pine nuts

Breads

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com

Focaccia! Who doesn't love it? It's like a pillow top mattress you can eat. I'm a lover of all bread but there's something about focaccia that makes it especially irresistible. Oh wait I know what it is - all those pools and puddles of luscious olive oil it's baked in. Before you get too jealous that I have an entire pan sitting before me, know that I'll be compensating this week by forcing myself to take the monster stairs at the Porter Square T stop.

Focaccia is of course Italian but funny enough my most memorable experience with it was in Oaxaca, Mexico. After a week of feasting on tortillas, I stumbled across a European bakery with rows and rows of focaccia studded with all manner of enticing toppings - green olives, black olives, cherry tomatoes, charred onions, fresh cheeses and herbs. I handed the baker my pesos, stepped outside, and ate an entire slab standing right there on the street corner. I don't even remember what kind I chose but I do recall it was crispy and chewy and soft all at once and left my hands glossy with oil. In a word, perfection. So perfect in fact that I doubted I could recreate that magic at home. However I'm here to attest that homemade focaccia is really easy and really, really good. Even if you plan to give it all away to friends it's worth baking for the aroma alone.

Now a word about the Meyer lemons. If you're skeptical about them, don't be! They're delicious rind and all. Meyers are sweeter than regular old lemons and not nearly as sour. They add an unexpected juicy tang that's - warning - highly addictive. My one regret is not scattering them more liberally.

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com
Mayer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia | www.hungryinlove.com

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Adapted from this Food Network recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs rosemary, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 (or 2!) Meyer lemons sliced very thinly
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Prep

  • Combine yeast, water, and honey in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for at least 15 minutes until it's nice and frothy.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, yeast mixture, salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil on low speed.
  • Continue to knead on low speed (I used the '2' setting on my KitchenAid) for 4-5 minutes; dough will be smooth and sticky.
  • Sprinkle with flour and turn onto smooth surface.
  • Knead a couple times until dough comes together and shape into a ball.
  • Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for at least one hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  • After dough has risen you're ready to press into your baking sheet. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil onto baking sheet and then use your hands to stretch dough to fit the pan. Flip dough over once so it's well coated with olive oil on both sides. While you're stretching out the dough use your fingers to poke holes all the way through. This will ensure those classic focaccia dimples.
  • Once your dough has stretched, let sit for one more hour to rise again. Use this time to preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prep your toppings if you haven't already.
  • After an hour your focaccia is ready to bake. Scatter toppings and finish with sea salt.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Want new posts delivered hot + fresh to your inbox? Subscribe here.

Snacks, Vegetables, Cheese

A Holiday Mezze Spread

Mezze Spread | www.hungryinlove.com
Mezze Spread | www.hungryinlove.com
Marinated Carrots | www.hungryinlove.com

Who's getting ready to host a party? I'm off duty this year but if I was it'd look like this. I've had mezze on the brain since my birthday last month. My fam and I went to one of my most favorite places in Cambridge, Sofra Bakery + Cafe, and ordered about three quarters of the menu. If you live within walking, driving, or flying distance I recommend you make a date to get your tush over there. (Pro tip: bring friends who are down to share. You're going to want it all.) Turkish, Lebanese, and Greek flavors get friendly on the menu and the results are otherworldly. I have not strolled through a bazaar with a fork but I imagine it would taste like this cafe.

Of all the feasting to be done at Sofra, the mezze plate is what really makes my heart flutter. Mezze simply means a sampling of small dishes - cheeses, spreads, salads + vegetables. A brightly hued platter of contrasting textures and flavors paired with warm bread might be my favorite way to eat. It was high time I attempted to compose my own. The brilliant mind behind Sofra, Ana Sortun, has kindly shared many of her secrets in her cookbook, Spice. The beets + yogurt and whipped feta are both renditions of Ana's recipes though I've made slight modifications to mix up flavor profiles and make prep less time-intensive.

There is nothing particularly holiday-y about this spread, except that it lends itself very well to a party. Not only can you make everything ahead, you should. The flavors will become more vibrant overnight and then you can tackle your party day to-do list (take out of fridge, let come to room temperature) with feet up and a glass of wine in hand.

PS - I gave myself an early Christmas present this week and rolled out a new word mark for the site. What do you think? The font is called 'smitten' which is appropriate because I am!

Beets + Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com
Olives with Thyme + Orange | www.hungryinlove.com
Fried Pine Nuts | www.hungryinlove.com
Whipped Feta | www.hungryinlove.com
Marinated Carrots | www.hungryinlove.com
Beets + Yogurt | www.hungryinlove.com

Beets + Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. beets
  • 8 oz. strained yogurt (labneh, yogurt cheese, or full fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • olive oil + nigella seeds for garnish

Prep

  • Boil beets until easily pierced with a fork; remove from water and allow to cool (cooking time will vary based on size of your beets)
  • When beets are cool enough to handle, massage skins off under running water and discard
  • Using a box grater, finely grate beetroot (This is messy! Set you grater atop wax paper or another surface to protect your table or countertop)
  • Mix grated beets with yogurt, lemon juice, mint, honey, salt + pepper until well blended
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Serve at room temperature garnished with a drizzle of olive oil + nigella seeds

 

Cumin Marinated Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. maras pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Prep

  • Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil
  • Boil carrots until cooked through but not mushy (about 5-7 minutes)
  • While carrots are cooking use a mortar and pestle to mash garlic, maras, cumin, and salt into a paste
  • Drain carrots and place in bowl
  • Toss with garlic-spice paste, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil until well coated
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Serve at room temperature

 

Whipped Feta with Mint + Lemon

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. feta (ideally sheep's milk or goat's milk)
  • 2 Tbs. half + half (milk or cream may substitute)
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. mint, finely chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs. pine nuts

Prep

  • In a food processor blend feta, half + half, lemon zest and mint on high speed until feta is smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute)
  • Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate before serving to all flavors to meld
  • When ready to serve fry pine nuts in a skillet with a glug of olive oil over medium high heat; stir constantly so as not to burn
  • Bring feta to room temperature and top with toasted pine nuts

 

Warm Olives with Orange + Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 6-8 strips orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

Prep

  • Toss olives, orange zest, thyme, and olive oil in a bowl
  • When ready to serve preheat oven to 375
  • Transfer olives to an oven-safe dish and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes

 

Za'tar Flatbread

Ingredients

  • Dough for 1 pizza
  • 2 Tbs. za'tar spice blend
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Prep

  • Place a pizza stone in the oven + preheat oven to 500 degrees
  • Mix za'tar spice with olive oil and salt
  • Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness on a pizza board
  • Pierce dough all over with the tines of a fork
  • Brush olive oil + spice mixture all over dough right up to the edge of the flatbread
  • Transfer dough to pizza stone and bake 6-8 minutes (until edges are browned and dough is crisp)
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool
  • Cut into thin strips for dipping
  • Store leftover flatbread in a resealable plastic bag

Vegetables, Salads

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Asparagus Salad Prep | www.hungryinlove.com
Asparagus Salad Prep | www.hungryinlove.com
Asparagus Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Asparagus Salad | www.hungryinlove.com
Asparagus Salad | www.hungryinlove.com

I had the good fortune recently to spend a few delightful days with my grandparents in Georgia. Nana and Pops, as us kids call them. When Sunday came around Nana sent me home with this handsome little plate. Isn't she sweet? Happily unattached from the set to which she once belonged, I tucked her into my suitcase with visions of lunch for one. Nana would be pleased to see her gift getting some action these days, though she'd disapprove of this particular use. You see, Nana detests vegetables. They could be steamed, sous vide, hand-plucked, or wild-foraged  - it doesn't matter, she's not interested. I'll admit I did empathize with Nana the first time I heard the notion of raw asparagus salad. Sounds woody. And tough. I'm happy to report though that it's remarkably delicate, and dare I say, beats roasting. I won't go so far as to say this salad would convert my nana, but she's 91 so I'll give her a pass.

Asparagus Salad Aftermath | www.hungryinlove.com

Ingredients

Serves 1
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 egg
  • Vinegar
  • Pecorino cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon wedge
  • Sea salt

Prep

  • Snap the woody end off asparagus spears. Using a vegetable peeler shave into ribbons leaving the tips intact. Add asparagus tips to to ribbons.
  • Toss asparagus with pine nuts, a dusting of grated Pecorino, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. Set aside.
  • To poach egg bring a small saucepan of water with a glug of vinegar to a simmer (the vinegar will keep the whites from dispersing).
  • Crack egg into a ramekin, keeping yolk intact 
  • Pour egg into the simmering water as close to the surface as possible (as opposed to letting it drop). Adjust heat if water is bubbling too vigorously.
  • Poach egg for 2 minutes (for a soft boil) or 4 minutes for a firmer yolk; remove from water with a slotted spoon
  • Let cool for a moment before topping salad with egg. Enjoy immediately.