beef bourguignon

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

I’ve gotten really into making my version of beef bourguignon recently because it’s actually super easy, really hearty and lasts for a couple of days. Plus it satisfies that need to chop and cook on a sunday. My take on it is basically this Ina Garten recipe but I omit the whole second half. And I don’t bake it, I just cook it on the stove at very low heat for an hour and a half. And I add potatoes.

(the picture is of just the vegetables before I add in the browned beef and wine, because this version is just prettier).

making croissants from scratch

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

I have wanted to make croissants from scratch at least once in my life. I feel it is my duty as a partially french person. So enlisting the help of friends, an absurd amount of butter, so much waiting, and about 48 hours, we made croissants. We also threw in some pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins for good measure. What follows is our process. It’s going to be long, so get comfy! The recipe is at the end if you ever care to do it yourself. It’s not really hard just incredibly time consuming. I will say that it’s worth it and that I will probably never do it again.

We used this incredibly classic, and dog eared patisserie book and translated not only the french to english but the grams to cups. At times it was not pretty. I love all the notations written on the side and all the history you could feel. The book belongs to my friend’s french mom and she’s used it for ages.

The actual assembly of the dough is not complicated. You mix three bowl of different simple ingredients and then combine them. It’s everything after that point that makes you feel incompetent.

So here is the dough. Now comes the fun part of letting it rise, rolling it out, cooling it, rolling it, adding loads of butter and then repeating.

Yeah, that’s butter. And only half of what you ultimately use.

This is the folding step (you can see that the butter has been spread out to form a thin layer over 2/3rds of the dough. The part that’s being folded over does not have butter (in case you’re actually making the recipe. Then you would roll it out in front of you, not side to side).

Once you do all the waiting and rolling cooling and folding and waiting you’ll be at this step (approximately 24 hours, you can see the butter step was at night and the rolling out was in the morning). Here is where you use even more muscle and you roll the dough out super thin and cut it into triangles to actually make the croissants!.

Rolling them up was super fun, who knew it would ultimately be so simple!

You arrange them on a baking sheet, brush them with some egg to make them shiny and then let them rise in a warm spot (if you have a gas oven with a pilot, then stick them in the oven where it’s perfectly dry and warm) for an hour.

then if you’re us, you also add in some pains au chocolat (basically you cut a rectangle and sprinkle some chocolate chips and roll them up) and some pains aux raisins (Almond paste and soaked raisins that you spread out onto the dough, roll up and then slice like cinammon rolls).

Here they are all puffed up from being warm for an hour and now they’re ready to bake!


Croissants From Scratch
(Disclaimer: If you have a kitchen scale I highly recommend using the grams measurements as it seems like some of my conversions might be off!)

Ingredients (clustered for a reason)
20 G (4tsp) yeast
50 G (3 Tbsp) sugar
2 Tbsp Milk
15 G salt (1 Tbsp)

40 G Melted butter (2 1/2 tbsp)
120 G Water (1/2 Cup)
120 Milk (1/2 Cup)

500 G wheat flour (4 Cups)
260 G butter (room temp) (1 Cup)
1 egg


1. Dissolve yeast with 2 tbsp room temp water, set aside
2. Mix sugar, salt and milk together, set aside
3. Mix butter, water, milk in a pan over low heat.

The process:

1. In a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon mix the flour with the sugar, salt and milk mixture. Once well mixed add in the butter water and milk mixture. Combine and add yeast last. When the dough separates from the sides of the mixing bowl it’s ready.

2. Place the bowl of dough in a warm spot of the kitchen, cover with a wet cloth and allow the dough to double in size, about an hour.

3. Sprinkle an 8×10 (or close) baking dish with flour and mold the dough into it (you’ll need the shape later for rolling out) and put it covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or until stiff.

4. Divide the butter into two equal amounts, set one half aside.

5. Remove the dough from the fridge and on a floured surface with a rolling pin (and some muscle) roll it out into a rectangle about a 1/4″ thick. Spread one portion of the butter over the left 2/3rds of the rolled out dough. (the butter should be softer than the dough so that it spreads easily).

6. Fold the dough in three starting with the 1/3rd on the right that has no butter. (like folding a letter in thirds, see picture above). Roll the dough out away from you and not side to side.

7. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and fold it in three again and roll it out to the approximate size of the baking pan. Wrap the dough in a dry dishtowel and place it in the baking dish and back in the fridge for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.

8. Take the dough out of the fridge and repeat steps 5 -7 but instead of placing back in the baking pan, place the dough on a floured baking sheet and place, covered with the dishtowel, in the fridge for an hour.

9. Take the dough out and roll it out on a floured surface to 1/8″ thickness (90×30 cm rectangle) (35×12 inches). Cut the dough in half along the length.

10. Cut each half into 12-15 triangles keeping the base narrow. Starting with the base, roll each triangle into croissant shape.

11. Place the croissants on a greased baking sheet leaving space for each to rise. Brush the tops with egg (this gives it the shine)

12. If your oven has a pilot light then stick the baking sheet of croissants in the oven to rise for 2 hours. If you don’t have a pilot light in the oven then find a warm spot in the house.

13. Preheat the oven to 200C (390F) (not if the croissants are rising inside it though).

14. Brush on one more layer of egg and put the tray in the oven for 15 minutes. It’s best to keep your eye on them towards the end so that they don’t burn.

Voila! Croissants!

orange infused campfire cake

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I heart debbie carlos, a great photographer with a great blog that chronicles her food adventures including this amazing cake baked inside a hollowed out orange cooked on a campfire. With the spring approaching, I can’t wait to make this on the next camping trip.

See her etsy shop here and her blog: Weekend here.

Image: Debbie Carlos.

the stove debacle is over

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

So, those of you following me on twitter are up to date on the whole stove situation. But for everyone else I thought I’d cathartically post about it. The stove that was here didn’t have a functional oven, so obviously that wasn’t going to work long term. I found a killer deal on a larger O’Keefe and Merrit stove on craigslist (thank you craigslist) and all was well with the world. Until everything that could go wrong did. I won’t go into detail, but it took 2 movers, 4 days, 2 trips to the hardware store, 2 plus sized magic erasers, my dad, my landlord and my somewhat limited patience to actually have the stove in place and functional. And now it’s all mine.

It’s all just in time for my forays into bread baking and my somewhat uncontrollable craving for the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

good morning

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Morning is my favorite time. If I could get everything done by 11:30am I would be happy. As it is, I think I get 80% of my day done by then, and then the rest is dragged out.

Eggs, tortillas, avocado and some salsa. This is breakfast every morning.

cookbook la

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Just around the corner from me is cookbook a neighborhood grocer started by Marta Teegan of Homegrown LA. They’ve saved me a couple of times already with their take out deli case. They choose a different cook book every couple of weeks and cook the deli selection from that. Right now they’re cooking out of Around My French Table.

They’ve also got great items to give for the holidays like bay leaf wreaths, Fog Linen tea towels & napkins, June Taylor jams, Lavender Honey and tons of great cookbooks.

I’m loving my neighborhood.

Roundup of Food Photography Tips

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, here are some of my favorite tips from around the intertron for taking great food photos:

David Lebovitz’s Food Photo Gear and Tips
Bon Appetit’s behind the scenes with Matt from Matt Bites including tips for great iPhone pictures.
Smitten Kitchen’s approach
Pioneer Woman’s break down

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

(P.S. the photo is of one of my favorite cakes to bake that I found via The Marion House Blog. It’s a surprisingly quick root beer chocolate bundt. I also guest posted on the blog about steamed mussels.)

Langues de Chat

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

My Aunt came back from France with a little gift for me: A box of Langues de Chat from La Duree (recently most known for their Macarons). Of course the packaging is amazing (the cat! with its tongue out!) and the little butter cookies inside are delicate and delicious.

I Heart Cake

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Hope everyone had a great labor day. I spent some time with friends and family out in Palm Springs. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions for dealing with heartbreak. If I can offer my insights so far:

1) See friends often
2) Wear nice clothes (don’t just sit around in sweats)
3) Exercise
4) Watch funny things (like this and this and this.)
5) Keep Busy (thankfully I’ve gotten a chance to work with some amazing people recently: from Kelly LaPlante to Rue Magazine to my old boss Nadia Geller).

Once I have my own place again I would love to get a series of these amazing Cake Paintings from Paul Ferney. They make me so happy.

Nougat de Montélimar

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I made this Nougat with my Tante Marie a while ago and even posted about it, but now I put together a much more in depth post and recipe for The Kitchn. It’s involved, but totally worth it if you have any interest at all in making the most delicious candy on earth. Of course, if you’d rather skip it, you can buy Nougat at The Little Flower Candy Company right here in Pasadena.

OK, consider me on vacation, see you at the end of the month!