FIELD & FOREST

snacks

west coast rarebit

autumn, breakfast, dinner, lunch, snacks, main dishes, vegetarian, winterRachel SandersComment
 west coast rarebit | field + forest

I have a big ole lady crush on Charlet Duboc from Munchies, who hosts the Munchies Guide to Scotland and the Munchies Guide to Wales. This is mainly due to her lack of filter during interviews and her rather adorable habit of getting drunk with the locals and then having a wee lie-down on lawns/sidewalks/etc. After being more than a little tired of the Food Network as of late, I would like to note that this is me officially raising my hand and saying that I like the direction in which food journalism is going! More real people doing real things in real places, please.

(BTW, Munchies seems to be killing it in this area. Give them a look-see.)

Sometimes in watching a show about a specific cuisine, I'll feel like a piece of my soul is from that region/country. I really feel this way about India (because spices), Italy (because pasta), France (because garlic and butter and seasonality and my dad's cooking), Hungary (because chicken paprikash and goulash and my mom's and grandma's cooking) Japan (because unagi and miso), and Sweden (because hygge!!).

If any part of my soul is Welsh, it is the part shaped like a piece of cheese toast. Because rarebit.

I would like to take a liberty and describe rarebit (for those of you who aren't sure what it is, which was also me about a week ago) as portable fondue. Yes! I know! How awesome is that. My mom used to make kind of a quick-and-dirty rarebit when we were growing up with aged cheddar and garlic powder, which is still one of my favorite ways to eat cheese on toast, but there wasn't any beer involved and that seems to be key to this whole rarebit thing. Plus some mustard powder and Worchestershire and a little extra added fat in the form of butter, cream, and/or egg yolks to keep the whole thing melty and luxurious.

Imagine everything you like about fondue but on a piece of toast. And now imagine that you are eating this with friends, but you don't have to worry that some gluttonous person is going to have a field day in the fondue pot before you can skewer a cube of bread because you have your VERY OWN piece of toast.

Yeahhhhhh.

The white beans and kale are not key for Welsh rarebit, but they are key for this West Coast rarebit and give you something a little vegetal to help cut through the richness that is the month of December. I also replaced the butter/cream/egg yolks with creme fraîche, which still gives you some needed lipid power albeit in a slightly tangier and lighter form. If you need a legit rarebit recipe, Munchies has you covered, as does the Guardian. You could also use whatever vegetables you have lying around instead of the kale and beans, because few things suck when you smother them in garlic and cheese and beer and get them all bubbly and hot under the broiler.

 west coast rarebit | field + forest

Toast the bread until barely golden brown on both sides, and set aside while making the rarebit mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and add the white beans in a single layer. Cook until the beans are beginning to get golden brown, stirring occasionally. Once most of the beans are golden in spots, add the kale to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

While the beans and kale cool, preheat your broiler on the high setting, or your oven to 450˚F.

In a medium bowl, combine the creme fraiche, garlic, a hefty pinch of kosher salt, the dry mustard powder, and the Piment d'Espelette. Add the walnuts and cheddar cheese, followed by the cooled beans and kale, and stir to combine. Pour the beer over the mixture, beginning with 1/3 of the can and adding more if the mixture seems dry.

Place the toasts on a baking sheet and divide the mixture evenly among them, spreading it out over each toast in an even layer. Broil or bake until the mixture is bubbly and turning golden, about 4-8 minutes (depending on whether you have a broiler drawer, or are broiling or baking it in the oven, which puts the toast a bit farther from the heating element). Sprinkle with flaky salt, pepper flakes, and chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

 

4 1/3-inch thick slices of bread (I used sourdough)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can white beans (such as cannellini, drained and rinsed
1/2 bunch green or Red Russian kale, washed, stemmed and finely chopped (but not minced)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 cloves garlic, minced
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon Piment d'Espelette or cayenne pepper (I used 1/8 teaspoon and topped the finished rarebit with more pepper flakes)
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, preferably an aged/extra sharp variety
1/3-1/2 can beer of your choice (I used a lager, though stout is common in traditional recipes)
flaky salt
pepper flakes (optional)
freshly chopped parsley (optional, but nice for color)

 

 west coast rarebit | field + forest

pantry flatbread with arugula and aleppo pepper

autumn, breads, breakfast, dinner, lunch, main dishes, snacks, spring, winterRachel SandersComment

In the beginning of many cookbooks, there is a chapter with no pictures where the chef/author talks about the foods they like to keep on hand at any given time, how to stock a pantry properly, etc. Sometimes they'll go over unique ingredients - what they are, where to find them, why you should use them - or pieces of equipment that they can't live without that they've added to their finely curated list of kitchen gadgetry. Or maybe they'll talk a bit about their process - how they clean as they cook, or how they write out recipes on post-its that they stick on the counter while they work. The abundance of care and work that go into creating this pantry/equipment/process chapter is obvious. You know? Don't you usually read this section?

Yeah, me neither. I want to look at the pretty pictures already.

But when I went to see family for Thanksgiving, I ended up going to a spice shop I've been wanting to check out for a while and subsequently dropped a fair amount of cash on some spices I've been having trouble finding (and some that I have never seen before but am so excited to use). And then I came home to our hap-hazard pantry with its crazy amount of beans and nearly empty boxes of pasta, and thought "This is no place for my spices!" So I cleaned out the shelves, reorganized everything, and took note of stuff that was about to run out, and I now have a well-oiled pantry machine. I didn't expect that it would have a profound effect on my efficiency and enjoyment of cooking, but it did! It is crazy! I have joined the Clean Pantry Cult and I am going to prosthelytize to anyone who will listen!!

One of these days I'll write a post on the things that are in my pantry (there will be pictures, promise), but let's talk about this flatbread for a moment. I get most excited by foods with flavor contrasts (salty/sweet, rich/bright, etc.), and I wanted to bring that kind of excitement to this recipe so that it didn't feel like an "I don't know what to make for dinner" kind of a meal (which it most definitely was). It worked sort of like this:

If I ever publish a cookbook, there will be a lot of Venn diagrams (which will probably break up the text a bit in my pantry section, which y'all had better read).

There are so many ingredients that fall into each of these categories (I even listed a few more than I put on the flatbread), so don't feel like you have to limit yourself to what I did, especially because the whole point of this thing is to utilize stuff you have on hand! Just grab a prepared crust or some pizza dough and something bright and fresh on your way home from work, and you'll have a tasty, simple, and homemade meal in the time it takes to order a pizza.

(A quick pantry tip: buy things that you use frequently every time you go to the store, whether you need them immediately or not! I do this with onions, sweet potatoes, and lemons, because I use them multiple times throughout the week, if not every day. And I'll usually also buy some arugula or spinach every week because a pop of green easily takes something from blah to beautiful.)

 pantry flatbread

Makes 1 flatbread; serves 4 as a light main, or 6-8 as an appetizer/snack

Aleppo pepper flakes are different from the standard red pepper flakes you can find in the spice aisle, and they are certainly different from the packets that come when you order a pizza to go. Instead of punching the inside of your mouth with heat, these flakes are bright, tart, and pleasantly warming. I don't know if this reflects a level of quality, but the flakes I purchased are also just pepper flakes, with no included seeds. You can find them at specialty stores or online, and a little jar will last you for quite some time.

Also, keep in mind that this is not a pizza, so there is no ooey-gooey-cheesy base holding all of the ingredients on board. Some things will bake together, and some things will be looser. If you want a more cohesive flatbread, omit the olive oil that you drizzle over the dough and replace it with a generous smear of creme fraîche.


1 pound pizza or flatbread dough (I grabbed a container of prepared dough at Whole Foods)
olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced from top to tail
1/4 cup white wine (optional) or water
kosher salt
4 oz bacon, sliced into lardons
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, torn in half with your fingers
4 oz feta cheese (I used goat's milk feta)
flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
a couple of handfuls of arugula
Aleppo pepper or other red pepper flakes


About an hour before you want to bake the flatbread, remove the dough from the refrigerator to proof and come to room temperature (it will bake more evenly and be much, much easier to work with).

Preheat your oven to 425˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium low heat, and add a generous swig of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Add the onions to the oil and sauté, stirring frequently, until they soften and begin to become translucent. Add the white wine and a pinch of kosher salt to the pan and cook for another 2-5 minutes, until the wine has evaporated and the onions are quite limp, but not falling apart. (Note: you do not need to caramelize them to a darker color unless that is what you want; I happen to like some of the brighter purple on the flatbread, and they'll get a little charred anyway during baking.) Remove the onions to a small bowl and set aside.

Place the pan back over the heat and add the bacon lardons. Cook, watching closely (and occasionally stirring), until the lardons are just barely cooked and beginning to get crispy edges. Remove the lardons to a paper towel-lined plate and drain.

Remove the pizza dough from its container and stretch with your hands, pizza parlor style. Don't worry about it being perfect or crazy-thin! Rustic looks best here, so just stretch it as much as you can without tearing the dough.

Place the dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and drizzle the dough with a little olive oil. Spread the onions over the dough, and scatter with the bacon and olives. Crumble the feta cheese over the bacon and olives. Gently press the toppings into the dough, just enough to help them stick to the surface while baking (not so much that the dough envelops them and they cannot be seen).

Bake at 425˚F until the dough is fully cooked and the onions at the edge of the dough are crisp and a little charred, about 20-25 minutes (check after 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes, then top with a couple of handfuls of arugula, and some generous pinches of flaky salt and Aleppo pepper flakes.

ricotta tartines with peaches, basil, and piment d'espelette

autumn, breads, breakfast, desserts, snacks, summer, sweet, vegetarianFieldandForest2 Comments
ricotta, peach, basil, and piment d'espelette tartine

I don't know about you, but I have jumped hardcore onto the ricotta toast bandwagon. It is SO good! Why is it so good? Why can I not stop myself from eating ricotta toast? Seriously. After I took the above photo, I ate those two tartines, and then I wanted more, so I made two more. And then I ate those. And I am seriously considering toasting up some more bread and making another. Somebody come save me from myself, please! I will repay you with a tartine. And then someone else will probably have to come save you from eating tartines at some point, too, and if the cycle continues, we will have so many people at our place eating tartines, which means at that point we'll just have to have a party.

Which works out, since it's FRIDAY (yay!).

Happy weekend, all!

Ricotta Tartines with Peaches, Basil, and Piment D'Espelette
makes 4 tartines

Why call this a tartine? Tartines are often substantial, open-faced sandwiches, and are frequently eaten with knives and forks. The peaches here are cut into rather thick wedges, and the moisture from the ricotta can make the center of your toast a little soft, so these lack some of the structural integrity needed to lift the bread to your mouth (and are a little tall for you to take a bite directly out of one, anyway) and are best eaten with utensils. Hence, tartines! Shrink these down and make them with toasted baguette slices if you want something that lends itself better to finger food.

4 1/2-inch slices of crusty white bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta (do not use a soft, sandwich bread, as it will get mushy)
olive oil1/2 cup ricotta (whole or part-skim both work well)
1 ripe yellow peach, cut into 12 wedges (quarter the peach, and cut each quarter into thirds)
4 basil leaves sliced into chiffonade (ribbons)
honey, for drizzling (I used Tupelo honey, which I love as it is intensely floral and buttery, plus it never crystalizes) Piment d'Espelette, hot paprika, or a finely crushed dried red chile

Brush the bread with olive oil and toast under the broiler until browned and crispy (this happens quickly, so keep an eye on it as it toasts).

Spread about 2 tablespoons ricotta over each of the toasts. Lay three peach slices over each toast, and distribute the basil evenly among the toasts. Drizzle each tartine with about a teaspoon of honey (or more, if you prefer), and sprinkle with a small pinch of Piment d'Espelette. Serve immediately.

weekday morning sufganiyot

autumn, breads, breakfast, desserts, snacks, spring, summer, vegetarian, winterFieldandForest7 Comments
field + forest | sufganiyot

This post came about weirdly. It began with me wanting to bake something and it ended with me making sufganiyot (also known as Israeli doughnuts, also known as one of the top ten most delicious things on the planet), but somewhere in the middle there I spent 45 minutes standing over the vent in the oven door while it "preheated," flipping through cookbooks in an under-caffeinated haze and wishing that something bread-like and cakey would magically appear in front of me. Every day, lately, has had enough cloudiness and post-holiday malaise to be a potential baking day, albeit one where I am always out of something where 99.9% of the time something = buttermilk.

Note to self: buy buttermilk always. Every time you go to the store. No more of this faking it with milk and lemon juice. Buy buttermilk. BUUUUY IIIIIIIT.

And when you don't buy buttermilk, buy yogurt so you can make sufganiyot.

If you haven't made sufganiyot before, there is no time like the present. Seriously. It will take you 5 minutes to make the batter, and a minute or two of panfrying on each side to get you straight to Doughnutland. Or Sufganiyotville. Or wherever you want to go so long as it is crispy and covered in powdered sugar.

Weekday Morning Sufganiyot (Israeli Doughnuts)
recipe courtesy of my mom <3
I would take these little fritters over raised glazed doughnuts any day. If someone tells you they are having a bad day, make them these; they will feel better. If you are having a bad day, make them for yourself; you will feel better. If you or someone else is having a good day, make them anyway! You have to eat breakfast, right?

1 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1 T sugar
1 egg
1 cup yogurt
canola oil or ghee

Mix all ingredients together.  Heat oil or ghee in frying pan (enough to completely coat the bottom of the pan).  Once the oil is hot, drop tablespoons of batter into the pan.  Carefully flip when brown.  Briefly (for 5-10 seconds) rest cooked sufganiyot on a paper towel, roll in powdered sugar, and serve immediately with jam.

raw choco-muesli with blueberries and ginger

autumn, breakfast, snacks, spring, summer, vegetarian, winterFieldandForestComment

I studied abroad in Germany during the summer between my junior and senior years in college. While I did eat a lot of traditional German foods (and drink a lot of traditional German beverages), my diet mainly consisted of gelato (which was 1 euro a scoop and came in flavors like "French!" and "Smurf!") and muesli, which was served each morning in the Alban Stolz Haus where I was staying.  The morning muesli rotated each day, varying the nuts, seeds, and fruit mixed in with oats, but my FAVORITE muesli by far was what was known as choco-muesli. Yes, this is muesli with chocolate, and yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

Choco-muesli is usually oats, a nut (the one served at ASH had almonds), and maybe one or two other rolled grains, plus tiny little squares of "light" or dark chocolate (or sometimes you could even get boooooooth, so delicioussssss).  And the chocolate was GOOD.  I know this because I kept a box in my room for mornings when I slept through breakfast and, on a particular night when I went out for some traditional German beverages, came home and ate all of the little squares of chocolate out of the muesli in the box. It was overwhelmingly enjoyable at the time, and also very disappointing the next morning when I woke up to realize that a) the traditional German beverages had caused me to sleep through breakfast, and b) I had eaten all of the chocolate out of my emergency muesli.

I packed two boxes of choco-muesli in my suitcase for my return trip, ended up eating half of one on the plane, and finished the other box-and-a-half within a week of arriving back home. It is rare that I find choco-muesli ready-made in the States (though I certainly stock up when I do), so I've been making my own version with raw cacao nibs and other goodies.  While it lacks the novelty of tiny, perfect chocolate squares and the sense of youthful gluttony that comes with eating candy for breakfast, I daresay I like this as much (if not better) than the original.

Raw Choco-Muesli with Ginger and Blueberries
makes 6-7 cups

2-3 cups rolled oats (depending on your preferred oat-to-nut ratio; you can always start with 2 cups and add more later!)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, and store in a lidded jar or airtight container.  Properly stored, the muesli will keep for up to 1 month.

Traditional Preparation (for one serving) - soak 1/2 cup muesli in liquid (milk, yogurt, quark, coconut milk, plant milk, juice, or water) in the fridge overnight.  Top with fresh fruit before serving.

Short-On-Time Preparation (for one serving) - soak 1/2 cup muesli in liquid for a minimum of 5 minutes (I usually start my muesli soaking right after I wake up, and it's ready in the time it takes me to wash my face and get dressed).