Kosheri: Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice


I am in the throws of an intimate relationship with Ottolenghi. I take it to bed, fall asleep with it in my arms, and think about it when I’m strolling through my day. As much as I hate the use of this word to describe anything related to food–it sounds so damn pretentious and snobby– the book is approachable (ahh, there it is. And now you can hear the local sommelier going on some preachy diatribe about approachable tannins and relatable mouth feel..blah blah blah). But in all seriousness, Yotam Ottolenghi & Co simply deliver recipes and techniques from an unfamiliar culture to me in a way that excites and delights. So frequently I find cook books to be an exclusive conversation between a chef and his mirror, an arrogant array of feel-good notes about how great that sourdough starter was one time at band camp. I do not like that.
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Apple Almond Tart


Food ruts? Yes, I’m familiar. It really hits that you’re in the middle of a funk when a completely brilliant, original recipe or concept crosses your path. The simplicity. The beauty. You smack your forehead and cry out to the abyss “Of course! The bean IS the sauce! It all makes sense again, great merciful god above me!” Then you slide down from the euphoria and excitement into a bottomless pit of depression: “I am clearly incapable of such originality. I do not deserve this whisk. I shall curl into a ball and eat Kraft cheese products until my pants explode.”



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Apple Dapple Cake

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Five years ago I spent 3 months on a farm in Tuscany. It was about as magical as it sounds, times 78 billion trillion million. We drank wine from the farm’s vineyards, ate toasted bread with olive oil straight out of the presses, herded pigs (I did less of that and more of the eating), partied with visitors to the B&B, and generally enjoyed all that Italy has to offer. I wrote down a thousand recipes from the cooks, sort-of perfected the art of the pizza dough toss, and crafted so many delicious pillows of gnocchi goodness that I think I passed out directly into the bowl of potato dough. But the one recipe I come back to most?

Apple Dapple Cake.

Is it Italian? Nope. Is it maybe Italian-American? Not even a little. Is there perhaps a Tuscan twist to it? Please stop, it’s pure-blooded American.

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The owners of the farm made this throughout the autumn months and graciously shared it with the 9 interns me. It’s nothing fancy, but it makes my heart sing with joy and gluttony. Apples, cinnamon, and a brown sugar glaze that will make you dissolve into a puddle of love. It requires no adornment but a humble fork and — perhaps– a sink to catch the stray crumbs as they come flying out off the plate as you snarf yourself into an apple dapple haze.

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The only tweak I made was to the glaze, which would curdle if the fat content from the milk wasn’t just right. Subbed in some cream and kablooie– super fab.

Apple Dapple Cake

origin unknown

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 1/3 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3 c peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
6 T butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T heavy cream
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 and generously grease a bundt pan. In standing mixer beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla, then, with mixer running on medium low, slowly stream in the oil. This should take about 1-2 minutes. Definitely don’t dump the oil in all at once, or else it won’t emulsify properly. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in the chopped apples. Pour the batter into the bundt pan, making sure to even it out with a spatula. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife comes out with no wet streaks. Place on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.

For the glaze: In a small saucepan combine the butter and brown sugar. Heat on medium low until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cream, salt, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes. Poke holes in the cake (while it’s still in the pan) with a chop stick or knife and pour the glaze over the top evenly. Let the cake cool for about 20-30 minutes, invert onto a plate, and serve warm. Then, put your socks back on, because they will have inevitably been blown off by tasty deliciousness.

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