post26 // a day with chef joel: where i gained an irreplaceable wealth of culinary knowledge

Imagewith Chef Joel Delmond and our Tarte Tatin

It all began on a warm Palm Springs night, under an umbrella-covered dining table where I sat languidly, dead from the parties of Mardi Gras that had slowly sipped the life out of my body. My mom and I sat in the chairs of Pinzimini, the new dining spot in the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Despite my normal rash approval of my mothers’ occasional wine offer at dinner, tonight, I declined. Yet, when our waiter circled back around, his news enlivened my drained sensibility. He pointed over to the corner of the veranda, identifying a tall man clad in a pleated tall pearly hat as a James Beard honored chef. For those of you lost as to what “James Beard honored” indicates, the James Beard Award is the highest of national culinary awards, typically referred to as the “Oscar’s” of the food world. While Chef Joel Delmond is not a recipient of this award, he has cooked in the James Beard House, a sensational recognition of its own. In this moment, my ears perked up like those of a puppy hearing the word walk. My mother and I immediately wrapped our friendly waiter into a conversation where we relayed my infatuation with all things culinary, the blog that I began writing in Peru, my obsession with photographing meals from every imaginable angle, and so on. Before I could add another detail about peruvian cuisine, the waiter had brought the amiable Chef Joel to our very table.

My mother, Chef Joel, and I began discussing my love of food, rummaging through the details of my ever-developing blog. In his impeccable English, dusted with a distinct layer of french inflection, Chef Joel spoke of peruvian gastronomy with a striking fluidity. Though soon to get back to the kitchen, Chef Joel did not leave without sharing his information and inviting me to bake with him in the coming days. We exchanged e-mails the next day and decided on an afternoon spent baking a Tarte Tatin, an upside-down apple tart from the Loir-et-Cher region of France, along the Loire River. I later learned that the tart originates from the Hotel Tatin, where the two sisters and owners, Stephanie and Caroline Tatin, famously baked the first Tarte Tatin, the result of a horrid kitchen diaster. Fittingly, Chef Joel hails from this specific part of France and after hearing my stories on peruvian cuisine, he was anxious to share a quintessential french dish.

My afternoon spent in the kitchen was beyond any of my expectations for baking the Tarte Tatin. Not only did I learn an irreplaceable amount of information on pastry-making from Chef Joel, but he elected other members of his staff to introduce me to their large-scale operations of sushi making, pizza dough molding, and the like. When I say other members, I allude to Chef Shawn Aoki, a former Iron Chef contestant. I could not then and still cannot fathom my luck!

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Rolling sushi with Chef Shawn Aoki

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Learning how to handle the pizza peel

By the end of the day, Chef Joel and I had two baked Tarte Tatins. During the assembling of the first tarte, Chef Joel took me on a detailed journey through the art of pie-crust making and caramelizing. He shared tips only a pro would know like how to flour your dough before using your rolling pin, what kind of surfaces you should use for specific actions, how to caramelize for different end results (looking for a sweet and light caramel or an almost-bitter type?), the list never ends.

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Letting the apples soak in water to keep fresh before baking

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Constructing the upside-down tart

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Top layer of the upside-down tart

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Rolling the dough between two sheets of plastic to keep the dough from melting or sticking to the pin

Both Tarte Tatins slowly evolved into beautiful, really striking pieces of culinary art. Smothered in buttery caramel, the apples congealed together in a perfect geometric form, seated upon a thick base of flaky pastry crust. After many Friday afternoons and Christmas seasons spent baking, I cannot say I have made such a beautiful dish as this Tarte Tatin.

With our finished product, Chef Joel and I took the fore-picture of this blog post, a student and instructor, both grinning happily at a Tarte Tatin well done. That evening, my parents and I ate our final meal in Palm Springs at Pinzimini, electing Chef Shawn’s Tasting Menu. We couldn’t have chosen a better meal and to cap it off, we each engulfed our hardy servings of the Tarte Tatin, brought out by Chef Joel himself. I waddled home in the eighty-five degree paradise, brain full with improved pastry techniques and a stomach wide with caramelized apples.

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The baked Tarte Tatin, before being flipped

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The flipped and final Tarte Tatin

Unfortunately, I do not have Chef Joel’s Tarte Tatin recipe for you yet. However, in the meantime I thought that Julia Child’s rendition will do. Bon Appetit!

Ingredients
For the Tart Dough:
3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons chilled butter, diced
2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed
For the Tart Tatin:
6 Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled and halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
11/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as accompaniment

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the flours, sugar and butter. Pulse 5 or 6 times in 1/2-second bursts to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately add the ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times. The dough should look like a mass of smallish lumps and should just hold together in a mass when a handful is pressed together. If the mixture is too dry, pulse in more water by droplets.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and with the heel of your hand, rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs into a 6-inch smear. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

Slice the halved apples into 4 lengthwise wedges each, and toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice and zest and 1/2 cup sugar. Drain the apples after macerating 20 minutes.

In a 9-inch skillet melt the butter over high heat. Stir in the remaining sugar and cook until the syrup bubbles and caramelizes, and turns a brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and arrange a layer of apple slices in a neat pattern on the caramel in the skillet, then arrange the remaining apples neatly on top.

Return the pan to moderately high heat and cook for about 25 minutes, covering the pan after 10 minutes. Every few minutes press down on the apples and baste them with the exuded juices. When the juices are thick and syrupy, remove the pan from the heat.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a circle, 3/16-inch thick and 1-inch larger than the top of the pan. Drape the dough over the apples, pressing the edge of the dough between the apples and the inside of the pan. Cut 4 small steam holes on the top of the dough. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped, about 20 minutes.

Unmold the tart onto a serving dish (so the pastry is on the bottom), and serve warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tarte-tatin-recipe.html?oc=linkback

p25 // a culinary duel over the new orleans beignet: café du monde vs. cafe beignet

ImageCafé Du Monde ImageCafe Beignet

While my visit to New Orleans over spring break was incipiently established as a rite of passage through the famed Mardi Gras, I quickly realized that the trip was going to mean a lot more to me than college keg stands and bead-hunting. In a procrastinating research method during midterm week, I searched through endless website pages titled around the edible in New Orleans. “Must-eats,” “Where-to-eat,” and “City Guide to Eating,” were just three of the redundant headings that popped up as I scrolled down the Google and Pinterest search feeds. Though I’d visited New Orleans once with a high school program (see photo below), given my newfound food curiosity in tune with the excitement of Mardi Gras, I was biting to get down to the Big Easy.

ImageAge 15, eating beignets at Café Du Monde

During the four days spent in the city of cajun food and jazz, I was lucky enough to try two servings of beignets from the acclaimed Café Du Monde and the appropriately named Cafe Beignet. Both restaurants served outrageously rich versions of the Creole classic: fried pastry dough fritters drowned in powdered sugar that couldn’t help but dust your clothes with a layer of white film. As is appropriate for a culinary duel, I will detail the two beignet episodes.

My friends and I made a point to go to the Cafe Beignet on Bourbon street the morning after our first night in the city. There, we devoured an excellently greasy breakfast of egg sandwiches on croissant buns and crawfish omelets. The main course was followed by two rounds of beignets (a third round came a little later). The sugar-coated fried pastry was just out of the fryer, warm enough to make my fingers play hot potato until the treat was in my mouth. To be frank, you can’t really go wrong with fried dough, especially when you bring sugar into the mix. My friends who were first being introduced to beignet heaven savored every minute of their full-mouthed bites.

Our visit to Café Du Monde took place later in the trip, after a cab ride home from uptown on our last night in New Orleans. I was appalled by the fact that the next morning, I could leave New Orleans without returning to the renowned cafe where I tried my first beignet. Compellingly dragging my friends to the Café Du Monde off of Jackson Square, we had a few questions about the menu. Ironically, while Cafe Beignet offered more than beignets, Café Du Monde only served beignets and beverages. Despite some of my friends’ wishes for a fuller late-night meal, the beignets proved we chose correctly in staying put. If you’re going to have just one item on your menu, it needs to be good; and yes they were better than good. Café Du Monde’s beignets were hot like those at Cafe Beignet but proved to melt even tastier and gooier into my mouth after a few bites through the fried outer-layer. Covered similarly to those at Cafe Beignet in mounds of powdered sugar, our beignets that early morning were just the right pick for a quick snack. Sitting with my friends and eating at Café Du Monde was an unforgettable last treat to the Mardi Gras experience.

To be fair, both sets of beignets were sugarfiably delectable. In a narrow competition, the beignets at Café du Monde had an edge over those at Cafe Beignet. I recommend making a trip down to New Orleans one day to not only try the quintessential beignets, but also the  flavorful Creole cuisine—look-out, a post on the cajun cuisine is coming soon!

post24 // a valentine tradition in the making: dark chocolate raspberry pie bars

ImageIf you are not a baker, keep reading. While other recipes that I’ve posted on my blog have proved difficult but reaped delectably rewarding results, this recipe cuts to the chase, blending a perfect ratio of raspberry pie with dark chocolate crumbly excellence. The triple-layered bars feature a pie crust bottom, a thick layer of dark chocolate, and a sprinkled pie crust crumble topped with halved fresh raspberries and mini chocolate chips. The ingredients, with the exception of the raspberries, are all common pantry holders so you’ll have no excuse for leaving this recipe in your to-do list. The prep time churns unbelievably quickly and the oven time leaves you with enough time for a fast nap, if you can wake up!

Kate and I wanted to make a Valentine themed baked good around the holiday to give away to both our single friends and some admirers. We naturally turned to the lovely Pinterest and found a slew of dessert recipes that ranged from drunken chocolate cherry cake to gooey red velvet s’mores bars. Though overwhelming, our choice was made on dark chocolate raspberry pie bars from the dessert blog, Deliciously Sprinkled. We figured a straight-forward recipe would be easy to duplicate for the growing audience of #Bakedby2Kates!

With the help of our friend Natalia, Kate and I successfully baked almost fifty of these sugary delights, each batch calling for a full can of sweetened condensed sugarmy Peruvian favorite! I will not advertise the bars as a “healthier dessert option,” but it was for Valentine’s Day, a sublime twenty-four hours of sugar. In any case, my most lasting image of baking this recipe was the environment outside. I trekked over to Kate’s apartment as half a foot of snow was blasting down on Davidson, North Carolina. For those who fail to venture far south of the Mason-Dixon line, six inches is unheard of in these parts. Seriously, if I had told you it would snow six inches when it was 60 degrees two days before, you would not have heard me. We baked in the middle of an uncharacteristically wintry scene, indulging in the warm pie bars as the sun went down. In my most melodramatic of words, that frosty afternoon will be one of my best memories at Davidson.

Some of you may now be adding events together and realizing that what! Valentine’s Day was on a Friday this year! Where did all the baked goods go? Who saved them for the special day? Well, in an attempt to make a Valentine’s Day treat, our pie bars were inhaled by every friend possible, two full days before the holiday. The last-standing individual was the boyfriend of Natalia, who, due to snow, received his bars in the mail the Monday after Valentine’s Day. Despite time and space, the air-tight seal of Tupperware and love had him send a dazzling report back.

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From Jenn Kurkiewicz with Deliciously Sprinkled Blog:

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars

Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 45 mins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup fresh raspberries, semi crushed and sweetened with a little sugar.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously spray 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, mix butter until creamy. Mix in brown sugar, flour and salt continue mixing until crumbly. Press 1¾ cups of crumb mixture into prepared baking pan. Set remaining crumbs aside.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven.
  4. While crust is baking, pour sweetened condensed milk in small sauce pan and add one cup of dark chocolate chips. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour over warm crust.
  6. Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over chocolate layer. Spoon raspberries over crumb mixture and top with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

post23 // pulling davidson out of an optionless emergency: the new summit

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Classic Spinach Salad

I apologize in advance for the gloomy tone my post is about to entertain. I promise it will only be for a brief minute or two, until I can fully delve into the tastiest renovation to ever occur on Davidson’s campus.

Davidson is a very special home to me. I love the bright blue Carolina skies that greet me on February days like today, the Lula Bell laundry service that takes care of my clothes, and of course, the beachhead at Lake Norman where one can enjoy watching college frat boys play dock ball. My only lament about attending school at Davidson has been the food. While comparing my dining options on an early summer night with friends from home who are littered across the country in both liberal arts colleges and large universities, I realized that many of my high school peers enjoyed the food they ate at college.

I wish I did. I wanted to enjoy the food I ate at school instead of pulling the massive amounts of hummus off of grilled wraps or sadly attempting to make a Cobb salad without the chicken breast or baconthat is the best part! Not only different tastes, but I needed more options to add to my union wrap I ate four times a week. Moving away from this somber mood, I luckily came back after a semester abroad to a brand new dining spot on campus, The New Summit. Boasting many nicknames, most popularly Nummit, alongside Newsum and a vulgar title that I will leave to your imagination, the New Summit offers an array of dishes that span from grab-and-go breakfast items to late-night pizzas filled with all your favorite indulgences like buffalo chicken and triple-cheeses. The broad span of dishes you can eat at the New Summit made from farm-style ingredients, alongside their signature coffee menu and fillingly fruity smoothies, provides a foreign depth to Davidson’s dining services. This gigantic step in a positive direction has changed my thoughts on eating at Davidson. I can now find myself giddily excited to go enjoy my usual union wrap because I have only eaten it once in the past two weeks. The New Summit offers another option and in doing so, alleviates pressure on other dining options while offering college kids quality food.

Enough of this talk, so what’s my favorite pick? I’ve got a couple. If you’re looking for a meaty and cheesy option to serve as real comfort food, the Fig, Goat, Pig Flatbread or the Triple-Pig Panini are my two go-to’s. In terms of healthier items, I’m a big fan of the Classic Spinach Salad, usually with a side of the rotating day’s soup that never fails—okay, I strongly suggest against the Gazpacho, but that’s just me. I’ve heard it from everyone and I can’t deny the pretzels are fabulously yummy, served warm with a choice of dippings (I love the mustard). By covering a large range, the New Summit appeals to many Davidson faces, both the health-conscious athlete ordering a Kale Berry Smoothie and the beanie-wearing hipster who sips on a Chilean roast coffee and doesn’t know how they ended up in North Carolina.

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Fig, Goat, Pig

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Pretzel with Mustard and Veggie Chili

post22 // the unfailing and nausEating union of chocolate and peanut butter takes the form of a whoopie pie

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Let’s launch our minds back to a favorite childhood film of mine, The Parent Trap. I can imagine that when my mom reads said movie title, she will remember the 1960s film where two campers discover their twin identities and plot to reunite their divorce-stricken parents. While the key blocks of the plot remain unchanging, I come from a different age where The Parent Trap means a pre-house arrest Lindsay Lohan playing each twin, a dazzling love between Elizabeth James and Nick Parker, credits running as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” blares from the television, and most importantly, a beginning to my obsession with eating chocolate and peanut butter in symphonic unison. I don’t know many girls my age who could forget the following scene:

Hallie: [takes out a box of Oreos] Want one?

Annie: Oh, sure, I love Oreos. At home, I eat them with… I eat them with peanut butter.

Hallie: You do? That is so weird.

[takes out a jar of peanut butter]

Hallie: So do I!

Annie: You’re kidding! Most people find that totally disgusting.

Hallie: I know, I don’t get it.

Annie: Me either.

I don’t get it either Hallie and Annie. Instead, I adore the peanut butter and chocolate combination, so much so, that I couldn’t resist making these ever-scrumptious chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe that dates back to her 2005 Holiday Cookies segment. As part of Bakedby2Kates, my friend Kate and I rotate who picks the recipe for each week. As my second pick, I prolonged my calorie-popping dessert choices with these two rounded chocolate cookies smushed together by a spoonful of fluffy peanut butter buttercream. The whoopie pies were nauseatingly rich but unbelievably delicious. One was definitely enough but that didn’t stop some of our friends from enjoying a second helping.

Baking the cookies was simple enough. Although we didn’t have an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, our hand-mixing of the batter—using a wooden spoon—worked perfectly well. Other changes we made to Martha’s recipe were using a store-bought vanilla buttercream mixed in a 1:1 ratio with spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter (Betty Crocker and Jif respectively), replacing our parchment paper deficiency with buttering the cookie pan, and microwaving the bittersweet chocolate in lieu of heating it on the stove. Oh yeah, and we ate the pies less than ten minutes after piping on the spiral chocolate pattern!

If you had the chance to taste one of these whoopie pies, I hope you enjoyed every bite! If not, I suggest giving this recipe a try, chocolate and peanut butter can never fail you.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, Holiday Cookies 2005:

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream *we combined a store-brand vanilla buttercream with creamy peanut butter at a 1:1 ratio
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. *You can butter the baking sheets if you don’t have parchment paper

2. Add butter, shortening, and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture. Beat together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. *You can use a wooden spoon to mix if you don’t have an electric mixer

3. Drop 12 slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on each baking sheet. Use a metal spoon to slightly flatten the cookie dough into rounder circles. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of over, 10 minutes; switch the positions of the baking sheets, and rotate each one. Continue baking until the cookies spring back to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes more.

4. Remove from over; let cookies cool on baking sheets, 10 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire rack; let cool completely. Meanwhile, line a cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment; repeat process with remaining batter.

5. Spread 1 scant tablespoon buttercream on flat sides of half the cookies. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat side down, and gently press together. Transfer pies to a tray. *We gave our pies a little more buttercream in the middle, I’d suggest it!

6. Melt half the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; add remaining chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (Ateco #2 or #3) or a small parchment cone. Pipe chocolate in a spiral pattern on top of each pie. Let chocolate set before serving, about 1 hour.

post21 // a recipe for bean fiends: cappuccino swirl snickerdoodles

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In our second week of Bakedby2Kates, we decided on a recipe that would be easy to multiply and deliver yummy results. Unlike the rich marshmallow-oozing brownies of the week prior that left my stomach in need of deflating rehabilitation, these snickerdoodles were the perfect dessert to enjoy without over-indulgence (OK, I did have two…

…or three).

Before I begin delving into the recipe details, let me make an announcement. If you consider yourself a baker or are aspiring to that position of self-identity and enjoy the art of transforming bland grocery store products into the Mona Lisa’s of your everyday sweets: this recipe is for you. If you’re looking for a quick cookie recipe and have not ever heard of Cream of Tartar, I would just steer clear. While the recipe is clean and easy to follow, I am the first to say it is not the quickest cookie baking experience. Yet, the final product of these coffee-infused delights is unforgettable: a sweet and energizing three-bite cookie that takes snickerdoodles to a cinnamon-sugar covered next level.

Although Kate and I didn’t have baking paper to line the cookie sheets and we failed to purchase cornstarch (you can tell our brains were awake at the grocery store), the cookies turned out great! The original recipe yields 30-40 cookies but given our love for sharing alongside the fact that we like big cookies, we doubled the prescription and made 60 cookies. Kate and I looked to the internet to help save us from the cornstarch absence. This website has a great write-up on how you can replace flour at a 3:1 ratio for every tablespoon of cornstarch you’re missing, http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/constarch-substitutes-00420000013001/. In terms of time, eight minutes seemed to do the trick for each batch. Like the last recipe I followed and posted on here, I cannot be more adamant about the need to follow the recipe! When it calls for both instant and ground coffee, that means they are not interchangeable. Buy both.

While I am not the biggest coffee fiend (unlike Miss Kate Sanford), these cookies were delicious! In general, we feed college students who in general, drink a lot of coffee. These were a huge hit across campus so please scroll your eyes down to the delicious recipe. It could be your next project!

Adapted from the TopWithCinnamon Blog:

Cappuccino Swirl Snickerdoodles
makes 30-40 cookies

10 tbsp (5 oz / 140g) butter
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (7 oz / 195g) sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup / golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ricotta
3 tbsp cornstarch *see link for substitutions if necessary
1 3/4 cups (8 oz / 225g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp very hot water
3/4 tsp ground coffee

1/2 cup (2 oz / 55g) sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon

Melt the butter in a medium-large sauce pan over a medium heat. Keep cooking the butter, swirling the pan often, until the butter foams up, smells nutty and you can see beige solids in the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat straight away and stir in the sugar.
Next, stir in the corn syrup and vanilla extract. Leave this mixture to cool whilst you preheat your oven to 340 degrees F (175 degrees F) and line a cookie tray with baking paper.

To the cooled butter mixture, add the egg and egg yolk. Beat them in well, then beat in the ricotta and cornstarch. Add the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, then stir together until it just forms a dough. Remove half the dough to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in the very hot water. Add this and the ground coffee to the cookie dough in the bowl, and stir it in until the majority of the dough has turned a beige colour.

In a shallow bowl, combine the 1/4 cup (2 oz / 55g) of sugar and the cinnamon.

Take a slightly heaped teaspoon of the vanilla dough, and a slightly heaped teaspoon of the coffee dough, stick them together and roll into a ball. Roll this in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place on the lined cookie tray. Repeat, placing cookie dough balls about 1 1/2” away from each other on the tray, until the tray is full. Flatten the cookie dough so it’s about 1/2″ thick, and bake for 7-9 minutes, when the cookies should be set on top, but still a a little soft in the centre. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat this whole step until all the dough has been used up.

post20 // an italian pearl found in the depths of carolina strip malls

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At Ferrucci’s Old Tyme Italian Market, Brooklyn-born owners transport their customers to a Mulberry Street-esque meat and sandwich shop with traditional Italian spices, meals, and of course, black and white diamond tiling to boot. The quality of food at Ferrucci’s is unlike most delicatessens I’ve ventured to here in the South. Fresh homemade ingredients perfect for cooking sit aside fully prepared meals like lasagna, eggplant parmesan, and sausage with peppers to make for an easy grab and go dinner. Despite the unfortunate actuality that is my lack of cooking with Ferrucci’s-bought ingredients, I have had no trouble spending money there throughout my three years in Davidson.

The first time I went to Ferrucci’s the tiny bell attached to the top of the translucently boring door rang as I was greeted by a friendly downpour of New York accents alongside an appetizing breath of meat and Italian spices. My brother Robert had insisted we make a trip there while he visited me during my first semester in college. Robert, a Davidson alum, frequented Ferrucci’s so much so that the owners remembered him by name two years after he graduated, that day we walked in together. Inside the shop we ran into a few of Rob’s fellow fraternity brothers who collectively must account for some wild percentage of Ferrucci’s income (Davidson meal plan what? No). After waiting in line for a bit, I grew anxiously overwhelmed at all my sandwich options: Grilled Panini? Hot Hero with Meatball Parmesan? Basil Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich? It all sounded so good! I still feel this rush of menu uncertainty every time I look up at my sandwich options there, even after my countless visits to date. Instead of choosing, I just ordered what my brother got, The Italian. Filled with the guidoest of all Italian meats (Genoa Salami, Ham, and Pepperoncini), the Italian is the ultimate cold-cut sandwich, served on a fresh ciabatta roll and layered with crunchy vegetables. If you haven’t figured this out yet, the above picture is the Italian from Ferrucci’s, yet that photo was taken two weeks ago when I made my voyage back to Ferrucci’s after a long ten months apart.

As if this little Italian market couldn’t get any better, as my brother and I walked towards the cashier (usually Tony, the owner), I spotted the trophy of the entire shop, homemade cannolis. Yup that’s right, freshly fried pastry dough enclosing a sweet ricotta cream, my Little Italy favorite. And they even had mini ones! I realized then and there that I’d found an eating abode to shelter me through the rest of my Davidson experience. It hasn’t failed yet.

ImageImageThe Vegetale 

Off of Exit 28. Across the street from Paddy’s Pour House. Shops on the Green. 20910 Torrence Chapel Rd. Cornelius, NC 28031