pita and greens benedict with feta cream

Not to talk about the weather but because a dramatic shift in weather also means an actual dramatic shift in our life as farm humans: it is spring!! The snow has melted, the birds are chirping, the heat has been turned off, I’m deep in #VestLife, and the chickens are sooooo happy that they have more sunlight and grass to waddle around in. Last week, Eggboy put his farm hat on for the first time this year which means that spring planting is near and he’ll soon start coming in later and later at night smelling like sweat and dirt. The fields are bare right now but in a few weeks they’ll have little sprouts popping out all over and soon we’ll have a garden!!!! And I’ll no longer have to spend $5 on 15 leaves of basil at the Hugo’s on 32nd. 

Since I’m not the one who tends to the fields, the arrival of spring for me pretty much just means that I work slightly longer hours in the kitchen since supper time is way later, and I go to the gym at night by myself. Usually by the time I get back from the gym, Eggboy’s in and it’s Westworld o’clock, even though the sun doesn’t go down until really late but maybe that’s a good thing because Westworld is creepy.

It’s usually in these warmer months when I start taking on bigger kitchen projects, like learning buttercream flowers or bagels, and I think that this is the year I’d like to finally keep a sourdough starter alive and learn to make good crusty bread.

Ok let’s talk bout this recipeep! 

A solid 70% of the time, my mom and I have the same exact brunch order: eggs benedict hold the hollandaise. Just like pork and creamed soups, hollandaise sauce was one of those things growing up that *other people ate*. Who, really, I can’t be sure, but no one in our family. And I think it was simply because hollandaise sauce is heavy and unhealthy, and, to be frank, completely unnecessary. Or, maybe it’s necessary on other things, but a well-salted and adequately Tabasco’d perfectly poached yolky egg on thick Canadian bacon (I know! Pork! Somehow bacon never counted as real pork in our house!) and a toasty English muffin is nary in need of more. Hollandaise actually kind of hardcore effs it up because it takes a relatively healthyish breakfast option to bellyache status and, honestly, I wouldn’t miss hollandaise if it ceased to exist. Oops, this got dark! But the more I think of it the more I really want to just go back in time and convince the eggs benedict inventor to stop after the egg. 

Here’s a version of eggs benedict that does have a sauce but it’s a better sauce than hollandaise, for it is feta yogurt. It’s a light flavorful deal that adds loads of brightness and I realize I just shat all over the very idea of a sauce on a benedict but in my opinion it makes more sense here. All it does is tie together the some great garlicky kale, a poached egg, and a fluffy homemade pita, almost more like a dressing than a sauce. And with this vegetarian version, the feta yogurt fills in for the ham in the protein department. This eggs benedict is salty, creamy, garlicky, and green. It’s one that doesn’t require you to order it without the sauce and a colorful main for your next brunch party. 

And you know what’s cool?? You can poach eggs in advance: Simply transfer freshly poached eggs to an ice bath and refrigerate them in a container of water for a day or two until serving time. When it’s time to serve, reheat them by submerging them in hot water until warm. (more details here!)

As for the thick pitas you see: I made one batch of dough (recipe here) into 16 pitas and rolled them out just lightly, molding them more into slightly flat bread rolls as opposed to a flatbread, so they could be thick enough to get sliced in half. 


Pita and Greens Benedict with Feta Cream

Makes 4

Ingredients

2 oz feta, crumbled

1/2 c (113g) whole milk greek yogurt

1/2 tsp aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more for sprinkling

black pepper

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

6 oz kale, thinly sliced

Kosher salt 

2 tb water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 large eggs

2 thick puffy pitas, halved

Clues

In a high speed blender, combine the feta, yogurt, aleppo or paprika, a few turns of pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be made a day or two in advance). 

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the kale, a few pinches of salt, and the water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and wilted. You may need to add the kale in batches if it’s too much to fit in all at once. Season with pepper and squeeze with lemon. Turn heat down to low just to keep this warm while you poach the eggs.

To poach the eggs, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Crack the eggs one or two at a time into a fine mesh sieve and let any loose bits of egg whites seep out (this step isn’t totally necessary but it will decrease the amount of wild rogue egg white bits) and transfer to a bowl. Carefully lower them into the boiling water. Cook until the whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to dry off any excess moisture. 

Toast or grill the pitas. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the kale and eggs. Spoon on the feta cream and sprinkle with fresh black pepper and a pinch of aleppo or paprika. Enjoy!


p.s. Enrich and Endure makes Crossback aprons now! Omg, I am obsessed. Keep an eye on Instagram, I’ll be doing a giveaway with them in the coming weeks!!

-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

fresh mint olive oil cake with labneh and honey

This color is real!!! And, no, Kermit was not harmed in the making of this. This is really just a basic olive oil cake that simply has a bunch of fresh mint purée mixed in to give it the most delightfully fresh herbal flavor and of course this bright natural color. It’s inspired by a dessert that Lily, Alana, and I had at The Exchange Restaurant last month that was basically a bowl of crumbled bright green cake topped with yogurt sorbet, a lemony drizzle, and baklava crumble. We ordered it expecting a regular yellow olive oil cake but when it arrived and we saw the color we were like omgomgomg and immediately did that thing where all three of us suddenly block out everything that’s going on around us in order to decipher what’s happening in our mouths and in front of our eyes. We poked at it, snooped around its every nook and cranny, and took very deliberate tastes in order to figure it all out. It’s so good eating with them. The only thing that could have improved such a moment is if one of us had raised up a monocle or magnifying glass. We figured it must have been a few different herbs in there, basil maybe, or parsley even, and then we got on the subject of spinach cupcakes (ew?), and finally had a chat with the server about what all was happening. And it turned out that it was just mint! Which is wild because it didn’t taste specifically minty, the most minty thing about it was that it had a faint version of that fresh feeling you have after brushing your teeth. Past that it was sort of generically herbal, which was cool because it allowed the yogurt sorbet and pistachio baklava crumble to shine through. And above all it was delicious. One of the best most inspiring desserts I’ve ever had. I turned around faster than I’ve ever turned around in my life and flew home and started experimenting with olive oil mint cakes. 

And I came up with this one! It’s a riff on the grapefruit olive oil cake from Yogurt book and it is really fun to make. You might think that the mint purée color would fade in the oven but it stays so bright. Sorry I am like one month late for St. Patrick’s Day, but actually I’m just 11 months early. 

I originally intended to slather this in a classic sweet cream cheese frosting but at the last minute before bringing it to Mackenzie’s birthday party I decided to go deeper into my nod to The Exchange dessert and just use labneh with a honey drizzle and pistachios. I loved it because it was so aggressively not sweet. It was definitely not your typical happy birthday sugary cake though so because of this I was trying really hard to figure out what all of my friends thought of it. The thing about being surrounded by so many nice Midwest people however is that they will not tell you if your cake is bad!! Emily said it tasted *fancy* so there is that?? I’ll leave you with this: when it comes to assembling this cake, choose your own adventure. If you’re hankering for a classic sweet frosting use a standard cream cheese frosting. But if you’re celebrating a sophisticated 30-year-old birthday party then try out the labneh option (as written below)! You can always add more honey drizzles. If you can’t decide, use some of the cake scraps as test bites and concoct your frosting accordingly.  


Fresh Mint Olive Oil Cake with Labneh and Honey

Makes one 2-layer 6” cake

Ingredients

Cake:

1 c (50g) firmly packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 c (118g) whole milk

1 1/2 c (190g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (56g) almond meal

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Zest of 1 lemon

3/4 c (150g) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 c (250g) sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Assembly:

About 1 1/2 c (338g) labneh

crushed pistachios

honey and/or turbinado sugar

lemon zest

sliced kumquats, optional

Clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of two 6” pans with parchment and set aside.

Rinse the mint leaves and then ring them out very well. In a high powered blender like a vitamix, blend the mint and milk together until very smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking very well after each, and then add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mint mixture in three alternating additions, whisking after each until just combined. Pour into the pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Level off the tops.

Spread half of the labneh on one of the layers and top with pistachios, honey or turbinado, and a little bit of lemon zest, and then place the other cake layer on top and spread on remaining labneh. Decorate as desired with pistachios, honey or turbinado, lemon zest, and sliced kumquats, if using. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

blintz baked french toast

Hi! We are back from our Passover trip to Whistler and catching up on all of the missed pita and pizza, with stretchy pants for the assist!! But enough about bread for now because we first need to talk about how Whistler is the supermodel of… the Earth??? How come none of you told me to go there sooner?? Its beauty literally almost brought me to tears (Me! Your least mushy friend!). Every time we found ourselves cruising along a mountain, by ski or snowshoe, I thought I was dreaming or dead or on the set of Captain Fantastic. Sure, I’ve seen mountains and evergreens before, but these mountains were covered with the tallest, greenest, handsomest trees and happy little streams that flowed everywhere. All they were missing were baby brown bears sitting near these streams, fishing for lunch.

The skiing was way better than I could have imagined. We started off on the green paths and enjoyed the long winding coasts to the bottom but then worked up the gumption to go down some blues. My favorite path was called Burnt Stew. It started way above the tree line and had that same sort of whoosh whoosh sound that you hear anytime the camera cuts to Jon Snow standing on top of The Wall. I thought it was going to be scary but then most of the run was just like zooming down into a big ass bowl of powdered sugar. Anytime there was a steep bit I just did my thing of saying “Lindsey Vonn” out loud to myself and then it was ok. 

When we weren’t skiing, we hung out with Lyndsay and Stephanie who drove up from Vancouver <3 <3, walked around the cute as a button Whistler Village, chilled out at the silent amazing Scandinave Spa, and après-skied with the Pesach on the Mountain crew who hooked it up with the chocolate fountains and k for p s’mores. Our hardest decision every day was should we begin our après-ski with the chocolate fountain or the hot tub? Which is the sign of a dope trip. 10/10 would recommend getting your butt to Whistler (and I also hear that it is equally fantastic if not *prettier* in the summer time?!) and 10/10 would also recommend Pesach on the Mountain if you're in the market for a Passover program!

Here are a few photos from our trip. I really didn't take too many because I was busy being ~present~ and also afraid that I'd drop my phone off the side of the ski lift or into the hot tub.

And now for the chametz!! I’ve been sitting on this recipe since summer camp last year when we featured it as one of the breakfasts. We had to make enough for 150 people and it was miraculously easy! So if it’s easy to make for 150 people, you can deduce how easy it is to make for eight. It is a delicious prep-ahead brunch situation that is basically the innards of a blintz poured over thick eggy challah. I love blintzes because they straddle that line between savory and sweet. You can add sugar and fruit to make them totally sweet, or caramelized onions to go the savory route (see: Molly on the Range for that one)! My fave blintz filling ingredients like ricotta, nutmeg, and a bit of lemon zest here make this french toast extra special. It's sweet, but not too sweet (although we should probably do a savory version soon covered in caramelized onions and some sharper cheeses, right??), and it can all be prepped the day before and popped in the oven the morning of your brunch for a meal that doesn't mind if you're totally hungover.

Here I've used a half batch of the basic challah recipe from Molly on the Range and baked it in a pullman loaf pan because I love those perfectly square edges. But if you have access to a good store-bought challah (or even a bad one! the egg mixture will moisten it up and bring it back to life!) then totes do that.


blintz baked french toast

serves 8

ingredients

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter, melted

12 thick slices day old challah

6 tb (75g) brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

6 large eggs

1 c (240g) whole milk

2/3 c (165g) whole milk or part skim ricotta

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

Blueberries, for serving

Powdered sugar, for serving

clues

Pour the melted butter in a 9x13 casserole dish and layer in 6 slices of bread. Sprinkle on half of the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Layer on remaining slices of bread. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, salt, vanilla, and lemon zest and pour it on. Sprinkle with remaining sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 350ºf for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for 15 minutes, until browned. Top with berries and powdered sugar and serve!

Note: You can also arrange the bread slices as pictured, in an 8x12 casserole, sprinkling each slice with some of the sugar and spices before lining them up domino style. The custard won’t get as evenly distributed (the top parts will be a little crisper and the bottom will be super custardy), but it looks cool!!!


-yeh!

pictured: mugs by marian bull, plates and casserole dish from ikea, butter warmer from dansk

pistachio latte

A few months ago, Jessica posted a preview of her new book, The Pretty Dish, and I caught a glimpse of two of the most beautiful words strung together, pistachio latte. You can have your golden milk lattes and oat milk lattes, this pistachio latte was made for me!! Jessica and I share a deep love for pistachios-- remember this pistachio cake from her first book?? So insanely good. And green, the best color! It comes as no surprise to me that her new book is filled with so many things that i want to eat immediately, including but not limited to miniature margarita pizzas that are built on deep fried disks of dough, yes, basically pizza donuts. I screamed. There are also beauty product recipes for things like macaroon lip balm and birthday cake body scrub (!!!), I just generally feel understood by this book.

Admittedly, with this whole new one cup of coffee limit in my life, I didn't go through the pistachio milk and syrup as quickly as I thought I would until I made a really kickass discovery: oatmeal cooked in pistachio milk and sweetened with pistachio syrup is insane. 12/10 would recommend. But of course the latte is insane too, it's pistachio-y, almond-y, creamy, and perfect.


Pistachio Latte

from Jessica Merchant's The Pretty Dish

makes 1 serving (easily multiplied)

ingredients

for the pistachio syrup

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c water

1/3 c chopped pistachios

1/4 tsp almond extract

 

for the latte

2 shots espresso

2-3 tb pistachio syrup

6 oz steamed milk (cow's or pistachio)

chopped pistachios (optional)

 

clues

to make the pistachio syrup

in a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the sugar, water, and pistachios. whisk until the sugar dissolves. bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside until the mixture has cooled completely. strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the pistachios. stir in the almond extract. you can keep the syrup in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week. the recipe with make 1/2 cup of syrup.

to make the latte

in a mug, combine the espresso and syrup and stir together. pour in the steamed milk. sprinkle with chopped pistachios, if desired. serve immediately! 


Pistachio Milk

from Jessica Merchant's The Pretty Dish

ingredients

1 c shelled, roasted pistachios (or raw if you can find them!)

4 1/2 c filtred water

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 tb honey (optional)

clues

place the pistachios in a bowl and cover them with water. soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. drain.

in a blender, combine the soaked pistachios, filtered water, and almond extract. blend until smooth and creamy. taste the milk and, if desired, add the honey and blend again. store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


-yeh!