foodstuffs

post66 // foodstuffs turns 1!

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hi guys and gals! today i’m celebrating something a lil’ special: foodstuffs’ first birthday! it was one year ago today that i launched this blog and i’m feeling quite nostalgic for all the fun i’ve had with it in the past year.

from launch day where i announced my big move to paris (and made some julia child croissants) to explaining french wine and all my incredible travels around europe this year (paris! london! amsterdam! normandy! lille!), this blog has been an incredible platform for me to share, cook, bake, and learn.

to celebrate what a year it’s been, i rounded up my reader’s top ten favorite foodstuffs recipes! and fittingly, the number one spot was narrowly clinched by a great recipe for celebrating, birthday sprinkle cake!


foodstuffs top 10 recipes of all time

  1. birthday sprinkle cake

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what’s more fun than making a cake and tossing sprinkles on it to celebrate? absolutely nothing (especially on your own birthday). inspired by christina tosi of milk bar and molly yeh of funfetti cake-dom, this cake is now a birthday staple in my kitchen. snag the recipe here!

2. dark chocolate chip cookiesIMG_1761

warm chocolate chip cookies are one of life’s best pleasures. amp up your standard recipe with dark chocolate chips and dark brown sugar like i do here for a richer, even tastier cookie. after posting this recipe, i received a lot of texts declaring just how good this recipe truly is. (*heart melts*) snag the recipe here!

3. avocado shrimp rollsfullsizeoutput_cc6

if one recipe could speak summer, this is it. after a big family party with leftover shrimp cocktail, i put the little shrimpies to use as the center of this roll. with easy-to-buy ingredients such as avocado, herbs, and mayo (don’t forget the potato chips!), this recipe is a simple lunch or dinner on a hot summer day. snag the recipe here!

4. homemade bagelsfullsizeoutput_b0c

want a fresh bagel in the morning? do you live in new york city? if you answered yes first and no second, this how-to is for you. and don’t be intimidated! this recipe is fool-proof. snag the recipe here!

5. fairground peanutsVersion 2

candied nuts are one of the best food gifts out there. you’ll see them more in the colder months but don’t underestimate their addictingly crunchy texture that’s perfect for your next dinner party’s aperitif hour. snag the recipe here!

6. saturday pancakes

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a go-to pancake recipe for weekend mornings is pretty necessary in my book. enter my easy pancakes, adapted from a classic martha stewart recipe. you’re ready for the weekend! snag the recipe here!

7. ricotta and tomato tartfullsizeoutput_fb0

tomato season is *almost* upon us so it’s time to get familiar with this recipe and add it to your repertoire. fresh ingredients are key to this dish so make sure you choose wisely at the farmers market or grocery store. snag the recipe here!

8. french crêpesfullsizeoutput_b2c

my crêpe-making skills have come a long way since this first post. maybe it’s time for a reboot? in the meantime, this recipe is a great place to start. and know that you can find the best crêpes in paris at breizh café and the best in france in the brittany region! snag the recipe here!

9. salted butterscotch apple pieIMG_1615

i made my own butterscotch! coupled with an all-butter pie crust and apple fruit compote, you’ve got pie perfection. this recipe also has a latticing how-to for pie decorating so it’s truly worth the read! snag the recipe here!

10. homemade french friesfullsizeoutput_c0d

humans and canines were big fans of this recipe. it’s always refreshing to learn what goes into something you eat at restaurants all the time. and for what it’s worth, french fries are very good in france as well! snag the recipe here!


so what’s next for foodstuffs??

i’m looking forward to more recipe creation in the year to come, much of which will be inspired by all the technical recipes and skills i learned while studying at cordon bleu.

and the kicker is that i’ll be working out of paris! i’ve just accepted a pastry externship at the ritz paris. “thrilled” is an understatement of my feelings right now. much like culinary school, i’ll be blogging about my experience over the next 6 months there. so stay tuned!


and last but not least, in this week’s other stuff:

the absolute cutest pajamas i’ve ever seen

just purchased a couple backdrops from these guys. looking forward to putting them to use!

this just got me. happy belated father’s day💛

oh and i have a new instagram handle! make sure you’re following @catherinekatemargaret

post34 // welcome to foodstuffs

hi friends. welcome to foodstuffs, my new blog!!! i hope you’re eating something good today.

it’s been a while since i last wrote and i’m so happy to be back at it. why don’t we play a little catch up…

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my old blog chronicled six months spent abroad eating in peru. it was there that i took my first cooking classes (in spanish 🙈), ate guinea pig, and told my friends and family all about peruvian cuisine via the interweb. i loved it! every sunday, i’d sit criss-cross applesauce on my bed and start typing and translating a peruvian recipe.

when i left peru, i went back to finish college in davidson, north carolina. to liven up the food scene there, i started working at summit coffee, baked my tail off, ate too much milk bread, and wrote a food column for the student paper. i even took a course in nutrition, which explains some of the way-too-damn-healthy recipes i have in my archives. i was lucky enough to land a summer internship at food52, the james-beard awarded culinary website, which led me to my first job out of school on their marketing team.

upon moving to new york city and starting life in the real world, my blogging fell off the wagon. i was busy! too busy! really, ask anyone who saw me my first six months in nyc. this was me. but now life has changed a bit! i just wrapped up two very full years in new york, and am living in washington, dc for the summer before heading to culinary school in paris this fall. you could say i’m excited.

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i’m sure you’re wondering why dough pictures are just creeping onto your screen without any acknowledgment or explanation. that dough is the beginning of my very first croissant bake! in preparation for my summer job at bread furst, a fabulous, james-beard winning bakery in d.c. that you must visit, i made homemade croissants! jokes on me though because i am now weeks into my work at the bakery and i don’t actually bake the croissants. instead, i bake loaves and baguettes all day with the bread bakers (pastry bakers cover croissants).

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regardless, i’m happy i made croissants from scratch because i learned that they take a very very very long time and are a hard thing to get right on your first try (#learning). i spent little time deciding on where to pull a croissant recipe. it was to be julia child’s croissants, the queen of french cooking (with english translation).

a quick google search pulled up this throwback video that made me appreciate how informational The French Chef was and what today’s cooking shows truly lack.

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i followed julia’s recipe to a tee and recommend that if you want an authentic and true french croissant, you do the same. making the croissants took a full day so i’d bookmark this adventure for a rainy weekend. the actual mixing of the dough is simple and straight-forward, with the most difficult part of the recipe coming towards the very end of your day (after multiple hours of folding and waiting). this part is the forming of the isosceles triangles, which you immediately roll into crescent shape. they won’t be perfect but if mixed and folded correctly, your croissants will be truly impressive. not to mention, buttery and flaky upon opening. what’s better than that!

below you can find the recipe fixings, special tools, and link to instructions for making julia child’s croissants. i also included a couple quick croissant recipe suggestions in case time isn’t your friend these days.

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and as you could guess from the title, this blog, while mainly about food, will also include snippets and tangents on other random happenings. here’s this week’s other stuff:

obsessed with (and basically want to eat) this lip balm in coconut (h/t my friend kate)

clicking spotify repeat button on this

currently reading A Revolution in Taste by Susan Pinkard. fun fact: Susan is my mom’s best friend and her use of the word foodstuffs was an inspiration for my blog name!

and for your information:

  1. : a substance that is used as food

okay, that’s all for today!! 👋


julia child’s croissants

makes 12 medium croissants

fixings

1 package active-dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup tepid milk

2 cups all-purpose flour, leveled (plus more for shaping)

3 tablespoons tasteless oil (vegetable, canola)

1 stick, chilled butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

special tools

plastic wrap

scissors

rolling pin (a wine bottle works too!)

baking sheet

instructions

for the full recipe and instructions, see Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2, or follow along with The French Chef video above.*


some quicker croissant recipe ideas:

croissants, martha stewart

homemade croissants, pure wow

and when all else fails, my friend caroline swears by Trader Joe’s overnight croissants


*most of my recipes are original or adaptations. for those that aren’t, i refer you to the original source where you can legally access them!

**i’ve transferred all my peruvian and nutrition recipes and blog posts over to foodstuffs. (hence this being post 34). have fun looking through the archives! 

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post33 // melting berry pie

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there was a lot to celebrate this past month, most notably my big brother rob’s move up to the big apple. i’ve been hoping he’d make the move since, well since i moved up here, and on saturday april first it came true! i was glad it wasn’t an april fool’s joke. he showed up with my brother jake and i showed up with the best thing i could think of: pie.

pie, pie, pie. we really love pie in my family. probably because i really love making it. on summer weekends together, pie is my baking project of choice. i run out of hands when i start counting the number of friends and family i’ve made pies with.¹ so it seemed only right that upon rob’s arrival, a pie would be a nice treat. not to mention, a really good mid-move snack.

fullsizeoutput_75fi had planned to make the pie saturday morning and bring it over to my brother’s new place that afternoon when they arrived. butttt my plans got a bit meddled after a night out on friday, spent very wisely at my favorite place in nyc: sid gold’s request room, which led to sleeping in on saturday.  who can blame me? needless to say, pie making was pushed a bit later in the day. and my brothers’ plans? they were actually arriving *earlier* than expected. not exactly what i wanted to hear. i got to baking right away.

two hours later and the brothers had arrived in brooklyn as i was just pulling out a hot berry pie from the oven. wow it looked good. but how the hell was i going to get this thing over there? i live seven stops away in manhattan requiring two trains to get to my brother’s new place. would i bring the pie on the subway? i thought about this. for like a second. hell no i was not taking a warm pie in the subway. how would i swipe my subway card and hold it? this pie was still hot so i would have to carry it on a cookie sheet. nope.

the pie didn’t make it on the subway. instead, i went with uber. i was already late anyways so hopefully a car would get me there faster.

fullsizeoutput_760my uber driver was not happy with my entrance. i had to ask a random man on the street to open the car for me and i didn’t really think through driving on nyc streets in a car with a liquidy, bubbling pie. as i sat clutching the pie plate so hard, the dessert spilled and leaked onto the cookie sheet. one big pothole and that pie would’ve leaked all over my uber driver’s car. and boy was he noticing. “is that going to spill??” he kept asking me. “everything okay?” came out of his mouth at each stoplight. i felt terrible, but what could i do! i needed to get the pie there! and i did. a few sticky fingerprints were left on my uber man’s car (sorry sir), but i made it and greeted my brother with a “welcome to new york city” shout and a pie shoved right into his face. a warm welcome right there.

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¹s/o to some special folks i’ve made memorable pies with: this thanksgiving apple w/ my mom, this lattice beauty with stella, this strawberry cream version w/ my dad, this low-res pie w/ yarbs (from my ig’s days of infancy), and this berry number showing off pie process with avh.


berry melt pie

makes 1 double-crust pie

fixings

pie crust:

2½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

filling:

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 cups fresh berry medley (i used strawberries blueberries, and blackberries but cherries, peaches, plums, and any other fruit will be delicious.)

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons sugar

special tools

rolling pin (or wine bottle!)

pie plate

instructions

pie crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  2. in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  3. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky—mostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  4. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  5. gather the dough in 2 balls, one slightly larger for the bottom crust. quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. refrigerate for an 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.

filling: 

  1. heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. in large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch and salt. gently toss with all the berries and let stand for 15 minutes. dump into the bottom crust-lined pie pan. fold the top crust over the pie plate and arrange strips in a lattice if desired! crimp edges and brush crust with milk, followed by a sprinkle of sugar.
  3. place pie in the middle oven rack and put a cookie sheet below it in case of leakage. bake 20 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. cover edge of crust with foil strips to prevent burning. bake 40-45 minutes longer or until middle part of crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. recommended: let stand 2 hours before serving (we know I didn’t do that…).

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post31 // sweet potatoes with thyme

DSC_0193Thyme-Infused Sweet Potatoes

Like many people, I have a sweet tooth. I love cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, cobblers, crisps, ice cream, floats, the list goes on and on and on. However, recently I’ve been trying to substitute these cravings of mine with smaller portion sizes and sugar I can benefit from. High in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable that should be added to your grocery list ASAP. Low in grams, one sweet potato contributes an extensive amount of nutrients for its percentage of the recommended dietary allowment (RDA). Also beneficial, sweet potatoes are high in amylopectin, a digestible type of starch.

If those scientific benefits didn’t lure you in, then this taste will. Littered in thyme leaves and a kick from red pepper flakes, these sweet potato rounds are full of flavor. I promise they’ll keep you full for a long time and if you make the whole recipe at once, you’ll be able to add them to meals throughout the week!

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Thyme-Infused Sweet Potato Rounds

Adapted from Kathryn Matthews, Epicurious

Materials:

Large bowl to mix

Cutting board

Knife

Vegetable Peeler

Cup/spoon measurements

Baking sheet or baking dish (13X9)

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

⅓ cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Extra butter or oil to grease pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Grease your baking sheet or dish with butter or oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients and toss in large mixing bowl.
  3. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet or dish.
  4. Place on middle oven rack and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.

post27 // fishing the ethnic out of davidson’s waters: a trip to brio tuscan grille

ImageEnsalata Caprese

Despite my enlivened fervor for baking these past months in Davidson, a couple weeks ago I found myself frustrated with food. After a whirlwind trip throughout Peru and its neighboring countries, I fastened onto my memory of the fresh baked tilapia I ate outside Lima, the same day it had been caught, and the culinary techniques I learned in my peruvian cooking classes. This frustration was real. I saw no source of ethnic and global cuisines in Davidson, North Carolina, what most consider an epitome of a small southern town. Furthermore, I viewed my own college campus as a homogenized blur of predominately white faces, a bubble filled to the brim with students who never popped through, never stepping outside the confines of the town of Davidson.

After one trying day, I popped through the bubble. With a loyal friend, I drove out of Davidson’s campus, out of the town of Davidson, out of the Lake Norman region, and into the greater Charlotte area. It’s not to say that I don’t love my school and college town, but at this moment I needed a wave of the outside, a sense that I could eat food from another part of the world, and that it would taste really good.

Granted, I did not go to Brio Tuscan Grille, an upscale Italian chain, with just anyone. Instead, I went with an Italian-rooted Californian, Carly Brahim, whose childhood consisted of eating authentic food made by her Italy-transplant grandmother, Nonna. Eating Italian with Carly was a cultural experience in itself, with her pronunciation of Italian specialities like “bruschetta” (the c is a k) wowing me, revealing her own knowledge of the Italian dialect and food gastronomy. She took control of our “Primi” menu orders, stating that with one Insalata Caprese, we should opt for the Calamari Fritto in lieu of Bruschetta so as to not overload on tomato-heavy dishes. I sat mystified by the rain of Italianess pouring out of Carly’s brain. After two years of knowing each other, I hadn’t realized the expanse of knowledge she kept hidden in her mind.

ImageCalamari Fritto

We each ate our fill, and I couldn’t help but cover this post in the beautiful pictures I was able to seize before our rapid consumption. Our Insalata Caprese was an inverse of most tomato and mozzarella salads, with mixed greens and basil served on top of a bed of thick mozzarella rounds and ripe tomatoes, beautifully plated with hefty dots of balsamic reduction for dipping. We enjoyed the salad alongside a Calamari Fritto, garnished with marinara and lemon butter sauces. Unable to finish both appetizers before our main dishes, we left the platters as pick-ons throughout the second course. I quizzed the kitchen, trying one of the Chef’s Specialties, a sweet potato and chicken risotto. Prepared with roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, pancetta, asparagus, parmigiano-reggiano, thyme, and pine nuts, the risotto was complexly delicious. A breadth of tastes enveloped my mouth each bite, which together equated to a nicely balanced collection meal. Carly stuck simple but classic with a Roasted Half-Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Mixed Vegetables. If that photo doesn’t make you want a slab of meat, I don’t know what will.ImageSweet Potato and Chicken RisottoImageRoasted Half-Chicken

Though we each battled through our main courses, we couldn’t consume it all, especially because we just had to try dessert! Veiled with a layer of hardened caramel, like that of a Crème Brûlée, I slowly made my way through the plate-long slice of Cheesecake. I know, I know, cheesecake isn’t Italian! But the New York delicacy sure did mark a sweet and full ending to our meal.

ImageCheesecake topped with Hard Caramel

Unfortunately, I can’t go to somewhere like Brio every weekend. I am a college student after all. Yet, the trip with Carly created a hole in my closed-off analysis of gastronomy in Davidson. I can access ethnic meals and experience food through a cultural lens in my small college town. I can eat bruschetta with my half-Italian pod mate, I can prepare Fufu with my best friend who hails from Accra, Ghana, or I can even get back to my Peruvian grub and cook Lomo Saltado with a friend from Lima. Yummy Twenties is aimed towards this mindset of global gastronomy, and I look forward to developing information so that twenty-year-olds like me, recognize their width of options.

 

 

post26 // a day with chef joel: where i gained an irreplaceable wealth of culinary knowledge

Imagewith Chef Joel Delmond and our Tarte Tatin

It all began on a warm Palm Springs night, under an umbrella-covered dining table where I sat languidly, dead from the parties of Mardi Gras that had slowly sipped the life out of my body. My mom and I sat in the chairs of Pinzimini, the new dining spot in the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Despite my normal rash approval of my mothers’ occasional wine offer at dinner, tonight, I declined. Yet, when our waiter circled back around, his news enlivened my drained sensibility. He pointed over to the corner of the veranda, identifying a tall man clad in a pleated tall pearly hat as a James Beard honored chef. For those of you lost as to what “James Beard honored” indicates, the James Beard Award is the highest of national culinary awards, typically referred to as the “Oscar’s” of the food world. While Chef Joel Delmond is not a recipient of this award, he has cooked in the James Beard House, a sensational recognition of its own. In this moment, my ears perked up like those of a puppy hearing the word walk. My mother and I immediately wrapped our friendly waiter into a conversation where we relayed my infatuation with all things culinary, the blog that I began writing in Peru, my obsession with photographing meals from every imaginable angle, and so on. Before I could add another detail about peruvian cuisine, the waiter had brought the amiable Chef Joel to our very table.

My mother, Chef Joel, and I began discussing my love of food, rummaging through the details of my ever-developing blog. In his impeccable English, dusted with a distinct layer of french inflection, Chef Joel spoke of peruvian gastronomy with a striking fluidity. Though soon to get back to the kitchen, Chef Joel did not leave without sharing his information and inviting me to bake with him in the coming days. We exchanged e-mails the next day and decided on an afternoon spent baking a Tarte Tatin, an upside-down apple tart from the Loir-et-Cher region of France, along the Loire River. I later learned that the tart originates from the Hotel Tatin, where the two sisters and owners, Stephanie and Caroline Tatin, famously baked the first Tarte Tatin, the result of a horrid kitchen diaster. Fittingly, Chef Joel hails from this specific part of France and after hearing my stories on peruvian cuisine, he was anxious to share a quintessential french dish.

My afternoon spent in the kitchen was beyond any of my expectations for baking the Tarte Tatin. Not only did I learn an irreplaceable amount of information on pastry-making from Chef Joel, but he elected other members of his staff to introduce me to their large-scale operations of sushi making, pizza dough molding, and the like. When I say other members, I allude to Chef Shawn Aoki, a former Iron Chef contestant. I could not then and still cannot fathom my luck!

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Rolling sushi with Chef Shawn Aoki

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Learning how to handle the pizza peel

By the end of the day, Chef Joel and I had two baked Tarte Tatins. During the assembling of the first tarte, Chef Joel took me on a detailed journey through the art of pie-crust making and caramelizing. He shared tips only a pro would know like how to flour your dough before using your rolling pin, what kind of surfaces you should use for specific actions, how to caramelize for different end results (looking for a sweet and light caramel or an almost-bitter type?), the list never ends.

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Letting the apples soak in water to keep fresh before baking

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Constructing the upside-down tart

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Top layer of the upside-down tart

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Rolling the dough between two sheets of plastic to keep the dough from melting or sticking to the pin

Both Tarte Tatins slowly evolved into beautiful, really striking pieces of culinary art. Smothered in buttery caramel, the apples congealed together in a perfect geometric form, seated upon a thick base of flaky pastry crust. After many Friday afternoons and Christmas seasons spent baking, I cannot say I have made such a beautiful dish as this Tarte Tatin.

With our finished product, Chef Joel and I took the fore-picture of this blog post, a student and instructor, both grinning happily at a Tarte Tatin well done. That evening, my parents and I ate our final meal in Palm Springs at Pinzimini, electing Chef Shawn’s Tasting Menu. We couldn’t have chosen a better meal and to cap it off, we each engulfed our hardy servings of the Tarte Tatin, brought out by Chef Joel himself. I waddled home in the eighty-five degree paradise, brain full with improved pastry techniques and a stomach wide with caramelized apples.

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The baked Tarte Tatin, before being flipped

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The flipped and final Tarte Tatin

Unfortunately, I do not have Chef Joel’s Tarte Tatin recipe for you yet. However, in the meantime I thought that Julia Child’s rendition will do. Bon Appetit!

Ingredients
For the Tart Dough:
3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed
For the Tart Tatin:
6 Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled and halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
11/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as accompaniment

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the flours, sugar and butter. Pulse 5 or 6 times in 1/2-second bursts to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately add the ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times. The dough should look like a mass of smallish lumps and should just hold together in a mass when a handful is pressed together. If the mixture is too dry, pulse in more water by droplets.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and with the heel of your hand, rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs into a 6-inch smear. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

Slice the halved apples into 4 lengthwise wedges each, and toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice and zest and 1/2 cup sugar. Drain the apples after macerating 20 minutes.

In a 9-inch skillet melt the butter over high heat. Stir in the remaining sugar and cook until the syrup bubbles and caramelizes, and turns a brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange a layer of apple slices in a neat pattern on the caramel in the skillet, then arrange the remaining apples neatly on top.

Return the pan to moderately high heat and cook for about 25 minutes, covering the pan after 10 minutes. Every few minutes press down on the apples and baste them with the exuded juices. When the juices are thick and syrupy, remove the pan from the heat.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a circle, 3/16-inch thick and 1-inch larger than the top of the pan. Drape the dough over the apples, pressing the edge of the dough between the apples and the inside of the pan. Cut 4 small steam holes on the top of the dough. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped, about 20 minutes.

Unmold the tart onto a serving dish (so the pastry is on the bottom), and serve warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tarte-tatin-recipe.html?oc=linkback

post25 // a culinary duel over the new orleans beignet: café du monde vs. cafe beignet

ImageCafé Du Monde ImageCafe Beignet

While my visit to New Orleans over spring break was incipiently established as a rite of passage through the famed Mardi Gras, I quickly realized that the trip was going to mean a lot more to me than college keg stands and bead-hunting. In a procrastinating research method during midterm week, I searched through endless website pages titled around the edible in New Orleans. “Must-eats,” “Where-to-eat,” and “City Guide to Eating,” were just three of the redundant headings that popped up as I scrolled down the Google and Pinterest search feeds. Though I’d visited New Orleans once with a high school program (see photo below), given my newfound food curiosity in tune with the excitement of Mardi Gras, I was biting to get down to the Big Easy.

ImageAge 15, eating beignets at Café Du Monde

During the four days spent in the city of cajun food and jazz, I was lucky enough to try two servings of beignets from the acclaimed Café Du Monde and the appropriately named Cafe Beignet. Both restaurants served outrageously rich versions of the Creole classic: fried pastry dough fritters drowned in powdered sugar that couldn’t help but dust your clothes with a layer of white film. As is appropriate for a culinary duel, I will detail the two beignet episodes.

My friends and I made a point to go to the Cafe Beignet on Bourbon street the morning after our first night in the city. There, we devoured an excellently greasy breakfast of egg sandwiches on croissant buns and crawfish omelets. The main course was followed by two rounds of beignets (a third round came a little later). The sugar-coated fried pastry was just out of the fryer, warm enough to make my fingers play hot potato until the treat was in my mouth. To be frank, you can’t really go wrong with fried dough, especially when you bring sugar into the mix. My friends who were first being introduced to beignet heaven savored every minute of their full-mouthed bites.

Our visit to Café Du Monde took place later in the trip, after a cab ride home from uptown on our last night in New Orleans. I was appalled by the fact that the next morning, I could leave New Orleans without returning to the renowned cafe where I tried my first beignet. Compellingly dragging my friends to the Café Du Monde off of Jackson Square, we had a few questions about the menu. Ironically, while Cafe Beignet offered more than beignets, Café Du Monde only served beignets and beverages. Despite some of my friends’ wishes for a fuller late-night meal, the beignets proved we chose correctly in staying put. If you’re going to have just one item on your menu, it needs to be good; and yes they were better than good. Café Du Monde’s beignets were hot like those at Cafe Beignet but proved to melt even tastier and gooier into my mouth after a few bites through the fried outer-layer. Covered similarly to those at Cafe Beignet in mounds of powdered sugar, our beignets that early morning were just the right pick for a quick snack. Sitting with my friends and eating at Café Du Monde was an unforgettable last treat to the Mardi Gras experience.

To be fair, both sets of beignets were sugarfiably delectable. In a narrow competition, the beignets at Café du Monde had an edge over those at Cafe Beignet. I recommend making a trip down to New Orleans one day to not only try the quintessential beignets, but also the  flavorful Creole cuisine—look-out, a post on the cajun cuisine is coming soon!