Plan Less, Do More

So this blog will be mostly about food, recipes that I’ve created but I’d also like you to get to know the person behind it all, so I’ll occasionally post about what’s happening in my life.
Turks and caicos. Perhaps the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen.

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Oh my god I could look at it all day.

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It was a short trip full of eating fresh conch, red snapper and mahi- seriously that’s all I ate all day- and adventuring. We snorkeled with eagle rays and explored the parts people don’t generally explore on Provo.
I went with my boyfriend. On a whim. An essentially unplanned vacation to another country.

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Being busy is great. But don’t forget to actually enjoy life. Because it’s pretty awesome.

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As my boyfriend always says, don’t take life so seriously. You’ll never make it out alive.
Peace and Love,
Megan

Espresso Cookies with Candied Cacao Nibs

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Coffee and chocolate. Chocolate and coffee. The two go hand in hand.
There are roasted coffee notes in chocolate and and rich chocolate notes in coffee.
I find that we generally use coffee as a dual flavor component with chocolate -mocha- or as way to intensify chocolate. Not often is it the other way around. These cookies focus on the espresso flavor with the chocolate as an undertone.
Since being nut-free, I’ve been brainstorming different ways to create texture. One ingredient I’ve played with are cacao nibs. Wonderfully bitter with a distinct chocolate flavor, and reminiscent of roasted coffee beans without that awful woody texture. Alone I felt the weren’t quite crunchy enough so I candied them. This way, the bitterness is the undertone and the chocolate flavor hits the palate first.

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Candied cacao nibs
.5 cups granulated sugar
2T water
.75-1 cup cacao nibs

In a medium skillet (do NOT use non stick) combine the sugar and water. Bring it to a boil for 1 minute. Toss in the cacao nibs and stir till the sugar crystallizes. Transfer to a Silpat to cool.

Espresso cookies
1 stick of butter, at room temp
1 cup dark brown sugar
3T granulated sugar
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1.75 Cups AP flour
.5t baking powder
.5t baking soda
.5 t salt
2T espresso grind coffee

-Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on medium speed for two minutes, add the vanilla and the eggs and mix to combine.
-Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.
-Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix just till combined.
-Chill dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This is important for shaping the dough. Meanwhile preheat oven to 325*F.
-Scoop the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I used a disher to ensure even cookies but a heaping tablespoon will work as well.
-After they are scooped pick up each ball and dunk the top into the cacao nibs. Thus will work if the dough is chilled. If your dough is warm, generously sprinkle the tops.
-Gently push down the tops of the balls to create thick disks.
Your unbanked cookies should look like this:

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Bake in a 325 oven for 10 minutes flipping the tray half way through. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

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I’m thinking ice cream sandwiches for these bad boys. So delicious.

Candied Kumquats

It’s kumquat season. Or really tiny sour/bitter orange season. Whichever.

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They are delightful and under utilized. Personally I can’t eat them raw. They are too bitter and sour for my tastes. However, with a little bit of work and patience, these little beauties can be used as a garnish, flavor component or citrusy sweet snack.

Candied Kumquats

1 cup kumquats, thinly sliced
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf- optional

Put the sugar, water and bay leaf into a pan on the stovetop. Bring to a boil for a few minutes to dissolve all of the sugar. Turn heat to low. Gently put the kumquats into the syrup and simmer for 8 minutes. Let cool, and store in a glass container in the fridge.
These would make a great sub for any candied citrus. Just let them drain before using.

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Enjoy!
What recipe would you put these in? I’m thinking spice cookies. Texture and flavor.

Lessons learned from working in a kitchen

Think two projects ahead.

Always think about what you will be doing in the future to help you accomplish each of your tasks most efficiently.

Multitask.

You can get more done than you think you can.

Stay cool.

This one is the hardest for me. Im naturally anxious and get flustered easily. I’ve learned that it makes me slower mentally and physically.

Have a good attitude.

Kitchens are close quarters and attitudes are contagious. No one wants to work with a debbie downer.

Teamwork.

You are now part of not just a team but a family. You look out for your family.

Ask questions.

It doesn’t make you look stupid. Doing it wrong and having to do it over again is worse. And it slows you down. Which in case you haven’t noticed.. is no bueno.

Be kind.

The golden rule applies everywhere.

Be curious.

If you don’t want to learn every day, kitchen work is not for you.

Seriously guys. Working with food is amazing.

Kasha tabouli

In the kitchen, I try to experiment.  I try to pick up a new to me ingredient every week or so and make something delicious.  This week, I spotted kasha at Whole Foods bulk bin section. Its the best aisle EVER if you’re looking for a new grain or nut to try. Kasha is just roasted buckwheat groats.  Its nutty, gluten free and has a relatively quick cooking time– about 15 minutes.

Since were having a horrendous heat wave in New England, I knew I wanted to make a cold salad out of it. Best cold salad ever? Tabouli. Easily.

All you’ll need is

1/4-1/2 cup kasha- cook to package directions

1 bunch parsley

1 roma tomato

1/2 a small red onion

salt/ pepper

a few tablespoons of lemon juice

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Summery and delicious with an extra layer of nutty flavor from the kasha.

 

Do you try to get creative in the kitchen or do you play it safe?

Adventures

Happy fourth everyone!

Since graduation, I’ve only been working part time, trying to give myself a little break for the summer till I fully immerse myself in the long hot hours of the culinary world. What have I been doing with my time you ask?

Paddleboarding

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Eating mounds of homemade pasta

Exploring boston

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I’ve been going on scenic runs

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Going to the Stanley cup- still upset about the Bruins.

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And drinking subpar margaritas from a bottle at the beach

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A break is just what I needed. Being in a kitchen 6 days per week was exhausting.

I love Summertime.

Allow me to introduce myself

Hello world!

My name is Megan and I recently graduated culinary school.  As a pastry chef, I ate a lot of cake during my schooling.  All delicious, and all beautiful.

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For now, I’m over cake. I want to eat everything else.

I’ve got a lot of living and a lot of eating left to do.