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Hagarita -  the love of cooking and sharing food

Cooking with my father - part two

Its bone marrow time!About a year and a half ago, just a few days before I started working at The Breslin, I had dinner there with my father. Both of us ordered the bone marrow onion soup. neither of us was overly impressed and then he made a promise, that in due time he will teach me how to make what he was calling "real bone marrow". The time has finally arrived, and for my farewell meal he shared with me his bone marrow roasting recipe. Bone marrow is something I was avoiding for years, for obvious reasons, I like to Believe. It's fatty content always seemed unappealing to me. Then when I finally had some, I wished I have done so years earlier. When roasted correctly, bone marrow is the perfect companion for a nice slice of bread, scooped out and spread on a toast. finger licking worthy.

Starting by pre-heating your oven to a medium-high heat, place the bones in a baking dish, marrow part up, and sprinkle some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika.

place them in the oven for about 20 minutes, watching closely to ensure they aren't going over and melting into oil. You know they are ready when the bone is nicely colored and the marrow looks like it starting to char.

oh my god, these are the yummiest little things!!!

Amy B was here this weekend for a very short minute, and that was a great reason to cook and celebrate. On Sunday as a part of our way to convince Roi to come and help us with an ongoing bathroom renovation, and since Amy was in town, I cooked an elaborate brunch featuring these little cheesy puffs, called gougères, savory cheesy pastry puffs. oh my, they are so delicious.Being the gruyere lover that I am its sorta hard to be objective about any food that has this fantastic swiss work of art in it, but pairing these little yummies with some poached eggs was simply delightful, and it didn't require too much work either (it is rare for me to go for recipes that do...). It doesn't require using a mixer, nor it won't break your hand mixing it.

makes 8-10 servings

1/3 cup (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper pinch of cayenne pepper 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) all-purpose flour 4 large eggs 3 + 1 for brushing 1 1/2 cups (6 oz/185 g) shredded Gruyere cheese

pre-heat oven to 425°F (220° C), line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, salt, white pepper, cayenne, and 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water and bring to a boil. cook, stirring, until the butter melts, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and, using a wooden spoon, mix vigorously until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. remove from heat. break 1 egg into the pan, using the wooden spoon, beat it into the batter until combined. repeat with additional 2 eggs. whisk in 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) of the cheese.

dip a teaspoon into a glass of cold water, then scoop up a generous teaspoonful of the batter and push it onto the prepares baking sheet with a fingertip. repeat with the remaining batter, spacing them 2 inches (5 cm) apart and dipping the spoon each time to prevent sticking. brush the tops off with an egg and sprinkle with the remaining of the cheese.

bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven temp to 350°F (180° C) and bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes. remove from the oven, pierce each one with a wooden skewer, and then return to the oven. turn off oven and leave the gougères in the oven for 10 minutes. serve at room temperature

Bon Appetit!

Brussels love

Last week while making brussel sprouts I was wondering how come I never tried to recreate my favorite brussel sprouts dish yet, that one I have every time I go to Alta, charred sprouts served with apples, pistachios and creme fraiche.Well, luckily It's still the season for brussel sprouts!

You will need about a pound of brussel sprouts, an apple (I like to use Fuji), 1/4 cup of apple cider, 1-2 tablespoon creme fraiche and a 1/4 cup pistachios, I used almond since I didn't have any pistachios. pre heat oven to 425°F Cleaning them is simple, if you cut the bottom part of the leg and therefor the bottom of the top few leaves they will come off easily. Then, cut them in half, length wise and add to a very hot cast iron with about 1 tablespoon of oil, a little salt and pepper, toss them around and place in the oven. I like to burn them a little, I find that it adds sweetness and a much-needed crispiness to this veggie. In the mean time, over a medium heat in a small sauce pan, reduce 1/4 cup of apple cider to about 2 tablespoon worth, slice half an apple to thin slices and cut to desire size and chop a hand-full of almonds.

Once the brussel sprouts are out of the oven arrange them in a serving dish, sprinkle the almonds/ pistachio over, mix in the apples and drizzle the apple cider reduction. top it off with some creme fraiche and that's it! enjoy this delicious treat.

Bourekas

Bourekas are little pockets of goodness, made from puff pastry and filled with mushrooms, potatoes, cheese or really whatever you want to fill them with.For dinner last night we decided to go light, we had a bag of mushrooms that needed attention, left over from NYE when we never got to cook them, and two frozen sheets of puff pastry. Bourekas can be served in different ways, I like serving them with a hard boiled egg, pureed tomato and some Labane with za'atar.

Potato, mushroom and onion Bourekas: makes 18 pieces

you will need 1 potato, 1 onion, about 15 mushrooms of your liking, thyme, parsley, 1,4 cup white wine, 1/8 cup half and half,  butter, oil, salt and pepper and egg wash. I also like to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Start by cooking the potato and then mashing it add some butter (1 tablespoon) and set aside. Take the dough out of the freezer and set your oven to 400. Slice the onion and saute in a pan until starting to color, add slices mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of butter, add thyme, salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes and add wine. cook the alcohol off and add cream, cook together, adjusting taste, for a few minutes until most of the liquid is gone. mix together the potato with the mushrooms and add about 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, taste and adjust.

If the dough is still frozen let it sit until completely thawed, then sprinkle with some flour, and cut into 9 squares, try to keep the at the same size. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling on one side of the square, away from the edges, brush edge with egg wash, fold over and press sealed, first with your fingertips and then with a fork. once all the bourekas are ready, place on a baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in the oven for 15-17 minutes. keep an eye on them as baking time may vary, once the are puffed and golden in color take them out and let cool.

happy holidays, braised fennel

fennel is one of the earliest food i can remember, it seems like it was always on our dinner table, for the most part served chopped, raw in a lemon dressing. i always liked the flavor of fennel and its hairy leafy part as well, it has that anise like flavor, and though i'm not at all into licorice i am very much into fennel.there are many dishes you can make with fennel, i have been dreaming on fennel ice-cream ever since someone at the coop was telling me about her experiments with an ice-cream maker, but on my plate today, something a little less time-consuming: braised fennel. braised fennel is delicious, charring it before you braise it will bring out some hidden sweetness and will take it to a much happier place.

i start by taking the tops off, saving the leafy part for garnish, then slicing it length wise in order to keep the bulb sort of intact, then i gently toss it in olive oil, salt and pepper and place it in a hot cast iron to grill it, flipping about 4 minutes in or when it turned brown, for a total of 8-10 minutes. if you need to work in batches do so, don't over-crowed the pan.

once all pieces are nicely charred place them back in the pan and add about 1/2 cup of white wine, let it boil for a minute or two and add equal amount of chicken or veggie stock, salt, pepper, some chili flakes, a few threads of saffron and the juice of half an orange or 1 meyer lemon. cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes until fennel is soft.

garnish with some beautiful fronds.

Eat more pie!

Yesterday Aoife and I decided on a trade, she will make me a very needed cake/pie serving dish and I, in return, will make her pies. Sweet and savory pies. First pie to be exchanged: leek, goat cheese and mushrooms (with a little bit of sun-chokes).I bought a beautiful Leek at the coop a few days ago that has been begging to be cooked, and so as soon as I got up I started working on it. Tart dough is simple to make and it is by far more rewarding then buying a frozen pre-made crust. The fun thing about baking pies is that you don't have to be so accurate, often when baking there is not much room for making up stuff as you go. With pies, however, I find that I have a lot more room to play with quantities and ingredients and that is exactly how I like to cook. I actually had some sun-chokes that needed to be used and so I peeled them, sliced them, cooked them in some milk and stuffed them in the bottom of the tart.

Stay tuned for more pie recipes over the next few weeks, and feel free to suggest ideas for pies I should make for the clay master and her chef lover.

Dough ingredients:

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut to cubes
  • 6 tablespoons ice cold water

Mix flour and salt in a bowl, add butter and mix until the butter pieces are pea-size. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix with your fingertips. Do not over work the dough or it will become hard. Wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Make the filling:

  • 3lbs leek, white part, thinly sliced
  • 15-20 mixed mushrooms, cremini, oyster, shiitake, brushed cleaned and chopped coarsely
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • 3 oz creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

* if you want to use potatoes or sun-chokes as well, peel and slice them and then cook in milk or cream for about 20 minutes until soft.

In a frying pan melt the butter and add the leek. Cook until leek is translucent, about 5 minutes, add thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 the salt, 1/2 the pepper and the chicken stock. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Make sure not to brown the leeks. Uncover and cook for about 15 more minutes until all juices are almost gone. In a separate pan melt the remaining butter and add the mushrooms and, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have released their juices. Place the leeks in a bowl, discard the nay leaf and mix in goat cheese and creme fraiche.

On a floured surface roll out the dough. Butter a 9" pie pan and line with rolled dough, fill with the leek mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust and leeks are starting to turn golden. Place mushrooms on top and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Baked Asparagus and Potato cakes

Last Night we had Aoife and Greg over for dinner, on the menu: some bread, cheese and olives, baked asparagus, chicken in red wine and chestnuts and potato cakes (latkes).Baked asparagus is one of the easiest side dishes to make, and it is always delicious. Aside from the fact you have  to peel the skin of the asparagus, a task that can get a bit tedious at times, it is a quick and easy winner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pint heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese, or a mix of both
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon or chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Direction:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. gently peel off the skin of the Asparagus with a vegetable peeler, making sure you are not taking off to much of the flush
  3. in a bowl mix together cream, garlic, paprika, half of the cheese, chili, salt, pepper and half of the bread crumbs
  4. place Asparagus in a shallow baking dish and pour mixture over it, mix with your hands to insure the mixture is coating the asparagus in all layers
  5. mix the remaining cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle on top
  6. cover with baking paper and foil and bake for about 30 minutes
  7. take off foil and bake uncovered 10 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden

In the spirit of Channukah we also made some potato cakes, these little fried devils are so tasty its is basically impossible to stop eating them. They are pretty simple to make, the one thing you must pay attention to is squeezing as much of the liquid out as you can, that will assure you will get a nicely crisped potato cake. As far as a recipe goes for these ones, I usually sort of eye-ball everything when I make them, mostly because  you have to adjust the amount of the eggs and flour according to how wet the potatoes are, but here is a basic recipe to give you an idea of what to do.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups peeled and shredded potatoes, stored in cold water until ready to use. I use either white, russet or Yukon gold, you can use any kind of potatoes you like
  • 1 medium onion, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • black pepper
  • I had some Parmesan and Gruyere , mix left over from the baked asparagus so I added it in as well
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. drain potatoes and squeeze as much of the water as you can
  2. in a bowl, mix all ingredients together
  3. heat oil, about 1/2 inch in depth, in a cast iron or your preferred frying pan
  4. take a spoonful of the mixture in your hand and squeeze it to get as much of the liquid out, then place it in the hot oil and flatten it a little with a spoon or your fingertips
  5. flip the cake over once it start browning
  6. take out of the oil and place on a cloth or paper towels to soak access oil
  7. serve warm with creme fraiche or sour cream