Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread

11 . 12 . 14

Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.comFig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

Here we are, home in the woods.

There’s nearly a foot of snow on the ground as I write this and the sky doesn’t look like it’s fixing to quit time soon. Erin Brockovich, my favorite movie of all time is playing and I’m perched on the windowsill by the fireplace waiting for a certain Elk that I know lingers around the house to make an appearance.

Loveliness and prettification has NEVER been my schtick, and I hate that the summary of my morning sounds like an Eddie Bauer catalog or one of those instagram accounts that are all leather goods and falling leaves –– BUT life out here does feel good. For all the confused looks we got for making this leap, there is nothing I’ve felt so sure about, next to marrying Shaun. We definitely didn’t know how life would change when we waved goodbye to the city, but we knew it would, and that it would for the better. They say “wherever you go, there you are,” which is true. We brought our same soggy hearts and issues and questions up the canyon with us, but… yeah… and HERE we are, choosing the front row to our own lives and experiences, away from that which no longer serves. I think the “there” can hold more water than we care to admit. But I’m biased. The mountains are my church. It’s impossible to not step outside, breathe deep, and get hit with this rush of perspective. For the first time in a very long time, I think I recognize the sound of my heartbeat again.

There’s this pull-apart bread I’ve been sitting on a while, though. I made it a month ago, the last shoot in the old place. I was feeling that sort of manic-compulsive desire to bake and make a wholly sticky mess of a half-packed kitchen (pro tip: wine bottles make A+ rolling pins). I’m the kind of person who turns to baking when things feel totally psychedelic and out of control. Unlike throwing together something grainy, herby, green-ish, crunchy, tangy in a bowl and calling it a masterpiece, baking requires a high degree of rule-following that tends to turn me off on most days (in the kitchen, and in life). But I appreciate the precision. The requisite patience. The attention to detail. I crave it when everything else in the world feels topsy turvy. I promise the pay-off is big on this one, guys.

Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

Fig + Anise Pull-Apart Bread 

For the dough (slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman): 

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup (additional) AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • dash of salt 

 

Filling:

  • 2 cups dried mission figs, soaked + softened
  • 2 Tbsp ground anise seed
  • 10 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

 

Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

Preheat oven to 350’ F.

Start with the dough. Combine milk and butter in a small sauce pan. Heat until just beginning to steam. Turn off and remove from heat. Stir in yeast and 1/2 cup sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a stand mixer with a bread hook or in a large bowl with wooden spoon, stir together liquid with 4 cups of flour. Wait an hour for the dough to rise, then add 1/2 cup additional flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Place figs in a bowl of warm water to soften for 20 minutes. Strain, dry, and place in the basin of a food processor or a immersion blender. Add anise, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Blend until a sticky paste forms. Add more butter or a bit of milk to thin if necessary. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Spread fig/anise paste evenly until it covers all of the dough. WARNING: the next phase is extremely messy. It’s unavoidable. Just have fun with it. Cut the dough into 6 to 8 strips, then stack all the strips into one stack. Cut the stack of strips into 6 slices. Place the stacks sideways into a buttered bread pan. If you’re me, you will probably feel the need to shove things in the holes… Dee recommends against this, but hey… it doesn’t always have to be pretty to taste good.

Cover with a dish towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Bake for 30 minutes and then check to make sure the top is not browning. Test the center… are things still gooey in there? Cover with tin foil and continue to bake for 10, 15, 20 minutes.

Fig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.comFig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.comFig & Anise Pull-Apart Bread | Happyolks.com

Vegetarian Pho

10 . 12 . 14

Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho

I wanted a perfect ending. I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, leaning into change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      – Gilda Radner

Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho

Vegetarian Pho 

Barely adapted from newly released Green Kitchen Travels by by David Frenkiel and Luise VindahlThese two are some of the kindest, most genuine folks I’ve come to know in blog-land. Green Kitchen Travels is everything I want in a cookbook, and everything the world needs more of: sincerity, originality, and spunk. 

  • 2 large onions, peeled and halved
  • nub of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered, stalks removed
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp shoyu or soy sauce
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • ––––
  • 1 head of bok choy, quartered
  • fresh thai basil
  • fresh mint
  • 2 cups beansprouts
  • handful of limes, quartered
  • 1 lb brown rice noodles
  • shaved sweet onion slices

 

Heat oven to 450.’ Place onions and ginger slices onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. Place spices in a heavy-pot and dry roast until aromatic, stirring to prevent from burning. Add vegetable stock, shoyu, carrots, fennel, and roasted onions and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain soup base through a fine mesh strainer to remove vegetables and debris, then return strained broth to the pot and reheat. Cook noodles according to packet instructions. Prepare serving bowl(s) with cooked noodles, bok choy, beansprouts, onion, fresh herbs, and lime wedges. When ready to serve, pour over hot broth and serve immediately.

Happyolks | Vegetarian Pho

**The publisher is letting me give away a copy to one (1) Happyolks reader. Leave a comment with an active email address and I’ll notify a winner by next Tuesday.

Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad

09 . 08 . 14

Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com

Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com

Mango Chili Rice Salad

Inspired by the flavors of Bali, Indonesia.  Images captured in our temporary Penestanan, Ubud home + kitchen. We’re home, now. 

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 mango
  • 1 cup celery leaves (or) cilantro
  • 1 cup mint
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup green onion
  • 3 leaves kaffir lime leaves
  • 6-8 shallots
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 2-3 chilies of choice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • several limes
  • salt to taste
  •   ––

In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling. Slowly add 1 cup long grain rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook about 45 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Segment mango into bite sized pieces. Set aside in a bowl or prep plate. Julienne celery, mint, basil, and parsley or keep leaves whole – however you prefer. For this variation I kept the herbs whole. Set aside. Cut green onion AND chili(es) of choice at a bias, add to prepped herbs and mango that you’ve set aside.

Chop shallots and fry in a small saucepan over medium heat in coconut oil for 5-10 minutes. While the shallots sizzle, prepare fresh lemon grass stalks. You will need a very sharp knife, as the stalks are quite firm. Remove the lower bulb and shed any tough outer leaves. Slice into thin rounds and pound the pieces with a pestle & mortar until softened and fragrant. Add to the shallots. Cut kaffir lime leaves into thin strips with scissors, add to shallots and lemongrass. Let simmer for another 5 minutes or until slightly browned and fragrant. Add a bit of coconut oil if the mix starts to dry out.

Toss together cooled rice and the prepped herbs, mango, etc. Pour fried shallot mixture over the salad and toss again. Add salt and juice of several limes as desired.

Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.comFlavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com Flavors of Bali: Mango Chili Rice Salad from www.happyolks.com

Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.