Thursday, February 21, 2013

blueberry thyme waffles

You know what's amazing? Waffles. You know what's even more amazing? When you slyly mention that waffles sound delicious and then 5 minutes later your husband is making you waffles from scratch.

Oh, Sundays.

This waffle recipe is delicious. It would satisfy any waffle lover. It somehow manages to be light and fluffy but toothsome at the same time. It's delicate but filling. And it holds up wonderful to toppings, which - let's be honest here - is half the reason that I love waffles.

Two fun facts for you:
Blueberries should always be cooked with thyme and black pepper. They need each other.
I have discovered the magic of making homemade whipped cream in a magic bullet blender. Easy breezy.

The combination of the waffle with savory blueberries and fluffy whipped cream? The perfect Sunday morning meal.

blueberry thyme topping
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon jam (I used strawberry)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Mix all ingredients in a pot and place over medium high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before serving, in order to let the sauce thicken up slightly. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

dried cherry, gruyere, and brussel sprout salad

So the other night we ordered in dinner at work. One of my coworkers tossed a menu on my desk from a neighboring bowling alley. I was fairly skeptical, but she claimed that they took their food seriously and I would not be disappointed.

I was rather impressed. So much so, that I attempted to recreate my dinner just a few days later.

And that is how I ended up with a dried cherry, toasted almond, brussel sprout, and gruyere salad. So random. So good.

I ordered mine with a grilled salmon fillet. Even better.

cherry and gruyere brussel sprout salad
2 cups arugula
1 lb. brussel sprouts
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
8 oz. gruyere, cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Place balsamic vinegar in a pot over high heat. Boil until reduced in half.

Bring a pot of water up to boil. Clean the brussel sprouts and peel off all the leaves. Place the leaves into the boiling water for about a minute. Remove the leaves and place in a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking. Dry the brussel sprout leaves with a salad spinner or between paper towels.

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper.

Mix together the arugula, blanched brussel sprouts, cherries, almonds, and gruyere. Gently toss with dressing. Drizzle with reduced vinegar.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

grapefruit meringue tart

This tart deserves a prize. I came home from a long week of work and Josh had made this tart. It was just sitting there in the kitchen, waiting to be eaten. So there’s that.

And I should point out that it’s delicious. The crust is unique – somewhere between shortbread and an English biscuit. It’s subtle and chewy and probably my new favorite crust. The grapefruit curd is just different enough from a typical lemon one, so it feels a bit special. And the meringue offers a touch of creaminess.

The tart is beautiful and not overbearingly sweet – you almost want to convince yourself that it’s okay to eat it for breakfast. Don’t worry, I maintained self-control  (well, this time).

Josh also whipped this up on Wednesday and we served leftovers to guests on Friday and they were still raving about it. We just stored it in the fridge with loose plastic wrap and let it warm up on the counter for about an hour before serving it.

grapefruit meringue tart
adapted from rachel khoo

Grapefruit curd:
1 grapefruit, zest and juice
1 egg plus, 1 egg yolk
3 ½ oz. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 heaping tsp flour
1 ¾ oz. soft butter, cubed

Measure 6 tablespoons of grapefruit juice into a pan and whisk with the zest, sugar, salt, and eggs over low heat. Slowly mix in the flour and whisk continuously. Once the curd is thick and has released a bubble or two, remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter, a cube at a time. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate for at least an hour (best overnight).

Biscuit base:
2 ¾ oz butter, very soft but not melted
2 ¾ oz sugar
Generous pinch of salt
½ lemon, zest only
2 egg yolks
3 ½ oz flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Cream together the butter and sugar with the salt and lemon zest until fluffy and pale in color. Add the egg yolks and continue to beat. Whisk the flour and baking powder together and then add to the creamed mixture and continue beating until the dough comes together as smooth paste. Put the dough into a piping bag (or a large Ziploc bag with the corner clipped off).

Pipe the dough in rings around the outside of the spring form pan, working your way in. Ensure the dough is spread evenly, use a knife to spread the mixture if necessary.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, but not too dark.

3 ½ oz sugar
2 egg whites
Pinch of salt
½ tsp pepper

Put the sugar into a pan with 1 oz of water and place on high heat. Bring to 118C (measures on a sugar thermometer), which will take about 10 minutes. (To test without a thermometer, drop a tiny bit of sugar syrup into a bowl of very cold water. When it forms a soft sticky ball, it’s ready.
While waiting for the sugar syrup, start whisking the eggs whites with the salt. Whisk until a light froth forms, stopping before any soft peaks are formed.

Once the sugar syrup has hit 118C, beat the eggs whites at the same time as pouring the syrup onto them in a thin stream. Don’t pour the syrup over the whisk, but down the side of the bowl. Add the pepper and continue to whisk for 10 minutes or until the egg whites are glossy and stiff.
While waiting for the sugar syrup, start whisking the egg whites with

To assemble:

Spoon the curd onto the biscuit base, and then gently spread the meringue atop. Place under a broiler until browned, about 1-2 minutes.