Carrot Griddlecakes

 These were originally called carrot tortillas, but that seems misleading to one who grew up in a culture that knows tortilla only as a corn or flour pancake. Actually, that's the mexican definition. In Spanish cooking, a tortilla is an omelet stuffed to bursting with vegetables. That's what this is. And, like any good american, I changed the name up a bit. For its own good.
This griddlecake carrot cake, carrot pancake thing needs to be appreciated. So what if it's name is a little hard to choose? It's the most delicious thing to put on your plate for lunch or dinner. And it's easy to make in single servings. It's funny, because cooking carrot into things does not play a big part American cooking, yet it's sweet and crunchy and even crispy and so great with onion. It's kind of like potato latkes, but spanish. This is a fragile, falling apart meal that's best with ketchup unrepentantly slathered over it. No knife needed.

Carrot Griddlecakes
serves 2.
adapted from Recipes from South America

1/2 onion, roughly diced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsps olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
Add the onion and sautee for 5-8 minutes. 
Combine the grated carrot and onion in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the eggs with the milk, parsley, salt, and pepper, and beat with a fork for 30 seconds until foamy.

Using the same pan, heat the other tbsp oil over medium heat. 
Squeeze the carrot and onion mixture gently with a paper towel to remove excess moisture that will make the cake soggy, and add to the pan.
Flatten it so as to cover the entire skillet evenly, adding at once the egg mixture and allow to cover the carrots evenly, shaking the pan a little. 
Cook the tortilla over medium heat for about 15 minutes. 
When the center is cooked flip the cake (which can be done with the help of a plate to invert it and place back on the pan) and let it brown on the other side about 3 minutes more.
Serve warm with more parsley as garnish, if desired.


Sweet Pumpkin Challah

)You could make this, for, um, Passover? I'm a bad Jew, when's that? Oops. It's April 16. I should probably delete those last sentences. I could swear passover was coming. Oh, oh right! It's Chanukah. Spellcheck says I spell it wrong. How do I spell Chanukah wrong? There are ten million spellings!
Alright, so I should definitely delete everything and start over. But I'm too lazy, so let's continue on, shall we?
You could make this challah for passover. Or not. You could make it for sunday breakfast. You could make it for french toast. You could make it just to rip into chunks and sink your teeth into.
Challah is a very easy bread to make. You can do it all with a kitchenaid, and it only requires one rising. It's a bit of waiting, but not too much active time. It's good for when you plan to stay in the house all day anyway because you don't have any jeans to wear outside because it's sunday and the one pair of jeans you own without any holes is in the laundry. Is that too specific? It happens to me all the time. Like, every sunday. So this recipe is good for me.
 Very good. It's a sweet eggy bread with pumpkin in it. Mmm.
And the maple glaze can't hurt, can it? No, no it can't.

Sweet Pumpkin Challah
2 small loaves
adapted from Sugar Plum

1/4 cup warm milk (100°-110°F)
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 packet (1 1/8 tsp) active dry yeast
scant 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
scant 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsps milk
1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp pie/cake spice
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups unbleached bread flour

1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

To make the bread dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook on medium speed, mix together milk, maple syrup and yeast until combined; allow to sit for 10 minutes or until bubbles form and you get that yeasty smell. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, 1 egg, milk, oil, spice and salt to yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in bread flour until combined; continue to mix for an additional 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place in a large, mixing bowl; lightly cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down, and divide in half. Divide one half of dough into 3 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, shape each portion into a rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet; shape into a braid and pinch edges to seal. Repeat process with remaining dough. Lightly cover braids with plastic wrap or cloth and allow to rise in a warm area for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk remaining 1 egg together with a tablespoon of water; evenly brush on surface of braids (fingertips work fine). Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before spreading glaze on bread.

To make the glaze, in a medium bowl, whisk together butter, confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Drizzle and spread glaze on top of bread (it hardens after a good 10-20 minutes).


Chewy Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies

 Hmmm, what shall I say? It's getting wintery out. December 3rd already. And while iced chai tea lattes are splendid in warm weather, you know what's even better? A steaming cup of chai tea in your kitchen in your fluffy socks in december.
And you know what's even better than that? Cookies. Gingery, chewy cookies for dunking and nomming. Sound good? Yes. And like many cookies in the world, pretty easy to make. I may not be a great fan of ginger, but here, a little fresh grated ginger makes the world seem warm again, in that way that you know your toes are a bit cold but your stomach is glowing.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Ginger Cookies
2 dozen.
adapted from Joy the Baker

1 heaping cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/8 cup molasses
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough balls

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray lightly with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
 In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. 
Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light color, about 1 minute.
By hand, add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spread the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, toss the ball in sugar to coat and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue making cookies, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but are still soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 12-14 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a plate for eating or an airtight plastic container to store for up to 4-5 days.