Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Carrot za'atar muffins and lavender kumquat compote

Za'atar--the spice blend of dried thyme, sumac, salt, and sesame seeds--is one of my new favorite flavor profiles. It has that satisfying, almost-umami-y savoriness, with a dash of nuttiness from the sesame seeds and a hint of exoticism from the pucker-y sumac. Of course, after playing around with za'atar in all of the savory dishes I could think of for a while, my eye naturally turned to the dessert possibilities. (Since, you know, I love mixing savory notes into my desserts.)

Here's the result of my first venture: carrot za'atar muffins. To call these a sweet dessert is sort of a misnomer, actually. These muffins are perfect for breakfast because they're just barely sweet. Instead, they're hearty, from the whole wheat flour and shredded carrots, and za'atar fits in perfectly by spicing up the mixture in a more sophisticated way than the traditional cinnamon-and-carrots combo would. To go with, I made a sweet, loose jam-like compote of kumquats, with a woodsy hint of dried lavender (not enough to really tell it's lavender, but enough "darken" the brights of the kumquats). The result: a traditional sort of breakfast with a surprisingly non-traditional blend of flavors-- the perfect way to wake up your taste buds for a new day.

Find the recipe here, on the Anthology Magazine blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Citrus Dessert Re-issue

It was brought to my attention by a reader recently that (sadly) the recipes that I did for Anthology's Holiday Gift Guide a year or so are no longer online! So, I'm re-issuing them here in a more permanent home on the blog. Even though it's not the holidays anymore, citrus season is still going strong, so maybe these recipes will get some love this year after all. And if not this year, there's always bookmarks! ;)

Below are three recipes, based around a few of my favorite citrus fruits: orange rosemary bundt cakes with dark chocolate glazemeyer lemon pecan cookies, and a blood orange-grapefruit white chocolate tart (gluten-free!). Grab your citrus squeezer and zester, and let's go!

Read on for recipes...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bar Tartine Secret Recipe for 7x7, and more recent news

Back in November, I successfully defended my dissertation. All of the summer and the autumn months leading up to November 5 (aka: D-Day) were wrapped up in this cocoon of thesis-ing. Then, as soon as I passed the defense, it felt as though the whole world exploded back into my life. The weekend immediately after D-Day, I was on a plane to Boston for a conference. Then came a month of bouncing back and forth between Los Angeles and the Bay Area for more work. Then another work trip to Minnesota, right before the Polar Vortex hit. Then, then! I started teaching at Berkeley! As a faculty member! Okay, okay, albeit this is just a visiting teaching position for the semester.... but still! For someone who grew up in one of the most underprivileged public school districts in California, getting to actually teach at a University of California campus is kind of like the highest honor. You know, public school pride. :)

In other exciting news, the day after my dissertation defense, I got a super exciting call to shoot for San Francisco's 7x7 magazine--you know, the magazine that basically has its finger on the pulse of what's cool in SF. For their recent February issue, I got to shoot Bar Tartine's famous smoked potatoes dish. AND OMG, you guys, you HAVE to try making this at home. And if not the potatoes, than at the very, very least, the black garlic vinaigrette that goes with these potatoes. Basically, as Chef Nick Balla explained to me, when developing the dish, they tried to pack as much umami flavor as humanly possible into one bite. The result is one of the most intensely flavorful things I've ever eaten. I seriously wolfed down two plates of this stuff as soon as we finished shooting, and then asked if they'd ever consider making the dish into potato chip form so that I could continue pigging out on it at home. At Thanksgiving, I made the black garlic vinaigrette and poured it over a side dish of toasted Israeli couscous, toasted walnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and dried apricot slices. So. Good.