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Hahaha I definitely spoke too soon about avoiding jet lag, I feel like I have a Teletubby suit on that is filled with sand, that’s how much effort it’s taken to roll out of bed and lift up any of my limbs these past few days. I am Laa Laa (the second A’s are silent?!). And it’s probably not helping that I’ve fallen into a routine of not only staying up past my bedtime and hyperventilating at the figure skating and then giving my undivided attention to the post-show with Charlie White and Kristi Yamaguchi and Ben Agosto, but also allowing time to come down off of all of the excitement and cleansing my palate before bed by watching something fictional on Netflix. It’s this whole routine and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better because tonight is the ladies’ short program obviously, tomorrow is the ladies’ hockey final, and on Thursday I’m going to be teaching a class at Plum’s in South Dakota during the ladies’ long program and then watching it on DVR afterward. If you @ me with any spoilers that night before I watch it, I am blocking you at once. 

Ok, a quick warm take on last night’s ice dance: HOLY GUACAMOLE, I am moved. I couldn’t even stay in my seat or breathe regularly for the last group, it was all so much. I love that Virtue and Moir won. They skated their butts off and deserved that ending to their career (and prelude to their marriage?!?1!!), and I’ll be binging their reality show once the Olympics are over. But. What I love just as much as their winning, is the fact that we are going to get to see Papadakis and Cizeron perform again and again for years to come. Like, we should have been in a dark theater watching that program unfold on a well-lit stage, and it sucks that they couldn’t have tied with the Canadians and also won gold but the fact that we even got to watch them perform how they did was a prize for us all. My pizza analogy is that Virtue/Moir are Chicago pizza: their extremely extra performance was amazing and delicious and something I can commit to being wowed by once a while, while Cizeron/Papadakis are New York pizza, I could watch them every single day. I LOVE THEM BOTH. 

Shib Sibs were obviously awesome/clean/powerful/great, but I find myself wanting them to go way further in the realm of sibling storytelling. Romantical storylines are obviously all over ice dancing, so it’s easy to feel like that might put the Shib Sibs at a disadvantage, but I feel like that should only open up the opportunity to surprise us with something different. I keep thinking about what Justin Peck did in “The Times Are Racing” with his gender neutral roles, and how that went against the norm in ballet and came out as powerfully as it did. Or like how Eleven and Hopper stole all of our hearts with zero romance. I’m Monday-morning-quarterbacking here since, seriously, I know nothing except for my emotions, but I just found myself wanting their insane athleticism to be matched by an equally compelling story.


In other news, while we were in Korea, my second book became available for pre-order! Short Stack Yogurt can be ordered here, and it will be out on March 13th! *Throws blue and red Tide Pod shaped confetti in the air* (We are having a party at Kittsona in Grand Forks to celebrate and I’ll share details for that in a bit.) I had the greatest time putting together this collection of recipes since the possibilities with yogurt are endless and very tasty. I stuffed yogurt into every type of dish I could think of, from beverages to bread to soup to cookies, and I didn’t even get sick of it. After about six months of testing, I narrowed my selection down to 27 recipes, but that was too many so we had to cut a good handful and that was like trying to pick a favorite Macaroni but I’ll be able to post the recipes that were cut here and on IG. I’m just so excited to share this little book with you and I hope it gets you all *jazz hands* about yogurt!! (And FYI, all of the recipes in the book are vegetarian except for one 🥦🥕🍳🍅)

Here is one of the outtakes! I hated cutting this one because it’s become one of our favorite go-to easy dinners. It’s a filling chickpea pancake topped with creamy Greek yogurt, a pile of the garlickiest lemoniest broccolini, and a shower of parmesan. It maxes out on flavor, simplicity, and unfussiness, so it’s just perfect for a Tuesday. Or a Monday or a Wednesday. (May be a little too healthy for Thursday-Sunday though. 😜) 

Worth mentioning: the broccolini scenario here (that is, everything except for the socca/yogurt/parm) is one of my favorite go-to vegetable sides. It comes together in 10 minutes and makes me love broccolini. 



socca with yogurt and garlic broccolini

serves 2-3

ingredients

for the socca

1 c (120g) chickpea flour

1 c water

2 tb olive oil, plus more for pan

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper

 

for the Broccolini

2 tb olive oil

4 cloves garlic, sliced

8 oz broccolini, chopped into 3/4” pieces

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper

 

for the Topping

1 c (225g) whole milk greek yogurt

Crushed red pepper

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1/2 c shredded parmesan, or to taste

clues

To prep the socca, whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Let it sit for a bit while you cook the broccolini (no need to worry about covering it). To cook the broccolini, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broccolini and cook, stirring, until crisp tender, about 7 minutes. Toss with the lemon juice and season with salt and a bunch of turns of black pepper. Set it aside, either on a plate or in a skillet over very low temp just to keep it warm.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add a layer of olive oil and then pour 1/4 of the socca batter into the skillet. Cook on both sides until set. Repeat with remaining batter to make 4 large pancakes. Spread each pancake with 1/4 cup yogurt and top with broccolini. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, another pinch of salt, a turn of black pepper, and a heavy sprinkle of parmesan, 

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Photos by chantell and brett! And this cool quilted garment I am wearing is made by carleen!! 

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Ok!! I am back from the Olympics, and holy buckets, this has been the craziest wildest ride. I am so excited to tell you all about it!!! First I’m going to reel in the exclamation points because I’ve officially used up my allotted amount for the year but just know that literally every sentence here is said with 12 imaginary exclamation points. 

Prologue, four days before we left Grand Forks: I had just found out from the Olympic Channel that they were looking to have me do a few arts and culture segments in Korea but I had also just found out that my passport was going to be missing the expiration deadline by two weeks! It needs to be valid for six months after traveling from the United States to Korea and mine would have been valid for five months and two weeks. Oy vey! So I immediately flew down to Minneapolis to go to their passport office, crossing my fingers and toes that I’d be able to get a new passport in time, and also carrying Passport shaped cookies to hand out to the office. Duh. That all went swimmingly! Everybody at the office was so gosh darn pleasant, especially in explaining to me that they weren’t actually allowed to accept my cookies, and I was in and out of there with a new passport in an hour. It made me love Minnesota even more.

So then! We quickly figured out all of our details with the Olympic Channel which was bonkers with the 15 hours time difference between Grand Forks and PyeongChang, but we got it done and by Tuesday night we had confirmed flights. Seven hours later, we were on our way to the airport! 

We saw our friend Ben on the plane and I gave him a passport cookie. 

It was a 14 hour flight and my dad advised me to absolutely, under no circumstances, sleep on that plane so that when we arrived at night in Korea, we could just have a good night sleep on their local time and then ideally avoid bad jet lag. It took one movie for me to pass out for half the flight. But we still had time to watch Three Billboards (dark), Ingrid Goes West (also dark), and When Harry Met Sally (classic!), and then also eat bibimbap and a little ice cream sundae and quiche. We arrived just as the sun was setting in Seoul and then drove east across the country, through the mountains, to PyeongChang. 

When we rolled into town, we saw the opening/closing ceremony stadium, the ski jump thing, and a bunch of ski slopes all lit up. Our hotel was in a cute Alps-inspired area at the bottom of a ski hill, right next to the big luge slide. 

Day 1: In the morning we drove the hour or so over to Gangneung, where all of the ice rinks are (figure skating, curling, speed skating, and hockey each have their own arena there). It was the men’s short program for the team figure skating event, AKA NATHAN CHEN LIVE. From the moment he walked into the arena, I couldn’t stop omg-ing, I couldn't believe I was seeing him irl. Even just watching him warm up and skate in circles around the ice was magical and beautiful. Like, imagine Yo-Yo Ma playing scales, even the simplest things were incredible. 

We spent the rest of our day seeing the huge broadcasting center where the TV stations have offices, having our first sit down meal (an amazing sweet beef stew at a little restaurant near our hotel), and then going to the Opening Ceremony. 

My favorite parts about the Opening Ceremony were: the food (spicy rice cakes! chicken skewers! sweet yeasted pancakes!), the drummers, and then screaming my head off when Team USA walked in. “Gangnam Style” was perfectly timed for their entrance. Ooh and then we all lost our minds when the shirtless oily Tongan flag bearer walked in.













Day 2: I interviewed Tara and Johnny!!!!!! We talked all about food and you can see that video here. They were so sweet and I just couldn’t stop smiling the biggest smile. After that, Eggboy and I explored the Gangneung Olympic Park. We ate lunch in the spectator’s cafeteria, where I was really hankering for some bibimbap but it was sold out so I got the lasagna which was fine because it’s the year of lasagna 🤷🏻‍♀️. And then we traded some of our Olympic Channel pins for some gems from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics: funeral potatoes and bologna sandwiches. These pins were made for me. For dinner, we ventured outside of the Olympic park and found an adorable family owned BBQ restaurant where we communicated to the owner via a translation app that you speak into and the lady in the phone translates it and spits it back out. The owner’s mother grew all of the vegetables used in the side dishes and everything was delicious. 

That night we had our very first short track speed skating experience and it was mind blowing. Have you ever seen it?! I thought we were in the future. Or in space. Or in another galaxy. Starlight Express! Their speed and smooth movements were completely superhuman. And what made it even more exciting was that speed skating is huge in Korea, so the place was packed and loud and everyone was going nuts and the South Korean president was there. So were the North Korean cheerleaders. There was so much energy in that building.



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After last year's Valentine's cake disaster, there were some things at stake: my pride, my confidence in my ability to carry on my family's decades old tradition, my craving for this almond cake which had only grown stronger after having to practically miss out on it last year. Sure, it wasn’t the worst Valentine’s day situation there ever was (that’s what boys are for! hahaha, jkjk Eggboy), and sure I’d recovered from effed up Valentine’s cakes in the past, but gosh geez I just really wanted to make a fun pretty cake and once again justify my annual Valentine’s day candy aisle raid. 

My friend Randi asked me how I get through the winters up here. Usually when someone asks me that my knee jerk reaction is similar to how some people go gaga over the ~summer~ and that whole summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language Henry James mushy shit. My version of that is WINTER EVENING! WINTER EVENING! GOIN TO BED @ 8, F YEAH! But *I* will even admit that this winter has been particularly nutso bonkers extreme stir crazy-ish and there were some mornings when I woke up with a hint of that dragging feeling that I’d wake up with in Januaries during college when I’d have to put on clothes and go to orchestra rehearsal and sit through three hours of Alfred Schnittke. 

So I threw even more weight behind Valentine’s Day. And decided that’s just what I’m going to do from now on anytime I have a winter blue and don’t have the option of weekending in Hawaii. I put out all of our red mugs, our heart shaped cocotte, the red tea pot, etc., and day dreamed endlessly about my cake. 

I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to get a cake ring and acetate and make a milk bar-inspired cake. But past that I was stumped. Should it have a border? Should there be lovey dovey animals on it? Should I add a couple of roses? I spent weeks looking for inspiration and nothing felt right. 

Until this dress arrived from Carleen


Kelsy, the designer, is a friend of a friend and she makes the coolest clothes, some are made out of reclaimed quilts, and they are all so lovable and unique. Valentine-y red has never been my color but I am so into the idea of a navy blue valentine sitch with just some red and purple. Navy is my color this year.

Anyway, so I drew from the pattern of the colors on this dress and used it as the inspiration for the sprinkle design on this cake. I used every sprinkle in my valentine’s day sprinkle collection and my 90s sand art training, and it was the most fun ever. The abundance of sprinkles added nice crunch. 


I was satisfied. I was also satisfied by the texture of the almond sponge cake. The more I think about it the more I think I over-beat last year’s yolks, not just the egg whites, which is why it was dry. One key is to not beat the yolks and the almond paste into such oblivion that the almond paste chunks disappear. You want some chunks because they’re good! They prevent the cake from being a sad dry one-dimensional thing. 

That’s all.

Ok, have a gander at Valentine’s day cakes through history: 2017's, 2016's2015's, 2014’s, 2013’s, 2012’s, 2011’s, and 2010’s.

And get to it.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!! 

valentine's day almond cake

serves 10-12

ingredients

cake:

1/2 c (64g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
8 oz almond paste
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c (100g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

chocolate ganache:

5 oz semisweet or dark chocolate chips

1/4 c (60g) heavy whipping cream

whipped cream:

1 1/2 c (360g) heavy whipping cream
1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract

pink food coloring, optional

assembly:
sprinkles of all sorts

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line the bottom of a 9” springform pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks and then gradually beat in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating to stiff peaks and then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (I usually just scoop the whites out of the bowl and transfer them to a separate bowl and then reuse my stand mixer bowl without having to wash it for this step), combine the almond paste and egg yolks and beat on high for 2 minutes until pale and fluffy (but allow some almond paste chunks to remain in tact), scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then fold in the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and then bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove to the rack to cool fully.

To make the ganache, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a saucepan and heat over medium low, stirring continuously until melted.

At this point you can refer to the photos above and use a cake ring and acetate to help decorate your cake, or you can just pour the ganache right over the cake. Let it cool in the fridge or freezer until it's no longer hot (it doesn't need to be totally firm) and then you can go onto the whipped cream step.

To make the whipped cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and almond extract to stiff peaks. Add a few drops of pink food coloring if desired.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake. To do some sprinkle-y sand art, freeze the cake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the whipped cream is mostly firm (it doesn't need to be totally hard--rather, it shouldn't be so that the sprinkles stick, but if you do freeze it solid then let it soften just slightly before moving on) and then stick some parchment shapes or stripes on it, cover it with sprinkles, brush off any stray sprinkles that are lingering on the parchment, and then carefully lift the parchment off. Voila! 

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a few days.


 

-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

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hello from korea, friends!!!!!!!! the last few days have been totally bonkers as the olympic channel has made every single one of my dreams come true and brought me over to pyeongchang to help cover the olympics. i am freaking out, it is still soaking in, and i have no idea what time it is where you are, but for now i have to dash over to gangnueng to watch nathan chen's short program, so i will tell you more about this later! follow along on instagram!

i really need to quickly tell you about these valentine's day cookies though because they are our new favorite cookies hands down. they are so freaking soft and thick and almondy, and i realize that i should just admit that this is an almond flavored blog already (yes, the annual almond cake is coming soon!!) but i know as soon as i do that i'm going to start hating almond. (haha, never!) but if you do hate almond, rest assured, this is actually about to become an ice skating blog this week.

i like these cookies because you can cut out thick shapes with them and you don't have to worry about refrigerating the dough (you can if you want) so these come together extremely quickly. the trick to getting the best texture is to take them out of the oven when they are just starting to think about turning brown but haven't yet. or maybe they have around the bottom edges but that's it. they will be too soft to handle immediately out of the oven but as they cool they'll firm up just slightly and achieve that perfect softness that's lofthouse-esque but way denser.

the thing i'm still working on is the decorating part. when i pipe freehand glaze lines i feel really clumsy! and i'm trying to figure out how to get the outlines of the glaze to zhoosh into the rest of the glaze better. michelle says to use a toothpick to help blend it. i tried it for two cookies and then got impatient! oh well, the good thing is that clumsy lines and poorly zhooshed glaze still taste really good but if you have ideas for how to make the outlines blend in better, please @ me.


soft almond sugar cookie cutouts

makes about 22 large (3" ish) cookies or 30 smaller (2" ish) ones

ingredients

For the cookies:

3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/3 c (150g) almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 c (137g) granulated sugar

2/3 c (80g) powdered sugar

zest from 1/2 of a lemon, optional

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp princess emulsion (or another tsp vanilla)

3/4 tsp almond extract

for the glaze:

2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
2 tb (40g) corn syrup
2-3 tb whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Food coloring

Sprinkles!
 

clues

To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the lemon zest if using and mix to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each, and then add the extracts.


Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until blended. At this point you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or up to two days, or you can get going on rolling out your dough and cutting out your cookies immediately. 

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone mat and set aside. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2” thick. Cut out your shapes and then transfer to a baking sheet, 1" apart. Re-roll scraps and cut out more shapes. Bake until they’re just thinking about starting to turn brown, begin checking larger cookies for doneness at 12 minutes, and smaller cookies at 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and a few drops of food coloring until smooth. It should be very thick but just thin enough that when you lift up your spoon it falls off in smooth ribbons. If it’s too thick, add a couple more drops of milk, and if it’s too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. Spoon a couple of spoonfuls into a piping bag and snip off 1/4" tip. Pipe around the borders of your cookies to make an outline. Thin the remaining glaze out with another teaspoon or so of milk, until it's easily spreadable. Fill in the outlines with the thinner glaze and top with sprinkles immediately before the glaze dries.

Let dry and enjoy!! 

These will keep at room temperature for a good few days, but you can also freeze them once the glaze is dry and they'll stay fresher longer!
 

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-yeh!

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My name is yeh by My Name Is Yeh - 2w ago

team usa cake - YouTube

two. days. until. the. olympics!!!!!!!!!!! have you been following all of the ig stories of all of the skaters flying to korea and going through team processing and getting all of their fancy team outfits and rings and stuff?? it is so fun, i love looking behind the scenes.

but starting thursday, everybody please keep your voices down, i have to focus on every single figure skating event and also hockey and some speed skating and chloe kim and her great hair. it's going to be great. it's all in my ical.

please enjoy this cake that is my ode to team usa!! it's basically a big soft loaf of an italian almond cookie that's been shaped into an american flag and and topped with a marzipan olympic-y logo. it's sooo rich and almondy and requires so much butter (!!!!!). you're going to think that your stand mixer is gonna overflow, but don't worry, it won't (it shouldn't if you have at least a 5 qt), and this recipe makes two cakes so you can enjoy one during the opening ceremony and one during the closing ceremony. or share one with a friend who is equally excited about team usa figure skating. (are you that friend?? can you also be my friend? i think my friends are sick of me talking their ears off about axels.)

i thought it'd be easiest to show you how to build this cake rather than try to write down every direction, so my friend paul and i made the above video that will walk you through the steps! and the music is by my super cool bro-in-law, john cwiok! everybody check out his tunesthanks, paul and john!!! also big thanks to eggboy who did his best to be the rafael arutyunyan of this scenario. 


team usa cake

makes 2 loaf cakes

ingredients

6 large eggs, separated (see note)

1/4 c (50g) plus 1 1/4 c (250g) sugar

2 c (450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

16 oz (450g) almond paste, chopped or torn into pieces

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tb lemon juice

1 tsp almond extract

3 c (384g) all-purpose flour

1 c (240g) whole milk

1 tsp blue liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel

1 tsp red liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel

1/2 c (150g) apricot or raspberry jam

 

Ganache

10 oz semisweet or dark chocolate chips

1 c (240g) heavy whipping cream

 

Topping

Marzipan kneaded with food coloring

Gold sprinkles

clues

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease two 8” by 12” quarter sheet pans and one 8” by 4” loaf pan and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2 inches up two of the sides of the pan.

in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. with the mixer running on medium, gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar. increase the speed to medium-high and beat to stiff peaks. set them aside (see note). in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, almond paste, salt, and remaining 1 1/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. reduce the speed to medium and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. beat in the lemon juice and almond extract, then reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the flour and milk in 2 or 3 alternating additions. mix to combine. use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites.

transfer 780g of the mixture to one of the quarter sheet pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. transfer 525g of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the blue food coloring and spread evenly it in the loaf pan. fold the red food coloring into the remaining third and transfer it to the other quarter sheet pan, spreading it out evenly.

bake until the tops are just set and no longer shiny. begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. the blue layer will need at least 5 more minutes than the other layers since it's quite a bit thicker. let cool in the pans.

refer to the above video on how to assemble, spreading the jam between each of the layers. wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap, weigh them down with a big cookbook, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. tip: placing the loaf cakes on rectangles of cardboard will make transferring them easier!

trim the edges of the cakes and place them on a wire rack that's been place on top of a sheet pan. make the ganache: place the chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl or measuring cup. bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan (keep a close eye on it and remove it from heat as soon as it starts to boil otherwise it will boil over), pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds. then stir it up until you have a smooth ganache. Pour it over the cake, allowing any excess ganache to drip down onto the sheet pan (you can reuse the ganache, reheating it if it firms up), and using an offset spatula to smooth it all over.

Top it with marzipan olympic rings and sprinkles. Enjoy immediately or stick it in the fridge for a few minutes for the ganache to firm up.

Leftovers will keep at room temp for a few days or in the refrigerator for a little longer.

Note: with any recipe that calls for beating something else in the same mixer, I do a few steps to cut down on dishes and ensure that my egg whites don't have any bit of yolk in them, which will cause them not to beat to stiff peaks. I first separate an egg into 2 medium bowls. I then pour the white into my mixer bowl. then I repeat for each egg, adding the whites one by one so that if one gets contaminated, they're not all ruined. and then i beat the whites to stiff peaks first, scoop them out of the mixer bowl, and then use the mixer bowl for the next step. if you use a rubber spatula to get 95 percent of the whites out, there's really no need to rinse the mixer bowl for the yolk step.

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-yeh!

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I have two scars on my face. One is boring and from a mole (#wearsunscreen! get your skin checked!) and the other is very old and from a pizza bagel! I was 7 years old and very impatient. The idea of waiting for a few minutes for a pizza bagel to cool down out of the microwave was complete lunacy to me and I dug in, only to have lava hot red sauce splat onto my chin, right below my lower lip. It left the tiniest little burn scar that’s not so big that I notice it all the time but when I look closely and do see that little raised bump I think about pizza bagels. It’s actually kind of so delightful that I’ve completely forgiven my impatient 7-year-old self (and pizza bagels and microwaves and red sauce). But despite the fact that I think about pizza bagels regularly, there was a really long time when I barely ate them at all. 

It’s because they’re a flawed food!

Common practice is that you retrieve an already made bagel, top it with pizza toppings, and cook it until the toppings are all melty and the pepperoni is crisp. Or someone else does this for you and all you have to do is open up your freezer and put the thing in an oven or microwave. The issue here is that both of these options start with a bagel that is already fully cooked, so by the time that it goes through more time in the oven or microwave to melt the cheese and crisp the meat, the bagel is overcooked and hard and awful. Allison called me a monster when I acknowledged this because she said that being over-baked is part of the experience. Which, as someone who secretly liked it when the TV dinner pudding overflowed and got on my macaroni and cheese, I can almost empathize with. But as a lover of doughy foods and, more specifically, appropriately chewy bagels, I say let’s make our bagels from scratch so we can par-bake those suckers and not make them turn into rocks in the oven!!

It’s true, my bagel journey is alive and well here on the farm and my belly is happier for it.

So here’s the rundown: all you have to do is make mini versions of these bagels and par-bake them until they’re jussssst starting to turn brown. Then you slice, top, and complete the bagel baking while the toppings are getting melty. Multitasking! There’s no need to fuss with an egg wash and everything bagel topping before you put the bagels in for their first bake because it’s way easier to just sprinkle some everything bagel topping on when you’re adding the rest of your pizza toppings. Or!!! You could use Cabot’s Everything Bagel Cheese, which I hoard like it’s going out of style. If you don’t have that, their Vermont Sharp Cheddar + topping works deliciously and it fits my need for a very sharp sharp cheddar. A little thyme at the end makes it all even better because cheddar and thyme are good friends.

Another great element here is a crunchy nutty topping that is off the chain! This is a walnut-based crumble that’s been one of our favorite pizza toppings for years. It’s spiced similarly to an Italian sausage and is almost like a very coarse pesto. It gets a little crunchy in the oven and is just so tasty. Here’s a closeup of the ingredients:


All it is is toasted walnuts, spices, cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Easy!

So all of these things result in the most deliciously chewy pizza bagel you never imagined could be possible. You’ll wish you didn’t invite so many people over to watch football so that you could eat them all yourself. Or you’ll just wish you made more. 

Note: These are super freezer friendly! Freeze the bagels after they’re par-baked and fully cooled and sliced, and then top and bake, or you can top the par-baked bagels and freeze them on a sheet tray, covered. Simply give them a few more minutes in the oven.

Mini Pizza Bagels with Sharp Cheddar and Walnut Crumble

Makes 24

Ingredients

Bagels

1 c (238g) warm water (105º-110º)

1 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp + 1 tb (12g) brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tb (42g) barley malt, divided

3 c (380g) high gluten flour, plus more for dusting

1 tb baking soda

 

Topping

1 c toasted walnuts

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried onion

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp sweet paprika

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper

2 tb olive oil

8 oz Vermont Sharp Cheddar, shredded

8 oz pizza sauce

Everything bagel topping

Leaves from a couple of fresh thyme sprigs

Clues

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and teaspoon of brown sugar and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, salt, 1 tablespoon barley malt, and flour and mix to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and slightly sticky. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. 

Let the dough sit at room temperature for an hour and then turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide it into 24 equal parts and stretch them into smooth balls, making sure to seal any dough seams well. Shape the bagels by sticking your thumb through the center of each ball and using your fingers to gently stretch a 1” hole. Cover the bagels with a towel and let rise for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450º. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda and remaining tablespoon of barley malt. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease them well. Also lay out a clean kitchen towel near your pot of boiling water.

Working with 4 bagels at a time, boil them for 1 minute on each side (use a timer for this). With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer them briefly to the kitchen towel to catch any excess moisture and then transfer them to the baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool slightly. (At this point you can let them cool fully, slice them, and then freeze them for future use).

Make the walnut crumble by combining the walnuts, garlic, dried parsley, dried onion, fennel, red, pepper, paprika, salt, a few turns of pepper, olive oil, and a heaping 1/2 cup (about 30g) of the shredded cheddar in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture clumps together. It will still look crumbly but it should hold together if you squeeze it in your hand. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. 

Slice the bagels in half and place them back on the baking sheets. Top each with a spoonful of pizza sauce, a pile of cheddar, and lightly packed plops of the walnut mixture. Shower them with everything bagel topping and bake until the cheese is melted, and the walnut crumbles and bagel edges are browned; begin checking for doneness at 8 minutes. Top with a few scatterings of thyme and serve. 

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This post is sponsored by Cabot Creamery Co-operative, a farming co-op that is 99 years old as of this year! 

-yeh!! 

photos by chantell and brett!

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My name is yeh by My Name Is Yeh - 1M ago

I pretended to be Lindsey Vonn this weekend at the ski hill in Bemidji! And by that I mean, we went skiing. Finally! Because it was a tropical 34º. And then any time I was scared going down the black diamond, I just said “Lindsey Vonn” out loud and that helped me be courageous.

(Should we try that with other things? Should we just shout “Ina Garten” any time we’re getting a bundt cake out of the pan?)

Now that we’ve graduated from the tiny cute Bemidji hill, we are in the market for a slightly taller more aggressive Midwest ski hill so that we can try and work our way up to Whistler. We hear Lutsen is good, but I really just want any place that will force me to earn an après ski hot tub/cheese fry combo.  

On Sunday night we made guacamole and quesadillas and went across the street to the Eggparents’ and watched three quarters of the Vikings… not… doing… so….

Uhhh…

I think that it is too soon to mention football in the state of Minnesota…

But if, say, we decided we were due for a party to watch a Justin Timberlake concert that’s sandwiched between two halves of a big sports event, then these pretzel challah bagel dogs would certainly be on the menu, no? Pigs in blankets have been on the menu of every halftime concert viewing party throughout history, from packed bashes in Harlem with the Juilliard double bass section, to percussion basement parties in Short Hills at Sam’s house, to the few parties that we’ve thrown here on the farm. They’re a must. The reason for the season.


Remember when I went through my pretzeling phase? That was fun in kind of a dangerous way, I still have the bottle of lye in my cabinet, but in the past few years now I’ve opted to go the baked baking soda route when I make pretzels. You bake a bunch of baking soda at a low temp for like an hour and that increases its intensity, and then you put that into a bath for your pretzels. It’s more intense than just using regular baking soda (which equals more pretzel flavor) but less intense than lye (which equals less risk of burning off your esophagus). And I find it makes pretzeling things way more accessible, so accessible that when Kristin came to visit for a weekend with her Packers fan fiancé a few months ago and we decided we wanted to make pretzel dogs for the game, we didn’t feel the need to *not* stay out until 2am in order to be alert enough in the morning to handle risky chemicals. 

(More reading on baked baking soda here)

These doggos are in a sweet eggy challah blanket that stays so nice and soft and takes beautifully to its pretzel shell, and then they’re sprinkled with everything bagel topping because if you don’t have a huge jar of it on hand by now, are we even bffs?????? (I used to measure this out but now I just buy a bunch of minced dried onion, minced dried garlic, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds and dump them into a deli container with a few really good pinches of kosher salt, that’s it. Caraway seeds are optional.) These things combine three of the best carbs, the only thing that could possibly make them better would be to add my fourth favorite carb, the potsticker. Or maybe pretzel challah bagel potsticker dogs sound like too *much*.

Unpopular opinion: I’ve been preferring full-sized hot dogs for pigs in blankets over lil smokies. Two reasons: 1. It’s easier to find full-sized hot dogs/sausages that don’t contain unpronounceable ingredients, 2. It’s easier to get a good bread : wiener ratio. Lil smokies are too skinny and make it too easy to have too much breadiness. You can always cut big hot dogs down into party-sized slices, but the thickness of a full-sized wiener really helps us with what we’re trying to achieve here.

*Keeps a straight face*

pretzel challah bagel dogs

makes 16

ingredients

challah:

2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast 

3/4 c (178g) warm water, 105-110ºf 

1 tsp plus 1⁄4 c (50g) sugar

3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp kosher salt 

2 large eggs 

1/3 c (66g) flavorless oil

 

Baking soda bath:

1 c (230g) baking soda

 2 c (472g) water

 

16 precooked hot dogs/sausages/veggie dogs

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

everything bagel topping (see above)

ketchup and mustard, for serving

clues

in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine remaining sugar, flour, and salt. in a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and oil.

add the yeast mixture and then the egg mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Knead either in the stand mixer or by hand on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, for 7 to 10 minutes, until smooth and just slightly sticky.

Grease the inside of a large clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover again with the towel and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, bake your baking soda. Preheat the oven to 250ºf, spread the baking soda out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Let it cool and set it aside until after you've shaped your dogs. (Even though the baked baking soda isn't as strong as lye, it could potentially irritate your skin, so avoid touching it once it's out of the oven.)

Increase the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

split the dough into 16 equal portions and keep it covered when you're not working with it. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out a long skinny snake and wrap it firmly and evenly around a hot dog. Roll it back and forth on your work surface a couple of times so that the coils of the dough stick together, and then place it on a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough and hot dogs, placing them 1 1/2" apart on the baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 20 more minutes.

Make the baking soda bath: place the baked baking soda in a large bowl or casserole dish and add the 2 cups of water. Stir it to dissolve the baking soda (I've never been able to get all of it to dissolve, so a few baking soda chunks are totally ok as long as they don't stick to the dough). Using gloved hands or tongs and working in batches, immerse the dogs into the mixture for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place them back on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with everything bagel topping, and bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Let cool slightly, serve with ketchup and mustard and enjoy! 

 

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-yeh!

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(you are a hotdish!)




It feels like we are living on a cloud or another planet right now. Outside the window it’s just all white, there’s no real dividing line between the snowy ground and the air and the white sky, it’s a total snow globe and it’s been like this since last week. Driving into town has been the trippiest thing because it’s as if we’re floating down the road or in a bright white roller coaster tube, a Buick LeSabre roller coaster, which I guess would be the knock off of the Back to the Future DeLorean ride, but instead of going to 1955 you go to the Super Target.

We’re basically in a snow cocoon. A+ for coziness, but I’m starting to run low on indoor activities to do: over the weekend we brunched with friends, went to the gym, went to the toasted frog for pizza, made a new friend at pizza who gave us UND basketball tickets (omg! So fun!), went to the Valentine’s Day candy section and inhaled the unique Valentine’s Day candy smell, and danced on the dance floor at Eggboy’s trombone gig. It was all very good times!!! But this morning I woke up stressed that it’s still been too cold to practice our skiing skills or test out the new ice skating path at the park and nervous about my vitamin d levels and now I’m just hitting refresh on the Nike website over and over until their podium set is for sale. I don’t think I’ll buy it I just want to admire everything in depth. I asked Eggboy if he’d like to take up a new indoor sport like racquetball but he has something going on with his leg that makes him sound like he is 97 years old, so it looks like I’m on my own for running around. Maybe I’ll finally take up swimming at the gym. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to buy a Mara Hoffman bathing suit. Maybe I’ll take up fondant. 

This slight restlessness came out last week at the grocery store when I went to replenish my tater tot supply to make this chickpea hotdish. I just got a little bored with tots and wanted to explore other potato nuggets, namely those smiley faces that I’ve seen around the internet. I didn’t find the smiley faces but I did find potato letters!!! So cute. I bought all of them. I wanted to write “chickpea hotdish” but there was no “k” so I thought about “chic-pea,” like a fancy chickpea, and then tried out writing “fart” over and over after Kristin suggested warning people that they will fart a lot if they eat this, but decided against it and went with something more valentine’s day appropriate.  

Wouldn’t you rather be called a hotdish than a q-t pie? Or at least rather eat a hotdish than a conversation heart?

You want to eat this hotdish!!!! It’s chickpeas, braised in a little wine and smoky harissa, that go swimming in a delicious, just-spicy-enough tomato sauce. And everything gets soaked up with potato nuggets. It is an awesome hearty filling comforting meal that oh just happens to be vegan. I first made this at camp last summer as the vegan option on hotdish night, the only difference was that I used some of eggmom’s tomato squash soup, thickened with a little potato starch, as the base instead of the tomato sauce (find that recipe in Molly on the Range). That was delicious too!! The tomato sauce version is way less time consuming and equally tasty but if you happen to be making a big batch of that tomato squash soup, I’d highly recommend using the leftovers for this. 

I love serving this with feta, which de-veganizes it, but it’s not necessary, or you can use your favorite vegan cheese. And grilled lemon adds a great hit of smoky brightness at the end (and it looks cool). Also, this dish requires ingredients that are all pretty easy to have on hand so if you don’t want to go out in this snow, look in your pantry because you probably have at least most of the ingredients already??


A potato nugget note: the letters are really good but they don't get as crispy as tater tots! And if you're gluten free, check the label because the ones I bought contained wheat flour but the nutritional facts on the website didn't list it as an ingredient. "Adventures in potato nugget googling" was the title of my afternoon.

harissa chickpea hotdish

serves 4-6

ingredients

Chickpeas:

2 tb + 1/2 c olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tb harissa
1/2 c dry white wine
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 sprigs thyme
Black pepper

Sauce:

2 tb olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 tb harissa
1 tb tomato paste
2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika
1 (28 oz) can or carton chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
 

About 1 1/2 lbs tater tots or potato nuggets
1 lemon, to serve
Fresh cilantro and parsley, finely chopped, for serving
Optional serving accoutrements: crumbled feta or other cheese/vegan cheese of your choice

clues

Preheat the oven to 425ºf. 

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and harissa and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the chickpeas, 1/2 cup olive oil, thyme, a bunch of turns of black pepper, and a few good pinches of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are soft.

Meanwhile, make your sauce. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, harissa, tomato paste, and aleppo or paprika and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chickpeas to the tomato sauce, draining the chickpeas of excess olive oil (and discarding the thyme twigs when you come across them). Transfer the mixture to an 8x12 casserole dish and cover with tater tots. Season with salt, pepper, and more aleppo and bake until the tots are golden, 30-40 minutes. 

At some point while it’s baking, grill your lemon: heat a skillet over medium high, cut the lemon in half and then place it face down on the skillet until it gets nice brown marks. 

When the hotdish is done baking, let it cool slightly, top with fresh herbs, squeeze with lemon, and serve with feta or other cheese/vegan cheese as desired. Enjoy!

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-yeh!

 

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My name is yeh by My Name Is Yeh - 1M ago





Here is my new blog column called “Bait n Switch” where I draw you in with cupcakes and then only talk about ice skating for an hour. From here on out if you see cookies n cream just know that it’s a post about ice skating, cookies n cream is the code word. It’s the beginning of what will probably, by Beijing 2022, be a full blown figure skating blog. I am deeply excited about this career transition, and if you are Nike and would like to sponsor my six-part mini series on Ashley Wagner’s smoldering hot off-ice warm-up looks, the answer is yes. And can I get a team USA podium outfit set.

Here were my top four moments of this weekend’s U.S. championships:

Gold: When Mirai landed her final jump, the triple loop, and did booya arms. 4:35, here, and then at 4:41 you can see her coach in the background jumping up and down and cheering. It was the sight of her gliding onto the olympic team and now I’m crying and completely verklempt.

Silver: When the vocals came in during Adam Rippon’s free program. It’s the most beautiful free program and the long build up to the vocals is so effective. Of course I was very sad when he didn’t skate his best, of course I kept waking up that night wondering is he going to make the olympic team? Now he’s made it and we get to see him skate that program again in Pyeongchang, yay!

Bronze: There’s a little hop that Nathan Chen does after the second quad in his short program that is the best tiny morsel of choreography. It was more pronounced at Skate America (2:09, here) but it’s details like that in his choreography that are the perfectly placed sprinkles on the cake. See also: the exit move out of his first jump. And his overall controlled savageness. And his new vera wang looks!!! This program has everything.

Pewter: Tie between Ashley Wagner’s La la land Dress, Ashley Wagner’s Nike looks, and when Mrs. Maisel won the Golden Globe. What? That wasn’t part of the championships. It was, however, a crucial part in getting over US champs withdrawal.

Oh! And honorable mentions: Jean-Luc Baker and Kaitlin Hawayek’s free program because I love them and they are the future, and also Mariah Bell’s short program because I also love her and she is also the future. 



Ok

Ok

 

Ok

Thank you for listening, now we can talk about these cupcakes. Do you ever think that cookies n cream is a little bit bitter that he was on track to winning gold until funfetti came along out of nowhere and stole everyone’s hearts? I would be. I had completely forgotten about cookies n cream until like two weeks ago when I was sitting on the couch being a blob and brainstorming new recipes to make. Pretty much out of nowhere all of these old memories of eating cookies n cream blizzards from the dairy queen and occasionally making a cookies n cream boxed cake instead of a funfetti boxed cake rushed back to me and made me really happy. And also made me go down a google hole. It turns out that the other Dakota, to the south, has laid claim to inventing it! That’s fun. 

Cookies n cream cake is tasty because you get all the good flavor of Oreos but all of the soft texture of cake. It’s like jeggings, you get the good fit of leggings but the nicer look of jeans. It’s not rocket science, you crush up oreos and add them to cake batter. I’m using the same batter as my funfetti cake, which gets even moister and richer thanks to those little pockets of Oreo filling scattered within, and yes I’m using homemade oreos!! It adds one extra step, 30-40 minutes, tops, since the cupcake frosting and Oreo frosting can be combined into the same step, and obviously the cookies are so much better. Which makes the whole thing so much better. But if you really just want to go the store-bought cookie route here, that is fine, adjustments are below for that! 

And p.s. these would totally be good with tahini oreos or matcha oreos or marzipan oreos, right???? Right. 

cookies n cream cupcakes

makes 14 cupcakes

ingredients

for the chocolate cookies:

1 c (128g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 c + 2 tb (141g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tb (75g) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar, for dusting

 

for the frosting:

14 tb (196g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

for the cupcakes:

1 1/4 c (160g) all-purpose flour

2 tb constarch

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c (150g) sugar

2 large egg whites

2 tb flavorless oil

1/2 tb vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

6 tb (90g) whole milk

 

sprinkles, for decorating

 

NOTE: If using store-bought oreos, use 12  cookies in the cupcake batter and 6 in the frosting. and then decrease the frosting ingredient measurements to the following: 1/2 c (113g) butter, 2 oz (56g) cream cheese, 2 1/4 c (270g) powdered sugar, a small pinch salt, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

clues

to make the cookies:

preheat the oven to 325ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla extract. with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until combined. it will still be a bit crumbly. pour the mixture onto a work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together.

lightly dust your surface and the top of the dough with a 1:1 mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar. working swiftly and carefully, roll out the dough to 1/4-to-1/2-inch thickness and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds. transfer them to baking sheets, 1 inch apart (using a small offset spatula helps with this step). Re-roll the scraps and cut out more rounds. 

bake the cookies until the tops are no longer shiny, about 15 minutes. cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to make the frosting: 

in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat all of the ingredients together until smooth.

scoop about 1 cup frosting into a piping bag and pipe 8 cookies with a nice big blob. Top those with 8 more cookies and then stick them in the fridge to firm up. Squeeze out any remaining frosting from the piping bag back into your frosting bowl, crush up 8 more cookies to a fine crumb (I do this in a large ziploc bag with a rolling pin) and mix them into the remaining frosting. Set aside remaining chocolate cookies for decorating. And set the frosting aside, covered, at room temperature. You'll need your stand mixer bowl to make the cake batter, so it's easiest to scoop out your frosting really well with a rubber spatula and then there's no need to wash it out, you can just go straight to the cake batter step.

for the cupcakes:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line two cupcake pans with 14 cupcake liners, spacing them out evenly between the two pans.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder.

in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. add the oil and the extracts.

with the mixer running on low speed, add the dry mixture and the milk in two or three alternating batches and mix until just barely combined.

retrieve the 8 sandwich cookies from the fridge, chop them coarsely or break them up with your hands, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.

distribute the batter among the cupcake cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

to assemble:

Scoop the frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles and/or remaining chocolate cookies!

enjoy!


-yeh!

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This morning I peeled off the piece of washi tape that was holding my computer shut and began my first work day of 2018. Do you know how much of a struggle it is to type “washi” into a computer that doesn’t have autocorrect turned off yet? It’s less of a struggle than actually figuring out how to turn off autocorrect and less of a struggle than the combined first-day-back-at-work struggle, but about 60 times the struggle of sitting on the couch all day yesterday where my chief goal was to not eat the entire bag of potato chips. 

The first half of our holiday break was filled with great hiking, cross country skiing at eggsister’s with eggbrofam, and bopping down to Minneapolis for great conversation with great blog friends. We also tried an Indian restaurant in Fargo that was soooo (!!!!) good. I want to go there every day. But then the temperature got hilariously low, it was like the sun just forgot to show up for a few days, and we had to cancel our second annual new year’s eve day Bemidji ski trip and stay inside for a long time. We cleaned a lot, did house planning, and then I got into Star Wars slightly.

In cleaning I got rid of every piece of Tupperware that wasn’t a) a deli container (I now buy them in bulk, they stack really nicely, all take one type of lid, can go in the dishwasher, and are so cheap that when you make too much dinner party brisket you can send your friends home with some and not ever worry about getting your containers back), or b) very cute. We also kondo’ed our linens, props, and tote bags and now have fairly manageable storage areas for all of these things. This cleanliness will last for at least two weeks. 

Some other very enjoyable things I engaged in over break were: 

-Making Alana’s cardamom buns (added some marzipan!), Deb’s marzipan cake, Alexandra’s chocolate bread, Sofra’s feta stuffed simit

-Getting into cheese balls

-Reading Healthyish

-Beginning History of Love

-Binging Transparent

-Rewatching Virtue/Moir’s 2010 long program

-Ooing and Ahhing over the Nose Job episode of Unorthodox, which is a particularly great episode

Now I’m getting ready to hunker down for the weekend to watch the u.s. figure skating championship. I’ve got a grocery list for things to make from Healthyish that will take me through Sunday so I can make soup and zone in on some programs that I am extra looking forward to, including Nathan Chen’s short program, Ashley Wagner’s La La Land program, and both programs of Chock/Bates and the Shib Sibs. And of course Jason Brown and Adam Rippon and Karen Chen… I guess it’s safe to say I’m excited for all them. 


Alright I’ve been meaning to post this spätzle and cheese with hot dogs for forever now and figured that now would be a great time to do it, with the cold snap and the snow storms and all. (Who ever thought that the dead of winter would be a great time for diets anyway? I’ll start making more salads when the ground thaws and my garden starts allowing me to, thank you very much. *Flips hair, rolls eyes*)

This is a mac and cheese for dumpling lovers. And wiener lovers. Haha I mean hot dog lovers. I mean we all know that the only way to make mac and cheese better is to add cut up hot dogs, but did you know that the only way to make that better is to replace the noodles with little baby dumplings?? Spätzle are so chewy and soft, they deliver more textural satisfaction than an al dente noodle, I truly will never tire of them. These little guys get coated with an insanely delicious combination of gruyère and cheddar, but changing up the cheeses would totally work. (And psst… If you’re looking for a non-cheesy spätzle recipe, Molly on the Range has a spätzle, Brussels sprouts, and bacon dish that is just delightful this time of year.)

Homemade spätzle is a little bit of a process, but it’s a fun way to make homemade pasta-type things without fancy equipment. The way I make it, all you really need is a rubber spatula and a slotted spoon with holes that are on the larger side (1/4” or larger is ideal). You press the batter right into boiling water to make oblong little dumplings and occasionally if you’re lucky a massive plop of batter will fall into the boiling water, yielding a meatball sized spätzle. Those are the best. 

And while I typically preach that a casserole of macaroni and cheese should be covered in bread crumbs and baked, I find this spätzle version is at its height fresh off the stove, when the cheese is at its sauciest and the dumplings can dance freely around each other with no crust holding them in place. 

Happy new year!!!!

Spätzle and Cheese with Hot Dogs

serves 6 - 8

ingredients

for the Spätzle:

3 c (384g) all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Black pepper

1 tsp kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 c (240g) whole milk

Olive oil

 

for the sauce:

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

6 tb (48g) all-purpose flour

2 1/2 c (600g) whole milk

6 oz (170g) cheddar cheese, shredded

6 oz (170g) gruyère cheese, shredded

 

1 package (10 oz or 6 links) hot dogs, chopped into 1/2” pieces (beef, turkey, veggie dogs, any kind will do!)

Chopped fresh chives or scallions, for serving

clues

To make the spätzle, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, a few turns of pepper, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, use a rubber spatula to press the batter through a large slotted spoon or spätzle maker and boil for 2-3 minutes, until the spätzle float to the top. If you find the batter too thick to press through the slotted spoon, hold the slotted spoon closer to the surface of the boiling water so that the steam softens it a bit. Transfer to a strainer, toss in a bit of olive oil so they don’t all stick together, and set aside while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add a few turns of black pepper and the paprika. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk a third at a time, stirring continuously and allowing to thicken after each addition. Add cheese and stir until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Reduce heat to low. In a separate skillet, cook the hot dogs according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Stir the spätzle and hot dogs into the cheese sauce. Top with chives or scallions and black pepper and serve. Enjoy!

(Tip: if not serving immediately or if you're reheating leftovers, stir another splash of milk into the spätzle before serving to loosen up the sauce.)

-yeh!

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