Eating In | Earth Day Veggie Broth

I’m admittedly obsessed with minimizing waste in the kitchen. It’s immensely satisfying to me on both environmental and culinary levels. My favorite two games in the world are: figuring out what to make with the week’s fridge remains and figuring out what to make with random grocery leftovers from shoots. Yes, I compost too. I just can’t see all of that possibly useful food waste and potential energy sitting in a landfill taking way too long to decompose. 

I understand that composting might feel too daunting or may not be an easy thing to do in your area. I mean, I totally want you to reconsider because I promise it’s not hard, but I get it. On this Earth Day 2017, perhaps you might consider an alternate method of veggie scrap reincarnation: save them up and transform them into a healthier broth than you’re buying in the store! It’s so easy, basically free, and you’ll be making more delicious risottos, soups, and sauces than you were before. Win-win-win.

I like to save my veggie scraps from the week in a gallon Ziplock bag in the fridge. Almost anything is fair game here and onions, carrots, and celery are a great base. I have often read that it’s not good to use cruciferous vegetables but I’ve found that a little bit is fine and not overpowering, especially if you have enough sweet things like carrot and sweet potato peels or bits. I love throwing in onion skins and beet peels, but just know that can affect the color. The most important thing is to make sure that the stalks, leaves, and ends that you are using are clean because you don’t want dirt in your broth!

Here’s a typical mix of what I’ll include along with the holy trinity mentioned above: bits and ends of leeks and ginger, fennel pieces and fronds, peels of sweet potato, garlic including the skin, mushroom stems (the best for depth of flavor!), carrot tops, spinach, kale, or chard that’s on its last legs, plus herbs like parsley and thyme, a bay leaf or two, and peppercorns. It’s always good to consider how you’re going to use the broth and whether you want to include things like fennel, garlic, and ginger which have such strong notes. You want to avoid anything moldy or rotten, obviously. If you think it’ll take you longer than a week to collect the scraps or make the stock, pop your storage bag or container in the freezer instead. 

The process is simple: wash off any dirt and roughly chop your veg. (You want about 4 cups of veg and that will yield about 2 quarts of broth.) Throw them in a big stockpot and cover them with water, but not so much that you can’t stir the pot. Add any herbs, bay leaf, or peppercorn. Bring to just under a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer on medium-low for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Strain and store, letting the broth cool completely before putting in the refrigerator or freezer. I don’t usually salt the broth until I know what sort of plans I have for it. Remember to mark the storage containers, especially if you’ve included something of note like ginger! The broth will keep in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for three months. You can also experiment with sautéing the onion, carrots, and celery before adding the rest of the veggies and water or by roasting all of the veg first too.

Eating In | Turmeric Tea

Spring is finally here and for a lot of us that means allergies and inflammation. If you're feeling me, look no further than this take on traditional golden milk by Monica Pierini. Turmeric is known for it's fantastic anti-inflammatory properties and it's such a treat paired with coconut milk! Happy sipping.

 Food styling by Monica Pierini, props courtesy of Prophaus

Food styling by Monica Pierini, props courtesy of Prophaus

Serves 1

1 cup dairy-free milk of choice (coconut milk is best) 

1-inch piece turmeric, peeled and sliced

black pepper 

agave 

Bring coconut milk to a simmer. Add turmeric and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour through a sieve and serve with a pinch of freshly ground pepper and agave, to taste. 

Make your own variation by adding additional spices such as cardamom, cinnamon or clove.

Eating In | Forbidden Bowl

This is the sort of meal I love because it fits my own shopping habits. Instead of requiring a complicated grocery trip unto itself, I can use pantry staples like grains, eggs, and yogurt that I tend to always have on hand, making it a perfect stress-free, healthful choice. This recipe is the brain-child of my friend Monica Pierini, who is a fabulous food stylist, and an easy go-to meal that uses a few simple ingredients to tremendously delicious effect.  

 Food styling by Monica Pierini, props courtesy of Prophaus

Food styling by Monica Pierini, props courtesy of Prophaus

Serves 2

1 cup forbidden rice

2 cups broth 

2 eggs

1/4 cup whole milk yogurt

1-inch piece turmeric, peeled and finely grated

salt and pepper

1/2 head radicchio or other chicory, torn into bite size pieces

4 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs such as chives, parsley, and mint

1 lemon, supremed

In a medium pot combine rice and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for 10 minutes. Flake with a fork and set aside. In a medium pot bring enough water to cover the eggs to a boil. Add eggs and simmer for 6 minutes. Peel and set aside. In a small bowl combine yogurt, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Serve turmeric yogurt topped with rice, radicchio, herbs, lemon and eggs. Serve with additional salt and pepper. 

Eating In | GF Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies with Hazelnuts

Every food person I know is obsessed with Tara O’Brady’s recipe for Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies. Their photogenic nature (roughly chopped chocolate and an adornment of flaky sea salt) is surely what drew me in and inspired me to play with creating a gluten-free version. And not that Tara’s recipe isn’t perfect as it is, but I wanted to go a bit beyond simply replacing the regular AP flour with a gluten-free one because, well, I like stuff in my cookies. So, I rearranged the flour measurements, used the King Arthur gluten-free mix (without gums) along with some oat flour, and added rolled oats and hazelnuts. My gluten-eating neighbors asked for the recipe, which I think is a good sign. Here it is:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies with Hazelnuts

makes about 28 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, chopped
2  1/2 cups gluten-free AP flour
1  1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1  1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1  1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1  1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces, semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
flaky salt, to finish

Preheat the oven to 360°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally. Make sure the butter does not sizzle or bubble which means it's losing moisture.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended. When things are still looking a bit floury, stir in the chocolate and hazelnuts until all of the ingredients are just combined.

Roll the dough into balls, about 3 tablespoons each, and arrange them on the prepared pans, leaving 3 inches between each cookie. (At this point you can refrigerate the dough, loosely covered, overnight.)

To bake, sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt and bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, 12-14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, the move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Raw Cashew and Cucumber Soup

Last fall I photographed The Soup Cleanse Cookbook, written by Nicole Centeno of Splendid Spoon. It was the perfect time of year for this project, with so many fruits and vegetables beautifully in season and so many colors and textures to inspire our photographs. The book doesn’t come out until the end of August (pre-order it here!) but Nicole has been sweet enough to let me share one of our favorite chilled soup recipes. Her Raw Cashew and Cucumber Soup is a great partner for summer—refreshing and full of vegetables and herbs currently bountiful at the farmer’s market. It’s a riff on Turkish cacik, is very simple to make, and is both dairy- and gluten-free.

 Food styling by Hadas Smirnoff, prop styling by Martha Bernabe

Food styling by Hadas Smirnoff, prop styling by Martha Bernabe

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups water, divided

1 cup quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained

4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 cup loosely packed and stripped fresh dill

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pinch of ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

PROCESS:

1. In a small pot over high heat, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the quinoa, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the scallions and garlic, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very soft and sweet.

3. In a countertop blender, combine the scallion mixture, cashews, cucumbers, dill, mint, vinegar, pepper, and salt. Puree until very smooth, slowly
adding the remaining 2 cups water as necessary to achieve a thin milkshake consistency. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

4. Gently mound a quarter of the quinoa into the bottom of each bowl and ladle the soup on top.

Cooking Solo | Cookbook

I've spent some time now with this cookbook: up late at night in bed, lounging on the couch, and dirtying it in the kitchen. And although I'm completely biased for having worked on it, I have to say that Cooking Solo, due out on March 8th from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is such a fun and useful book! 

Author Klancy Miller is funny and smart, and her recipes are considered yet very do-able. I think that she and I share a lot of sensibilities both in the kitchen and aesthetically, and I've really valued getting to work with her on this, her first cookbook. Check out some sample images below and go pick it up to see it in person. The design is fresh and clean, and it printed beautifully! Prop styling by Martha Bernabe, and food styling by Carrie Purcell.

Eating In | Winter Mezcal Cocktail

I've been making this cocktail a lot lately, given that winter is citrus season and given that I just really love mezcal. I thought I'd share it just in the nick of time for you to bust out the rosemary simple syrup, chill it, and mix these up for the Super Bowl tonight. They're totally going to show up your seven layer dip but trust me, you won't mind.

WINTER MEZCAL COCKTAIL
SERVES 12

2 cups mezcal
1 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 9 clementines)
1/2 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 cup rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)
2 cups seltzer
ice

Add first four ingredients to a pitcher, stir to combine. Top with seltzer and give a quick, light  stir. Pour into rocks glasses, over ice. Garnish with small rosemary sprig if you’re feeling fancy. (This recipe is in relative parts, so just change cup to jigger to decrease quantity.)

ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP
MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 rosemary sprigs

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and rosemary sprigs. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Bring heat back to medium and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the rosemary and refrigerate in an airtight container, chilling thoroughly. Will keep in fridge for at least two weeks.