Arsip Tag: scallion
On Monday, I went foraging. Well, urban foraging, that is, at the Greenmarket. I set out to find these mythical local provisions that many of you have assured me now exist in New York City, things like ramps and aspargus and even strawberries and I’m now convinced that someone is playing a mighty joke on me.*
But no matter, I found freshly grown scallions and maybe they don’t have the pearly pink skin of fresh rhubarb or the mysterious promise of morels, they might be waved off by fancier people than me as a ubiquitous circa-1970s garnish, but they make me happy. Part herb and part baby onion, recently from the ground they’re amplified, with more green freshness and more bite. I like ’em raw, I like ’em cooked, I like them instead of chives (which, amusingly, I found but they looked terrible; foiled again!) as a garnish and I like them especially in my biscuits.
Yes, biscuits again. No, I do not believe that a single website can have too many biscuit recipes. There are sweet biscuits and savory biscuits, rolled and cut biscuits, patted down and wedged biscuits and dropped from a giant tablespoon biscuits and I have room in my larder for all of them and now even one more: blue cheese drop biscuits.
Because I’d started with a cheddar biscuit recipe, I had all sorts of doubts about this blue cheese whim of mine — Does blue cheese bake well? Will it just melt and trickle away? Will it taste a little funny? I had so many doubts that I halved the recipe, which as you all know, is the beginning of almost every sad kitchen tale. Guaranteed, any time I halve a recipe I will live to regret it. And right now, with the smell of baked and browned cheesy heaven and fresh green onions softened in a broiling oven bouncing off my apartment walls and me making a face like the baby when he spies something delicious coming towards him, I know I’ve made a terrible mistake. Don’t do what I did; make the whole batch; then scramble up an egg, crisp up some bacon and have breakfast for dinner tonight.
One year ago: Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes and Sausages
Two years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
Three years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad
Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits
Adapted from Gourmet
These are everything a good drop biscuit should be; super speedy to make (one bowl!), with a golden craggy crust and soft interior. I (only) made a couple changes to this. Based on responses on the original recipe, I added an additional scallion and because I completely missed the ingredient when I read the recipe, I didn’t add the baking soda. And they were still fluffy and delicious. But I bet they’d even be more so with it.
If you’re blue cheese-averse, you can make this with an equal volume of coarsely grated cheddar.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk (or, you can make your own)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in blue cheese and scallions. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined.
Drop dough in 12 equal mounds about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet, or one lined with parchment paper. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 16 to 20 minutes.
Do ahead: Biscuits are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, drop them onto your baking sheet, freeze them until they are firm, and place them in a freezer bag or container until you’re ready to bake them. They can be baked while still frozen (straight from the freezer), you’ll just want to add a few minutes to the baking time.
It’s a fairly accurate indication of how charmed my life is these days that I considered the act of having to choose what I would make to bring to a New Years Party tomorrow difficult. If makes you wonder what I’d consider easy — which spa gift certificate I should use first to get a manicure before the party? Whether I should wear the earrings from this year’s or last year’s little blue box to the party? Which jet to take there? It’s all in a day of the glamorous life of a food blogger. Ahem.
In the last year, I’ve made a lot of jabs, mostly in my own direction, about how much various projects that I thought I’d handle like a pro have in fact kicked my ass — in order, those would be: a toddler, a cookbook, trying to have evenings and weekends work-free for Fun Family Things (even if they’re, like, “Let’s go buy mama more conditioner and eat warm pretzels along the way!”) and this weird blend of feeling like I have absolutely no time for myself while also spending too much time by myself. We are definitely not going to discuss how many hours I have spent this year wondering how anyone ever gets dinner on the table/keeps an apartment clean/gets any sleep/takes vacations… all while looking cute. Nope, definitely not that either. But if you could read through the self-deprecation and exhaustion, I always hoped you’d figure out that I was, am, totally blissed out by this life I ended up with. This gig — 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, this beast and all — is pretty sweet and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I hope next year involves more of the same, with a little more travel and a lot more hanging out with people like you.
Back in the party snacks department, tiny meatballs will always win. No disrespect to spiced nut mixes, pickled things, deviled eggs and rich, fancy things on toast, what tiny meatballs have on all of them is that they feel like a little meal, and not just an additional layer of indulgence. Seeing as I lack the coordination these days to tuck in a wholesome dinner before heading out, it’s always my secret hope that the party will have things that look less like potato chips and more like an adorable replica of something with sustenance. This year, I’m bringing my own. The recipe hails from the Canal House Cookbooks, Volume 3. I went on and on about my love for them last year, and it hasn’t abated. In fact, now I even get a daily dose to
make my lunch feel inadequate swoon over. These meatballs are from an early volume and it took me way too long to make them. I imagine they’d be as welcome at a Chinese New Year Party in January. They come together pretty quickly and unlike most meatball recipes, which require browning and then simmering or baking, they only require the one step to cook.
I hope whatever your New Years plans may be that you have a grand one, with lots of little bites, big kisses, and that someone makes you these in the morning.
Two years ago: Walnut Pesto and Spicy Caramel Popcorn
Three years ago: Pecan Sandies and Sugar-and-Spice Candied Nuts
Four years ago: Caramel Cake
Five years ago: Russian Tea Cakes and Coq au Vin
Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze
Adapted from Canal House Cooking, vol. 3
I fiddled with the recipe a bit, using less cilantro and ginger than called for and cooking the sauce for much longer than suggested, in hopes to make it a true glaze that would hang onto the sides of a dipped meatball. I almost dialed back the sugar, but once the glaze was all reduced, I ended up liking the sweetness to balance out the salty kickiness of the soy and ginger.
Note: This recipe is gluten-free if you use a soy sauce that is labeled gluten free. There were many options on the shelf at the store.
Yield: The original recipe suggest 24 but I got 34. This pleased me.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce, preferably Japanese or reduced sodium
1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peeled, chopped ginger (I used half and it tasted like plenty to me; adjust to your preference)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 whole black peppercorns (no, I did not count how many I put in there)
1 pound ground turkey
4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped
Half bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) (the cilantro-averse can use flat-leaf parsley)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sesame oil, toasted if you can find it
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Make sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar melts completely. Reduce heat to a medium-low and add soy sauce, mirin, ginger, coriander and peppercorns. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes, though this took me a bit longer to reduce it until it was syrupy enough that I thought it would coat, and not just dribble off the meatballs. You can keep it on a back burner, stirring it frequently, while browning the meatballs in the next step. Once it has reduced to your satisfaction, strain through a sieve.
Make meatballs: Mix turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of black pepper in a bowl. I like mixing meatballs with a fork; it seems to work the ingredients into each other well. Roll tablespoon-sized knobs of the mixture into balls. The mixture is pretty soft; I find it easiest to roll — eh, more like toss the meatballs from palm to palm until they’re roundish — meatballs with damp hands.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, generously cover bottom of pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding, place meatballs in pan and cook, turning, until browned all over and cooked inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange on a platter (a heated one will keep them warm longer), spoon a little sauce over each meatball, and serve with toothpicks. Alternatively, you can serve the glaze on the side, to dip the meatballs.
Do ahead: The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated until needed. If needed, you can rewarm or keep the meatballs warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve. I’m storing mine in the fridge overnight and crossing my fingers they’ll taste fresh tomorrow.
I have a lot of feelings about lunch boxes, none of them especially genial. But as this teeny tiny person that I only just recently brought home from the hospital, barely able to utter a “beh” and now able to fill a 2-hour car ride back from a beach house with all the words every uttered (hm, wonder where he gets it) begins kindergarten this week, and will do so with a lunchbox in hand, I’ve realized that the only way to move forward with my grouchy feelings about lunch boxes is to air them here, in this town’s square, and then move on.
And so here goes: I, Deb Perelman, resent lunch boxes. I resent that my friend Valerie can send her children to a French summer camp where they are served hot lunches (just the basics, like blanquette de veau, omelette aux champginons and, oh, a galette du rois) on real plates daily and the best my child can hope for is stuff like this. I resent that we don’t prioritize filling our children’s bellies with nutritional, balanced meals that will fuel them their growing bodies and brains through long school days, and that only parents with the means to (time or financially) can provide wholesome alternatives. I resent that I’m looking down the barrel of a decade or more of this, every single school day. And I resent that, on top of all this, if our summer months of packing lunch boxes for camp were any indication, at least half of the food will come back uneaten because a whole lot of places that ostensibly have children’s best interests in mind feed them cookies or crackers with ingredient lists as long as this blog post and juice in the middle of the morning as a snack, sometimes just an hour before lunchtime.
And I know how terrible this makes me sound — whining about being lucky enough to have lunch options, problems which, believe me, I am very grateful to have — but I am a person that needs to vent, I need, yes, to also be allowed my tantrum (hm, wonder where he gets it), before I can move on and now I’m ready. Because life, as I’ve tried to explain with limited success to my (sniffle) kindergartener, is not about what you like and want as much as it is about how you handle what you dislike and don’t want.
Plus, I wanted to tell you about this one thing that’s actually worked, if “worked” can be defined as coming home with an empty lunch box, asking for it again the next day and then even receiving an email from the teacher asking for the recipe because it looked so good. I am not sure I will achieve such great lunch box heights again, so we’re going to run with this. It was, of all things, the spinach strata I shared a few years ago as the perfect brunch dish for a crowd. Cubed bread, beaten eggs, milk, and a hearty helping of spinach and cheese cook together into a savory bread pudding that is nothing short of a dream for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. It’s also surprisingly packed lunch-friendly: it freezes well, reheats well and holds this warmth for hours. I figured that I was providing him with the grilled cheese sandwich he’d rather subsist on, while throwing in some protein, calcium and green vegetables that make me feel triumphant, or at least like I’m doing a passably okay job at this parenting gig, uh, today.
But it’s still summer out so I believe that this dish needs a winter’s-not-coming-yet lunchbox update. To get us ready for the big week ahead, I used a whole-wheat sourdough bread (miche), lots of sweet summer corn, sharp cheddar cheese and scallions. Unlike the spinach version, no sauteeing or even heating of ingredients is needed — you’ll just chop and assemble. You set it in the fridge overnight or at least for several hours and bake it when you’re ready. It can then be kept in the fridge for the rest of the week or frozen in foil-wrapped squares slide into a larger freezer bag, perfectly portioned to easily be reheated in the morning before school. The other sections of his lunchbox are usually filled with kid-approved fresh stuff: cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and sometimes even a couple thin slices of salami. In an ideal world, the lunchbox will return empty and there will be no pre-dinner hangry meltdowns that result from mostly skipping lunch. But in the one where I actually live, we’re also going to need some after-school snacks for big and small people alike. More of that, soon.
New Category: Lunch! Lunch boxes may be more specific, but these are things that I think can work for all ages — whether you pack one for the office or just hope to have something easy to reheat at home in the middle of the day. I’m just populating it now; let me know if you think a dish in the archives is a great or beloved candidate for inclusion. Thanks!
Lunch Box Strategies: I’d love to hear about yours — what’s worked, what flops and how you managed the daily part of it without wearing out. I need tips!
One year ago: Butterscotch Pudding and Pink Lemonade Popsicles, and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Two years ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake
Three years ago: Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar
Four years ago: Fresh Tomato Sauce and Peach Shortbread
Five years ago: Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Six years ago: Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs, Dimply Plum Cake and Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
Seven years ago: White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Corn, Cheddar and Scallion Strata
Adapted from Gourmet’s 2003 spinach strata
I buy whole wheat sourdough in quarter loaves (which clock in at about or just under 1 pound) from the Le Pain Quotidien chain or Balthazar, inexpensively. Balthazar distributes to many grocery stores, as well. A baguette or country bread will also work here. You could deliciously replace the parmesan with a crumbly salted cheese such as feta, ricotta salata or queso fresco; use just 1/2 to 2/3 cup instead. In the spinach strata, 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard are whisked into the egg mixture and it’s wonderful. But I (hangs head in shame) couldn’t resist replacing it here with a less earnest ingredient — mayonnaise. Obviously, if you loathe mayo, you should skip it or just use the Dijon. But if you like it, you probably already know how good it is with cooked corn and cheese.
Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh corn (cut from 3 small-to-average cobs)
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (both white and green parts from a 4-ounce bundle)
8 cups whole wheat, country or French bread in 1-inch cubes (weight will vary from 10 to 14 ounces, depending on bread type)
2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely grated sharp cheddar
1 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional, see Note up top)
2 3/4 cups milk [note: several commenters have said that they find prefer it with only 2 cups milk]
1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons of a coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Generously butter a 3-quart baking dish (a lasagna or 9×13-inch pan works well here too). Toss corn and scallions together in a medium bowl. Combine cheeses in another bowl. In a large bowl, gently beat eggs and mayo together, then whisk in milk, salt and lots (or, if measuring, 1/2 teaspoon) of freshly ground black pepper. Spread one-third of bread cubes in prepared baking dish — it will not fully cover bottom of dish; this is fine. Add one-third of corn, then cheese mixture. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, corn and cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake strata, uncovered, until puffed, golden brown and cooked through, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Do ahead: Strata keeps baked in the fridge for 4 days or longer in the freezer, wrapped well. It reheats wonderfully, either from the fridge or freezer and holds up well in lunch boxes.
What makes a recipe great? In my head, there’s a list of ten things and eight of them are different ways of saying the first one, which is “It works.”
- It works.
- For everyone. In every kitchen.
- Without requiring an advanced cooking degree or preexisting mastery of obscure techniques.
- Or voodoo.
- Definitely not prayer.
- It explains what you need to do in the clearest language possible.
- It anticipates where most home cooks might struggle. If something is a game-changer — i.e. it will kill the recipe if you don’t adhere closely to a step — it will warn you.
- Did I mention that it needs to work? Because it doesn’t matter what you’re making or who gave you the recipe or how transcendent it was at the Michelin-starred restaurant that night, if the recipe printed in a publication intended for home cooks doesn’t work for most of us at home, it sucks as a recipe. It leads to bad meals, bad moods and take-out. A recipe flop is about the worst way to spend your limited free time. It is a 100% guarantee that you’re not going to feel like cooking next time you have a chance.
But once we get the 8-point plan sorted, there are two additional things that are less essential, but raise the simple act of food prep/nutrient dissemination to something special.
- It improves upon what you already thought you knew to expect from a dish, and/or does it in a way that you hadn’t considered before.
- It tempts you to make something you didn’t even know you wanted, just because it sounds so good.
For me, the last one is the elusive part and kind of the holy grail. Of course, the recipe has to work. Ideally, it’s going to add something new to the cooking conversation, and not just be a derivative of stuff already covered to death. But my favorite recipes are the ones that shake me from my cooking ennui, that make me want to drop everything and get in the kitchen; they take all drudgery out of the repetition of lunchboxes and weeknight dinners. An unexpectedly good dish from an unexpectedly good recipe can make the best of the worst (or creepiest) day.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week* as I’ve been reading through the new Genius Recipes cookbook from Food52’s Kristen Miglore. I’ve been a fan of the column from its 2011 inception, when it set out to highlight recipes that change the way we cook by involving an unexpectedly simple technique, debunking a kitchen myth, or applying a familiar ingredient in a new way. Narcissistically, I’ve enjoyed that the column is a natural kin to this site, as it has highlighted many recipes I’ve chosen to here as well for similar reasons, like Marion Cunningham’s Essential Raised Waffles, Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Ginger Fried Rice, The River Cafe’s Strawberry Lemon Sorbet, Moro’s Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini, Diana Kennedy’s Carnitas, which Homesick Texan’s version credits as inspiration, oh and (ahem) a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen itself, Mushroom Bourguignon. But the book doesn’t stop there, so if you’ve loved these recipes as much as we have over the years, you’ll equally enjoy the 80+ more featured I haven’t even gotten to yet.
Of all that tempted me, and there were many, I went for the simplest and most kid/husband-pleasing last night: Bert Greene’s Potato Scallion Cakes, to which I added kale, not, for once, because I was trying to coerce the kid into eating more greens but because I’m the one who’s fallen off the iron wagon. Greene was the New York Daily News longtime food columnist, cookbook author and he even had a gourmet take-out store in the Hamptons long before Ina Garten. This recipe showed up in 1984’s James Beard award-winning Greene on Greens as a simple way to give new life to leftover mashed potatoes, which tend to be floury and not especially pleasant to rewarm. These are their highest calling — a golden, crisp-edged flavorful fritter that would be as welcome with a crispy egg on top for breakfast at any time of the day, to a side dish for something more hearty (flank steak and kale salad for us, see above: iron!). Could you put cheese in them? Could you add more thinly shaved vegetables? Could you freeze them for future meals? Could you tuck them in a school lunchbox? Yes, yes, yes and yes, and you should.
* This Thursday: At 7 p.m., all 1.5 of me will be on a panel with Dorie Greenspan, Kristen Miglore and Michael Ruhlman discussing exactly this — what makes a recipe great — at the 92nd Street Y (Lexington Avenue at 92nd St) in celebration of the release of the Genius Recipes cookbook. If you’re around, I hope you can stop by and join the conversation. [This is a ticketed event. Details and ticket sales over here.]
One year ago: Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways
Two years ago: Ramp Pizza
Three years ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Four years ago: Crispy Potato Roast
Five years ago: Classic Cobb Salad and Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce
Six years ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns and Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper
Seven years ago: Caramelized Shallots and Peanut Sesame Noodles
Eight years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Homemade Harissa
1.5 Years Ago: Apple Slab Pie
2.5 Years Ago: Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
3.5 Years Ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas
Potato, Scallion and Kale Cakes
Adapted from Bert Greene’s Greene on Greens and Food52’s Genius Recipes
There are a lot of scallions in this recipe for such a small amount of mashed potatoes, and the original recipe has you cook them until tender in boiling water to reduce their bite. I did this because I like to follow a recipe to the letter when I make it for the first time, but if you’re undaunted by a sharper bite of scallion, you could skip this, or just use fewer scallions. I added a “handful” (I’m sorry, I didn’t even weigh it; I don’t know me either) of kale leaves, basically 3 lacinato leaves, stems removed and cut int very very thin slivers/chiffonade. I think a handful of any greens you have around would be lovely here, or another vegetable, if not too wet (some salted and drained zucchini, perhaps?). I don’t, unsurprisingly, keep a supply of leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge and made this from makeshift ones: 3 small/medium yukon gold potatoes, boiled until tender, and mashed/riced while warm with some butter and buttermilk and seasoning, less than I’d use if serving them solo. I let them cool before adding them to the batter.
Yield: About 14 to 15 pancakes
12 scallions (mine were very thin; I’d use fewer if yours are on the thick side)
1 handful kale leaves, rolled in a stack and sliced into very thin ribbons
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I totally skipped this)
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (use less if your mashed potatoes are already seasoned)
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko (plain and lightweight)
1 1/2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Clean and trim the scallions, leaving about 2 inches of green stems; I reserved the darker green tops for garnish and salad additions. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, wring out well, and chop finely. Place the scallions in a medium-sized bowl, add the kale, eggs, nutmeg (if using), salt, pepper, bread crumbs and potatoes and stir to combine. The batter will be loose and wet; this is just fine.
Heat the oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Use about 2 tablespoons batter (I used a cookie scoop that holds slightly less) per pancake, flattening them as they hit the pan. Cook until golden brown underneath, just a couple minutes, before flipping them and cooking them on the reverse side until golden and crisp as well. Drain on paper towels, but be gentle as they are still fragile. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while cooking off the rest of the batter, adding more oil as needed and letting pan cool between batches if it gets too hot.
Serve scattered with reserved scallion stems, if desired, topped with a crispy egg or alongside a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. They also make a wonderful meal with a big salad. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days