Now is the Time to Make Makoviy Rulet, Ukranian Braided Bread with Apples and Poppyseed Paste
Plus Herbed Chicken, Baked Pasta, and Salted Caramel Sauce.
It’s been almost a week since I relaunched my food blog and I’m really enjoying it. As long as I tell myself “this is to share recipes with my readers” and avoid thoughts like “must maximize SEO for Google scanners,” I’m going to be A-OK. (You’d be surprised at how baked-in SEO is for blog writers now; Wordpress literally analyzes my post as I write it to tell me how to make it more attractive to Google. Creepy!)
If you go there right now, you’ll see a post about Makoviy Rulet, the dish that British journalist and food writer Felicity Spector told me that I had to taste on the second episode of “You’ve Got to Taste This.”
When I invited Felicity on, I had no idea that she was a real life hero who was driving baking supplies from London into Kyiv to help bakeries that’d been destroyed by Russian bombing. But that’s just something she casually mentions in our hour-long conversation, a talk that covers Felicity’s time as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard, her trips into Ukraine, and, of course, the recipe for Makoviy Rulet that she asked me to make using a recipe by Olia Hercules.
Can making a dish connect you more to a people? That’s how it felt making this: from the dough, which has brown sugar and milk and yeast and eggs, to the filling which is made by simmering poppyseeds in milk then blending with butter and sugar and vanilla, to the surprisingly tart apples that get folded throughout, this whole experience transported me halfway around the world and made me feel more connected to the people there (possibly my ancestors) and their struggle. Plus, it tastes absolutely divine: somewhere between a challah and a babka — you could snack on it in the afternoon with tea, or serve it as a first course with butter, or a dessert course with ice cream.
Listen to my whole conversation with Felicity Spector on Apple Podcasts or right here on Spotify:
Thanks so much to Felicity for leading me to a recipe I’d never think to make on my own.
Now for other newsletter stuff!
I roasted a chicken on Sunday night, but did I do it my usual way? Well, sort of, except instead of just putting butter on the outside, I made an herb butter and stuffed it under the skin.
It was as easy as this: I took softened butter and mashed it together with Meyer lemon zest, two grated garlic cloves, freshly ground pepper, a big pinch of salt, and lots of chopped fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Then all I had to do was to use my finger to create a gap between the chicken skin and the breast and mush the butter in there without ripping anything. It was actually pretty easy.
I still wound up putting butter on the outside too — about four tablespoons — just to ensure browning and, ummmm, I think I did a really good job?
Craig, who hates hyperbole and accuses me of using too many superlatives in my newsletter, said “this is the best roast chicken I’ve ever had.” He really said that. I swear. You can give me a lie detector test, it’s true.
On Friday night, we had our friends Karan and Roshan over for dinner. (You may know Karan from his work on Miracle Workers or in Deadpool.)
For dinner, I made Melissa Clark’s baked pasta with Fontina and wild mushrooms (which I may blog later this week), and David Chang’s famous Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette, which Craig always requests.
A well-balanced dinner, if I do say so myself. For dessert I served leftover marbled matcha pound cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Bobby Flay’s salted caramel sauce on top. Here’s a video of me making the caramel sauce:
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The key, which I learned from watching America’s Test Kitchen, is to take the caramel as far as you can without burning it. Bridgett said to wait for it to start smoking before you add the cream, which is what I did — though it was scary. Also, it should be noted, this can be very dangerous because hot sticky caramel will stick to your skin and burn you severely, so be careful if you give this a go.
Now for some links:
Where to find the best soup in NY (Grub Street);
Montreal Bagel sneakers? Can I pretend they’re just regular bagel sneakers? (Nike);
No, Gas Ovens Aren’t Being Banned in NY Restaurants (Eater);
Are Protein Bars Good for You? (Spoiler alert: not really) (NYT).
That’s all for today, folks!
If you missed last Thursday’s paid-subscribers-only email, here’s what you missed: my morning oatmeal secrets, a cabbage and rice bowl featuring Ruth Reichl’s favorite oyster sauce, and a purple potato soup made with kashmiri chili powder and lentils that was kind of wild.
Don’t miss the next one! Become a paid subscriber now!
See you back here on Thursday….
Felicity on anything = a little morning listening for me here in Western Australia.
And, how did I go this long without knowing about David Chang’s Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette. Rectified.
That chicken looks amazing! Plus, you know Dopinder!! Love his character in Deadpool! 😁