex Guarnaschelli's book, Old School Comfort Food

Boyfriend and the roommates lose their shit when I mention that I feel like making them.

Boyfriend told me "I didn't have to make them if I didn't want to" while giving me puppy dog eyes.

Kinny told me that she'd dip a shoe in the vanilla sauce and eat it.

I was considering making them on Monday and Robo made a whole speech about how "beignets and Mondays go together." Pretty sure that was a ploy to get me to make them right then and there.

But I was tired (or maybe feeling a little sadistic?) yesterday.

So here I am, on a Tuesday, frying up donuts in the middle of the  night.

Maybe I should get those three to cover my rent next month in exchange for late-night donuts.

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • Extra flour, for rolling the dough (about 1 cup total)
  • 1 gallon fryer oil

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and the water. Set aside to proof.
  2. After 10 minutes, stir in the all-purpose flour, cover with plastic, set aside in a warm place and let it double in size.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, with the mixer on low speed, one by one. When the mix is smooth, add the vanilla and salt. Stir to blend. Add the bread flour and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
  5. Change the electric mixer attachment to a dough hook. Continue mixing the dough until it becomes a ball.
  6. Then, stir in the yeast mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic and allow to proof, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  7. Lightly flour a cool surface and roll the dough out to about 1 1/2-inch thickness.
  8. Using a pizza cutter, cut them into 1.5 in. x 1.5 in squares, and turn them onto a floured baking sheet to rest, 20 to 30 minutes, before frying.
  9. Heat the oil in a large pot to 365 to 370 degrees F.
  10. Drop the beignets in the hot fat and cook until golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon. Dust with powdered sugar.
  12.  Serve immediately with Vanilla Dipping Sauce.

Vanilla Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer and add the vanilla beans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they become a pale yellow color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. When the milk/cream simmers, pour it gently over the egg yolks and whisk to blend.
  4. Pour the entire mixture back into the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. The sauce should register about 170 degrees F on a thermometer and still be smooth. Strain into a bowl, stir in the vanilla and allow to cool slightly before refrigerating.

Chile-Steamed Mussels with Green Olive Crostini

(Adapted from Mario Batali)

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that if you are an animal or creature lover at all, this is not the dish for you.

I had NO IDEA that the mussels I purchased would be ALIVE when I brought them home.

The guy at the store weighed them out for me, put them in a package with plastic wrap, and proceeded to poke holes in the plastic while explaining that "the mussels get claustrophobic, so you'll need to take them out of the package and put them on ice when you get home."

The personification of shellfish makes me very uncomfortable.

I was afraid of seeming like a rookie chef, so I said nothing, brought them home, and then tried really hard not to name each one that opened and closed when I touched its shell. 

After a whole day of mildly panicking, I realized that I had to cook them, or they would die anyway. ( It's not like I could set them free in the ocean....I live in the Inland Empire.)

After all of that, I feel a little guilty saying that they were damn delicious.

Serves 4


  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeƱo, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 habanero, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Green Olive Crostini


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, jalapeƱos and habanero. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times until the mussels open, about 5 minutes; discard any that don't open.
  4. Divide the mussels and broth among 4 bowls; sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Green Olive Crostini

Green Olive Crostini

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/4 cups large green pitted olives, such as Sicilia (3/4 pound)
  • 1 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large slices of crusty bread


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, process the garlic, olives, capers and olive oil to a coarse paste.
  2. Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toasts and serve.