Much of my teaching and writing illustrates specific techniques for cutting food prep and production time, and that makes sense–it usually isn’t possible to carve out more time within your busy schedule to cook at home. So I help you find space for cooking more efficiently, within the preparation of each meal: washing not just whatever lettuce you need for a […]
Category Archive: recipes
Corn and Potato Soup with Rosemary This is a delicate, fresher version of the standard corn chowder, made with a thoughtful rolling out of ingredients. First, I use corn cobs for a quick broth, cutting and cooking the bacon and onions separately; I reserve the crisped bacon to add at the end. Then, I cook […]
I buy button mushrooms only when I want to make duxelles. Chopped fine and cooked with butter, garlic, and shallots, then seasoned old school with nutmeg and sherry, these mushrooms go from musty to ripe, salad bar to forest. The patience you’ll need to cut the mushrooms to fine duxelles dice rewards itself in a […]
Advisory: This recipe uses whole, dirt-dusted bunch spinach, whose thicker, veined leaves stand strident on sturdy, crunchy stems. Compare bunch spinach to pre-washed, pillow-packaged, baby greens, popular not because of taste or long shelf life, but necessary convenience. Most of us won’t make the effort to wash, clean, and dismember a whole leafy plant, given […]
Purple Kale’s knife skills class works through ingredients in a range of shapes, densities, sizes, and textures–carrots, onion, celery, cucumber, garlic, herbs. They collect in heaps of slices, dices, and scraps. With a little sugar, salt, and vinegar, these assorted cuts turn into a fresh, happy slaw. This recipe rewards careful knife work, which is, […]
In my kitchen are lemon halves I use for juice, but don’t bother to wrap and put away. Sitting on the counter overnight in dry winter air, their cut surfaces pull taut. After a week, residual juices turn amber and musky, pulps shrink and recede into their triangular rooms. Yellow peels tint to orange (where […]
The squash, with dense, but fragrant flesh and chewy, if not formidable seeds, is an overlooked kit unto itself for silky, substantial winter sauces. In this dish below, shortribs and squash braise together. Informed by mole, a Mexican sauce of chiles and nuts, I char vegetables, add tomato and let it cook slowly with broth, […]
In the game of repurposing leftovers, desserts always win. There are rice and bread puddings, noodle kugel. But nothing beats the healthy grain gone sweet. If you’ve been following along, you’re already making sweet crepes from quinoa. Now, I give you this. Quinoa and Sesame Candy
Having prepared ingredients in my refrigerator helps me put together a meal quickly, with less mess, and fewer mishaps. But there’s another reason for kitchen advance work: by breaking up my time at the stove—chopping onions one day to use the next –I spread the work of a planned dish out over time. This helps […]
Nuts, like flours, keep best in the freezer, but few kitchens have space for this storage. So nuts live on the pantry shelf, often in partially-opened bags, on their way to turning stale. Nuts aren’t hard to cook with. I use them in salads or grain dishes, even in cereal. But, especially if I stash […]
Take chicken wings. Oil lightly and salt well. Roast on high heat until caramel colored, completely crisp all over, and charred at the tips. Remove the wings to a serving plate; set aside or eat. Drain off fat in the roasting pan, leaving crusty, browned bits behind. Scrape up the bits. This is Chicken Salt.
I keep small bricks of anchovy butter in my freezer. I chip away at these pieces, adding the pungent butter to grilled fish or a bowl of mussels, but also to roasting poultry, meat, game, and to vegetables, like turnips and fennel. In this chicken dish (below), I cut the rich butter with crisp white […]
Purple Kale Medleys feature combinations of carefully cut, individual ingredients that, cooked together, are often more flavorful, versatile, and longer-lasting than each item would be alone. My favorite medleys include Delicata Squash, Turnips, and Scallions and Sunchokes, Asparagus, and Ramps. But the following medley diverges from these, because it’s proportions are highly flexible and it is […]
Summer turns steamy and I let my oven lay low. My favorite produce lines the kitchen counter, ripening by the day. There are tomatoes from Hepworth Farms that I use to anchor many of my meals; this season’s crop is fantastic. Typically, I line a serving plate with thick tomato slices, topping them with anything […]
This week, a favorite blog called The Improvised Life, published an upgrade of the Classic Caesar Salad. Theirs was made with traditionally prepared parts—romaine leaves, shavings of cheese, and toasted bread–but the dressing was lightened and the salad was composed on the plate rather than tossed in a bowl. Those of you familiar with Purple […]
A watermelon consumes its unfair share of kitchen space, given that we use but one-third of its edible weight. At its peak, watermelon is sweet and vegetal, porous and dense, tender and crisp. A picnic slice reveals these different textures and tastes; in its colorful striations, we see possibilities for the fruit beyond snack.
I like my coffee hot, rich, and somewhat chewy. But when the weather turns warm, I feel the pull to put it on ice. In theory, iced coffee rejuvenates; it is THE a tonic for a sleepy warm-weather work day. But iced coffee feels as thin on the tongue as watercolor to paper, and gets […]
I thought I’d like being a pastry chef. Of the many posts I’ve held in restaurants, this one promised a quietness absent on the always-urgent kitchen line. But over time, I realized I preferred the more rapid-fire, interactive setting of the savory space and–who knew?–I didn’t much like dessert. Well, almost. What I didn’t like […]
Leeks grow whole, but we use them in parts. We eat the cylindrical white bulb, saving the silver-green stems for hopes of stock. But these stems contain the full force of leek flavor, unlocked by quick blanching. Hot water turns the stalks a sun yellow and kelly green, making for a Leek Stem soup that […]
Sometimes, discovery happens in the kitchen by little steps, over time, and–paradoxically–while we’re unaware. One morning, I rescue a small collection of nuts in the back of a cabinet overrun by cereal. I put them in a proper container. The container awkwardly fits the cabinet, so I leave it on the kitchen counter. The next […]
Many cooks smartly stockpile packages of meat as investments in future possible meals, without realizing that the way they store their meat pre-determines how they’ll use it. A whole pork loin, for example, expects to make itself the center of a meal. While we rightly use the freezer to store extra meat, it helps to […]
Spice kits include the requisite jar of bay leaves, but many cooks are at a loss for how to use them beyond split pea soup or a seafood boil. When is the last time you reached for a bay leaf on your own? And if a recipe calls for it, do you know why?
Here’s the scene: a tower of dirty pots, piles of incomplete notes, strewn camera and computer cords, and unpacked groceries. A refrigerator shelf of labeled syrups and brines, with little practical dinner value. I grab a grapefruit to cut a kitchen day’s intake of salt and fat. This day, I have no reserve of love or […]
Helpful kitchen items can be the most modest. Dried fruit, nuts, and olives have long shelf lives, are inexpensive and readily available, play well with others, yet stand alone in quiet confidence. They are stock items in my functional pantry, so I take their kitchen work for granted. But an ingredient-driven way to cook puts […]
Pickled lemons, like ginger or lemongrass, infuse food with hard to replicate flavor. The most famous are Preserved Lemons, often partnered with olives in southern Mediterranean tagines. Preserved lemons need patience. Packed fresh in salt, lemons sit for a month-long cure before releasing juices enough to self-submerge in a salty-sour brine. But I like another, […]
Purple Kale Medleys are combinations of carefully cut and cooked ingredients that, when combined, are often more flavorful, versatile, and longer-lasting than each item would be uncooked, or cooked and served alone. Fall vegetables make great medleys, and medleys take those same vegetables out of the roasting rut.
In the Purple Kale test kitchen, we search constantly for creative ways to use leftover prepared grains and beans. A favorite PKale original is this snack made of leftover white rice. Here is another unexpected idea: turn leftover grains into batter for crepes. We blend day-old cooked quinoa with flour, milk, egg, and butter for […]
For the record, I don’t find every food scrap good to eat. Carrot tops taste of dirt, no matter the fix with salt or cheese. But when I find myself munching on, say, a pile of apple peels, I’m prompted to ask, “What can I do with these?”
Despite the conventional divide, a pastry chef is no less improvisational than a savory chef is meticulous. The experienced savory cook relies on pastry’s precision and methodical routines; the pastry chef knows that sweet things hold court with savory, and that dessert extends past chocolate. The best chefs on both sides share an ingredient-driven focus, […]
This summer, I ate all the stone fruit before killing off my supply of sugar, flour, and oats. Faced with a pantry surplus, I put together a Crisp Kit of combined dry ingredients for use in upcoming apple months. This time, however, staring down an extra large excess of dry goods, and anticipating a typically-busy […]
Diana has been on PKale’s crew since the beginning of the year. As she sets off for other adventures, she leaves us with a lovely statement about her family and food. Those of you who grew up in a culinarily rich home will recognize yourself in her story. Included here, is her Korean family’s recipe for […]
“One Meal to Many” is one of my favorite PKale columns. It starts with a crowd-pleasing dish, whose careful, attentive preparation sets us up well for additional original dishes. In the test kitchen we are surprised each time at how much possibility (especially in seeds, peels, and bones) lies in everyday ingredients.
This entry of “One Meal to Many” features a classic version of Gazpacho, a cold tomato summer soup. As is the Purple Kale way, we prepare Gazpacho by first making its separate component parts, rather than assemble it in one blender batch. This has three benefits: 1) it allows you to customize the soup to […]
“The Pickle Shelf” is a series about our favorite, and often unusual, pickles, and ways to use them to unequalled effect. We vary not only the ingredients we pickle (see herbs, squash, watermelon rinds, stems, tomatoes) but how we make our brines, too. Like in our brine for Pickled Chickpeas, here we cut the traditional […]
Some restaurants “fillet” tomatoes. A filleted tomato is the flesh sliced clean from its skin and seed pockets. Of flat, even thickness, filleted tomatoes may be cut to a nice, uniform dice. Now, a dated garnish, diced tomato fillets still appear on a kitchen line–for one, their soft flesh breaks to sauce quickly in a […]
Peels make good pickles. In this case, cucumbers employed for cold summer soup, leave us a pile of peels that call for a quick “put up.” Taking seasoning cues from kimchi, a traditionally fermented Korean pickle, we pair these peels with salt, garlic, rice vinegar, chili flake, and scallion. They yield quickly to the flavors, […]
Yesterday’s salad is hard to love. Time turns muddled and mushy what was once crisp and bright. Dressed too long, salad is the leftover without another life. But I found redemption recently, in day-old Greek salad. Not, that is, in its leading parts, but in the combined liquids—tomato juice, olive oil, vinegar—pooled at the bottom […]
Why do we get sangria so wrong?
I always thought big, sturdy greens were incongruent with summer, since I typically turn to a hot stove to tenderize their thick leaves. But in these warmer days, chard, collards, and kale hold full court with tender arugula and spinach. It’s time I figured out how to eat these indelicate greens raw.
What I LOVE about chopped salads: They need only one utensil. They require no specific ingredients (not even lettuce). The best last forever.
Steaming gets a bad rap. Typically reserved for institutional cooking or punitive weight loss, most steamed food tastes dull and anemic. But thoughtfully steamed food is particularly receptive to marinades, and to being finely pureed or turned into soups. The steaming liquid often makes a fine by-product all its own.
After last weekend’s workshops, we took stock of the remains of PKale’s refrigerator. Pulling out the contents of the produce drawer, we wondered what to do with the loose ends of ingredients unused by class: half a head of celery, a few radishes, asparagus spears, three little parsnips. Our habit is to find a way to […]
“The Pickle Shelf” introduces you to unusual pickles we love and ways to use them to unequalled effect. We vary not only the ingredients we pickle (see herbs, squash, watermelon rinds, stems, tomatoes) but how we make our brines, too. In this case, we replace some of the vinegar with leftover white wine, for a welcome […]
Lemonade can satisfy an impromptu thirst crave, but the effort and time it takes to put together a pitcher can dissuade us from the task. Making lemonade isn’t ever hard, but squeezing ample fresh juice may be enough to deny our indulgence. It is this culinary (er, human) moment for which Holding Point is made.
I enjoyed an interview with NYTimes contributor Melissa Clark on NPR’s “The Leonard Lopate Show” this week . Clark was discussing strategies and recipes for putting a weeknight dinner on the table for the busy home cook. Clark is sharp and seasoned. I like her food ideas. But one piece of her advice might fail […]
Passover desserts traditionally lead us to flour substitutes and second-best ideas. They enforce a longing for what we can’t eat, rather than what we can. And–in my experience–even those desserts which are kosher for Passover by default (the best ones) are handled clumsily, almost to showcase the dietary sacrifice. Perhaps for this reason, at Passover, […]
Pickles in brines spanning a range of hues crowd two shelves of Purple Kale’s refrigerator. We snack on them like potato chips, but more often reach for them whenever we want to add to a dish a taste of something sharp, or unexpected. Pickling is a great Holding Point with a sour reach that extends […]
At Purple Kale, we view our “Mise en Place to Plate” system of everyday improvisation from many angles. We value good kitchen prep, but realize that stocking up on prepared ingredients doesn’t work for everyone. For those who love to cook one big weekend meal, but aren’t as motivated to eat well during the week, […]
The recipes, below, are spin-offs from our first entry of “One Meal to Many,” a Purple Kale column about turning one ambitious weekend dish into several original, delicious, easy-to-assemble weeknight meals. This one: Wine Braised Short Ribs with Salty, Boiled Potatoes.
The following recipes are Holding Points for the Cauliflower, Lentil, and Bread “Three for Three,” a series that shows how to make three dishes from three ingredients, with one prep time.
Here is another installment of Three for Three. In this, one of our favorite series, we create three different dishes from three separate ingredients, in only one prep time. The conceit behind Three for Three is that eating deliciously and economically results from smart choices we make about how to prepare single ingredients (how we […]
Rice survives the turn to “day old,” but barely. Cold and starchy, it begs to be fried; its molded form resists rejuvenation. Fried rice must have been born in a moment like this, about 1500 years ago, and it continues to sustain us in a pinch. In Purple Kale’s kitchen, fried rice becomes a standard […]
Occasionally, I have a chance to work with ingredients outside my Mediterranean training, and in ways beyond the scope of Purple Kale instruction. I get to play in someone else’s pantry. This time, I was asked by Chopsticks magazine to develop an idea for a dish using a classic Japanese ingredient in an atypical way. […]
Using spices is a a product of experience and experiment, leading many home cooks to think them the privy of professionals or those who inherited a great spice tin. A typical American home spice rack hangs heavy but underused. Truth is, it is difficult for even an experienced cook to taste how spices might work […]
Meal planning often lands on the list of things we feel we should do more of, and better. But as home cooks, we cannot assume that meal planning will save us time, money, and stress. Meal plans aren’t a silver bullet. In fact, most plans are inherently wasteful, and require too much effort to sustain. […]
Here at Purple Kale Kitchenworks, as much as we press to break free from recipes, we recognize that a great recipe provides not only a script but also an inspiration for what to eat. Starting as excellent teaching tools, recipes become launching pads for everyday improvisation. When I speak of improvising a recipe, I don’t […]
“Three for Three” is a Purple Kale Kitchenworks column where we make three dishes from three ingredients, in one prep time. Here, we braise fennel bulbs, blanch Brussels sprouts, and crisp pancetta. Each prepared ingredient stands alone in its own right. However, in playful combination–along with their cooking waters, braising juices, and residual fats–they yield […]
3 bulbs fennel, core neatly trimmed but intact and cut into 8 wedges each 3 cups water 1/3 cup white wine 5 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon fennel seed, roughly ground 1 to 2 tablespoons salt 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 1 tablespoon olive oil lemon, to taste (about 1 whole lemon) Preheat […]
pancetta, sliced into rings 1/8-inch thick parchment paper lined tray Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange pancetta slices on parchment-lined baking tray, not overlapping. Bake until they render a good deal of fat and turn crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and, while hot, transfer pancetta slices to a paper towel-lined plate. […]
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, lightly trimmed 8 cups of water, divided 2 teaspoons salt, divided Bring half of the water to boil in medium pot. Add half of the salt and the Brussels sprouts. Cook Brussels until bright green and you can just slide a sharp knife through them, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, place […]
Discovering new ways to use familiar ingredients begins with examining them in all their distinct parts. With leeks, we may examine the typically-jettisoned stalks, as we’ve done in previous “Otherwise, Trash” entries. This time, opening up the stalks themselves reveals further creative uses for their differently hued parts. Have you ever looked inside a leek […]
(“Might as Well” is a Purple Kale Kitchenworks series about using what remains of an ingredient that was purchased originally to make something else. ) Retail packaging toys with our sentiments for the seasons, which leads us to indulge in purchases that make little sense for how we eat. Why else would even the most conservative […]
As cooks in my kitchen will tell you, I don’t love squash. I embrace the seasonal symbolism, but care less about it the further we move from Halloween. I like to pickle squash, but one batch lasts the full season. I might roast it, when shellacked with maple syrup and bathed in butter. Without these […]
I don’t love squash, at least not for the whole season. And certainly not always roasted, then turned into soup. Each year, I aim to prepare squash in not so inevitable ways. But last year, I hit on something hard to top, so I’m making (and sharing) it again. Pickled Pumpkin The following recipe is […]
Here, we take the leftover bloated apple cores from making Apple Core Agrodolce and remove the near gelatinous, intensely sweet and sour flesh. What remains are seeds and stems. These, I’ll let you put in the trash. Apple Core Mostarda Membrillo is jellied quince confection, typically served with cheese and cured meats. Here, the apple […]
Apple Core Agrodolce A recipe for your reclusive cores. Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce. Here, we reduce sugar and vinegar with apple cores, for delicious, intensely-concentrated essence of fall. Agrodolce plays well with meats, along with the less obvious uses we play around with here.
This is perhaps one of the most assertive, yet versatile ways to serve the simple shallot. Apple Core Agrodolce turns seared shallots into something that both emboldens a bowl of soft, warm polenta, and tames gamey meat. Coarsely chopped, it turns into a condiment all its own, with a several week shelf life.
Cocktail is a favorite Purple Kale category for uses of things that are Otherwise, Trash. Here, we combine Apple Core Agrodolce (a sweet and sour sauce) with excellent brandy for a drink–hot or cold–that takes you right through fall.
Here is a surprising fact about tomatillos: raw, they taste like rhubarb, with the texture of a celer-ied cucumber. I would not have known this had I proceeded this afternoon, as planned, to cook them into sauce. Instead, paused over a small bowlful destined for the pot, I stopped first, to taste. It helps to […]
Lately, I’ve been thinking about two separate problems with stocks. First, that we discard the contents of a stock pot, left after the broth gets strained.* Second, most stocks simply take too long for home cooks to make, with payoff that is elusive beyond the task of soup. So I started thinking about stocks that […]
Chefs prep dishes in steps to handle volumes of orders efficiently and well. Home cooks can take cues from this professional system to streamline and personalize their own kitchen work. Let’s take, for example, the making of pie.
My birthday cake the exception, I like summer desserts that reward impromptu cravings. Making great, easy desserts is due reward at the end of a hot day, even one spent lazily lakeside. Enter the crisp.
Behind the Scenes is a Purple Kale Kitchenworks series that shows you the system behind how a terrific plate of food comes together. It is this restaurant system that has informed Purple Kale’s own strategies for improvising delicious home meals. Lot 2 is neighborhood Brooklyn restaurant with destination merits. It is a Greenwood Heights gem […]
Last week, I wrote about how to make meals with whatever ingredients remain in your kitchen, as you pare down your stock before heading out of town. This week, I’ll explain how you can hold these and other ingredients, not only to avoid waste, but to have useful players in a number of possible […]
As lucky folks prepare for vacation, they bury kitchen counters in travel papers and checklists, hovering with take-out containers over last-minute laundry, rather than sitting down for home-cooked meals. While to some, a week straight of take-out is a start to vacation itself, for those who want to make their remaining in-town meals from whatever […]
I’ve documented before Purple Kale’s method of poaching whole, unwrapped garlic cloves. Once raw and astringent, these cloves, cooked slowly, submerged in water, become mellow, deeply fragrant and long on flavor. In Purple Kale’s workshop, we include poached garlic to illustrate how simple techniques paired with common ingredients yield delicious, versatile things. In addition to […]
We play around a great deal with watermelon rind at Purple Kale, so we forget folks out there still deign to throw it away. Here, we’ve found a way to dissect the rind further than ever before. In the following recipes, we use not only the lightly-sweet white pulp to make a granite and summer […]
CRUNCHY PICKLED WATERMELON RINDS The watermelon’s protective green helmet makes outstanding, forever-crisp pickles.
WATERMELON RIND GRANITA
What to do with those big, leafy greens? Leafy greens don’t come single serving size. They prompt bulk cooking, each bundle stringing out our commitment over a few too many meals. We typically ADD hearty greens to things, except, of course, when we sauté them, predictably, for a side, or trend-dry them into chips. Here […]
Garlic scapes have arrived. They pre-date by a couple of weeks the garlic bulbs they’ve sprouted from. We buy them by the untamed tangle, forcing our market sacks full, knowing that, what we don’t disperse to each spring dish, we’ll feed to the food processor. Too often, greenmarket purchases follow a familiar Plow to […]
If the Greenmarket movement has an icon, ramps are it. These wild leeks are here and now, and, tousled about the farmstand as props of spring, beckon, “Grab some of me. Seize the day.”
Purple Kale Medleys are combinations of carefully cut, cooked ingredients that, when combined, are often more flavorful, versatile, and longer-lasting than each item would be uncooked and alone. Some ideas for serving: Spoon a generous amount on top of roasted fish. Squeeze a healthy dose of lemon on top. Warm a heap with homemade broth, […]
Food writers urgently hype spring’s arrival. Their recipes bundle together seasonal ingredients of first harvests — sunchokes, turnips, ramps–in a faithful celebration of the season’s fleeting freshness. Of course, writers, like chefs, tout uber-seasonal dishes for practical reasons, too. Combining several perishable ingredients in a single dish helps expedite their use. We buy asparagus and […]
To the naysayers: yes, you CAN cook kale with its stem on. Chard and collard greens, too. Stems for these bundles remain tougher than their attached leaves, but to expedite wrangling the season’s outsized greens, many cooks embrace the contrast. Still at Purple Kale, resourcefulness is not just about economy of time or ingredients, but […]
If you’ve taken Purple Kale’s workshop, you know that we use a large set of ingredients for easily pulling together creative and delicious meals. However, we always stress that the Purple Kale system works even with just a few items prepared in simple ways. Here is the first installment in a new blog series to […]
Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) taste like celery and pear, with a texture like crisp apple or raw potato. They taste grassy and almost imperceptibly like their namesake. Their flesh is almost translucent when sliced extra thin. I prefer to peel Jerusalem artichokes, because the skin detracts from the delicate flavor inside. Work quickly so they don’t […]
These are potatoes you can eat straight out of the hand. The key is to peel them and to cook them with ample salt. This gives you not only delicious potatoes, but also peels that can be crisped to chips, and starchy, salty cooking water to thicken and season soups. Yukon Gold Potatoes, about 2 […]
Rhubarb debuts in spring’s signature strawberry rhubarb pie, but as an ingredient, it spans the kitchen’s savory/sweet divide. Many cooks appreciate, conceptually, that rhubarb pairs as well as cranberries with a range of poultry and meat, but the question for many is how to take it there. What gets that tart, fibrous stalk into delicious, […]
Pickles don’t require the forethought and planning cases of cucumbers and Mason jars suggest. Sometimes, the best pickles are the ones we dress quickly and casually, in the style of warmer weather. Pickling is a great way to use scraps of produce and fruit we would otherwise throw away (see: The Pickle Bank). As it […]
Stocks take time to make, and though I champion their versatile and foundational use, few home cooks I know make them at all. If I am bent on having people use homemade stocks, I figure, I ought to come up with respectable options that take less time to make.
In this Holding Points column, I explore my favorite preparations for a range of ingredients. My aim: to expand the options for prepping each ingredient, and hence, its role in the improvisation of excellent, everyday meals.
The doors of my refrigerator hold a growing stockpile of preserved ingredients: anchovies, assorted mustards, capers, hot sauce. I use each item frequently. In fact, these are the pantry staples I buy often without checking if I I’m out. Like toilet paper—another roll never hurts, just in case. When duplicate jars pile up, I gather […]
My favorite “Otherwise, Trash“ recipe is for a five-minute stock made from the scraps of the green and white vegetables I use in cooking other things. As we learn in Purple Kale’s workshops, Stalk Stock makes a fantastic base for risotto and soup. It exposes boxed vegetable stock for the food-colored sham it is.
If you bite into the core of a green bell pepper, with its blond seeds and spongy white flesh, you’ll find little to redeem it. But roast the same pieces–seeds, stem and all–and you have something that tastes of pepper, still, but also of zucchini, with toasty seeds that hint at an otherwise anticipated bitterness.
Sometimes, lethargy leads to innovation. This is helpful, especially, when inspiration is scarce. My lazy tomato sauce proves this point.
I like to roast beets. I pair them unapologetically retro with greens, nuts, and cheese. Weeks ago, I was brought a bunch of beets, dug up fresh from Long Island. They were small and crusted with dirt. Washing them revealed a striking, moddled gray skin. Pausing over the peel, I noticed that there were enough […]
I’ve posted before about teasing apart citrus fruit, finding different uses for its pulp, juice, and zest. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about citrus in its entirety, wondering if these fruits have something to gain by being prepared whole.
Making lemonade is a straightforward affair. From three ingredients come endless variations. The measurements are simple and the “technique,” well, there really is none. In fact, lemonade is one of those things we might we feel silly having a recipe for. But having your ingredients already “mise-d” helps. Mise en place, the way we teach […]
You know the perfect melon when you read one—food writers become hopelessly poetic in the face of hyper-seasonal food. But what happens when the food we pay homage to falls short of expectations? What do we do when perfectly ripe produce is anything but? Few things are as disappointing as a mealy piece of fruit, […]
Last July, the New York Times ran an article featuring Purple Kale Kitchenworks, on using vegetables scraps, roots, and stems, the “nose to tail” take on the produce aisle. To the research, we contributed an “Otherwise, Trash” recipe for Watermelon Rind Gazpacho, a rich, substantial, summer soup. Since then, I’ve habitually stockpiled rinds in my […]
This is a companion entry to a previous installment of “Might As Well,” the periodic “2 minutes to dinner” column about using leftover quantities of raw ingredients we typically throw away. In “Might As Well: Celery,” I shared a bundle of ideas for using extra, unused stalks of celery that typically languish in the fridge. […]
Here is what happened at a cooking class this week. Five of us spent several hours plowing through a host of raw ingredients to create a flexible mise en place for practice improvisations. We cooked pasta (tagliatelle) the Purple Kale way, which includes storing it cold in its salty, starchy cooking water. The mushrooms, we […]
Most of us cook in reverse. We start with a dish we want to make, a recipe we like, and take appropriate steps to get it to the table. This involves relying on skills we might have (or not) and on ingredients being available, affordable, and fresh at the moment we crave them. At Purple […]
Everyone knows to buy celery–it’s a crisper drawer tradition. But after using half the bunch in a recipe, possibly a bit for a snack, we allow the remainder to languish in the fridge, stalks turning to rubber and drooping toward trash. The following recipes are all based on a 1/2 bunch of celery, a common […]
CREAMY BRAISED CELERY Braised celery is a perfect foil to the vegetable’s diet-right reputation. This dish gives grains a natural home, or turns with little extra effort into a phenomenal soup. Yield: 2 servings 1/2 bunch celery (about 12 ounces) trimmed of leaves and tough ends 1/4 cup dry, crisp white wine 1/4 cup water […]
FRESH CELERY SALSA I’m guessing this salsa can support fiery peppers, too. I like it on a plate, next to avocado and pork. yield: 2 cups 2 cups (8 ounces) rough-chopped celery (about 1/2 bunch) 1/2 shallot, quartered 1/2 large garlic clove, chopped 1 1/2 cups chopped Mutsu apples (peel on), about 1 small apple […]
CELERY AND WATERMELON RADISH SLAW This slaw puts your knife skills into practice. With a julienne cut, the vegetables marinate quickly, but keep crisp . Yield: 4 servings 1/2 bunch celery (about 12 ounces) 1/2 large Watermelon Radish 2 teaspoons capers, finely chopped 8 anchovy fillets, chopped 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 2 tablespoons white […]
Both drinks rely on either a great, light, store-bought ginger beer, or homemade ginger syrup and seltzer. Instructions for each, follow. GINGERED CELERY SODA Yield: 2 drinks 2 1/2 cups chopped celery (about 1/2 bunch) 11 ounces ginger beer* 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice, and more to taste 1 pinch salt 4 basil leaves 8 mint […]
I like to cook with leeks, and for a long time, I ended up with bundles of army-green stems that went straight to the trash. Then, as chronicled in a previous entry of “Otherwise, Trash,” I improvised a leek vinaigrette, built around these same stems, which I make to dress grains or for potato salad. […]
The New Year is an expected time to cull our kitchen stock of items that have fallen out of rotation or rarely see any play. But a kitchen clearance doesn’t just target dusty spice jars and condiments sporting sticky drips. It includes neglected, partially-used bags of common pantry goods, too. In Purple Kale Workshops, I […]
Just in time for Thanksgiving, and–as promised to the last workshop participants–the Purple Kale Kitchenworks recipe for Braised Celeriac and, out of that, one for Celeriac Soup. Additionally, below are my thoughts on braising vegetables, perhaps my favorite way to HOLD roots and tubers arriving for the season. Enjoy the holiday, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving. ******* […]
(This is a reprint of a guest post I wrote for Park Slope Parents on October 27th) Child-free cooks are often incredulous at the ways in which parents accommodate the eating “preferences” of kids. In our house, for instance, we love toast. The crustier the better. But sometimes our kids protest the effort it takes […]
Thanks to all participants for some fantastic cooking classes this weekend. “The workshop was fun, and a total revelation.” Below, a menu created “on the fly,” using a set of singularly-prepared, versatile ingredients, a result of each participant taking two minutes to create something entirely new. As promised, the “2 minutes” recipe for Parsnip Veloute […]
Buttermilk Poached Hailbut, Buttermilk Aioli While the flavors of this dish–coriander, mushrooms, buttermilk–work deliciously together, the fish alone is worth the effort. The Buttermilk Aioli (an optional addition) is fantastic and if you like to have aioli around for other uses (as I do), consider employing it here. If not, the fish and mushrooms in […]
The Amaro Sour Here, the “sour” comes not from a cocktail mixer, but from buttermilk. The drink is like a grown up White Russian. Yield: 1 generous, or 2 modest cocktails ½ cup Amaro Liqueur* 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar ¾ cup buttermilk dash of vanilla extract Ice cinnamon stick (optional) For the syrup: In […]
Buttermilk Pralines This is an old Helen Corbitt recipe that I learned from my good friend and mentor, Jane Lilly. Jane was the chef and owner of Lilly & Company, a cafe and catering company in Austin, Texas where I worked toward my tail end of graduate school. Lilly & Company closed in 1998, employing, […]
Bacon Buttermilk Dressing I can think of many uses for this dressing, but an obvious one is poured over a plate of fresh spinach, tomatoes, and scallions. Break up the bacon and toss that in, too. Yield: 1/2 cup 6 slices thick-cut bacon 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon honey up to ½ cup […]
A few heads of garlic turned once into a condiment, then its poaching liquid into a stock, and finally the both combined into soup. An Otherwise, Trash entry for the die-hard conservationists among us. Poached Garlic Soup Yield: 4 servings 4 cups Garlic Stock 1/3 to 1/2 cup Poached Garlic 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, […]
Cooking “simply” is to pay attention to what each ingredient has to say for itself. The green pepper, for example, speaks of late summer squash, Brussels sprouts and early winter greens. The following green peppers are a study in how one underrated, over-farmed vegetable performs when given proper support (a foil to its bitterness) and […]
At Purple Kale Kitchenworkss, I talk a great deal about mise en place. The lynchpin of professional kitchens, this classic idea of having “everything in its place” places priority on advance work, organizing ingredients to assemble an efficient, delicious meal. To look at it, a cook’s mise en place is an impressive and tidy arrangement […]
I have talked about teaching a pastry mise en place course since the first Purple Kale Kitchenworks workshop over a year ago. I’ve met the most avid home cooks who view dessert as a labor of love, and often push it aside for lack of time or effort. Having some premium pastry staples on hand […]
Every recipe for leeks reads the same: “Trim leeks, using white and light green part only. Discard the dark green stalks.” This is where we come in. “Otherwise, Trash” is a Purple Kale Kitchenworks series about using parts of ingredients we might otherwise throw away. Below is a recipe for turning those tough, dusty leek […]
Freekeh/frick (a transliteration, in any case) is a Mediterranean grain. Wheat is picked while still green, then smoked, and subsequently dried. The grain is gray-green in color, chewy (typical for whole grains), with a taste evocative of smoke, leather, and stone. It is one of few grains that cooks very quickly, which makes it a […]
Copied from a guest blog post on Park Slope Parents: We’ve always known we should eat our hearty winter greens, but for most of us, anything beyond the silky pads of baby spinach were either unforgiving in the pan or to the digestion. Enter kale. Of course kale has been around for a long time […]
I’ll get right to it, because this past weekend’s workshops churned out a long list of thoughtful, delicious, unique dishes–plates created by enthusiastic participants, many who had never successfully improvised an original dish before. The list is impressive: Crostini with Anchovy Butter, Seared Oyster Mushrooms, and Swiss Chard Crostini of Buttery Carrots, Cauliflower, Aioli, and […]
Garlic Stock is made from the peels and liquid that remains after poaching heads of garlic. If you’ve never poached garlic, a recipe follows, below. Garlic Stock 1 small onion, thinly sliced 1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced 1 small carrot, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 teaspoons salt 6 stems thyme […]
This is a classic recipe for court bouillon, borrowed from one of many French editions. You may vary it as you like, adding or removing herbs to taste. The amounts aren’t very important. Consider the quantities of aromatics, show below, the minimum necessary to make a flavorful poaching liquid. Court Bouillon is used, commonly, to […]
Roasted Shallots Shallots, peeled, trimmed lightly at stem end, and halved, lengthwise, so the pieces stay intact and are of mostly uniform size Extra virgin olive oil, to coat well Salt Sugar A few splashes of white wine vinegar 350 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil. Otherwise, the shallots may burn. […]
Toasted Almond Cream 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup sliced, blanched almonds Note: This is an infused cream that can be used just like heavy cream. It is a little thicker, in part because it reduces some, and in part because the almonds release their own fat into the cream. Oven 325 degrees F. Toast […]
Recycled Chicken-Chicken Stock 2 pounds chicken bones from all the leftover roasted chicken you have, no matter the spices, no matter the parts, but especially the feet and neck and any joints and pieces clinging still to their meat 2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken wings, skin slashed to expose flesh 4 quarts cold water 1 […]
Dried Mushroom Stock 1 ounce dried mushrooms, assorted (look for nice, whole pieces with little dust in the packaging) 4 cups cold water 3 shallots, peeled and sliced 1 clove garlic, sliced thinly 6 whole peppercorns 4 sprigs thyme 2 pinches salt cheesecloth Yield: 1 1/2 cups Place mushrooms and water in a small pot. […]
Seared Oyster Mushrooms 2 pounds oyster mushrooms, pulled apart gently into still largish pieces 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup stock or water Note: Cook these mushrooms in batches, so they sear nicely without simply steaming from an overcrowded pan. Adjust the quantities accordingly, dividing the total oil and salt […]
Those who know well the idea of “holding point” likely have encountered the following scenario: After a terrific day of “modular” food prep, and several days of eating well from this pantry, you are left with smaller amounts of the same selection to eat. While we go out of our way at Purple Kale Kitchenworks […]
December Purple Kale Kitchenworks cooking workshops coming up! For more information on classes other parents have credited as “totally liberating,” CLICK HERE. Braising is the act of cooking something slowly, completely submerged in liquid. My favorite thing about braising is that it is hard to do wrong. You can cook something for just enough time […]
Given Al Di La‘s reputation for doing no wrong–ask anyone who eats out in my neighborhood–it’s funny that Anna Klinger, its chef/co-owner, would caution that her Anchovy Vinaigrette might be too simple for a Behind the Scenes entry. It is, in fact, a perfect example of a basic, versatile, but hardly understated pantry item that […]
Here is a glimpse into this past Saturday’s Parents Workshop, and some shots of some of the good food we enjoyed. Scroll to the end for the “2 minutes” recipe of our starter course of turnip soup. Thanks for everyone who participated for a great class. Roasted Turnip and Green Apple Soup 2 to 2 […]
The thing about cooking leafy winter greens is that you have to use a lot to yield enough for a large group to eat. Like the people you might have had over for Thanksgiving. Swiss chard leaves are tough raw, but take well to a slow simmer. We discard the stems, though, because they break […]
Just as we may “mise out” vegetables and herbs when preparing to make a soup, we may also “mise” out dry ingredients for baked things we like to have around: biscuits for a lazy weekend breakfast, quick breads, favorite cookies. A “Dry” mise includes those ingredients that generally get “sifted” together. Spices and flour, for […]
The following menu is from a demonstration I gave on October 13 at Eden Village Camp in Cold Springs, NY. My hosts were Eden Village Camp, in association with the Jewish Farm School, and the Foundation for Jewish Camp, organizations that, among other things, help strengthen Jewish communities through agriculture and recreation, respectively. I was […]
Yield: about 8 servings 1 large onion, chopped 8 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup flour 2 quarts water (to boil) 1 recipe braised parsnips (braising liquid, too) up to 2 cups warm water salt Saute onion in butter on medium low heat until very soft but without color. Keep a close eye on the pot, stirring […]
1/2 cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1 1/2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 2 1/2 teaspoons small capers, plus 1/2 teaspoon caper brine 1/2 minced shallot 1 teaspoon lemon juice 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons or more warm water, as needed In small, non-reactive […]
2 small cloves garlic 2 egg yolks 3 1/2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 1/2 cup canola oil 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons warm water, as necessary
Yield: 8 servings, or one batch for soup 10 medium parsnips, peeled, cut into batons, and any thick core cut and discarded, placed in water to prevent discoloration 3/4 cup off-dry white wine (Alsatian is good) 3/4 cup water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 350 F. Remove prepared parsnips from storage […]
From twenty-five or so “mise-d”, seasonal, farm-sourced ingredients come the following dishes from this weekend’s workshop, each of which I would happily eat again: Salad of Braised Fennel, Sauteed Purple Kale. Tagliatelle with Braised Oyster Mushrooms, Hazelnut Butter, and Ricotta. Frekeh, Caramelized Onions, Cumin Roasted Cauliflower and Toasted Almonds. Soup of Chorizo, Onions, Navy beans, […]
Yesterday was the first official “parents-only” workshop at Purple Kale Kitchenworks. The impetus behind the class was to give parents a forum for sharing the challenges of and priorities for feeding their families well. Still, the specific concerns of each parent varied as widely as did their work schedules and their kids’ personalities. Gathered together […]
Thanks to those who fought the heat and made it out to the Grand Army greenmarket yesterday. Thanks, too, to Chris, who brought me maple syrup iced tea from the farmstand nearby. I was at least as hot as I looked. For those who were around to see the bike blender in action, I thank […]
Heat waves, like that which hit New York this week, are good for restaurants that do a quick take-out, or can seat people in an air conditioned oasis. The quick meal is a boon to many who live, and try to cook, with a patchwork at-home cooling system. Not one to complain about sweating to […]
TOMATOES, CONFIT 1 nice sprig of thyme or sage 1 pint plump small tomatoes (avoid grape tomatoes for their thick skin) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for storage peel of one small lemon, pith removed 1 wedge lemon 1/4 teaspoon salt Place thyme, tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon peel in sauté […]
There are two kinds of ricotta cheese. The kind I had in Noto, Sicily nine years ago, brought by a cheesemaker to a pastry shop where I was working–and every other. In New York, I have discovered some that evoke that sweet, pungent, creamy Sicilian bowlful, but while they might approximate the cheese in quality, […]
Never refuse an offer of duck confit. It’s not like milk, of course. Or sugar. But occasionally, and especially if you’re my neighbor, someone knocks at your door with a container of duck confit. Just for you. You can refuse it on the grounds that you have no special occasion to share it. Or you […]
Thanks to everyone who participated in Purple Kale Kitchenworks‘ workshops this past weekend. It was a great time, and your enthusiasm for the work we did kept me thinking for hours about the possibilities for what we teach. As an example to others, and to remind ourselves, of what a small group of culinary novices […]
Good to meet everyone at Grand Army Plaza on Saturday, and welcome to the blog site of Purple Kale Kitchenworks. Matthew and I were happy to have repeat passersby, who sampled last week’s rhubarb lemonade and stopped by for a taste of this week’s drink, and, of course, a chat. Nice to see you again. […]
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Grand Army greenmarket this past Saturday. To those of you I chatted with for the first time, please feel free to check out the older posts on this blog. It will give you some indication of my mise en place approach to cooking for oneself and one’s […]