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Washington, DC, United States
"A rose is a rose is an onion." -Ernest Hemingway



This is a highly generic, extremely flexible pesto recipe. I've been eyeballing the ingredients for years, but today I decided to use real, grown-up ... measuring cups. :) The photo quality isn't very high, but the vibrant color and stiff, thick texture speak for themselves.

For about 1 cup of pesto, you'll need:

+ fresh basil leaves, 2 cups, loosely packed
+ toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup
+ grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, 1/2 cup
+ garlic, 2-4 cloves
+ 1 lemon, juiced
+ S&P
+ olive oil, approximately 1/4 cup

In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, cheese and garlic until coarsely chopped. Add the lemon juice. With the food processor running (keep the top on, and use the feed tube), slowly drizzle in the olive oil, until your desired texture is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste. This is great tossed with freshly-cooked pasta or on my own Pesto-Feta Stuffed Chicken. Enjoy!


Sweet Cinnamon Knots

These light, airy breakfast rolls are as delicious as classic cinnamon buns - but half as messy, and much less likely to give you a cavity.

For about 8 large rolls, you'll need:

+ lukewarm water, 2/3 cup
+ dry yeast, 1 .25-ounce package
+ sugar, 3 tablespoons + 1/3 cup, divided
+ 3 eggs
+ butter, 4 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons, divided and melted
+ shortening, 2 tablespoons (plus extra for greasing the bowls)
+ flour, approx. 4 cups
+ heavy cream, 2 tablespoons
+ brown sugar, 2/3 cup
+ ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons

Lightly grease two large mixing bowls with shortening; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine water, yeast and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside for five minutes.
Using the bread hook in a large mixer or the dough blade in a food processor, combine the eggs, 4 tablespoons of butter, and sugar. The yeast mixture should be puffy and thick. If it is, add the contents of the bowl to the egg mixture. If it's not, you may not have viable yeast, and should try again. Remember: if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

To the egg-yeast mixture, add the 1/3 cup of sugar. Gradually incorporate flour until a soft ball of dough forms. Remove approximately 2/3 of the dough; knead gently, and place in a mixing bowl. To the remaining dough, add the heavy cream, brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine. Remove dough, and knead gently. Place in second mixing bowl. Allow doughs to rise, covered, in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down; rise for 1 hour.

Divide each ball of dough into eighths. To form a roll, you will need an eighth of the cinnamon dough and an eighth of the plain dough. Roll both into ropes, about 1 foot in length. Tie the plain dough in a knot around the middle of the cinnamon dough, loop the cinnamon rope around, and tuck the ends underneath. Rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush knots with reserved melted butter; bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!


Purple and Green Asian Stir Fry

I used green beans and red onion in my version, but I suppose that eggplant, green bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage or even purple cauliflower would have worked, as well.

For 4-6 servings, you'll need:

+ dry linguini, 1/2 pound
+ 1 large red onion, sliced into rounds
+ green beans, 1/2 pound (that's several large handfuls)
+ garlic, 2 cloves, minced
+ fresh ginger, 1 1-inch segment, peeled and grated
+ olive oil, 3 tablespoons
+ S&P
+ 2 chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into chunks
+ soy sauce, 1/4 cup
+ hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons
+ 1 lime, juiced
+ brown sugar, 2 tablespoons

Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, bring olive oil in a skillet (or wok) to medium-high heat. Add the onion, green beans, garlic and ginger. Stir gently until everything is coated in oil. Add chicken, and reduce heat to medium; cover, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, lime juice and brown sugar. Remove the lid from the pan, and add the cooked linguini and glaze. Toss gently until noodles are evenly coated and glaze has thickened. Enjoy!


Champagne Salmon

This delicate, elegant dish takes only 15 minutes to prepare - who would've guessed it?

For two servings, you'll need:

+ 2 small salmon steaks (with or without skin - your call)
+ 1 lemon
+ champagne vinegar, 4 tablespoons
+ capers, 1 tablespoon
+ S&P
+ olive oil, 2 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine juice from lemon, vinegar, capers, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Gently toss salmon to coat. Transfer fish and marinade (if you can even call it that!) to a baking sheet; lightly drizzle with olive oil. (I added some baby broccoli to the pan.) Bake for 12 minutes, or until salmon is flaky.



Whole Wheat Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan Cheese

A delicious, albeit not beautiful, product, straight from the little kitchen in my new one bedroom.

For 2-3 servings and some leftovers, you'll need:

+ whole wheat pasta (penne or another short shape), 2 cups, dry
+ 1 large white onion, sliced into rings
+ garlic, 2 cloves, minced
+ fresh thyme, 3 sprigs
+ butter, 3 tablespoons
+ sugar, 1 tablespoon
+ parmesan cheese, grated, 1/4 cup
+ S & P

Melt butter over low heat. Add onions; cook gently for 1-2 minutes. Strip leaves of thyme from the stems; discard stems. Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes; add sugar. Cook until onions are evenly caramelized and garlic is lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

In the meantime, liberally salt water and boil; cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; toss with butter and onion mixture, until each piece of pasta is evenly coated. (I nearly skipped this step, but Jeremy saved the day!) Remove from skillet, and place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese; serve.


Missing In Action?

I'd like to apologize for the lack of recent posts -- I'm in the process of moving to Arlington, where I'll be attending the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Washington. I'm currently knee-deep in cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape, but once I'm settled in my new apartment, I promise there'll be plenty of new posts!


Pâte Fermentée

Also called a "sponge" or "starter," this yeast dough ferments for at least 12 hours, deepening the flavor of the bread products in which it is used. I've fiddled with the measurements for a few months, and I'm happy with this product.

For one batch (approximately 2 cups), you'll need:

+ dry yeast, 1/4 teaspoon
+ lukewarm water, 1/2 cup
+ flour, approximately 1 cup
+ oil

In a bowl, combine water and yeast. Rest for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. Gently mix in flour; you should have a soft, fragile "dough." Place dough in an oiled bowl; cover, and allow to rest at room temperature. Overnight, the product will transform into the stretchy, sticky mixture shown above.