Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BOOK EXCERPT—HUCKLEBERRY: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen

"Everything in generosity" is the motto of Zoe Nathan, the big-hearted baker behind Santa Monica's favorite neighborhood bakery and breakfast spot, Huckleberry Bakery & Café. This irresistible cookbook collects more than 115 recipes and more than 150 color photographs, including how-to sequences for mastering basics such as flaky dough and lining a cake pan. Huckleberry's recipes span from sweet (rustic cakes, muffins, and scones) to savory (hot cereals, biscuits, and quiche). True to the healthful spirit of Los Angeles, these recipes feature whole-grain flours, sesame and flax seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, natural sugars, and gluten-free and vegan options—and they always lead with deliciousness. For bakers and all-day brunchers, Huckleberry will become the cookbook to reach for whenever the craving for big flavor strikes.

Reprinted with permission from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes From Our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan (with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda), © 2014. Published by Chronicle Books. Photography © 2014 by Matt Armendariz. Support your local independent bookstore, or purchase Huckleberry at IndieBound or Amazon.

The Evening Class has chosen the following three recipes to share with our readership.

Brown Rice Quinoa Pancakes
(Makes about 15 pancakes)

Occasionally I make something I love so much that I literally want to eat it every day, and that's how I feel about these. I like them as straightforward pancakes cooked on a griddle, but they're also really good as a large baked pancake. Pour all the batter into a buttered cast-iron skillet, bake at 450°F / 230°C for about 15 minutes, and serve immediately straight from the skillet slathered with butter and maple syrup. It's a fun way to eat a pancake with a group. These should be your go-to breakfast anytime you have leftover rice. And if you're not up for cooking quinoa, you can always use all brown rice, but I will say if you choose to use just quinoa, the flavor can be a little overpowering. It is mandatory to serve these with maple syrup, but, honestly, you don't even need butter these pancakes are so good.

½ cup/60 g whole-wheat flour
5 tbsp/50 g cornmeal
2 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp flax seed meal or wheat germ
2 tsp chia seeds or poppy seeds
1 tbsp millet
2 tbsp brown sugar
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups/480 ml buttermilk
½ cup/110 g unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs
1¼ cups/200 g cooked brown or wild rice
½ cup/100 g cooked quinoa

1. Put the whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, rolled oats, flax seed meal, chia seeds, millet, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs and whisk to combine. Stir in the rice and quinoa.

2. About 5 minutes before you're ready to make the pancakes, pre-heat a greased griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat; the griddle is ready when a few droplets of water sizzle and dance across the surface. But once heated, lower the heat to medium to prevent burning.

3. Drop ⅓ cup/80 ml of batter onto the hot griddle. When bubbles set on the surface of the pancake and the bottom is golden, flip and cook for about 1 minute longer. Serve immediately, while hot.

These are best the moment they leave the griddle.

Bacon Cheddar Muffins
(Makes 15 muffins)

Please play with this recipe. Add and subtract to your heart's content. Don't eat meat? Add additional cheese and herbs for super-cheesy herby muffins. No rye flour in the pantry? Substitute another flour, like whole-wheat, buckwheat, or, if you must, more all-purpose flour. Black pepper is not my thing but Laurel is obsessed. She always adds a healthy dose to these. Ham instead of bacon? Do it. Goat cheese? Why not? Like I said, play!

Browning the tops of these before they overbake inside is the key to success. So you may want to bake one muffin pan at a time, right at the top of your oven. Feel free to ride your oven dial and go hotter or cooler to control the browning, but just remember that color is flavor, so you want these pretty dark.

6 tbsp/85 g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
¾ cup/100 g all-purpose flour
¾ cup/120 g cornmeal
6 tbsp/40 g rye flour
1½ tbsp baking powder
½ cup + 1 tbsp/135 ml canola oil
3 tbsp + 2 tsp/55 ml maple syrup
1 cup + 2 tbsp/175 ml buttermilk
½ cup/70 g diced Cheddar (cut into 1-in/2.5-cm cubes), plus ¼ cup/30 g grated Cheddar
6 tbsp/40 g grated Parmesan
11 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped, plus 1½ tbsp bacon fat, cooled
¼ cup/10 g fresh chives, parsley, or a combo, finely chopped
Chopped rosemary for garnishing

1. Position a rack near the top of your oven and preheat to 400°F/ 200°C. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with 15 paper liners, spacing them evenly between the two pans.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt for 1 to 2 minutes until nice and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs slowly, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, rye flour, and baking powder and mix until incorporated. Add the canola oil, maple syrup, and buttermilk. Scrape the mixer bowl well, making sure everything is well incorporated. Add the diced Cheddar, 4 tbsp/25 g of the Parmesan, the bacon, and chives. Mix just until dispersed, folding by hand to be sure.

3. Fill the muffin cups to the very top.

4. In a small bowl toss the grated Cheddar with the remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the muffins. Bake for about 15 minutes, until nicely browned but not overbaked inside. Garnish with chopped rosemary.

5. These are best eaten the day they're made.

Fresh Corn Cornbread
(Makes sixteen 2-in/5-cm squares)

This is your old-fashioned cornbread made insanely moist and delicious. It is the opposite of dry, and can really stand on its own without needing to be slathered with butter. This recipe is wildly versatile. Use fresh corn if you can; if it's not in season, you don't need it. For a fun jalapeño Cheddar version, increase the salt to 2 tsp, omit the honey, add ½ cup/120 g grated Cheddar, 2 jalapeños, finely chopped, and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Take it any direction you please. The honey glaze is optional; if you go in a more savory direction, I would omit it. If you are making this cornbread for use in our Cornbread Pudding (page 164), omit the fresh corn and reduce the sugar to 6 tbsp/60 g.

6 tbsp/85 g unsalted butter
½ cup + 1 tbsp/110 g sugar
1¾ tsp kosher salt
4 eggs
1 cup/160 g cornmeal
¾ cup + 2 tbsp/100 g all-purpose flour
¼ cup/30 g whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
½ cup/120 ml whole milk
1 cup/240 ml buttermilk
¾ cup/180 ml canola oil
2 tbsp honey, plus ¼ cup/85 g for glazing (optional)
1½ cups/365 g fresh corn kernels (about 2 cobs; optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C and grease an 8-by-8-in/20-by-20 cm pan.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well. Pause mixing and add the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and baking powder.

3. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the milk, buttermilk, canola oil, and 2 tbsp honey and mix. This is a very loose batter. Small lumps of butter are no problem, but avoid any lumps of flour. If you see them, mix a little longer or work them out with your fingers.

4. Fold in the corn, if in season; if not, omit.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake!

6. If you are choosing to glaze, slightly warm the ¼ cup/85 g honey in a small saucepan and lightly brush the top of the warm cake. This is best served the day it's made but keeps, wrapped well, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb are the wife-and-husband team who own and operate Huckleberry Bakery & Café. They fell in love while working together at their nearby restaurant Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen; they also own and operate Milo & Olive and Sweet Rose Creamery. They live with their two awesome kids in Santa Monica, California.

Laurel Almerinda has worked side by side with Zoe for years at Huckleberry, and now runs day-to-day pastry operations. Together Laurel and Zoe have created countless items, learned from each other, and grown in ways they never could have imagined. Laurel lives in Venice, California, with her husband, Ethan Pines.

Matt Armendariz is a celebrated food and lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles, California.

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