Spring Pea & Ramp Soup


Today, I would like to introduce you to a vegetable you’ve likely never heard of before: the rare but wonderful ramp. You wouldn’t believe how much trouble I had tracking down some of these beauties this past week. I kept calling produce department after produce department, and, bless their hearts, hardly anyone I spoke with could even make out what I was asking for! Talk about rare.

Ramps are essentially like a cross between an onion and a leek–their bite and sting lends a unique flavor matched only by their scarcity. Many describe them as a combination of the sweetness of leeks with the spice of garlic, and I’d have to agree. Part of what makes them so special is that they're the quintessential spring vegetable—first to arrive and first to go. And in looking for a meal in which to use these, I decided to make a special version of a classic pea soup.

For this pea soup, I brought together the pungent, surprising flavor of the ramps with peas and fresh herbs to complement the soup’s mild creamy sweetness. I have to thank Laura Wright for her simple asparagus soup for being the inspiration on how to prepare these ramps in my recipe.

Le Creuset was kind enough to send me one of their most beautiful pieces for this recipe–their fleur cocotte. This beautifully-cast, elegant vessel features delicate features and lovely embossed flowers. John and I have been enjoying an unexpected spotty streak of sun in Seattle for the past few weeks of which we can’t get enough, so using this floral-designed, clean, matte-white cocotte seemed so appropriate! Le Creuset is also giving me another one of these cocottes to give away to you. Head over to my Instagram to enter for a chance to win!

Thank you for supporting the brands the support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.


Spring Pea and Ramp Soup

 

Yields 5 cups

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

8 oz ramps cleaned, and white bulbs + greens divided

1 lb 3 ½ cups peas

3 cups stock, plus a little extra if needed

¼ cup loosely packed parsley

1/3 loosely packed mint

2 tsp Lemon juice, or more to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and wild onion blooms, if available. Fresh ricotta cheese, or creme fraciche are other garnishes that work well with this soup.


Method

Begin by preparing the ramps. Gather all of the bulbs, roughly chop, and set aside. Roughly chop the green tops and set aside as well.

In a large pot melt 1 ½ tbs of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped ramp bulbs and cook until tender and lightly browned—about five minutes or so. Add the chopped greens to the pot, and season everything with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the the greens until wilted, about a minute or so.

Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring everything up to a boil. Once boiling, add the peas and fresh herbs and adjust the heat so that everything comes to a simmer. If using fresh peas, allow them to simmer for about 6 minutes, and only simmer for 2 minutes if using frozen peas.

Depending on the size of your blender, carefully blend the soup all at once, or in batches until smooth. Return the soup back to the pot and mix in the lemon juice. If a thinner soup is preferred add a little extra chicken stock. Taste the soup and add any additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of oil and with a garnish or fresh onion blossoms, ricotta cheese, or creme fraiche and enjoy!

Fava Beans, Ricotta & Pancetta On Toast +A GIVEAWAY!!!


A couple years ago I received an email from an acquisitions editor asking if I’d like to write a book on toast. At the time I didn’t exactly know how I’d pull it off, but over the course of a few weeks I played with the idea of reimagining how we view and consume toast. I dove headlong into developing one hundred seasonal recipes, which really tested the extent of my creative output, but the result was so satisfying. 

So when Wolf Gourmet wanted to send one of their new four-slice toasters my way, I thought of how nostalgic it would be to make a meal around a slice of toast again. I wanted something spring appropriate, so I started with a layer of homemade ricotta, then piled on freshly blanched fava beans, then topped it with crispy pancetta and a healthy amount of pecorino cheese. I haven’t really cooked with fava beans before, so I owe the inspiration for this dish to Joshua McFadden’s new cookbook, Six Seasons. In his book he shares a recipe for fava beans on toast, so I took that idea and put my own spin on it. 

When writing the introductory sections of my book, I realized that we often don’t focus on the various methods available for toasting bread. You can hold it over an open flame, bake it in the oven, or of course just drop it into your ordinary countertop toaster. However, the Wolf Gourmet four-slice toaster is no ordinary appliance. You can control each pair of slots independently, so you can make toast for yourself with waffles on the side, or a set of bagels and english muffins at the same time. It also features extra-wide slots with self-centering bread guides that allow for both the thickest and thinnest slices (which is a BIG deal for me since I love thick slices of toast). Suffice to say, the toaster worked perfectly for this recipe—it’s hard to imagine a better asset for a meal like this. 

I've really loved using this toaster SO much that Wolf Gourmet is letting me give away one of these beautiful machines to a lucky one of you! Simply follow the instructions below and good luck! Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on Sunday, May 7th at 12:00 PST. Be sure to head over to my instagram to enter.


Wolf Gourmet was kind enough to give me a toaster in exchange for my honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. Good luck!!


Fava Beans, Ricotta & Pancetta on Toast

Slightly adapted from Six Seasons

Serves 2

1 1/4 lbs Fresh Fava Beans in their pods

1/3 cup fresh ricotta- or make it at home

1/4 cup diced cooked pancetta

1 small lemon

pecorino cheese, for garnish

fresh cracked pepper, to taste

unsalted butter, or neutral oil

two 1/2-inch slices of country bread


Method

Shell the fava beans and set aside. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fava beans and quickly blanch by letting them cook in the boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately drain. Rinse the beans under very cold water to stop the cooking process. Using a knife, or your fingers, remove the outer membrane and squeeze out the cooked, fava bean. 

Using a toaster or a skillet spread a little oil or butter on both sides of the bread and toast until crisp. Divide the ricotta between the two slices of toast. In a small bowl toss the fava beans with the cooked pancetta and divide between both slices. Give each toast a squeeze of lemon, a crack of pepper, and garnish with some pecorino that you can slice or grate over the top. Eat immediately and enjoy! 

 

 

Cucumber Basil Sparkling Lemonade


Happy Friday! I'm an SO excited about today's post because I get to share with you one of the most gorgeous concoctions that you'll find in my friend Lily's book, Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table. Lily is the mad genius behind the beautiful blog, Kale And Caramel, a space where she shares her love for food that nourishes the mind and body. With every one of her posts, she takes her readers on both a written and visual journey. She has such a wonderful way with words—able to draw you into her life in an refreshingly raw and honest fashion. Needless to say I feel quite fortunate to know her, and even luckier to call her a friend. 

Lily's book is simply a beautiful extension of her blog. From the first word and image until the last, Lilly has created a book that tantalizes both mind and eye. She's provided a wide variety of recipes even outside the realm of cuisine which highlights the use of herbs and flowers. Tasty things to eat and drink rest comfortably alongside guides to home-made body care products. I have to be honest and say that I want to make every single recipe in this book. 

I've already made a few recipes from Lily's book, and this wonderfully vibrant drink is one of my favorites. Fresh lemon juice is blended with cucumber, basil, and topped off with a little soda water to create a drink that's refreshing and energizing. Just the smell of this drink alone is enough to awaken me from my midday slump. With sunnier days coming my way I know this is something I'll be making again and again. 

I love this book so much that I'm giving away one copy of KALE & CARAMEL: Recipes for Body, Heart and Table over on Instagram to one lucky person. Click here to enter, contest ends Sunday, March 30th. Must reside in the US to enter. This book comes out May 2nd, so make sure to get out there an grab yourself a copy!


Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade

Recipe via the Kale & Caramel cookbook

3-inch length of cucumber, chilled and coarsely chopped ( about 1/2 cup), plus some extra slices for garnish

2 to 3 fresh basil leave, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish

1/4 cup still water 

1 tbs honey or agave nectar 

3/4 cup sparking water, or more to taste


Method

Add the chopped cucumber to a blender or food processor with the basil, lemon juice, still water, and honey. Blend until smooth, then distribute evenly between two glasses. 

Add the sparkling water, agin splitting evenly between the glasses. Drop in a few ice cubes, and garnish with cucumber slices, lemon slices, and basil as desired. 

Lemon & Roasted Rhubarb Possets


Rhubarb is such a bizarre yet wonderful vegetable. Its vibrant, sour stalks are so versatile—they can be stewed, roasted, added to a cake, or even or served alongside a savory dish. The possibilities for rhubarb are vast, so I guess it's safe to say that I'm very excited that rhubarb is back in season.

Last year I made this roasted strawberry and rhubarb cake which was such a joy to bake and eat. But this year I wanted to create something a little less time consuming. I’ve been wanting to cook up a batch of possets for a while now. I've found this pudding-like dessert so intriguing because a traditional version only needs about three ingredients and three minutes to cook. After that short cooking time, you add a little lemon juice, and once the dessert has cooled you're left with a creamy, pudding-like custard.

I know I’ll be sharing more rhubarb recipes soon, but in the meantime if you happen to be looking for new ways to use it, be sure to check out the links below.

If you're looking for a cake, take a look at this beautiful Rhubarb Almond Cake from Adventures in Cooking.

Or maybe you want something fried like these tasty looking Rhubarb Fritters from Not Without Salt.

Need a breakfast idea? Start your day off with a bowl of clumpy granola and stewed rhubarb from Kale & Caramel.

And if you want to venture into savory dishes then you should check out this list from Food and Wine.


Lemon & Roasted Rhubarb Possets

Recipe adapted via Nigel Slater's Ripe

makes 4 small servings

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 tsp lemon zest

pinch salt 

1 tsp poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Add the cream and sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Allow cream to bubble quite fiercely for three minutes, stirring often. The cream will bubble up, so simply adjust the heat as necessary so that the cream doesn't boil over.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract. Pour into four small cups and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and placing them in the refrigerator. Allow to chill for a couple of hours until set.

When you're ready to serve them, top each glass with a few pieces of rhubarb and some of the juice from the pan. Enjoy right away.


Roasted rhubarb

1 heaping cup of rhubarb that has been cut into 1 inch pieces

1 1/2 tbs granulated sugar

small baking dish

Heat oven to 450°F.

Place the rhubarb in a baking dish and toss with sugar. Place in the oven and roast until tender while still maintaining their shape. Allow the rhubarb to cool to room temperature before adding to the possets. 

 

 

Thai Coconut Vegetable & Noodle Soup


A few years ago one of my mother’s friends came over to teach us how to cook some delicious and authentic Thai food. She showed us how to make a sweet and vibrant mango salad, a wonderfully spicy Thai Curry, and finally, what became my personal favorite—a classic Tom Kha Gai soup.

I’ve always found Thai food so intriguing for its innovative use of diverse ingredients, with many of which I’d otherwise be pretty unfamiliar. And as I thought about this wonderful Tom Kha Gai I had just a few years back, I knew I wanted to make my own Thai-inspired soup using ingredients that could expand my creativity.

My basic trajectory was pretty simple: make a tasty soup that was true to the traditional process but which also took the dish in a new direction. So while the initial soup usually included chicken and mushrooms, I decided to incorporate other fresh and original ingredients like rice noodles, bell peppers, and broccoli.

Two of the most unique elements in this recipe are kaffir lime leaves and galangal. Kaffir lime leaves, I believe, are one of the key reasons as to why this soup tastes so good. They exude a powerful citrusy fragrance that really add a brightness to this dish. The other unique ingredient you’ll find in this soup is galangal. It has been compared to ginger, and while it bears some similarity it’s also more spicy, with an aromatic piney scent and complex flavor. It helps bring an unfamiliar, exotic spicy layer to the soup that introduces unexpected flavors. 

What I love most about using unique ingredients like these is that I get to go out and visit new markets. While most of the components for this soup can be found at your local store, I did have to venture out to a new Asian market for these two ingredients. Being in a new market is always a fun experience for me. I mean, being surrounded by new produce pushes me into foreign but exciting exciting territory. So if you find yourself on the hunt for these ingredients, try to find a local Asian market and take a trip—you won’t regret it! I encourage you to call ahead if possible, but if you can't just get out there and see what you find. These ingredients really make a difference in this soup, so the extra trip will be worth it.

Knowing that I wanted to pair this soup with a great drink, I found La Crema’s 2015 Monterey Pinot Gris to be pretty perfect. It has a citrus blast at the beginning which settles down into a melon-like sweetness. This seriously enhances the whole experience and makes for a pleasant pairing. For the whole soup recipe, be sure to check out La Crema’s blog.

Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.y

Orange Scented Brownie Sundaes


     Last week John and I met up with our niece to catch up, drink some beer, and muse upon our hopes and dreams. Somewhere throughout the conversation, she told us about this new drink she’s been making (she’s quite the talented barista). This is how she does it: she begins by muddling an orange peel with melted dark chocolate ganache, then pulls a shot of espresso through cinnamon that’s been dusted on the machine, then tops the finished product with steamed milk.

     As I listened to her describe this admittedly creative and unique take on a familiar drink, I started soaking up inspiration for what would eventually become these sundaes. It’s a pretty straight-drawn line from inspiration to creation—a beautiful blend of rich chocolate, bright citrus, aromatic coffee, and soothing whipped cream. I decided to use bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder to create a depth of chocoltaly flavor , fresh orange zest for a sweet citrus burst.  

     These chocolatey squares strike a great balance between the two attributes of every good brownie—they have both a fudgy chewiness and a cakey fluffiness. Best of all, they achieve that ever elusive and ceaselessly sought-after shiny, crackly crust. Now one thing to remember is that while of course these brownies find a comfortable place when nestled into a sundae, they also taste just as amazing on their own.

     I didn’t include an exact recipe for these sundaes since everyone will likely prefer different ratios of brownie-to-ice cream. Instead I wanted to give you the inspiration to make these sundaes if you find yourself wanting to turn this batch of brownies into something new. 

Thank you for the inspiration for the recipe Rebecca, love you!


Orange Scented Brownie

1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 

3 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate, finely chopped

1 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 

zest of one large orange

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Method

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking pan and line with two strips of overlapping parchment paper. Be sure to leave a little over hang as this helps during the removal process.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in small bowl and set aside. In another bowl combine the sugar and orange zest by rubbing together with your fingers until fragrant and the zest has been incorporated into the sugar. 

Add the butter to a saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Once melted add in the both chocolates, vanilla extract and espresso powder and mix until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a large bowl.

Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture. Once combined, beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth.

Fold the flour into the melted chocolate mixture with a spatula until smooth, then pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center only has a few moist crumbs attached. Place on cooling rack to cool. Once cool, remove from pan and cut into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Tip: Wipe knife between cuts for cleaner edges on the brownies.

How to make a sundae

Simply cut the brownie into desired sized pieces. Top the brownie with a generous scoop of coffee ice cream, (I got mine from Molly Moon's), a dollop of whipped cream, and some chopped hazelnuts. And that's all it takes to make the sundae of your dreams!

Double Citrus Cardamom Loaf


Seattle has been really, really wet and grey this Winter. This may not come as a surprise because, duh it's Seattle, but this year has been especially dark and wet. Thankfully there's finally light at the end of the rainy tunnel because today is the first day of spring, which means a change of weather is on the horizon. To celebrate the new season I filled my office with bright flowers and decided to bake something special for John and I, which ended up being this gorgeous double citrus cardamom loaf.

Linda Lomelino recently shared a recipe for her Blood Orange & Black Sesame Seed Loaf and I instantly fell in love. Her photography is stunning, but her use of color is what captured my attention. Just looking at her pictures made me so happy that I wanted to keep that feeling alive, so I gathered my ingredients and made a slightly adapted version of her loaf.

Orange, lemon, and cardamom are the three main flavors you'll find in this loaf, and they all compliment each other beautifully. As you look over the recipe there is one step that may be new to you, as it was to me, and that is to rub the orange zest into the sugar before adding it to the butter. I picked up this tip from Yosi Arefi's book, Sweeter of the Vine, and I do it every time I add citrus zest to my baked goods. I really love this extra step because rubbing the zest into the sugar further infuses the citrus oil which increases its flavor presence in this recipe. By no means does it make the orange flavor overwhelming, instead it makes it more present, which is exactly what I love about this loaf.

While it may not feel like spring for a while in Seattle, at least I know I can bring that spring-time feeling indoors by surrounding myself with bright colors and flavorful treats like this loaf which are great reminders of what's to come.

Happy first day of spring!


Double Citrus Loaf

slightly adapted from Linda Lomelino

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. cardamon

1/4 tsp. table salt

1 1/2 stick softened unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs, room temp

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 scant tablespoon finely grated blood orange zest

1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbs milk

1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice

Equipment: 9x5 inch loaf pan, handheld or standing mixer fitter with paddle attachment


Method

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan; tap out any excess flour.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom until combined; set aside.

In another bowl add the sugar and orange zest and begin to rub with your fingers until fragrant and the zest has been incorporated into the sugar. Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, blood orange juice and milk in additions to the butter mixture and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top, and place on the lower oven rack. Bake the loaf for about 75 minutes, but Linda  mentions that its best to start checking around 60 minutes. She also suggests to cover the top of the loaf with foil if the loaf is getting too much color.

Remove the loaf from the oven when a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool for about 15 minutes, then invert on to a rack to cool completely.

Once completely cooled, top with glaze and enjoy.

Meyer Lemon Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbs Meyer lemons

Zest of one small Meyer lemon


Method

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. If the texture seems too thick, add a little more lemon juice. Alternatively, is a thicker texture is desired simply add more powdered sugar. 

 

 

SKILLET BAKED CHIPOTLE ENCHILADAS


     Enchiladas bring me back to my roots. Even an infrequent glance at The Broken Bread will reveal to any reader that my Mexican upbringing has contributed incalculably to my cooking. Enchiladas is no exception, and it’s been one of my favorite dishes since childhood. 

     For this recipe, I wanted to do justice to a solid, classic plate of enchiladas while giving them a fresh twist. I landed on a spicy, smoky chipotle sauce. This drenches the whole dish with the fragrance of char and a gentle nudge of heat. So perfect.

     Having locked down my special sauce, I turned my attention towards how I’d prepare my enchiladas. While these are usually rolled up individually, I instead layered all the ingredients together in a skillet which made for a welcomed shortcut. I also found that La Crema’s Monterey Pinot Noir paired very well with this dish. It excellently combines the aroma of plums, the taste of cherry and coffee, and a sweet yet spicy finish. Be sure to head over to La Crema’s website for my full enchilada recipe. 

Basil & Garlic Pasta Dough


Before John and I set out for our honeymoon, we received a piece of advice from uncle Paul and aunt Jackie that we’ll never forget. They laid out for us the two main ways one could embrace travel. One way was to blow all your money in a week on exuberant food and lodging for an admittedly fantastic and thrilling experience. But the other way was to trickle your money out slow, staying in humble hostels, feasting on baguettes and wine by a river or on the steps of an aged cathedral, soaking up every moment enthralled more with one another than with whatever money alone can secure. Wielding the latter piece of this advice to navigate our honeymoon like one would a map to explore a city, we set off to spend a whole month traveling through Europe.

Now on this trip of ours, we spent most our time carving through the wonderful city streets of Rome, Venice, and Florence. And when looking back on these sweet Italian memories, one thing in particular remains at the fore: the scrumptious, delectable, never-ending pasta. We enjoyed this classic meal so many times and in so many ways that we knew we had to get our hands on a pasta maker once we were back in the states.

And that brings me to this delicious herbed pasta. Basil and garlic lend a welcomed, delicate flavor while parmigiano-reggiano and olive oil impart a buttery, salty texture. And since making pasta with a hand-cranked machine takes long enough as it is, I started with a blender to whip up my dough. I used Vitamix’s new A3300 blender to tackle this task, and with it I had my dough ready in mere seconds. 

Now this beautiful machine is part of an exciting new series of blenders from Vitamix, and so I thought it would be splendid to host a giveaway so one of these could find their way into your home. In order to enter, just leave a comment below telling me what you would make with this blender if you won! Just remember that you must be 18 or over and a resident of the United States to enter. Good luck! Contest is now closed. Congrats to Kelli W.!! Thank you for all of the amazing entries!

I know making pasta at home can seem like an intimidating process at first, but I promise it's way easier than you think. I've included a few tips and links below to help you on your pasta-making journey.

Bon Appétit!

 

Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. All opinions are my own.


Basil & Garlic Pasta Dough

Recipe adapted from The New York Times & Vitamix

Yields about 1 lb of pasta, serves about 4

2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

10 basil leaves (¼ oz), rinsed and dried 

2 cups all-purpose flour (240 g), plus some extra 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

AP flour or semolina, for dusting

I used this Cacio e Pepe recipe for my pasta

Equipment: Vitamix Blender Ascent 3300, Pasta Machine, Large pot


Method

Place the two eggs, two yolks, olive oil, garlic, and basil into the Vitamix container and secure the lid. Select Variable 1 (not 1+), turn the machine on, and slowly increase speed to the highest setting. Blend for 20 seconds.

Remove the lid and add the flour and the salt. Place the lid back on and select variable 3. Using the pulse button, pulse 5-6 times. The dough should start to come together. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides as necessary. 

Place the lid back on and pulse the dough an additional 5-6 times. Remove the lid and check the dough. If it seems wet and sticks to your finger when touched, sprinkle in a bit more flour, and pulse an additional 2-3 times. The dough should form a ball at this point, but it's also okay if a few pieces don't fully incorporated. 

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 4 minutes. If the dough feels sticky and clings to your hands, continue to sprinkle in some additional flour and continue kneading. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, tightly cover in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time (leaving the others wrapped), lightly dust the portion with flour and flatten into a disc with your hand. Next, feed the piece of dough through your pasta machine starting on the widest setting. Do this two times. Fold your dough into thirds and feed it through the pasta machine lengthwise. Do this two times as well.

Adjust the machine to the next setting and continue to roll out the pasta dough, 2 passes for each setting, all the way down to the last and narrowest setting. Once on this last setting, the pasta strip will likely become quite long, so go ahead and cut it in half—this will make it easier to handle.

Use the machine's fettuccini attachment to cut the pasta into strips. Dust with flour or semolina if using right away, and lay out onto a baking sheet. Alternatively, you can also dust the pasta and gently form into nests. If not using the pasta right away you can place it on a drying rack and let dry overnight.

Repeat this process for the 3 other pasta portions. If cooking right away, pasta will cook in heavily salted, boiling water in 2-3 minutes. Top with your favorite sauce and enjoy. 

Some Additional Pasta Tips

The most important thing to pay attention to when making pasta is to focus on the texture of the pasta dough. If the dough is too sticky you'll end up with one big mess in the end, so let the pasta dough tell you how much flour it needs and add accordingly. The goal is to have a ball of dough that isn't sticky, but is still slightly moist and pliable. Alternatively, if you find your dough to be to dry, add a tiny drop of water until the texture of the dough corrects. I found this article to be very helpful, it even suggested using a water spray bottle if you end up with dry dough, which I found to be genius! 

If you don’t have a pasta machine, check out Cooks Illustrated or Bon Appetit for tips on how to make pasta without one.

Matcha & White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries


     A few years ago I took my brother to this ice cream shop in Anaheim, CA that served these pre-made ice cream bars that you could custom dip in whatever type of chocolate you wanted. He got a peanut butter bar dipped in chocolate (which was delicious) and I got a matcha bar dipped in white chocolate (which was even better). This flavor combination might sound a little weird at first, especially if you aren't a fan of white chocolate, but I promise it is SO good. 

     While strawberries aren't really in season I couldn't resist grabbing some at the store. Winter has been weighing on me lately, and biting into a strawberry is the closest thing I have to the joy of the warmer months yet to come. I actually lucked out because the berries I got tasted way better that expected—making them perfect for my chocolate-dipping endeavors.

     I know that sharing a recipe for chocolate dipped strawberries as a Valentines's Day dessert is very cliche, but these strawberries are a whole new take on the tradition. Holiday or not these matcha flavored treats are begging to be made. 


Matcha White Chocolate dip

adapted from betty crocker

1 cup white chocolate chips

2 tsp coconut oil

2 1/2-3 tsp matcha powder

1 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried

Equipment: Microwave or saucepan, small-medium sized bowl, whisk, and parchment paper


Method

Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a bowl and melt. This can easily be done in a microwave—simply microwave in 2-3 30 second intervals, mixing in between until chocolate is melted. Alternatively you can melt the chocolate an coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat until smooth.

Once the chocolate is melted, remove 11/2 tablespoons of the white chocolate and pour it into a separate bowl. Whisk in 2 1/2 teaspoons of the matcha powder into the white chocolate until smooth. Taste, and add an additional 1/2 teaspoon if desired. 

Dip each strawberry into the white chocolate mixture and set on a piece of parchment paper. Once all strawberries have been dipped, dip a fork or a knife into the small bowl of the reserved melted white chocolate and drizzle in a "Z" motion over each strawberry. Allow the chocolate to firm up before serving.

Enjoy!

 

Fried Polenta with Braised Leeks


Comfort food has been on constant rotation in my home lately and I recently made a dish that I just can't get enough of: pan fried polenta with braised leeks. Polenta is already a dreamy dish on its own, but once fried, it immediately turns into a new and exciting dish. I realize that there are so many wonderful veggies that I could have used to complement my fried polenta, but for some reason I was drawn to these beautiful leeks. Aren't they gorgeous?

I absolutely love leeks. I find their flavor to be very pleasing but not too overwhelming, making them (in my mind) a perfect match for the polenta. As of late I've been sauteeing my leeks (usually for soups), but for this dish I wanted a different form of preparation—so I thought braising them would be great. I have to thank Amber Wilson for the idea of braising leeks, which I found featured as one of her recipes on food52. After a little experimentation, I came up with a slightly adapted method of Amber’s braising recipe. 

The process is pretty straight forward. First you sear the cut side of the leeks, flip them over, add a little broth, and cook them slowly at a low temperature until you they become juicy and flavorful. This cooking method is typically used for various types of meats. But I found that taking this approach ended up being at a wonderful way to get even more flavor out of these leeks.

I could easily eat a bowl of these leeks on their own, but adding them to a dish of fried polenta is totally worth those few extra steps. Especially with a glass of La Crema's Monterey Chardonnay in hand. Make sure to head over to La Crema's blog to get the recipe for these fried polenta triangles so you can make this appetizer at home.

Thank you again for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread.


Braised Leeks

2 1/2 tbs unsalted butter

4 leeks

3 tablespoons chicken or veggie stock

1 small lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

parsley, for garnish

3-4 tablespoons chopped bacon (about 4 cooked strips)

Equipment: 1, 3.5 Qt sauté pan, serrated knife- if available


Method

Remove one outer layer from each leek, rinse, trim the roots, and cut off any dark green parts (you only want the white and very light green parts). Half each leek lengthwise, rinse again (if needed), then pat dry.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is hot, add the leeks to the pan, cut side down. Press down on the leeks a bit to ensure a nice, even browning. Let the leeks cook for about 3 minutes, or until browned, then flip over. Immediately reduce heat to low and add 3 tablespoons of stock to the pan. Partially cover the leeks with a lid and let cook until tender which should take about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the leeks.

Once the leeks are fork tender, remove them from the heat. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the leeks and season with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully remove the leeks and cut away any papery layers may be separating. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the leeks into bite sized pieces. Transfer the leeks back to the skillet and keep warm until ready to serve over the fried polenta. Garnish the finished dish with chopped bacon and freshly chopped parsley.

ROSEMARY GRAPEFRUIT GIMLET


     These past few days have been a whirlwind, both personally and politically. I have been so confused and sadden by the trajectory our president has set this country on; it’s one that I don’t agree with, and one I absolutely do not support. I typically stay pretty neutral about my personal views when it comes to the blog, but I wanted to share what I’m feeling today because I believe that’s the only way I can grow, and hopefully help others grow. For now I am focusing on the power of love.

     I know there is a lot of research for me to do to help me get a better grasp of how I can help those being affected during these trying times, and I believe that being vocal about my views is definitely the first step.

     With all of this madness going on I find myself diving deeper into my work. Not to escape reality, but in an attempt to foster feelings of joy. This joy is something that I want to share with everyone who visits this space. My husband and I have been long-time fans of the Greyhound—a classic cocktail made from vodka and grapefruit. When we were dating, John would bring over some of this fresh, bitter citrus and we would juice it into the most delicious of drinks. And since for this cocktail we wanted to explore the herbal notes of gin while reinterpreting the Greyhound, we decided to make a Gimlet with grapefruit in place of the customary lime. Lastly, we added a lovely rosemary simple syrup, which complements the tartness of the grapefruit and the already present botanical flavor of Hendrick’s gin. This drink is light and refreshing, and the striking blush color it gets from the grapefruit makes this an especially handsome cocktail.

     I hope that you enjoy this video and recipe, and perhaps you and your loved one can make this drink for each other on Valentine’s Day—I know John and I will!


Rosemary Grapefruit Gimlet

Inspired by David Lebovitz

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 oz fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup- I made this one from David Lebovitz

2 oz gin of choice- I used Hendrick’s

Few cubes of ice, for the shaker

Rosemary for garnish

Equipment: jigger, cocktail shaker, 1x 6oz cocktail glass (I used a Nick & Nora glass)


Place the grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and gin into a cocktail shaker filled with a handful of ice. Secure the top and shake for about 20 seconds. Pour into glass and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Cheesy Bacon & Jalapeno Pull-Apart Bread


     One wouldn’t exactly be inclined to refer to John and I as avid fans of sports. However, we both really do love getting together with our friends to watch a thrilling game and spend time with one another. Whether it’s witnessing the UEFA finals unfold at an Irish pub in Strasbourg with our brother-in-law like we did this summer or just watching the Seahawks while relaxing with our friends, we always have a great time.

     With that said, the Super Bowl is just a couple weeks away and so I’ve been developing a special recipe for the occasion. Football game hangouts are replete with enough chicken wings, onion dips, and sliders—I wanted to make something inviting but unexpected. That’s when I decided that this pull-apart bread would be ideal. And boy is it scrumptious! Cheddar and mozzarella both creamy and tangy reside within the melted butter-saturated crevices of a warm round of baked bread. Chunks of applewood-smoked bacon channel the salt, smoke, and char for which it is rightfully loved while slices of jalapeno cut through the richness of it all for some pleasant relief. Guys, this pull-apart bread is serious. 

     Now the one thing you cannot forget when making this recipe is to start with high-quality bread. For this I turned to La Brea Bakery’s Italian Round Loaf, whose flavorful and fluffy texture really makes this recipe shine. Though I now live in Seattle, I grew up in Los Angeles and remember going to La Brea Bakery for a treat of an artisan baking experience. Even now, when John and I visit Southern California we often make time to stroll into their cafe on La Brea avenue. Their commitment to avoid all artificial flavors, colors and preservatives and to use only non-GMO ingredients has established a firm foundation for their quality. 

     The Super Bowl is a time to indulge and enjoy one another, and I hope this recipe will make it that much better. 

This post was sponsored by La Brea Bakery. All opinions are my own. As always, thank you for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread.


Cheesy Bacon & Jalapeño Pull-Apart Bread

1 Italian Round from La Brea bakery

¾ cup (3 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

¾ cup (3 oz) shredded cheddar cheese 

1 cup chopped cooked bacon, about 1, 12 oz pack uncooked

⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3-4 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

Equipment: Serrated bread knife, Cutting board, Aluminum foil (extra wide if available), baking sheet, pastry brush if available.


Method

Heat the oven to 350°. Place both cheeses in a medium bowl along with the bacon and chopped jalapeños. Toss to combine; set aside.

Place the bread on a cutting board and slice the bread into 1 inch slices, making sure not to cut all the way through the bread. Rotate the bread 90°and slice the bread again creating a cross hatch appearance.

Carefully stuff all the newly created crevasse of the bread with the cheese mixture. It may seem like too much filling at first, but have faith and stuff every nook and cranny of that sliced bread.

Drizzle the melted butter over the entire loaf. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the bread with a residual butter left in the dish, or with any butter that happened to overflow while pouring.

Wrap the load tightly with tin foil that’s been sprayed with a little non-stick spray. The non stick spray isn’t super necessary, you might end up with a little cheese stuck to the tin foil. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Increase the heat to 400°F, remove from oven, and carefully unwrap the bread. Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 8-10 until crisp and lightly browned.

Removed from oven, remove foil, and devour immediately.


Orange & Vanilla Fritters


     I absolutely love getting new cookbooks. It’s so pleasant to sit down with a cup of coffee and to explore all the creative arrangements someone has poured into a fresh volume for us all to enjoy. I recently had such an experience flipping through Huckleberry, Zoe Nathan’s new cookbook written with the help of her husband Josh Loeb and her friend Laurel Almerinda. 

     Page after page I was continually greeted with exciting recipes that begged to made. However, Nathan’s lemon and ricotta fritters caught my attention in a special way—and I thought I’d produce my own version. 

     I chose orange and vanilla as the primary flavors in this adaptation, and the result is like a cross between a 50/50 bar and a funnel cake—pretty much perfect. And while these are great on their own, I decided to take them one step further with a chocolate dipping sauce which adds one more stage of indulgent deliciousness. 


Orange Vanilla Fritters

Barely adapted from Zoe Nathan’s Huckleberry cookbook.

Makes 18- 20 fritters

2 large eggs, separated 

½ cup ricotta

zest of 1 large orange, preferably organic

1/3 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 tsp granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ tsp baking powder

2 tbs unsalted butter, melted

powdered sugar for dusting 

Equipment: Dutch oven, Candy thermometer


Method

In a dutch oven or countertop fryer heat 3 inches of oil to 375°F

Whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta lemon zest, and milk in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, followed by the butter. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Using a soup spoon, scoop up to 2 ½ tbs of batter and ease it into the hot oil using another spoon. Fry in batches until golden brown about 5-6 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

These fritters will not keep so eat right away.


Chocolate Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tbs cocoa powder

4 tbs milk, or more if a thinner sauce is preferred 


Place the chocolate chips and cocoa powder into a small bowl; set aside.

Place the heavy cream or milk in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Let sit for 1 minutes then whisk until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, simply whisk in a little extra warm milk until desired texture is achieved.

APPLE & PEAR Galette with a Buttered Rum Caramel Sauce


     Seattle’s embrace of the winter season has given us gorgeous days filled with dustings of snow, but has also left us quite incredibly chilly. Since I grew up in southern CA for most of my life I will admit that I’m likely a little more sensitive than the average Seattleite, but I think we can all agree anything below 30°F is pretty dang cold. That’s why I’m usually found staying indoors this season, roasting up a storm and baking warm treats. One such treat I recently made is this apple and pear galette with a delectable buttered rum caramel sauce. Now this galette might look like any other galette, but the exciting part was that it only took 8 minutes to bake—and even more, I didn’t use my oven to bake it. 

     So what did I use? Well, Panasonic recently gifted me with one of their Countertop Induction Ovens (CIO), and it worked especially well. This countertop oven can do practically anything a normal oven can so, being able to grill, bake, broil, and toast quickly and competently. It worked incredibly well for my galette, keeping the exterior satisfyingly crisp while maintaining a soft, juicy interior. 

     Panasonic also invited me to CES, their annual conference held in Las Vegas which kicked off early this morning. At CES, Panasonic was unveiling quite a few impressive pieces. One such mind-blowing development is their new concept kitchen, complete with interactive interfaces that heat your stove top and oven to the needed temperature before you even begin cooking. The kitchen also includes a display that guides you in real-time through cooking dinner with recipe videos. The future’s here people. 

     I also had a chance to see the CIO in action, where a chef cooked a perfectly seared sirloin steak right before our eyes in less than 10 minutes. I’m consistently impressed at how the CIO can produce such high-quality meals in such a short amount of time—it’s really remarkable. If you're interested in taking a closer look at this impressive machine head over to Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, or Panasonic

     Now if this recipe is calling your name, I’ve made sure to include instructions on how to make this galette in a traditional oven. I hope it keeps you warm and satisfied this winter season!

Thank you to Panasonic for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.


Apple & Pear Galette

Yields 1, 8-inch Galette

2 green apples

2 bartlett pears

2 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp cardamom

2 tbs melted unsalted butter

1 sheet puff pastry

1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

2 tbs course sugar

1 large egg

2 tbs milk

Equipment: Panasonic CIO


METHOD

*** See below to make this galette in a traditional oven 

1. Preheat oven on GRILL-Medium.

2. Peel, core, and cut fruit into about 8 wedges each. All fruit should be about the same size.

3.Toss Fruit with lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and melted butter.

4. Place fruit in Grill pan and cook on GRILL-MEDIUM for 3 minutes.

5. Flip gently toss/stir fruit and grill for an additional 3 minutes.

6. Remove fruit and reserve.

7. Wipe out the grill pan and preheat the oven to BAKE 400F/220C.

8. On a small cutting board dusted with flour, cut the puff pastry into a 8’’ circle.

9. Sprinkle ground graham crackers in the center of the dough

10. Lay fruit wedges around the circle, overlapping slightly, with the thicker portions in the middle of the dough. Be sure to leave a 1’’ border on the sides of the circle.

11. Combine the egg and milk and mix well to make an egg wash. Brush Egg wash along the 1’’ border. Fold the dough edges in toward the center, over the fruit, pinching and folding it to seal the edge and create a pleated border.  

12. Brush egg wash on the top of the dough border and sprinkle with coarse sugar and additional cinnamon if desired.

13. Carefully slide the assembled galette into the grill pan. BAKE for about 8 minutes or until the dough is brown and the fruit is fork tender

14. Rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve galette with a drizzle of caramel.

** if using a traditional oven preheat to 350°F.  Reduce the amount of fruit, using only three instead of four. Peel, core and slice the apples and pear into 1/2 inch slices. Skip steps 4-7, and pick back up at step 8. Bake the galette for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden and fruit is fork tender


Buttered Rum Caramel

Yields a little over 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 heavy cream

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons spiced rum

Equipment: Heavy bottomed saucepan, wooden spoon/spatula, pastry brush, small dish of water.


Method

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan set over medium high heat and bring to a boil. As the caramel is cooking, dip your pastry brush in a bit of water and brush down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization. Allow the sugar and water to boil until spots of color begin to appear. When this happens do not stir the sugar, instead swirl the saucepan to even out the browning of the sugar.

After some color begins to appear the sugar will begin to caramelize at a quicker rate, so watch your caramel very closely. Remove the saucepan from heat once the caramel reaches a deep amber color.

With a spatula, or wooden spoon, slowly add in the cream, butter, vanilla, salt, and spices. The mixture will bubble quite up quite a bit, but continue to stir as until combined.

Put the saucepan back over medium low heat to help melt any parts of the caramel that may have hardened. Once the caramel is smooth, mix in the rum, then transfer to a glass jar and allow the caramel to cool before sealing.

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cranberry & Satsuma morning Juice


     My body has officially hit a wall after being a bit too indulgent over these past few weeks. After a swath of rich holiday meals, my body is yearning for nutrients and health—and this cranberry & satsuma morning juice fits the bill. One of my worst habits is that I usually run out of the house without a lick of breakfast, only to find myself starving later and cramming a muffin in my mouth. This lifestyle choice obviously needs some modifying so I'm building an arsenal of easy morning drinks that will help me kick this bad habit.

     The great thing about cranberries is that they're packed with tons of health benefits. I almost began to wonder why I hadn't made a juice with these tart little red gems before. They're not only a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties and moreI added some satsumas and fresh ginger for a splash of citrus and spice. The result is a refreshing, vibrant juice that can help me kick my no-breakfast habit.

This drink isn't sweet on its own, so a little drizzle of honey is warmly welcomed. Whether you're looking to aid a sluggish body like mine or just need to use the last of your cranberries, I hope you enjoy this morning juice!


Cranberry & Satsuma morning Juice

Yields about 2 cups

3/4 cup coconut water

1/2 cup fresh organic cranberries

2 small satsumas, peeled

1/2 tsp roughly chopped ginger

small handful ice

honey to taste


Method

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add honey to taste.

This drink does have a lot of cranberry skins in it, so feel free to strain this juice before drinking. 

Barcelo Stories—Exploring the Dominican Republic


     Earlier this year John and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic to partake in a project called Barcelo Stories. This project is meant to draw people into the unique beauty and incredible adventures one can witness and enjoy in the Caribbean. Barcelo Hotel Group, among whose hotels are the Royal Hideaway (where we stayed), Barceló, Occidental, and Allegro, sent dozens of bloggers to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Aruba to show what an exciting time one can have when traveling to these countries.

     John and I made a few short films to show how much fun it was to explore the lively city of Santo Domingo and the rich landscape it has to offer. We wandered through the oldest cathedral in the Americas, walked through a fortress castle built five centuries ago, descended into limestone caves with shimmering subterranean pools, and got lost in lush jungle forests. We had the time of our lives. I hope these videos inspire you take a trip of your own to this wonderful country. 

     In total we created three films, this being the first of the three. To view the others, click here.

How To Make a Classic Albondigas Soup


Every now and then I'll find myself craving a dish that no one else but my mother could make. I need only close my eyes for a moment before I'm seeing vivid flashbacks of her presiding comfortably over our kitchen, making tortillas from scratch, crafting some delicious creation, whose fragrance simmers welcomingly from the stove. I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a house where there was never a shortage of fresh tortillas, rice, or beans. It's funny because as a child I didn't understand why my mother didn't venture out beyond these basics, but now I know these were the building blocks of my mother's childhood; they're what she knew. My mother is originally from Mexico, so she would typically make meals that resembled the ones her mother made for her when she was growing up. Between these two women, I know that I have tasted some of the best Mexican food I will ever eat (it helps to have been back and forth countless times to small, authentic towns in the heart of that beautiful country—I know good Mexican food). As I got older, I realized that I would eventually have to make my mother's signature dishes for myself. Keeping this in mind, I was always ready to watch, learn, and help my mom whenever she stepped into the kitchen. I am still trying to perfect many of her recipes, and today I'm sharing one of my favorites: albondigas soup.

Albondigas soup (''meatballs soup'' in Spanish) is wonderfully fragrant and very satisfying. It's a hearty mixture of fresh vegetables, flavorful broth, and herb-seasoned meat. And these meatballs are uniquely stuffed with uncooked rice, which, once the soup is ready, transform the meatballs into plump, flavorful bits of heaven. This soup can serve about 4-6, so when I make it at home John and I just slowly enjoy it over a couple days. In my mind this soup is such a staple Mexican meal. I've tried a few versions at some restaurants that are slightly different than what I'm used to, but nothing compares to a batch of this made right at home. 

Now, no warm and cozy meal is complete without wine, right? I decided to pair this soup with the oh-so delicious 2014 Monterey Pinot Noir from La Crema. Hints of plum on the nose, cherry on the pallet, and subtle minerality all throughout make this a fantastic compliment to albondigas soup. 

To get the recipe make sure to head over to La Crema's Blog

Thanks again for support the brands that support The Broken Bread. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

How to host a Wine & Cheese gathering while traveling


I was lucky enough to fly to San Francisco last month with my friends Annie of Annie Reeves and Megan of The Freckled Italian. The girls and I were getting together for an event we were hosting, and since we had a little down time that evening we thought why not relax and catch up with a glass of wine and some snacks? Now this may seem like quite a hassle at first since we were staying in a rental home, but with these two girls by my side we were able to put together a beautiful and satisfying spread in no time.  

We wanted to keep it simple, so we focused on grabbing just a few necessary items from a local store and went from there. This is one of my favorite things about traveling: getting to visit new markets in the city and seeing all the unique treats they have to offer. Before we headed out we made a list that I think will make anyone's cheese board dreams come true—especially if you're short on time.

Here's our list:

  • One Baguette
  • Gluten Free Crackers
  • A few different Cheeses like Goat, Brie, and a Hard Cheese
  • Green Olives
  • Fig Jam
  • Prosciutto
  • Almonds 
  • European Style Butter - it's the best
  • Some Seasonal Fruit
  • Cornichons
  • Some Dark Chocolate 

This list is pretty fool proof if you're trying to put a cheese board together. Just remember to choose snacks that you love and to refrain from overthinking it. Plus, if you can get your hands on some high quality cheese like the Vermont Creamery cheese we had, then you'll be completely fine. 

IMG_1920.jpg

Having a list was really helpful once we got to the store because we were able to divide and conquer, making that part of the process extremely quick. Once we got home we grabbed a cutting board, some jars, and a few glasses for wine. Thankfully our Airbnb has just what we needed, and I had some extra cheese boards on hand for our event the next day. Now what if you're staying in a hotel you might say? No problem! Most hotels would be more than happy to send up some plates and glasses, which are basically the two most important things when putting a wine and cheese gathering together, plus if you're at a hotel, then you don't have to do any dishes :)

Once our boards were put together the girls and I opened a bottle of La Crema's Monterey Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir and headed outside so we could enjoy our spread under the cotton candy sky that the beautiful city of San Francisco graced us with. I felt so fortunate to be traveling, but also to have taken part in an intimate hang out that made our time together all the more special. So next time your traveling with friends, or you find yourself in a city where friends can come to you, why not try and host a little gathering? For more tips and pictures of our get together be sure to check out La Crema's blog, as well as Annie and Megan's blog.

All of these gorgeous images were taken by our talented friend Ozzie.

Thank you to La Crema wines for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

IMG_1996.jpg

Mascarpone Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup


When it really comes down to it, I think I got my sweet tooth from my father. One could always find him up to something in the kitchen after a hearty meal—he’d be scavenging for chocolate chip cookie ingredients, digging for treats at the bottom of a bag of baked goodies, or preparing to craft a homemade cheesecake. This last one was my personal favorite, and so I thought it would only be natural if for this Thanksgiving I made a wonderful, exquisite cheesecake of which he would be truly proud.

This decadent dessert is made up of a beautiful blend of cream cheese and Vermont creameries’s delicious mascarpone cheese. It’s ever so smooth and delicate, with an extra added tang from a judicious layer of silky crėme fraîche. Obviously such a treat tastes delicious on it’s own, but I wanted it to have something more, and a garnish of some homemade pomegranate syrup with some fresh seeds did just the trick. With or without this garnish, I promise this cheesecake will satisfy any sweet tooth. 

I know that baking a cheesecake at home can at times be a little tricky, so I’ve included a few extra tips after the recipe to ensure that you end up with a smooth, crack-free cheesecake. 

Also, thanks to Vermont Creamery for providing me with all the delicious cheese that I needed to make this dreamy dessert. And as always thanks for supporting the brands that support The Broken Bread. 

I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! 


Mascarpone Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup

1 3/4 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers, about 38 

5 tablespoons unsalted Vermont Creamery Cultured butter, melted

2, 8 oz packages full fat cream cheese, room temperature

1, 8 oz container mascarpone cheese, room temperature

3 tbs crėme fraîche, room temperature 

3/4 cup plus 1 tbs granulated sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

 

For the pomegranate syrup

2 cups pomegranate juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

For the crėme fraîche topping

3/4 cup crėme fraîche

2 tbs powdered sugar

1 heaping cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Equipment: 9" springform pan, parchment paper, 18” wide heavy duty tin foil wrap, standing mixer, large roasting pan, saucepan.


Method

Move oven rack to the lower third position of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly grease the sides of the springform pan and line the base with a 9’’ parchment round.

Add the crushed cookie wafers and the melted butter to a medium bowl and mix until the combined. Evenly press the mixture into the springform pan along the bottom and about 1-1 1/2 inches up the sides. Cut a large square of tin foil (about 20’’ x 20’’) and place the springform pan right in the middle. Gently fold the tin foil up the sides of the pan, pressing at the top to secure. Repeat this process one more time in order to create a sturdy, waterproof barrier. Place the springform pan in the oven for 8 minutes; remove and let cool.

Reduce the oven's temperature to 325°F. Add the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, 3 tablespoons crėme fraîche, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until just incorporated.

Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared crust, then place into the roasting pan. Place the roasting pan on the lowest rack and slowly fill with hot water until it reaches about 1-1 1/2’’ inches up the sides of the springform pan. Close the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the edges are set, but the center is still wobbly.

After 40 minutes turn off the oven and use the handle of a wooden spoon to slightly crack open the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour to finish baking. 

Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and discard the foil. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap or tin foil and place in the refrigerator to cool completely; about 5 hours, preferably over night. 

While the cheesecake is chilling prepare the pomegranate syrup. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice and 2 tablespoons sugar to a saucepan and gently simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the syrup is slightly thick and has reduced to 2/3 cup. Place the syrup in a airtight container and store in the fridge to cool completely. 

Once the cheesecake has properly chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together 3/4 cup crėme fraîche and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until smooth. Spread the crėme fraîche over the top of the cheesecake, then garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving. Drizzle each slice with bit of pomegranate syrup and enjoy!

Some additional tips

· Make sure all of your ingredients are truly room temperate. This will ensure you get a smooth filling when beating your ingredients together. 

· Do not over beat the filling. Over beating the filling incorporates too much air (which is why using the paddle attachment is best) which can cause the cheesecake to puff up when cooking, then shrink and crack once it cools.  

· Don’t open the oven while the cheesecake is baking, even when you turn of the off the oven. Cheesecakes are really sensitive to temperature changes, that's why this recipe let's it gently bake for an additional hour with the oven cracked open ever-so slightly. 

· Don’t over bake your cheesecake. This is a big one.  When you pull your cheesecake out of theoven it should still have a little wobble in the center. That's what you want! You just have to have faith that once it chills properly you'll end us with the dreamiest cheesecake to enjoy this thanksgiving.