Valentines – Salted Meyer Lemon Shortbread and Dulce de Leche Sandwiches

 

As some of you may know by now I recently started writing for a local bakery called The Buttery. My first article for their new blog was called “Sweet Hearts For Your Sweetheart“, and with Valentine’s day rapidly approaching I sort of inspired myself. I’ve been wanting to make Alfajores, a South American cookie sandwich with dulce de leche, but hadn’t quite gotten around to it, so I figured what better time then now! I happen to have a ton of bags laying around, and the decorative tags from art show invitations and a bag of Meyer Lemons from a co-worker, so it all came together amazingly well and very last minute.

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Pickled Peppers

I realize it’s been a while. I have a million excuses for not posting any food related things recently, but the main reason is that I’m still trying to find that balance between art, work, and food writing now that I don’t have any deadlines. The good news (for me) is that I have been very good at keeping up with art, doing roughly 1 print a week for the past year (even if it’s reprinting something I’ve already made) and I’ve been doing some general posters and drawing, keeping myself busy. The bad news is that I have a terrible internet connection, so doing anything on for a website is a seriously painful experience, meaning I generally only have patience to upkeep 1 site at a time. But! I haven’t been doing nothing food related! I recently made some amazing bread and butter zucchini pickles with my dear friend Elena, a recipe I hope to perfect next year (a little sugar + a little heat), and I recently harvested the last of Rain’s hot peppers for pickling!

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Tackling Pancakes: 3 Recipes

Pancakes have always been a frustrating and disappointing experience for me. Most of my life I have been completely unable to cook them without burning the outsides or leaving them raw in the middle. After making pancakes every Saturday for three months, I can honestly say everything I knew about pancakes was wrong.  If you are like me, you grew up making pancakes from a box, not a recipe. Box pancakes are generally easy to make because there is only one way to make them; but as soon as you enter the world of personal, customized recipes everything changes. All the tricks (like, don’t flip it until the bubbles stop closing) lead me astray the more creative I got with my cooking, to the point where I nearly abandoned pancakes entirely. I think it actually took me three months of regular pancake making to gain any confidence in making or adapting them. So, let me first share a few of tips about making pancakes, then go over 3 of my favorite pancake recipes…. (read the rest on Is Greater Than)

Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes!

Since starting the Goat Tower Pancake Breakfast I have been making A LOT of pancakes… It’s great, because pancakes have always seemed somewhat elusive to me, so makeing ~40 a week has really taken the fear out of it, and helped me unlearn some things that have always seemed like the “standards” of cooking them. For instance…

  • You don’t need bubbles to form if you are making thick cake-like pancakes, and you need the top of the pancake to be almost dry and dotted with tons of holes if you are making incredibly thin pancakes.
  • “too hot” doesn’t make the pancakes look weird, too much grease does. Having your pan too hot just burns the pancakes. This explains why the first pancake always looks weird. I’ve found the best way to handle that problem is to use well seasoned iron skillets, seasoned to the point where you don’t need to add additional grease (there is butter in the batter with the recipe I use)
  • sugar AND butter are used in the recipes to help caramelize the pancakes, making them a nice golden brown. If you want to remove or adjust one of these you will need to compensate with the other or your pancakes will be pretty gross (over cooked on the inside, or underdone on the outside)

Just knowing those few things should make a HUGE difference in your pancake experience. Over the next couple of weeks I’m hoping to start posting some recipes. My favorites so far:

  • Buckwheat Pancakes (with molasses)
  • Vanilla and Blue Corn
  • Smokey Oat
  • Cinnamon Whole Wheat
  • Cheddar and Blue Corn
  • Ginger Snap

Look for them over the next couple weeks!

IN PRINT: IPA Mustard

Whole Grain Mustard with IPA

Also in print this month is my recipe for making beer mustard! Check it out online with the GRID digital edition, or read below:

These days you can find any number of novelty beer mustards at boutique grocers, but nothing will be as delicious or as the one you make yourself with a local beer. Choosing a bright flavorful beer like Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale or Dogfishhead 120 Minute IPA will make your mustard taste like biting into a crisp summer cucumber, and there is no better way to take a break from beer than with more beer!

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IN PRINT: Sour Plum Beer

Home Brewed Sour Plum Beer

This month my article on home brewing a sour plum beer is featured GRID, check out the article online or read below:

A lambic is a wild fermented beer from Belgium that is marked by a bright, funky, and intense sour flavor with a wonderfully clean finish. It is perfect for escaping a bit of the hot humid weather during a Philadelphia summer, and is the inspiration for Sour Ales made in the United States today. Think of it like a grown up lemonade, or the sourdough version of beer. The process for making a lambic is long and complicated, sometimes taking 3 years to produce a single complete batch. It starts in the fall where the wort is left out in enormous trays (coolships) with open windows allowing ambient yeast to settle and spontaneously ferment the brew. It ends after it has been barrel aged for anywhere from 1-3 years often blended (young and old) to create a gueuze. It can also be refermented with fruit (a kriek has whole cherries, a framboise has raspberries), or blended with fruit juice just before bottling to create a lambic almost like a desert wine. There are more than 86 possible microorganisms in a lambic, ranging from yeast in the air, to yeast in the brewery, to yeast in the barrels themselves. The process leads to a beer that has wildly different properties based on the year and place it was made, with endless flavor profiles and a deeply devoted following in the United States.

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A Better Brighter Grenadine

Left: This Recipe, Right: Other Recipes

Recently I spent an extraordinary amount of time testing grenadine recipes, trying to find one that wouldn’t sacrifice color for flavor, or flavor for color. There are a lot of complaints out there about home made grenadine being brown (from the pomegranate molasses) or too watery (when it’s made with juice) or too expensive and time consuming (when you make your own pomegranate molasses).  I thought I had found the solution when I saw on someone’s website that a combination of the two (using pomegranate molassesand juice) produced a bright and deep red grenadine that didn’t turn brown in drinks. But alas! Still brown.  So for about a month I thought about how to solve this problem. There was a time when no one cared that homemade grenadine was brown, but in this newer age of cocktails people are looking for beauty as well as artisanal methods. Food coloring simply won’t do, but neither will a muddy drink. While working on other syrups I discovered the key in a flower I use in almost everything. It’s so simple, so inexpensive, and so beautiful, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner: hibiscus. And you can believe me when I tell you this will make a beautiful, bright, and deep red grenadine that won’t dilute to brown when you mix it. (Get the recipe at Is Greater Than)

 

IN PRINT: Cold Brewed Coffee

 

A refreshing glass of cold brewed coffee

 

This month GRID magazine in Philadelphia is printing my article on cold brewed coffee. If you happen to live in the area, pick yourself up a copy, a mason jar, and a bag of coffee and go at it! However, for those of you who don’t live in Philly, you can still get the article right here, or in the digital edition of GRID.

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GOAT TOWER PRESENTS: Pancake Breakfast With Special Guests From Turret of Velociraptors!

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Apple Asparagus Scramble

Apple Asparagus Scramble

I have this belief about breakfast places that the smaller the menu the better. I would rather go somewhere that has few options but everything is AMAZING than someplace that has a million options but only a handful worth eating. A large menu isn’t impressive, a thoughtful menu is. I get a lot of compliments from friends about my breakfasts and I believe it’s specifically because even though it looks like I’m throwing a bunch of crap in a pan, I’m actually making something I’ve made hundreds of times. Scrambles are my dish. I can pull a bunch of withered vegetables from the fridge in the unlikeliest of combinations and turn into something spectacular. And because I’ve made hundreds (nearing a thousand at this point) I have this running list of rare seasonal moments when some of my favorite ingredients overlap for just a couple of weeks. One of these is apple and asparagus with sharp cheddar cheese. Asparagus is an early spring vegetable, and apples are a late fall fruit, so there is very little when you can have both in a scramble, but NOW is that time! Get the whole story »