Fresh and Clean :: Spring Cookbook Roundup

It's been quite sometime since I've last posted.  Amazing how quickly a few months can fly by.  Yes, I'd say I'm having fun - but working like mad at the same time to ensure that Nourish Kitchen + Table's launch is running on schedule (relatively) and is going smoothly.  And it is, so I hope you're getting excited!  Our doors will be open for business in a matter of weeks (aka earlyish June) and we'll have a whole new blog site with more frequent content ready to roll.  More on that to come.  In all the thrilling madness of the past few months, I've found some respite and inspiration retreating to a good cookbook read here and there.   Actually, I take that back -- a bunch of good cookbook reads, all hot off the presses.  And there quite a few stand-outs adorning bookshelves this spring.  They've managed to remind me why I made the potentially-crazy decision (aka best decision of my 30-some years thus far) to open Nourish KT.  Each book showcases fresh, wholesome food that's delicious, awe-inspiring, authentic and that brings people close to you around a table.  And with that...here's the roundup for this spring season (and btw, you'll be able to find these books on Nourish KT's shelves at Greenwich Ave soon enough).  Happy reading, and cooking!

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.  One could easily tag her as the 'Queen of veggies' as she's written countless books on vegetarian cooking and making vegetables shine at the table.  This book is filled with jaw-dropping recipes broken out by vegetable family (genius) like "the carrot family" or "the cabbage family" etc.  You'll have a whole new appreciation for what veg can do for you after reading this book.  A few recipes that got me excited...Beefsteak Tomatoes Baked with Feta and Marjoram; Chard Stems with Sesame-Yogurt Sauce and Black Sesame Seeds; Beulga Lentil Salad with Purslane and Green Coriander Buds.

 It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. So this book has been all over the press, for various reasons, but after reading it, I was instantly won over not only be the drop-dead gorgeous photos (thanks to acclaimed food photographer Ditte Isager), but also by the truly approachable and flavorful recipes, and by the book's overall take-home message: we simply need to be more conscious of what we're eating...and how food makes us feel which is essentially my personal viewpoint as well, and what I encourage others to consider.  A plain and pretty simple message, and a nice reminder to reevaulate what's on your plate, in your fridge and how you're shopping for it. The book gives you options...to eliminate certain things like gluten and dairy and sugar, or be conscious about their use.  I love the line, "We have mostly stayed away from dairy in this book (though if you put a ripe, runny, stinky cheese in front of us...watch out)."  In a lot ways, Gwyneth's book hits on how we should be eating the vast majority of the time - for energy (and for enjoyment) and to just feel downright good.  Just a few recipes to get your senses going...Roasted eggplant with tahini dressing, date molasses and mint. Grilled striped bass with cucumber and clementine salsa.  Five spice sweet potato muffins. 

The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Koo.  Anyone who knows me, learns fairly quickly of my slight obsession with Paris.  For obvious reasons...the incredible history you feel seep into your bones the second you step off the plane, the rich culture round every corner and tucked into every cobblestone, the fresh markets brimming with glittering food--even the simplest baguette and bowl of soup--that'll blow your mind, the lights, the romance, the teeniest of cafes, the joie de vivre in a city that can be so "grey"...I could  easily go on for days.  The Little Paris Kitchen brings the food and freshness of one of my favorite cities into my NYC kitchen.  Simple French classics translated to a modern kitchen.  A great read that'll keep you smiling...and dreaming of grabbing a passport, packing your bags and slowing life down just a little.

There are a few other new cookbooks that I've got my eye on...I Love New York by the acclaimed team behind Eleven Madison Park, The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia and Homemade by Irish culinary queen, Clodagh McKenna. No doubt these will provide some inspiration and a mini mental-vacation in the near future.


Five Spice Sweet Potato Muffins

Serves :: 12


from It's All Good

1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup good-quality maple syrup or xylitol, plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour (if the flour doesn’t include xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a paring knife or fork. Bake until soft (when a paring knife can cut through with zero resistance), about 1 hour. Set the sweet potato aside until it’s completely cool.

Peel the sweet potato, discard the skin and mash the flesh in a mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup or xylitol, and vanilla into the sweet potato. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups.

Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let the muffins cool before serving.

Photos via :: Amazon.com, Eater.com

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TAGS: spring, cookbooks, detox

posted: 04.26.13

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Cold Weather Comfort :: Rose, Meyer Lemon and Almond Yogurt Cake

Umm...if you asked me where the first few weeks of 2013 have gone, I'd probably look back at you with a massive blank stare.  Things always seem a bit crazier in January, running at warp speed, and this year's no exception.  I've been head down and hands full planning for Nourish Kitchen + Table's spring launch - from choosing paint colors and slabs of marble (exciting) to dealing with the city's lovely system of bureaucracy and red tape (not so exciting and semi-infuriating).  Things with the shop are indeed ramping up so stay tuned for developments.  That said, I'm still finding time to get into the kitchen and unwind with my trusty apron.  Now that Bon Appetit's famed Food Lover's Cleanse is over and done (at least until next year), I've dipped back into the bread basket...just a little.  Ok, so this recipe has more to do with quick breads and invokes a nice, "lower-gluten" balance of almond flour and all-purpose flour.  There must be something about me and January and quick breads/tea cakes because I think I had a crush on them this time last year.  Well, they're back and this one is pretty stellar not to be too boastful.  Given that January is officially citrus month, it was only fitting that lemon be a stand-out element in the recipe along with rosewater and almonds. Low-fat Greek yogurt pulls this pretty little lady together and nods to the yogurt cakes my mom used to make when we were little.  Light and lower in fat, they definitely didn't last very long in my house.  Here's to freezing cold weather and a good cuppa tea and a lil' slice to warm you up.

Rose, Meyer Lemon & Almond Yogurt Cake

Serves :: 8



1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
zest of 1 meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
7 ounces 2% greek yogurt (Fage)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tsp rosewater (Kalustyans.com or specialty stores)
1/4 cup edible dried rose petals (Kalustyans.com)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 tbsp rosewater simple syrup for drizzling over top



Preheat oven to 350F. 

Sift flours and whisk in baking powder and salt.  Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup and 1 tbsp sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time.  Add in lemon zest, yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts and rosewater.  Slowly incorporate flour mixture until well-blended.  Gently fold in dried rose petals.  

Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and line pan with parchment paper.  Pour batter into pan and top with almond slices and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick or tester comes out clean.  Drizzle with rosewater simple syrup if desired. 

*Rosewater Simple Syrup - simmer 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tsp rosewater until sugar dissolves completely.  Store remaining syrup up to 2 weeks.

TAGS: dessert, breakfast, lemon

posted: 01.28.13


January Reboot :: Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse 2013

Well, hello 2013, nice to get acquainted.  With the revelry (or debauchery) of NYE now behind us, timing is perfect for Bon Appetit's 3rd annual Food Lover's Cleanse.  Official start date is today(!) so get ready for a delicious two weeks and a good, hard reboot to kickstart the new year.  I teamed up again with Sara Dickerman and Kimberley Hasselbrink for a fortnight of gorgeous, refreshing recipes and simple strategies.  No deprivation, no gnawing hunger pangs, no gagging green juices (though they can be darn tasty at times).  We've even snuck in some chocolate, and a drink or two, so you won't go totally off the deep end.  Lots of fresh produce, satisfying whole grains/carbs, lean and lite proteins, all in the right portions.  It's that simple.  No drastic resolutions needed.  

Here's a smattering of my faves and here's to a phenomenal, damn delicious 2013! 

(above: Tunisian-Style Poached Eggs in Red Pepper Sauce and Chickpeas with Leeks, Spinach and Smoked Paprika)

Pomegranate Walnut Oatmeal

Black Cod with Sesame Chard, Olives and Lemon

Thai Green Curry with Sweet Potato, Green Beans, Chicken and Red Rice

Winter Citrus Salad

TAGS: cleanse, bon appetit, vegetables

posted: 01.02.13

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