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Hello Mr. Jellyroll

Hello Mr. Jellyroll

When was the last time you nibbled on a jellyroll? Never? Me too, as far as I could recall, but I had a sneaking suspicion that this treat was a forgotten treasure. Sweet vanilla cake, rolled around tart raspberry jam? I was on a mission to create. The wonderful Cook’s Illustrated was my starting point and they were great leaders, as always. The batter was tasty and simple to bring together, and I poured it onto a large baking sheet lined with a silpat (you can use another non-stick mat) and baked to soft golden color. The silpat made it a breeze to peel away and invert flat on a clean kitchen towel, as instructed (though I made a side note to also sprinkle kitchen towel lightly with powdered sugar to avoid any possible stick on the other side).

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You roll the cake up with the kitchen towel actually to cool briefly so the cake will ‘remember’ the space for the forthcoming filling. Then unroll and slather with fillings. While I love raspberry jam, I also experimented with chocolate ganache and nutella…

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And indeed, my sneaking suspicion was confirmed: jellyroll is the new black! Or at least merits your consideration. Next up, perhaps a few new fillings for Spring & Summer, apricot and strawberry rhubarb?

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Jambalaya!

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Something about Mardi Gras – or the fact that I received an enormous ham steak in my meat CSA – and I had jambalaya on my brain this week. A little New Orleans trinity of onions, celery and green peppers sauteeing on the stove, and I was on my way to making a big batch. Add to the trinity: your favorite cajun seasoning (usually a concoction of paprika, salt, garlic, sugar, oregano, cayenne and thyme), some diced tomatoes, rice, stock and cook away for about 15 minutes (or until rice is tender); finish with a little chopped ham, spicy sausage, and shrimp, if you’ve got ’em, and you’re in business!

Roasted Butternut squash & Red Onion with Tahini

Roasted Butternut squash & Red Onion with Tahini

As we are perhaps nearing the final cold days of winter, it was actually quite exciting to stumble upon a recipe that could still make squash feel new & fresh. Leave it to Mr Ottolenghi again. So simple and yet so interesting: roasting the squash and onions until they are browned actually brings the sweetness to the table, and then adding tahini (sesame paste) mixed with lemon and garlic, and sprinkling with za’atar makes for a simply wonderful mix of textures and flavors. It’s warm and familiar, and yet also, spicy and fresh. An gentle awakening for the senses…just in time for Spring…which must eventually arrive, right?