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Marcie Sillman and me, photo: Bond Huberman
Recipes from Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala

So glad that the recipes from my March 2014 Sunset article on Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala are now online! It’s a delicious vegetarian meal that delivers buttery-spicy greens and tangy-rich chickpeas. She also showed me how she makes ghee, or clarified butter Meeru is as warm and charismatic as the food she cooks, and her commitment to improving the world around her is infectious. Here is a video of her making the greens curry.





Hunker down with Winter Lentils

I was on KUOW’s The Record today, sharing my love for lentils as a casual adaptable building block in the kitchen.  Check out the video  and recipe here. Thanks to Marcie Sillman and Bond Huberman for putting our piece together!



Food Lover’s Cleanse 2014

The greens are washed, the nuts and seeds are toasting, and my refrigerator is full of citrus and root vegetables. It’s time for my annual Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. Please join me in my two-week plan to get cooking and eating healthier for 2014. No strange lemon-cayenne drinks or days without solid food. Just lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, cooked with great flavor in mind. I have created recipes for every meal (and they were tested in the Bon Appetit kitchen!) and I’ll blog every day about my experiences. Stay tuned at www.bonappetit.com.


Warm breakfasts for a houseful of guests
Here are some notes from my conversation on KUOW’s The Record today. When the holidays roll around, you’re often graced (or depending on the situation, encumbered) with houseguests, and it can be tricky to figure out how to keep things both festive and flexible when feeding a crowd.  Breakfast can be especially tricky, since you have people waking up at different times and in different degrees of grogginess.  It’s especially nice to have things that can be cooked in batches or even prepped the night before, so that people can eat at their leisure.
Here are a few of my favorite group breakfast ideas:
Raised waffles, are stirred together the night before, and rise over night. In the morning you whisk in a bit of baking soda and a couple of eggs, and then the batter’s ready to go–keep in in a pitcher, and guests can even pour for themselves as they wake up. The waffles are incredibly crisp and malty. You can never go wrong with maple syrup, but try rehydrating some dried figs/cherries/prunes with warm water and a few ribbons of citrus zest, and serve the waffles with the resulting compote and a bowl of soft whipped cream.
Scottish oats—Scottish oats have a nutty appeal that’s totally distinctive. Though it takes about 1/2 hour to cook, it actually tastes better if made in advance and reheated.  Simply reheat with water, almond milk or a bit of milk, and then have a a really appealing toppings bar for everyone–brown sugar, cream, toasted nuts, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, or that same dried fruit compote. You can even top a bowl of Scottish oatmeal with a sunnyside-up egg.
Granola—Having a jar of granola lets your guests have something lovely for breakfast on an an hoc basis—keep some nice yogurt (cow, sheep or coconut, it doesn’t matter) to go with.
Here’s a recipe I’ve put together for a not-too-sweet granola made with sesame seeds and tahini…it’s really yummy.
Double sesame granola
This recipe, which is enriched by both sesame seeds and tahini, is a
great recipe to have on hand for houseguests, who can nibble on it whenever they want. It’s plenty crunchy, but not too sweet: you can add more sweetness with golden raisins or snipped up dried apricots. I haven’t always used egg white in my granola making, but I’m a convert: it adds an extra layer of crackliness to the
granola, and it fosters bigger clusters. Granola is one of those few venues
where lumpiness is a virtue.
4 cups oats
½ c sesame seeds
¾ c pumpkin seeds
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
¼ c. maple syrup
¼ c. honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. tahini
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a
bit of butter or oil.Toss together the oats, sesame and pumpkin seeds and
In a small sauce pan, heat together the maple syrup, honey,
oil and tahini over med-low heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture takes on
a smooth homogenized consistency, like caramel sauce. Pour the hot mixture over
the oat mixture and stir thoroughly. Toss in the egg white, and again, stir to
coat evenly.
Press mixture onto the greased baking sheet and bake. After
20 minutes, stir the oat meal and then press it down again, return to the oven
until it has toasted to a light amber brown, a total of 30-45 minutes cooking.
Let cool thoroughly before eating or storing.
Pancakes are the classic festive breakfast food, and they are great with gingerbread spice in them–you can top with soft butter with lemon zest and lots of powdered sugar. The only problem is that you can get stuck behind the stove cooking them. That’s one reason I like Dutch babies-the baked pancakes that are similar to popovers. You make them sweet and cover them with lemon juice and powdered sugar,  or savory, with bits of sausage or bacon in them.
Eggs are always a classic option and the perfect way to feed a hungry crowd.
If you have leftover roasted vegetables from a roast, they can be minced and fried up with onions as a hash topped with poached eggs.  Or you can always scoop the roasted veggies into a dozen cracked and beaten eggs for a frittata–add a big handful of parmesan cheese and any other cheese scraps you might have lying around.  Cook the frittata gently on the stovetop until the bottom is set, then transfer to a 350 degree oven and bake until set.
And of course, never underestimate the power of piles of rustic toast and  softly scrambled eggs, maybe with burnt edge onions, and a little bit of fancy condiment to complement them: your fanciest jam for the toast and maybe a bit of harissa (north African chili sauce) to top the eggs.
Two notable breakfast cookbooks books:
Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book is my indispensable, with recipes for muffins, scones, waffles, pancakes and every kind of egg.
. it’s the source of the raised waffles
I’m looking forward to more breakfast exploration with this upcoming book from  local writer Megan Gordon: it’s all about delicious whole grains.
Turkey day and beyond

Tomorrow I’ll be on KUOW’s The Record talking turkey and gravy, but in the November issue of Bon Appetit, I’ve got some advice about how to keep thanksgiving from totally derailing your healthy habits. Thanksgiving day itself is no time to be dieting–it’s a time to share the bounty of the table with family and friends.  But if you can eat smarter on the days surrounding Thanksgiving so that the extra pie, and mashed potatoes, and yes gravy are no big deal in the scheme of things.  Just remember, whether you’re nibbling pie at the Thanksgiving table or chowing down on quinoa  and steamed fish a couple days later, to eat all your food with gratitude and relish.

Bacon of the sea on KUOW’s The Record

Photo: Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman and Bond Huberman of KUOW’s The Record visited my kitchen to talk  cauliflower (and anchovies). Here’s the video Bond made. We cooked up a Sicilian inspired cauliflower dish, and the key to its depth of flavor is anchovies, one of my favorite ingredients for healthy cooking. Like their terrestrial counterpart bacon, anchovies lend untold depth to seemingly pedestrian foods–because they’re so  rich in umami flavor. Admittedly, they pack a fair dose of salt too, but you can ease up on the rest of salt in your meal if you use them. What’s more, unlike bacon, the fat they pack is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so as you double the deliciousness of, say a pan of caramelized cauliflower, you’re also easing up your weekly intake of healthy fish oils. Anything that makes healthy food even more delicious is a great addition to the pantry.

Photos and Video Bond Huberman

A couple rules about buying anchovies: it’s worth it to spend a bit more on them–imported beauties like Scalia and Ortiz are just more succulent than the supermarket staples. And yes, salt packed anchovies are delicious, but they require and extra step of soaking and rinsing. I use both high-quality oil-packed fillets and salt-packed.

While Bond and Marcie were around, I also showed how easy it is to make an anchovy dressing for wintry greens like frisee or escarole: recipe below!



Cauliflower with anchovies, raisins and pine nuts

This Sicilian-inspired cauliflower dish is develops
incredible flavor from long, slow stovetop cooking with almost no added liquid.
You can serve it as a side dish to chicken or fish, or use it as a topper for
bruschetta or pasta.

¼ c golden raisins
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 dried chilies de arbol or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 head cauliflower, cored and sliced into ¼ inch slices
Salt and pinch of red pepper to taste
Lemon juice, optional
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the balsamic vinegar
and warm water.

Heat the oil in a
large skillet. Add in garlic slices, chilies, rosemary, anchovies, and fennel and stir
until fragrant (about 15 seconds). Add in the cauliflower and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the cauliflower is amber-brown and completely tender, about
30 minutes.  Towards the end of cooking,
taste and season generously with salt and a pinch of mildly hot red pepper
flakes (Aleppo pepper, marash pepper). Pour in the raisins with their soaking
liquid, and cook until the extra liquid has evaporated. Taste once again and
adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or a squeeze of lemon.  Top with toasted pine nuts.

Frisee salad with anchovy dressing

In Rome, the green chicory plant called Puntarella is
traditionally dressed with a punchy anchovy dressing. Since it’s hard to find
in the states, I’ve traded it for frisee, though other chicories like radicchio
or escarole would also taste good in this salad. You can serve the salad cold,
but it’s even more aromatic if you warm
the dressing and the greens in a bowl set over a pot of simmering

1 clove garlic, mashed

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

4 fillets anchovy, roughly chopped

½ cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Frisee trimmed, and washed

Grapes, cut in half, and seeded if necessary (optional)

In a jar, let the garlic macerate in the red wine vinegar
for 10-15 minutes. Add in the anchovy, olive oil, salt and pepper, and whisk or
shake until well combined.

Dress the greens with the salad dressing. To prepare a warm
salad, bring a saucepan filled ¼ full with water to a simmer. Place a metal
bowl on the saucepan, making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Toss the salad and dressing with tongs until the anchovies and garlic are fragrant, and the greens are glossy, but not
completely wilted.
Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper if desired.
Top salad with grapes.





New KUOW show, now with extra kale
I’ve had a great relationship with our wonderful local NPR station, KUOW, and now I’m thrilled to be  contributing voice on their new show The Record.  I’ll be talking a bit about how to incorporate delicious healthy food into your life. This week we decided to be very on the nose: taking on the wildly popular green juice trend. On Tuesday, Marcie Sillman and Bond Huberman visited my home and we made the most of some local kale. Follow this link for video footage! (http://kuow.org/post/kale-its-not-just-salads-anymore) Inspired by a seriouseats.com recipe for a kale-inflected bloody mary, I made my own green combo, spiked with a hit of horseradish and hot sauce.  I’d love to know what other green juice combos you’ve discovered along the way.
Kaley Mary
Some kale juices compensate for its bitterness with lots of
sweet fruit  like pineapple. Here, inspired by a somewhat different juice on www.seriouseats.com, I added a bit of apple juice, but most of the flavors stay savory and salad-like, pointing the juice in the direction of a Bloody Mary.
6-8 leaves kale—Lacinato aka Tuscan or Dino kale preferred, washed
1 apple, cut into wedges (Honeycrisp is a nice choice)
2 medium carrots or parsnips, washed
3-4 sprigs of Italian parsley
½ lime, peeled
Prepared horseradish to taste
Crystal or other hot sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a juicer, juice kale, apple, carrots, and lime. Season to
taste with the horseradish, hot sauce and black pepper.

Serves 2
Where to Eat (right now) in Seattle and Portland

It’s always a treat to write dining-about pieces, which give me a peep into a city’s newer restaurants. This summer I published two such pieces: one, based in Seattle for Bon Appetit, and one, on Portland, for The New York Times Travel section. I’d love to hear if you have any other favorites new, or old from these two Pacific NW cities.
The picture above is from Bar Sajor, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, and it features two of the open faced sandwiches they serve at lunch there: one features exquisite dry aged ham, and the one on the right is topped with local albacore and late- season peaches: a brilliant combination.