Category Archives: Cooking

Apple-Goat Cheese King Cake, sliced

Apple-Goat Cheese King Cake

Apple-Goat Cheese King Cake

New Orleans is home to lots and lots of awesome food, and plenty of it is stuff most tourists never get to enjoy. Take Cake Cafe, a wonderful bakery and breakfast spot in the Marigny neighborhood. When I lived in the city pre-Katrina, I hadn’t even heard of this place; it was only on a trip a few years ago that a friend who lives nearby took me there.

So I was surprised to see the place mentioned on Serious Eats, in a post about its apple-and-goat-cheese-filled king cake. This thing is pretty decadent: cream cheese filling, goat cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon, and apples—it’s like four king cakes in one!

Too bad Serious Eats didn’t score an actual recipe. So I had to come up with one myself. I started with the dough from CHOW with a few adjustments (mine’s a bit sweeter, and theirs doesn’t measure the flour by weight, plus I went with a mix of almond and vanilla extract), and then kinda winged it based on Serious Eats’ photos.

The result was a pretty huge success, if I do say so myself. The tangy cheese and tart apples combine beautifully in the filling, whose richness provides a nice counterpoint to the bready cake. (Don’t take this as a knock; king cake is supposed to be bready.) Continue reading Apple-Goat Cheese King Cake

Holiday Classes: Cocktails and Bread-Making

Come learn with me! I’m teaching two classes this weekend, and I want you to sign up!

On Saturday, December 15, I’m running a holiday mixology workshop at Painted Shovel Mercantile in Avondale. For $25, you’ll learn three seasonal classics: Mulled Wine, Eggnog, and the French 75—plus a Painted Shovel Holiday Margarita I’ve created just for the class. (And yes, you get to try all the drinks!) To enroll, please call 205-593-2083 or email paintedshovel@gmail.com.

And on Sunday, December 16, my bread and rolls class returns to Freshfully. This lesson sold out last time, so make sure to grab your spot now. It’s just $15, and you’ll learn my foolproof bread-from-scratch recipe, sample some delicious bread and rolls, and go home with a batch of dough all ready to bake immediately (or to freeze and bake later). Enroll online here.

See you this weekend in Avondale!

Jason holding bread

Make Bread with Me!

Jason holding bread

I love bread. I love eating bread, I love baking bread, I love kneading bread dough.

And I want you to, too.

So I’m working with awesome local-food-only grocery store Freshfully to put together a bread-making class on Sunday, October 21.

Look: People are afraid of baking their own bread. For some reason, they think it takes some kind of alchemy (plus a French accent) to bake a decent loaf. They are wrong. All it takes is four ingredients and a couple hours, and you can have as much fresh-from-the-oven bread as you want.

In the class, I’ll go over my pretty-much-foolproof method for making all kinds of bread and explain some of the science behind how bread-making works while you mix and knead your own batch of dough. Then, while the dough rises, we’ll sample a bunch of my own breads (including white-chocolate, olive-and-herb, and more), paired with some local cheeses.

At the end of the class, you’ll go home with a batch of bread dough ready for baking (sorry, Freshfully doesn’t have an oven) or freezing for later (yes, I’ll tell you how to do that as well).

Registration is $30, but for reading through this post, I’ll save you five bucks! Just use coupon code DOUGH at checkout.

See you Sunday!

Meta-Cookies

Meta-Cookies

Meta-Cookies

There’s only one good thing about air travel these days, and it’s a cookie.

If you’ve flown Delta recently, you know what I mean: Biscoff. A delicious, Belgian-made, cinnamon-tinged crunchy little thing, of which I always ask the flight attendant for seconds. I honestly wasn’t sure if I enjoyed them so much just because they were the only respite from the soul-crushing experience that is flying on an airplane or if I might still like them under 35,000 feet. Content to let the mystery be a mystery, I never ordered any off the internet (which seems to be the only non-aviation-related place in America you can buy them).

But then I was walking down the peanut butter-and-cereal aisle at my local Publix and saw a familiar red logo. Biscoff Spread. Assuming this would be some horrible concoction of shortening and sugar, I turned the jar around. The first ingredient listed? Biscoff cookies.

This stuff is literally ground-up Biscoff cookies, mixed with extra sugar and oil. It’s smoother than peanut butter, and good lord is it magnificent. (There’s also a chunky version, which I haven’t tried yet.)

We had just been eating it by the spoonful when the lit-theory-class/post-modern sector of my brain said“What if you took this cookie spread, and made it back into cookies?” And thus, Meta-Cookies. Cookies made out of cookies. Continue reading Meta-Cookies

Miso-Broiled Mackerel

Miso-Broiled Mackerel and Sustainable Seafood

Our planet is running out of seafood, and it’s my fault. (It’s probably your fault, too.) There are a bunch of fish—sadly, most of humanity’s favorites—that are being overfished, global-warmed, and polluted basically out of existence.

The most serious of these is bluefin tuna, AKA toro, the kind of tuna that goes into high-end sushi all around the world. The delicious species is on the razor’s edge of extinction: There are only a few thousand left by some estimates. If you care about the planet at all, you should probably not eat any of it again.

And that’s not the only fish to steer clear of: For various reasons, Atlantic salmon, imported farmed shrimp, and freshwater eel (AKA unagi, my favorite sushi-roll ingredient) are all rated as “avoid” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide.

But it’s not all bad. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is an extremely well-managed fish, and you can eat as much of it as you’d like without worrying about the environment (your wallet, on the other hand, might take a beating). And shrimp from the US (like the Gulf of Mexico), whether it’s farmed or wild-caught, is fine as well. There are even several kinds of tuna that are safe to eat—it just depends on how and where they were caught.

The key is doing your research. Seafood Watch has a wealth of information (and even an iPhone app), which I use all the time and recommend highly. You’ll also have to ask questions at your supermarket: Where was this caught? Was it caught in a net or via longline? What kind of feed does the farm use? Yeah, it’s a pain, but the way things are going, you kinda have to.

Continue reading Miso-Broiled Mackerel and Sustainable Seafood