11.17.2017

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I hit the library cookbook shelf pretty hard this week. After flipping through a dozen cookbooks, old and new, I brought two home – Christopher Kimball’s new book Milk Street: The New Home Cooking and Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. I picked Milk Street because, without cable TV at home, Nick and I end up watching public television’s cooking shows often and both feel like we know Christopher Kimball personally. Taste of Persia is our cookbook club’s new book and I was psyched to see an entire chapter dedicated to flatbreads.

I made two recipes from Milk Street this week – this kale salad and a lentil salad. I have the ingredients for a cauliflower-tahini dish from the book in our fridge that I hope to try today. This kale salad is really good – here is what Christopher Kimball has to say about it:

Kale can make a flavorful and seasonal winter salad, but to be eaten raw it needs to be treated right. Otherwise, the greens can be unpleasantly tough. We started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale. Its long blue-green leaves are sweeter and more tender than curly kale. Slicing the greens thinly was the first step to making them more salad-friendly. Then, to soften them further, we borrowed a Japanese technique used on raw cabbage – massaging the leaves. In this case, we do it with ground smoked almonds, which help tenderize the kale and add crunch and flavor to the finished salad. An acidic shallot-sherry vinaigrette also helped soften and brighten the kale (look for a sherry vinegar aged at least 3 years). Intensely flavorful paprika breadcrumbs, inspired by the Catalan sauce cicada, tied everything together. 

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Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds and Picada Crumbs

Start to finish: 15 minutes / Servings: 6. From Milk Street: The New Home Cooking

2 shallots, thinly sliced

5 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons honey

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Ground black pepper

1 cup smoked almonds *I used regular roasted and salted almonds, not smoked

4 ounces chewy white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed, washed, spun dry and thinly sliced crosswise (10 cups)

1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped *I left out the mint

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1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, 5 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

2. In a food processor, process the almonds until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses; transfer to a large bowl. Add the bread to the processor and process to rough crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the thyme, the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Process until incorporated, about 10 seconds.

3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a large skillet over medium and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

4. Add the kale and mint to the bowl with the almonds and massage the greens until the kale softens and darkens, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the dressing and crumbs and toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

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02.02.2017

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I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Juice Making for Food52. Check it out! 

Whether you received a juicer over the holidays, are in the midst of a New Year’s resolution kick, or simply want to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet (who doesn’t?), you may be curious about juicing…click here to read the full article and get the recipes.

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Photography by Elizabeth Cecil

06.09.2015

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Over the past couple of weeks I have found a variety of excuses to make a batch of this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. First, we had friends over for dinner so, selfishly, a fresh batch was in order. Our crew easily polished it off in one sitting. This weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday (the gardener behind these amazing peonies) and, you guessed it, another batch was served. This recipe is easy to love – it calls for only 5 ingredients, is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and takes on the perfect minty flavor (thanks to steeping 2 cups of green leaves in cream). If you have an ice cream maker or can borrow one from a friend I am telling you – make this.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

from Diary of a Locavore

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

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Pour the cream, milk, and maple syrup into a medium saucepan. Add the mint leaves, stir, and warm slowly over low heat until the mixture begins to steam. Cover and steep for at least an hour at room temperature, then put the pot in the fridge.

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When the cream is cool, strain out the mint leaves, wringing carefully over the pot to get out any extra flavor and cream. Pour the cream mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. When the ice cream is almost done, add the chocolate. Scoop into a container and chill for another hour or so before serving.

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02.13.2015

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Getting a new cookbook in the mail is my kind of fun. I flip through it right away, bring it into bed at night, start folding down pages, and ultimately create grocery lists for a handful of first choice recipes. We cook and eat those, check out the other folded pages, again shop and cook, slowly eating our way through it. I’m in the middle of a love affair with this new book, Clean Slate, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, and am giving away a copy. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing and I will pull a name early next week!

I can’t wait for one of you to bring this home. There is so much important information in here from an overview of nutrients (including super detoxifiers, antioxidant powerhouses,  inflammation fighters, and digestive aids) to a simple pantry restock approach, and two specific mind/body detox action plans (one is 3 days and the other is 21 days – both come with full menu guides and recipes). Personally, I’m starting with the 3 day detox plan (call it trip prep or snow distraction strategy #99) and really appreciate the ease of it. You just cook three big batch meals (a smoothie, salad, and soup) to enjoy over the 3 days. It’s so simple that I may even be able to talk Nick into it.

I have at least a dozen recipes dog-eared but started in the kitchen with these two salads and loved both.

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Farro, Pea Shoot & Goat Cheese Salad
serves 6

1 cup farro
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh shelled peas
2 ounces pea shoots, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup small fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1 ounce)

Place farro in a medium saucepan, and cover with 4 inches of water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender; 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl; let cool completely.

Meanwhile, cook peas in a small saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Add peas, pea shoots, mint, almonds, and lemon zest to farro. Toss with lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with goat cheese.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado & Pumpkin Seeds
serves 6

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and leaves separated
2 tablespoons raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Whisk together lemon zest and juice and mustard in a bowl. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

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PS. Tell your friends to enter too and here’s a look inside…

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10.28.2014

I’m not sure if our neighbors appreciate our homemade Halloween decorations or if they think we are going a little crazy. Dylan is really into a spooky holiday so we have that awful fake spiderweb batting all over our front steps, old t-shirt ghosts floating from the porch, and construction paper skulls, bats, and spiders taped randomly (with bright blue painters tape!) all over the walls. It’s a look. Nick grew up in Sleepy Hollow so we are reading, on repeat, the tale of the headless horseman. To say we are excited for Friday is an understatement.

We tried this simple lentil dinner last week and really enjoyed it. It’s easy to individually tailor for each family member. You can toss on an egg, leftover roasted vegetables, or shredded chicken on top.

Spiced Black Lentils with Yogurt & Mint
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

½ teaspoonground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon mustard seeds 
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more 
1 small onion, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 cup black beluga lentils 
3 cups (or more) low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth 
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
 Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper 
1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

1. First, stir coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, and two tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until just softened, about 5 minutes. 
2. Next, add the lentils and 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, adding broth as needed to keep lentils covered, until lentils are soft, 30–40 minutes. Stir in vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
3. To serve, transfer the lentils to a large bowl and top with yogurt. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil, and top with mint. 
Do Ahead: Lentils can be cooked 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.