Southern Carrot Slaw

 

A refreshing salad perfect for a picnic, appetizer or a snack on-the-go! 

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and spiralized 
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 3 T freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1 t cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients. 
  • Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Serve cold. Enjoy! 

Honey-Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This sweet & spicy recipe is the perfect snack, or complementary side dish! Inspired by Dig Inn.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 T olive oil 
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t honey 
  • 1 t sriracha chili sauce 

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400. 
  • Trim and cut the brussels sprouts in halves. 
  • In a medium bowl, coat the brussels sprouts with oil and salt. 
  • Arrange the brussels sprouts in a single layer pan, and roast in oven for 35 minutes, or until browned and tender. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the honey and sriracha. Drizzle over pan of brussels sprouts and stir to coat evenly. 
  • Return pan to over for 5 more minutes. 
  • Take out of the oven and serve. 

Oysters with Mignonette Sauce

Shucking oysters is a great way to get to know someone. Plus, there's the added benefit of having oysters to eat once the oysters are shucked.

Ingredients:

• 12 Fresh Oysters, preferably Hummock Island, CT

• 1 T Champagne Vinegar

• 1/2 shallot, minced

• Pinch Sugar

• Pinch Salt

• Pinch Pepper

Directions:

• Combine vinegar, shallot, and seasoning.

• Allow to sit at least 1 hour.

• Shuck oysters.

• Spoon mignonette sauce over oysters.

• Serve.

Truffle Honey Challah

For Victory Club's Truffle Shabbat dinner at Urbani, we used truffle honey as our secret ingredient. The result: a savory yet sweet challah that was devoured in minutes. Recipe adapted from The Challah Blog. The event was made possible by the TableMakers Initiative of the Schusterman Foundation.

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tbsp active dry or instant yeast

  • 6 tbsp honey (we recommend using Urbani's Truffle Honey)

  • 3 eggs & 1 egg for wash

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (we use canola, but vegetable is fine)

  • 6 cups bread flour

  • 2 tsp salt

  • Truffle Salt

Directions:

  • Place very warm (but not scalding) water in mixing bowl.

  • Add yeast and 3 tbs. honey, mixing lightly.

  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so until you see little eruptions.

  • Add 3 eggs and oil and mix with wood spoon.

  • If you have a stand mixer, add flour and salt and beat with dough hook. Remember: salt kills yeast. Don't put the salt in with the yeast. Wait until you've added some of the flour.

  • If the dough is not holding together as a ball, add a bit more oil or water. If dough is very sticky, add more flour. The dough is ready when it sticks together as a ball and is not sticky to the touch when you poke your finger in.

  • Beat the dough for 5-10 minutes.

  • Turn the ball out onto a floured work surface and punch a few times until very smooth.

  • Place dough in oiled bowl and cover top with plastic wrap or towel.

  • Allow to rise at least one hour, preferably more, until dough has doubled in size.

  • Punch down ball in bowl and remove. Punch out all air bubbles.

  • Braid in your preferred method.

  • Allow to rise 20-30 minutes.

  • Mix remaining egg with 3 tbs. truffle honey. Brush mixture onto challah. 

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

  • After 10 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue to bake. If they seem doughy, give it more time.

Pull apart and enjoy!

45 minutes active time; 2.5 hours total time. Yields one large challah. 

Mushroom Soup

Nothing's better than a hot bowl of soup to transition into fall. It was the perfect first course for Victory Club's Truffle Shabbat dinner... and it's perfect to have stocked in the freezer now that the chillier months are approaching. 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 50 g butter
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 350 g sliced baby bella mushroom
  • 4 cups of chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • truffle oil (optional, but we recommend Urbani's White Truffle Oil)
  • chives, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

  • Turn on the oven to 350 F
  • In a sheet tray, spread the sliced mushrooms evenly and put them in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are in the oven, sweat the onion in a medium tall pot with the butter. Salt to taste.
  • When the mushrooms are ready, add to the sweated onions. Cover with the chicken broth or water, add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  • With a hand blender, puree the soup until it reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste.
  • Serve hot and garnish with the parsley and a few drops of truffle oil (optional).

25 minutes active time; 1 hour total time. Serves 4. 

Enjoy!

Cucumber Salad

This dish is perfect al fresco -- as well as desko! Healthy, easy, & so delicious. 

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

    •    1 long cucumber 

    •    1 bunch dill

    •    4 T white wine vinegar 

    •    1 T honey

    •    Salt

Directions:

    •    Cut cucumber into 1/4-inch thick rounds

    •    In a large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, salt and honey until well combined. 

    •    Mix in cucumber until all pieces have been completely coated. 

    •  Allow mixture to sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes (the longer the tastier as the flavors seep together)

    •  Add dill. 

    •    Enjoy! 

15 minutes active time, 30 minutes total time. Serves 4.

 

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus

This roasted asparagus recipe is fool-proof and can be adapted to include a poached egg, be presented in an elegant cylindrical salad, or be thrown into a delicious breakfast frittata. These roasted asparagus are also strong enough to stand on their own :) 

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

    •    1 Bunch of asparagus (trimmed, with white bottoms removed)

    •    1 T olive oil 

    •    Salt

    •    pinch of pepper

    •    Toasted sliced almonds (optional) 

Directions:

    •    Preheat oven to 400.

    •    In a casserole large enough for all your asparagus, lay them flat across surface.

    •    Pour oil across until well coated & mix around casserole thoroughly.

    •    Sprinkle with salt

    •    Roast in oven for 20 minutes, or until a sharp knife cuts through thickest point of asparagus effortlessly. 

    •    Garnish with toasted almonds if you feel so inclined!

    •    Enjoy!

5 minutes active time, 25 minutes total time. Serves 2.

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Carrot Salad

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

    •  1 bag baby carrots

    •  2 T mustard

    •  1 T olive oil

    •  Pinch of salt

    •  Sprinkling of Pepper

    •  Handful of chopped pistachios

Directions:

    •  Shred carrots using a KitchenAid Food Processor

    •  In a medium mixing bowl, combine mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

    •  Add carrots and mix thoroughly, until all carrot shreds are completely coated. 

    •  Combine with pistachios until fully incorporated

    •  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (and up to 3 days)

    •  Enjoy! 

15 minutes active time, 45 minutes total time. Serves 4. 

Roasted Asparagus with a Poached Egg

Roast asparagus with a runny poached egg

Roast asparagus with a runny poached egg

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

    •    1 Bunch of asparagus (trimmed, with white bottoms removed)

    •    1 T olive oil 

    •    Salt

    •    pinch of pepper

    •    2 eggs (one per person) 

    •    White wine vinegar

Directions:

    •    Preheat oven to 400.

    •    In a casserole large enough for all your asparagus, lay them flat across surface.

    •    Pour oil across until well coated & mix around casserole thoroughly.

    •    Sprinkle with salt

    •    Roast in oven for 20 minutes, or until a sharp knife cuts through thickest point of asparagus effortlessly. 

    •    While asparagus are in the oven, heat half a pot of hot water over the stove, add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon vinegar

    •   Gently crack each egg into a ramekin

    •   When the water is beginning to bubble, but not boiling, pour each egg into the water, just above the water level. 

    •   Create a little movement in the water by stirring the pot very gently.

    •    Once the egg whites have become opaque (above 1.5 minutes), gently with a large slotted spoon remove egg from the pot and place in a safe surface to drain water.

    •    Remove asparagus and prepare on plate, then with a fragile hand place egg over over asparagus. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  

    •    Enjoy!

15 minutes active time, 40 minutes total time. Serves 2.

Roasted Asparagus & Pea Frittata

Frittata with Asparagus and & Peas

Frittata with Asparagus and & Peas

If you ask Chefanie her favorite thing to cook, she'll answer "breakfast." Breakfast or brunch is a leisurely meal enjoyed on days when emails & people don't require immediate responses. Ah. Frittatas, like this one, are the perfect vehicle to use leftovers, not to mention absolutely delicious. You can substitute the vegetables used here with whatever is in season: corn in summer, squash in fall, mushrooms in winter. 

RECIPE

Ingredients: 

   •     5 large eggs

    •   1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed with pesky white ends removed 

    •   Olive oil 

    •    Salt

    •    Pepper

    •    1 cup frozen peas

   •     Gruyère, grated

Directions:

    •    Preheat oven to 400.

    •   In a small bowl, whisk eggs with salt, allow to sit for at least15 minutes. (Fact: proven by our friend & hero Kenji, pre-salting eggs helps them retain their moisture & tenderness.)

    •    Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces. 

    •    In a casserole large enough for your asparagus, lay asparagus flat.

    •    Pour oil across until well coated & mix around casserole thoroughly.

    •    Sprinkle with salt

    •    Roast in oven for 10 minutes, or until a sharp knife cuts through thickest point of asparagus effortlessly. 

    •    While asparagus are in oven, add peas to a small pot of boiling water with salt, boil for 1-2 minutes & strain.

    •   Add cooked vegetables to a medium-sized non-stick pan, once warmed pour egg mixture over. Add a big handful of gruyère. 

    •   Allow everything to sit for 2 minutes on low flame. 

    •   Place pan in oven to bake for 20 minutes. 

   •     Remove frittata from oven & plate in full format to serve family-style. 

    •    Enjoy!

25 minutes active time, 50 minutes total time. Serves 2.

Asparagus soup

RECIPE 

Ingredients:

  • 5 bundles of asparagus, with the white roots removed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock container (8 oz)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • 1 container or mascarpone
  • 1 bunch of chives, diced

Directions:

  • Roast 5 bundles of asparagus (20-25 mins at 425). Season with olive oil and salt.
  • After the asparagus are roasted, sweat 1 shallot in olive oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat until shallot is translucent and soft. Season with salt.
  • When shallots are clear, add 4/5 of asparagus to the soup pot. Add 1 Veg stock container (8 oz) and enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Raise heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once boil is reached, bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 mins. Remove from heat.
  • Use immersion blender to make soup. Consistency should be smooth--no chunks of asparagus at all! 
  • Cut the remaining bundle of asparagus into 1.5 in pieces. 
  • Garnish the soup with a quenelle of mascarpone, diced chives, and asparagus pieces. 

45 minutes total time, 30 minutes active time. Serves 12. 

Mediterranean Carrot Salad

These carrots look like they're from a Michelin-starred-haute-gastro-molecular restaurant in Scandinavia. But I swear, it took less than 15 minutes of inactive time to make the carrots curl. 

A weeknight dinner for a guest should be healthy, easy to prepare, and beautiful. Placing carrot ribbons in a tub of icy water makes them do acrobatics, as well as making them crunchy and firm. Moreover, the colors of the carrots, cilantro, and red onions are bright and happy. This dish is light and nutritious but doesn't look boring. 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 5 carrots 
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons sliced almonds
  • A quarter of a red onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt
  • Ice

Directions:

  • Using a mandoline, slice the carrots into 1/8 inch ribbons.
  • Place the carrot ribbons in a big bowl of ice cold water (lots of ice + frigid water from the faucet) for 15 minutes or until they begin to curl.
  • Meanwhile, set the almonds, 1/2 the olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally, until the almonds turn a light brown.
  • When the almonds are toasted, pour them, the olive oil, and the excess olive oil in a mixing bowl. Squeeze half a lemon, and add a pinch of Herbs de Provence. Whisk. 
  • Cut the onion, cilantro, and feta. Set aside.
  • When the carrots have curled, pat them dry.
  • Toss carrots with the dressing in the mixing bowl. 
  • Sprinkle the onions, cilantro, and feta.
  • Enjoy.

30 minutes total time. Serves 2.

Loosely adapted from Lonny.

Homemade Mozzarella on Woven Zucchini Salad

They say the cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears, and the sea. We say the cure for a hard goodbye is salty salty water for homemade mozzarella. 

Odysseus left last night, so of course we're back at the culinary loom. We wove local zucchini on a big rimless plate, topped it with a ball of homemade mozz, and garnished it with Maldon Sea Salt and Balsamic reduction. Delicious and perfect for these remaining dog days. 

RECIPE.

Ingredients:

  • 550 g. (1 quart) of mozzarella curds (Note: We know of 2 places in Manhattan to buy the mozzarella curd: Di Palo's (if you call ahead) and Todaro Brothers.)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 1 zucchini
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic reduction and Maldon Sea Salt (optional)

Directions:

Mozzarella:

  • Cut the curd in a rough chop of 1 cm cubes.
  • Put curds into a glass bowl. 
  • Put water and salt into a large pot - It should taste like the sea!
  • Place on a high flame until it begins to boil (if it's a rolling boil, it's gone too far.)
  • Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice and whole milk.
  • Take pot off stove and pour the salt water over the cheese curds.
  • Let the curds sit for 1 minute. With a wooden spoon, stir the curd pieces together in the hot water.
  • Form a large ball (or any shape of your choosing) and place in ice and milk bowl to cool.
     

Zucchini:

  • Slice zucchini with a mandoline at 1/8 in. thickness.
  • Brush a skillet with olive oil over medium heat. 
  • Touch the zucchini to the hot pan.
  • Set aside.
     

Assembly:

  • Lay the zucchini slices flat on a plate, weaving the zucchini into a basket weave pattern.
  • Place the mozzarella on top of the zucchini, topping with Maldon Sea Salt.
  • Garnish with balsamic reduction to taste.
  • Enjoy.

Serves 2. 30 minutes active and total time. 

Zucchini Carpacio

The girlfriends I made in San Francisco opened my eyes to so many important things, including this extraordinary zucchini dish

With these special ladies on a Saturday night last May, I ordered 1 plate of zucchini carpaccio at Jackson Fillmore. It was so delicious that I ordered a second one. And I really couldn't stop thinking about how something so healthy could be so delicious, so I started making it at home :) The vegetable prep is the most time-consuming part of this recipe, but that can be done a day in advance. The "à la minute" prep can be done in 5-10 minutes, so it's really not intensive if you're having guests. 

RECIPE. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup SLICED almonds (not slivered)
  • 6 fresh green zucchini (sliced into 1/8 inch ribbons on a mandolin and then sliced into 1/8 inch matchsticks)
  • 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup SHAVED pecorino romano or parmesan cheese (not grated)

Note: Emphasis on sliced almonds and shaved cheese is to ensure consistent mouthfeel (!)

Directions:  

  • Set olive oil in a large, round frying pan (sauteuse) over medium heat; add salt and almonds. 
  • Toast almonds until they become golden and develop a strong nutty smell. Use a wooden spoon to ensure the almonds cook evenly
  • Remove pan from the flame. Add pepper and zucchini to the pan and move the zucchini around until all of it has been licked by heat. The zucchini will look more glossy - it will lose its raw bite as soon as it touches any part of the hot pan. 
  • Set zucchini on a plate. 
  • Top with cheese.
  • Serve. 

Serves 4 as an appetizer. 30 minutes total time. 

See this video for additional guidance! 

Summer Corn Soup

Every August, I find myself chasing summer: looking to savor every last moment of the Northeast's most bountiful season: spending time outside on the beach, wearing light clothes, and enjoying the year's ripe fruit. This August, I planned September's menus from the Hamptons, where the corn is sweetest, yellowest, and most delicious. With a dash of cinnamon, this soup matched the palette of one of Jennifer Martin's beautiful paintings perfectly. 

The crust is a woven garnish that balances the sweet corn because ... suitors. 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp. (43 g) of unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 store-bought pie crust

Directions:

Soup:

  • Cut kernals from cobs. Set aside.
  • Break cobs in half and place in pot. Pour water over cobs.
  • Set pot on high flame and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, set flame to medium low. Let simmer for 90 minutes. Periodically use a ladle to remove the white and yellow impurities that float to the top.
  • While the stock simmers, melt the butter in a saucepan until it darkens to a browner shade of yellow. Place the kernals and 1/8 tsp salt in the pan and cook the corn just until the texture softens and yellow becomes more yellow. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  • After 90 minutes, remove the cobs from the stock and discard them. Add the cooked kernels to the stock, bring to a boil, and then turn off.
  • Blend with immersion blender, and season with pumpkin pie spice and the rest of the salt.

Lattice:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Using a lattice pie cutter, roll dough into a lattice pattern. Gently stretch the dough like an accordion. 
  • Using a round pastry cutter, cut the dough into rounds.
  • Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top of rounds.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, place lattice rounds on top, and place in oven for 8 minutes. Bake until golden brown.

Assemble and enjoy.

Serves 2. 1 hour active time, 2 hours total time. 

Breakfast Challah

As I type this recipe, the delicious and familiar smells of roasted garlic, sautéed onions, and baked apples waft through my childhood home. Usually I relish these smells of my mother cooking, but as I sit at my childhood desk today on Yom Kippur I am starving. At home, I help with pastry, but Mom is the Chef. My contributions this our Break Fast dinner were a marzipan challah, petits fours, a key lime pie, and this savory Breakfast for Break Fast challah. Woven, of course! 

RECIPE

Ingredients 

Challah (inspired by The Challah Blog):

  • 1 1/4 cup very warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry or instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg for wash
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 cup bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Recommended Filling:

  • 1 stick cream cheese
  • Handful of chives
  • Salt
  • Everything bagel spices (1 T white sesame seeds, 1 T dried onion, 2 t poppy seeds, 1/2 t onion powder, 1/4 t garlic powder) 

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast with the water. Add in the honey slowly. Mix gently.
  • Let the mixture sit until it has developed eruptions and smells like beer.
  • Mix in 3 eggs and canola oil.
  • If you have a stand mixer, use it to mix in the flour.
  • Mix in the salt.
  • The dough should stick together as a ball. 
    • If the dough isn't sticky enough, add a bit of water. 
    • If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour. 
  • Punch ("knead") the dough a few times. 
  • Place dough ball in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap; allow to sit for at least 1.5 hours. 
  • Prepare your filling: chop the chives, mix with cream cheese, and season. 
  • Punch out the air bubbles. 
  • Separate the ball into 4 equal-sized pieces. 
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a flat triangle, square, whatever. Maximize surface area but don't make each piece too thin; 1/2 inch is a good thickness.
  • Spoon the cream cheese mixture evenly over the dough, avoiding the edges. 
  • Roll up each piece into a log ("strand"). Pinch the edges so that no precious filling is lost.
  • Make sure each strand is at least 10 inches. (You can stretch it, gently.)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, braid the 4 strands. 
  • Allow the dough to rise 20-30 minutes. 
  • Brush the dough with the 4th egg. (I use the yolk and egg white.) 
  • Sprinkle with Everything bagel spices. 
  • Put the challah in the oven for 35 minutes or until the loaf is a perfect golden brown. 
  • Voilà! Enjoy.

Foie Gras Kisses

Dates stuffed with foie gras and sprinkled with pretzels. Because first impressions are important. And because Betony left me wanting more salty-sweet-rich goodness after their Foie Gras bonbons. These hors d'oeuvres scream SPECIAL OCCASION, and a month of holiday parties are what makes the holiday season so darn special.

There are a million variations on this. You can stuff prunes instead of dates. Or stuff with goat cheese instead of foie gras. You can also leave off the pretzel crumble and throw on some sea salt. 

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Foie Gras 
  • 8 Dates 
  • 5 Hard Pretzel Sticks

Directions

  • Slice each date lengthwise and remove the pit.  
  • Stuff each date with foie gras. 
  • Crumble the pretzel sticks and sprinkle over the stuffed dates. 

Serves 8. 10 minutes total time. 

Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Seeds and Crispy Onions

After supper on Saturday, my brother asked me if a vegan could have eaten the meal. And the truth is MOSTLY YES but ACTUALLY NO, but easily TOTALLY YES. (Learning moment for me!!) I originally made this soup with chicken stock, but a vegan could substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock -- or even water if there was no stock on hand. Soups are super versatile in that modifications and substitutions are pretty much 1:1, unlike baking. 

I made this recipe a few days ahead of showtime, as it keeps in the refrigerator so well. And if you were wondering, this recipe is 10x easier than the swan - and 10x more nutritious. You could even make it more simple by eliminating the garnish (steps 4 & 7). But personally, I'm on a mustard seed kick right now and think they're so pretty :)

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (1 tablespoon for mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon for shallots)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 quarts of (chicken or vegetable) stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crispy Onions (like these)

Directions:

  1. In a stock pot, combine shallots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 pinches of salt. Over medium heat, mix until the shallots begin to brown. 
  2. Put the cauliflower over the shallots and add in enough stock that 3/4 of the veggies are immersed. Raise the heat and cover for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add more stock so the that the vegetables are totally immersed. Lower the heat to a simmer, and leave it alone for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower feels tender.
  4. In the meantime: combine mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a flying pan. Set over a medium low flame until the mustard seeds begin to brown, occasionally mixing with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  5. Once the cauliflower is tender, use a stick blender to purée the soup. (If you do not have a stick blender, blend it in a food processor or blender in batches.)
  6. Add pepper to taste. (2 teaspoons? Be generous. Flavor!!)
  7. To plate this, fill a bowl with the puréed cauliflower, sprinkle some crispy onions in the middle. And using a spoon, drizzle the mustard seeds around half the circumference of the bowl. 

Serves 8. 1 hour total time.

Carrot Soup

The best carrot soup I ever ate was in Campo de Fiori. It was 2005, and my family went to Rome for Christmas vacation. The summer before, I went away to learn French from a strict ruler-slapping Swiss woman -- and a sixteen year old boy. This boy (who had taken the overnight train from Paris to Rome) joined my family on all our tours of the city, but somehow he and I found ourselves alone in Campo de Fiori at lunchtime. (The next day, in the garden of the Villa Borgese, he told me he loved me; he was my first love.)

Anyway, the soup. The memory of this soup has endured me nearly a decade. I don't have a picture, but I vividly remember how fresh and sweet it tasted. It was not curried or gingery or creamy. It extracted the carrot's purest essence and intensified it. And last night, with all of the pounds of carrot choppings I had from my first week of culinary school, I endeavored to make this soup of fantasy. It was delicious. 

RECIPE 

Ingredients:

  • 5 of the freshest large carrots feasibly accessible, peeled and chopped into 4 inch pieces (Don't fuss over the chopping if you don't have to- just chop them to be relatively uniform to ensure they cook at the same time.) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar + more to taste
  • Salt

Directions:

  • Set a pot of salty water to boil. Add enough salt to the pot that the rims of the pot become white. 
  • In a sauté pan over medium, combine the olive oil and onions. Sauté until the onions become translucent. 
  • When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the carrots. Let the carrots boil for 15 minutes or until they become tender. 
  • Once the carrots are tender, discard the some of the water so that there is only as much water that the carrots are submerged. For me, in a big pot, this meant discard half of the water. 
  • Add the onions to the pot of carrots. Purée with a hand mixer. 
  • Add the pumpkin pie spice and the brown sugar. Salt to taste. 
  • Serve. Or store for up to 4 days. 

Serves 10. 45 minutes total time, 30 minutes active time.

Homemade Ricotta

We love ricotta on chicken parm, in lasagne, with honey, with veggies. The homemade version is better than anything store-bought, and you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge already!!

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • ½ gallon of whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon of citric acid
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  • Place the milk, citric acid, and salt into a large pot, and heat the mixture to 195°F, stirring constantly to avoid burning and sticking. If the milk begins to boil over, lower the heat.
  • When the curd starts to form and separate from the whey, take the mixture off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with damp cheesecloth. Carefully pour the mixture over the cheesecloth, gather up the ends and tie them, letting the curds form into a ball.
  • Hang bundle for about an hour to let the curds stick to each other.
  • Enjoy or refrigerate. Fresh ricotta can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Yields about 1½ cups. 15 minutes active time, 75 minutes total time.