Category Archives: Food

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Treat // Browned Butter Brussels Sprouts with maple syrup cranberries

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is that this holiday is the ultimate excuse to try out new and delicious recipes. I know, it’s supposed to be all about tradition, but I think it’s so much more exciting to test out a new menu and fall in love with shiny new dishes.

I fell in love with brussels sprouts a few years ago, and I don’t know why they get such a bad rap. I avoided brussels sprouts because it seemed like the thing to do. Nobody likes brussels sprouts, right? But once I gave them a chance I discovered that they’re delicious and one of my favorite veggies. I’ve roasted them, sauteed them, shredded them, and it always comes out wonderfully.

This year, I think I may have discovered my all time favorite brussels sprouts recipe.

Browned butter. Maple syrup. Cranberries. Shallots. Thyme. Orange zest. Ginger.

On top of olive oil roasted brussels sprouts. How could that not be delicious?? Here’s the recipe for all you fine folks who are looking for last minute additions to your Thanksgiving table. Adapted from Dean Fearing’s recipe for Food & Wine Magazine.

4 pounds brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 400°.
Toss the brussels sprouts with the olive oil and a healthy sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Roast for about 30 minutes until crispy and dark brown. Don’t overcook though, mushy brussels sprouts are the worst.
While the sprouts are roasting, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger and orange zest in a saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries have broken up and the sauce has thickened.
Next, cook the butter over medium heat until it starts to turn golden brown and the smell becomes irresistibly botterscotch-y. Should take about 4-5 minutes. Add the shallot and thyme and take off the heat.
Combine the butter with the cranberry sauce and stir it all together.
Once the sprouts are ready, combine and toss with the sauce.
Season with an extra sprinkling of salt.

Taste and experience the deliciousness.

If you try this recipe, comment and let me know how you liked it. And I hope you all have a wonderfully belly bursting Thanksgiving.

December 9, 2011

New Orleans // The Food

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to New Orleans and whenever people asked me about the trip afterward, I just kept saying: “I was SO full the whole time”

So much to eat, so little time. And since I haven’t done a food photography post in awhile, here’s a little glimpse into some of the great food we had while in the Big Easy.

At John Besh’s Restaurant August…
New Orleans Restaurant AugustNew Orleans Restaurant AugustNew Orleans Restaurant August

At the famous Cafe du Monde…

New Orleans Cafe du Monde beignets

March 29, 2011

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have never been a huge fan of cookies, because most tend to me hard and brittle. I’m more of a cake and brownies kinda girl. But since The Boyfriend happens to be a self-proclaimed Cookie Monster, when I saw this recipe for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookies from America’s Test Kitchen, I had to give it a try.

The thing that appealed to me was that the hosts of ATK acknowledge the current reigning champions of chocolate chip cookie recipes (the famous Tollhouse recipe, and the New York Times recipe from famed City Bakery and adapted by Mr. Chocolate himself, Jacques Torres) and tried to do it even better. I’ve stuck to the recipe for the most part, with a few adaptations here and there.

The results? Perfectly chewy and moist in the center, deliciously crunchy around the rim, and a rich deep toffee flavor that pretty much turned me into a cookie convert. SO. GOOD.

Your cast of characters:

INGREDIENTS for 16 Cookies from America’s Test Kitchen
* 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
* 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
* 1 teaspoon table salt
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 large egg
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate chip disks from Ghirardelli, and I did try a batch with those but found them to be way too bitter. But that’s just me, I’ve never been a fan of bitter chocolate. So I used Ghirardelli’s semi-sweet instead.

Step 1: Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the baking soda and flour and set it aside.

Step 2: Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a skillet on medium high heat until the butter starts to foam and brown up. You want the butter to develop a dark golden color, but be sure not to burn it! The smell should be incredible, a rich nutty aroma which usually takes me about 3 minutes to achieve. Turn off the heat and add in the remaining butter and whisk until it’s melted. Pour your delicious buttery concoction into a heat proof bowl.

Browned butter is amazing. On everything. I bet browned butter could make a piece of plastic super tasty.

Step 3: Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to your bowl and whisk until everything is incorporated. Next add the egg and yolk and whisk until smooth. Now here’s the interesting part. You’re going to let the sugary buttery mixture stand for 3 minutes to let the sugar really dissolve into the mixture. I usually tidy up the kitchen while I wait. Then you’re going to whisk the mixture again for 30 seconds, and then let it rest again for 3 minutes. Repeat 1 more time until your mixture is smooth and shiny. There’s all sorts of chemical and scientific reasons why this makes for a tastier cookie. I’m not sure what those reasons are, but I know they exist. Next, mix in your flour and make sure to smooth out any clumps. Add in your chocolate chips and make sure everything is nice and blended.

Optional (but recommended) Step: I tried letting one batch rest for an hour in the refrigerator before portioning out, and I think that batch came out better than the unrested batches. Not necessary, but I do think it added a little something to the depth of flavor.

Step 4: Divide the dough into 16 portions, which is roughly 3 tablespoons, or you can make life easier by using an ice cream scoop. ATK recommends the #24 cookie scoop. You’re going to bake the cookies in two separate batches. So 8 cookies per batch. This is IMPORTANT! Baking the batches at the same time makes for uneven cooking.

Step 5: Bake 1 tray of cookies at a time until cookies are golden brown with the edges set, but the centers still a little puffy. 13 minutes is perfect for my oven. Set the cookies on racks to cool before serving. You really want to let it cool so that you can get that crispiness from the edges.

And there you are, the perfect chocolate chip cookies. If you want to be fancy, add a sprinkling of fleur de sel to the top of each cookie before serving. It sounds weird, but trust me, it adds a great little kick of saltiness.

If you’re like me and you’re afraid that having too many of these cookies around just in case you “accidentally” find yourself surrounded by a pile of crumbs, having eaten through the whole batch by yourself, share them with your friends and family. They’ll love you for it. I took this idea from Martha Stewart, and packaged up the cookies into CD sleeves. Then printed up some stickers using mailing labels to seal them in. Tuck in a little wax paper or something to soak up any excess oil and you’re good to go. Ingenious, right?

And off they go to new homes and tummies.

Happy Baking!

July 28, 2010

Something a little different

romanburger3One of my favorite things to photograph, ever since I first got my DSLR, has been food. On a consistent, day to day basis, I probably take more photos of food items than I photograph anything else. So I thought I’d share a recent food photo, and a recipe to go along with it!

Last week, I tried a “Roman” Burger from Acme Burgerhaus in San Francisco. The flavors were unlike anything I’ve ever had in a burger. It was so good, I tried my hand at replicating the burger and I think they came out great! The trick really is to use fresh ground beef, instead of frozen or pre-packaged ground beef. The fresher the better.

    The Roman Burger (Recipe for 2)
    Half pound of freshly ground beef
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 minced garlic cloves
    2 tbsp of chopped sun dried tomatoes
    2 tbsp chopped onion
    1 tbsp of oregano
    Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Mix everything together and then form into patties. Cook on a grill (I used a cast iron grill on the stove top) for about 3 minutes on each side, top with cheddar cheese, arugula, and some grilled red onions, maybe a little mayo or ketchup and you’re all set!

Trust me, this burger is DELICIOUS. Not sure if I’ll ever go back to cooking regular burgers after having made this one. Enjoy!