Sunday, October 28, 2012

Emeril Lagasse: Egg Salad Supreme

I've made egg salad before.  Who hasn't?  But honestly, I've still been looking for the best egg salad.  The one that made me stop looking for egg salad recipes because I had found the magical answer.  Am I the only one who does this?  Probably.

This egg salad is a mish-mash of a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, the insistence of an Aussie on a cooking forum that egg salad HAS to have curry powder, and a bunch of fiddling of my own.  And I think I have found my egg salad nirvana.  I could eat this on a piece of toasted Pepperidge Farm Italian bread for lunch every day.  Well, at least for a week.  And no, Pepperidge Farm isn't paying me to plug their bread.  But they could (hint hint).

Egg Salad Supreme
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

6 large eggs, hard-boiled
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon celery salt
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

Roughly chop the eggs or mash with a fork and place them in a mixing bowl.  Add the mustard, paprika, curry powder, celery salt, celery, capers, and chives.  Fold in the mayonnaise and bacon pieces.  Stir with a rubber spatula until very well blended.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Silvia Lavecchia: Tiramisu

I think every Italian restaurant in the country has tiramisu on their dessert menus.  And now that I'm starting to see it at Chinese buffets, I think we can just admit that it's part of our dessert lexicon.  It's been done a million times over, but every time I see it offered, even if I KNOW it's going to be bad, I still order it.  When I was younger, I tried to make a version by Giada de Laurentiis at home, but even that didn't come out the way I expected.  A good tiramisu is hard to find.

When I finally decided to try again, I scoured the internet for what would be the most delicious, most authentic tiramisu.  I would overcome any sourcing issues, translate from Italian, whatever it took.  When I landed on one that claimed to be direct from someone's Italian in-laws, I was curious.  When they listed the ingredients like a demand letter, I knew I had found the right recipe.  This tiramisu is transcendent.  It really is amazing.  But I have to add that if you have no immune system, or you're 2 years old, or you're on your death bed, you might not want to risk the tiny chance of getting salmonella from the raw eggs.  Although I think I still would.

Adapted from Silvia Lavecchia and Michael Janke

16 ounces mascarpone cheese
6 large eggs
2 packages Alessi savoiardi ladyfingers (about 36 cookies)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 ounces Cognac
1 (6.8-ounce) can Illy unsweetened espresso drink
Grated bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Bring all the ingredients to room temperature.  Pour the espresso drink into a shallow flat-bottomed bowl or dish.  Add 1 ounce of water and 1 ounce of Cognac.

Separate the egg yolks and whites.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.  Add the mascarpone cheese and 1 ounce of Cognac and mix until blended.  In a second mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the mascarpone cheese mixture.  Mix only enough to blend as over-mixing will deflate the egg whites.

Quickly dip a ladyfinger in the espresso bowl.  To get the right amount of espresso on the ladyfinger, lay the ladyfinger flat in the bottom of the bowl, sugared side UP, and immediately pull it out.  Place each ladyfinger flat in the bottom of a 9x13-inch glass dish, sugar side DOWN.  The ladyfinger will quickly absorb the espresso.  Soaking the ladyfingers in the espresso will result in soggy ladyfingers.

Build a layer of dipped ladyfingers across the bottom of the glass dish.  If some of the ladyfingers do not look dark from the espresso, spoon a few more drops of espresso on the ladyfingers.  Any espresso left in the bottom of the dish will be absorbed by the ladyfingers.  Spoon a layer of the mascarpone mixture across the layer of ladyfingers, using half of the mixture.  Grate bittersweet chocolate over the mascarpone mixture.  Dip another layer of ladyfingers and lay them on the grated chocolate.  Layer them as before, sugar side DOWN.  Drip espresso on the ladyfingers that don’t look dark.  Spoon the remaining mascarpone mixture across the second layer of ladyfingers, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 4 hours before serving, preferably overnight.  Before serving, sift the unsweetened cocoa over the top of the tiramisu.

Makes 16 servings

Gourmet: Lasagne Bolognese with Spinach

When you have company, what's the first thing that pops into your head to make for dinner?  Lasagne, right?  Heck, it's easy and filling and pretty much everyone likes it.  Except for that one picky person who has the tomato phobia.  Moving on.  Lasagne is a good dish for parties and get-togethers because it can be put together ahead of time.  This means more time for the hostess to be drinking with her friends.  And that's always a good thing.

This version of lasagne was boasted by Gourmet magazine to the BEST lasagne.  And you know when I see words like that, it's like a dare.  I have to cook the dish and either prove or disprove the claim.  And with this one, I may have to say they're on to something.  However, the lasagne turns out a little dry for my tastes (but cuts prettily!), so I like to serve it with some delicious tomato sauce on the side.  Your call.

Lasagne Bolognese with Spinach
From Gourmet: Italian Kitchen magazine

For the Bolognese sauce:
¼ cup olive oil
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds ground beef chuck
1½ cups dry white wine
1½ cups whole milk
¼ cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons thyme leaves

For the ricotta filling:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 (15-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¾ cup whole milk, divided

For assembling lasagna:
12 Barilla no-boil dried lasagne noodles
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat oil in a 12- to 14-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.  Cook the pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and softened, 12 to 15 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps, until the meat is no longer pink, 6 to 10 minutes.  Stir in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated but the sauce is still moist, about 1 hour.

Put the spinach in a paper towel and twist to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.  Whisk together ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, nutmeg, 1¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Transfer 1½ cups ricotta mixture to another bowl and whisk in ¼ cup milk; set aside.  Whisk spinach into remaining filling with remaining ½ cup milk.

Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle.  Soak the noodles in a bowl of very warm water until pliable but not softened, 3 to 5 minutes.  Place on a paper towel.  Spread 1½ cups of the Bolognese sauce in a 13x9-inch baking pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.  Cover with 3 noodles, leaving space in between.  Spread half of spinach filling on top, then 1 cup Bolognese sauce, and top with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and 3 noodles; repeat.  Top with remaining Bolognese sauce, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and 3 remaining noodles.  Pour reserved ricotta mixture over the top and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese.

Cover the pan tightly with parchment paper and foil (or just buttered foil) and bake 50 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until the top is browned in spots, about 15 minutes more.  Let stand 15 to 30 minutes before cutting.

Makes 8 servings

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giada de Laurentiis: Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Let's just be honest here.  I love pork.  In all its incarnations.  I think tender ribs are the height of fabulous, caramelized ham will make me ignore everything else on my plate, and being German, I worship at the shrine of sausage.  Oh, and I subscribe to the line of thought that bacon makes everything better.  EVERYTHING.

The only problem with pork is that if it isn't cooked the right way, it turns out tasteless and dry as a bone.  Because the bureaucrats at the USDA want to make sure no one on the planet could possibly ever get sick from anything, they have decreed that pork be cooked to a temperature that renders it....incredibly unappealing.  It also renders it a waste of your money and your tastebuds.  Luckily Giada ignores the USDA.  My kind of girl.

Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 (10-ounce) bag of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup (2 ounces) goat cheese
⅓ cup cream cheese
4 (4-ounce) center-cut pork chops
1½ cups chicken broth
½ lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Warm the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Cook until combined, about 2 more minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the goat cheese and the cream cheese.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop.  Stuff each pocket with ¼ of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing.  Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard.

Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot add the pork.  Cook until golden and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.  Add the chicken broth mixture to the skillet over medium-high heat.  Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers.  Reduce the broth by half to make a light sauce, about 8 minutes.  Add the heavy cream and stir until warmed through.  Spoon some sauce over the pork before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saveur: Stewed Green Beans

You know those huge smoked turkey legs they have at the fair?  The ones that looks like they came from Godzilla turkey?  Well, everyone I know seems to love those things.  I'm not sure I can get into it, though.  I feel like a cave woman gnawing on a mammoth bone. Luckily there is something else to do with those giant legs.  Something delicious.

Every time you go to a restaurant in the South, you'll see green beans on the menu.  But not just any green beans.  These are slow cooked with meat until they're tender and succulent.  And if you're lucky, the cook will take the time to pull the meat from the bone and throw that in, too.  But since some of us have large student loan payments and can't eat out all the time, we have to try and recreate the magic at home.

Stewed Green Beans
From Martha Lou's Kitchen Restaurant, as seen in Saveur magazine, May 2011

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or bacon fat
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 pound green beans, strings removed
1 small smoked turkey leg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the butter or bacon fat in a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the green beans, turkey leg, and 4 cups of water.  Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the green beans are very tender, about 1 hour.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary: Everyday Orzo

A lot of people define comfort food as something that you grew up with, something your mom cooked.  When you cook that dish, it brings your dear sweet mother to mind (including whether or not she burned everything she touched), and it's comforting.  I'm not sure this is true.  I have had many foods that I didn't eat at all when I was a kid that I consider to be comfort food.  And anything with butter and cheese on it pretty much fits on this list.

I'm not sure how things get much better than pasta covered in cheese.  Maybe they don't.  I was never a fan of pasta as a kid, but now I'll take it in any shape or size, as long as it's covered in goo.  And although this orzo looks deceivingly elegant, it's really just more pasta with cheese.  And butter.  And sauteed shallots.  I'll take a bowl of this any day of the week.  Oh, and Comté cheese works beautifully if that's the only expensive cheese you have left after making cheese toasties for dinner every night.  Busted.

Everyday Orzo
Adapted from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary blog

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2½ cups chicken stock
2 cups orzo pasta, uncooked
½ cup Gruyére cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add shallots and cook until soft but not browned, about 6 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock just until it begins to boil.

Add orzo to shallot and garlic in skillet.  Stir in hot chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat.  Let stand, without removing cover, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Stir in cheese until melted; add chives and season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Berlin Kitchen: Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Meat Sauce)

I love reading food blogs, and that's where a lot of my ideas for meals comes from.  And I love it when one of those blogs makes it, and a book is released.  It shows that the little guy can cook delicious things and be recognized without having a big name or a fancy restaurant.  Not that I mind big names **cough cough** Bobby Flay **cough cough**.  It's just nice to see other people being recognized.

My Berlin Kitchen is more than a cookbook based on a blog.  It's more of a autobiography than anything.  And even though I was feeling a little bored in the middle where all the whining took place, I liked the overall storyline.  I even made a recipe from the book, one that was promised to be fabulous.  Maybe I just don't get Italian food, but I think it fell flat.  When I think of ragu sauce, I don't just think of meat, I also think of vegetables and herbs.  And these are exactly the things she forbids.  And in the end, you just have a big bowl of juicy, salty ground meat.  Which is fine.  It's just not interesting.  At all.  Unless you're my dad, who had two bowlfuls.  So maybe I really don't get it.

Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Meat Sauce)
From My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely minced
2 large carrots, finely minced (you want roughly equal amounts of minced onion and carrot)
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
½ cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) can peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Put the oil and butter in a large cast-iron pot over medium heat to melt the butter.  Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, until the onion is well cooked.  Do not let it take on any color.  Add the minced carrots and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring now and then.  Add the ground meat to the pot, and using a wooden spoon, stir and chop up the meat so that is cooks and breaks down into uniformly tiny pieces.  Raise the heat to medium-high or even high as you do this.  It takes a good amount of elbow grease and a little bit of time.

Continue to stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink (at no point, however, should the meat be browning).  There will be liquid at the bottom of the pan.  Continue to cook until that liquid has mostly evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the wine and stir well to combine.  Simmer until the wine has mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the pureed tomatoes and the salt, and stir well to combine.  The sauce will come to a simmer almost instantly.  Lower the heat to the lowest possible setting, put the lid on the pot, and let the sauce simmer for as long as you can, stirring it occasionally.  Seven hours would be wonderful, 5 hours is pretty good, but any less than 3 and you're really missing out.  The longer you cook the sauce, the richer and more flavorful it will get.

At some point in the cooking process, the fat will separate from the sauce and float at the top, so just give the sauce a good stir every so often to reincorporate the fat.  At the end of the cooking time, taste for seasoning and add more salt, if needed.  Then serve tossed with pasta or use in a classic lasagne (this recipe makes enough for a 9x13-inch pan).

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What Katie Ate: Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs

I've always liked the meltingly delicious quality of good short ribs, but it seemed like quite a task to find a recipe that actually had some flavor.  I experimented with a recipe of Marcus Samuelsson's, which included Sriracha hot sauce, but everything just tasted muddy by the end.  And I felt like I had wasted $20 worth of meat.  It kinda scared me off of short rib recipes for a while.

Somehow I stumbled upon the blog What Katie Ate, and she had this amazing drool-worthy photograph of perfect short ribs resting on a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes.  Since I was practically licking the screen, I figured I should probably give it a chance.  I mean, with wine, tomato sauce, and Dijon mustard, there has to be flavor there, right?  Yes, yes there is flavor.  So much flavor that I was using my finger to scrape the last drips of sauce off the bottom of my bowl.  I'm so glad no one is around to see me when I'm being an all-out glutton.  I'd never live it down.

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs
Adapted from the What Katie Ate blog

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 bunch baby carrots with green tops, trimmed
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
 cup flour
8 beef short ribs (about 2 pounds)
2 cups red wine (such as Shiraz)
1¾ cups beef stock
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion, carrots, and celery for 8 to 10 minutes, until just beginning to color.  Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and cook for a further couple of minutes.  Remove from the pan and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Season the flour generously with salt and pepper.  Coat the short ribs well in the flour.  Heat the remaining oil in the pan and brown the short ribs in 2 batches until golden, adding any remaining flour with the second batch of ribs.  Remove the ribs from the pan and place on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Add the wine to the pan to deglaze, and reduce it by half, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any sediment.  Add the stock, tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves, and stir to combine.  Pour the sauce over the ribs and vegetables in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.

Makes 4 servings

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Saveur: The New Comfort Food: Finocchio al Forno (Fennel Baked in Cream)

I have this huge book of comfort food that Saveur magazine published, and I love just flipping through it and drooling on the pictures.  The food looks amazing.  And it's full of butter and cream and cheese and all of those things that are bad for you but can fix almost anything - heartbreak, loneliness, an empty stomach.  One of the recipes in the book is for fennel, something I haven't had the opportunity to cook with yet, so of course I had to try it.

Who would turn down anything cooked in cream and butter?  Not me, and I don't think I'd get along with anyone who would.  The licorice flavor of the fennel gets toned down by the cream, and it gets this lovely caramelization on the top that makes it so perfect on your tongue.  It's savory and sweet and all things good. I did note to cut back on the butter (which is reflected in the recipe below) because I was getting butter puddles on the top of my fennel, but if you're related to Paula Deen, feel free to double the amount I have listed.

Finocchio al Forno (Fennel Baked in Cream)
From Saveur: The New Comfort Food by James Oseland and Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant

1½ pounds fennel (about 2 large bulbs), stalks removed, halved lengthwise, and cut into ½-inch wedges
2 cups heavy cream
1½ cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 425°F.  In a bowl, toss together fennel, cream, and 1 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a 3-qt. baking dish; dot with butter.  Cover dish with foil; bake for 60 minutes.

Uncover baking dish; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.  Bake until fennel is tender, about 30 minutes more.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cooking Light: Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce

Have you seen that recipe going around for Rachel Ray's pasta with vodka sauce that is supposedly so good that it will magically make Prince Charming show up at your door and propose marriage?  Yeah, I saw it, too.  It doesn't work.  And the sauce isn't very good either.  Disappointment on two fronts.  I've been a little wary of vodka sauce ever since.

Since I'm not a big tomato sauce fan, I enjoy every opportunity to dump something else into it to make it more interesting.  Meat, herbs, cream, liquor...  So of course I had to try vodka sauce again.  This time I found a recipe for a lighter version, which I normally abhor, but this tasted pretty darn good, if a bit spicy.  Darn good enough that I will probably make it again.  I don't think it will make Prince Charming appear, but hey, that's asking a lot of a pasta sauce.

Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, September 2007

½ pound uncooked pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon salt, divided
⅛-¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¾ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup vodka
¼ cup chicken broth
1 (14½-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
¼ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender.  Add ¼ teaspoon salt, red pepper, oregano, and garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Add vodka; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half.  Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes.  Place tomato mixture in a blender.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).  Process until smooth.  Return tomato mixture to pan; stir in cream.  Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cooked pasta, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and basil.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Martha Stewart: Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like my old chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You know, the one on the back of the Tollhouse morsels package?  The one everyone makes?  Hey, it's a good recipe, and I grew up on it.  But then I heard there's a better recipe.  Something even more fabulous.  As a devoted chocolate chip cookie worshipper, I of course had to try it.

According to Martha Stewart, this is Jacques Torres' recipe for his chocolate chip cookies.  It seems pretty legit - I mean, the things have pastry flour in them for goodness sake.  But I honestly don't care whose recipe it is, because it does turn out some amazing cookies.  And as an adult, I love the way the salt on top just brings everything together.  One word of caution: you seriously need to leave the dough alone overnight.  I know, I know, it's really hard, and your fingers are just itching to sneak into the bowl and pull out a lump, but trust me.  LEAVE THE DOUGH ALONE.

Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon pastry flour
1½ cups bread flour
½ tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound 60% cocoa chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli)
Fleur de sel or other high quality sea salt for sprinkling, if desired

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough at least 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

Using a 1-ounce scoop, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle lightly with salt.  Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies