Jacques Torres Chocolate Chunk Cookies + NEWS!

I have two pretty exciting things to share with you.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chunk Cookie | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

One, is this recipe for Jacques Torres famous chocolate chunk cookies. They require at least 24 hours of refrigeration due to the combination of all-purpose flour and bread flour, so that the gluten bonds have time to break down. Even though they are time intensive, these cookies are famous for a reason. They are absurdly delicious.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chunk Cookies | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

These are the cookies the Cookie Monster dreams of. The crisp exterior gives way to a perfectly soft center riddled with salted dark chocolate chunks. The recipe yields a lot of cookies so I like to divide half of the dough into ready-to-bake scoops using a tablespoon or ice cream scooper and freeze them in a container until I need a cookie fix again.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chunk Cookie 1| The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Head over to the New York Times website or to one of my favorite food blogs Crepes of Wrath to see the recipe!

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chunk Cookies 2| The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Now for the really exciting news, on Friday May 1st I am setting off on a two month culinary road trip of America with my Baker best friend, Belle. This project has been a pipe dream of mine until very recently when we decided that now was the time to chase it.

The road trip will take place between May 1st and July 3rd 2015 and will circumnavigate America’s outer states: Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, California and Oregon.

We will be interviewing chefs, home cooks, food bloggers, farmers, fishermen and huntsmen… basically anyone who has anything to do with food! And we will be blogging about it on our website The Travelling Table. If you are interested in food and travel you can follow us on our culinary adventures!

Here is a little video explaining our project in further detail.

If you have any suggestions for places we should eat, see or stay, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

Provençal Style Grilled Vegetables with Salsa Verde

Provencal Style Vegetables with Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

For me, this is good weather on a platter. This is the kind of dish that spurs you towards the barbecue with your dad or best friend, the kind of recipe you can enjoy making and eating in the sun at a large table with a group of loved ones. Even the taste – fresh and bursting with flavour – is reminiscent of spring and summer.

It is unusual for vegetables to take centre stage in a meal but honestly, this recipe is the time to let veggies shine, especially as summer nears and the variety of fresh produce increases multifold.

Provencal Roasted Vegetables with Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

The inspiration for this dish came from a cooking class I took at the London Chef for my mother’s birthday a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, I had never been to a cooking class before and I was pleasantly surprised by how fun and informative it was. My family is rather competitive so within the first ten minutes, we had turned answering the Chef’s questions correctly and mimicking his exact techniques into our a kind of game show.

Happily, when there is food involved, everyone wins and the London Chef’s version of this dish astonished us with its simplicity and deliciousness, enough so that I turned right around and reproduced it for my mother three days after.

Provencal Roasted Eggplant + Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Provencal Roasted Asparagus + Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)You can grill the vegetables on the barbeque or in a pan over high heat on the stove. The key to getting delicious colour on these veggies is to leave them for at least two minutes on each side, without giving into the urge to flip them constantly. This is my favorite combination of vegetables to use but you could also add mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, squash or Brussels sprouts if you have them on hand.

These Provencal style vegetables are delicious served at room temperature too and keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. I also create a sandwich with the leftovers, laying the vegetables between two thick slices of bread with some hummus, which I would highly recommend you try as well.

Provencal Style Roasted Vegetables with Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Provencal Roasted Vegetable Platter + Salsa Verde | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Provençal Style Grilled Vegetables with Salsa Verde
 
The ultimate grilled vegetable platter with salsa verde for a filling vegetarian meal or side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 4 peppers
  • 2 lbs asparagus
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 lemon
Salsa Verde
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup avocado oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • ½ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 5 boneless anchovy fillets, diced
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Wash, dry and dice the vegetables into your desired shapes. I prefer to cut the cylindrical vegetables into rounds. Ensure that each vegetable is diced evenly so that they cook at the same rate.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over high heat on the stove. Add a splash of avocado oil and add one layer of vegetables. Cook undisturbed for at least 2 minutes to give them colour, before flipping over. Do this to the eggplants, peppers, asparagus, zucchini and lemon halves until done. If the vegetables are oily, pat them dry with a paper towel before rearranging them on a platter.
  3. For the salsa verde, roughly chop the mint, parsley and basil before adding to a small bowl with the avocado oil. Dice the anchovy fillets and the capers and add with the salt and Dijon mustard to the herb mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour over the arranged vegetables. Squeeze the roasted lemons on top when ready to serve, either warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Holes

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Hole Recipe | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

What’s not to love about Easter?

Pastel colours, tiny, fluffy animals, family get-togethers, happy children, Cadbury Mini Eggs and chocolate treasure hunts… Dreams are basically made of this stuff.

Which makes it the perfect holiday to celebrate with children or, if you don’t have any of those handy, to act like children. Paint some eggshells, plan an absurdly convoluted Easter egg hunt and eat waaay too much candy because whatever else this holiday may mean for you – religiously, emotionally or otherwise – it is also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the long weekend by having some fun.

Hot Cross Doughnut Hole Orange Sugar | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)Hot Cross Doughnut Hole Batter | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Hole Batter | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

These Hot Cross doughnut holes are my idea of fun. I spent hours researching traditional Hot Cross Buns and doughnut recipes to ensure that I got these little guys right. And you know what? I think I did. The Grand Marnier soaked raisins and orange zest infused sugar lend the doughnut bites a great citrus flavor while the cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spiced dough give them a nutty warmth. If you have ever had the good fortunate to enjoy a Kouign Amann from Dominique Ansel’s stunning bakery or from any reputable patisserie in France, these doughnuts remind me of a layman’s version of the more complicated Breton pastry. Making these is also a delightful activity to do with your kids as mixing the sticky dough and plopping it into the oil (from a safe distance) is good fun.

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Hole | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Hole Close Up | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)Here are a few other awesome Easter recipes that inspired me to have fun in the kitchen this weekend: I looked to Gaby ( I know, great name!) when I was trying to decide what to make for Easter Brunch and I drooled over this Spring Cheesecake, this version of ‘healthy’ chocolate Easter eggs and these elegant lavender mini cakes by the amazing Michelle at Hummingbird High.

Easter Hot Cross Doughnut Holes | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

If you don’t want to use the liquor to plump and flavor the raisins, replace it with boiling water flavored with orange blossom (if you have it). Also, I know that frying in oil can be daunting so aim to keep the oil just hot enough to turn the doughnut holes a deep golden brown after 2 minutes on each side; any longer and it will be dry or too dark; any less and the batter will not cook through.

And finally, Happy Easter!!

Easter Basket of Hot Cross Doughnut Hole | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Hot Cross Doughnut Holes for Easter
Author: 
 
Hot cross doughnut holes made with orange zest, warm spices and raisins, and coated with cinnamon sugar.
Ingredients
Doughnut holes
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier, or another orange flavoured liquor
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 5 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Sugar Topping
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
Instructions
  1. Soak the raisins in the Grand Marnier for at least 30 minutes until partially re-hydrated.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest until thoroughly incorporated; if you want to intensify the flavor leave it for 30 minutes. Add the spices and mix thoroughly before adding the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Strain the raisins, discard the liquid, and add them to the milk mixture. Slowly, add the liquid to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix fully before adding the melted butter. The dough should be wet and sticky.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan until a thermometer reads 350 degrees or the oil spits when you flick water into it. Line a drying rack with paper towel and place it within easy reach to transfer the fried doughnut holes to. Mix the sugar topping ingredients together in bowl or deep dish and place beside your station.
  5. Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to form each doughnut hole and drop the batter gently into the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the saucepan. Leave each side submerged in the oil for approximately 2 minutes, or until both sides are a deep golden brown. Transfer to the paper towel lined rack. When the doughnut holes are cool enough to touch, toss them in the sugar topping mixture.
  6. Prepare the glaze by stirring together the milk and powdered sugar. Apply a glazed cross shape to the cooled sugar rolled doughnut holes with either a paint brunch, chop stick or piping bag (or anything else you can think of).
  7. These are best enjoyed immediately but will keep for up to 3 days unrefrigerated.
Notes
Doughnut recipe adapted from Just A Taste's Easy Homemade Glazed Doughnut Holes.

 

 

Roasted Vegetable Galette with Whole Wheat Flax Crust

Roasted Vegetable Galette with Whole Wheat Flax Crust | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Maybe it’s because I spend so much time feeding men, but I have never tried the Meatless Monday thing let alone thought of vegetarianism.

Do not get me wrong, I love vegetables. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to eat a meal without them and I have never turned back from the habit. But it is a rare dinner that I forgo meat, unless it is my mother’s Italian Giambotta stew, this kale salad or this Indonesian vegetable fest. I always try to be conscious while buying my proteins, and I have a very healthy diet but still, I feel like it is remiss of me not to explore more vegetarian or vegan options.

Whole Wheat Flax Vegetable Galette | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

So, I spent a while this weekend cruising my favourite vegetarian and vegan food blogs, like First Mess, Naturally Ella and My New Roots, in order to understand the methodology behind their lifestyles and to inspire myself. There are many reasons to consider eating more vegetable based meals – environmentalism, health, politics – but at the end of the day it can be as simple as this: vegetables can be pretty freaking delicious.

After tinkering around for some time, I finally came up with this roasted vegetable galette with whole wheat flax crust. It is incredibly filling with the addition of meaty eggplant and zucchini, salty from the caper marinated vegetables and creamy from the goat cheese. It is something I can keep in the fridge for a few days as a quick and easy meal but it’s rustic beauty also makes it ideal for serving at lunch with a simple green salad.

Vegetable Galette with Whole Wheat Flax Crust | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

Roasted Vegetable Galette with Whole Wheat Flax Crust
Author: 
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
 
A healthy vegetarian whole wheat flax crust galette with caper and balsamic marinated roasted vegetables and goat cheese.
Ingredients
Filling
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and halved
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and halved
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato
Vegetable Marinade
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon capers
Whole Wheat Flax Pastry
  • ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ⅓ cup ice water
Instructions
  1. To make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the prepared vegetables in avocado or olive oil, salt and pepper in a large baking dish. Add the thyme and rosemary then bake the vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes. If your oven heats unevenly, rotate the dish or stir every 15 to 20 minutes to ensure even baking. Take it out of the oven and transfer the vegetables to a large bowl, discarding the thyme and rosemary. You should have approximately 3-4 cups worth of roasted veggies.
  2. For the yam, prick it all over with a knife or fork and bake in the oven on a separate vessel with the other vegetables, for 40 minutes until it is soft all the way through. Leave to cool.
  3. Prepare the marinade by combining the avocado oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and capers together. Pour over the vegetables and toss until evenly coated. Leave to marinate while you make the pastry crust.
  4. To make the whole wheat flax pastry: Blend the flours, flax, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together in a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse for 30 seconds until the butter is reduced to small lumps. Next, add the ice water and mix until just combined. The mixture should look sandy. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface but do not flour the counter. Knead the dough, pulling out and over firmly with the heel of your hand until it comes together, which may take a few minutes of vigorously pushing and squeezing as the dough is naturally dry. Do not over work the dough; ensure there are still pearl sized bits of butter throughout. Chill covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. When the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Transfer the chilled dough to a clean surface and roll out to approximately 12 inches. Either lay it on a baking sheet or, as I prefer to do, lay it over a springform pan, allowing the dough to drape over sides. Spread the inside of the baked yam over the bottom of the pastry. Drain the roasted vegetables of the remaining marinade and add to the top galette. Evenly crumble goat cheese over the interior. Carefully fold the draped edges of the pastry over the top of the vegetable filling. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown.
  7. Leave the galette to cool in the springform for at least 15 minutes before releasing the pan. Use a knife to gently release the edges if needed.

 

Curried Scrambled Eggs with Avocado, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Curried Scramble Eggs with Goat Cheese | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

I love knowing what people eat for breakfast. What someone chooses to eat for the most important meal of the day is pretty telling. There are the people who wake up an hour early to make hollandaise sauce with their eggs, who eat the leftover french toast their children refused to finish before school and those who grab a granola bar on their route from the bathroom to the garage door. Those that grew up eating un croissant, dutch waffles with stroop syrup, Moroccan Baghrir pancakes or Chinese jook which consists of rice and pickled tofu.

If I could capture a snapshot of human life, it would be the morning routine. It’s such an intimate time, whether we realize it or not, when we physically and mentally prepare ourselves for the coming day. It’s where the idiosyncrasies come out to play because we don’t have the time or the wherewithal to mask them.

Curried scrambled eggs with avocado, bacon and goat cheese is the cornerstone of my morning routine. I love to get up earlier than I need to in order to create a bowl of subtly sweet and spicy eggs with three of my favourite things -avocado, bacon and goat cheese -and then eat them while I watch TV or flick through my favourite news aggregator, Zite. I love to make it for friends from out of town when I host them and for dinners when I’m too tried to even think about making something else.

I know the term ‘comfort food’ conjures images of certain things – gooey macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, chicken pot pie, lasagna – but I think your favourite breakfast is the most natural comfort food. You make the decision every morning to eat something that will start your day off right and it is, at least for some, a routine that has existed for years, maybe even since childhood.

I’d love to hear about your favourite breakfast and why you love it so much; comment bellow to share! And check out this and this if you are interested in what other cultures eat for breakfast around the world.

Curried Scramble Eggs with Bacon | The Laughing Table (1 of 1)

 

Curried Scrambled Eggs with Avocado, Bacon and Goat Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
 
Quick and easy curry scrambled eggs with bacon, avocado and goat cheese.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I use almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ⅛th an avocado, diced
  • 1oz goat cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cover a small baking dish or tray with tinfoil and evenly lay out the strips of bacon. Cook in the oven for 12 minutes or until it reaches your desired crispiness. Place the bacon on paper towel and pat dry.
  2. Heat a pan over high heat while you whisk together the maple syrup, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add the eggs and milk, whisk gently until combined.
  3. Lower the pan to a simmer or the lowest heat setting and add the butter. When the butter has melted, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Let the egg set for 30-45 seconds before stirring gently with a spatula, carefully folding the mixture into itself. When the eggs are still soft and glistening, remove from heat and put onto a plate.
  4. Crumble the bacon over the eggs, add the diced avocado and some fresh crumbled goat cheese.