Archives for posts with tag: Eggs

Every once in a while I read a book that makes me go, Dang, I want to be able to write like this author does—as economically, as unpredictably, as gracefully. It tends not to matter so much what the content is, and in fact, the last few writers who’ve affected me this way have been Michael Ondaatje, Rachel Cusk, and Tamar Adler.

My dear friend Madeleine gave me Tamar Adler‘s An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace for my birthday last month and I devoured it the following week. Adler formerly cooked at Chez Panisse, was an editor at Harper’s Magazine, and is now a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. Her book’s subtitle could have been: writing with economy and grace. She writes like she cooks—unpretentiously, no panache, no gotchas.

To me it seems that most writing about food these days, especially in the pages of magazines and blogs, not so much in books I suppose, is an all-too-clever, winking, gotcha! tone. We get it, you’re funny; you could be an ad copy writer; you’re smart and I’m smart and we all have impeccable taste in food and style, bla bla bla.

Well Adler is none of those cloying things. Instead she’s all: here is how to boil your vegetables, use parsley, turn leftovers into better leftovers, cook meat, make soup. It’s an old-fashioned kind of mentality and tone and I mean that in the best possible way. The book, basically, instructs how to get good at the act of cooking and all the simple but important preparations involved in doing so. In all the food writing I’ve read over the years, hers is integrating into my being in a way others haven’t. In the past few weeks I’ve already wasted less food and made better meals than I have all year.

Yesterday, on a blustery early April afternoon in Brooklyn, I ventured to make her rosemary olive oil cake, which she adapted from Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli. It was subtle, herbaceous, moist, and would go perfectly with a cup of Earl Gray tea or an espresso. Here you go. You’re welcome.

(When I made this cake I wasn’t planning to write about it and thus have no good photos of it…then today I was struck by the desire to share the recipe so am doing so sans visual aids for the first time! Maybe it’s the spirit of Tamar encouraging me that simple is ok.)

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake
ala Tamar Adler

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar (I used only 1 cup)
1 2/3 cups olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary*
3 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

*You may be thinking 4 tbsp sounds like a lot. I only had 3 tbsp so I used that and the rosemary was subtle and in fact I think 4 would’ve been better, so be bold!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter and flour a bundt pan.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl for 30 seconds with a handheld beater. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes foamy and paler in color. Still mixing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Then fold in the rosemary.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, and then pour the batter into the bundt pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, rotating the pan halfway through. Mine took closer to an hour. The cake should be golden brown and a skewer should come out clean. Allow the cake to cool briefly in the pan then gently tip it out to cool on a rack.

This would be delicious with unsweetened whipped cream, or smeared with a bit of honey. Makes great breakfast leftovers the next day.

 

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I love tiramisu. Made of mostly mascarpone and eggs it’s light and satisfying and surprisingly easy to make. The strong coffee gives it its name, which means “pick-me-up” in Italian. I got a craving yesterday so I biked to the Park Slope Food Coop where Vermont Creamery mascarpone is only $3 for an 8-ounce container (you need two of those for this recipe).

I made tiramisu back in March for my birthday with the very simple, straightforward recipe from The Silver Spoon. (Ingredients: eggs, sugar, mascarpone, lady fingers, coffee, chocolate. That’s it.) I liked it but found the lady fingers weren’t spongy enough, it was a little too sweet, and it lacked the taste of a liqueur like rum or cognac. I rarely have liqueur in my kitchen so I used vanilla extract which isn’t quite the same but was an improvement. I’ve tweaked the recipe here and am pleased with the results.

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Tiramisu
Serves 8

2 egg whites
4 egg yolks
2/3 c powdered sugar
16 oz mascarpone cheese
7 oz lady fingers
1 c freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled
2 tbsp rum or cognac, optional*
2 oz unsweetened or semi-sweetened chocolate, grated
cocoa powder, for dusting
*If you don’t have any you can also add up to 1 tbsp good quality vanilla extract.

Brew the coffee and make sure it is room temperature or colder. Stir in the rum or cognac if you’re using. Set aside.

Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until they form stiff peaks. In a separate, large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy.

Place the mascarpone in a separate bowl and whisk with a fork until it’s a little lighter and fluffier. Then fold the mascarpone into the egg-yolk-and-sugar mixture. Then gently fold in the egg whites.

In a small rectangular or square serving dish (8 x 8 inches is good, or thereabouts) place a layer of lady fingers and soak with half the coffee mixture. You can spoon or brush the coffee on. Spoon on a layer of the mascarpone mixture then sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Place another layer of lady fingers on top then soak with the remaining coffee. Add another layer of the mascarpone and finish by dusting with cocoa powder. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving.

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Making a tortilla Española, or Spanish omelette, is not as easy as it looks. Or rather, not on the first try, but maybe the second or third. My friends and I made one Tuesday night for dinner and the results were certainly tasty, but didn’t necessarily come out tidy or resembling a dish you’d serve at a tapas bar in Salamanca.

We followed a recipe by Seamus Mullen, whom you might know from the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, or as the founder of Manhattan’s two Boqueria restaurants. This month Mullen opened a new spot, Tertulia, in the West Village, serving northern Spanish fare like tosta setas and ham croquettes, from morning to night.  I like him for his food, but also his heritage: Mullen grew up on an organic farm in Vermont.

So first, the ingredients. There are only five: eggs, olive oil, onion, garlic, potatoes. Oh and salt. Traditionally, I think, no black pepper, green herbs, tomatoes, cayenne, peppers, nada. Keep it simple. Of course the entire time I was making it I was also making mental notes of substitutions and additions—chives, more garlic, slightly thinner potato slices, roasted tomatoes…

You’ll notice this recipe calls for a lot of olive oil. This doesn’t actually all end up in the dish, it is drained and reserved for future tortilla making.

I recommend, in Step 6, repeating the flipping process one or two times to make sure your tortilla really sets and turns out with well-rounded edges. We skipped that and thus our dish came out looking, well, rustic.

Here’s the recipe we more or less followed:

Tortilla Española

Recipe adapted from Seamus Mullen, New York City
Yields one 10-inch tortilla, serves 4-5

Ingredients

8 eggs
Salt
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed slightly
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds/slices

1. Lightly beat the eggs and season generously with salt, set aside.

2. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet (I used cast-iron), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until it’s warm. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook until the onion is translucent, 10-15 minutes. Add the potatoes, cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are falling apart but not browning.

3. Remove the pan from heat and strain the mixture through a colander, reserving the olive oil for the next time you make a tortilla. After straining the potato-onion mixture, season it with salt and add the eggs, mixing until combined.

4. Heat the same skillet over medium-low heat, adding one tbsp of olive oil from the reserves. Pour the potato-onion mixture into the pan and let it cook for 2 minutes without touching the pan, until the bottom begins to set. Gently shake the pan to release the eggs from the bottom; using a rubber spatula, gently pull the mixture away from the edge to make sure it isn’t sticking at all. Cook until the bottom is set but the top is still very wet, about 5 minutes.

5. Place a large, flat plate on top of the skillet, hold it tightly, and using one quick motion, flip the tortilla onto the plate. I recommend watching this video first. We also had two people doing this step.

6. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, turn the heat back on, add another tbsp of the reserved olive oil and carefully slip the tortilla back into the pan, under-cooked side down, cooking for another 3 minutes. You can repeat this flipping process one or two more times until the tortilla is nice and set, rounded, and golden on the outside.

Serve with little sides, like a green salad, a bowl of olives, or sardines on crackers.

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