Sourdough Pickle & Scallion Pancakes With Creamy Spicy Mango Sauce

If you are following me on instagram or are friends with me in real life and on FB, you know that I have a new addition to my family: Bubbly Olguita. Who??? It's my sourdough starter!

I'll write more about Bubbly Olguita in upcoming posts. For now, let's just say it's been an interesting 12 day experiment, and she's now hibernating in my refrigerator until the days when it'll no longer be a big deal to procure flour.

One of the steps in the sourdough starter process is to discard part of the starter. There are many recipes for what to do with that starter, but I decided to make Sourdough Pickle & Scallion Pancakes With Creamy Spicy Mango Sauce after seeing
Dan's (aka The Food in my Beard) Pickle Pancakes. Dan uses flour and pickle juice in his pancakes with vinegar. I just used my starter straight up.

Dan's recipe has actual measurements. Mine are approximations.

Sourdough Pickle & Scallion Pancakes With Creamy Spicy Mango Sauce
1 cup sourdough starter
1 huge pickle, diced
2 scallions, sliced (more for garnish)
2 tablespoons cornstarch

olive oil

mango chili sauce
soy sauce

1. Combine sourdough starter, diced pickle, scallion, and cornstarch in a bowl.
2. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan. Pour batter into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. {You can make many little pancakes or a few large ones.}
3. Meanwhile, combine equal amounts of mayonnaise and mango chili sauce in a small bowl. Add enough soy sauce and sriracha to satisfy your salty and spicy taste buds.
4. Serve sourdough pickle and scallion pancakes garnished with scallions and a side of spicy mango sauce.

These were spongy in the best way possible. I loved the crispy edges the most!


Olive Oil & Chocolate Chip Brownie Cake

Last Sunday was my birthday. My original plans of celebrating in Arizona with my twin Anna and our friend Kate clearly did not happen.

Instead, I did a lot of facetime with family and friends, chatted on the phone, had a friend drop by and drop off banh mi sandwiches (thank you Sylvie!!), got flowers delivered from Anna, made a batch of Russian Potato salad, went on a walk, drank white wine, and got Ethiopian take out.

I also made myself a cake.

Olive Oil & Chocolate Chip Brownie Cake
1) Use a brownie mix, but instead of vegetable oil, use olive oil.
2) Add a splash of vanilla extract and a handful of chocolate chips.
3) Once baked and fully cooled, cut out 3 rounds using a biscuit or cookie cutter. Freeze the rest for later.
4) Whip heavy whipping cream.
5) Layer the brownie rounds with whipped cream and currants. If you can't find currants, use any other berries.
6) Add candles. Light them. Make a wish. Blow them out.


Everything But The Bagel And Herbaceous No Knead Bread

Guess what!? I baked another no knead loaf last week. Don't worry: I did not eat all of it. I sliced more than half and froze it.

Everything But The Bagel And Herbaceous No Knead Bread

This time, I used my standard Le Creuset recipe, but added two things:

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs: a combination of rosemary, thyme, and parsley
2 tablespoons everything but the bagel spice mix

I also increased the amount of salt to about 2 teaspoons in the dough itself.

The result looked and smelled amazing. I need to work on my lame skills, and actually ordered a professional lame tool to make the scoring of the unbaked bread easier and more precise.

This bread is best when toasted. 

For other flavor ideas, check out my za'atar and Parmesan loaf and turmeric and black pepper loaf


Friday Flower Love: Weekend Inspirations

Mood boosters:
a walk outside
a thoughtfully prepared meal
a spoon of Nutella
Facetime with friends and family

How are you all doing in this new temporary (I HOPE) reality?

Yesterday I picked up roses and tulips at the grocery store and paired them with yellow mums from a few weeks ago to arrange my birthday from-me-to-me flowers. 

I'm planning on celebrating on Sunday by making a mini brownie cake, a batch of Russian potato salad, and facetiming with my family.



Vegan Overnight Oats

Week 2 of telework. Decided to keep some sense of normalcy in the days of Corona isolation by setting up overnight oats Sunday night to eat for breakfast Monday through Thursday.

Given that I'm eating breakfasts at home now instead of in my cubicle, I thought using an actual bowl (I actually made this one in a pottery class years ago) was in order.

Vegan Overnight Oats
Serves 1
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 kiwi, peeled, sliced
1 banana, peeled, sliced
handful blackberries

The night before, add oats, almond milk, and chia seeds into a container with a lid.

The morning of your breakfast, pour the oatmeal into a bowl and top with kiwis, bananas, and blackberries.

Clearly you can use any fruit or berries you like as well as nuts.

Feel free to drizzle syrup on top if you want something sweet.


No Knead Za'atar And Parmesan Bread

Oh what a time...things are closing down, we are told to stay away from others, grocery stores are running out of staples...what to do?

Netlix, plant care, facetime, but also, BAKE BREAD!!

If you have yeast and flour, you are basically a few hours away from a loaf of no knead bread!

Once again I used this recipe from Le Creuset, but added a few tablespoons of za'atar during the first step and about a cup of shredded Parmesan during the last step of the process.

I am still playing around with the amount of salt (it definitely needs more), but toasted, this loaf was awesome.

PRO TIP: instead of spraying or brushing the bottom and sides of the Le Creuset or whichever Dutch oven you are using with oil, I decided to use parchment paper. This way, you'll not have to clean caked on oil residue!


Chocolate Pecan Babka

For years I've wanted to make babka, a dessert made from an egg yolk rich yeasty dough with a chocolate filling, but every time I looked at a recipe, I decided it was too complicated.

It all changed this past weekend when I played a sous baker (is that a thing) and learned how to make a Chocolate Pecan Babka using Peter Reinhart's recipe in the Artisan Breads Every Day. You can see the recipe here

Yes, there were quite a few steps in this recipe and some waiting time, but overall it was pretty straight forward.

The one mishap involved going back to the grocery store to pick up all purpose flour because the accidentally purchased bread flour would not have worked.

I wish you could smell the dough! It had a sweet aroma even before the addition of the semisweet chocolate.

The recipe called for cinnamon, but if you know me, you know how I feel about it. Instead, I suggest using chopped pecans. You can of course use both.

The dough was incredibly easy to roll out. 

Don't skip the streusel topping made from flour, butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. It added an extra crunch to the final product (not pictured below).

I think the babka tasted better the next day after all the flavors had a chance to mingle together. It would be fun to add orange zest to either the dough or the filling because orange and chocolate play well together!


Meatless Monday: Aloo Gobi

This week's Meal Prep is entirely inspired by my friend Sangeetha who posted a picture of her aloo gobi on insta story.

Aloo Gobi is a combination of potatoes, cauliflower, and peas with Indian spices. After eating steak a few days in a row, I thought a bright and colorful vegetarian dish would be quite fitting for my meal prep.

I cooked "rice" made from lentils to go with this and packed lunches for the next 3 days.

NOTE: this is my version of the dish. After cooking potatoes and cauliflower directly in the pan, adding spices, and peas, I found my vegetables were under cooked and had to cook them further. The version of the recipe below is how I recommend you cook it instead.

Aloo Gobi
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced into bite-size pieces
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
olive oil
1-2" piece of ginger, peeled, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 cups defrosted peas

1. Parboil potatoes and cauliflower (in salted water) separately until each is nearly tender.
2. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. Heat.
3. Add potatoes and cauliflower to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes.
4. Add fresh ginger and all of the spices and saute until the spices become fragrant.
5. Add defrosted peas and heat through. Make sure potatoes and cauliflower are cooked through.

Optional: top with fresh chiles and cilantro.


Beans & Kale Toast Adapted From Joe Yonan's Cool Beans Cookbook

A few weeks ago I won a copy of Joe Yonan's latest cookbook with a super fun title: Cool Beans.

I grew up eating my mom's white bean, carrot, and beef soup as well as her split pea soup. I then fell in love with hummus, Indian red lentils, French black lentils, and crispy chickpeas.

A cookbook about beans, then, is a welcomed addition to my bookshelf for sure!

The recipe that stood out to me both for its simplicity and its beauty was Garlicky Great Northern Beans And Broccoli Rabe Over Toast.

But................I did not have broccoli rabe, nor did I have the right beans. I decided to reinterpret Joe's recipe using curly kale and the white'ish variety of beans I had in my cupboard.

I soaked the beans according to Joe's instructions and then cooked them in a pressure cooker using two ingredients I would have never paired with beans: whole cloves and kombu (dried seaweed). Special shout out to my friend Sylvie for buying kombu for me.

The cloves and kombu gave a deep earthy flavor to the beans, but you would not be able to identify them without knowing they were there (a good thing in my book).

The rest of the recipe came together quickly: saute the kale in olive oil, add garlic, salt and pepper, and cooked beans with some of the liquid. Top toasted sourdough bread with the kale/bean mixture, drizzle with chili oil, and top with grated Parmesan.

I added a squeeze of Meyer lemon and a sprinkle of Korean chili flakes to my toast to brighten the flavors. 

What a beauty! Leftovers are great as lunch with a baked sweet potato or turned into an omelet.


Challah With Hibiscus Poached Pears, Yogurt, Blueberries & Pistachios


If you are like me and love a big breakfast, Challah With Hibiscus Poached Pears, Yogurt, Blueberries & Pistachios should appear on your table this weekend.

By appear, I mean, MAKE it for yourself.

Last weekend I saw a picture of Hibiscus Poached Pears on my friend Laura's instagram and knew I'd want to make them. I followed the recipe from Diana Henry loosely and loved the gorgeous color of the syrup and the pears, but wish it wasn't as sweet.

I then used the pears to pair with toasted challah, Greek yogurt topped with blueberries and pistachios, and drizzled the entire plate with the syrup.

Add freshly squeezed orange juice and hot coffee, and you are set!