world peace cookies

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Made these with a bit of cayenne pepper and kosher salt! they came out delicious.

from here

The original recipe for these cookies was given to me by my friend, Pierre Hermé, the wonderful Parisian pastry chef.  In the cookies’ first incarnation, they were called Sablés Chocolats, or chocolate shortbread.  In their second, the one in which chopped chocolate was added to the sweet/salty dough, they were dubbed Sables Korova and were served at the Paris restaurant of the same name.  Finally, a neighbor of mine gave them the name they truly deserve:  World Peace Cookies.  He was convinced that if everyone in the world could have these cookies, there would be planetary peace.  I hope he’s right.  What I know for sure is that everyone who has these cookies smiles and smiles are pretty powerful.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons; 5 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits, or an equal amount of store bought chocolate mini-chips


Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together and keep close at hand.

Working in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy.  (If you’d like, you can make the dough by hand using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.)  Add both sugars, the salt and the vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated – the dough may look crumbly, but that’s fine.  For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added.  Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface, divide it in half, gather it together and, working with one half at a time, shape the dough into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or for up to 3 days.

Getting ready to bake:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Have two lined baking sheets at hand.

Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice rounds that are 1/2 – inch thick.  (The rounds often crack as you’re cutting them – don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto the cookie.)  Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets leaving about 1 inch of spread space between each round and slide one of the sheets into the oven.  Bake the cookies for 12 minutes – they won’t look done nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be.  Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.

Storing:  The dough can be made ahead and either chilled or frozen.  In fact, if you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking – let it warm just enough so that you can slice the rounds; bake the cookies 1 minute longer.  Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Cook time:
12 minutes

Makes about 36 cookies


Written by orata

March 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Posted in recipes

non-vegan vegan cauliflower alfredo bake

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This recipe but not vegan, haha. I didn’t have almond milk so I used a mixture of half and half and water to thin the cauliflower puree. Also pureed more than half of it, and topped it with crushed cornflakes mixed with melted butter.

It is substantially tastier with some olive oil and/or shredded Cheddar mixed in before serving. There’s no fat in the mouthfeel otherwise. It is really pretty dang tasty/decadent for something with so much vegetable in it, though.

Author Notes: Cauliflower, in this case, amplifies the joys of a real, delightfully starchy pasta creation rather than standing in for one. Cauliflower creates the base for a creamy, rich, and completely dairy-free alfredo sauce, and the cauliflower florets you don’t use in the sauce are folded into the pasta, which means that you’ll get pockets of savory vegetable goodness between the penne. (less)Gena Hamshaw

Serves 6

  • 12ounces penne pasta (you can use a gluten free penne, such as brown rice penne or quinoa penne, if desired)
  • 1medium head cauliflower, cut into small pieces and florets (about 7 to 8 cups, total)
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3small cloves garlic, minced or sliced
  • 3/4cup unsweetened almond, soy, or rice milk
  • 1/3cup nutritional yeast
  • 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1cup fresh green peas, blanched for 1 minute to soften (or frozen and thawed green peas)
  • 1/2cup vegan breadcrumbs (or vegan and gluten free breadcrumbs, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers Just Crumbs)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook, stirring every now and then, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it’s cooked through but still a little more al dente than you’d want if you were to eat it right away (you may need to adjust cooking time if you use a non-wheat pasta, so check package for cooking instructions and modify your cooking time accordingly). Drain pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of cooking water. Toss the pasta with the cooking water to help prevent sticking and set it aside.
  2. Bring another pot of water to boil. Boil the cauliflower for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until it’s tender. Drain. Place half of the florets into your blender, reserving the other half.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until it’s fragrant and cooked through, but not burning. Blend half of the cauliflower florets with the garlic, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The sauce should be very smooth, so add extra milk or a drizzle of olive oil if needed to achieve a smooth texture.
  4. Lightly oil a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Toss the pasta, the remaining cauliflower florets, the peas, and all of the sauce together. Taste the mixture and add a dash of salt or pepper if desired. Transfer all ingredients to the baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crumbs are toasted and the pasta is bubbly. Serve.

Written by orata

February 16, 2017 at 1:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Ramen salad

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1 package ramen, crushed up

1/2 head green cabbage

1 carrot, shredded with the julienne shredder

1 rib celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp roasted peanuts


1/3 cup oil (I used mostly avocado oil with a big drizzle of sesame oil)

1 Tbsp sugar

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1 ramen flavoring packet

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and then eat it.


Written by orata

December 20, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Cornbread, lemon pudding cake, stew

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Made a pretty standard beef stew (beef shank, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay, oregano, red wine) and ate it with some leftover cornbread (John Thorne’s skillet cornbread recipe with green chilis, green onions, cracklins, onion, grated cheddar cheese. -36 outside with windchill (-4 or so without).

plus this lemon pudding cake recipe, substituting bottled lemon juice for the zest/fresh juice, and half and half mixed with water for the milk:



  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 2 tablespoons grated zest and ½ cup juice from 4 lemons
  • 5 large eggs , separated
  • 1¼ cups whole milk , room temperature
  • 2 quarts boiling water



Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking dish. Whisk flour and cornstarch in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in yolks, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Slowly add milk and lemon juice, mixing until just combined.


Using clean bowl and whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add remaining sugar until whites are firm and glossy, about 1 minute. Whisk one-third of whites into batter, then gently fold in remaining whites, one scoop at a time, until well combined.


Place kitchen towel in bottom of roasting pan and arrange prepared baking dish on towel. Spoon batter into prepared dish. Carefully place pan on oven rack and pour boiling water into pan until water comes halfway up the sides of baking dish. Bake until surface is golden brown and edges are set (center should jiggle slightly when gently shaken), about 60 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour. Serve.

Written by orata

December 18, 2016 at 11:45 pm

Posted in recipes

Chickpea cake

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Brought this thing I invented to Make Time:

1/2 pound besan (chickpea) flour

3 cups cold water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp hing (asafoetida) powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup cauliflower, chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp urad dal

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp black mustard seeds

6 fresh curry leaves

3 fresh green chilis, minced

2 Tbsp coconut oil


Whisk together the gram flour, water, salt, pepper, hing, and turmeric and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat and saute the onion till it starts to turn brown. Add the urad dal, ginger, garlic, chilis, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and cauliflower, and cook for another couple of minutes. Add to the gram flour mixture along with the fresh cilantro and stir to mix together. Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp coconut oil in the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom and sides with oil. Pour the batter into the pan. Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler on high and broil for a few more minutes, until slightly blistered on top.

Last night, we had Molly and Sam over and I made aloo tikki–I peeled and diced the potatoes before boiling them, then mashed them after draining, and added the toasted coarse upma semolina to bind it/on the outside for crunch. I used 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, not sure how much they weighed.

Aloo Tikki


500g medium floury potatoes such as desiree or maris piper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp neutral oil, plus extra to fry
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1-2 medium green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp garam masala
100g shelled peas (frozen is fine)
3 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp semolina or cornmeal (or plain flour)
Knob of ghee or butter (optional)

Put the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, into a pan just big enough to hold them, along with the turmeric and a generous pinch of salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until very tender and drain. Put back into the hot pan for a minute or so to steam dry.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and then fry the onion until soft and beginning to caramelise. Stir in the ginger, garlic, chillis, mustard seeds and garam masala and fry for another minute. Stir in the peas and cook for a minute or so to defrost if necessary.

If you must, peel the potatoes, then mash well, and add to the frying pan. Stir in the lemon juice and two tablespoons of semolina, mix well then season to taste.

Roll the mixture into golf-ball sized portions, then flatten into cakes. Press both sides in semolina.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with oil, and add the ghee if using. Heat over a medium-high flame, then add the tikki (they should sizzle). Cook until golden brown, then carefully flip over and repeat. Serve warm with chutney.

Saag paneer, modified from this:


1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (16-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 (1-inch thumb) ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green serrano chile, finely chopped (seeds removed if you don’t like it spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala, recipe follows
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the paneer as the pan warms. In a couple of minutes give the pan a toss; each piece of paneer should be browned on one side. Fry another minute or so, and then remove the paneer from the pan onto a plate.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chile. Now here’s the important part: saute the mixture until it’s evenly toffee-coloured, which should take about 15 minutes. Don’t skip this step – this is the foundation of the dish! If you feel like the mixture is drying out and burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin. If you haven’t already, sprinkle a little water to keep the spices from burning. Cook, stirring often, until the raw scent of the spices cook out, and it all smells a bit more melodious, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the spinach and stir well, incorporating the spiced onion mixture into the spinach. Add a little salt and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cook about 5 minutes with the lid off. Remove the spinach mixture to a food processor and puree. Add the cheese and season with lemon juice.

Persian rice (accidentally burned it and ruined the crust):

Made half of this and didn’t do the separate saffron bag thing–I stirred in saffron threads into the rice.

Steamed Persian Rice

6 to 8 servings

Adapted from M.R. Ghanoonparvar ’s recipe for chelo in his cookbook, “Persian Cuisine” (Mazda, 2006).


Pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 tablespoons hot water

4 tablespoons kosher salt

3 cups extra-long-grain rice (basmati rice will work), rinsed five times in warm water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Use a mortar and pestle to crush the sugar and saffron threads into a fine mixture. Add the hot water and stir to combine.

Fill a large bowl with 8 cups of water and stir in 2 tablespoons of the salt until it dissolves. Add the rice and let it soak for an hour. Drain the rice.

Dissolve the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt in 8 cups of water in a large, nonstick pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the drained rice and boil for 6 to 10 minutes or until the grains are firm, but not crunchy. (The time will vary depending on the quality of the rice.) Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain the rice.

While the rice drains, clean the pot and add 1 tablespoon of melted butter to the bottom. Swirl the butter around to coat the bottom of the pot and about 2 inches up the sides. Spoon the drained rice into the center of the pot, making sure to keep it away from the sides. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke several holes in the rice, all the way to the bottom of the pot. Pour the remaining melted butter over the top of the rice.

Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the pot lid to cover it on all sides, securing the cloth with a clip or a rubber band to make sure it doesn’t fall onto the stove burner. Cover the pot with the towel-encased lid and cook the rice for 10 minutes over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the rice steam for another 30 minutes.

Add 8 drops of the saffron solution to the rice in the bag. Seal the bag and shake it vigorously until the rice is evenly tinted yellow. Garnish plated rice decoratively with the saffron rice as you please.

Tamarind chutney:

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the spices; cook and stir for about 2 minutes to release the flavors.
  2. Stir the water into the pan with the spices along with the sugar and tamarind paste. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until the mixture turns a deep chocolaty brown and is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce will be thin, but it will thicken upon cooling. (I thickened it with cornstarch)

Roasted cauliflower:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets. Roll in vegetable oil and then besan flour mixed with hing and salt. Roast for 20 minutes.


Written by orata

December 11, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

lime and cilantro kasha salad

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  • 2+ cups chicken stock (I had this lying around from slow cooking a package of frozen chicken thighs)
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 oz? cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 roasted sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 large collard green leaves, stem removed and discarded, cut into ribbons
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • salt
  • pepper

Bring the stock to a boil, add the kasha and salt, and turn down to a simmer. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the collard greens. When it’s done, drain and add to a bowl, add the other ingredients, toss and serve.

Written by orata

May 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Posted in recipes


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I made beef tongue for the first time last night/today and was astonished at how easy it was. My grandma always used to make beef tongue congee for me when I was little, and my favorite tacos are lengua tacos, but I had never done it from scratch before.

I took the whole frozen tongue and put it in the slow cooker with about 4 peeled garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and a peeled/trimmed/halved red onion, and covered it with boiling water. I set it to “low” and let it cook overnight. The next day, I took it out, peeled it (gave the skin to the cat), cut it into cubes, and pan-fried it with a little sliced garlic and salt and pepper over medium-high heat, with a bit of grapeseed oil. It developed an amazing brown crust and was ready in about 5 minutes.

Festival Foods was out of cilantro (!!) when we went shopping, so I had my lengua tacos with corn tortillas (microwaved for 45 seconds under a damp paper towel), sour cream, thinly sliced red onion, and lime juice. So damn good. I also had some of the tongue-stewing broth for breakfast with a dash of soy sauce and dry toast crumbled into it.


Written by orata

May 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Posted in recipes