I’ve been cooking 1 recipe per day from Zoe Nathan Loeb’s cookbook: Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes from Our Kitchen, and am a bit behind in posting, so here’s a quick update.
First, a “chocolate chocolate teacake.” I have been quite enamored with the teacakes served at both of Zoe’s restaurants, Huckleberry & Milo and Olive, because they are so light and moist. Some of them are baked loaf tins and served in slices and others are baked and served in mini, tiny, single serving loaf pans. I decided upon the chocolate teacake because I had all of the ingredients on hand: buttermilk, dark chocolate, cocoa (or cacao) powder, flour, eggs, baking soda and powder, coffee, sugar, etc. I am still not certain as to why this is called a “teacake,” though, because my research yielded only descriptions of cakes that were very simple, often with dried fruits, but not chocolate. In addition, I cannot think of drinking tea with this cake, but rather a dark, delicious coffee with some cream, or a latte. Anyhow . . . . I made quite an epic mess in the kitchen with this one, but it was undoubtedly worth it. And I actually brewed some kilogram chai tea and mixed it with heavy cream as an accompaniment.
I made this part up myself — added a giant hunk of chocolate in the middle of the batter, for oozing factor.
As a funny coincidence, just yesterday, the day I made the teacake, and after I did so, I came across a wonderful blog, thirsteafortea, that features wonderful information regarding teas of all sorts, the ceremony of tea brewing and drinking, and recipes for traditional tea accompaniments such as dumplings and scones, as well as reviews of tea houses. The blog is beautifully photographed and written and has peaked my interest in tea, which I’ve always associated with refinement, serenity, a demure and quiet tempered disposition, and sophistication, rather than (for right or wrong) the things I associate with coffee such as young hipsters, jacked up drivers, hot tempers, full throttle emotional living, and high anxiety. I love my coffee and have never thought to incorporate tea into my beverage arsenal, but now I am interested. We’ll see how that affects my cooking!
Second up was brisket, which has always eluded me. I don’t often make large roasts of meat and the one time I did make brisket, it was from a Suzanne Goin recipe that took me two days and multiple ingredients, stages, and techniques. It was good but too much work that I don’t like. I’d rather be baking and frying up burgers than browning, deglazing, braising, de-fatting, slicing, re-heating and on and on, large pieces of meat. Enter Huckleberry’s recipe, which is super simple and yielded the most delicious, tomato/wine sauced, tender brisket I have ever eaten. To stay true to her recipe I served it as a “breakfast hash” with fried eggs, but for dinner!
Finally, my holy grail of baking: the famous “super cheesy rye biscuit” that lived off (for breakfast) almost every day for a year. Milo & Olive happens to be about 2 blocks from where I used to work, a very easy bike-ride break on my way to work. I was so distressed when they first moved the daily biscuit to weekends only, then to some weekends, then they disappeared. When Zoe announced her book I wrote to her inquiring if the biscuit recipe would be in there, and to my delight she responded affirmative. Now I know why the biscuits are delicious: cream cheese, parmesan, sharp cheddar, butter, butter and butter, buttermilk, rye flour and . . . well you get the picture. The upside is they are so easy to make, you freeze the biscuits for at least 2 hours but up to . . . . quite a long time, which makes it so convenient to just have one or two at a time if you are a small family or your own family!, and they are so delicious that my husband when he took a bite hot out of the oven, shoved his dinner plate to the other end of the table and put his hand on his forehead as if to express the high drama and seriousness of this biscuit.