Thursday, October 1, 2015

Peter Som's Roasted Carrot Salad

Photos by Nicholas Prakas

Before the summer cast it's final golden glow over the streets of NYC a few weeks ago, I found myself making my way over to designer Peter Som's gorgeous West Village apartment to hang out with him for an afternoon and pretend to help him make us a meal. I say "pretend" not because I was being lazy about it, but because the man's got some serious skills in the kitchen--so much so that I was rendered pretty much obsolete. I basically just trailed after him haplessly while he tossed, chopped, and artfully arranged the most beautiful, well-dressed carrot salad I ever did see. All while wearing an outfit that managed to stay immaculate through this process, and keeping a serene smile on his face. It was kind of miraculous, and by the time I left, I was feeling full, happy, and enamored with Peter.  Here's his take on the dish, along with the recipe.

This salad has become one of my go-to dishes for summer entertaining in the country. It can be easily scaled up for a large crowd and almost everything can be done in advance. The variations are endless—add in sliced peaches for a sweet note, or top with grilled chicken breasts to make an entrĂ©e. In my last version I swapped out the pickled red onion for pickled plums. But ultimately this salad is great as is and --of course—accompanied with a crisp glass of rose!

Peter Som's Carrot Salad
1 bunch organic carrots
2 tablespoons harissa
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup feta, crumbled
¼ cup or so pickled red onion (recipe follows)
3-4 radishes
3 cups greens, arugula, spinach or baby kale
1 teaspoon or so lemon zest
Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean and peel carrots and place on a sheet pan. Cut some of the larger carrots lengthwise so all carrots are approximately the same size. Toss with the harissa, cumin and extra virgin olive oil.
Roast for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender and lightly browned.

Slice the radishes as thinly as possible using mandolin or sharp knife. Wash and drain the chickpeas.

Toss chickpeas, feta, greens, radish and pickled onion with the vinaigrette and place on plate. Top with roasted carrots. Dust with lemon zest.

Lemon Vinaigrette (zest the lemon first for your zest!)
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium jar with a cap, combine all ingredients. Cap the jar and shake until thoroughly combined.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stinging Nettle Soup

The first time I heard about stinging nettles, I was sitting in the beautiful Canal House kitchens of Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, listening to them wax poetic about their favorite springtime-only foods. This was after having shared a beautiful early-spring lunch of lamb, orzo salad, and asparagus prepared by them. I won't go into how this scenario came to fruition, but no, I was not dreaming, although I very well could've been. Having been an avid fan of the duo for years, I was rapt the entire afternoon, hanging on their every word. It was all I could do to keep myself from whipping out a notebook and transcribing the entire conversation. They should probably have some sort of restraining order against me, I'm such a fangirl.

One of the things Hamilton and Hirsheimer look forward to the most during spring is the welcome appearance of the stinging nettles that appear by the riverbed outside of their kitchens. This dark green, leafy veggie will abide by its name and sting you if you try to handle them with bare hands--they've got spiky little stems that create a mild burning sensation (use gloves!). But once they're cooked, they are veritable powerhouses of nutrition; a serving contains good doses of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D, and they're also known to be great for your adrenal glands and kidneys, encouraging your body to get rid of toxins, and helping you react to stress in positive ways. I scored a big bag full of them at the Union Square Greenmarket last weekend, and they're around in abundance right now, so get them while you can. This soup recipe, from Canal House Cooks Every Day, is and excellent suggestion for what to do with them; it's absolutely delicious. x

Stinging Nettle Soup
Bring 6 cups of chicken stock, 1 large, diced, peeled russet potato, and 1 small chopped onion to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add about 1 1/2 pounds of stinging nettle leaves to the pot by the handful, stirring them in. Simmer until the nettles are completely wilted, about 2 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in warm soup bowls, garnishing each serving with a pat of butter and a sprinkling of chopped fresh chives and their blossoms.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Yorkers for Nepal

As you all know, the earthquake in Nepal has been the deadliest natural disaster in more than 80 years for that nation. More than 5,000 people dead, over 9,000 injured. Eight million affected across Nepal, and one million children urgently in need of help. I was glued to the news coverage last weekend, feeling utterly helpless.

The New Yorkers for Nepal fundraiser is my humble attempt to help. Let's come together to help the people of Nepal and get them the funds they need to rebuild and recover. The organizations on the ground aren't always great at fundraising. But New Yorkers are. As a community of bright, driven, remarkable people, let's bring our light and strength to another community that is sorely in need of both right now, by donating whatever we can and inspiring our friends and families around the world to do the same.

AmeriCares, an emergency response and global health organization with a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator, will receive 100% of funds. Indiegogo Life collects no fees.

Any amount you can give will have a huge impact. We have 30 days to reach our $20,000 goal. Let's do this. Thank you so, so much.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kale Salad with Garlicky Panko

After such a long absence from this space, it's like "how dare she come back with a boring, old salad recipe. Never show your face here again." Right? I know, but you guys, it's a really good salad recipe. I whipped it up this weekend for a Sunday lunch and even my meat-eating, beer-swigging boyfriend gobbled it right up. The kale wilts nicely under the astringency of the vinegar, the panko gives it a very satisfying crunch, and the cheese makes it come in on just the right side of the healthy/sinful spectrum. Add a fried egg, and you've got yourself a meal for kings.

I've taken a longer break from this blog than I meant to, which is a tired, old tune you hear from all your food bloggers, I'm sure. But now that I've got one major apartment move checked off the never-ending list, one major office move about to be checked off the list (on Thursday, to be exact), a thirty-somethingth birthday out of the way, a couple of exciting new clients signed, and a long trip home to Hawaii done, I promise I'll be around more often. I'm settling into my new apartment on Union Square for the long haul, and the kitchen here is prime for some extreme food blogging. There's even a window in it. A windowed kitchen! Who would've thought such things existed in NYC.

I'm primed and ready for a long, leisurely spring and summer full of ramps, tomatoes, spring onions, asparagus, and other such things. See you soon. x

Kale Salad with Garlicky Panko
Serves 6
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 cup panko
Himalayan pink sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch curly kale
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 oz. of your favorite hard cheese, grated
6 fried eggs (optional)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the panko and cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate to cool.

Cut the stems from the kale and tear the leaves into pieces. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar with the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the kale; massage with the dressing, using your fingers. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Transfer to a platter, top with the grated cheese, garlic panko, and fried eggs, if using, and serve.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Quinoa Pink Puff Granola

After an extended period over the holidays and into 2015, during which I was traveling incessantly and eating with complete abandon (which for me, means loads of pizza, pasta, sugary desserts, and a cheeseburger with the works thrown into the mix every now and then for good measure), I found myself feeling.....not so stellar. I was tired all the time, bloated, and grumpy. On one particular January morning in London last month, I made a trip to Liberty to treat myself to a few new pieces, and while I was in the fitting room trying on a cute, little, long-sleeved Acne dress, I stared into the mirror, at this weird, puffy, exhausted, travel-weary version of myself, and decided to switch things up for the next little bit.

And so, gleaning some inspiration from the likes of Deliciously Ella and Kris Carr, I put my focus squarely on greens, fruits, whole grains, and a bit of fish or chicken here and there. I cut out red meat, refined sugar, processed foods, and coffee, and I cut down drastically on gluten and dairy (I can't resist the occasional smear of good butter). I stocked my fridge with bone broths, different sorts of miso pastes, tons of veggies and fruits, beans, quinoa, brown rice, et al. and started reading up on things like pH levels and alkalinity. This all went down around three weeks ago, and you know what? I already feel amazing. My skin looks clearer, my eyes brighter, I'm more alert, and my midsection has flattened out pretty impressively, considering it's only been a few weeks. I'm also at that key point where I'm not craving sugar anymore--quite a feat for a sweets junkie like me. It's amazing how adaptable our bodies are--I swear if you go cold turkey for a couple of weeks, you won't even want it anymore.

As a side effect of these new habits of mine, I found a need to start making my own granola on a more consistent basis. Of all the awesome, delicious, locally made, organic granolas on those heaving Whole Foods shelves, I couldn't find a single one that didn't have sugar in it and looked like something I wanted in my mouth. This is my latest (and most favorite) experiment. It's made of incredibly nutritious ingredients like puffed quinoa, chia seeds, coconut flakes, and pistachios, all tossed with a beautiful, deep pink coating of beetroot powder for some natural, healthy sweetness. It's mixed together with coconut oil and then baked for a long time at a low temperature to preserve as much of the goodness as possible. So yummy tossed into your morning acai bowls or yogurts. xo

Quinoa Pink Puff Granola
2 cups puffed quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup organic, raw pistachios, shelled
2 cups coconut flakes
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons beetroot powder

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F. Mix together first seven ingredients in a big bowl. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan and pour over all the ingredients in the bowl. Mix together thoroughly until everything is well coated.

Spread the mixture into a rectangular baking pan, layering a sheet of parchment paper underneath for easy clean-up, if you like. Bake for one hour, tossing halfway through so that everything cooks evenly and gets lightly toasted.

Take out of oven and let cool for a few minutes. Toss with the beetroot powder until the whole thing takes on a lovely, deep pink hue. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Everything Bagels

One of the best things about living in NYC is the luxuriously easy access to the best carb-form in the known world: the New York bagel. It's legends are many, it's followers are loyal--and all for good reason. There's nothing quite like waking up late on a Sunday morning, and making a bagel run in the crisp morning sun to your local shop, steaming cup of coffee in hand. A few givens: the lines will be long, your fellow bagel devotees will be half-asleep, some still in varying forms of sleepwear, and the caffeine-fueled guys behind the counter will yell loudly the entire time you're in there. You'll be rung up brusquely, thrown some change, which you'll throw right back into the tips jar, and out you'll go, clutching a precious brown paper bag full of doughy-on-the-inside-crunchy-on-the-outside bagels filled to the brim with luscious cream cheese (and you better not let me hear you ask for low-fat, or some other such nonsense). You'll get back home and maybe you'll have someone waiting there for you with whom to share your bounty over the weekend papers, but even if you don't, that's okay, because it's Sunday, and the whole day stretches lazily ahead with no end in sight, and you don't really need to get dressed or do your make-up today, and the floor can be covered with newspaper sections, and you've got one perfect bagel in hand.

My love affair with bagels has no bounds, if you can't already tell. Which is why I decided to venture into making my own, only to quickly discover that not only is it easier than it sounds, but that the whole Sunday morning bagel shop ritual I just waxed poetic about for far too long doesn't hold a candle to producing your own batch of beautiful, shiny bagels, to be eaten immediately, minutes out of the oven, covered in slathers of cream cheese sprinkled high with fresh chives you've just sliced yourself. It's a long-but-not-too-long, pleasing process that won't unduly stress you out, I promise. And the end result is more than worth it. Recipe below. xo

Everything Bagels
From Sunday Suppers, by Karen Mordechai
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/3 cups warm water (about 105 F)
Vegetable oil, for the bowl
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon rock salt or coarse sea salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and kosher salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water. Continue to mix until the dough comes together, 4 to 6 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. Oil a large bowl, add the dough, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Press each piece to get rid of any air bubbles. Form them into smooth balls by rolling and rotating each one between your palms. Coat a finger with flour and press it through each ball to form a ring, stretching the dough and widening the hole to about one-third of the bagel’s diameter. Place the bagels on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rest for 10 minutes. (If the bagels begin to dry out, spray them with a bit of water.)

Bring the water back to a full boil and gently lower the bagels, 2 or 3 at a time, into the water. Boil uncovered for about 1 minute. Flip and boil for another minute. Remove the bagels, drain, and return to the baking sheet.

Whisk the egg yolk with the 1 teaspoon water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, coat the tops of the bagels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and rock salt. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes a dozen small bagels.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Insta Cookbook Club Giveaway

Happy Sunday! I'm giving away one of my absolute favorite cookbooks of the year, Huckleberry, by Zoe Nathan. I've been cooking and baking my way through it over the last month or so, and every recipe has been spot-on, one of the best being a blueberry cornmeal cake that just melts in your mouth. So good. Here's how to enter:

1. Go to my Instagram feed and follow here:
2. Find the picture you see in this post, and tag a friend you'd like to cook with in the comments.

That's it! I'll be picking a winner out of a hat next week and sending copies for you both. USA residents only, for now. xx