foodstuff

post34 // welcome to foodstuffs

hi friends. welcome to foodstuffs, my new blog!!! i hope you’re eating something good today.

it’s been a while since i last wrote and i’m so happy to be back at it. why don’t we play a little catch up…

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my old blog chronicled six months spent abroad eating in peru. it was there that i took my first cooking classes (in spanish¬†ūüôą),¬†ate guinea pig, and told my friends and family all about peruvian cuisine via the interweb. i loved it! every sunday, i’d sit criss-cross applesauce on my bed and start typing and translating a peruvian recipe.

when i left peru, i went back to finish college in davidson, north carolina. to liven up the food scene there, i started working at summit coffee, baked my tail off, ate too much milk bread, and wrote a food column for the student paper. i even took a course in nutrition, which explains some of the way-too-damn-healthy recipes i have in my archives. i was lucky enough to land a summer internship at food52, the james-beard awarded culinary website, which led me to my first job out of school on their marketing team.

upon moving to new york city and starting life in the real world, my blogging fell off the wagon. i was busy! too busy! really, ask anyone who saw me my first six months in nyc. this was me. but now life has changed a bit! i just wrapped up two very full years in new york, and am living in washington, dc for the summer before heading to culinary school in paris this fall. you could say i’m excited.

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i’m sure you’re wondering why dough pictures are just creeping onto your screen without any acknowledgment or explanation. that dough is the beginning of my very first croissant bake! in preparation for my summer job at bread furst, a fabulous, james-beard winning bakery in d.c. that you must visit, i made homemade croissants! jokes on me though because i am now weeks into my work at the bakery and i don’t actually bake the croissants. instead, i bake loaves and baguettes all day with the bread bakers (pastry bakers cover croissants).

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regardless, i’m happy i made croissants from scratch because i learned that they take a very very very long time and are a hard thing to get right on your first try (#learning). i spent¬†little time deciding on where to pull a croissant recipe. it was to be julia child’s croissants, the queen of french cooking (with english translation).

a quick google search pulled up this throwback video that made me appreciate how informational The French Chef was and what today’s cooking shows truly lack.

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i followed julia’s recipe to a tee and recommend that if you want an authentic and true french croissant, you do the same. making the croissants took a full day so i’d bookmark this adventure for a rainy weekend. the actual mixing of the dough is simple and straight-forward, with the most difficult part of the recipe coming towards the very end of your day (after multiple hours of folding and waiting). this part is the forming of the isosceles triangles, which you immediately roll into crescent shape. they won’t be perfect but if mixed and folded correctly, your croissants will be truly impressive. not to mention, buttery and flaky upon opening. what’s better than that!

below you can find the recipe fixings, special tools, and link to instructions for making julia child’s croissants. i also included a couple quick croissant recipe suggestions in case time isn’t your friend these days.

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and as you could guess from the title, this blog, while mainly about food, will also include snippets and tangents on other random happenings. here’s this week’s other stuff:

obsessed with (and basically want to eat) this lip balm in coconut (h/t my friend kate)

clicking spotify repeat button on this

currently reading¬†A Revolution in Taste by Susan Pinkard. fun fact: Susan is my mom’s best friend and her use of the word foodstuffs was an inspiration for my blog name!

and for your information:

  1. : a substance that is used as food

okay, that’s all for today!! ūüĎč


julia child’s croissants

makes 12 medium croissants

fixings

1 package active-dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 teaspoon and 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup tepid milk

2 cups all-purpose flour, leveled (plus more for shaping)

3 tablespoons tasteless oil (vegetable, canola)

1 stick, chilled butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

special tools

plastic wrap

scissors

rolling pin (a wine bottle works too!)

baking sheet

instructions

for the full recipe and instructions, see Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2, or follow along with The French Chef video above.*


some quicker croissant recipe ideas:

croissants, martha stewart

homemade croissants, pure wow

and when all else fails, my friend caroline swears by Trader Joe’s overnight croissants


*most of my recipes are original or adaptations. for those that aren’t, i refer you to the original source where you can legally access them!

**i’ve transferred all my peruvian and nutrition recipes and blog posts over to foodstuffs. (hence this being post 34). have fun looking through the archives!¬†

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post33 // melting berry pie

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there was a lot to celebrate this past month, most notably my big brother rob’s move up to the big apple. i’ve been hoping he’d make the move since, well since i moved up here, and on saturday april first it came true! i was glad it wasn’t an april fool’s joke. he showed up with my brother jake and i showed up with the best thing i could think of: pie.

pie, pie, pie. we really love pie in my family. probably because i really love making it. on summer weekends together, pie is my baking project of choice. i run out of hands when i start counting the number of friends and family i’ve made pies with.¬Ļ so it seemed only right that upon rob’s arrival, a pie would be a nice treat. not to mention, a really good mid-move snack.

fullsizeoutput_75fi had planned to make the pie saturday morning and bring it over to my brother’s new place that afternoon when they arrived. butttt my plans got a bit meddled after a night out on friday, spent very wisely at my favorite place in nyc:¬†sid gold’s request room, which led to sleeping in on saturday. ¬†who can blame me? needless to say, pie making was pushed a bit later in the day. and my brothers’ plans? they were actually arriving *earlier* than expected.¬†not exactly what i wanted to hear. i got to baking right away.

two hours later and the brothers had arrived in brooklyn as i was just pulling out a hot berry pie from the oven. wow it looked good. but how the hell was i going to get this thing over there? i live seven stops away in manhattan requiring two trains to get to my brother’s new place. would i bring the pie on the subway? i thought about this. for like a second. hell no i was not taking a warm pie in the subway. how would i swipe my subway card and hold it? this pie was still hot so i would have to carry it on a cookie sheet. nope.

the pie didn’t make it on the subway. instead, i went with uber. i was already late anyways so hopefully a car would get me there faster.

fullsizeoutput_760my uber driver was not happy with my entrance. i had to ask a random man on the street to open the car for me and i didn’t really think through driving on nyc streets in a car with a liquidy, bubbling pie. as i sat clutching the pie plate so hard, the dessert spilled and leaked onto the cookie sheet. one big pothole and that pie would’ve leaked all over my uber driver’s¬†car.¬†and boy was he noticing. “is that going to spill??” he kept asking me. “everything okay?” came out of his mouth at each stoplight. i felt terrible, but what could i do! i needed to get the pie there! and i did. a few sticky fingerprints were left on my uber man’s car (sorry sir), but i made it and greeted my brother with a “welcome to new york city” shout and a pie shoved right into his face. a warm welcome right there.

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¬Ļs/o to some special folks i’ve made memorable pies with:¬†this thanksgiving apple w/ my mom, this lattice beauty with stella, this strawberry cream version w/ my dad,¬†this low-res pie w/ yarbs (from¬†my ig’s days of infancy), and this berry number showing off pie process with avh.


berry melt pie

makes 1 double-crust pie

fixings

pie crust:

2¬Ĺ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter

filling:

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 cups fresh berry medley (i used strawberries blueberries, and blackberries but cherries, peaches, plums, and any other fruit will be delicious.)

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons sugar

special tools

rolling pin (or wine bottle!)

pie plate

instructions

pie crust (adapted from Kate Lebo’s, Pie School):

  1. fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 3/4 cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prep the following steps.
  2. in a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. drop 1-tablespoon pieces of butter into the flour and toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
  3. place your palms up and curl your fingers back to scoop up the flour and fat. rub, rub, rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. make sure you reach into the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. it should be chunky‚ÄĒmostly cherry-size pieces, the smaller bits resembling coarse cornmeal.
  4. take the water out of the freezer. pour it (slowly!) in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. toss to distribute the moisture. as you add a bit more water and toss, the dough will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. if it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. if the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done.
  5. gather the dough in 2 balls, one slightly larger for the bottom crust. quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. refrigerate for an 30 minutes to 3 days before rolling.

filling: 

  1. heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. in large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups sugar, the cornstarch and salt. gently toss with all the berries and let stand for 15 minutes. dump into the bottom crust-lined pie pan. fold the top crust over the pie plate and arrange strips in a lattice if desired! crimp edges and brush crust with milk, followed by a sprinkle of sugar.
  3. place pie in the middle oven rack and put a cookie sheet below it in case of leakage. bake 20 minutes and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. cover edge of crust with foil strips to prevent burning. bake 40-45 minutes longer or until middle part of crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. recommended: let stand 2 hours before serving (we know I didn’t do that…).

photography by catherine o’donnell/foodstuffs

post31 // sweet potatoes with thyme

DSC_0193Thyme-Infused Sweet Potatoes

Like many people, I have a sweet tooth. I love¬†cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, cobblers, crisps, ice cream, floats, the list goes on and on and on. However, recently I’ve been trying to substitute these cravings of mine with smaller portion sizes and sugar I can benefit from. High in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable that should be added to your grocery list ASAP. Low in grams, one sweet potato contributes an extensive amount of nutrients¬†for its percentage of the recommended dietary allowment (RDA). Also beneficial, sweet potatoes are high in amylopectin, a digestible type of starch.

If those scientific benefits didn’t lure you in, then this taste will. Littered in thyme leaves and a kick from red pepper flakes, these sweet potato rounds are full of flavor. I promise they’ll keep you full for a long time and if you make the whole recipe at once, you’ll be able to add them to meals throughout the week!

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Thyme-Infused Sweet Potato Rounds

Adapted from Kathryn Matthews, Epicurious

Materials:

Large bowl to mix

Cutting board

Knife

Vegetable Peeler

Cup/spoon measurements

Baking sheet or baking dish (13X9)

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

‚Öď cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish

¬Ĺ teaspoon kosher salt

Extra butter or oil to grease pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450¬į F. Grease your baking sheet or dish with butter or oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients and toss in large mixing bowl.
  3. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet or dish.
  4. Place on middle oven rack and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.