Can’t believe it’s the beginning of October! Here is what I am currently loving.
My mother is multi-talented. In addition to being a great chef, she is also a flamenco dancer, champion knitter, embroider, biker, and nia participant. In the kitchen, she is known to experiment, and loves to buy random kitchen gadgets to try different cooking techniques. She owns a dehydrator, a Vitamix (who doesn’t?), more pots and pans than imaginable, and…..an air fryer…..yes, an air fryer. What *is* an air fryer? An air fryer fries your food without the grease and fat. Last night, we opened it and made potato chips (seemed like an easy recipe to try without too many steps or ingredients!)
My mother is one of those people that always knows the bohemian cool, beautifully crafted, hip food products, way before anyone else. I am not saying she is a New Yorker fashionista (she is not), but she is very much in the know with all things West Coast cool and East Coast significant. When she visited us two weeks ago for Ken’s 40th birthday party, she gifted me a cookbook (she has more than 300 cookbooks at home — no joke) which is sooooooooo cool that I can’t stop reading it! Mark Bittman was a New York Times food columnist who created a book with a matrix of possibilities. It is unbelievable — everyone must have it for their kitchen! It also makes a perfect hostess gift for a friend. Take a look!
I love my friends, and I love my friends’ friends! So it is no surprise that I now have a crush on chef / author / food expert / culinary entrepreneur, Kenny Lao, who I met through a mutual good friend, Lynn. I had the opportunity to interview Kenny, and hear more about his book Hey There, Dumpling! Take a look.
A true sign of a friend is when you receive a gift that shows that they are listening (which believe it or not, people don’t tend to do these days) to your stories. Several months ago, I nauseatingly bored my bestie to death with the fact that I had recently cleaned out the kitchen of our Pound Ridge home, and had thrown out 3 garbage bags worth of spices from 1985. So last weekend, when we visited Pound Ridge, I was astonished to find a huge present from my friend containing SPICES. To anyone else, this might seem like a whoa, cool, gift. But to me, it was beyond thoughtful, considerate, generous, and heartfelt. My friend listened, heard, and responded. Amazing. And let me tell you, these are not just any spices, they are the KING OF SPICES. (I don’t usually get excited by spices, but let me tell you, these are above and beyond any other type of spice!)
Here is a sample meal from my mother. And yes, she is a creative genius in the kitchen — she rarely looks at recipes and constantly uses her imagination to combine the freshest ingredients she finds. The key is organic and fresh veggies!
Three essential (and colorful) kitchen tools: an oven mitt, a stool, and a lemon squeezer. Why not bring a little color and fun to your otherwise boring kitchen equipment?
Autumn = squash season. I love eating butternut squash soup for lunch or dinner. Incredibly satisfying, comforting, hearty, and healthy. All the right ingredients that are guaranteed to make you feel good.
* 1 large butternut squash
* 3 small onions or 1.5 large onions (yellow or white)
* 1 lb. kale
* 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 1 twig of ginger
* 4 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store bought)
* Salt and pepper to taste
Nothing says autumn more than Brussels sprouts (I always thought it was brussel sprouts without the third ‘s’ and not capitalized.. apparently not!) Incredibly nutritious, Brussels sprouts are full of vitamins and minerals, and have many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and aiding your digestive system. They are also delicious as a side dish, and leftovers are a perfect topping on a green salad the next day for lunch!
* 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* sea salt and pepper to taste
* Trim the ends of the sprouts, and then halve them. If using larger Brussels sprouts, cut them in fourths.