Mostly olive salad

Here is a short visual journey through what it’s like to be a 33-year-old lady casually perusing Facebook:

If you are saying to yourself “What in the ever-loving fuck is this?” you are NOT ALONE. First, GET THAT BABY SPIDER AWAY FROM ME. DO NOT WANT. THAT IS TERRIFYING. Second, what? A birth plan app? I just got married 2 months ago. LEAVE ME ALONE. Where are all the ads for young, hip people? I’ll have you know I went to a concert the other night and I stayed out until 11:45. PM! I still have interests other than buying tiny costumes and choosing a doula. Jeez.

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Targeted ads have a way of making you feel like the internet knows better than you what you need. At this exact moment in my life, I need a healthy salad and a glass of wine, thanks. So cram it, internet. Go back to your listicles. Leave this old millenial alone.

This salad is a staple in my life. It is hearty, olive-y (not a thing?), spicy!, and generally very satisfying as a main. It will make you feel like you have your shit together. Almost like you’re ready to add a kid to this mix. I SAID ALMOST.

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Mostly Olive Salad, with some Farro
from Heidi Swanson via Food52

Serves 6 (sorta…..more like 4)

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups whole or semi-pearled farro
3 cups water
Fine-grain sea salt
1 pound fancy green olives (preferably Castelvetrano), rinsed then pitted
4 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped toasted walnut halves
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped roughly
1 bunch chives
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 jalapeño, minced (seeds included or discarded, as you wish)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped (I used currants)
Shaved pecorino or Parmesan, for serving
Ricotta, for serving (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
In a saucepan, combine the farro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat from a boil to a simmer, and simmer gently (still covered) for about 15 minutes if semi-pearled, longer if whole. Cook until tender but not mushy. Drain off any water and set aside. Coarsely chop the olives and place them in a bowl along with the olive oil, walnuts, green onions, chives, red pepper flakes, jalapeño, honey, lemon juice, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well and set aside (or refrigerate) until ready to serve. If you’ve refrigerated the olive mixture, bring it back to room temperature before the final toss. Combine the farro and olive mixture in a bowl and mix to combine. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Serve and top with thin strips of shaved cheese and dollops of ricotta, as desired.

Banana bread

YO YOU GUYS THIS IS THE BEST BANANA BREAD!!!!!! I know, because I’ve made a TON of them, and I am often found to be the person scrunching her nose, saying,”hm, needs more banana.” This banana bread does NOT need more banana. It’s practically banana pudding. In a good way.

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It is plush as hell. You know what’s not plush? My iphone case as my phone went careening onto the sidewalk and smashed into a million pieces. I know, poor me. And I deserved it. Here’s why:

  1. I have been getting A LITTLE SMUG about never having broken a phone in my history of phone ownership. More than a little smug. I needed to have it slapped out of me.
  2. I was flailing my arm with phone in hand as I emphatically called a Prius driver a dummy for bottoming out coming up a hill. Rude.
  3. My phone was in hand because I was playing Pokemon. Enough said.

So yeah it was earned. If it had fallen onto a bed of this banana bread, we wouldn’t be here. But we are here, down a few hundo and with this new headphone dongle that is annoying the crap out of me. But this bread’s best asset is not phone cushioning, it is mouth filling. So cram yours with this, you won’t be disappointed.

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BA’s Best Banana Bread
from Bon Appetit

SERVINGS: MAKES ONE 8½ X 4½” LOAF

INGREDIENTS
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar (I used a tad less, probably 3/4 cup)
⅓ cup mascarpone, plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, or sour cream
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
4 large very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1½ cups)
½ cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (optional)
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 8 ½x4 ½” loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar, mascarpone, and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend after each addition and scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Add bananas and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate and/or walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake bread until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 60–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan 1 hour. Turn out bread and let cool completely (if you can resist) before slicing.

Miso-garlic-butter chicken

Yes, I AM guilty of saving most recipes I see that prominently feature butter. I am always like, DAMN THAT LOOKS GOOD. Plus butter has that low-temp crisping thing that olive oil doesn’t, so I was hoping for some dope crispy chicken skins that I get to eat all of because husband doesn’t have a good taste for fat.

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However, I did not succeed in making the skin crispy, and the skin is like my favorite ever omg i love it so much. Mostly I am still running regular experiments with my broiler. I can’t tell if I need to have the oven door open for it to work? Or if the flames just peace out after it reaches a certain temp? It’s super confusing, and as a city-dweller without a grill, I use my broiler a lot to approximate that grilled-crispiness.

With some roasted veggies this was one of those fall meals that makes you feel all harvesty, like you’re wearing a plaid shirt and you can identify at least 5 types of squash and you aren’t yet sick of the color orange. Just mix a variety of veggies with olive oil and s&p and throw them in the oven at the same time as the chicken. You should!

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Miso-Garlic-Butter Chicken
from Emily Clifton of Nerds with Knives
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, approximately 2½ to 3 pounds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white miso (was mine white? I know not. perhaps it was yellow. does it matter? probs not)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 inch piece ginger, grated
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled but lightly smashed
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Black pepper, to taste
2 scallions, finely sliced, for garnish
2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, miso, maple syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and black pepper in a large bowl and mix until well combined.

2) Add chicken to the bowl and massage the miso-butter mixture all over it. Gently lift up the skin of each piece and, using your fingers, rub some miso butter under the skin. Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan or heavy oven-proof skillet, add the garlic cloves and place it in the oven.

3)Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, basting the chicken once or twice, until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature of the meat is 160 to 165 degrees. If the chicken is cooked before it’s brown enough, place it under the broiler for a minute or two. Watch carefully or it can burn.

4) Remove the garlic skins and mash them into the pan drippings. Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds and scallions and a spoonful or two of the garlic pan sauce.

Kale & sweet potato soup

OH MAN guys, I just got the CRAP knocked out of me by a very terrible cold. I made the mistake of ignoring it for a few days (it started on a Friday night and I was pretty hellbent on not letting it destroy my weekend), and it did not like that one bit. It came back and punched my straight in the face. Right in there.

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Anyway, today is the first day I’m feeling semi-like-a-human, though I am still breathing like a sorry-ass pug.

I made this soup because I also made the mistake of making myself banana bread yesterday (BEING SICK IS SO BORING) and I ate 3 slices of it for “breakfast” and was feeling a bit nutrient-deficient.

It’s good, it’s veggie, it’s awesome when you have spent 2 days on the couch not being able to breathe and/or nursing a burnt tongue dammit tea why are you never the right temperature?!

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Kale & Sweet Potato Soup
serves 4-6

1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
2 cups stock
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, sweet potato, and carrot and stir. Cook another few minutes. Add the white wine and scrape all the lovely brown bits. Cook a few minutes until liquid reduces slightly. Add stock and water and bring to a boil. Add kale on top and cover for a few minutes. When kale is slightly wilted, uncover and stir. Reduce to low and cover again, cook for 15-20 minutes until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender but not mushy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pumpkin bread (and a light diatribe)

You ever have the kind of work week where let’s say, hypothetically, you’re a lady, and you work in a mostly-male industry, and sometimes you have semi-idealistic thoughts that you consider to be valid business strategies (hypothetically, that if you focus on making good products instead of constantly optimizing revenue, you’re more likely to draw in NEW users because…you’re making shit that is useful to them), and you are constantly in meetings where (hypothetically) older white men treat you like you’re having a quaint thought, like, that’s nice girl but we men are BUSINESS MEN and we know BUSINESS and if you wanted to be idealistic you should’ve become a teacher, and then you spiral for a while thinking how frustrating the social stigma around teaching is and how it is ALSO treated as this quaint nice thing that (mostly) women do to make the world better but it’s not SERIOUS BUSINESS like all these SERIOUS BUSINESSMEN who are good at like fucking saying the word synergy over and over again???? YOU EVER HAVE THAT KIND OF WORK WEEK READER????????????

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Well I did. In fact, I have had a series of work weeks like that work week. One could say I’ve had that work CAREER. And so I made this pumpkin bread and thought REALLY LONG AND HARD about how even that plays into the stereotype of you being some cute whimsical woman but I don’t even care because this pumpkin bread is baller and one day all those serious businessmen are going to be on their deathbeds and all that time thinking up horrible lingo like synergy just won’t matter anymore and maybe they’ll realize it never did, and at least I created something delicious that people enjoyed and put it out into the world to be shared.

BIG DEEP BREATHS.

But also, make this bread (it is very good and moist and I lowered the sugar slightly and upped the spices slightly which I think was a great idea, humbly), and spend some other time trying to smash the patriarchy.

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Pumpkin Bread
adapted slightly from iamafoodblog who adapted it slightly from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch each of cloves and allspice (or more if you’re a spice-lover)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter with the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Stir in the pumpkin until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, mixing gently, until smooth.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking at the hour mark. Tent with foil if the top starts browning too quickly. Remove from the oven, let cool for 20-­30 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool completely.

I would recommend some salted butter or cream cheese up on this bitch.

 

Pizza for when you can’t bother to make dough a day ahead (aka always)

Because everyone in the world can agree that pizza is the best, AND because it’s so easy to make at home, AND because I just cannot ever have the foresight to prep for tomorrow’s dinner the night before, this recipe is a godsend. It’s definitely the best homemade pizza I’ve made yet, and I have made a LOT of homemade pizza.

The dough only needs about 1ish hour from start to finish, which means you can totally come home from work and start it at around 6:30ish and have a pizza by like 8, which is not unreasonable. Plus these guys cook in under 10 minutes, so really most of the work is dough rising aka me drinking wine on the couch and watching old Friday Night Lights episodes.

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During the first part of the dough-rise down-time, and because I am a crazy person who went to the farmer’s market the other week and purchased 25 lbs of dry-farmed tomatoes and spent a frenzied night canning them whole, I made some sauce with one of my tomato jars that didn’t seal in the canning process. This sauce was REALLY EASY and REALLY GOOD and probably my favorite pizza sauce I’ve ever made. My secret is having anchovy paste in a tube ready to go in my fridge — no fussing with those greasy little fishes in the tin can thing. Anchovy paste can be added to almost anything to get a good salty touch, and it works wonders with just tomatoes and garlic here.

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As for toppings I went buffalo mozzarella and basil on one and pepperoni on the other with some cheap-y shredded mozz. Both were excellent, both sprinkled with a touch of parmigiano reggiano and chile flakes. We baked them on our **new** and highly-recommended baking steel. The one thing to know about baking steel, however, is that it weighs a literal (figurative) fucking ton. For some reason I thought it’d be lighter than a baking stone. It is not and I am not sure why I thought that. It is a slab of solid steel. I think it came from a battleship. I am unable to pick it up with one hand. But it WORKS, even in the middle this pizza was nice and crispy on bottom. We also got a pizza peel and I was surprised at how EASY it made prepping/throwing the pizza in the oven. A LOT EASIER than doing it on a cutting board and having it stick to the cutting board and ruining the pizza when you try to get it into the oven and being sad about it. Much.

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Homemade Pizza Dough
from Food52
Serves 8 (I halved this recipe for 2 2-people pizzas)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of warm water (100 to 110º F)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) of rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
6 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 200º F. Once the oven has preheated, immediately turn the oven off. Combine water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Gently stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 5 to 10 minutes (once the top of the mixture begins to get foamy from one side of the bowl to the other, I know it’s done). On the lowest speed, turn on the mixer and add olive oil and salt. Slowly add in the flour (I usually add half the flour, let it incorporate slightly, then pour in the other half.) Increase to medium speed and mix the dough until it begins to form a ball and wrap itself around the hook, this step should take about 2 minutes. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for another 5 to 8 minutes. Make sure the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Flip the dough in the oil a few times to make sure the dough is evenly coated. Cover the dough with a tea towel to discourage a skin forming on the dough. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in the warm oven.

Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces (or cut the dough in half for 2 large pizzas, which serves 6 to 8 people total.) Use the dough immediately or freeze up to 3 months.

To Freeze: Whenever the dough has finished rising, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (each piece is 1 serving), wrap each piece in cling wrap and stack the covered pieces of dough into a labeled gallon-sized freezer bag. The dough will stay good for 3 months. When ready to use just take out however many individual balls of dough that you may need and let them come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours on the counter.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
adapted from Food52 (read the original recipe if you want, the guy is hilarious and v v italian)

INGREDIENTS
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
A good handful of basil (holding some leaves back to finish).
2 really good anchovy filets, salted or jar, just be sure they’re quality good (I used 1 tsp anchovy paste)
Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
Make the sauce. Chop your cool-io anchovies into bits. Likewise with your garlic clove. Simmer the above (and onions) in 2 tablespoons hot but good olive oil, shimmering but not smoking. Carefully add the tomatoes. You can squish them by hand if you want to help the process move forward. Season with salt and pepper to your ownself taste. Keep it loose. Push it through the medium plate of a food mill and hold/refrigerate until ready to use. (I skipped the food mill because I don’t mind a chunky sauce)

ASSEMBLING A PIZZA
by Me

Once the dough has risen, stick your pizza stone/baking sheet/battleship slab into the oven (on a rack near the top) and turn the oven AS HIGH AS THAT MOTHER GOES. I could only get to 550F but if you can get higher, get it.

If working with 2 pieces of dough, keep one under a kitchen towel while you form the other. Roll/stretch/form your pizza into a roughly 12″ circle (or however large you want them). Flour a pizza peel or a cutting board and set a dough circle on it. Lightly brush the edges of the curst with olive oil. Spread about 1/3 cup of sauce onto the dough. You want a LIGHT TOUCH with the sauce…otherwise, soggy pizza sad face. Sprinkle/spread your cheese (roughly 1/2-3/4 c or a ball of mozz), basil, pepperoni, and/or other toppings. Once your oven has preheated, transfer your pizza directly from the peel to the steel. Bake about 10 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and everything looks melty/gooey/bubbly. Repeat with 2nd dough (or do them at once if you have 2 baking stones). Sprinkle with a small handful of parm or some sharp cheese and a few chile flakes if desired. Let cool on a cutting board for a few minutes before devouring.

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Lettuce salad

I’m trying to think about what I can say about a salad called Lettuce Salad. It is not the most self-explanatory name of all time. And really salads usually ARE terrifically self-explanatory on menus, like I think the other day I ordered a This Salad Has 6 Beets 7 Walnuts and 1/4 cup of Goat Cheese Salad. But this salad is really not boring at all, and furthermore, I would argue it’s true that salad does not need lettuce to be a salad. Therefore calling out the lettuce is an appropriate clarification! HAVE I SAID SALAD ENOUGH??? SALAD.

So what IS this salad? Well it’s refreshing as hell, my friends. Like a negroni on a hot day (do people drink negronis on hot days? sometimes i just say things) The red endive (we used radicchio) is bitter, the radishes are spicy, and the capers are pungent. It’s a real trip around the taste bud world, at least the non-sweet side. It’s really good if you’re eating something rich, almost like a palette cleanser for anything fatty and meaty. (And remember that cabbage and onion torta from last post that I was waxing on about and you immediately went home and made? THIS is a great salad to go with that meal.)

This is ALSO a great place to use those homemade sun-dried tomatoes we made together the other week! The recipe calls for semi-dried tomatoes, but I did 1/2 sun-dried and 1/2 my homemade oven version. I found that to be very pleasing. If you don’t have 2 hours, I would just char some tomatoes quick in the oven and call that semi-dried tomatoes. I have not seen such a product in US stores and I don’t see the need to special order them. Now IF YOU WILL EXCUSE ME I have to go watch the presidential debate and make snarky comments like every other good American. Peace out.

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Lettuce Salad
from Plenty

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of gem lettuce (100g), leaves separated (we used butter lettuce)
½ head of curly lettuce (100g), leaves separated
1 red endive (red chicory), leaves separated (we used radicchio)
3 spring onions, green and white parts, sliced thinly on a sharp angle
20 radishes, trimmed and cut into 2mm thick slices (we used maybe 10 radishes…it was enough)
150g semi-dried tomatoes, whole or roughly torn (we used a combo of store-bought and homemade)
2 tbsp capers, whole if small or very roughly chopped

Dressing:
1 garlic clove, crushed
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
salt and black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add salad ingredients to a large bowl. In a small bowl or jar, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk/shake to combine. Dress salad, mix to combine, and eat.