We have Dorie Greenspan to thank for this recipedish idea. See, as I was flipping through her brilliant cookbook Around My French Table, the recipe that opens the salads chapter caught my eye. It was so minimal as to be more of a suggestion than a recipe, so I decided it must be perfect. It’s nothing more than avocado halves with lemon juice, pistachio oil to fill and fleur de sel. You know myobsessionwithavocados, so it shouldn’t be too shocking to learn that I tried it within the day, fell head over heels and have indulged with abandon since then. While it’s well worth investing in a bottle of pistachio oil for this one use alone, I have another for you. It hit me when I was faced with another bunch of carrots and no desire to make more soup, that pistachios could just be the perfect answer again.
The carrot preparation is slightly more involved than the that of the avocados, but still easy enough to serve in well under an hour. All you have to do is to toss whole carrots (well-scrubbed and peeled, if you like) with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them in a single layer at 400° F for about 30 minutes — more time for larger carrots, less for smaller ones. You want to roast them until they’re tender enough to offer little resistance to a knife. Fresh out of the oven, drizzle the carrots with pistachio oil and toss them around on the baking sheet to coat them well, then sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Transfer the carrots to a serving platter and top with ground pistachios and finishing salt, and you’re done. Perfection.
For our Save the Date wedding cards, Gil and I originally wanted something along the lines of, “A Cajun Mennonite and a Jew walk into a bar…” Upon further reflection, we decided fielding questions or hearing the end of the joke from a couple hundred people while we were planning a wedding in another city wasn’t the brightest idea, so the card defaulted to more traditional wording. But you can see that, right from the very beginning, we knew how to blend.
While we both came into this thing with an appreciation for Mel Brooks and Faulkner House Books, Gil has taken on LSU football and the whole “Christmas with a large family + boudin” thing with gusto, and I’ve learned to appropriate a few of his holidays while putting a southern spin on them. Example the first: Pecan-Brown Sugar Macaroons.
. . . with bourbon vanilla extract and drizzled chocolate! Happy Hanukkah, y’all! (I know I should be frying something instead, but these are easier and leave my house smelling a whole lot better.)
I started with my go-to recipe from the past few years, but wasn’t sure what the added moisture from the brown sugar would do, so I used a little less. The pecans were a one-for-one swap for the almonds, and the bourbon-vanilla because you can’t have pecans and brown sugar without a little bourbon, amirite? (I’ll get to the finer points of making your own vanilla extract in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.) I probably don’t have to tell you how delicious these were, so I’ll just let Ru do the talking . . .
Honestly! I took Otis out for five minutes and came back to discover this. My initial surprise turned to wonder. Why did he leave three? Is he ok? Is he saving them for a midnight snack? To quote Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad; that’s amazing!” (And yeah, we got confirmation that Ru was the guilty party during our walk the next morning. That jerk.)
Pecan macaroons with bourbon and brown sugar, glazed with melted chocolate.
.25cuporganic palm sugar, or brown sugarpacked
1cupunsweetened shredded coconut
.25cuppecan piecestoasted and finely chopped
.5teaspoonbourbon vanilla extract (or pure vanilla extract)
.25cupbittersweet chocolate chipsmelted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Whisk together sugar and egg white in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and allow mixture to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Form dough into sixteen 1-tablespoon mounds and drop each onto sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake macaroons until golden-brown on bottoms and edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
To finish, using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cooled macaroons. Macaroons will keep, covered, for up to one week.
Strictly speaking, it’s a gianduja pudding because there’s no Nutella product in there, but that doesn’t matter — if you love hazelnuts and chocolate, you’ll fall hard for this dessert.
I was perusing Food52 a few days ago and noticed a little “We Think You’ll Like” section in the corner with this recipe leaping from the screen. Oh, Food52, you know me so well.
Oh, and the recipe taught me something new — Dorie Greenspan’s method of aerating the pudding before it chills to get an even silkier texture.
Because of that little step, this pudding is light and airy, while Nutella is dense and perhaps too rich to eat much of in one sitting. Not a problem here.
In fact, it’s gone far too soon. Get the recipe here and see if you can’t manage to scrounge up more will power than we did.
Note: I changed only one small thing in this perfect recipe, and topped the pudding with chocolate shavings just before serving. Not a crucial step by any means, more along the lines of eye candy than anything.
Bon Appetit’s selection of food blogs for the holidays is well worth checking out. You can’t go wrong with mixed nuts at Christmas, as my dad will attest, but roasted sweet and spicy nuts? OK, now you’re flirting with perfection.
What? Like I’m not going to make truffles at Christmas? I adapted Alton Brown’s recipe by adding minced mission figs to the ganache, and while the truffles were delicious, they were truly a lot of work. I may just leave this one to the experts in the future.