more hand pies

February 14, 2015 § Leave a comment


If you search there are all kinds of recipes for hand pies. We just love them, savory or sweet. Today’s version is adapted from King Arthur’s website via Lara Ferroni’s book Real Snacks. The recipe made 12 hand pies.

For the dough:
2 cups (250 grams or 8 ½ ounces) flour (I split 3 ways: 2/3 cup of each: Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Millet Flour and Corn (which I “milled” in a old coffee grinder)

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick ( 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 tablespoons of cold water
1 egg yolk (to brush pastries before baking)

Blueberry preserves from our garden, at room temperature for the filling


To make the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until you see pea-sized lumps of butter. Add water slowly and press the dough together, mixing just until come to a ball.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half rectangles. Let it rest in a cool place. Open the dough between an open zip-log bag with some flour to roll out.

Cut into squares, fill with 1 tablespoon of filling. Here an example.

Bake 350 for 25 minutes.


whole wheat sourdough brioche

February 4, 2015 § 2 Comments


I love baking. Baking bread when we have 15 inches of snow on the ground is the best activity happening in my kitchen. So yesterday, as the snow was falling, I took my brioche pan out.  I got it when we lived in France because the first time I tasted “Brioche à tête ” I knew I had to learn to make it.

Today’s version is not the traditional recipe. It is a recipe that has the ingredients and methods I have been  experimenting with — whole grains and no-knead using sourdough starter.


*** a note on eggs, I read that it should be OK to use eggs on long ferments and make sure that the the baked bread reaches 160F/71ºC internal temperature (salmonella die at this temperature). Also smell the bread before baking. One could try to incorporate the eggs in the end for the last rise, but I have not tried that yet)

Whole Wheat Maple Sourdough Brioche
1/2 cup starter (room temperature nice and bubbly)
1 cup total of liquid ingredient: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup maple, up to 1/4 cup milk
4 TBSP butter
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of white whole wheat
1tsp salt
egg wash after second rise
Mix flours and salt
Cut butter into flour mixture. (If you have a food processor, you can do this with a couple of pulses)
Add liquids and stir until combined. Use some flour and shape into a ball.
The dough was wet but not runny and not too dense. It held the shape pretty well.
Transfer to a oiled bowl covered with plastic. Let is double in a warm place.  I started in the afternoon and this loaf took 18 hours.
The next morning, use some flour in your hands and shaped the brioche. Transferred it to the oiled Brioche pan. Let is rest another 4-5 hours until it doubles again. Brush the brioche with egg wash and bake on a pre-heated 425F oven for 18 minutes. Cover the loaf with foil and reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes. (I read to aim for an internal temperature 190F)
Let it rest 10-15 minutes and remove from the pan. Serve warm or room temperature.

Enjoy. Delicious. Bread with character

Done. Whole wheat #maple #noknead #sourdough #brioche #instafood #storycooking

A photo posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

brioche and butter

Second try, shaped into rolls– delicious!


any beans and any greens soup

February 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

white beans and greens

There are some traditional Brazilian ways we prepare beans and greens in our home. Recipes like  Feijão Tropeiro  or Tutu de Feijão. Most of the time, I cook beans using a simple formula. Sometimes this is a main meal, sometimes it goes on top of rice.

2 cups of whatever beans we have (freshly cooked in a crockpot, pressure cooked, canned or frozen)
2 cups of any greens (collard greens, kale, sorrel, chicory, mustard, brussel sprout greens, etc).
1 onion chopped
a few garlic cloves, minced
a couple tablespoons of fat: olive oil, bacon fat
about 2 cups water or broth, more if needed
For flavor: cooked bacon, chorizo sausage, ham, or any other small amounts of leftover meat I may have. If you would like a vegetarian option, use vegetable broth, tamari sauce, seaweed
good splash of vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Hot pepper sauce of hot pepper flakes if desired

On a medium sauce pan, sauté meat until well done, remove from pan and reserve, if using any.
On the same pan, add more fat if needed, add onion and sauté until golden, add greens and garlic, stirring and adding water and broth to cook the greens until soft, a couple of minutes. Add beans, salt and pepper, vinegar, seaweed if using. Add more broth or water and bring to a simmer. I like a thick creamy soup. Stir in the meat right before serving.


bacteria love

January 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

I want to have the curiosity, sweetness, and openness of kindergartens forever! I also want to commend teachers who foster learning through experiences in their classrooms. I work with groups of all ages and each age they have their own ways of experiencing food and art. This group helps me renew my excitement for foods transformed by time with the help of bacteria. And how tasty they can be! Today we made yogurt as a way to discuss good and bad bacteria, specially in the winter time, when so many families are told by their doctors: “eat yogurt because you are taking antibiotics.”

Today we worked on making that connection. We hugged warm jars of milk, sang while stirring live cultures, drew pictures of good and bacterias and discussed how our lives can’t happen without them.

Making #yogurt with kindergarten class, given and receiving good #bacterialove #eatinginseason #storycooking

A photo posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

drawing of the kids made while we talked about virus, germs and some good bacterias


IMG_4540e IMG_4542e

#greekyogurt and #whey for soaking grains #eatinginseason #storycooking #windowintomykitchen

A photo posted by Ellie Markovitch (@elliemarkovitch) on

Here the link to the recipe we used.


feeding my family bread with stories

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

sourdough saturday1

I am the main cook in my family. I am self-taught cook and I cook everyday. Storytelling is my fuel, my inspiration. Most of the time our home meals are pretty straight forward. I try to prepare food that has a connection, a story. A simple bread recipe can teach us about tradition, history, culture, and much more. I like to think that tonight’s dinner has been in the making for thousands of years. A stocked pantry, planning and practice are the ingredients that help me make these meals happen. I take pictures, make videos, journal what and how I cook and I look for ways to share and learn. This is also how I have fun while cooking. I am thankful to my parents and friends who share their stories and methods — their voices are always with me.

At home, I often ask my husband and kids what they want to eat because they inspire me to think of food in different ways. Today a friend asked me if I had a whole grain sandwich bread recipe. Yes we do because I few months back, my girls said that the sourdough or the boule breads I make are not as great for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They wanted a soft bread. I am happy to make that for them. I am happy when they eat their food too. I like a challenge. One time they came home asking if they could have fruit roll up. Off I went to learn how to make fruit leather. In return they eat my experiments – fermented vegetables, beans of all kinds and even liver. So if you have not met a person that cooks everyday, here I am. I decided to show you what we eat on Instagram under the hashtag #storycooking (you can see some of the photos on the right of this page) and weekly blog posts . There are classes and events coming up. If you have cooking questions we can look for answers together, let me know. Have a Blessed New Year.


Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, makes one loaf great for PB&J

1 cup liquid + 1egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp oil,
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour.
Mix all ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Let the dough double. Shape into 8″ log and place on a lightly greased loaf pan or make a ball. Let it rise again. Bake 350F for 35-40 minutes. Bread is done internal temperature of about 190F.

honey bread

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

One more Holiday treat. This is not something I will make often because I can’t stop eating them. They are delicious Brazilian cakes even though they are called bread.


Pão de Mel (honey bread) is a Brazilian holiday spicy cake filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate. They remind me of Petit Fours. When I saw this recipe on a book a friend gave to me, I had to try. I made very little changes to the recipe from My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz. Mostly, I made into a one mixing bowl cake, added more spices and coconut oil! They were delicious! They are made to be shared! This recipe made 20 cakes and the leftover cake, I made 20 chocolate balls.

For the cake, I mixed by hand:
1/2 cup of honey
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup of coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup of condensed milk plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup of whole milk
mix until well combine
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon grated cloves
1/4 cup of ground walnuts
Preheat oven 350F
Mix well and bake on a sprayed and parchment paper lined 9×13 baking pan. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes. Let it cool completely. I waited to the next day to cut into layers and then into rounds.

I used cookie cutters to make rounds
For the filling: 1 cup of dulce de leche. I used about 1 tablespoon on one side and then closed firmly.
For the glaze: I melted 2 pounds of semisweet baking chocolate chips with 2 teaspoon of coconut oil in a double boiler
pao doce3
The leftover filling and cake, I crumbled together and made into cake balls. Rolled them in the leftover melted chocolate and rolled them one more time in coconut flakes and chocolate! Enjoy




year of stories

December 31, 2014 § 1 Comment

Happy New Year! Where did the year go? As I sit here archiving thousands of photographs from 2014, I enjoy reflecting where I went in 2014. Each photo, a story. I taught cooking and photo classes, helped at community dinners, food demos, and took people on farm tours.  I am thankful for two new projects that kept me focused on storytelling this year. As an outreach coordinator for Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA), I was thrilled to work with Katie Jilek to capture images of Rensselaer and Washington counties for their “Photo of the Day” project on Facebook and Instagram. I also produced the “ASA Minute”, an ongoing series on voices of ASA members, farmers and those who participate in their programs. I hope their stories will inspire you to support ASA’s work.


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