Entries Tagged as 'Appetizer'

Broiled Balsamic Artichokes with Pesto Mayo

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19.5.14

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

It’s been a while since I worked in the restaurant business. But, aside from the managers I worked for, I do look back on my days as a hostess and waitress pretty fondly. I was by far one of the youngest people working in that restaurant, and frequently referred to as the baby — which I never really minded. It was only another means for me to dip my toes into the social lives of the wait staff of Los Angeles, which is its own beast in and of itself.

Back then, I always felt like I had multiple lives. There was my life at UCSB, pretty and pristine on the beach, with jungle juice (bleghh), running to the Goleta Pier, and fake-fighting with my gay over the hot TA that would eventually become one of my oldest friends. Then, there was my life at the restaurant, counting cash in my parents’ car, triple-seating my ex’s new love interest whenever she picked a fight with the guy, and capping off our late-night shifts with underage cocktails at Fridays (the mojitos were exciting back then, but I shudder at the thought of ever going back to a TGIFridays in the San Fernando Valley). And finally, there was my life at UCLA — football games on the weekends, Red Bull all-nighters in Powell Library, and finally living in my own apartment in Westwood.

The worlds rarely collided. It was as if I teleported between entirely different dimensions when I crossed the borders between Los Angeles, Calabasas, and Santa Barbara.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

I wouldn’t trade in those days for anything. Since then, friendships have come and gone, and my little brother is even working at that exact restaurant. I see patterns in his social life and his thought processes that reflect what I went through as one of the younger members of a restaurant that was about to graduate from college.

And he mentions things like trying to hide his relationship with another hostess, and, well, I did the same thing when I worked there. But in hindsight, I try to give him advice that would help him be less foolish than I was — even though I know too well that those words of wisdom would be fruitless to a 21-year old in lurve.

Perhaps I don’t want him to get attached because I know that it’s easy to get lost in these worlds. Being 19 or 22 in college in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara feels so unreal at this point in my life. The things I worried about then, the silly problems that stressed me out or made me feel invincible or made me cry — looking back, I wish I knew so much more about why they did or didn’t matter. I come from a family that doesn’t acknowledge emotions at all, so I had no idea what depression was when I went through it. I didn’t know what it was until it hit me in the face. But since leaving California, I feel like I’ve inadvertently surrounded myself with people who have their own stories, their own comparisons of their separate lives that have helped me understand my emotions, how to become more self-aware, and when to recognize when you have real issues to face, or when you’re having a mini panic attack over something that will be an invisible speck in the grand canyon view of your entire life.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

And really, I’ve just recently come to terms with anxiety — what it is, what it actually feels like, and how to deal with it. Emotions are so incredibly layered, and part of me wishes I met the people I’m so close to now back in high school, when self-awareness could have come in so, so handy. These days, I can just pop some ibuprofen after one too many cocktails, or something else when I realize that I’m physically stressed about something that really doesn’t matter. Like when I’m suddenly overcome with doubt or guilt for some memory that pops into my head from my waiting days or from high school. It’s weird how the littlest memories can strike the most negative or positive emotions for me. Perhaps, you know what I’m talking about.

That being said, science is a wonderful thing. And so are friends who help you through your anxiety. Maybe I’m just rambling at this point.

This recipe was actually one of the recipes on the menu at that restaurant I worked at, where I went through just roller coaster after roller coaster of emotions. I even checked their current menus to see if it was still there, but they’ve since taken this artichoke item off — so I improvised as closely as I could. It was pretty successful, and brought me back a little bit, for better or for worse. For the good moments, it’s nice to sit in bed and reminisce the late nights we spent smoking cigarettes in backyards in Los Angeles, or the pool parties I used to throw in my parents’ Christmas-light-ridden backyard. For the anxiety-inducing moments that I can’t push out of my head on my own, well, there’s always a half a Xanax in my bag. I’ve never been so thankful for science.

Recipe after the jump.

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

broiled balsamic artichokes with pesto mayo // sweetsonian

(more…)

Cava Fresh // Harissa Sausage Rolls

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28.4.14

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

I wanted to save this picnic-y recipe for later in the year — needless to say, the past couple of months have been INSANE and I did so without even trying.

This past weekend was my much-needed antidote to traveling too much and letting stress creep back into my life: spending Friday night relaxing, Saturday at spin and reading on a patio, and Sunday bike riding all over DC and paddle boating in the Tidal Basin really helped me lower the blood pressure spikes that come as a consequence of freelancing too much, wishing I was in New York, and missing the beach.

I will admit, there are plenty of reasons to get tired of DC… but when DC does weather right, it’s just enough to make you fall in love with the city all over again. That sums up my Sunday. Beautiful weather, biking, and a couple of Moscow Mules.

Anyway, it’ll be another long week at work, ending with the most important of all days: the end of my mid-twenties. I’m looking forward to wrapping up some event photography from the day job and relaxing on a patio with the closest of friends, one of them being a a late-twenties favorite — Spanish sangria.

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

Major props to Cava for providing the delicious dips for me to work with! I’ve been obsessed with the spicy harissa dressing ever since my first on-site photo shoot, and I was pretty excited to use this one in a mash-up of a finger foods snack that Emily introduced me to: sausage rolls. These would be a perfect appetizer for a dinner party, or even a picnic. Jazz in the sculpture garden, anyone?

Xo!

Follow Cava here :)

Cava Mezze: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Mezze Grill: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Foods: facebook // twitter // instagram

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

harissa sausage rolls // sweetsonian

Harissa Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:
1 package puff pastry, thawed
4 or 5 pieces sausage of your choice — Andouille would be my favorite for this recipe.
Cava harissa — I used about half of an 8 oz. package.
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds, black or white

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Flatten out your puff pastry sheets, and measure them out to fit each link of sausage you have, with about a quarter-inch of extra pastry on each end of the sausage. Also measure how wide the pastry should be — you’ll want just enough to roll around the sausage and then seal with a fork.

Using a spoon, spread a generous amount of harissa dressing on the puff pastry, distributing as evenly as you can.

Then, place one link of sausage on the pastry, and carefully roll the sheet of pastry around it. Use a fork to press into the dough at the end, sealing it tight. Set aside, and repeat until you have used all of your puff pastry or sausage. Place on a plate, and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

When chilled, remove the rolls. Using a sharp knife, slice into half-inch rounds, and arrange on your prepared baking sheet. Combine 1/4 cup water with your beaten egg, and brush the egg wash onto each piece of puff pastry. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the puff pastry is a golden brown.

 

Cava Fresh // Crazy Feta Artichoke Dip

2

14.3.14

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

Happy Friday! This morning started off pretty chilly, but the weekend forecast here in DC is looking pretty darn gorgeous. Hoping you all get to have a nice weekend, too!

If you follow me on le twitter and instagram, you’re probably aware that I started working with Cava Mezze and Cava Mezze Grill to photograph all of the beautiful dishes and ingredients on their menu — and, as a food photographer who gets to chow down on everything after photo shoots are done, I can definitely say that the food tastes even better than it looks.

Liz and Nikki set me up with a couple of their dips, so this is the first of two recipes I’ve put together — a twist on an artichoke dip that my stepmom makes (which is really just one of the biggest highlights every time I go home to visit). With the added kick from Cava’s Crazy Feta, it’s the simplest of ingredients, and I’m not sure I love anything more than I love feta cheese.

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

 

I made this little pot of crazy feta artichoke dip for a friend’s birthday, which we celebrated Wednesday night over homemade pizza and bottles upon bottles of wine. I mentioned to the host that I made it with the Cava Crazy Feta dip, and she opened her fridge and revealed a few of the Cava dips that she already had in store… so they’re pretty much everywhere these days :)

We ate the dip with a fresh loaf of sourdough bread, heated in the oven and ripped apart by hand. I suggest you do the same! And look for Cava’s amazing products in your grocery store — here in DC, they’re at Whole Foods. And pretty much in everyone’s fridge.

Follow Cava here :)

Cava Mezze: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Mezze Grill: facebook // twitter // instagram
Cava Foods: facebook // twitter // instagram

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

crazy feta artichoke dip // sweetsonian

Crazy Feta Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 package Crazy Feta by Cava Foods
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the egg, and then mix in the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and half of the parmesan.
  3. Stir in all of the Crazy Feta, and add the artichoke hearts, breaking them apart by hand as you add them to the bowl.
  4. Once completely mixed, transfer them to an oven-safe bowl, and top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and hopefully bubbling.
  6. Cool slightly, and serve with pita or tortilla chips.

Orange Glazed Braised Beets

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21.11.13

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet? Because I sure am.

I mean ready in the I’m-not-in-charge-of-dinner sense. This year, I will not be throwing a huge Thanksgiving dinner — last year was fun, but I have other plans in mind. They do happen to be secret though, because, well, a little mystery is always good.

If you do happen to be planning a meal or need a side to take with you, I highly recommend these beets. The orange flavor is subtle, mostly because beets are such a strong statement dish.

Hope y’all are having a lovely week! Xo.

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

I’m trying something new. Here’s a recipe card, in case you’d like to use this instead (and let me know if you like this better, so I know whether or not to keep making little design recipe cards!)

orange glazed braised beets // sweetsonian

Orange Glazed Braised Beets, derived from the New California Cook

Ingredients

  • 6 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ tablesoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pomegranate seeds and orange zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the beets, stock, vinegar, orange juice, and olive oil in a cast iron Dutch oven casserole over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low, and braise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Raise the heat to high and reduce the remaining liquid until it glazes the beets, stirring occaisionally to coat the beets evenly. Add the butter, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat, and serve with orange zest and pomegranate seeds.

Spinach Squares

2

06.11.13

spinach squares // sweetsonian

Yesterday was — well, I’m pretty darn sure — the best day of my life. A coworker hooked me up with one of the much-coveted White House tour tickets. Being the first day the White House has reopened its tours since sequestration’s budget cuts took place back in January. So it was a pretty exciting day, for anyone who was able to finally get a tour, and for the people who work at the White House.

We were held up in the East Room for what felt like forever when a friend commented on one of my Instagrams about POTUS and FLOTUS surprising everyone on the tours, so as you can imagine, my heart started racing. What would I say? Was it true? Would they still be there?

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

 

The secret service closed the doors to the Green room right when we were about to go through, which put us in front of the line for the next group. And once the doors reopened and we were shuffled through, I was greeted by none other than Michelle Obama herself, in all of her glowing glory. That woman is pretty in photos, but hot damn, she is 43290423 times prettier in person.

Anyway, being from Los Angeles, I’ve met my fair share of celebrities, but Michelle takes the cake.

I. Was. Starstruck. Especially when she greeted us with a big smile and a “HIIII! Welcome to my house!” Cue Sunny jumping all over her and my coworker. I, naturally, beelined to Bo, who was sitting a few feet away, simply panting and rolling his eyes at Sunny, who was literally leaping and bounding from the visitors, to the First Lady, to the people behind the cameras. I pet Bo for as long as I could, which was apparently too long, because Secret Service basically escorted me out.

My heart was racing for at least 30 minutes after that. Marissa and I proceeded to jump up and down and scream on the White House driveway.

Seriously, best day of my life, and those dogs are the fluffiest dogs in the world. So. Effing. Cute.

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

spinach squares // sweetsonian

This recipe comes from a friend and owner of yet another unbelievably adorable Portuguese water dog — Ollie. Maybe someday, Michelle will read this and schedule a play date for Ollie and Sunny. They’d make a darling couple.

Spinach squares, after the jump.

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Za’atar Cheese Bars

2

23.9.13

za'atar cheese bars // sweetsonian

An excerpt from my past (hold back your chuckle — it’s from livejournal… and super emo):

3 days left in the valley, and I’ll probably be home for one or two days between Sunday and mid-June. And after 3 weeks of intensely monotonous work, an upside-down iceberg of a relationship, and salsa dancing with confusion, I honestly don’t know how much longer I can stand being here. I don’t see much here anymore, let alone have I talked to the majority of you in the past six months. But this friends page is just about the second or third site I click on when I go online, probably alternating with Bank of America.

Seeing a few of the old high school friends at random rendezvous made me miss the ones at college terribly – I think my days of reminiscing and telling high school stories with Cari might finally be over, now that I realize that the people I’ve known for years are finally growing up. I call her and we say things like “I can’t believe I have to see him twice over break,” or “can we go to a party the instant we get home?”

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And then we exchange why either of us made those comments, and then we agree. “I’m sick of the valley.” “The partying is so different now in Sac.” “Let’s go to Chipotle next weekend.” “Fix it, he’s your ride.” “It’s okay, I’ve been stuck in a love triangle for 3 years now.” “Did I call you on New Years?” “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” “I hope you don’t get into UCLA, because I am going to miss you.”

I normally write when I’m upset. No wonder I stopped writing in Santa Barbara.

Needless to say, my domestic life has wasted away with my data entry job. Nor have I slept much lately, except for this evening – I was supposed to finish some sewing projects and stop by American Apparel. I’ve run out of flat fabric to actually make clothes with, so I’ve been resizing all my thrift-store t-shirts so they fit perfectly. I used to make so many clothes in high school – without patterns, too. Some things come right back after you spend months or years away. But some things still disappear on you, no matter how well you kept in touch or what good friends you are. Sometimes you go through emotions and you write more than you ever could, filling up a notebook or pages and pages of cyberspace. And you don’t even look back on what you write, but you throw that notebook away or ctrl+a+delete, and it’s gone, as if it never even existed.

It’s always interesting to read something you wrote long ago. Sometimes, I look back on my writing from high school and college and think, well, my voice is the same, but I can’t for the life of me remember what some of the emotions were about. Perhaps I was trying a form of subtle obviousness. Who knows? I was barely a freshman in college when I wrote this.

The boy in my life back then was, interestingly enough, living in DC for college, and was obsessed with Arabic before the study even appealed to me. Maybe he planted the seed. But he is as much a completely different person as I am from my eighteen year old self. I imagine he has since grown up, as he is probably a wonderful husband as he was a wonderful confidant to me all those years ago. We had good times — he drove me back to school at the end of my first winter break, and he was as sweet as he was awkward. I definitely have a type.

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za'atar cheese bars // sweetsonian

It’s nice, and sometimes heartbreaking to read about the boys of your youth. But they’ll almost all be considered that someday, right? Exes, first loves, hookups that would have been nice to have worked out. They’re all reflections of our younger, former selves.

Interestingly enough, I came across this post when sifting through the posts marked “draft” in WordPress. I didn’t hate this one. I wrote it 8 months ago.

Things have changed so much since then, I can’t even remember where I drew those emotions from.

These za’atar bars also bring back memories of a younger, former self. One of my best friends in college was my friend Randa, a passionately argumentative and wild twenty-two year old from a long string of equally fierce Palestinian women. When her entire family visited her at UCLA (by way of the East Bay), she’d invite me over for a huge dinner — I’d practice my kindergarten Arabic and they’d fill my plates with food, plate after plate, despite protests of girlish figures and Los Angeles’ year-round bikini season.

She’s since moved to New York and Jordan and Ramallah, but Gchat and Snapchat keep us in check. She brought these home for me once on a trip home to the Bay, and I made her get the recipe from her mother. It was unbearably simple — and I make these for pretty much any potluck. They’re best served hot and crispy, so they’re ideal for office parties where a toaster oven is present.

cheese treats1

Za’atar Cheese Bars

1 package (20-25 sheets) filodough, thawed
4 cups shredded mozzarella — or a 1 lb. bag
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups crumbled feta
1 cup za’atar spice mixture
4 eggs, whisked until frothy
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Brush a 9×13 brownie/cake pan with a layer of melted butter. Layer on a few sheets of filodough, and then brush again with a layer of butter. Use about half of the filodough sheets.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cheeses, za’atar, and eggs. Use your hands to fully incorporate all of the ingredients, and then spread the cheese mixture onto the filodough layer. Use a spatula to spread evenly.

Then, layer a few more filo sheets on top of the cheese. Brush with butter, and repeat with every two sheets until you are out of filodough. If you have any butter left, go ahead and just pour it on top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the dough is crisp and a golden brown. Remove, and let cool completely before cutting (to give the bars a clean edge). Then, slice with a sharp knife, and reheat in a toaster oven (or a conventional oven) before serving.

 

 

The Real Greek Salad

3

26.8.13

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When I was traveling in Norway with Silje, every now and then, we would stop in our sentences and say to ourselves: I can’t wait until we’re in Greece.

Something Silje always added on was how excited she was to have Greek salads, every day.

I kind of brushed it off, because I was more or less just looking forward to feta cheese, all day, every day.

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Upon arriving in Greece, I quickly learned that I did not full understand what she meant by Greek salads. I actually ended up having a Greek salad at almost every single meal. Generally, Silje and I would each have our own Greek salads, and then split whatever the entree of the night was.

You see, here in the States, “Greek salad” could mean one of a billion things. It usually means some sort of vegetable mixture with too much dressing and a scoop of crumbled feta cheese. I’m guessing that the addition of feta just makes a salad “Greek.”

It could not be farther from the truth. Anywhere in Greece, when you order a Greek salad, you get a bowl or plate filled with the freshest of the fresh, and simpler than I could ever ask for: cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, olives, capers, feta. No more, no less. Don’t let the impostors fool you.

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The Real Greek Salad, from, well, Greece.

1 medium cucumber
2-3 smallish tomatoes
A few slices of red onion
Black olives (with pits)
Capers
Fresh feta cheese – get a block, not the crumbled.
A drizzle of olive oil
Dried oregano for garnish

This enough for one salad – multiply accordingly for how many you’re serving.

First, peel the cucumber, and then slice in half lengthwise. Cut into half-inch chunks, and set aside.

Cut your tomatoes into quarters, and slice the red onion into wedges or slivers (I forgot the red onions in the photos. Don’t hate).

Slice about a half-inch sheet off of the block of feta. Toss the tomatoes, onion, and cucumber in a pretty bowl. Throw a few capers and olives on there, and arrange your slice of feta in the center. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with some dried oregano for garnish.

Enjoy the simplicity.

Ahi Poke Salad

9

24.6.13

ahiPoke3

As I creep into my late twenties — and my fourth year living in DC — people from California have begun asking a question that I wholeheartedly despise: So, when do you think you’re moving back to California?

Uh, never.

And then the next thing that happens, well, is usually some sort of accusation of being a crazy person. Eye roll.

While I do love California and all of the wonderful things it has to offer, I love my life on the East Coast. So, this is my proclamation: I am pretty damn sure I’m staying on this coast. And I’ve done a pretty good job of convincing West Coasters to move east.

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ahiPoke

On the other hand, I will never hesitate to admit that California is a wonderful place — the weather’s nice (in L.A., anyway) and the food is just on its own spectrum.

I waited tables at a restaurant in Calabasas in college, when I spent a year or so living at my parents’ place. It was a seafood restaurant, so my knowledge of edible marine life really peaked at age twenty-one. It’s been dwindling since then.

ANYWAY, one of my favorite dishes at that restaurant was an Ahi Poke (pronounced like “pokey”) salad — a Hawaiian dish that I had never encountered before I started working there. I didn’t cook much back then, because, surprise surprise, I was a work-a-holic, but I do remember asking the sushi chef for the recipe for the day when I would no longer be working at King’s. But, alas, I never managed to get that recipe.

So, I set off on my research and tasting spree. The Ahi poke salad at King’s was so spicy that I’d pretty much cry every time I inhaled the soy sauce and wasabi aroma.

After inspecting at least fifteen ahi poke recipes online, I set my mind to ingredients and taste-tested in my kitchen until I was on the verge of wishing I was still waiting tables at King’s. But just the verge.

Naturally, these measurements are estimates — if you decide to make this dish on your own, taste the sauce as you go, and add elements to get to the level of spice that you’re comfortable with. These measurements will give you a moderate amount… but if you want to be crying as you eat it, just pile on the chile oil and wasabi paste.

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Ahi Poke Salad, from my memories of waiting tables at King’s Fish House

3/4 to 1 lb. Ahi (Yellowfin) tuna steak
3 to 4 green onions, finely chopped
1 small Japanese cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons black (or white) sesame seeds
1 tablespoon wasabi paste
1 avocado
handful of macadamia nuts — do not skip these. They really make the salad.
Dried seaweed crumbles for garnish

Using a very sharp knife, slice your Ahi steak into half-inch cubes. Set aside in a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, sesame seeds, and wasabi paste. Whisk together until the chili sauce and the wasabi are evenly mixed into the sauce. TASTE AS YOU GO, and adjust the levels of wasabi and chili sauce accordingly.

Dice your avocado into half-inch cubes as well, and then add the avocado, macadamia nuts, cucumber, and diced tuna to the Poke sauce. Toss until everything is covered in the Poke sauce, and serve with forks or chopsticks.

Plum and Marscapone Flatbread, Caramelized Balsamic Glaze

4

05.4.13

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This might be my favorite set of photos yet.

A couple of weekends ago, Shaeda came over to spend an entire Sunday as my sous chef. The hands you see in these photos are hers. Aren’t they pretty?

I don’t think I can ever spend an entire day cooking without a sous chef ever again. Let me know if you’re interested, because an extra set of hands (and taste buds) in the kitchen really makes my life a lot easier.

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Well, there is only one day and a handful of hours left in this old house. The movers are coming Saturday morning (or so they say…) and I’ll be picking up in an older building in an older, gayer neighborhood.

In usual Sarah-fashion, this week has been unfairly busy. One of my clients sent me their data about a week late, which threw my entire freelance calendar off, which gave me an unexpected week of freedom in exchange for a looming week of hell. Hell was this week.

But as the week winds down, I’ve found solace in pandemonium — mostly thanks to my Thursday yoga “meeting” at the Department of Energy gym. There’s something incredibly soothing about reserving one hour a week to not think about a to-do list or an annual review or a muddled mess of clients. One hour. Just sixty minutes of soothing concentration — on holding a pose, building strength, and personal growth.

At the moment, my life is in boxes. Not everything, but a good chunk of it.

At the moment, there are twelve boxes. There will probably be fifteen by this time Friday night.

But hopefully, Saturday will go smoothly, and I’ll be able to reinstate food blogger Sundays… albeit, from a new home.

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Today, I’ll keep this short. I can’t deny exhaustion, but I just had to share this recipe and my favorite photos to date. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Happy Friday!

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Plum and Marscapone Flatbread, Caramelized Balsamic Glaze, derived from Butter Me Up Brooklyn

Ingredients
1 package active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup warm water (might need more)
1 teaspoon oil

2 ripe plums, sliced thinly (preferably with a mandolin)
4 to 6 oz. marscapone cheese
Cornmeal, for dusting the crust
Fresh basil, sliced

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar

 

Combine yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead on medium until the ingredients form an elastic, smooth dough. That should take about ten minutes. Once that happens, cover the dough in the olive oil, place a kitchen towel over the bowl, and let the dough sit for an hour or so.

Roll the dough out on a clean surface — I kept it to about 1/2 an inch thick. Dust with cornmeal.

Heat your oven’s broiler.

Using a spatula, spread the marscapone on the crust, covering as much as you can. Then, arranged the plum slices, and be careful to not put too much fruit in any particular area. Too much will make your flatbread soggy. With a pastry brush, lightly coat the plums in olive oil.

Broil the flatbread for about 8 minutes, until the crust is crisp. Then, crack the oven door, and switch the oven to bake at 350 degrees. Let the flatbread bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, and then remove the sheet from the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic, honey, and sugar. Reduce over medium heat until syrupy.

Top the flatbread with sliced basil, and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

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