cauliflower + parsnip soup

Around this time of year, I can think of no better way to spend a day than standing over a slowly simmering pot of soup. For me, it’s a way to unwind. I find calm in watching the steam rise in lazy curls from the pot, and of bowing my head over them to inhale deeply. Nothing is hurried, nothing sudden. There is no urgency, no pressure.

After a particularly demanding week in culinary school, I longed for this slowness in the kitchen, and set out to make a soup that would be as comforting to prepare as it would be to enjoy. A couple heads of cauliflower and a handful of parsnips promised a simple, yet warming combination of autumnal flavors. To that I added some thyme and bay leaves, which released their herbaceous and lively aromas as they simmered along with the vegetables. After cooking, I added a touch of heavy cream and sweet, roasted garlic for richness and depth.  All in all, a mere seven ingredients flavor this dish – each one working together with the next to complement and balance, yet also receiving the attention it deserves.

cauliflower + parsnip soup

Like all of the soups I love, this soup demands nothing. There are no elaborate cooking techniques, no unique ingredients – just a simple, wholesome combination of cauliflower, parsnips, and roasted garlic. The perfect dish to curl up with on a chilly fall day.



4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups chopped white onion (about 2 small onions)

2 heads cauliflower, greens removed

2 pounds of parsnips (about 4 medium-large), peeled and ends trimmed

3 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish

2 bay leaves

2 heads of garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a heavy-bottomed large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onions and sweat, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just beginning to brown on the edges, about 10 – 15 minutes.

While the onions cook, prepare the cauliflower and parsnips: remove the greens from the stems of the cauliflower and cut the stems into 1-inch sized chunks. Separate the heads into florets. Reserve 2 heaping cups of the florets and set aside. Add the rest of the cauliflower to a large bowl. Peel the parsnips and cut into 1-inch sized pieces. Add the parsnips to the bowl with the cauliflower.

Once the onions are translucent, add the parsnips and cauliflower and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes, until vegetables are just beginning to brown on the edges. Add 8 cups of water, the thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the garlic and roasted cauliflower garnish: Separate the reserved 2 heaping cups of florets into even smaller florets. Spread evenly in one layer on a sheet pan. Cut the garlic heads in half horizontally, keeping the peels on, and arrange next to the cauliflower. Drizzle everything with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast. After about 25 – 30 minutes, once cauliflower is browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Allow garlic to continue roasting for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until soft and browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once soup has simmered for 45 minutes and the vegetables are tender, remove from heat. Carefully remove the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme (the leaves will have fallen off by this point) and discard. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the peels into the soup, being careful not to get any peels into the pot. Working in batches, or with an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. If using a blender, transfer the soup back to the pot after its pureed to rewarm. 

Add the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning to taste (I added 3 teaspoons of salt and a few cracks of black pepper). If soup is too thick for your liking, you can add a bit of water at this point (though I didn’t need to).

Serve the soup in bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle roasted cauliflower florets and thyme leaves over the top as garnish.


yield: approximately 3 quarts of soup; serves 6

beet fettuccine with almonds + thyme

beet fettuccine with almonds + thyme

Making your own pasta is a simple process and if you’re willing to put in a little muscle, it does not require special equipment. The star of this recipe is really the pasta dough itself — what you serve it with is up to you. I garnished mine with the same beets that flavor and color the pasta dough, along with a drizzle of olive oil, almonds, thyme, and ricotta cheese. If you wanted to dress things up a bit, a white wine cream sauce would be lovely, as would a simple browned butter with sage. The options are endless.


for the pasta dough:

4 medium to large beets, greens removed and peeled [some will be reserved for garnish]

1 egg

2 egg yolks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting


for garnish:

extra virgin olive oil

fresh thyme leaves

flaked or coarse salt

sliced almonds, toasted

ricotta cheese

reserved beets from pasta dough

Cut the peeled beets into large chunks and add to a stock pot. Fill with enough water to cover the beets by 1/2 of an inch. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40-45 minutes. Remove beets and reserve the water for cooking the pasta later.

Reserve about half of the beets and set aside [these will be used for garnish when plating]. Place the other half in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, add 3/4 cup of the beet puree, egg, egg yolks, and olive oil to a medium bowl. Whisk gently until everything is completely combined.

Add the flour to a large work surface and form a mound. Make a well in the center, and carefully pour the beet and egg mixture into it (making sure it is completely surrounded by the flour). Using a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the wet mixture, starting with the inner edges and working outward, until a shaggy, sticky dough starts to form. At this point, knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes, until completely smooth, dusting your work surface lightly with flour if it sticks [be careful not to add too much flour, as it will make the dough too dry]. Once your dough is completely smooth, wrap it tightly in plastic and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.

Once rested, divide the dough in four equal parts. Working with one section of dough at a time on a floured, large work surface, roll out the dough until about 1/4-inch thick. Fold in half and repeat 2 more times. Lastly, roll the dough in a large rectangle until as thin as possible [about 2 – 3 millimeters thick]. Make sure to move the dough often while rolling to ensure it does not stick to the work surface, and make sure to keep all dough that is not being rolled covered to prevent it from drying out.  This whole process will take some muscle. Alternatively, if you have one, you can use a pasta roller to roll the dough in the same manner. Cut the rolled dough into strips, about 1/4-inch in width. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook to avoid them drying out. 

To cook the pasta: bring a large stockpot of water and the reserved beet water to a boil over high heat. Season with salt. Add the fettuccine strips and cook until just al dente [about 2 – 3 minutes]. Drain and toss immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

To plate: arrange the pasta on a plate and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, coarse salt, and toasted almonds. Serve each plate with a spoonful of ricotta cheese and the reserved cooked beets.

Yield: 1 1/2 pounds of dough

lima bean + beet salad

Life has been really busy lately. I have a few projects I’ve been working on [more on that soon], and school is demanding more and more of my energy. That being said, I feel like I’ve been a bit neglectful of this space, so I wanted to check in briefly.

I came across these lima beans during my weekly visit to the farmer’s market yesterday, still in their shells, and was immediately inspired by the prospect of a earthy, fall salad. It ended up working out beautifully, and so despite the simplicity, I wanted to share it with you.

The beans are sautéed over high heat in a cast iron skillet [after blanching], giving them a crisp exterior to their otherwise creamy, meaty interior. And, for some textural contrast, I made some beet chips, which add a bit of crunch and earthiness. Everything is tossed in a simple vinaigrette, meant to bring the flavors together, but definitely not to overshadow them. I think it would work beautifully served alongside something light for dinner, like a broiled salmon with lemon, although I just ate it by itself for lunch which was lovely as well.

I’m off to finish up some chores, and am looking forward a nice glass of wine and the new episode of Homeland tonight. Wishing you all a relaxing and peaceful Sunday evening.


lima bean + beet salad

Despite being vegetarian, this salad offers a heartiness that is perfect for crisp, fall temperatures. The lima beans impart a meaty texture, while the beet chips add a slight crunch for textural contrast. This dish would be delicious as a light lunch, or served along something light — like a broiled salmon — for dinner.

for the salad:

1 beet, peeled and green tops removed

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces shelled fresh lima beans

1 cup mixed greens

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

coarse salt, to taste


for the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the beet on a mandolin into 1/16-inch-thick medallions. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the olive and oil and season with salt to taste. Toss to combine. Arrange beet slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan, making sure to leave space in between each one. Transfer to the oven and bake, flipping chips halfway through, until crisp and golden on the edges, about 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Fill a stock pot or large sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the shelled lima beans and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for two minutes, drain, and shock beans in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron skillet. Add the blanched lima beans and season with salt. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from the heat and transfer beans to a serving bowl.

Next, make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the mixed greens to the bowl with the lima beans and drizzle over half of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. [Add additional vinaigrette if desired]. Garnish with the beet chips and the ricotta cheese.

Yield: serves 2

pear + raspberry frangipane tart

On the first day of culinary school our Chef gave us his first bit of advice: I want you all to forget everything you’ve ever learned about cooking. It sounded so strange at the time. Why would he want us to forget what we already know? Wouldn’t knowing something about cooking be beneficial to us? Wouldn’t familiarity in a kitchen help us in navigating culinary school?

Before school, I considered myself a good cook. I would prepare a meal without thinking, host dinner parties confidently. I even felt assured enough to write down my recipes and share them here. If I’ve done anything in the last month, I have proven myself wrong. It is humbling to go to school for something you thought you were good at, to convince yourself that you are not what you identified with most. Our chef’s comment reverberates in my mind, forget what you’ve learned, and it makes so much sense now. It’s easy to learn something new, to learn something that you’ve never been exposed to before. What’s hard is to learn something familiar — to unlearn what you already know. That takes perseverance.

Tarts were always my thing. I’ve made countless tarts in my life — I could make a pâte brisée in my sleep. On Friday, in school, we made tarts.  I’ve never felt so unsure of myself. As I felt my confidence fade, I reminded myself: The things that are hardest to learn are those that you know the most about. It’s an important lesson to remember: when you think you know all there is to know, you don’t. You can always learn more.

I’m here today with a tart I’ve been meaning to share for a week — a tart I’m still confident to share even after making a purely classic pear frangipane tart in class on Friday. The frangipane isn’t made with pastry cream, but it’s simple. The pears aren’t peeled or arranged in a traditional crossed pattern, but they look beautiful. And, unlike a classic pear frangipane tart, raspberries dot the surface of mine — for what I feel to be a much needed pop of color. It may not be perfect, but I’m learning. It may not be classic, but it’s delicious.

pear + raspberry frangipane tart

Pears and almonds are one of my favorite combinations, especially in a sweet tart. Because raspberries are in season, I added them for a nice pop of color and tartness, which works really nicely in contrast to the sweet filling. To soften them, the pears are poached before arranging. Once baked, they sink into the sweet frangipane, making for a deliciously soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.


for the tart dough


1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cubed

1 large egg, cold and lightly beaten


for the frangipane [adapted from Martha Stewart]:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 cup finely ground blanched almonds

1 tablespoon almond paste


for the fruit:

4 cups water

1 cup sugar

1/2 lemon

1 1/2 pounds pears [I used brown Asian or Kosui pears, which I think are especially delicious], cores and stems removed and cut into 1/2-inch slices or segments

1/3 cup raspberries


for the garnish:

1/2 cup heavy cream, cold

2 teaspoons sugar

First, prepare the tart dough: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the chilled, cubed butter and using your hands, work it into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in the beaten egg and mix until dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until chilled: at least 2 hours. 

Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes [it will crack when rolled out if it is too chilled]. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter [if it cracks, don’t worry too much about it — you can easily repair it in the tart pan by pressing additional pieces into any gaps]. Roll it around your rolling pin and unroll over a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to trim to the dough and use the extra pieces to fill in any gaps if the dough has cracked. Cover the pan and place back in the refrigerator. 

Next, prepare the frangipane: in a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, ground almonds, and almond paste and beat until smooth. Remove the prepared tart pan from the refrigerator and fill the dough with the frangipane, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the pears. 

To prepare the pears: in a stock pot or large sauce pan, add the water and sugar and stir to combine. Squeeze the juice from a half lemon into the sugar water and drop the rest of it into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and add the sliced pears. Simmer until pears are crisp-tender, about 15 minutes, and drain.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Remove the frangipane-filled tart from the refrigerator. Press the poached pear slices in two circles over the top of the frangipane, starting around the edge and ending in the middle. The pears should slightly overlap as they go around the circle. Sprinkle the raspberries over the top.

Transfer the tart to the preheated oven and bake until golden all over, about 40 – 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

Once ready to serve, whip the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Cut the tart into slices and serve topped with spoonfuls of whipped cream. 


makes one 10-inch tart