Changes

Its been a while and things have been busy… As life has gotten busy I have had less time to cook but have been working on other projects and pursuits.

Because of this I have decided to stop this blog here at Graham and Cook and start a new blog on my website that encompasses all my topics of interest so please join me at LOST – the blog for all my new adventures and check out my new website with more info about the things I do www.lost-not-found.com

Sea Salt & Browned Butter Brownies

Sea Salt & Brown Butter Brownies
Cold nights and long days require delicious sweet treats. I rarely bake as I don’t want to single handed-ly eat everything I make that’s just a bit excessive but after having to work this past weekend nothing sounded better than home made brownies. Something warm and gooey, sweet and taste-y perfect with a cup of warm tea on these cold nights we have been having here in New York.
Sea Salt & Brown Butter Brownies
Now I did not just want any brownie I wanted something a bit more grown up that your normal fair which is why I decided a sea salt and browned butter brownie was the perfect choice. Something salty but sweet and with more depth than your usual brownie, I added in chopped chocolate for that extra burst of chocolate and texture. As for texture I love my brownies soft and fudge-y not cake like and I think this recipe comes close to perfection at least for me.

SEA SALT & BROWNED BUTTER BROWNIES

Makes one 9″x 9″ pan

1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

2/3 Cups AP Flour + some for dusting the pan

2 Cups Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp Kosher Salt

8oz Browned Butter (see below for instructions)

4 Large Eggs

2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

2oz Chopped Chocolate (I used 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Ghirardelli Premium Baking Bar)

Sea Salt for finishing (about 2 Tsp) something large grained is best

Butter for greasing the pan

9″ x 9″ Baking Pan

Mixing Bowls

Sieve

Small offset spatula (optional)

TO PREPARE

Preheat oven to 300°F

Grease your pan and dust with flour and set aside

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, brown butter, and vanilla extract. Make sure the eggs are slightly whisked before you add the butter to make the process easier. Add the brown butter to the eggs right after you have strained it add it in slowly in a stream while whisking to keep the eggs from coagulating.  The egg mixture with thicken up a bit once everything is incorporated after thoroughly mixed add in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until the dry mix is fully incorporated.

Mix in the chopped chocolate and about 1 tsp of the sea salt

Pour out the mix into your prepared pan and use the offset spatula to even out the top. Hit the pan a few times on the counter to make sure all air bubbles are out.

Sprinkle a bit more of the sea salt on the top of the brownies

Cook for 30-45 min until a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean

Let cool and turn out and cut into squares (use your offset spatula to help release the brownies from the pan if you are having a hard time getting them out)

Sea Salt & Brown Butter Brownies
BROWNED BUTTER HOW TO

technique adapted from Bouchon Bakery

8oz Butter

Large Sauce Pan

Mixing Bowl

Whisk

Sieve

Cheesecloth

TO PREPARE

Over your mixing bowl place a sieve with two layers of cheese cloth over it for straining the browned solids once you have browned the butter.

Place your large sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter.

As soon as the butter melts start whisking to keep the butter from separating.

Once the butter comes to a boil turn up the heat and stop whisking.

Keep cooking the butter whisking occasionally so it does not burn until the bubbles lessen indicating most of the moisture has evaporated.

Once the butter is a caramel color remove from the heat and strain the solids out and use in your recipe.

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Asia Diary: January 19, 2014

Life flies so fast.. It seems like only last week I was in Asia but alas it has already been a month since I have returned to the states… but I have been running around and sick so I only have had the chance to recap now. So enjoy the some of the foods I ate in Tokyo and Hong Kong. I can’t wait to return for more.

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Noodles Round #1 – Tokyo
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Noodles Round #2 – Tokyo Sumo Eats style
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Spicy Pork Meal – Tokyo
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Breakfast and a view of Hong Kong Island from the hotel in Kowloon
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Best pork bun Ever – Tim Ho Wan – Hong Kong

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Four Score and Seven…Oh Wait Just 4 Years

My New View at night
It feels like a life time since I moved to New York City but in reality it has only been 4 years and today marks that anniversary…. Also as a surprise it happens to be the one year anniversary of this blog. I did not realize I started it on my moving to New York anniversary last year but while looking through my archive I noticed it this past weekend…
.... Not Even a Smoking Section
Moving to NYC was a big, huge, monumental change in my life and after all this time here I feel like I still have so much to do yet at the same time I long for some change of scenery. We will see where this next year takes me but what I know I will continue with is this blog. In starting it I created a reason to cook new things all the time and to improve my skills and while I have been a bit sporadic in my posting, mostly due to lack of good photos and the will to write, it has defiantly influenced my cooking and eating for the better. When I am out I have been trying new things and at home I have been trying to eat more healthy and make more interesting food… In this upcoming year I plan on continuing to do the same and sharing as much as I can here.

Just for a bit of fun I thought I should share my favorite Gratuitous Photo Photos from the past year

Mushroom ToastMUSHROOM ENGLISH MUFFIN

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EARLY FALL EATING: DEAR BUSHWICK
Granola Bars
GRANOLA BARS: THE MASTER RECIPE

Caprese
SUMMER BOUNTY

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San Francisco Day Trip: December 26, 2013

SF Dec 2013Le Grand City by the Bay

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Tasty appetizers at the Golden Lotus in the Tenderloin Area

UntitledWon ton Egg Noodle Soup at Hai Ky Noodle House also in the Tenderloin

SF Dec 2013My Favorite back ally fortune cookie place in SF Chinatown.. I somehow always stumble upon it.

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Pumpkin Pie Macarons

Pumpkin Pie MacaronsWhile Thanksgiving is now past us it is still the season of pumpkin still here and these macarons are the perfect thing to make to enjoy that pumpkin-y goodness. I decided to make these for a friendsgiving my friends were having the day after thanksgiving. I though everyone would be sick of pie but these are the perfect pumpkin treat with out being too overwhelming but still tasting like everyone’s favorite autumn treat.

For the filling I followed the Pumpkin Ganache recipe from the Momofuku Milk Cookbook, this recipe makes way more than you need but it is to hard to make any less. With the full recipe you should have enough filling for 3 recipes worth of Macarons. With the extra you can always make some crepes and use it as filling.. which is always good :)

PUMPKIN PIE MACARONS

1 Recipe of Cinnamon Nutmeg Macaron Shells

1 Recipe of Pumpkin Ganache

Food Coloring of your choice (I used the cheap liquid stuff in Yellow and Red)

Offset Spatula

Silicon Basting Brush or Pasty Paint Brush

TO ASSEMBLE

Using an offset spatula spread an even layer of the pumpkin ganache on one of the macarons

Place a second macaron on top of the macaron with the ganache

Once you prepare all your macarons you can decorate the top if you want

For the brush lines that I did, I combined red and yellow liquid food coloring and used a silicon basting brush. Instead of using a real brush using the silicon brush gives you a interesting variation. I swiped the brush back a few  times to get an affect I wanted. You can do whatever you want or just not decorate the top.

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

CINNAMON NUTMEG MACARON SHELLS

Recipe from Brave Tart’s Macaron Recipe check out her recipe for the full detailed instructions and tips. My below info is only of the ingredients required and my small modification. As her recipe is so great and practically full proof I don’t want to lead anyone astray with less than stellar directions.

40z Blanched Almonds (or almond flour)

8oz Powder Sugar

5oz Egg White

2 1/2oz Sugar

1/2Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg (preferably fresh)

Flour Sifter

Stand Mixer with Whisk attachment

Food Processor

2 Half Sheet Pans

Large Pastry Bag w/ a standard tip

Parchment Paper

TO PREPARE

Follow the Brave Tart recipe all the way through to the point where you add in food coloring or other additives this is when you should add in the Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg. I suggest sifting it first for the best incorporation.

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

PUMPKIN GANACHE

from Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

I adapted this recipe to not need to use a microwave since I just don’t have one… but I included the original instructions as well.

150g White Chocolate

25g Butter

50g Corn Syrup (or Glucose)

55g Cold Heavy Cream

75g Canned Pumpkin Puree

1Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Microwave safe container or metal bowl for double boiler

Tall and narrow container (like a 1 quart plastic soup container)

Immersion hand blender

Pumpkin Pie Macarons

TO PREPARE

Combine the white chocolate and butter in either a microwave safe container (or as I did in a metal bowl that fits over my stock pot which I was using as a double boiler).

Gently melt the white chocolate and butter together in 15 second bursts if using the microwave stirring after each burst or over lightly boiling water if doing this double boiler style. The result should be slightly warm and homogenous.

Transfer the chocolate mix to your tall container

Warm your corn syrup or glucose in the microwave or with a quick dip in the hot water in a small metal container

Pour the corn syrup into your chocolate mixture and buzz with the hand blender for 1 minute

After the minute pour the cream in a steady stream into the mix with the blender running. The mix will come together into a smooth and shiny mix

Blend in the pumpkin puree, salt, and cinnamon into the chocolate mix until everything is mixed and smooth

Put the ganache in the refrigerator to firm up for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

The pumpkin ganache will keep fresh in the fridge for a week.

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Granola Bars: The Master Recipe

Granola Bars

Over the past year I have been working on perfecting a Granola/ Oat bar recipe (Like here and here) and I think I finally managed to perfect my master recipe. I have been tweaking it a lot but I think I have finally  solid reliable recipe that I can easily change out the components as my pantry allows and as I wish.

The key to this base recipe and technique is using very overripe bananas. As I have, pretty much everyday weekday, for breakfast I have Greek yogurt with banana and flax seeds I tend to have bananas that get a bit ripe for me to eat as is (I like them more on the unripe side). When this happens I put them in the freezer to keep them for later and then just defrost them to make these granola bars. This ensures they are extra soft and easy to mash but any over ripe bananas work just fine.

GRANOLA BARS

As this recipe is a master recipe the key ingredients are the Oats, Bananas, Dates, Soy Milk, and Salt everything else can be adjusted from those, see the some variables options below.

Makes 8 – 1 1/2″ x 4″

2 Cups Oats

2 Overripe Bananas (or frozen and defrosted to make sure they are soft)

6 (about a cup loosely packed) Medjool Dates diced into 1/4″ pieces

1/3 Cup Soy Milk

about 1/4 Cup Goji Berries

1/4 Tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Flax Seed + Some for dusting

2 Tbsp Wheat Germ

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Fresh ground Nutmeg

Non stick spray or butter

Medium mixing bowl

7 “x 8″ baking pan

Granola Bars

TO PREPARE

Preheat oven to 350F Degrees.

In your medium mixing bowl place the banana’s with out the skins and mash them up until they are all combined.

Mix in the oats and combine together with the banana.

Add in the Soy Milk, Dates, Goji Berries, Flax Seeds,Wheat Germ, and Salt. Mix everything together until fully combined and everything is distributed evenly amongst the oats.

Spray your baking pan with your non stick spray or grease the pan with butter.

Pour in your oat mixture and spread evenly in the pan patting it down with your hand our utensil of your choice to make sure the top is even.

Sprinkle on the top of the oat mix some flax seed to your liking, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Press the toppings into the mix gently with your hand.

Place in your preheated oven and bake for 20min or until golden brown at the edges.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely then cut into squares and serve. Cover this will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Granola Bars

VARIATIONS

You can swap the dates for dried figs or add diced almonds, diced walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, dried diced apricots, or chia seeds amongst other things. If you are adding in dried cranberries, dried apricots, or any other dried fruit you should reduce the amounts of dates you add or else the mix will be too wet.

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Autumnal Scones

Autumn Scones
October has ended and November is here with full force which is fantastic, as it is my favorite month of the year.

The air is crisp, the breeze light, the trees are endlessly changing in color. The days grow shorter and the night grows longer which is still novel and nice. The rain sprinkles down and the air is permeated with the essence of change.

Once fall finally comes all I want to do is stay home to cook and bake through the long cold nights. This time of year also is great for all those nice and tasty hearty strong flavors. I love a good soup or stew and I adore the mix of gingery spices with everything which is why I always drawn to recipes involving some sort of ginger + sweet combination. So when I saw this for Roasted Apple Scones with Ginger from The Vanilla Bean Blog I knew I had to make something similar especially since I had just come across a recipe for Candied Ginger on Food 52 which to me just meant I had to make some apple ginger scones.

Instead of using the recipe that inspired me I decided to use my go to scone recipe from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook because you cook the scones from frozen. I like this a lot because I am usually cooking for one and I don’t need a full recipe of scones but with this recipe I can prepare them all and only cook what I want to eat. This recipe does require a lot of inactive time but the results are worth it so please don’t skimp on the resting time!

Autumn Scones

Autumnal Apple Ginger Scones

recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery

2 1/4 Cups + 2Tbsp All Purpose Flour

1 3/8 Tsp Baking Powder

7/8 Tsp Baking Soda

3/4 Tsp Salt

4.7oz Cold Unsalted Butter – cut into small pieces (aprox 1/4″ in size)

3/4cup Heavy Cream + additional for brushing

1 Small Apple

aprox 1/8cup Candied Ginger (either store bought or homemade) diced into small pieces

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon + Additional for dusting

1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg (ideally freshly ground for maximum flavor) + Additional for dusting

Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment

2 Sheet Pans

Parchment Paper or Silpat

Pastry Brush

TO PREPARE

In the bowl of your stand mixer combine Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Powder, and Salt. Mix on the lowest setting for 15 seconds to combine

With the mixer off add in the butter cubes into the flour mix.

Mix the butter into the flour on the lowest setting breifly to incorporate the butter into the mix, then mix on the second lowest speed (“Low” on Kitchen Aid Mixers) and mix for about 3 minutes or until the butter is broken up and incorporated into the flour mixture. If any large pieces of butter remain break them up and mix them in by hand with the mixer off.

While the butter is being incorporated add to your cream the Cinnamon and nutmeg

With the mixer still on add in the cream mixture, pouring it in slowly, mix for 30 seconds or until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough starts to come together.

Turn the mixer off and scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl.

Add in the Apple and Ginger pieces and mix in on the low speed until incorporated.

Turn out the dough on to your work surface and push it together with your hands into one combined mass.

Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and shape with your hands into a rectangle of about 6 inches by 9 inches, smoothing out the top so there is an even surface and straightening out the sides of the block with your hands

Wrap the dough completely with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until firm

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper

After 2 hours take the dough out of the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and with a large knife cut the dough as follows

  1. In half lengthwise
  2. In thirds crosswise
  3. Cut each of these small rectangles on the diagonal to create two isosceles triangles (you should have 12 triangles)

Arrange the triangles on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap

Freeze until solid; which should be at least 2 hours if not overnight (they can also keep in the freezer for a month. once frozen solid I wrap them in wax paper and store in a plastic freezer safe container)

When ready to cook preheat your oven to 350F

Line the second sheet pan with parchment and transfer the frozen scones to the newly prepared pan leaving at least 1 inch in between each one.

Brush the tops of the scones with cream and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg as desired

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until golden brown

Let cool completely and enjoy!
Autumn Scones

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A New York Moment

Sometime something so incredibly cool and unbelievable happens that you are still shocked hours or days later that it happened. NYC can bring a lot of these moments but by far this has been the most amazingly cool thing to happen that I am still in shock. What happened you say… Banksy ‘tagged’ (for lack of a better word) my apt building as part of his NY residency series! I am still  dumbfounded that my random building in my strange neighborhood in Brooklyn was his choice for a piece.

Banksy: Better Out Than In NYC

Banksy: Better Out Than In NYC

I also love the fact the text says “Value is Arbitrary” something that truly resonates with me.

bed-stuy-03-sized-private Photo via Banksy NY

BED-STUY-02.SIZED-privatePhoto via Banksy NY

Sometimes life is just grand and you have to enjoy the weird incidences that happen. Thanks NYC for reminding me.

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