Cook from the Book: Sweet Paul’s Spring Bruschetta with Peas and Pancetta
If you like your beef bourguignon with a side of paper flowers, Sweet Paul has written a book just for you.
In Sweet Paul Eat & Make, the food and craft stylist — whose real name is Paul Lowe and who writes the Sweet Paul blog — gives home cooks and DIY enthusiasts the best of both worlds with easy recipes and clever projects.
The book is organized by time of day (morning, brunch, noon, night) and divvied up into “Eat” and “Make” sections, and it’s one big temptation. Who wouldn’t want to make his recipe for red-wine and honey-braised short ribs, where “the meat is falling off the bones and the juices are heavenly”? Or his crispy red cabbage and grapefruit salad, which he describes as “like a spa day on a plate, very healthy and supremely tasty.”
The crafts are just as appealing and often made from flea-market finds: a cookie stand constructed from vintage pie tins, jam-jar salt and pepper shakers, flowers made from paper coffee filters.
Here a few treasures we learned from this very personable author:
1. Almond buns can help you find a husband. At least that’s what Lowe’s Norwegian great-aunt told him. “Her secret [in “Auntie Gunnvor’s Skillingsboller” recipe] was adding grated marzipan. When it melts into the dough, it’s just…well, try them yourself and see!”
2. You can put an egg on just about anything and call it brunch. “A poached egg on kale salad? Brunch,” says the author. “A fried egg on a grilled ham and cheese? Brunch. Steak and scrambled eggs? Brunch.” We now revere eggs like we never did before.
3. Perfect-looking food is boring. Lowe prefers his dishes and crafts to “look like a real person made them,” he says. “My philosophy is very simple: few ingredients, easy steps and amazing results.”
See for yourself by whipping up his bruschetta recipe then gather some clothespins and fashion yourself a trivet!
Bruschetta with Peas, Pancetta and Ricotta
4 oz. pancetta, cubed
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen, thawed
½ cup whole-milk ricotta
12 baguette slices, toasted
Fresh basil leaves (torn if large)
About 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the pancetta until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
2. Have ready a bowl of ice water. In a small saucepan, cook the fresh peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then dunk them into the ice water. Drain on paper towels. (If using frozen peas, cook for 30 seconds, rinse under cold water, and drain on paper towels.
3. Spread a layer of ricotta on the baguette slices and top evenly with the pancetta, peas, and basil.
4. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and serve.
You will need:
40 spring-operated wooden clothespins
Dremel tool fitted with a drilling bit or a drill
1. Disassemble all 40 clothespins.
2. Using the Dremel tool, drill a small hole in each clothespin half, about ½-inch from the tapered end.
3. Thread the clothespin pieces onto the wire in the same direction until they form a circle.
4. Once you have a full circle, wrap the ends of the wire together and twist until the clothespins are tight and secure.
Excerpted from SWEET PAUL EAT & MAKE, © 2014 by Paul Lowe Einlyng. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.