Follow the Pattern is a brand new column from furniture maker and upholstery expert (and Food52's Resident Design Wiz), Nicole Crowder. Nicole is here to show us how to breathe new life into old furniture, reuse and repurpose materials, take chances with color and pattern—and develop a signature aesthetic.
A keyword when considering my apartment this past year has definitely been "comfort": how to enhance it, how to create more of it in different corners, and how to be really intentional with purchases that contribute toward that. I wanted to hit that sweet spot of design where things were functional (meaning I would engage with them daily), beautiful, and multi-purpose, but also purchases that were mindful of more delicate budgets this year. Read More > >
In Bake it Up a Notch, or Resident Baking BFF, Erin McDowell—and her trusty sidekick, Brimley, our Resident Pie Pup—shows us everything we'll ever need to know to make our baking faster, easier, and better than ever. From equipment recommendations to in-depth technique tutorials to fixes for every mishap imaginable, Erin's here to save the day (and save our cakes).
If you know someone who loves to bake, they are likely spending more time in the kitchen than ever before. This list is made up of tools I turn to time and time again, that have withstood the test of time and beyond frequent use in my home kitchen—plus a few sources of inspiration for year-round baking. Any baker would be thrilled to unwrap one of these goodies! Wishing everyone happy holidays and happy baking! Read More > >
This story appeared in Serendipity Magazine's October/November 2020 issue, and we're excited to share it with our readers on Food52
Jacques Pépin has a confession: “I am not a morning person,” he says. “I get up at the crack of 9 a.m. When you’re a restaurant person you never go to bed before 12 o’clock.” Still, it’s hard to believe the French master chef, who will be 85 this December, allows himself any downtime, even for sleep. How else would he have accomplished such a monumental amount in his life to date? Read More > >
Egg and cheese sandwiches are often just that: egg and cheese on a roll or bagel or toast. Just as often, they co-star a choose-your-own breakfast meat, be it bacon or sausage or ham. But arguably the most festive version, especially during Hanukkah, features a crispy, chewy latke.
The latke, egg, and cheese sandwich on house-baked challah from B&H Dairy in Manhattan’s East Village has technically been available for years, yet only just became a permanent menu item.
“One of the things that drives my eating is being able to go to a restaurant and put together disparate elements to make something even better,” Lawrence Weibman, the de facto creator of the sandwich, told me over the phone.
Weibman doesn’t work for B&H. He’s a regular customer, as well as a video producer and food-lover, who runs the Instagram account @nycfoodguy. He’s always on the hunt for the most exciting dishes at restaurants, even if they’re not on the menu—yet.
The native New Yorker moved to the East Village in 2008 to glimpse some of the “old” New York that constantly appeared in books and movies, but wasn’t in his neighborhood growing up: “To me, the East Village is one of the few areas left in the city that still has true bohemian soul. This is a place that embodies the last vestiges of the New York of the past. B&H embodies [that feeling].”
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B&H does represent classic New York charm, where restaurant employees know the names of their regulars, and vise versa. Weibman is just as familiar with the owners of B&H, Ola and Fawzy Abdelwahed, as well as the restaurant’s cooks and front of house employees, as they are with him. Sometimes, they’ll name specials after certain customers.
“I said you’re more than welcome to create your own dish. In the beginning, it was just a conversation,” Ola told me over the phone, describing the evolution of Weibman’s sandwich from suggestion to menu item. At first, she was skeptical: “Potato pancake inside of the egg sandwich? But he said, ‘It's delicious,’ so I said ‘Okay, I’ll try one.’” Her thoughts now? “It’s awesome, everybody loves it.”
The addition of a latke to an egg and cheese sandwich was, as is the case with many ingenious creations, an unplanned yet illuminating success. “I was probably craving bacon one day,” Weibman said. As B&H is both a pescetarian and Kosher establishment, an alternative came to mind: an order of their salty golden-brown potato pancakes, one of which he slid onto the egg and cheese sandwich. “What goes better with squishy and melty, than crispy-crunchy? It’s all about sandwich construction.”
Speaking of construction, Weibman has thoughts. “Fried eggs, over medium, with American cheese. You want to be able to squeeze down and have that yolk in the middle, not on top.” The challah—B&H’s homemade signature—is untoasted: “You want the squishy bread, because you have to be able to smush it down a little to fit it in your mouth once the latke goes in, unless you’re a boa constrictor.”
And of course, there’s the condiments factor. For Weibman, that’s salt and pepper, plus ketchup and hot sauce. Staying true to his brand, Weibman didn’t just go for the hot sauce on the counter. “The guys who work there have their own stash of hot sauce in the fridge…sometimes they had a ghost pepper sauce. The real secret was to ask for the hot sauce in the back.” He says that extra heat, with the sweetness from ketchup, are non-negotiable.
Until just recently, to get this sandwich at B&H, one had to order an egg and cheese sandwich and side of potato pancakes, then rearrange accordingly. Yet, as Weibman got to know the cooks and owners more, he felt comfortable requesting the whole sandwich (“a trepidatious ask,” he added).
When he first shared photos of the sandwich on Instagram, he noted it was an off-menu creation. “But then people started coming in and ordering it. They have other dishes named for regulars. I’d mess with [Ola] and be like, ‘Where’s mine? I’ll take a sign!’”
“I said, ‘Next time we print the menu, I promise we’ll put your name on it,’” laughed Ola, relaying the same story. “Some new customers see it online, and say they want it just like the photo. For me, it was something new. It’s very popular.”
Latke, Egg & Cheese Sandwich, Inspired by B&H
Will you add a latke to your next egg sandwich? Let us know in the comments!
This post is part of our new community-driven book tournament, The Big Community Book-Off. With your help, we're finding the best books across categories (from bread to pasta, one-bowl to weeknight-friendly, and cake to cookies, to name a few), and putting them through a series of rigorous reviews—considered, tested, and written by none other than you.
Two months ago, reviewers Ruth, Erin, and Shereen exhausted their CSA boxes, looking for the best vegetable book out there.
Last month, F52ers Robin, Sarah, and Rosa made a commitment to the Instant Pot, on a quest to find the ultimate book for the device.
This month, we’ve got our eye on cookies—because what is December if not Peak Cookie Season? These are the five cookbooks our community turns to for their favorite icing-dipped, sanding-sugar-topped, crispy, chewy, and, of course, chocolate-chip-studded cookies.
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Photo by photo by amazon
1. Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is no stranger to cookies of any kind (one of her uber-popular World Peace Cookies is the cover star of the book). With “everyday” cookies that come together in a jiff and “weekend” cookies that require a bit more effort, and even a “Cookie-Making Handbook” in the front, Greenspan wants every recipe to turn out as delightful as if she’d made it herself.
Pierre Hermé & Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies
Photo by photo by amazon
2. The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion by the Editors of King Arthur Flour
You hear King Arthur Flour, and your mind immediately goes to baking. It’s no shock that the company’s cookie book is packed with hundreds of recipes, step-by-step tutorials, how-to drawings, as well as a substitution guide. No glossy photos here, it’s all about the recipes.
King Arthur Flour's Never-Fail Biscuits
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3. BraveTart by Stella Parks
Editors’ note: This is not strictly a cookie book, but we're allowing it! If you’re into baking, you already know Stella Parks. In addition to being an all-around pastry whiz, she’s practically bursting with cookie tips—so much so that even though her book is about desserts in general, a cookie recipe graces the cover (they’re her take on Oreos, by the way.)
Stella Parks' No-Stress, Super-Flaky Pie Crust
Photo by photo by amazon
4. The Cookie Collection by Brian Hart Hoffman
A classic cookie book for those who like to cook with the seasons, Hoffman guides readers throughout the year, from fresh berry-studded cookies in summer to winter’s coziest gingerbread. The classics are there (Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies; Linzer Cookies), but you’ll also find skillet cookies and creatively cut shortbread for a bit of extra fun.
The Best, Easiest Sugar Cookie Recipe Has Only 4 Ingredients
12 Ideas to Stretch Out Holiday Season. Because We Need It.
Photo by photo by amazon
5. Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living
This cookie anthology’s goal was to “redefine what cookies can be,” featuring cookies made from pastry doughs or egg whites or requiring a bit more assembly than scooping dough. Still, they cover the classics: The cover features a perfect chocolate chip cookie resting just inside a glass of milk—with Martha’s name on the cover, we’d expect nothing less than, well, perfection.
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Is Martha Stewart's New Hack the Best Way to Remove Stickers?
Jody “I nominated The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. Don't judge a book by its cover! It's not the flashiest, but it's not meant to be just a pretty book on your kitchen shelf. It's a textbook, utilitarian and authoritative. This volume provides not only reliable and repeatable recipes, but the foundation to create new hybrid versions of your favorites—and the confidence to throw together a cookie batter by memory with a bit of practice. And who needs an impressive-looking cookbook when you have impressive-looking cookies.”
Matt “I nominated BraveTart by Stella Parks primarily for its reliability and relatability. Parks clearly puts in the work to ensure that her recipes succeed! I've used this book for everything from birthday celebrations to rainy-day baking with my son and would recommend it to anyone.
Laura "There is always that dream of baked-good perfection. For me it came true the first time I tried the World Peace Cookie, whose picture graces the front of Dorie Greenspan's eponymous cookie book. Just scrumptious. My excitement for Dorie's Cookies is simple: I trust her. I can indulge in the full joy of baking at home, from sweet anticipation, through careful execution, to indulgent consumption. I know her recipes will celebrate any moment, from a chocolate chip cookie for my kids' "treat day" to a fancier cocktail-hour cookie. And would I have thought to put coffee and cardamom together? No, but mmm, so good.”
Deliciousness. Pretty obviously, how addictive were the sweets? How mind-blowing was the chocolate chip cookie?
Binge-worthiness. Do you want to read the book cover to cover? Is there a genius, rockstar recipe in there that makes it an essential book for every cookie lover's shelf? Do the photos provide added value and make you want to keep flipping through the pages?
Accessibility. Are the recipes reasonably easy to recreate, and are the ingredients easily accessible? Do most recipes call for pantry staples instead of highly specialized components? Are the tools required standard and modest?
Educational Value. Do you learn something new from the book, becoming a better baker as you work your way through? This requires more than simply a few standout recipes; it means that the reader becomes a student, learning skills and tricks and developing understanding that goes beyond one cookie recipe. For example, does the author explain how to balance flavors or the science behind a baking phenomenon?
Which one of these has your vote? Tell us about it in the comments!