peperonata salad

This is a recipe straight from the restaurant archives. My very first job out of culinary school was at the locally beloved D’amico Cucina in Minneapolis, MN which has since been turned into a downtown parking structure. I remember being so nervous those first few weeks as I learned to slowly stew the peppers, thinly slice the fennel and prosciutto and quenelle the goat cheese into perfect little footballs. The thing about this dish, is that it’s a salad that melts in your mouth. It tastes like Italy and summer. 

Ingredients

for the peperonata:
½ c. olive oil
2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ c. sherry or champagne vinegar
1 T. raw honey
salt and red pepper flake, to taste

for the salad:
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (slice and save any fennel fronds)
4-6 c. fresh arugula
¼ lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced
5 oz. fresh goat cheese

Method

  1. Make the peperonata: Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Add the olive oil, yellow and red bell peppers and onion. Cover and cook on very low heat for around 1-2 hours, stirring throughout, making sure peppers don’t brown or stick to the bottom of the pan. The idea is to cook them slowly, so instead of “searing”, the juices melt into the olive oil as they gently cook.
  2. Remove stewed peppers from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar, honey, salt and red pepper flakes and stir together. You can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to make the salad.
  3. Plate the salad: In a large bowl gently combine the fennel, arugula and peperonata. Build salad in the center of a large platter. Arrange prosciutto slices and goat cheese around the perimeter. Buon Appetito!

Spring Market Salad



I think my favorite thing to make on the planet is a big beautiful salad. I’m pretty much in a constant state of awe when it comes to the beauty and variation found in fruits and vegetables. I love that they can satisfy hunger, look like works of art with doing pretty much nothing and taste incredible. This Spring Market Salad is a celebration of spring. I would pair this with thick slices of fresh crusty bread slathered with salted butter.

Ingredients
6 c. baby greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.)
1 seedless cucumber
6 radishes
5 spring onions
1 c. peas (snap or snow peas would work also)
5 asparagus
¼ c. mint leaves, thyme, leaves pulled off the stems and torn.

for the vinaigrette:
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. herbes de provence
1 T. dijon mustard
2 t. honey
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan (for garnishing)

Method

  1. Prep the veggies by washing the greens.
  2. Thinly slice the cucumber and radishes.
  3. Slice the spring onions on a bias.
  4. Thaw the peas in hot water then drain if using frozen.
  5. Cut off the woody bottom part of the spear and discard. Slice the tips of the asparagus and then use a vegetable peeler to peel strips from the spear. all will be used for the salad.
  6. Make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, herbes de provence, dijon, honey and salt and pepper.
  7. Make the salad: toss the baby greens with some of the dressing, just enough to lightly coat and taste great. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Build greens on a large platter and arrange the vegetables over the top.
  9. Using a spoon, drizzle more dressing over the top.
  10. Using a vegetable peeler, peel curls of parmesan and sprinkle on top. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-pair with grilled chicken, lamb or fish

spring vegetable galette

Making this Spring Vegetable Galette was the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen in a while. Pie dough might seem like work, and you could certainly pick up a store bought pie dough to make this fast,  but for me it was a lovely excuse to hang out in the kitchen for a while without being in a rush. I’ve been thinking about a lot about slowing down and leaning into the tasks at hand.

When I worked in restaurants it was easier to do this. Actually it was a joy and make up many of my favorite memories. Cleaning vegetables, prepping before service to get everything in it’s place, working a station and floating between keeping track of tickets, cooking, plating and getting food out to hungry guests. But now I’m home most days with my kids and there is very little time to internally get into any kind of zone. I float between their needs; diapers, food, hugs, conversations, snacks, water, sunscreen, mornings at the park, walks around the neighborhood, finding our escaping puppy Saturn, more snacks, searching for missing water bottles, etc.

This is by far the most demanding and challenging work I’ve ever done. And there’s all these huge feelings like counting down the hours until bedtime while in the very same breath longing for time to stop in its tracks so they stay this playful and happy forever. So it’s super easy for me to get into the groove of doing one thing just so I can get to the next thing. I am so good at getting in this groove that I can do ten things in a row without ever making the room to enjoy any of it. But enjoying this time, these moments…this is kind of what it’s all about.

All of this (above) is what inspired me to make this Spring Vegetable Galette. It’s a show stopping celebration of spring. There is no other choice than for the person making it and the people lucky enough to eat it, to stop and stare (if only for a moment). And sometimes a moment is all we need.

Suggestion: Make double the pie dough. Divide it in half and freeze half for later use. It’s so easy to just 2x the ingredients. The next time you go to make a pie you will be oh so happy.

Ingredients
for the pie dough:
1 3/4 (196 grams) sticks unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup (118 grams) cold water
2 1/4 cups (333 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (12 grams) kosher salt

for the spring vegetable galette:
1 T. butter
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced (white and light green parts only)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
½ c. cream, plus more for brushing on crust
½ c. parmesan, finely grated
1 ½ c. yukon gold potato slices

for the garnish:
1 T. butter
6 spears of asparagus, tips sliced and stalks peeled into strips
½ c. peas
1 t. herbes de provence
salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Make the pie dough: Cut butter into small cubes and put in freezer.
  2. In a cup mix the cold water and vinegar and set aside.(to keep the water cold sometimes I throw in an ice cube if my kitchen is hot)
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  4. At this point the butter should be super cold but not frozen. remove butter from the freezer and add to your flour mixture.
  5. Using your fingers (or a food processor if you have one as this produces the best pea size butter pieces) squeeze the butter pieces into the flour until the butter is blended into the flour and resembles small peas.*
  6. Add 6 T. of the vinegar and water mixture. Stir with your hands or a wooden spoon. At this point the dough will probably be crumbly. Continue adding and stirring in 1 T. of vinegar-water at a time until dough comes together into a ball.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. If you want to keep longer, freeze and thaw the day before you want to use it.
  8. Make the galette: Preheat oven to 350 f.
  9. In a large pot over medium heat, add butter until melted.
  10. Add leeks and cook for a few minutes.
  11. Add garlic and spinach and cook a few more minutes. We want to get as much water evaporated as possible.
  12. Add cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Let cook a few minutes more then take off the heat. Reserve.
  13. Assemble the galette: on a lightly floured clean surface, roll on the dough into a 10 inch round. Transfer dough to a large sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  14. Spread a thin layer of the spinach filling on the surface of the dough leaving a 1 inch border.
  15. Lay potatoes over the filling, just barely overlapping. repeat.
  16. Fold the edges up and over the filling using the 1” border as a guide. This is a rustic tart so don’t worry about it being perfect. Tuck and crease as needed.
  17. Continue layering potatoes and filling until they are gone.
  18. Brush cream over the top of the pastry. Crack some sea salt over the entire tart.
  19. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
  20. While the galette is cooling: In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter. add the asparagus, peas, herbes de provence, salt and pepper and cook for just a few minutes until tender but still crisp. Spread over top of the galette. Serve immediately.

no-cook pizza sauce


I’ve made homemade pizza many times before. For the sauce I usually make everyday tomato sauce and have never second guessed it. But on one Friday night we had been planning a Star Wars pizza night with my five year old son River. We had been talking about it and thinking about it all week, which really means he had been talking about it and thinking about it all week haha.

On this particular day his little brother Fox would not let me put him down for a second. Like I couldn’t even wash a dish without his little cute hands pulling on my legs to pick him up. Tight for time, I lazily dumped all the ingredients into a blender and buzzed them for maybe 15 seconds. This is the best pizza sauce I have ever made or had for that matter. It’s not thick. This no-cook pizza sauce is light and bright and fresh tasting. The basil and garlic don’t get hidden in a thick tomato sauce.  I suggest scheduling your pizza parties now!

Ingredients
14.5 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. buzz all ingredients into a blender. boom you’re done.

Component in Action
-use as a fresh pasta sauce
-use as a dip for crusty garlic bread

The best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl

I have always thought I would never do a “best” post. Until now. At the last restaurant I worked, this was one of the few dishes I didn’t dare to take off the menu…ever. It was a guest and staff favorite. It has been six years since then and this year I received multiple emails asking for the recipe. This recipe for the best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl is a keeper. It’s awesome as a side but perfectly amazing on it’s own as an entire meal.

The key to the absolute best flavor? Don’t fear the caramelization. Let the brussel sprout leaves fall off as you cut them and don’t throw them away. They are going to turn into crispy leaves with just a little bit of char. This is the gold!

Ingredients
2# brussel sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed if dirty and halved or quartered depending on how big they are
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
salt and pepper
1/4 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
¼ c. golden raisins
¼ c. raw almonds, sliced or chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. honey
1 T. dijon
1/4 c. fresh herbs, finely chopped (a mix of parsley and thyme is my favorite)
red pepper flake, optional

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
2. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Put brussels on one and cauliflower on the other. Drizzle both with olive oil and gently toss with your hands. season both with salt and pepper. Roast until they caramelize and are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30-45 minutes.
3. While the veggies are roasting make the vinaigrette. Put the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until crispy.
4. Take the pan off the heat. In a large bowl transfer the bacon and about 2 T. of bacon fat. (you can freeze the rest for use later). Whisk in olive oil, dijon, lemon juice, honey, golden raisins, almonds and fresh herbs.
5. When the veggies are done cooking add them to the bowl. Give them a good stir and check seasoning adjusting as needed.
6. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-use as a filling for tacos.
-serve as a side for a big dinner like Thanksgiving or alongside a roasted chicken.
-top over a cooked grain like rice or quinoa

Caponata

In this story, the hero is my Aunt Jessie, Grandma, Great Grandma and all my other aunts spread across New York’s boroughs back in the day. This is the cold eggplant dish that was a staple for any special family gathering. This is the exact recipe that has been in my family for years. I have been trying to replicate it but just recently my mom found a photocopy of the actual handwritten recipe and it puts my other versions to shame.

I love that this recipe is completely opposite of how I would typically go about making it if left to my own devices, cooking in aromatic layers of flavor taking into consideration each ingredient. I LOVE how this recipe is like “Oh, you’re a chef? That’s nice. Take a seat and let me show you how an Italian grandma gets it done.” Sometimes it really is as simple as throwing everything in a pot and letting the ingredients and fire do the work.

Caponata is the Sicilian version of ratatouille. You can fill lettuce cups, spread it on garlic toast (my favorite), on sandwiches, etc. You could also go wild and eat warmed up with some pasta. shhh..don’t tell my mom:)

Ingredients
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 c. mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
⅓ c. olive oil
1 can tomato paste
½ c. water
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced
1 T. granulated sugar
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. In a large pot over medium heat combine eggplant, green bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil. cook for around ten minutes, stirring occasionally. season with salt and pepper.
2. Add tomato paste, water, red wine vinegar, olives, sugar and oregano and cook over low heat covered for around 30 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.
3. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
4. Let cool.

Component in Action
-serve as an appetizer on toast, crackers, along side cheese and/or sliced meats
-make it a salad with fresh greens and a lemon vinaigrette
-caponata sandwich anyone?! yes please. with some fresh mozzarella and bread like toasted ciabatta

Pickled Onions & Peppers

Today is one of those days in Santa Fe where it’s sweater and sunglass weather which might be my favorite weather of all time. So of course I have summer taco nights (and margaritas) on my mind. Oh, and I think this weekend we can take the cover off the grill which means it’s really happening. Summer is on the way. I love four season climates for this very reason. Every couple of months the home kitchen just naturally turns over into a new menu based on what’s growing and available around us, but also because what we want to eat changes.

This is a recipe for quick pickles, sometimes also called refrigerator pickles, meaning you don’t have to worry about canning it. Just store in an airtight container in the fridge and they will stay good for a month or two. This particular recipe is a tasty combo of red onion, jalapeno peppers and garlic pickled in a brine that is sweet and bright and pairs wonderfully as a taco, burger, salad, omelette, quinoa or rice bowl, sandwich topper. My advice? Bring a jar of these next time your invited to a BBQ.

Ingredients
2 c. boiling water
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾ c. red wine vinegar
½ c. water (plus extra for boiling and soaking)
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. salt

Method
1. Pour boiling water over red onion, jalapeno and garlic slices and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain.
2. Bring red wine vinegar, ½ cup of water, brown sugar and salt to a boil. Pour over onion and pepper mix.
3. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use.

Component in Action
-add other kinds of veggies like carrots, cauliflower, scallions
-add other kinds of spices like coriander, cumin, peppercorns, red chili flakes
-add other aromatics like ginger, rosemary or thyme.

happy morning cakes

Trust me, mornings will be happier with these little cakes in your life. These Happy Morning Cakes are packed with a powerhouse of morning goodness. Really they are muffins. But it’s just more fun to call them cakes. You could add your favorite nuts, seeds or other dried fruit to the mix.  I love making a batch of these on Sunday and then have them for the week, perfect to grab & go.

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 c. oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or other nut)
¼ c. chia seeds
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas
2 c. peeled and grated carrots
1 large apple cored, grated
2 cups of kale leaves, washed then finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ c. maple syrup
½ c. brown sugar
1 orange, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats pecans, chia seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In another large bowl combine bananas, carrots, apple, kale, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup and orange juice.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined and pour batter almost to the top of each paper muffin liner (they don’t rise much).
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife is clean when inserted and removed from muffin.
  7. let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Component in Action
-add other nuts, seeds, dried fruit
-crumble over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I have been on a mission to come up with the perfect combination of crunchy edges and chewy centers. Finally, SUCCESS! If you want more crunch, use the flat bottom of a cup and gently press down before baking. If you want more chew, don’t flatten before putting in the oven. Both versions are a home-run and I think it’s safe to say my search for the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is over.

Ingredients

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
3 cups rolled oats
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. maple syrup
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract or paste
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 f.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. (If you are using unsalted butter, add a generous pinch of kosher salt to the bowl.)
  3. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients until combined well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop cookie dough onto parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet and flatten gently with the back of a spoon or flat bottomed cup. leave about 2” between each cookie. (you can make these whatever size you like)
  7. Bake on a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to look golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to complete cooling. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Component in Action
-make ice cream sandwiches!
-add 1 cup of your favorite nuts (chopped)

Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale

This is a soup that’s perfect for late winter and early spring. It’s warm, hearty, and full of spring flavor. If you have access to ramps, lucky you. Use them instead of scallions.  The crunchy kale adds texture and a slight bitterness. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and butter if you like.  If you have a piece of Parmesan, you could pass it around and let people grate the cheese over the top. If you want to make a vegan version, just skip the eggs. This recipe for Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale is a new favorite of ours. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for the crunchy kale:
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried and cut into 2” pieces
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

for the soup:
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling over kale)
1 head of garlic, cloves thinly sliced
6 scallions, sliced
2 t. smoked paprika
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, spread out kale and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook kale until crunchy, around 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  5. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and scallions to the pot, stirring frequently for around five minutes until golden brown.
  7. Add paprika and cook another couple minutes.
  8. Add stock and bring to a simmer for around a half hour.
  9. Check seasoning.
  10. Right before serving, whisk eggs in a small bowl and whisk eggs into soup.
  11. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crunchy kale.

Component in Action
-begin making the soup with caramelized onion and rendered bacon.
-add other greens like spinach, kale, arugula or chard towards the end of cooking.