Not Your Poor Man’s Bread Pudding

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Bread gets a bad rap in modern day culture, and rightly so. The plastic wrapped, pre-sliced loaves of bleached and processed bread that were introduced to grocery stores in the 1950s for the sake of housewifery convenience have bastardized one of our most glorious foods. In her book “The Art of Cooking”, famous food writer MFK Fisher disowned American bread as a travesty of a society given over to gimmick in the kitchen in lieu of the transcendental rites of baking from pure grain. Her memories of life in Switzerland and France are dotted with great crusty rolls of artisanal sourdough relegated to the halls of nostalgia in her late California existence where hideous products like Wonder Bread reigned.

Bread in my household is for the most part unseen. A few times a year we will venture to Diamond Bakery on La Brea in Los Angeles where an old Jewish lady has run the shabby counter baking fragrant oblongs of seedless rye for over 30 years. Or on visits to Continental Sausage in Glendale we may purchase a special loaf of hearty, German multigrain to swath with pebbled, dark mustard for our Weisswurst. But other than that we retain a sense of bread snobbery waiting patiently for those five star meals out when, while anticipating an amuse bouche at a fancy restaurant, we will devour masterful rolls of olive, pumpernickel, pretzel or fluffy white. The noted Italian restaurant Scarpetta in Beverly Hills, which sadly is closing its doors this month, had the best breadbasket with its hot pile of rustic Italian, focaccia, baby ciabattini and calzone-like Stromboli. But it is probably good that our bread forays are few and far between, or at least my thighs like to think so.

But last week I was yearning for bread after finding a decidedly upscale version of bread pudding in my daily food-related email newsletter stream. Bread pudding gets an even lower rap than loaves. Its conception came about in the 11th and 12th centuries when frugal cooks needed creative ways to stretch stale bread. In the 13th century, the dish became the ideal “poor man’s pudding,” popular with large, poor families. For years, as my boyfriend and I have watched the popular Food Network show “Chopped,” we have always snickered wickedly when the contestants during the dessert round “cheap out” by making bread pudding rather than some other illustrious cake or pastry. When I announced that I would be cooking a savory version for dinner on my one night a week to make a meal, I got a similar snicker from the Cute Gardener. Still I carried on and visited my local market for some voluptuous circles of French that I let go stale on my counter for the next 24 hours.

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This was no poor man’s bread pudding. It required a chunk of good Parmesan, expensive rounds of pancetta, quality olive oil, baby spinach, six whole eggs, zesty red pepper flakes and a jar of roasted red peppers. Once the whole mix was combined and placed lovingly into a large cast iron skillet, I realized I had indeed made an entrée that could easily feed a whole family.

When the bread pudding emerged from the oven, the house was imbued with a smell I can only describe as comfort. There is something magical that happens when cheese and butter bubble alongside the edges of a puffed loaf, studded with crispy meat. I understood why the dish could fortify a family low in the pocketbook with not only a bevy of nutrients but also an ambiance of security and belly contentedness, even if only fleeting. We scooped large wedges of the creamy, milky pudding onto plates and headed to the couch with glasses of red wine.

While proceeding to eat we watched one part of the documentary “Cooked,” starring my favorite food writer Michael Pollan. It is a four part series on food through the lens of the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. We just so happened to choose “Air” which was all about the magic of real, home-cooked bread. It touted a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions, like the creation of real, vitamin-rich breads in order to reconnect with the idea that cooking, at its origin, is about nourishing our selves and our souls.

 

Inspired by Heavenly Hominy

 

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Neal Fraser’s Pork Posole

Last weekend at a party, a mutual friend of ours was talking to the Cute Gardener and I about having a hard time making reservations for a super trendy restaurant run by a trio of guys who have become emperors of fad food and venues in Los Angeles. At one point, she asked if we’d join her if she ever succeeded in securing a table. We politely declined and admitted we were particularly picky about where we spend our time and our dollars when it comes to eating out. We aren’t the types to pull over at any old place while on a road trip and we tend not to frequent a place more than once unless it completely blows us away. We rarely, if ever, eat breakfast out because it is always better at home. The CG makes dinner for us most nights and honestly, most of the time, even his most basic dishes taste ten times better than anything we might find in a local bistro or gastropub. We spend a lot of time researching restaurants before we step through their doors. For us eating out is not about casually finding sustenance, it is about the ever elusive potential to encounter nirvana and then to be so inspired that we want to steal the ideas and replicate them at home. We want to be shocked, cooked for, surprised and delighted and we budget heartily to be able to do so like some people budget for adrenaline adventures, fancy toys, vacation homes or expensive clothing.

This was the case recently after a dinner at Chef Neal Fraser’s Redbird where we discovered a smoky, rust colored posole thick with rich pork and topped with pork belly. It was more of a robust chili than a traditional stew fortified with chewy nuggets of hominy. The restaurant is located in the rectory building of what was L.A.’s first archdiocese Catholic cathedral so I even felt the blessings of angelic intervention with each bite of food. Fraser had evoked something heavenly in my mouth.

Could it be true that I hadn’t had hominy—the distinctly meaty dried corn that is soaked and plumped to perfection in a mineral lime bath—since I was pregnant with my now 24-year-old daughter? I used to crave hominy in that weird, idiosyncratic and random way of mothers-to-be, stuffed into quesadillas at midnight with scoops of grocery store potato salad smothered on top.

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My inspired posole tacos

My reunion with Fraser’s trumped up hominy was so harmonious; I chose to delve into some posole making myself the next week on my night to cook. I found a fat can of hominy in my local Mexican food aisle and made this version going halves on the chilies. It was delicious as a soup but even better two and three days later, after it had thickened into the perfect topping for quick, impromptu lunch tacos dressed with radish, cabbage and cotija cheese.

Return to Jade Mountain

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Although I found Venice Beach a bit pretentious as a living environment (think earthen rich hippies touting their extreme health and spirituality who are first to run for the bathroom door, compact mirror and rolled twenty dollar bill in hand, when a vat of cocaine is whipped out at a party), I definitely miss the health food stores and restaurants. In a two-block radius, there were more choices in organic cold pressed juices, fresh nut milks, and creative, raw food options than I had seen prior or since.

One of my favorite places was a communal grocery store and deli, which sold fare by locals. This included vats of pickles, cured meats, cheeses, and a wicked sardine sandwich on oiled crusty bread that I still crave. But my most frequent purchase there was the Jade Mountain smoothie. It was a clear plastic cup filled with a gargantuan pile of algae-green, icy, slush that tasted (and smelled) like standing under a waterfall after a day of wicked hiking. It also gave me a boost that lasted hours–not the seedy kind that surges falsely through you from prescription or illicit drugs, but the kind that bubbles through your every cell, wakening the body’s electric flow.

I have finally managed, after a few years worth of attempts, to recreate something in my home kitchen that comes close in both taste and feel.

Jade Mountain 2.0

1 frozen pear
1 tsp. moringa leaf powder
1 tsp. maca powder
1 tsp. bee pollen
½ in. slice ginger
1 c. filtered water

Combine all in a NutriBullet and blast away. Sprinkle some extra bee pollen on top to make it pretty!

The Last Strawberries of Summer

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In our household, it is my job to take care of the strawberries every summer. So for about a month spanning from April to June, I spend my mornings at the crack of dawn stepping through the strawberry bushes that swarm the backyard planter. I peer beneath leaves for the plump, ripe fruit and pick whole bins full, constantly being frightened by the leaping grasshoppers that also call the plants home. I wash and de-stem and load them into Ziploc bags for the freezer after eating the finest specimens for breakfast plain or on top of yogurt and hearty grains. The frozen bags become fuel for morning smoothies that last long into the warmest days. Come August, I start hankering for a different way to utilize the last berries—the runts and rejects, frozen stiff into bricks.

This year I remembered a visit I had to my friend Elizabeth’s Venice Beach bungalow last year. She was breezy and in love with a German baker who had just flown back to Europe after a month spent in the throes of love on the beach where they had nested in her seaside home cooking and dancing. The last remnants of his presence were seen in a small crystal jar of refrigerator jam he had made before his departure. The sweet strawberry concoction was creamy with the scent of vanilla and we had shared it on fluffy white biscuits with our tea.

So, duly inspired, I found a Cook’s Magazine version of the refrigerator jam and made it for myself this year with the last remnants of my garden bounty. It was the perfect sized amount to savor for a week upon toast as I said goodbye to the sweet fruit until they sprout again.

Strawberry Refrigerator Jam

1-1/2 pounds of strawberries, hulled and cut into ½ inch pieces (3 cups)
1 c. sugar
3 tbls. lemon juice

  1. Place metal spoon in freezer to chill. Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium. Mash fruit with potato masher until fruit is mostly broken down. Simmer vigorously until fruit mixture thickens and spatula leaves trail that does not fill immediately, 15-20 minutes.
  2. To test for proper thickness, remove saucepan from heat. Dip chilled spoon into jam and allow jam to run off spoon; jam should slowly fall off spoon in one thickened clump. If jam is runny, return to medium heat and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes before retesting. Transfer jam to jar and let cool completely. Cover with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

French Black Pepper Omelet Hits the Egg Spot

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On the British comedy series Gavin & Stacey, Stacey’s mum likes to cook omelets for visitors. Her version of the universal egg dish comes flat and bright yellow with a slice of processed cheese and is a comfort food calling card she uses to woo her daughter’s friends while creating hysterical community around her tiny kitchen table. Being a lover of the omelet myself, I have ended many an evening watching that show with my own journey into the kitchen hankering for some combination of eggs, milk and cheese.

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Although it is one of the simplest dishes to create, an omelet can actually go south really easy. If the pan is too hot you will get browned, scabby edges. If the cheese isn’t chopped right the big pieces may not melt in concert with the cooking of the eggs. If you don’t whip your eggs for at least a minute before pouring them into the pan you risk a fluff-less outcome. If you eat an omelet regularly, you can fall into basic egg boredom. Because of this I am constantly practicing my omelet making techniques from a variety of trusted sources while always on the lookout for a spectacular new recipe.

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Recently, I discovered a new favorite, borrowed from the French and altered to my taste buds. Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s omelet caught my eye because of its inclusion of Boursin pepper cheese, which happens to be my preferred spreading cheese for crisp, white water crackers during the holidays. Not only does the cheese boast a peppery blast to the tongue, it melts better than anything I have encountered. Something about the simplicity of good cracked pepper firing up a mellow, unctuous cheese added to a beaten egg and sprinkled with fresh tangy chives sounded specifically good to me in the same way a basic cacao e pepe (pasta with black pepper) becomes an unpretentious, bowl of noodles while being elevated to supreme comfort food status.

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I watched a video of Chef Lefebvre making the omelet first. I splurged and used real French butter. I cut the amount of butter used in half and didn’t brush the eggs with it at the end of cooking. I sprinkled a very high-class flake salt on top alongside the chives, which I discovered should be done very sparingly. The heat of the pepper and the texture of the cheese came out perfect underneath the brightness from the chives. This will be my new go-to omelet … if I may only continue to find the elusive pepper Boursin in my local grocery stores.

Wings of Desire

IMG_9557Skate, like rays, are part of the shark family, with pectoral fins shaped like wings. The meat on the wings is partly gelatinous incorporated into tender and light flesh, which when cooked produces ripples of soft succulence that could be easily overcooked but when isn’t, is divine. I discovered this for the first time while dining recently at Patina with the Cute Gardener before seeing an equally angelic performance by otherworldly pianist Martha Argerich. My introduction was impressive as Patina chefs seemed to braise the dish, infuse it even, with subtle overtones of celery cream, caper berry and brown butter emulsion that allowed it to lazily melt upon my tongue.

I was happy to discover a new undersea creature for my repertoire as I have been enjoying the experimentation with varieties other than my normal old salmon when making my weekly meals for the Cute Gardener and learning that exotic sounding fishes and ocean denizens are nothing to be afraid of. The trick with fishes, even more so than meats, is to know what technique to use to cook the more fragile varieties and the precise amount of time to do so. I was so enamored by the skate, that I visited Santa Monica Seafood shortly thereafter and purchased two fresh pairs. I promptly handed them over to the CG and asked him, politely, to go to town, assuring our meal would be great and that I could learn to cook the skate in the process by watching his mastery with unfamiliar food items in our kitchen.

Because the wings are so delicate, the first entrée made was a pan steamed version upon which the CG sprinkled an addictive, tangy and equally delicate dressing of minced hard-boiled eggs and dill mustard that was decidedly Austrian. The second introduced a veil of barely there breading, pan seared and intensified with capers to top a pile of freshly made arugula rigatoni. Both were genius. I was sad I had only bought enough for two meals. I honestly could have eaten a few more consecutive days’ worth. I have found my favorite fish of 2015 and am going to be on the lookout for its presence on menus to discover others ways it will inspire chefs and home cooks this year.

Soul Warming Saffron Kheer

IMG_9537Growing up my American girl breakfasts consisted of two things. Either pour a box of sugary, other worldly colored cereal into a bowl with 2% milk (my parent’s attempt at being healthier) or have a classic scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and butter plate. I don’t remember either giving me the same sense of satisfaction or fortification that I find today through my preferred morning meals made from years’ worth of dabbling in the Asian and East Indian cultures.

It all started for me while reading Jumpa Lahiri’s prize-winning novel Interpreter of Maladies in my early thirties. I was enamored by her descriptions of the everyday breakfasts of rice and nurturing spices or mid morning snacks of puffed rice with chilies and turmeric. I went on to study traditional Chinese herbalism and discovered the Asian culture’s penchant for  jooks and congees (rice porridges) full of savory bits of vegetables and meat or sweet chunks of dried fruits, beans and nuts. Breakfast seemed so much more meaningful when viewed not as a sugar rush to warp speed the day, nor as a lumberjack worthy carb and fat overload, but something hearty to fill the engine with goodness for endurance, brain power and belly warmth.

I experiment often with recipes that combine all the cultures I admire in this vein but of late, my favorite morning starter has been a simple and convenient Indian Kheer. The dish is basically a rice pudding spiked with nourishing goodies and can be played around with in content but I have been elevating mine most recently by using oatmeal instead and adding precious saffron threads brought home to me directly from India by a dear friend. Saffron does something soothing to the soul, and usually ends up in my favorite risotto, but of late has been making its appearance in this morning bowl, instantly boosting my mood for the day.

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SOUL WARMING SAFFRON KHEER

½ cup quick oats
1½ cups almond milk
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup dark raisins
Pinch of saffron
2 teaspoons of honey
1 tablespoon chopped almonds

1. Add the oats and almond milk to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Lower to medium-low and stir in the cardamom, raisins and saffron. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Drizzle with honey and top with chopped almonds.

Makes one big bowlful.

 

Beyond Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

IMG_9525When it comes to feeding ourselves in the home, most of us are less adventurous than we think. Even though our palates may broaden at the restaurant table, widen into the exotic while on vacation to foreign places, or take stabs at something new while browsing bustling gourmet food courts or marketplaces, we tend to pull from the same, standard repertoire of dishes when cooking in our kitchens. Most of us, single, coupled, or married with children, typically maintain a cadre of tried and true recipes we learned from our parents, simple things we learned to make for ourselves when suddenly on our own in the world, and special dishes that are more complex and pride-worthy to make on special occasions. Most of us rely on these and rarely step out of the box.

My kitchen used to operate that way when I lived alone. Goodies from mom’s childhood that I inherited into mine included Swedish pot roast and salmon patties with creamed peas. These shared calendar time with a bevy of chicken dishes I had taught myself in my twenties: piccata breasts, spicy Thai thighs, lemon-pounded tenders. Bamboo steamed sticky rice with soy baked tofu and various pots of Americanized spaghetti rounded out that list. The rest of my food came ready made from the gourmet to-go counters at Whole Foods, Lemonade or Gjelina. In my late thirties, my ordinary menu had become quite boring.

When the film Julia & Julia came out showcasing a woman combing through a cookbook and making every single recipe, I was completely inspired by the idea of perpetually making something new. So when I moved in with the CG I made a vow never to make the same thing twice. This plan has held up well with one tiny aberration being my repeating pot of arduous saffron risotto (precious dishes like this one are hard to refuse). This credo has produced a wild journey at our dining table full of delicious and surprising favorites like last week’s unctuous brick chicken and pepper roasted cauliflower as well as some comically, dreadful flops like my overly dried Wellington equivalent to $50 of beef down the toilet. But even when a meal is bad, I am still happier for having tried something new. And it makes the next great meal even better in comparison.

On the flip side, the Cute Gardener has been a huge inspiration for me in teaching me to look at an ordinary dish and to unfold its elements in order to see if something new can be created from it. This has become a fun game in our household. Last night, when presented with the ingredients for traditional pork chops and sautéed vegetables, the CG turned the result around into an astonishing and homey Asian noodle soup. The pork was braised into fatty, tender, fall apart nuggets, poured along with the meat’s cooking juice onto a pile of boiled udon noodles with slightly flash boiled petals of bok choy. It only takes a little imagination to see the flip side of a meal yet many of us are intimidated by striking out into the unknown.

I like the idea that, at 41, I could very well have double that amount of years left to sample myriad culinary pleasures. In a world full of uncertainties on many other fronts, it gives me comfort knowing that simple joys are available to me in my kitchen and that my nightly meals will never be something I take for granted.

Off the Beet(en) Path

IMG_9337It has been about six years since I really started to take food seriously as both a diner and a cook. In that time, I am afraid I have turned into a bit of a snob. I am the girl who shows up to a girl’s weekend with my own fruits and vegetables for the pantry so that I am not forced to eat the packaged goods on site. Or the one who brings side dishes to a non-potluck dinner party so I am assured food that will taste good because I made it. Or the lady who does not do lunch because I am not a dame who can sit around and gossip over artisanal salads, preferring to spend my food budget on new and exciting top chefs in diverse kitchens. Holidays and social occasions that cannot be avoided, which revolve around food, consist of me grazing the crudite platter), waiting for the moment later when I might get home to some real food. I simply enjoy food so much now that I don’t want to waste calories eating things that don’t titillate me to my core and if I have tried it before, chances are I don’t need to try it again. For even if I love a dish, there are so many other dishes to try in my lifetime why bother repeating something I have already had? For the record, I am not one to watch movies more than once either, even if I adore them, because there isn’t enough time as it is on this planet to see everything I wish to.

So when there is an ingredient that I really love I am faced with the perpetual challenge of continually finding new ways to work with it. Beets are a prime example. I love them, and like everyone else in the 1990s, saw them exhausted within a sea of goat cheese and pinola salads prior to becoming one of those over-roasted and wilted tubers glazed in balsamic and sea salt on many a tapas menu in the 2000s. A few years back, while still single, I ashamedly and lazily spent many a dinner hour spooning pre-cooked beets whole from the laminated Trader Joe’s packages in the ready-made deli section into my mouth on the couch with some wine. Because of this, I had recently all but deleted them from my repertoire until I got a hankering for them last weekend after a particularly grueling hike. I didn’t want to just boil and chop and serve in one of the pre-mentioned applications so I scoured Food and Wine magazine’s archives for a twist on the beet-cheese-appetizer combo.

I was delighted by what I found—a starter on multigrain toast that made white flour bread bruschettas pale in comparison. The heartier loaf held up to the infamous, staining and sopping beet juice. The pre-glazing of the boiled beets prior to piling them underneath creamy burrata added a rich and tangy, buttery flavor to the bite that pulled everything together. Eaten as a yummy beginning to an afternoon long feast that included marinated tomato bibb salad and yogurt marinated lamb chops, these beets proved that everything can be improved upon in perpetuity with a little ingenuity and thinking out of the ordinary box.

Glazed Beet and Burrata Toasts
3 beets (about 3/4 pound total)
4 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 rosemary sprig
Salt
Twelve 4-by-2-inch slices of dense whole-grain bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted
1/2 pound burrata cheese, cut into 12 pieces
12 small watercress sprigs
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, cover the beets with cold water. Add the thyme sprigs, black peppercorns and red wine vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the beets are tender, about 45 minutes, replenishing the water if necessary. Drain the beets, then peel and cut them into 1/4-inch dice.

Return the diced beets to the saucepan. Add the sherry vinegar, sugar, rosemary sprig and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until a syrupy glaze forms, about 12 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprig and season the beets with salt.

Top each whole-grain toast with a spoonful of the glazed beets, a piece of burrata and a sprig of watercress. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, garnish with the flaky salt and serve.

NOTE: I didn’t have sherry vinegar so ended up using white wine vinegar. I also substituted gray sea salt for the more expensive Maldon.

 

Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care

IMG_9221Raised by an Iowan mother, I learned very early on that corn was like candy: grilled on the cob and smothered in butter in the summer, creamed into sweet casseroles with saltine cracker crusts for Thanksgiving dinner, and toppled in kernels over mashed potatoes next to meat loaf and barbecued ribs for dinner. My very favorite corn dish of all time was a hot steaming corn bread muffin, studded with jalapeno and drizzled with honey.

Even though I had been raised on the proper applications of the cob, I rejected corn in my early thirties, much like large amounts of sugar, empty carbs, white flour and candy, when high fructose syrup became touted as the root of all evil and corn started getting a bad rap. After a good solid decade without the golden vegetable, I slowly but surely, over the course of the last five years, opened my heart up to corn again. Part of this was due to the Cute Gardener’s crops that, although few and far between each season, produce an ear you can eat right off the stalk. Freshness like that is hard to argue with, criticize or ban. A bonafide lover of that distinct corn taste was reborn and I have come to eat my corn in moderation always seeking out special ways to do so.

Last year, after the CG took a business trip to New York he brought back Christina Tosi-created cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar per my pleading request. Amidst the decadence of the Chocolate Chocolate and Blueberry Cream cookies was a perfect specimen called simply Corn. It was a beautiful dense disk the color of the sun, not too sweet and chewy in the middle while the edges remained crisp and buttery. It tasted like my favorite varieties of corn bread yet tarted up with the richness of burnt sugar. I fell head over heels in love and wanted another one ever since.

This year when the CG returned from his annual business trip, to my delight, he carried a box in his hands of the very mix to make these beautiful corn cookies. So, although I heartily wolfed down the indulgent corn flake chocolate marshmallow and compost cookies that were new to me this year from Momofuku, and equally phenomenal, it was the night he baked the corn cookies that made me swoon the most. They came out from the oven as if they were on crack. I carefully apportioned out my half of the dozen made so that I would be able to savor one per evening for six nights.

Unfortunately, I made a trip to my hometown with my bag of allotments in tow and my family and friends scavenged them up like a flock of vultures. Fortunately, I was able to find a recipe online for the cookies so that I can have them anytime I want. That is, if I am extra sweet to the CG, since he is the baker of our bunch.

Momofuku Milk Bar Corn Cookies
Makes 13 to 15 cookies

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1-1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup corn flour
2/3 cup freeze-dried corn powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes.

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

3. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature– they will not bake properly.

4. Heat the oven to 350°F.

5. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not.

6. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a
plate or to an airtight container for storage. At room temp, the cookies will
keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.