Throwback Thursday: Butternut Latkes and Fennel Apple Slaw from Moosewood Restaurant Table

Throwback to last month’s Food52 Cookbook Club selection The Moosewood Restaurant Table where we had some fun experimenting with vegetarian cooking. I found this recipe for Butternut Latkes that were said to pair well with the Fresh Fennel and Apple Slaw and immediately added the ingredients to the grocery list as we were planning Aaron’s birthday and I thought the slaw would be perfect for pulled pork sandwiches. Little did I know that this vegetarian dinner was going to be such a hit!

The latkes are basically a savory pumpkin pancake, baked in the oven rather than in a frypan or on a skillet. It’s a mixture of grated butternut pumpkin and red onion, eggs, fresh sage, rice flour and seasoning. These were super easy with portioning it on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven and quite delicious!

The slaw is comprised of thinly sliced fresh fennel, peeled and grated apple, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. This indeed paired perfectly with the latkes and also the pulled pork and is definitely a recipe we’ll go back to in future. The only thing I’d do differently next time is grate the fennel too, as a few of the chunks were a bit too crunchy.

There is still so much I want to try from this book. I’m so glad Food52 Cookbook Club continues to surprise me with books I would never buy or borrow of my own accord!

Tartine All Day: Sticky Date Pudding

This week I’m adding this post to the I Blog on Tuesdays linkup hosted by Kylie Purtell. I am aware that currently some people are having a hard time leaving comments on my blog. It is an ongoing issue that I still haven’t worked out because we can’t always replicate the problem. Sometimes comments work fine and sometimes they don’t. If that happens for you, I apologize. We’re still working to resolve it but I really appreciate you coming by to check out my blog regardless – thank you!

I am so excited about the Food52 Cookbook Club‘s book of the month: Tartine All Day! After discovering and loving Elisabeth Prueitt’s first book, Tartine, especially my 6yo daughter’s favorite shortbread recipe, I knew that this book was going to be a hit and it certainly has started out that way. In fact, I was so excited I flipped straight to the index to look through the different recipes in the book and was immediately fixated on the sticky date pudding – Aaron’s favorite dessert – and added it to the menu last week.

The next day I opened my pantry to find that I was out of almond meal – bugger – and needed it for this version of the recipe, so proceeded to use up my leftover cream making hot fudge sauce instead.  Fast forward to Sunday and I’m in between dropping off one kid and picking up another and need to duck into Coles to pick up bread and fruit for school lunches. Run into the mum of one of my daughter’s friends in the baking aisle as I’m looking for inspiration for dessert that night and she says “Sticky Date Pudding is always good…” and my eyes light up and I say, “Thanks! I totally forgotten I was going to try a new recipe and ran out of almond meal.” So quickly picked some up and added it to my basket and away I went about the rest of the afternoon kid taxi services.

This recipe is a bit different from your average sticky date pudding recipe because you use almond meal, cornflour and oat flour (I just grind up rolled oats in my food processor) instead of plain flour. The rest of it is completely familiar – soaking dates in boiling water and then adding bicarb soda, making your basic cake batter with butter and sugar and eggs and then alterating between adding the wet date mixture and the flour mixture which also has ginger, cinnamon and baking powder whisked in. This is baked in a cake tin while you make a toffee sauce with butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and salt and interestingly a small bit of lemon juice.

We had this hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I must say that it was by far the nicest sticky date pudding I’ve ever had. Even though it’s Aaron’s favorite dessert, I must be honest and admit that I usually find it a bit stodgy, but with the oat and almond texture and the hint of lemon the dessert was elevated to another level. I would happily make and devour this dessert over and over again.

On reflection the next day it occurred to me that this pudding recipe was wheat free and I made a mental note to definitely make it when our gluten free friend is over next. (I later remembered she’s allergic to oats too so would need to figure out a substitute for that.) Then I started having a bit more of a look at the recipes in Tartine All Day and noticed that this seemed to be a pattern throughout the book and thought this surely couldn’t be a coincidence. So I flicked to the introduction and read through it and wouldn’t you know, this whole book was made to be wheat free! Now I’m even more excited about this book and cannot wait for the chance to cook from it again.

Appetites: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes and book review

This right here is a heart attack on a plate…so bad for you, but so good you don’t care!

When I saw Anthony’s description of the meatloaves in his life, from his mom’s, to school cafeteria, to TV dinners, I knew this was going to be something special and could not wait to try it. It does take a lot longer than my go to meatloaf recipe, so I’d call this more of a labor of love than your average midweek family meal.

He starts off by cooking some chopped onions and celery with some herbs and then mixing that with some minced meats, eggs, bread crumbs and seasoning. This gets packed into a loaf pan and covered with foil and baked for an hour before the foil is removed and tomato paste is brushed over the top and it continues to bake until it reaches the appropriate temperature.

Meanwhile you make a mushroom gravy and the accompanying mashed potatoes. The gravy is simply enough – cooking some chopped shallots and mushrooms and mixing in a roux made from butter and flour then adding in stock and cream and seasoning. It is the most amazing mushroom gravy and I am definitely going to be using this again!

The Robuchon style mashed potatoes is where things really get interesting. Anthony obviously loved Joel Robuchon’s mashed potatoes so much as to try to recreate them on his own which he did by adding an obscene amount of butter and heavy cream. Í’m not gonna lie, this was by far the nicest mashed potato recipe we’ve ever had, but there is no way we are eating this on a regular basis or making it our go to recipe. There was 450g of butter for 1 kg of potatoes used!

While the meal mightn’t look the most appetizing it really was delicious. I personally disliked the tomato paste topping on the meatloaf. The tomato paste taste doesn’t really cook off and so it becomes a bit overpowering. I’d probably add tomato sauce instead. The other take away I had from this recipe was that I wasn’t burping it for the rest of the evening like I normally do with our meatloaf. Thinking this was because I precooked the onions, but it’s really hard to know.

It is with a heavy heart that Food52 Cookbook Club added Anthony Bourdain’s books to the list for June. I’m really glad I had quick access to Appetites through our local library and that I had a chance to pay tribute to him through our cooking this month. While I’ve only had the chance to scratch the surface of this book, it has already won us over with the best Egg & Bacon Rolls ever. We have seriously made them 4 times already since discovering the recipe. And there is so much more I want to try.

I will say that for some reason I was not prepared for the rough language in the book. I know he would swear, but I thought this was going to be more like Gordon Ramsay’s books which don’t show signs of his penchant for swearing at all. My 12 year old thought it was most hilarious when he saw the “F” word in big bold writing as I was looking through the cookbook. Never mind that, I just read it away from the 6 year old who is absolutely fascinated with that language atm.

RIP Anthony. Thank you for sharing your love of food and culture with the world. You certainly left your mark on us all.

To see my other two posts on Appetites, click on the links below:

Throwback Thursday: Croque Madame from My Paris Kitchen

Throwback Thursday to one of my favorite cookbooks, My Paris Kitchen, which Food52 Cookbook Club covered in July last year and one of my favorite sandwiches, the famous Croque Madame! This thing is like a grilled cheese sandwich on steroids, and it is worth every extra cent and second that is put into it compared to your average grilled cheese.

You start off with some really good quality country style bread, which you spread with a bechamel sauce that you’ve made and then you layer on prosciutto and grated Comte or Gruyere cheese. You sandwich it together and butter the outsides before toasting it in a nonstick frypan. After the underside has toasted, you flip it over and put some more grated cheese on top so it becomes nice and melty. In another frypan, cook a sunny side up egg to place on top of the sandwich, season with salt and pepper and serve.

One of my favorite quick meals!

Appetites: Macaroni and Cheese

We had a stack of leftover pulled pork from Aaron’s birthday party this week so I thought I’d throw together an American bbq dinner of sorts with the leftovers as a quick midweek meal. We had the pork and the coleslaw, so to it I added a batch of cornbread and Anthony Bourdain’s macaroni & cheese from his book, Appetites.

It was really nice, albeit a bit different from my usual macaroni & cheese, though the method is virtually the same. It had an extra 2 cups of milk and 8 oz of cheese! The seasonings were familiar, cayenne and mustard (I used paprika instead of cayenne) and instead of just using cheddar like I normally would, it contained 4 different cheeses – mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyere (I substituted monterey jack for the Gruyere because that’s what I had on hand).

The feedback on his version of macaroni & cheese was mixed. The younger two refused to eat it (I think the Parmesan on top was too strong a flavor) but the rest of us thought it was great. Will I change my recipe and use this one instead from now on? Nah. I am open to seeing if there is a better recipe out there, but this one ain’t it. But it was quite close and it was creamy and delicious!

Appetites: Bodega Sandwiches

Food52 Cookbook Club has added two of Anthony Bourdain’s cookbooks to this month’s club choices. This recipe, which Aaron made for dinner tonight, comes from Appetites: A Cookbook.

There’s fewer things that I (and many others) think are necessary for a perfect breakfast than bacon and eggs, and a good bacon and egg roll is worth its weight in gold. Well, maybe not quite, but it’s still a pretty good way to start the day. A good bacon and egg roll is finger food. You have to be able to eat it with your hands. Maybe even while driving.

The trade off here, of course, is that the perfect egg has a runny yolk. A runny yolk is not conducive to finger food, and especially driving. So the best bacon and egg rolls I’ve had have been eaten with a knife and fork, on a plate.

So when Jen showed my Anthony Bourdain’s Bodega Sandwiches and I saw he, rather than frying the eggs, makes more of an omelette, I said – ‘that makes perfect sense!’…omelettes are the perfect way to have non-runny eggs!

Bourdain’s recipe is simple, fast and amazingly delicious…and clean. Cooking bacon is messy with all the fat, but this recipe makes sure you clean the fat up after cooking the bacon. I did this on our flat grill, and then took the sliced hamburger buns and toasted them on the inside in the bacon fat. Then I whisked the eggs together as you would for an omelette and cooked them in the bacon fat and when they were almost cooked, simply laid American cheese slices on top to get all melty. Then it was just a matter of assembling the four ingredient sandwich.

So, if you’re after a quick breakfast (or brunch, or brinner, or anytime!), this recipe will get you one of the nicest bacon and egg rolls I’ve had. We’ll definitely be adding this to the menu! RIP Tony.

The Moosewood Restaurant Table: Pasta with Spinach and Apricots and Cheesy Garlic Toast and book review

I have several more recipes from The Moosewood Restaurant Table I want to try, even featured on our menu this week, but due to the tragic passing of Anthony Bourdain, the Food52 Cookbook Club has decided to add two of his cookbooks to our lineup for the month and I really want to pay homage to him by cooking from his book Appetites for the rest of the month. That being said, I do have one more meal to share for now from Moosewood and a short book review today.

Spinach and Apricot Pasta – the thought of it had me immediately skeptical and intrigued. I love a good quick vegetarian pasta dish (see my creamy sun dried tomato pasta) and when I looked at the very basic ingredients that we already had on hand, I knew it was going to be a dish to make.

The funny thing about trying a recipe you know could be quick and easy is that the first time, you always stuff that up. And I well and truly turned a meal that should’ve only taken 30 minutes into over an hour and used probably 3 times the number of dishes that I should’ve. It’s all part of the challenge of a new recipe.

The first thing to do is chop up some dried apricots and leave them to soak in boiled water and toast some pine nuts. Put a box of pasta on to cook and get started on the rest of the sauce. Saute some minced garlic in olive oil, add spinach and let it wilt.

Drain the pasta reserving some of the pasta water and return the pasta to the saucepan. Add some more olive oil and some crumbled feta and the pasta water and stir it through to make it saucy. Then add this pasta to the big saute pan with the spinach and then drain and add the apricots and add the pinenuts. Season with salt and pepper and you’re done!

I couldn’t help myself when I saw a cheesy garlic toast recipe. I had to make it and we had to have it with this pasta. And it was so easy to throw together!

You cook a whole head of peeled garlic in olive oil over low heat until it’s nice and soft then you add some parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, lemon zest and red pepper flakes and wizz it all together with a stick blender. Spread this mixture onto a baguette that’s been sliced lengthwise and put it in the oven until it’s nice and melted. Then you just chop it into smaller pieces and serve.

This bread was the perfect complement to our vegetarian pasta dinner. What a feast!

The Moosewood Restaurant Table cookbook was not one I was very excited about to be honest. However, when I finally got a hold of it and flipped through it, there were a list of recipes a mile long I wanted to try. Each recipe we’ve had so far has been successful and I love that there are some recipes that are vegan in there too. I’m really looking forward to having the Butternut Latkes with the Fennel Apple Slaw (taste testing the slaw to see if it would be good to have on pulled pork burgers for Aaron’s birthday dinner). I’m also interested in the Cheesy Grape Risotto and for sweets there are definitely a few still – the scones and the vegan apple blueberry crumble come to mind.

This book makes vegetarian cooking feel approachable and the results are so comforting you forget you aren’t eating meat. I like that you don’t have to purchase weird ingredients to enjoy the meals in this book yet I love how elegant it all is. You feel like you’re eating something in a nice restaurant indeed.

To look back at the other recipes we’ve cooked from Moosewood, click on the links below:

Throwback Thursday: Another Feast from Made in India

We must cook from Made in India at least once a week lately. Aaron’s sister and her sons came over and we thought it would be a great time to try a more complicated meal from the book. Here’s what we came up with…

Lamb Biryani – slow cooked lamb that has simmered for 1 1/2 hours with onions, garlic and ginger, tomato and yogurt, and a mixture of spices. In this way it’s very similar to the Howrah Express Cinnamon Lamb Curry that we made last time. But then you layer it in a crock with cooked basmati rice that’s been flavored with rosewater and fried onions and finish it off in the oven. The crock that we used had a lid so we didn’t bother to made the dough “lid”. This was a very special dish. My only complaint was that the rosewater flavor wasn’t pronounced enough, and next time I would use more.

We also made the Gujarati Potato Curry – it is basically chopped potatoes that have been cooked in a tomato based curry sauce – with aromatics such as onions, ginger and chilli and spices like mustard, cumin and coriander. A great little vegetarian curry and an easy way to use up potatoes when you buy too big a bag (this happens so often in our house).

I had my eldest make Pomegranate and Mint Raita – it was so funny to watch him try to work out how to seed the pomegranate. The raita is a mixture of pomegranate seeds, cumin, yogurt, mint and amchur (dried mango powder). The crunch of the pomegranate seeds made this so much fancier than our usual mint yogurt chutney.

We also made a couple of extra chutneys that have become our go to chutneys to serve with an Indian meal – date and tamarind and mango. The date one is made of dates, water, tamarind, salt, cumin and chili powder. This is simply wizzed up with a stick blender. The mango is some toasted mustard seeds, fenugreek, cinnamon sticks, cloves and peppercorns that you then add chopped mango, sugar, salt and chopped red chilli to and cook until it goes jammy. Discard the peppercorns and cloves, we usually keep the cinnamon stick in for continued flavor development.

All these photos were taken on the fly, thanks to having guests and it was already quite late. Sometimes eating just can’t wait any longer, especially when you’ve been torturing yourselves with the amazing dinner smells of food waiting to be devoured.

We of course served this with naan like we have before, more basmati rice, and the chicken & fig curry reappeared. It was our best Indian feast to date!

The Moosewood Restaurant Table: Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Syrup

I love pancakes on Saturday mornings and Aaron makes them best! Here is a post of his most recent pancake adventure.

Backing the success of the walnut cheddar meatballs I made this week, I thought I would give Moosewood‘s gingerbread pancakes a try, as we’re big pancake fans in our house.

I started this recipe out with making the (absolutely delicious) lemon syrup…which used the usual suspects you’d expect to find in a good lemon syrup/sauce-related recipe, plus the (welcome) addition of freshly ground nutmeg. I am a HUGE fan of freshly ground nutmeg – I find it fun running that little thing over the microplane…and the fragrance – mmm!

The sauce was pretty straight forward to make – I possibly should have let it boil for a bit longer than the recipe suggested, just to get it a bit thicker, but the flavor was marvellous, so I wasn’t too disappointed I hadn’t.

Next up – the actual pancakes. And Moosewood were so kind as to split the ingredients into ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. Easy. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients in another. Then add the wet to the dry. Very simple. Mix until just combined. Check. Hmm….this pancake batter seems very…thick. Surely it shouldn’t be this thick?

Go back to recipe. Well I’ll be…the ‘wet’ ingredients is more than just two items…there’s another column that has a few more I should’ve added. Including eggs. How the heck did I not think “oh…this is strange…not having eggs?” One of the biggest take-aways I got from this recipe was – pay attention to column breaks in ingredient lists!

Anyway, after a mad rush adding the missed ingredients, I got the pancakes onto the medium heated hot plate, and they cooked beautifully. Nice and fluffy, good cinnamonny/nutmeggy flavor. And the lemon syrup made them simply delightful.

I will definitely be trying this recipe again. All of it the first time, next time.

Walnut Cheddar “Meatballs” from The Moosewood Restaurant Table

It’s a new month which means we have new cookbooks to explore! This month, the Food52 Cookbook Club is working through a vegetarian cookbook called The Moosewood Restaurant Table and I couldn’t be more excited to be adding more vegetarian meals into our repertoire. So this month I’ll be cooking from it for Meatless Mondays as well as for the normal club posts.

For our first recipe, Aaron, who is the meatball master, tackled their vegetarian meatball recipe and served it up as we would normally for our spaghetti and meatballs. The look and smell certainly would have fooled anyone into thinking these contained meat.

The balls contain some ingredients you would normally expect – onions, garlic, herbs, bread crumbs, eggs – but what bulks them up is shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and coarsely ground walnuts. Unfortunately, it was the walnuts that gave these away as meatless. The recipe says coarsely ground which left too much crunch that you normally wouldn’t get in a meatball. Other than that though, we were super pleased with this recipe and cannot wait to make them again. Next time we’ll just make sure to grind the walnuts finely, which Aaron reckons will make them easier to shape and keep them ball shaped anyway.

Can’t wait to see how our next meal turns out!