New Zealand + Beetroot and peppercorn spiced cured salmon with crispy kumara hash, poached eggs, and sweet beet relish

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In December I had a very special opportunity to visit New Zealand for the first time. We were there for two full weeks and stayed at friends homes and at various spots along the West Coast on the North Island and also a few days on the South Island in Queenstown and Wanaka.

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There were many cafes, restaurants, and even fresh-style yogurt shops where we had some very memorable meals. The food and lifestyle there felt so relaxed and laid-back and I loved that if you walked into any convenient food or coffee shop it would almost be guaranteed that you’d find a quiche or frittata thing set behind a glass case next to all the other amazing looking eats. Always a frittata! I love them. Also pretty rad to see the growing awareness of organics and focus on quality and originality in healthier ways throughout parts. It was chilly when we were there. And so windy! Halfway through the trip, I started ordering a soy chai latte at just about every coffee spot we hit up, on a kick. And oh man, those drinks! They are sooo good. I’m actually not a soy milk drinker, prefer almond or coconut but kept it easy and just went for it. Those cups were perfect with the weather during those days.

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There’s this inspiration I’ve been sitting on from our time there, though. The beaches, the sleepy surf towns we stayed in, the jams on the radio cruising through, our day at Oxbow in Wanaka, the rocky road, the people I met and friends we cooked with, the meals we shared. Our adventures and moments were so humbling to me. I made this a few weeks ago after it had been in the back of mind for a while. It’s a dish recreated from this cafe in Queenstown. Mount Cook beet-cured salmon with crispy purple sweet potato (kumara) hash, spinach, poached eggs, and sweet beet relish.

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Some pics off our phones from when we were in Wanaka/Queenstown/Auckland/Raglan and some beaches Muriwai/Ruapuke/Maori Bay

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I made a few changes to the original but still kept it super close to the way it was served that morning. Grated a purple sweet potato variety instead of a white or russet potato to make the hash. Used lots of citrus zest, some coriander and fennel seeds, and both red and chiogga beets in the beet cure. Also some honey and lots of black pepper and fresh dill for a spiced rub. The dish came together really well and the salmon stretched our meals out for a few days with snacks and other ways to have with eggs too. I wrapped some up in parchment to give to friends and had some solid feedback in a photo sent to me with a few slices over smashed avocado toast.

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Beetroot and Peppercorn Spiced Cured Salmon with Crispy Kumara Hash, Poached Eggs, and Sweet Beet Relish Salmon serves 6-8 // Hash dish serves 4

Beetroot Cured Salmon
2  to 2 1/2 pounds side of skin-on wild salmon, scaled and filleted, pin bones removed, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground whole black peppercorns
Zest of 1 lemon, orange, and lime
2 cups packed and finely grated raw red beets, (from about 3 medium beets) – I used both red and candy striped Chiogga beets
1/4 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped

Honey Glazed Peppercorn + Dill Spice Rub
2 tablespoons freshly ground whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons runny honey

Sweet Beet Relish
1 medium red beet, cut into 1/4 by 2-inch sticks
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 pinch cinnamon 1 pinch ground cloves

Hash + Eggs
1 large sweet potato, coarsely grated – I used a purple variety
1 large egg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch smoked paprika (optional)
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling and frying
4 large eggs for poaching

To Make the Salmon
Over a work surface, place the salmon skin side up and make a few small cuts evenly over the skin to reveal the flesh below. Turn the fish over onto a plastic wrap lined baking sheet large enough to lay the salmon skin side down. In a medium mixing bowl, mix to combine the grated beets, salt, sugar, spices, citrus zest, and dill. Spread the mixture over the salmon and firmly pack it onto the fish. Wrap the entire baking sheet in plastic wrap ensuring the fillet is covered tightly. Place another baking tray on top of the salmon. Weigh the tray down with few heavy items such as unopened canned foods or jarred pasta sauce. A brick wrapped in foil works great. Leave to refrigerate for 48-72 hours. *I cured mine for two days. Once cured, unwrap the fish and gently scrape off the beet mixture. Rinse the salmon under cold water and pat dry. In a small bowl, mix to combine the ground peppercorns, chili flakes, and dill. Using a pastry brush, brush the salmon lightly with honey until evenly coated. Scatter the spice mixture over the fish, pressing the dill and spices into place. Chill and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap until ready to serve.

To Make the Beet Relish
In a small saucepan, combine the beet sticks, water, vinegar, honey, salt, mustard seeds, and spices and cook over medium until the beets are tender and the sauce has reduced into a glaze coating the beets. Set aside and let cool.

To Make the Hash and Eggs + Assembly
Bring a medium saucepot of salted vinegared water to a boil. In a small mixing bowl, beat an egg, add the grated potato, and season with salt, pepper and spices. In a large skillet, add the olive oil over medium-low heat. Gather a loose 3/4 cup or handful of the grated sweet potato mixture and press into the shape of a flat patty, about 4-5 inches round. Place the patty in the pan and press down. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, checking for doneness and crispiness. While the hash rounds are crisping and the water is up to a full boil, poach the eggs until the whites are set and wound into teardrop-like shapes, with the yolks still super soft. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the poaching liquid and set in a holding dish. Place the hash rounds on plates and garnish each with a few spinach leaves dressed in lemon juice and olive oil. Thinly slice and portion the salmon and arrange 4 to 5 pieces over each round. Spoon the beet relish within a few pockets along the slices. Top each with a poached egg, season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and serve.

sour cherry and semi-sweet chocolate rugelach

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Sweets

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I love to walk into Jewish bakeries and fine pastry shops and just stare and feel inspired. I went to culinary school in upstate New York a few years back and would take the train into nyc almost every weekend. I fell in love with treats like these and all the rugelach towers that decorated many pastry shops there.

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A few weeks ago I made this batch of treats for a special couple to take with them on a trip to Australia and ended up snapping some shots of the process. I made a small untraditional tweak by adding goat cheese to the dough instead of cream cheese. They were super good as always. The cherry guys were my fave by far, but the chocolate were equally as nice, just a bit more decadent.<3

happy valentines day.

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SOUR CHERRY AND SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE RUGELACH – Goat cheese dough // Makes 16-18 large cookies

Dough
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces goat cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Filling + Topping
6 ounces (roughly 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or around 61% cacao pieces
8.5 ounces cherry jam or sour cherry spread
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar (optional)
1/4 cup whole walnut halves, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
2 teaspoons water

In a large bowl beat together the butter and goat cheese until well combined. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough in a ball and shape it into a rectangle disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º with oven racks placed in the upper-middle positions. Line one 18″ by 14″ inch cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water on low heat. Melt the chocolate, stirring until it’s smooth, warm, and entirely melted, being careful to not let it get too hot. Stir together a 1/4 cup brown sugar, the walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the dough onto a generously floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thin 25″ by 16″ inch rectangle. With a pizza cutter or knife, trim the excess cracking edges to shape straight edges.

Spoon the jam filling onto one half of the dough and spread with an offset pastry spatula to cover the entire half surface of the dough, all the way to the edges. Finish the other half side with the melted chocolate and smooth out evenly just the same. Optional, sprinkle the chocolate side with 1/2 cup of the brown sugar evenly over the top, this will make for a less dark chocolate tasting cookie. Either divide the two filling surfaces by cutting down the middle or leave it as is in one piece. Working from the bottom edge of the dough, slowly roll the dough into a tight pinwheel until one evenly long roll is formed.

Cut about 16-18 equal slices with a serrated knife and place onto the prepared sheet tray seam-side down. Brush the cookies with an egg wash of one beaten egg with 2 teaspoons of water. Apply the cinnamon sugar-walnut topping by lightly packing it against each slice. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the jam and chocolate have set and the tops are golden brown. Some of the cherry jam will release from the rugelach while baking leaving a thin sweet tart candy-like layer around some of the cookies. Save that stuff, it’s a nice snack. Let them cool and serve.

The cookies can be stored in airtight container up to 1 week.

 

chocolate-rugelach

 

romanesco and christmas lima bean salad

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salads / sides / vegetarian

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Once I made this last week I wasn’t sure what it was. It’s a bean salad with shreds of bitter radicchio and vegetables throughout, but it’s also almost like a super chunky, citrusy bean and veggie salsa. Or even a vegetarian taco filling that could go with avocado and fixings. We snacked on it with chips. The next night we even used the leftovers to put on top of another salad we made haha. Overall, it’s really bright, delicious, and the romanceso and bean combination is a really good thing. We added a few soft boiled eggs to it too just because.

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My boyfriend and I like to cook together as much as we can. We eat the same. Mostly veggies, eggs, some fish, no meat. Lots of coffee, tea, Greek yogurt, Skyr. He’s so into food too. Sometimes he’ll bust out his dehydrator and make us raw treats. His “Mattyroons” made with macadamia nuts and coconut butter are incredible.

So, for an xmas gift, I picked up this big (20 pounds) box of heirloom beans thinking it would be a funny thing for us to get into. We’ve made a few awesome meals so far. A soup. Ragout with pan-fried halibut. And now a salad. Off to a good start.

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If Christmas limas are not in reach, any bean that cooks up firmly and holds its shape is ideal for a bean salad. Sturdy beans like flageolet, and runner beans like scarlet runners, or cannellini would also work really well.

There isn’t one single best method of cooking beans in my opinion. When you’re in a hurry, you may want to use a pressure cooker. At the most basic though, you want to simmer in a Dutch oven, in a pot over the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker until the beans are soft, which can take 1 hour or even 3 to 4 hours depending on the age of your beans.

ROMANESCO AND CHRISTMAS LIMA BEAN SALAD WITH CITRUS DILL DRESSING //  Serves 4

1/2 pound dry Christmas Lima beans, rinsed and soaked in water 2-6 hours (If using a pressure cooker, soaking is not needed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium sheet hand-harvested wild kombu (optional) -this helps improve the flavor, texture and digestibility of the beans
1 head romanesco, broken or cut into 1-inch florets
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tangerines or oranges, zest removed from one, 3 tablespoons of juice squeezed and reserved for dressing, and the remaining cut into clean supreme segments or wedges – (I used Sumo tangerines, they are super sweet and not that sour)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 head radicchio, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
4-6 large soft-boiled eggs, (optional)

To prepare the beans:
Rinse and drain the beans and soak covered in water anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Drain and place the beans in a large saucepot and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of salt and add the sheet of kombu to the pot. Bring to a boil and drop the heat to a low simmer until the beans are cooked through, tender, holding their shape. This can take anywhere from 1-2 hours or more depending on the beans. Remove from heat, carefully discard the kombu, drain, and set aside.

To make the salad:
In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the romanesco florets until bright green-and slightly tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the romanesco to an ice bath to cool. Drain well, and pat dry.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon and tangerine juices, zest, honey, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continually until the dressing comes together. Taste to adjust for seasonings.

Add the onion, bell pepper, romanesco, radicchio, beans, and tangerine segments to the dressing and sprinkle in the chopped dill and parlsey. Using a large spoon, toss gently until the dressing is generously coating the salad. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with soft-boiled eggs and at room temperature or chilled. This salad is delicious the next day after good marinating time. However,the romanesco florets significantly lose their color from the acid in the dressing. Best served within 2-4 hours.

 

french onion soup

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soup / vegetarian

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FRENCH ONION SOUP // Serves 4 to 6

7 large yellow onions, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons mushroom bouillon (I used better than bouillon organic mushroom base)
2 quarts water
4-6 slices day-old sourdough bread or whole-wheat bread, each sliced 1/2 to 1-inch thick, toasted
7 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated or sliced thin
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the onions, olive oil, butter, and salt in a 4-quart sauté pan or Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-high, spread the onions over the bottom of the pot, and cook without stirring until the bottom of the pot begins to turn brown, about 5 minutes. Stir the onions with a non-abrasive spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and deglaze the pot, stirring to pick up any remaining browned bits. Continue cooking until the browned fond forms again. Scrape and deglaze the pot with another 1/2 cup wine and repeat the process 3 more times until the onions have slowly turned a deep caramel hue.

Add the bouillon to the onions and stir until evenly coated. Pour in the water, bring the pot to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until the soup is seasoned well from the caramelized onions, about 20 minutes. Taste to adjust for seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 400º. Arrange ovenproof bowls over a rimmed baking sheet and ladle the soup into the bowls filling them almost to the rims. Place a slice of toasted bread onto each serving and top with the Gruyère. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes, season with ground black pepper and serve.

caramel apple blackberry pie

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Sweets

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CARAMEL APPLE BLACKBERRY PIE WITH A HAZELNUT BUTTER CRUST
Makes one 10-inch double crust pie

FOR THE CRUST
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick + 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup hazelnut butter, *(can be substituted with equal parts dairy or other nut butter)
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times just to combine the ingredients. Scatter the butter and hazelnut butter into the bowl and pulse just until the flour starts to form pea sized pieces. The mixture will be somewhat of a coarse meal.

Combine the water, vinegar and ice in a small bowl and set aside.

Turn the coarse flour out into a bowl or over a work surface and sprinkle over the ice water mixture a few tablespoons at a time. Use your hands to form the dough into one mass. Shape the dough into a disk, divide in half, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. The dough can be frozen up to 1 month.

FOR THE FILLING
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pounds large Granny Smith apples (about 5-6), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges
1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious or other baking apples (about 4-6), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges
1 1/2 pounds fresh blackberries (about 5-6 cups)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water)
Demerara or Turbinado Sugar, for sprinkling

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until the caramel turns golden brown, whisking throughout and scraping the sides of the pot every so often, about 10 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat, sprinkle in the salt, and slowly whisk in the cream. Thoroughly whisk together until smooth. Set aside to prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, combine the apple slices, blackberries, lemon juice, and sugar. Toss to coat and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first piece of dough into a 12-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick and place it into a 9-10-inch pie pan. Secure the dough to the walls while ensuring there’s an even overhang off the edges of the pan.

Drain the apples and blackberries of any excess liquids. Sprinkle in the flour, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt to the fruit mixture and gently mix to incorporate. Place the fruit into the prepared pie shell, evenly pour over the caramel, and lightly toss to distribute.

Roll out the second piece of dough into a 12-inch circle about 1/4-inch-thick. Take a pizza cutter or large knife and cut the dough into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Assemble the lattice on top of the pie. Prepare the crust’s crimped edges by pinching both the excess bottom pastry as well as the overhang from the lattice strips into a crimped edge that sits along the rim of the pie plate. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fix racks in the middle and bottom positions of the oven and preheat to 400.

Brush the top of the pie with an egg wash to coat and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until set and lightly browned. Lower the oven temperature to 350 and place the pie on the middle rack to continue baking for another 30-40 minutes until deep golden brown and the apple and blackberry juices are bubbling up around the edges. Let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with ice cream.

The pie will keep refrigerated for 4 days or covered at room temperature for 3 days.

couscous salad

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salads

Cous Cous Salad with Green Tomatoes, Melon, and Black Olives wit

TOMATO, MELON, AND BLACK OLIVE COUSCOUS SALAD + ORANGE YOGURT DRESSING // Serves 6 

Recipe published by Food and Wine, contributed by Sarah Bolla

SALAD
½ cup dried cherries
¼ cup orange juice, room temperature
1 box couscous, about 1 2/3 cups, dry
2 cups water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ pound ripe green cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cantaloupe, quartered and sliced very thin
½ cup radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup sun-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

DRESSING
1 cup sheep’s milk yogurt, or whole milk yogurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 oranges, zested, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

PREPARE THE SALAD
In a small bowl, soak the dried cherries in a 1/4 cup of orange juice to cover. In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt just to a boil. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous lightly with a fork to break up any large pieces and set aside to let cool.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE DRESSING
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Reserve in the refrigerator. Quarter the tomatoes and slice the melon and radishes paper thin, place in small bowls and set aside. Coarsely chop the olives and then the parsley. Drain the cherries of their soaking liquid. Add the chopped parsley and cherries to the saucepan of couscous, and lightly toss to distribute throughout. Transfer the couscous to a large serving platter and top with the tomatoes, thinly sliced and swirled melon ribbons, olives, and radishes. Fetch the dressing from the refrigerator, spoon over the salad, and serve immediately.