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Tag Archive: winter

On Love and Garlic Knots

November 5, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

Every autumn as the leaves start to change, a sudden itch to bake pops into my mental periphery. I find myself daydreaming in class about French pastries and cinnamon, fantasizing about the ways I could reinvent chocolate chip cookies or braid a loaf of challah. As my friends can tell you, this is the season where the communal Tupperware container makes frequent appearances, gracing its audience with piles of brownies and cake slices. To me at least, fall and baking go hand-in-hand, and no autumnal meal would be complete without a sweet or bread-y sidekick.

As I stand in my kitchen stirring a caramel sauce or kneading dough, my mind turns reflective. In these repetitive motions, I think. A lot. And every fall, for some reason, I think about love.

Maybe it was because fall was the season when I first literally fell from someone. It was seventh grade, when I had the poofiest hair and biggest chutzpah you’d ever seen. I had a huge crush on this kid in a few of my classes, and one day, I decided to call him up and ask him to hang out. (Spoiler: he said yes, but to this day, it was truly one of the most awkward nights of my life.)

Honestly? Mistake. What was I thinking?! I was twelve and already a loud, ballsy feminist. The world of teenage boys was certainly not ready for adolescent Abby, who was ready for a mature man while still wearing peace sign scarves from Justice. Even though I commend my younger self for being so confident, I do wish I had waited. Because my very sensitive little heart got very disheartened when things didn’t go as planned.

After that, my love life was basically nonexistent until senior year, when I tried to give “romance” another try. I let myself be vulnerable and was honest with my emotions — which was kinda badass, I guess. But I got really, really badly hurt. It was the wrong time, and I picked the wrong person.

I got to college thinking things would be different. Boys would be more mature! Someone out there would be looking for an independent, quirky, strong-willed woman like myself! And I laugh. I’m sure people are out there, they gotta be. But so far, I have been disappointed. Young people are so into hookup culture, and I, as a closeted 40-something, am not. College students can be so wishy-washy and last-minute about things and people and plans. And even though it’s 2017 — where women should be able to ask out men (or other women!) without it being weird — initiating and being forward has never gone well for the potato. Ugh.

Part of it is patience. I’ve just gotta let go and let love find me. And sure, I can be all yoga-y about it and say, “I am a complete individual on my own, I do not need anyone to complete me. What you seek is surely seeking you, don’t be attached to ideas or people. Let the universe take you where it shall.” But you know what? That’s not really how I feel most of the time.

How do I feel? I feel frustrated. I feel frustrated that I still scare people away because I have opinions and personality and spunk. I feel frustrated that people still don’t respect my time. I feel frustrated how seemingly little people can seem to care. I feel frustrated that all of that — the inconsistency, the blasé spontaneity, the forgetfulness — is somehow okay. I feel frustrated that this is the same trope I’ve been experiencing since the first time I ever asked someone out seven years ago.

And you know what? It’s okay for your feelings about life and love to not be tied up in a perfect little box with a ribbon on top. It’s okay to be angry and frustrated and salty with the way societal norms are. It’s okay to want love and want to be loved and cry about it not being there in the way you want. It’s okay to have emotions, even “negative” ones.

So I guess that’s why I turn to carbohydrates. Because quite frankly, carbohydrates never fail to satisfy the romantic love I crave.

Apologies for the rant. I am truly an optimistic, upbeat person 90-95% of the time. But I think it’s important to share that 5-10% of pessimism, saltiness and frustration, because our multifaceted nature only makes us more endearingly human.

Anyway, to me, there is nothing more tender than biting into a fresh cookie, biscuit or roll. That doughiness, that warmth, that butteriness just melts all of the frustration away. One cannot possibly be sad whilst eating a homemade baked good: that is a scientific fact.

So, when I was feeling sad and nervous and anxious and disheartened last week, I made garlic knots. Because garlic can cure anything, I’m convinced.

I had such a fun time making these for my friends. My favorite part was tying them, because look at how cute they are! And each one is a little different. I find it simply adorable.

These are certainly a labor of love, but that’s my favorite part about baking. The more care you put into it, the more love you taste when you bite into that finished product. And having hot, crispy, chewy garlic knots last weekend was worth every second I put into making them.

Some notes! Please use bread flour. Bread flour means chewy, crispy garlic knots. Just get your butt over to Whole Foods and do it. And use lots of garlic. I actually adapted my recipe from the first time I made it to include more garlic. You wouldn’t want to make out with a vampire, anyway. (Sorry, I was never into Edward Cullen.)

Bony African feet! (Bon appétit in meme slang.)

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Garlic Knots

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


We’ll see when love will find me. But until then, I have garlic knots and some incredibly kickass friends to keep me company.


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Garlic Knots

November 4, 2017 Print this page

Feeling knotty? Then make these simply scrumptious garlic knots! You’ll never need to go to your local shady pizzeria again.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 16 garlic knots

FOR THE KNOTS:

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)

2 tbsp EVOO

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

4 cups of bread flour

FOR THE GARLIC DRIZZLE:

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

Directions

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, yeast and warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot, or else the yeast will die! Stir together with a spoon and let sit until the yeast are nice and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and 1 cup of the bread flour. Stir together with a spoon or the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer. Keep adding flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is thick. Knead with your hands on a well-floured work space or with the dough hook in the stand mixer until smooth and not sticky, about ten minutes. If the dough still clings to your fingers or palms after kneading, add more flour, 2 tbsp or so at a time, until it stops sticking. If the dough seems dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, until it becomes smoother.

Lightly oil a clean bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Once doubled, put the dough on a well-floured work space. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut each piece into four quarters, trying to keep each piece the same size. If you have a kitchen scale, use it! Simply weigh the whole dough ball and divide by 16 to determine your individual roll mass. If not, no worries, just eyeball it the best you can.

Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, take a dough ball and, on a well-floured work space, roll it into a rope about 7-8 inches long. Tie it just as you would a knot. If you have excess dough after tying the knot, tuck it under the formed roll. Repeat with remaining dough balls.

Place back on baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir, and let cook for a minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid, and let steep while the rolls rise.

Once the rolls have finished their final rise, lightly brush them with half of the garlic/parsley butter. Let bake until golden brown on the outside, about 18-20 minutes.

Brush with the remaining half of the garlic/parsley butter upon exiting the oven. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve immediately.


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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I MADE IT. I’M A SECOND SEMESTER SENIOR.

Basically, I have no idea what just happened to me? One minute I was walking through the door with my space cats backpack in August, and the next I was dragging myself out of school while wearing a Pusheen the Cat onesie and bright yellow sunglasses in January? Confusion?

A heavy snowstorm fell on my town the night after the last day of first semester, and when I awoke the next morning, the world was still, covered in a blanket of lovely white. I felt so peaceful watching the flakes fall from the sky, knowing that I had reached the stressful apex of my high school career and was about to giggle my face off on the ride down. With the heat cranked up and my fuzzy purple blanket wrapped around my shoulders, I took out a pencil and just…wrote. Wrote about everything I’ve felt, everything that’s taken place, everything I look forward to in the next few months. It was so nice to just breathe a sigh of relief, because the past five months have been insanely, insanely stressful at times.

On Sunday night, I decided to cook up this risotto after yoga class. And while it’s a delicious dish, I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that: RISOTTO IS A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE. I know you are now groaning because I’m about to go off on a tangent, but BEAR WITH ME PLEASE, my English teacher this year doesn’t let me be creative and I need to let my imagination fly somewhere.

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The thing about risotto is that you have to stir it. CONSTANTLY. And it gets annoying at times and your arm starts to hurt and you start yelling at your spoon, but you keep going, because you will ruin that risotto if you stop. And just when you think your risotto is done, you take a bite and even after three additions of liquid, it’s still too al dente. But you keep on keeping on, stirring and tending to that risotto until it’s just perfect. And you eat it and cry because carbs are beautiful, especially on a winter night.

Right now, I’m in the transition: I’m stirring my own personal risotto, and it’s not done yet. I’m getting there, but it’s not ready. I’m still adding things, still adjusting the seasonings, still searching for a balance. I am a very impatient person when it comes to waiting for things, so I get anxious and frustrated and awkward at times, but I just keep going, because I know that a delicious future is ahead of me. And I just gotta breathe and get through it.

But hey, stirring can be fun. I can still sing and dance like a fool. I can still have a conversation with someone sitting across from me and laugh at how adorable that smile is. I can still do a spontaneous yoga pose, still think about the complexities of life, still be myself through all of this stirring. And that’s awesome.

Okay. My risotto metaphor is done now. You may now proceed with your life.

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This was one awesome risotto. I mean, sweet potatoes, fried sage, AND white wine?! Sign me up again. It was heavenly. Ugh. Now I’m hungry again.

So, make this risotto (possibly for me, cough, but wait, I can make this for myself hahahaha) and think deep thoughts about life and then just rejoice in delicious warm carbs. Good.

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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Until next time, my loves. <3 <3 <3


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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Print this page

A lot of people get intimidated by risotto, but you really shouldn’t–it’s super easy to make, and it’s a delicious, hearty dinner for a cold winter night. I gave one of my favorite dishes a fresh new spin by frying some sage leaves, adding a splash (a, er, rather large splash) of white wine, and stirring in some roasted sweet potato puree just before serving.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Pumpkin Roulade Cake (oil-free + dairy-free)

October 31, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello, gorgeous. Goodness, look at those curves on you! You’re really on a roll with beauty like that.

I’m sorry. My humor has been flushed down a dark toilet and has been clogged there for weeks. I haven’t even been writing for two minutes and I’ve already offended you with cake flirtations and bathroom references. I think this is what they call senior slump.

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I am so glad October is over: it was a stressful month with taking the SAT, juggling classes with lots of reading, and submitting my early decision application to college (!!!). And when I get anxious or nervous, I resort to stress baking, so tasty treats have been spewing out of my kitchen lately.

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Even though it was crazy, October still yielded lots of fun adventures and surprises. I made a flower crown and wore a toga to school. I went apple picking with one of my best friends ever (we collectively got 38 pounds of apples). I visited my top-choice school on a beautiful autumn day and felt perfectly at home there. I finally did full lotus. I dressed up as a tomato for Halloween.

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…say what?! TOMATO?! Proof is in the pudding (or is it the sauce…tomato pudding would be disgusting…).

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Now you know why hot boys are knocking at my doorstep!!! 😉

So, yeah. Crazy months yield crazy baked goods.

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This one was a huge hit with my taste-testing squad. Everyone said it was light, perfectly-spiced, and wonderfully spongy…and no one noticed that there was a) no oil in the cake, and b) tofu in the filling.

Once again, say WHAT?! I said tofu. T-O-F-U. In a dessert. And everyone agreed that it was delicious.

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While this roulade cake sounds fancy (and hard to assemble), it’s really quite easy! If you can dump things into a bowl and have a kitchen towel you’d be okay with getting messy, you should be good to go.

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Pumpkin Roulade Cake

Want a healthy (yet beautiful) dessert that doesn’t have added oils and still tastes delicious? Look no further than this pumpkin roulade cake! Shh…don’t tell anyone…there’s tofu in the filling…

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 1 cake (about 12 servings)

FOR THE CAKE:

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Pinch each of nutmeg, clove, and allspice

1/2 teaspoon of salt

FOR THE FILLING:

12 ounces of silken tofu

1/2-3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions

FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and nonstick cooking spray then set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a spatula until well-incorporated, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (1/2 cup at a time) until everything is combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

Once the cake is fully cooked, let it cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto the prepared tea towel. Peel off the wax paper and roll up the cake like a log, rolling from the short side to the long side. Put the cake wrapped in the tea towel on a cooling rack and set aside.

FOR THE FILLING:

In a high-speed blender, process together all of the ingredients for the filling. Taste and add more confectioner’s sugar, if necessary.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumps from forming. Once very thick, transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE:

When both the cake and frosting are cool, unroll the cake onto a cutting board. Using an inverted spatula, spread the filling all over the cake, leaving about an inch around the border to make sure the filling doesn’t come gushing out.

Applying gentle pressure, roll up the cake with the filling inside the same way as you did before. Give it a squeeze to seal the seam and place the cake, seam side down, on a plate or the same cutting board you just used. Put it in the fridge for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or unrefined cane sugar before serving, if desired.


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What did YOU do this October?! Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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