Lindsay Maitland Hunt

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Not just another food blog.
How to Make Perfect 6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs
 
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I come from a family that loves citing new studies to rationalize behaviors. Red wines are high in antioxidants so go for that refill! Blueberries are a superfood so load up on the muffins! Any new report can be twisted to support what we want.

So, when my dad alerted me to a recent study reporting that eating a high-protein breakfast will "reduce food cravings throughout the day and boost dopamine," I was more than ready to justify my morning egg habit. But, it turns out the reasons for eating a protein-packed breakfast (read: high in fat) are actually legit.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that not only helps control impulses, it acts like an all-purpose brain booster affecting general well-being, alertness, and creativity. The bottom line is, protein is essential to good brain function. (For more dietary sources of tyrosine, the amino acid in foods that create dopamine in your brain, check out the links above.)

Back to why you should be eating eggs in the a.m.: The research also suggests that skipping breakfast correlates with an increase in body weight! All the more reason to set fifteen minutes aside for an easy, protein-packed meal.

I'll be sharing more ideas soon for sneaking protein into traditionally sugary morning meals, like smoothies and even granola. For now, I suggest starting with a slice of your favorite toast, two perfect soft-boiled eggs, and ample amounts of butter. And, more good news on the fat front: butter isn't bad for you!

(Please note that if you have special dietary needs that preclude you from eating this type of breakfast, I am in no way suggesting you ditch the doctor's orders.)

Perfect 6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs on Toast

Ingredients: 2 large eggs 1 slice bread (New Yorkers, my favorite is from She Wolf Bakery) 2 tablespoons salted butter Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a small pot of water to boil over high heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water. Lower the heat so it is at a simmer and cook for exactly 6 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the heat and run under cold water until they are comfortable to handle. (Now is the time to start toasting your bread.) Tap each shell on a hard surface, then roll to crack the shell all over. Don't roll too hard, just enough to create a web of cracks, this will make it easier to peel. Peel the eggs and discard the shells.

Slather the toasted bread with the butter and top with the eggs. Slice open with a knife, season with flaky salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

 
Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce
 
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Hear me out on cranberry sauce. This oft-maligned condiment is actually the stealth star of Thanksgiving.

You may casually spoon a jewel-toned dollop between sweet potatoes and stuffing just for color, but, sure enough, it sneaks onto every forkful, where it can make or break each bite. It's not worth messing with a meal you wait all year for, so this time, why not give it a little extra love?

As for the recipe. You may be thinking: two posts in a row with fresh ginger? She is crazy! Well, that may be true, but I love the spicy undertones ginger adds to sweet recipes. It anchors the sugar and offsets the tart cranberries, directing this under-appreciated dish away from cloying sweetness.

Plus, if you bought ginger to make spiced apple cider, then you probably have extra to use in this recipe.

Sure, you can dress up cranberry sauce with fresh lemon juice or just cook the berries with some sugar, but this slightly spicy rendition is sure to perk up the entire sideboard at your Thanksgiving meal.

Special thanks to Charlyne Mattox for introducing me to ginger-spiked relish. I don't think I'll ever turn back.

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Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

Ingredients: 3 ½ cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries ¾ cup sugar ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice, plus two 2-inch strips of zest 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Equipment: A fine grater, such as a Microplane

Directions: 1. Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, ginger, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until about half of the cranberries have popped, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Cool the sauce and transfer to a serving dish. Cranberry sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Let come to room temperature before serving.

 
Gingery Spiced Apple Cider
 
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This is not news: It's freezing outside. You need something warm to wrap your hands around and maybe to sneak a shot of Bourbon into. I get it. This easy spiced cider recipe takes only five minutes of prep but will perfume your kitchen for a glorious half hour of simmering. Don't blame me if you feel the need to bust out in carols or spontaneously hug your roommate.

Bottle up extras to bring to a Friendsgiving potluck (it's great served cold over ice with a dash of spiced rum) or set a pot on as you watch the Thanksgiving Day parade.

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Gingery Spiced Cider Recipe Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

Makes about 10 cups

Ingredients: 1 vanilla bean 1 gallon fresh apple cider, preferably unpasteurized ½ cup (60g) roughly chopped fresh ginger 2 cinnamon sticks 10 whole cloves ½ teaspoon whole allspice ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg) Whiskey or rum, for serving (optional)

Equipment: large pot, fine mesh strainer

Use a paring knife to cut along one vertical side of the vanilla bean open. Using the dull edge of the knife, gently scrape the seeds from top to bottom. Add the seeds and bean to a large pot with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Cover the pot and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the mixture has reduced by about one third, 30 to 40 minutes.

If serving immediately, strain into a clean pot and set over very low heat. Serve with whiskey or rum, if desired. Or, let cool, stirring occasionally, then strain. Reserve the vanilla bean.

Bottle with the vanilla bean in the original apple cider container or another vessel.

Bottled cider will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 
72-Hour Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe
 
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Please don't be daunted by the title. It's not 72 hours of straight labor to get these perfectly plump oatmeal raisin cookies out of the oven. Those 72 hours are actually optional, but let me tell you why you should take the time to make this recipe.

As David Leite discussed in his article about Jacques Torres's chocolate chip cookies, resting cookie dough allows the eggs to hydrate the flour. This makes the dough bake more evenly, but more importantly, allows the flavors to meld and deepen, resulting in an intense toffee flavor. Another secret to Torres' recipe is the combination of bread and cake flour. Bread flour is high gluten, which results in a chewy texture, and cake flour is low gluten, which gives fancy cakes their trademark light and airy crumb. In cookies, this translates as deliciously crunchy edges.

I wanted to try this two-flour combination in oatmeal raisin cookies, since the best of their kind are praised for both a chewy center and crisp edges. I also thought that letting the dough rest would not only hydrate the flour, it might soften the oats and plump the dried raisins, making for juicier bites. (Spoiler: it did!)

For extra oaty flavor that isn't overly fibrous, I use a blend of old-fashioned rolled oats and instant oats. If you don't want to buy both varieties, blitz some of the old-fashioned kind in a food processor until more finely ground.

Torres' recipe calls for 36 hours and up to 72. Those extra 36 are definitely worth it. However, you can bake the dough the day of, but try for 4 hours of chilling. If you bake the dough without chilling for at least 4 hours, the cookies will spread and crisp around the edges, leaving a wan, light-colored center. That’s not to say they won’t be delicious, they just won’t be evenly baked.

I am indebted to two oatmeal raisin cookie recipes that helped me get to this end point: Joanne Chang's recipe in her cookbook, Flour, which is my favorite baking book, and the Silver Palate Cookbook.

I have included weights in grams for bakers who like to use a digital scale. I am a huge fan since I don't have to dirty measuring cups.

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72-Hour Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients: 1 cup bread flour (140g) 1 cup cake flour (100g) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon fine salt ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (150g) 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (75g) 1 ½ cups raisins (260g) 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup packed light brown sugar (200g) 3/4 cup granulated sugar (170g) 2 eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment: Two baking sheets, ideally without rims, parchment paper or nonstick cooking mats such as Silpat, an airtight container to store the cookie dough in, and a digital scale (if you have one)

Directions: Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir in the oats and raisins; set aside

Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides and paddle with a rubber spatula.

Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough to an container and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably 72 hours.

30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350º F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Portion the dough into 2-ounce (55 gram/2 heaping tablespoon) scoops. Roll gently with your hands into balls. Space the dough 3 inches apart on each tray, about 12 to a tray. Flatten gently with your hand.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Pull the cookies out when they look just set—they will continue to cook when they come out of the oven. They will not be mostly blonde with small spots of golden brown. They will turn completely golden brown as they cool on the cookie sheets.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Special thanks to Cat Emil for testing this recipe.