lisa's blog

Sunday Brunch: Popovers

There is a certain charm to something absurdly easy and impressive. That sort of thing that you can be known for whipping up on a Sunday morning to impress your friends who don't cook, and how no idea that it takes no talent at all. This thing is called a popover. It is delicious.

For popovers:

1 Tb oil or melted butter, plus more for greasing muffin pan
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour

For serving:
Jam, butter, honey, etc.

Heat oven to 425. Put the pan into the oven to heat while mixing the batter.

Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl until inportated. Add the flour little by little, making sure batter is smooth.

Remove pan or popover tin from oven (with care). Fill each cup 1/2 way.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350 for another 15 minutes.  The popovers should be golden brown and puffed up.

Makes 10-12, depending on tin.

Potatoes with White Wine and Paprika

This isn't even really a recipe, but it's delicious, and deserves to be spread around. My roommate Shayla has lately gotten me into filet mignon. The grocery store near our house will cut it to order, which sort of evens out the rediculous prices, becuase you can ask for a piece just the right size. A little salt and pepper and a good sear is all that they need. And, of course, a side.

I love me a boiled potato. You may have noticed. They are creamy and simple and good, and can take a range of flavors. This one is perfect because it works warm, or you can prepare it a day ahead and take it as a picnic or lunch. It works for one or ten. What more could you want, really?

For Potatoes:

Good quality potatoes, think four small or two medium per person
A dry white wine
Good, fruity olive oil
Hot paprika
Fresh ground pepper
Scallions, about 1/2-1 per portion

Set potatoes to boil in well-salted water. While they are boiling, chop the white and light green parts of the scallions in small rounds. When the potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork, drain and quickly spalsh with white wine. (Measurements are hard here--1 tablespoon or a bit more per portion? Start with less. You can always add). Follow with a glug of olive oil (again, you can always add more). Sprinkle with 1/3 teaspoon of paprika per portion, or more to taste. Add salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and add more as needed. Eat, cold, hot, or standing.

Sandwich for dinner, s'il vous plait.


Every now and then, you just get a yen for something. My housemate Shayla and I were walking through Propect Park after work today, which was shady and damp and beautiful in that rainy day way. We got lost for a while in the trees, taking dead-end paths by the lake, and suddenly she said "I just got the strongest craving for a tuna sandwich."

Odd, perhaps, but that reminded me of the sandwiches you get in Paris, simple baguettes with tuna and egg that hit the spot. And the dinner was on.

This can be made for one, or a group, and adjusted as needed (as usual!). Similarly, good ingredients go a long way, because you really taste what goes in there. A leaf of lettuce would work nicely. You could leave out the tomatoes, or the anchovies. You might add a cucumber, or put it on a roll instead, and make a pan bagnat. The world is your oyster.


Here's a rough outline:

1/4-1/3 of a baguette

1 egg per person, hard boiled

1/3-1/2 a can tuna, preferably of good quality, packed in olive oil

2-4 anchovy fillets, optional

2-4 black olives (nicoise or kalamata)

good mustard

good mayonaise.

veggies of choice


I like to toast the bread slightly, until still soft in the middle but a little crunchy outside. You can toast it whole, and then cut all the way or only part way through the baguette--in the latter situation, open it like a book to fill it. Spread mayonaise on one side, mustard on the other, then add tuna, flaked in big chunks. Put the slices of anchovies if using, then the egg. Add desired veggies, then the olive, sliced or whole, in a little line.

Add a simple, lightly dressed salad, and there you go. Bon appetite.

Recipe for a Housetoasting

img_1232 I only have a sec--this weekend got away from me, and I am already late for a workshop I have this morning--but I wanted to share with you a marvel of the modern world--the Peep. We had a "housetoasting" on Saturday (named after the three toasters we inherited, along with one pull out sofa and vitually nothing else when moving in to our new house).

Fresh Made Pasta

img_1199.img_1200 It began with a stew hen. I was at the Greenmarket in Union Square on Saturday, and I wanted to buy a chicken.

At the masthead

picture-231 It’s somewhat ironic that though I’ve cooked quite a bit since I last wrote, I have little to offer today. We were too busy eating and talking to document, which is something you can never be too sorry about. Plus, as usual, I learned that I wanted to tweak the Moroccan lentil soup a bit, change spices, add salt, smooth it out to make it velvety.

Chicken Bun

img_1137 When I think of the house where my friend Katie grew up, I think of her kitchen. Her kitchen overflows with food, ancient and recent—dried scallops given to her dad by clients, fruit baskets and See’s boxes of similar origin, the newest bizarre item from Trader Joe’s, leftover dim sum. I guess that’s what happens when you have five kids.

Crackling Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

img_1151img_1148 I’ve been meaning to bake for a while, but time and equipment have interceded. But there was a birthday coming up at the office, and I had an evening that I felt like whittling away with a little project.

Recipe For An Off Day


On Sunday, it was beautiful. People go a little wild when the cold abates. An Irish friend of mine once described seventy degrees in Dublin finds offices empty, streets filled with pasty Irish folk sprawled half-undressed on parks and medians. Central park was somewhat similar, only more barelegged runners and such.

I walked through the park to the Met, which had a show of a number of Bonnard’s interiors. Bonnard lived in his own world, a vision that included his own Lolita (nee Marthe), a bath, many windows and baskets of fruit. Shadows in vermillion and lemon.

On my way out, I passed through the medieval hall, where they have incredible tapestries and illuminations. I have a thing for the tiny drawings that decorated the letters in books, little men and women patterned within Os and Ms. Many of them are saints, and within the drawings are scenes of decapitations, holy births, and little tortures. The colors have survived brilliantly, and there, ghastly and bleeding and oddly serene, are the saints in all their glory.

At any rate, my original plan for the day was to make something to bring to a Sunday dinner—a classic pear tart or this or even this, a recipe I came across that sounded a bit different, from a Brooklyn restaurant. I thought I had all that I needed, and then, of course, I did not. No tart or springform pan. That would have been manageable but for the lack of flour. This, my friends, was troublesome. I began to run late and lazy, and nothing baked materialized at all. A small blessing, in the end, for they had planned ahead and bought the incredible chocolate cookies from Levain. Good god. I have a cookie recipe to share at some point, but these, fat and rich and coma-inducing, were delicious.

So instead I have for you something I tried earlier this week—almond milk—inspired by an age in which people were boiled and milk often soured. I love foods and their stories, and the best often come by accident or necessity (pain perdue, par example). In medieval times, animal products could not be kept for long without spoiling, nor could they be eaten on “lean days” (Friday through Sunday) or Lent. The enterprising cooks of the time therefore devised ways of using vegetable products to stand in (it appears it wasn’t the crunchy vegan types that started all of this). Oats, walnuts, but mostly almonds provided a base for a milky substance whose thickness and richness could be adjusted as a stand in for milk or crème.

The other day, I got a craving for these banana smoothies that my friend Anna and I fell in love with on a trip to Spain. Down a set of stairs off the street, the place was dark, and often empty, and the stone basement refreshingly damp and cool in the summer heat. The drinks were incredibly simple, yet so good, and when I bought the cookbook from Rose Bakery and saw a version of them there, I wanted to go back.

Originally made with whole milk, the drinks are meant to be served rich and in small doses. I didn’t know what I would do with an entire container of whole milk, so I thought I would take the opportunity to try out the almond milk thing. With some honey or dates blended in, and a little cinnamon, the almond milk is a drink in itself. Or blend it with half of a ripe banana (or, I suppose, other preferred fruit) for a frothy bev. In the summer, this could be great with oversoft peaches or apricots.

There are several approaches to making nut milks, which appear to take varying degrees of time and effort. Here is a low-impact version. You can also add vanilla, vanilla bean, or other flavorings.

Almond (or other nut) Milk
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups water
2 dates or 1tbs honey, or adjust to taste
Other potentials: vanilla, rose water, vanilla bean

Take raw almonds, place in a container, and cover with water, preferably but not necessarily overnight.

The next morning, drain the almonds, blend with fresh water. By adjusting the amount of water, you can make it as thin or thick as you desire. I hear you can use this milk as a substitute for all different recipes that call for milk. Unconfirmed…

You can drink this as is (if it’s in a smoothie, I wouldn’t bother straining) or pour through several layers of cheese cloth.

Banana Smoothie 1 cup whole milk or almond milk
1 banana
1 tbs honey, or other sweetener, adjusted to taste
1-2 tbs apple juice, if you have it

Lazy Sunday

Those who do this whole food-blog thing more and better than I will tell you that the great trouble with soup comes not in the making, or the eating, but in the documenting. Soups, but for things like butternut, do not pretty pictures make. Lentil soup, the product of world wide-thriftiness, poses a particular problem. Those with great lighting and better cameras can overcome it. Since I had neither, I decided to pump up the flash and just own it. So here, in all it's stunned, mug shot glory, is today's recipe:

Chickpea Salad, Fit for a Pocket

chickpea pita I recently moved to New York City. This means, among other things, that the budget has tightened up. I take my lunch to work, and of late it has been various variations on an old standard—hummus and pita. I had hummus and pita plain, with arugula, pita and sautéed broccoli rabe, pita, hummus, and roasted vegetables. My office sits two blocks from Union Square, the home of the best greenmarket in the city.
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