Each month, I will update my class schedule at Sur La Table under the ‘Cooking Classes’ tab. I would love to see you there! The cooking school is located at 306 West 57th Street near 8th Avenue in Manhattan. For more details and how to sign up, click here. FYI the instructor name might be different than mine.
Friday, 7/11 – Date Night: Hot off the Grill
Monday, 7/14 – Secrets of Great Grilled Seafood
Thursday, 7/17 – Girls Night Out: Summer Entertaining
Saturday, 7/19 – Date Night: Hot off the Grill (2 classes!)
Wednesday, 7/23 – Summer Fiesta
Friday, 7/25 – Date Night: Summer in Tuscany
Saturday, 7/26 – Knife Skills & Date Day: Summer Chef’s Table
Monday 7/26 – Friday 8/1 – Science in the Kitchen for Teens Camp
I love all things eggplant. Especially when it’s made into the creamy, smoky Middle Eastern dip baba ganoush. I mean, it’s even fun to say. I recently teamed up with my pal Joel, where he showed me a completely ingenious way to make it. I think this would be perfect to make on a
camping glamping trip or for any summertime BBQ. If you’ve ever wondered how to ‘impregnate’ a vegetable with garlic, now you will know…
A few years ago, I found myself knee-deep in the world of cooking videos. A well-timed email led to a position working behind the scenes at SeeFood Media, a multi-kitchen studio located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. While most people are familiar with the 30-minute cooking shows on Food Network, there’s a whole world of cooking videos gaining momentum on the web. One of my favorite projects was even nominated for James Beard Media Award!
Now that I teach cooking classes, stepping out in front of the camera has started to allure me a bit. My pal Joel has a cooking show and invited me on recently to shoot two shows. Here’s the first one!
Before you think I’ve turned Paleo, hear me out. I like rice, I really do. It’s essential for making risotto and all of the puddings at that Rice to Riches place in Soho. I’m pretty sure it’s the most commonly eaten food in the world. I don’t know. But sometimes, it’s good to mix it up. When you grate or pulse cauliflower in a food processor, it makes it…rice-like. It kind of blew my mind.
I’ve been teaching quite a few classes in Asian cuisine at work. It’s a nice break from Date Night Italian Cafe Romance (not a real class, but close). There’s something admirable about showing up for a cooking class to learn how to make, say, Korean beef bulgogi, when just about every New Yorker has a #1 Asian Kitchen menu at their fingertips ready for delivery. Nothing makes me more happy than inspiring people to break their Seamless addiction. My job is funny sometimes.
This rendition on classic friend rice has two change-ups: that cauliflower ‘rice’ I mentioned and BACON. Yeah, bacon’s good. It’s played out, but whatever. It belongs in this fried rice. Everything else is pretty much business as normal. So if you HAVE to have rice, just sub in a few cups (leftover works best) for the cauliflower.
Kind of makes me reconsider Paleo. Except not.
Crispy Bacon Fried Cauliflower ‘Rice’
Makes 2 main course servings
- 2 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, diced
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
- 1″ piece ginger, peeled minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 large head cauliflower, thick stem removed, grated or pulsed*
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (or more, to taste)
- 1 large organic egg, beaten
- Sesame oil, for garnish
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- Sriracha, for garnish (optional)
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and render, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon onto a paper towel to drain, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet. Add white bits of scallion and ginger and saute, stirring occasionally, until scallion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add carrot and saute a few minutes more. Add ginger and saute for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the cauliflower ‘rice’ and increase heat to high. Cook cauliflower, stirring occasionally until tender and a bit crispy, about 5-10 minutes. You may add a swirl of oil (such as grapeseed or coconut) if it starts to get dry. You want some crispy bits of cauliflower.
Stir in peas and tamari. Add egg and stir vigorously to scramble the egg. Taste and add more tamari if you’d like. Serve hot topped with crispy bacon, sesame oil, sesame seeds and green scallion. And sriracha. Always sriracha
*Making cauliflower rice is easy. Pull out your big food processor and pulse the florets until small and rice-like. Or, go old school and grate it on the medium holes of a box grater. Either works.
Walk into any shop right now and you’ll be inundated with SPRING. Yet, walk down the street in New York and we’re still girding ourselves with wooly layers and hot coffee. The in-between seasons make it easy to see the relation between food and fashion. Just as designers are debuting their seasonal collections, filled with florals and color and texture, so are the chefs. With food, it starts with asparagus. Somewhere in the country, the weather is warm enough to grow this springtime delicacy, and it’s shipped in massive quantities to our food stores, giving us a false sense of season. Here in the Northeast, we don’t get the green stuff until May, even June. What’s a cook to do?
I propose embracing the current season for all it’s worth. Just as it’s silly to wear a sundress in a snowstorm, eating peaches (or eggplant or asparagus) is just as silly in the off-season. This cabbage slaw comes from the LA’s Lemonade restaurant cookbook. It epitomizes the in-between season – a bit of winter, with a nod to the sunnier days ahead. It’s really delicious.
Citrus Braised Cabbage, Apple, Goat Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar
Adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tart apples, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
1 head red cabbage
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1/2 large orange, divided
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Slice the cabbage into quarters and cut away the core. Thinly slice the cabbage, set aside.
Heat a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. When hot, add onions and apples and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the cabbage. When it begins to wilt, add the vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Stir occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved orange zest.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and chill thoroughly. Just before serving, sprinkle with goat cheese and herbs.
Full disclosure: this is not a post about tacos. Yes, these tacos are the bomb-dot-com (does anyone say that anymore?) They happen to be vegan, gluten free and yes, really, really delicious for carb-eating carnivores as well. They take about 30 minutes start to finish. They are also
cheap economical and are satisfying enough that you *may* forgo that after-dinner trip back to the kitchen for a brownie. But again, this is not about the tacos.
In an effort to create some balance in my life, I’ve signed up for my fifth (count ‘em) half marathon. On May 17th I will be making the 13.1 trip from The Brooklyn Public Library to Coney Island. I can’t help but get nostalgic for my first borough. Jogging in Prospect Park, trekking to the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket – I’ll be running through my past, literally. In the next couple months, I’ll be sharing with you a bit about my training, more specifically what’s fueling me. While I’ve made a career out of cooking for and teaching others, my everyday eating is a lot more pared down and purposeful. Get ready for hearty salads, soups, oatmeal-y breakfasts and lots and lots of green things. Yes, there will be kale (obviously), but also chocolate, more protein-heavy recipes than I’ve shared before and simple snacks I like to keep around.
Let’s do this thing!
Smoky Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Pickled Red Onion
Makes 8 tacos
- 1 large poblano pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium orange sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
- 2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Sliced avocado, cilantro and lime, for serving
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Kosher salt, to taste
Pickled Red Onions:
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
For the tacos: place the poblano pepper under the broiler in your oven and turn occasionally, charring on all sides, about 5 minutes. Alternately, char the poblano directly over a gas flame on your stove. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to steam for about 20 minutes. Using a paper towel, wipe off the charred skin, take out the seeds and roughly chop the flesh. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until transluscent. Season with salt. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more, stirring constantly (careful not to burn the garlic). Add the chopped poblano, sweet potatoes and spices. Season with salt and give it a stir. Cover, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, checking periodically and adding a little water if the mixture is sticking to the pan. Cook until sweet potatoes are soft. Taste and season.
While the sweet potato mixture cooks, make the pickled onions. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt, stirring over medium heat to dissolve. Bring the mixture to a boil, add onions and turn off heat. Allow the onions to ‘steep’ in the vinegar mixture until softened.
Add black beans and stir well. Cover and cook 5 minutes more until warmed through. Heat tortillas over and open flame to char the edges a bit or wrapped in foil in the oven until warm.
To assemble tacos, fill each tortilla with a spoonful of filling, cilantro, avocado, a few pickled onions and a squeeze of lime. These have a good kick, but add more hot sauce if you like things really spicy.
The pickled onions may be made in advance and can be stored in the fridge for about a month.
I take no credit for the invention of this salad. My aunt, always up with trends, created this after tasting it at a restaurant in Nashville. A few tweaks later and there it was: the Perfect Kale Salad. Crunchy kale, crisp napa cabbage, cilantro, lots of citrus, almonds and dried cranberries for texture. Yep, sounds pretty perfect to me. I love the original version with said nuts and fruits, but I recently made an adaptation with sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds, because…that’s what I had in the house. This tasted good alongside our butter-beef-cheese-laden Christmas dinner as well as a virtuous lunch after the fact.
This is the type of salad you can make in advance, as kale can standup to dressing, only getting better after a couple nights in the fridge. A couple tips: make sure your kale and napa are very finely chopped. Think shredded. You may shred the greens in a food processor, pulsing a few times (not too much, we don’t want pesto). It’s always good to have a few extra lemons lying around when you make salads; sometimes a squeeze is all you need to perk things up (ditto with salt and olive oil, don’t be afraid to season!)
I imagine avocado would be a delightful addition, as well as some sort of lean protein for all you Resolutioners.
Winter Kale Salad
Makes 1 large salad, enough for about 4-8 servings (depending on how much you like it)
- 1 bunch kale, destemmed and finely chopped
- 1/2 large bunch napa cabbage, finely shredded
- 1/2 large bunch cilantro, minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup nuts or seeds (such as toasted sliced almonds and/or sunflower seeds)
- 1/3 cup dried or fresh fruit (such as dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large bowl combine kale, napa, cilantro and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together orange and lemon zest and juice. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, adding more olive oil or citrus juice to balance it out. Toss with kale mixture. Fold in nuts and fruit. Taste and season one last time. Eat immediately or chill for a few hours to soften the kale. Can be made a few days in advance – only toss with half the dressing and add remaining just before eating.
No matter where I am in NYC, I can most likely name the neighborhood’s best cookie. Dumbo? Jacques Torres. Upper West Side? Levain, no doubt. Union Square? Try the chocolate chip at Paradis. Oh, and City Bakery. A solid cup of coffee alongside is a non-negotiable.
Call it old fashioned, but I love a classic molasses cookie. You don’t see them very often at bake shops. I’ve heard Pushcart Coffee has a good one.. I grew up eating my grandmother’s soft, chewy version, rolled in sugar. They were stored in a cookie tin with a piece of bread to keep them fresh (p.s. that trick works).
Using her recipe as inspiration, along with an updated mix of spices from December’s Bon Appetit, I’ve created a cookie fit for the holidays. Browning the butter is an extra step that gives these cookies some nuttiness. The combination of dark molasses and brown sugar lends some drama. A sprinkle of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom are a bit spicy, in a good way. Don’t forget to roll them in sugar, preferably the raw stuff (grab a couple more packets when you get your coffee). Which you’ll definitely want to be drinking while you eat one of these.
Brown Butter Molasses Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup dark molasses
- ¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- Raw sugar, for rolling
- Heat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until foaming subsides and butter turns a nutty dark brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, brown butter butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
- Place raw sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls. Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart. Using the heel of your hand, press down on cookies to flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a bit more raw sugar on top.
- Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (over-baked cookies won’t be chewy), 8–10 minutes. You may have to bake the cookies in batches. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep them fresh for days.
Full disclosure: this is not a turkey. There is no cranberry sauce alongside. I wouldn’t suggest serving it with gravy. Truth be told, I’m a little turkey-d out, and Thanksgiving is still days away. Between Friendsgivings and T-day cooking classes, I’m approaching poultry burnout.
If you’ve never cooked pork tenderloin, or you’re a bit rusty, try this method. By searing the meat first in a hot pan, then transferring the pan into a heated oven (aka pan roasting) you ensure the meat is cooked evenly (aka not dried out). You also free up some space on your stove if you’ve got a side dish working. The tenderloin is very lean, so watch it carefully and test with a meat thermometer so it doesn’t overcook.
I am smitten with this date-cilantro relish. Medjool dates, orange and cilantro go surprisingly well with roasted pork. OK, it also goes surprisingly well with chicken, too. And yes, turkey.
Pan-Roasted Pork with Date-Cilantro Relish
I served this with crispy roasted cauliflower with lemon and parsley. Sauteed greens, roasted root vegetables or brussels sprouts would be nice, too.
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pork tenderloin (about 1½ lb.)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup Medjool dates (about 4 oz.), pitted and cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving
Heat oven to 425F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet (like cast iron) over medium-high heat.
Pat dry pork and season well on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear pork in hot pan, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
Transfer skillet to heated oven and continue to roast pork until temperature reaches 140F, about 10-15 minutes. Allow pork to rest before slicing, setting aside the pan drippings.
Combine dates, orange zest, orange juice, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, pork pan drippings and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice pork against the grain (into medallions) and spoon relish over pork. Garnish with cilantro leaves.