Monday, December 15, 2014

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

I sit here, whizzing along side the 401 enroute back to Toronto, unable to stop thinking about this past weekend. Not only did I get to spend a festive holiday evening with some of my favourite ladies, but I got to watch one of my dearest friends get married (not to mention gain a fabulous new lady friend along the way). Weekends like this don't happen often, and when they do, one has no choice but to jump in, and do your absolute best to soak it up and cherish every moment. 

The wedding, and overall simcha of the weekend, was the perfect precursor to Chanukah. Tuesday marks the first night of Chanukah, and in anticipation of candle lighting, gift giving, and copious amounts of latke eating, I decided to try my hand at something new -- rugelach -- a Jewish pastry, and distant relative to the French croissant. Rugelach proved to be one of the more time consuming things I've baked in a while, but the result was well worth the effort -- perfectly flaky and chocolately in all the best ways -- ideal for any celebration. 

Mazel tov to Ali & Rich, and Happy Chanukah! xx

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

chocolate rugelach // sevengrams

CHOCOLATE RUGELACH // makes several

Adapted from The Crepes of Wrath

Ingredients:

dough //
2 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 T kosher salt
8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 T sour cream

chocolate filling //
1/3 cup white sugar 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup (5 oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped 
3 T butter, melted and cooled

1 egg, lightly beaten 
turbinado sugar, for dusting 

What to do:

Combine the flour and butter in the body of a food processor fitted with the s-blade. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse sand.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the salt, cream cheese and sour cream. Use your hands to work everything together, breaking up the cream cheese into small pea-size amounts. Work quickly so the cream cheese doesn't melt (this step is definitely not glamorous, cream cheese to the fingers was a whole new sensation, just go with it and you'll be fine!).

Lay a piece of tin foil onto the counter. Transfer the dough and press it into a large disk. Wrap it into the tin foil, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, make the chocolate fillings. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Finely chop the chocolate and melt the butter. Set everything aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 baking trays with parchment.

Flour a surface on the counter. Unwrap the dough and divide it into 2. Place half on the floured counter, and re-wrap the other half and transfer it back into the fridge. 

Manhandle the dough a bit, ridding it of any cracks. Add flour as you go. Roll the dough into a ball, press down slightly to flatten, and then using a rolling pin, roll it into a 10"-12" circle of equal thickness. You want the dough fairly thin, so adjust the size of your circle accordingly. Using a pizza slicer or sharp knife, trim the edges of the circle to create a smooth, clean edge. 

Brush the dough with melted butter. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture across the dough, and then top with chocolate - leaving a 1" border. Gently press the chocolate into the dough. Use the pizza slicer to cut the dough into roughly 16 equal wedges. 

Starting from the wider edge, carefully roll towards the centre, squeezing a bit as your go to secure the shape. Place the rugelach seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wedges, and the second refrigerated piece of dough. 

Brush each piece with a light egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sugar. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow to cool completely before moving, or eating.

Monday, December 8, 2014

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GINGER COOKIES

double chocolate ginger cookies // sevengrams

This time of year, in the month leading up to the holidays, I tell myself I'll avoid sweets and stick to salads and soups -- but who am I kidding -- nothing says December like baking, crafting and listening (on repeat) to this fabulous new album. So I apologize in advance for all the sugar-y, festive goodness that may be gracing these pages in the weeks to come, please forgive me.

Now, onto these cookies. The LCBO releases their holiday issue of Food + Drink every year sometime around late november. This issue always flies off the shelf, so you have to be quick if you're going to snag one. As per usual, I was blown away by the content, but these cookies stood out, screaming to be made. I couldn't resist. Intensely chocolatey, perfectly speckled with ginger bits, and doused in a glittery sugar coating -- totally festive and thoroughly delicious.

double chocolate ginger cookies // sevengrams

double chocolate ginger cookies // sevengrams

double chocolate ginger cookies // sevengrams

double chocolate ginger cookies // sevengrams

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GINGER COOKIES // makes 15-20

Adapted from Food + Drink, Winter 2014. This recipe is easily doubled - as per the original. Just remember, 4 T=1/4 cup.

Ingredients:

4oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 T cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 T butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger

~1/4 cup coarse sugar (turbinado), placed in a shallow bowl

What to do:

Using a double boiler setup, melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth and let cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk, beat butter and sugar until combine, light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Continue to add the oil, vanilla and room temp melted chocolate, and beat until well blended. Finally, add the flour mixture, and whisk until you no longer see any dry bits.

Transfer to a bowl, and stir in the ginger pieces. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Remove the dough from the fridge, gather 1 tbsp at a time, roll into a ball, then roll through the coarse sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Continue until the sheet is full and transfer to the oven. Place the bowl back in the fridge.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are set, and the tops cracked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Repeat with the rest of the dough, using the second baking sheet. If making a double batch, allow the baking sheet to cool completely before using for another round of cookies.

Chocolate. YUM.

Monday, December 1, 2014

BLACK BEAN AND MILLET SALAD WITH A CUMIN LIME DRESSING

black bean and millet salad with a cumin lime dressing // sevengrams

Around here, sunday afternoons always seem to play out in a similar way - I throw myself into the kitchen to prep lunches for the week, while a certain someone dives into the wonderful world of video games, or sunday afternoon football.

This past sunday however, after a wildly fabulous saturday evening, I found myself slightly unmotivated in the kitchen. This recipe, which has been sitting in my drafts for a little while now, seemed like the perfect solution in a moment of "eek, what do I make for lunch this week?!" Also, broccoli! I'm totally loving it these days -- crunchy, versatile and works equally well raw, steamed, sauteed or roasted -- the best!

black bean and millet salad with a cumin lime dressing // sevengrams

black bean and millet salad with a cumin lime dressing // sevengrams

BLACK BEAN AND MILLET SALAD WITH A CUMIN LIME DRESSING // serves 4

The beauty of this dish is that the ingredients can easily be adapted to whatever you have in the fridge, as the real star is the tangy cumin lime dressing. Don't have a sweet potato? Sub in some butternut squash. Not the biggest fan of broccoli? Replace with an equally crunchy veg, like brussels sprouts. Don't care for millet? Use barley, quinoa, or rice instead.

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup millet
1 cup water
2 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 small head of broccoli, cut into mini florets
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
cilantro, to garnish

cumin lime dressing//
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp maple syrup

What to do:

Dice the sweet potato into cubes. In a bowl, toss with 1 T olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes.

Dry toast the millet in a saucepan for a few minutes, until brown and fragrant.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, and let the pot sit on the burner for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked millet, raw broccoli florets, and black beans. The warm millet will steam the broccoli slightly.

Make the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, cumin and maple syrup in a glass jar. Shake well.

Once the sweet potatoes are ready, add them to the bowl, along with the dressing. Delicately toss to combine. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Monday, November 24, 2014

CELEBRATION SALAD WITH A LEMON-SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

I attended my first engagement party this weekend, and in my opinion, engagements are definitely a cause for celebration! This engagement party was unique in that it was a potluck - Nona provided the pasta and crostata, while the guests were tasked to bring appis, salads and bevvies. When I sat down to plan my dish, I knew I had to include pomegranate seeds; not only because they are easy to find this time of year (and I love them), but because there is something about them that just screams CELEBRATION!! The rest of the salad threw itself together fairly easily, inspired by all of the thanksgiving recipes inundating the web these days.

much love to E+J, can't wait for november 2015 xx

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

celebration salad with a lemon-shallot vinaigrette // sevengrams

CELEBRATION SALAD WITH A LEMON-SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE // serves a large crowd

I recently invested in a rimmed, non stick, baking sheet - goodbye parchment, hello perfectly roasted veggies. Just saying.

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato, diced
1 red onion, sliced
4 cups loosely packed red kale (or green), roughly chopped
4 cups loosely packed lacinato kale, roughly chopped
1 pomegranate, de-seeded
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped in half
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
s + p

lemon-shallot vinaigrette //
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
juice from 2 lemons
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
s+p

What to do:

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potato cubes with a drizzle (~1 T) of olive oil, the paprika and some salt and pepper. Roast for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through, until browned and crispy.

Line a baking tray with parchment. Toss the onion slices with the remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until caramelized.

To make the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the kale with a 1-2 spoonfuls of vinaigrette. Use your hands to gently massage the kale and dressing. Set aside.

Toast the nuts in a small saucepan over medium heat. For the most part, the skins will fall off during/after toasting. Set aside.

Remove the veggies from the oven, and allow to cool before adding them to the kale. Continue to add the pom seeds and hazelnuts. Dress liberally, and toss well.

If  making ahead of time, add the pom seeds, hazelnuts and dressing just before serving.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

JERK TOFU SMORGAS-BOWLS WITH A TURMERIC TAHINI DRESSING

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

We had our first snow fall this weekend, and though we weren't here to witness it, we returned from a weekend in the sun to a slushy, wintery city. There was a segment on the radio this morning asking people what they turn to as comfort food once the temperature begins to drop. Some said soup, others chili, one lady swore by mac and cheese, and another guy raved about his home-made poutine. Me on the hand, I can't stay away from meals in bowls. There's something really comforting about eating a warm, hearty meal out of a bowl -- a smorgasbord of ingredients tossed in some really kick-ass dressing.

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

jerk tofu smorgas-bowls with a tumeric tahini dressing // sevengrams

JERK TOFU SMORGAS-BOWLS WITH A TURMERIC TAHINI DRESSING // serves 4

This recipe can easily be adapted to whatever you have in the fridge; start with some brown rice, be sure to include a protein, add something fermented (sauerkraut, kimchi, etc), and a whack load of veggies (roasted or raw). Finish with a flavour packed dressing and you're good to go!

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

1 block of firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 T jerk seasoning
drizzle of olive oil

5 carrots, roughly chopped
10 brussels sprouts, leaves separated
olive oil, salt and pepper

2 cups loosely packed carrot top greens, roughly chopped*
2 cups loosely packed lacinato kale, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T olive oil

1 cup brown rice, cooked
~1 cup sauerkraut (store-bought)
sesame seeds, to garnish

*note: can easily be replaced with more kale if you don't have carrot top greens on hand.

Turmeric Tahini Dressing //
1/4 cup tahini
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T tamari soy
1/2" nub of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/3 cup water

What to do:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the tofu, jerk seasoning and drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. Gently toss to combine. Spread evenly onto one baking sheet. Toss the carrots with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on half of the other baking tray. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the brussels sprout leaves to the carrot tray. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat 1/2 T of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Saute the garlic before adding the greens. Heat for about 5 minutes, until the greens begin to wilt and smell fragrant. Set aside.

Combine all the dressing ingredients into the body of a blender or magic bullet. Pulse until smooth. Add more water to thin if need be.

To serve, place about 1/2 cup of brown rice in each bowl. Surround with 3-5 tofu pieces, and a handful of sautéed greens, brussels leaves, carrot pieces and about 1/4 cup of sauerkraut. Drizzle the turmeric tahini dressing over top of the whole bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm or cold.

There will be quite a bit of dressing left; it will keep for several weeks and is so incredibly delicious, you're going to want to drizzle it on EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

CHICAGO


Those of you who follow me on instagram will know that I spent this past weekend in Chicago -- a mother/daughter weekend at its best! Chicago was one of those destinations that encompassed everything I love about exploring a new city: great food, incredible architecture, walkability and diversity. I was able to simultaneously fuel my love for traveling, all the while giving-in to my nerdy architect ways.

I was blown away by the beauty and charm of the city, and can't believe its taken me this long to get there. Everything we did, I would do again (and again), and if you can swing it, I would highly recommend a 3 day weekend to the Windy City. Big thanks to those of you who sculpted our itinerary, we couldn't have done it without your recommendations.

TO SEE //

burnham building
mies' lakeshore drive apartments
aqua condos
marina city car park
wrigley building
tribune tower
monadnock building
sullivan centre

TO DO //

architecture foundation boat tour
tour of frank lloyd wright's home + studio (worth the trek out to oak park)
hancock building (head straight to the 96th floor lounge for a bevy with a view)
art institute (thorne mini rooms in the basement and the impressionism section)
stroll through millennium park and get up close and personal with cloud gate
shop your way along the magnificent mile (michigan ave north of the river)
check out the shops along north milwaukee ave near damen station

TO EAT //

Most of the restaurants we went to weren't in the downtown core. Public transit works really well, and taxis are fairly affordable -- so don't sweat having to travel a bit to track down the good food -- totally worth it, promise!

avec (their sunday brunch blew my mind; get there when they open to avoid the line-up)
mfk (small spanish plates - still thinking of the anchovies on buttered toast)
eataly (never have i ever perused cookbooks and kitchenware with a glass of red wine; 5 sit down restaurants, several first come first serve counters, a grocer and a kitchen store - aka heaven)
publican (sharing plates at their best, and an epic beer menu)
birchwood kitchen (i promise to attempt to recreate my mom's salad of roasted squash, wheat berries, crispy chickpeas and arugula -- sooooo good)
giordano's deep dish (i think i'm still full)
coffee from intelligencia
goose island urban wheat ale

















NEXT TIME //

river walk
a shot of malort
rootstock wine bar
dinner at the purple pig
dinner at the girl and the goat
dinner at parachute
lunch at lula cafe
tacos at big star
brunch at little goat
mies' iit
flw's robie house

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A MISO + RED CURRY ROASTED VEGGIE AND SOBA BOWL

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

There are some tools and ingredients in the kitchen that are totally life changing. Like that time I bought a mandoline, or a julienne peeler; or starting using coconut oil when making granola, or discovered epic red curry paste.

This is the story of life changing red curry paste. We had been on the hunt for a good red curry for a while -- probably since this lady whipped up an amazing thai curry two years ago in her adorable little mountain home. She had the good stuff, and as hard as I looked, I couldn't find it anywhere on my side of the ocean. I was unimpressed with the brands I'd find at the grocery store -- pricey, lacking kick and really just not that good.

We live quite close to Chinatown, and stumbled into the curry aisle of a local supermarket a few weekends ago. We bought a brand we had never seen before, and our curry lives will never be the same. A few panangs and massamans later, I decided to switch it up and mix the curry paste with miso, then smother some seasonal veg and soba noodles with it. Yum.

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

a miso + red curry roasted veggie and soba bowl // sevengrams

A MISO + RED CURRY ROASTED VEGGIE AND SOBA BOWL // serves 4

Inspired by Heidi Swanson.

Preheat oven to 375.

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
~5 kale leaves (2-3 cups)
1/3 cup pepitas, toasted
2 sprigs cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup miso
2 T red curry paste
juice 1 lemon

soba noodles, cooked as per manufacturer's directions, for serving
optional: chicken or tofu pieces for some added protein

What to do:

Whisk together the olive oil, miso, red curry paste and lemon juice. Set aside.

Cut the ends off the butternut squash, then carefully, using a carrot peeler, peel off the skin (trust me, this step makes cutting the squash that much easier). Cut the squash into cubes and transfer into a large bowl. Toss the squash with 2 spoonfuls of miso curry and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Repeat with the cauliflower florets and chopped onion - toss with 2 spoonfuls of miso curry, then spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the cauliflower/onion tray and continue roasting the squash for another 30 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, rinse the kale and tear (or cut) it into medium-small pieces. Toss the kale in a large bowl with 1-2 spoonfuls of miso curry. In a separate bowl, toss the soba noodles with some dressing as well.

After an hour in the oven, the squash should be ready. Add the squash, cauliflower and onion to the kale and gently toss everything with your hands. If you're adding chicken or tofu, do it now.

To serve, place a mound of soba noodles in a bowl and top with a large serving of vegetables, and a sprinkle of toasted pepitas and fresh cilantro.