Sunday, March 31, 2013

onion apple focaccia

onions and apples may not sound like the most obvious combination, but they make a perfect topping for this whole wheat bread recipe. they go together nicely as the onions caramelize and the apples sweeten as they bake. both sweet and savory, the toppings give this onion apple focaccia recipe a rich flavor.

start off with a full tablespoon of active dry yeast. because this recipe is no-knead and has a quick rise, the extra yeast will help give it more volume. proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water and a pinch of sugar for 10 minutes.

while the yeast proofs, add 2 tbsp of olive oil into the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan. make sure to grease the sides well and let the rest evenly pool at the bottom of the pan. it may seem like a lot, but you will be grateful later when your bread releases from the pan and has a golden crust.

measure out your flours. i used a mix of both traditional red whole wheat and white whole wheat flours to avoid a heavy bread. i weighed them out for the most accurate measurement.

once the yeast is foamy, add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. mix on medium speed for 1 minute.

the dough will be very sticky at this point, resist the urge to add extra flour because this could make the bread dense. add the dough to the oiled pan, and spread it out to the corners, oiling your hands if the dough is too sticky.

once the dough is in the pan, you will let it rise and puff up for about 45 minutes - 1 hour.

next up, prep the toppings. cut the onions into even sized strips by cutting off the top and bottom of the onion, cutting it in half, and then into strips.

heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan, then add your onion strips.

cook the onions on medium low heat until they start to turn golden brown, about 12 minutes. a minute before you take them off the heat, add in 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.

while the onions cool, slice the apple as thinly as you can, about 1/8" is ideal.

once the dough has puffed up in the pan, use your fingers to make indentations all over the bread.

drizzle olive oil over the top and spread it as evenly as you can.

layer the apples first, then the onions on the top.

bake for 35-45 minutes. the apples will be cooked and the bread will have a golden brown crust.

to prevent the bread from becoming soggy, remove it from the baking pan and let it cool on a rack.

keep any extra wrapped in plastic or tupperware for 2 days.

makes 12 - 3"x3" pieces of focaccia
based on : no-fuss focaccia and onion focaccia

no-knead whole wheat focaccia with yellow onions and apples

dough ingredients:
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 pinch sugar
6 oz whole wheat flour (1.5 cups)
8.75 oz white whole wheat or all-purpose flour (2 cups)
1.25 tsp salt
1.5 cups warm water, divided (about 110 degrees F)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp olive oil for pan

topping ingredients:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, sliced
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small sweet apple (like golden delicious), sliced thinly (1/8 inch)
extra olive oil for drizzling


1.   combine 1 tbsp active dry yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with 1/4 cup of the warm water and 1 pinch of sugar. let proof for about 10 minutes.

2.   once the yeast looks foamy, add the remaining ingredients and water to the bowl. mix with an electric mixer for 1 minute until it forms a sticky dough.

3.   pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a 9x13" pan. coat the sides and bottom of the pan. press the dough evenly into the pan and press it all the way to the corners. let sit, covered, in a warm place for 45 minutes-1 hour.

4.   while the bread rises, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. add the onion to the pan and saute until it starts to turn golden brown, about 12 minutes. during the last minute of cooking, add 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and stir.

5.   when the bread is puffy, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. use fingertips to create indentations across the bread. drizzle olive oil evenly over the top surface.

6.   layer the sliced apple and caramelized onions over the bread and bake for 35-45 minutes. the bottom should be golden brown, and the apples will be cooked.

7.   let cool on a wire rack, and cut once bread is cool.


- you should be able to sub instant yeast for the active dry yeast in the recipe. just skip the proofing step.

- if you are unsure of the temperature of the water, you can use an instant read thermometer to make sure the water is around 110 degrees F.

- i used a round cookie cutter to cut the core out of my apple slices

Sunday, March 24, 2013

carrot parsnip soup with soy glazed shiitake mushrooms

spring has officially sprung - although it is still below 40 degrees here in nyc with snow forecast for tomorrow. a bright and vivid carrot parsnip soup is a warm yet colorful meal while we transition from winter to spring.

start off by peeling the carrots and parnsips.

cut them into roughly equal sized pieces - about 1/2 inch rounds.

i bought my shiitake mushrooms at the market. wash them by rinsing gently then patting dry or wiping with a damp paper towel. 

drizzle a tbsp of olive oil over the carrots/parsnips, mix to cover and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. sprinkle with salt and pepper.

roast in the oven for 25 minutes until the carrots soften and start to brown on the edges.

meanwhile, heat up 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. add to the stock a roughly 1 inch x 1 inch piece of peeled ginger. this will lend a light gingery flavor to the broth.

the stems of shiitake mushrooms are a bit tough and stringy to eat, but are good for flavor. so i tossed these into the broth as well.

  trim mushrooms close to the based of the cap, and wash the stems well. simmer for about 15 minutes.

stems of shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and rinsed well
while the stock simmers, saute the onions and garlic in about 1 tbsp olive oil until soft.

now, time to prep the tops of the mushrooms for the garnish.

slice the mushroom caps into thin strips. coat them with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce. heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet, then cook the mushrooms until they get crispy. part way through cooking, add some sesame oil and honey to form a glaze.

after about 10 minutes, they will be dark and crispy. remove from the skillet and let them rest on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

after your broth has simmered for about 15 minutes, remove the ginger and mushroom stems. add the roasted carrots and the softened onions/garlic.

let the stock mixture cool slightly, then use an immersion or regular blender to puree into a smooth soup. taste and adjust salt/pepper as needed.

top with a few of the  soy-glazed shiitakes for a pretty garnish that also adds texture and flavor to the soup.

soup based on Food52's recipe

roasted carrot and parsnip soup with soy-glazed shiitake mushrooms
makes about 6 cups of soup


1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1.2 inch pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
stems of 1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms below, cleaned
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, cleaned with stems trimmed
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp honey


1.   preheat oven to 375 degrees F. coat carrot and parsnip pieces in 1 tbsp olive oil and spread across a parchment lined baking sheet. salt and pepper to taste. roast for 25-30 minutes, until soft.

2.   heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. add onions and saute for 1-2 minutes until soft. add garlic and cook until both garlic and onions are soft. set aside.

3.   heat the 6 cups of stock in a large saucepan or stockpot. add ginger and the clean stems of the shiitake mushrooms. simmer for about 15 minutes until the stock has a hint of ginger flavor.

4.   after 15 minutes, remove the ginger and mushroom stems. add in the roasted carrots, onions and garlic. bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes until the carrots become soft.

5.   use an immersion blender for about 3 minutes until the soup becomes a smooth puree.

for the mushrooms:

6.   slice the caps of the shiitake mushrooms thinly, and toss with 1/2 tbsp soy sauce. mix together 1/8 tsp sesame oil and 1/8 tsp honey.

7.   heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 5-7 minutes until they release their juices and then start to brown.

8.   drizzle honey-sesame oil mixture over the shiitake mushrooms and cook them for an additional 3-5 minutes until they are dark brown.

7.   remove from skillet and let them drain on a paper towel. they will crisp up as they cool.

8.   serve soup hot, with soy glazed shiitakes on top for garnish and flavor.


- you can use any combination of carrots and parsnips. just stick to 2 lbs total.

- to clean the shiitake mushrooms, wipe with a wet paper towel or rinse the caps gently and pat dry right away. they will absorb water if left to soak.

- store the mushrooms separately wrapped in plastic wrap or a small tupperware. garnish soup after reheating.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

roasted garlic mashed potatoes

when it comes to mashed potatoes, i like mine with a bit of texture to them. my mom's creamy and smooth mashed potatoes are too delicious for anyone else to replicate, so i usually take a different road when making them for myself. i leave the skins on, add some dairy for mashing ability, and throw in a lot of roasted garlic to whip up some skin-on roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

start by roasting your garlic. an awesome way to mellow and sweeten the flavor of garlic, roasting it is an effortless process.

take a head of garlic, and chop off the top half-inch or so - to expose the cloves.

place them on a piece of foil large enough to fold them in, and drizzle generously with olive oil, ensuring that some oil gest on all of the cloves.

fold or crumple the foil to enclose the garlic heads, place the packet on a cookie sheet, and roast for 35-45 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees F.

while the garlic roasts, you can prepare the potatoes. i had russet potatoes on hand, although yukon golds are usually my tuber of choice. any type of potato should work.

make sure you scrub them well, since the skins will stay on for this recipe. cut them into relatively even sized pieces to ensure even cooking.

cover the potatoes in water and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until you can easily pierce any piece with a fork. you should not feel resistance in the potato when you poke it.

once the potatoes are soft, transfer them to a colander to drain. then, return them to the pot.

if you timed it right, your garlic should be just about finished. the cloves will be soft and golden brown.

squeeze the head of garlic near the base, and the soft cloves should come right out.

the garlic will be mashable, and at this point it makes a delicious spread for crusty bread.

now back to the potatoes: use yogurt to add some creaminess and to make mashing easier.

add in your mashed garlic (i used 2 small heads) and some salt to taste.

mash it around until everything is combined. you can add a splash of milk if you like more moisture in mashed potatoes.

to serve, i usually reserve a few cloves, mash them up and put them on top for garnish (and extra garlicky flavor!)

roasted garlic with olive oil
makes 3 heads of roasted garlic


3 heads of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil

1.   preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2.   cut the top 1/2 inch or so off the top of the heads of garlic. the cloves should all be exposed.
3.   place the garlic heads on a piece of foil large enough to enclose them in, and drizzle with the olive oil. be sure the oil gets on each clove to prevent burning.
4.   crumple or fold up the foil around the heads of garlic, and place on a cookie sheet. roast for 35-45 minutes until the cloves appear golden brown and are very soft.
5.   let cool slightly, then squeeze the garlic cloves out using gentle pressure from the base.

skin-on roasted garlic mashed potatoes
makes about 4 servings


1.5 lbs potatoes (russet or yukon gold are good options)
cloves of 2 small heads of roasted garlic (recipe above)
2 tbsp greek yogurt
salt, to taste
splash of milk, optional


1.   cut potatoes into chunks of equal size.
2.   cover the potatoes in water in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
3.   once boiling, reduce to a low boil and let cook for aobut 15-20 minutes or until your potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.
4.   strain the potatoes with a colander and then return to the pot.
5.   add the greek yogurt, roasted garlic, and a splash of milk if desired.
6.   mash until you reach the consistency you like and add salt to your tastes.


- try spreading the roasted garlic on toasted bread for a delicious appetizer!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

homemade granola

granola is one of the easiest recipes that i make regularly. it also uses minimal dishes (two bowl and a cookie sheet) and has a quick prep time. i've been working off the same basic recipe for awhile, but i often mix up the ingredients based on what i have. this recipe for homemade granola with a hint of maple is my favorite, chock full of nuts, oats and seeds.

start off by measuring the oil, then the syrup into a bowl. oil first is important because it leaves a coating in the measuring cup that helps release the sticky maple syrup.

mix your dry ingredients- oats, nuts, and any large sized seeds like pepitas- in a larger bowl. 

add any smaller or more fine dry ingredients (wheat germ, spices, and sesame seeds) to your oil and syrup mixture.

i have found that coating them completely in the liquid helps them adhere to the oats and nuts better than if they are mixed with the other dry ingredients.

pour the liquid into the bowl of nuts and oats and stir for about 30 seconds or until everything looks evenly coated.

spread it out on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

after 15 minutes, give everything a stir and then spread it out evenly again. 

sprinkle dried coconut over the top. 

and return to the oven for an extra 15-20 minutes until it starts to brown.

while this is a pretty loose granola, there will be more clumps if you let it cool a bit first before storing. 

once it cools, you can store it in a tightly sealed container. sprinkle it on top of yogurt and fruit for a homemade parfait.

inspiration from Mark Bittman's granola

homemade granola with nuts and maple syrup
makes about 6 cups of granola


3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups mixed nuts, chopped (i used half pecans, half almonds)
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt

1/2 cup dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)


1.   preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. mix the oats, nuts and pepitas in a large bowl and set aside.

2.   mix the oil and maple syrup (or honey) in a small bowl. add the sesame seeds, wheat germ and spices, and mix until they are combined.

3.   add this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients you set aside, and mix for about 30 seconds or until everything looks evenly coated.

4.   spread your granola mixture out evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet. bake for 15 minutes.

5.   remove granola from oven, give it a stir, and then sprinkle evenly with dried coconut flakes. return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes until the granola looks toasted and the coconut is lightly browned. let cool completely and store in an airtight container.


- i prefer to eat my granola with fresh or lightly cooked fruit. but if desired, you can certainly add dried fruit to yours after it has cooled completely.

- i used half almonds, half pecans here because that was what i had. i routinely use cashews (a personal favorite), peanuts, and walnuts too.

-measurements for this recipe are very forgiving. if you are missing an ingredient you can most likely just sub something else in your pantry as long as your liquid and dry ingredients are in a similar proportion.

- in the parfait pictures above, i cooked up some apple chunks with cinnamon, allspice and a little water in a skillet until they softened.