Cooking Journal


A cooking journal. Lightweight. Portable. Semantically versioned.

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Shallot-y Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Post date: 23 Jul 2016

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen / Chez Panisse Vegetables

When I lived in San Francisco the first time (2012-2013), I found a copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables and kept it as my toilet reading (TMI for a food blog?) for a solid few months. Facing a never ending CSA box of vegetables I had never ever cooked in my life, it was a godsend. Since, I’ve relapsed into more Chinese cooking at home, but I thank both Eatwell Farms (best CSA / community farm ever) and that book for coaching me through eating seasonally.

I never made this salad then, though. I made this for the first time in NYC with Greenmarket (don’t ask me why they call it that in NYC and not a farmer’s market, I have no idea either) green beans and cherry tomatoes.

  • 1 pound green beans (or more)
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes (or more, ‘cause you’re going to eat a whole pint on the way home from the market)
  • at least 4 shallots (more is fine)
  • 1 cup neutral high heat point oil

A day ahead, make some shallot oil with the shallots.

  • Slice shallots evenly and thinly (don’t dice)
  • Heat up your cup of oil and fry until the shallots crisp up and resemble what you’d put on top of green bean casserole. I usually fry in a wok, as it’s easier to control the frying. If some pieces fry quicker than others, move them to the edges of the wok where it’s cooler.
  • Carefully and quickly once you reach the brown point, remove the shallots to a paper towel’d plate and salt generously. Let cool so that they get crisp and delicious.
  • Once cool, strain resulting oil to remove any remaining debris. If you’re using all of the oil for the salad this step is less necessary, as you’ll use the oil before the debris turns the oil rancid. I like straining through a wire mesh tea filter, but cheesecloth / coffee filters work too.

Now for the salad!

  • Prep a bowl of ice water
  • Blanch your green beans: Bring a pot of salted water (tastes like the sea) to a boil, then add all green beans (ends snipped, etc.) This step takes maybe a minute or two, but I usually remove the green beans to some ice water once they’ve all turned a uniform bright green color.
  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half to expose their juicy innards. Place cut tomatoes on top of blanched green beans. Dress with 1/3 cup -> 1/2 cup shallot oil, a few tablespoons of sherry vinegar and some additional salt. Mix well so that the cut tomatoes juice out all over the salad. Add additional shallot oil / sherry vinegar to taste. Top with any fried shallots that you didn’t eat while making the shallot oil. Serve cold. Salad should be juicy, vinegary, shallot-forward.

June Focaccia

Post date: 01 Jun 2016

Spent the early part of the month of June on a serious focaccia kick. I almost entirely followed the Serious Eats ‘Easy Garlic Focaccia’ recipe, but didn’t always use garlic. In total, I made 4 focaccias in 2 weeks, and I think @mookerji made 3 more.


Combine throughly:

  • 500g flour (we used AP exclusively. I want to experiment with 50/50 whole wheat next)
  • 15g kosher salt (once, I subbed table salt because I didn’t have any kosher salt in the cabin we were staying in in the Gorge)
  • 4g instant yeast
  • 325g water

Let rest under plasticwrap / cloth for 6 to 24 hours. I preferred the less rested ones–the more rested ones tasted “too yeasty”, but YMMV. I’d also be interested in experimenting with a cold ferment in the future.

When ready to wait 2 more hours and then bake, add 3 tablespoons olive oil (i usually eyeballed this) to a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Pour dough out onto skillet. Flatten and coat in oil on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out for 2 more hours.

After the 2 hours have passed (we also let it hang out for more than 2 hours once with no ill results), poke holes into your focaccia so that you pop all the bubbles. If you’re adding non-herb toppings, add them now, and press them into the holes. Bake at 550 degrees fahrenheit in your oven for 16-24 minutes, or until golden. Rest until room temperature.

Some more notes:

THIS WAS LIKE THE EASIEST BREAD I’VE EVER MADE. So addictive. My home oven only gets to around 475, and that seemed fine (it took a little longer, and came out less crispy than when I cooked it at 550). Sometimes I didn’t cover it in plastic wrap, but just in a cloth, and that also seemed fine. I think you’re trying to avoid the resting dough obtaining a ‘crust’ from drying out.

One bread baking difficulty that I aspire to get better at: timing is quite tricky for this, like other breads, because of the two phase rest. I think, for dinner bread, the trick would be to mix the dough when I wake up, and do the resting phase in the pan right when I get home. Haven’t managed to do that yet, resulting in 10pm focaccia and 9pm focaccia and 4pm focaccia.

(x-posted from zmagg/baking-journal)


Post date: 15 Dec 2015

Made with Elinor and Shaddi. I accidentally combined these two recipes:


  • Chop vegetables. I used a red onion (pretty small), most of a cabbage, and a ton of parsley. Like, a whole bunch of parsley. Keep the parsley chopped pretty coarse.
  • Add a cup of sugar and half a cup of salt and coat vegetables evenly. i had to use two mixing bowls for this part, but the vegetables will shrink as their water comes out.
  • Wait 5 minutes. rinse vegetables really really really well, and then use the salad spinner to spin them dry.
  • Add dressing. for the dressing i used: 3:1 ratio buttermilk: mayo, and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. No salt, as mayo’s pretty salty and you already added salt to the vegs.