Posts from November 2014

For Coffee, Tea and Company, Buckwheat Linzer Cookies from Flavor Flours

After Coconut Marjolaine from Flavor Flours (Artisan Books, October 2014) by Alice Medrich, here's a recipe that might prove useful next time you have guests over for tea or coffee.

Buckwheat Linzer Cookies

Makes about 1½ dozen 2-inch sandwich cookies

These pretty cookies look as though they are fussy to make, but they are actually slice-and-bake cookies, with holes cut from half of them about halfway through the baking. Buckwheat pairs well with any dark berry or cherry flavor, so feel free to try different preserves. The cookies keep well, but they should be assembled only shortly before serving. Leftover filled cookies will soften a bit, but they will still taste great.

Buckwheat Sablés dough (see below), shaped into logs and chilled as directed

½ cup blackberry (or other) preserves
Powdered sugar for dusting


Baking sheets, lined with parchment paper
⅞-inch round cookie cutter (or bottle cap to improvise)
Sifter or medium-fine mesh strainer

Buckwheat Linzer Cookies

1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Slice the chilled logs less than ¼ inch thick and place the slices 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, dividing the total number equally between them. Bake for about 12 minutes. Remove the upper sheet of cookies and place it on the counter or stovetop. Press the cookie cutter gently into each cookie. If the centers lift out, fine; otherwise you can remove them later. Switch and rotate sheets, placing the first on the lower rack in place of the second. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly darker at the edges and well browned on the bottom.

3. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Cool completely. Remove the cutouts. Unfilled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

4. Shortly before serving, spread ½ teaspoon of preserves on the cookies without holes. Sieve a little powdered sugar over the cookies with holes and place one on top of each jam-topped cookie.

Buckwheat Sablés

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (55 grams) white rice flour or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (55 grams) Thai white rice flour
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (70 grams) buckwheat flour
⅔ cup (65 grams) oat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (100 grams) sugar
¼ cup (60 grams) cream cheese, cut into chunks
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
1 tablespoon water


Food processor fitted with the steel blade
Baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

1. To make the dough by hand, put the rice flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the cream cheese, butter, and water. Use a fork or the back of a large spoon to mash and mix the ingredients together until all are blended into a smooth, soft dough.

2. To make the dough in a food processor, combine the rice flour, buckwheat flour, oat flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Pulse to mix thoroughly. Add the cream cheese, butter, and water. Process just until the mixture forms a ball of smooth, soft dough. Scrape the bowl and blend in any stray flour at the bottom with your fingers.

3. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of wax paper and form it into two 8-inch logs about 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer or overnight.

4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.

5. Use a sharp knife to cut the cold logs of dough into ¼-inch slices. Place the cookies at least 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are slightly darker brown at the edges and well browned on the bottom.

6. Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool. Cool completely before stacking or storing. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

(*Excerpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich -Artisan Books, Copyright © 2014- Photographs by Leigh Beisch)

Car Crossing Willamsburg Bridge back into Manhattan at Snail Pace

After bringing an instrument for cleanup to craftsman in Brooklyn, I crawled my way back across Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan.

Williamsburg Bridge Slow Crossing,,

Traffic moved so slowly that some pedestrian started their crossing at same time than I did and finished before me.

Slow enough to take couple snapshots including one above.

I was at full stop.

Spice Up Week End Table, Vegan Jalapeno Pesto Potato Tamales from 'Tamales'

Spice up your week-end table with this Vegan recipe from Tamales, Fast and Delicious Mexican Meals (Ten Speed Press, October 2014) by Alice Guadalupe Tapp...

Jalapeño Pesto Potato Tamales

Here is another great vegan tamale recipe from my sister, Diane. Because it’s vegan, the recipe eliminates the Parmesan or Romano cheese found in most pesto recipes. This is also on our menu at Tamara’s Tamales, and it keeps our vegan customers happy. It’s also delicious made with carrots instead of potatoes. Cut four large carrots into strips and parboil them before assembling the tamales.


1 very large potato, any type
3/4 cup olive oil
7 fresh jalapeños, deveined and seeded
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups Vegan Masa (page 26)

Jalapeño Pesto Potato Tamales

Peel and cut the potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch “French fry” strips. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the potato, and fry until browned on all sides, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In food processor, process the jalapeños, garlic, pine nuts, cilantro, remaining 1/2 cup olive oil, and salt until smooth.

Assemble the tamales (see pages 5-6), using 1/4 cup masa, 4 or 5 strips of potato, and 2 heaping tablespoons jalapeño pesto for each tamale. Transfer to a steamer and steam for 50 minutes.

Vegan Masa

This masa is for those who follow plant-based diets or just prefer using olive oil to lard or butter. You may also use this masa to make vegan pupusas and tortillas. The results have the same texture and excellent taste.


1 cup margarine or vegetable shortening, chilled, or olive oil
21/2 pounds stone ground fresh masa (unprepared)
2 cups vegetable stock
11/2 teaspoons salt
2 to 4 tablespoons dried mushroom powder, store-bought or homemade (see Note)

If you use the margarine or shortening, place it in a mixing bowl and whip for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add the masa and beat for 1 minute more, then add the stock, a little at a time, then add the salt and mushroom powder to taste. Continue beating for 2 to 4 minutes, or until a pinch of masa floats to the top of a cup of water.

If using the olive oil, pour it into shallow casserole dish, cover, and place in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Remove right before using. It should be frozen to the hard stage. The temperature and the dense, solidified consistency help the masa remain light and fluffy during cooking. Combine the frozen oil and the masa in a mixing bowl and beat together for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the stock a little at a time, then add the salt and mushroom powder and beat until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, or until a pinch of dough floats to the top of a cup of water.

Note: Making homemade mushroom powder is simple. Place any type of dried mushrooms in a food processor and process into a fine powder.


(*Reprinted with permission from Tamales, by Alice Guadalupe Tapp, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Sara Remington)

Fits Like a Sock, French Jika-tabis of Assaboots by Way of Florent Chavouet

Shoe Fits like a sock,  discovered French Jika-tabis of Assaboots by Way of Japanese commentary of Florent Chavouet through his drawings.

Learned from Assaboots 'Tabi' history that "Shigeki Tanaka, 19, Hiroshima survivor, wins the 1951 Boston Marathon with a time of 02:22:45 . He ran in Jikatabis manufactured by a small business in Kobe called Onlstuka Tiger which would later become Asics."

Assaboots black

 Shoe fits like a sock for Tokyo Thursdays # 299

English edition of Florent Chavouet illustrated guide to Tokyo, Tokyo on Foot was released in U.S by Tuttle Publishing.

Previously: Secret Hideouts For Grown-Ups, A Japanese Book Exploration, Yuki Kageyama

(* Black Jika-tabis photo from Assaboots Facebook page)

Glow in the Dark Banana, Fingers, All that Glitters, Disco, Guide to Cover Art of Disco Records

There is the glow in the dark banana of Fingers 'Paint' album cover (below) in Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco Records (Soul Jazz Books) presented by Disco Patrick and Patrick Vogt.


A bit of kitsch on rollerskates with Lightning (below).


Of course, some tittilating images (and more roller skates) with Le Pamplemousse.


Disco is not my favorite kind of music) unless you consider Chic as part of it.

Genre was over the top. It was a time of excess not subtlety, Sylvester and all.

Looking back into late 70's.

Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco is distributed in U.S by ARTBOOK...

(* Images reproduced with permission of Soul Jazz Records)