Andrea DeMaio, our marketing director, inherited this recipe from her maman, Phyllis. It really shines in the fall, especially when made with local apples, but Andrea’s family asks Phyllis to make it year-round, every time they gather together. And Andrea brings it to all our staff potlucks—everyone loves the unique curry vinaigrette, and the salad is vegan, so no one is ever left out.
Butternut squash and lentils are a perfect combo for a cool fall day. This recipe is comfort food all the way - it’s full of flavor and has a satisfying crunch. Lentils, pumpkin seeds, and butternut squash are great for the gut. All the spices in this dish boost our immunity, too.
This soup is a lovely soft yellow; it sings with the color of spring, and gently soothes.
When the idea for this popped into my head, I could almost taste it. It’s such a fine tumble of contrasting flavours and textures, and the sourness comes from the mango or the tamarind: you can never be sure of a mango until you taste it, so hold fire on finishing the dressing until you’ve tried the mango – add a little honey if it is unripe and sour; leave it alone if it is edging towards sweet. This is great with pea shoots in place of rocket [Ed. note: rocket is arugula], coriander rather than mint, a red onion instead of the shallot, and by all means cast pomegranate seeds over the top. Play with it as you like.
This soup has a decadent richness that skeptics of vegan cooking are often surprised by (tahini can pull a lot of weight!). It also comes together in about thirty minutes, making it a great option for weeknights. You’ll notice that I call for water rather than stock; in this recipe, it makes for a better liquid, as it keeps the flavors of the soup pure and aligned. Frizzled shallots make an excellent, if optional, garnish.
While working at Food & Wine magazine in my early twenties, some of the editors were raving about Hatch green chillies as we chatted, and, not wanting to seem like a total idiot, I nodded enthusiastically and then immediately went to search what these things were. They are, in fact, pretty awesome, and come from a town called Hatch in New Mexico, USA. You can add them to soups, stews, salsas or use as toppings for burgers or pizzas for a great depth of flavour. They range in heat level (and also offer a subtle sweetness to them), so buy whichever are better for your palate.
Pistachio Semolina Cake
Jessica Koslow of Sqirl, Silver Lake
Don’t let “smoky yogurt” make you think I’ve gone all cheffy on you. Yeah, in the restaurant the yogurt is actually smoked, but then I realized there’s some great-quality smoked sea salts out there that would also give you that effect (and you have to season the yogurt with salt anyway, so there you go). Liquid smoke also came up as a way to make this recipe more home cook–friendly, and though I dismissed it as a hack at first, I don’t believe the finest of palates could tell the difference between the real thing and the bottled thing. As for the crispy lentils, that idea came from Jonathon Sawyer, the amazing chef and wild man from Cleveland. He’s a total process guy, and every time I talk to him he’s got some technique he’s doing that’s really cool and delicious. He taught me that one way to get incredibly crispy lentils is to cook them until they’re tender, Cryovac them with a lot of olive oil and salt, and let them cure for a month before frying them. The final product is really good, but sorry, Johnny. Perry soaks them overnight and fries them in a skillet, and they’re just about as good. Perfect for all your crunchy-bit needs, or even on their own by the handful as a snack. So you got your yogurt, you got your roots, you got your chicories drizzled with dill vinaigrette, and then there’s the smoky yogurt and crispy lentils over the top. It’s a pretty solid deal.
Fermentation lies at the heart of Russian cuisine as one of the most ancient techniques of preparing food. As you will notice throughout this book, numerous recipes rely on sauerkrauts, kvass, or rassol (the fermentation liquid) for their distinct tangy flavor. This soup, which carries the name rassol in its very title, is the embodiment of such a tradition. While historically rassolnik is an old Russian dish, the go-to recipe in our family comes from Poland. Back in the 1970s, my mom took part in a school program that allowed Soviet kids to find pen pals in neighboring socialist countries. She hit the jackpot, since she was linked up with a boy in Poland (the most coveted country of all friendly socialist ones). After a few years of correspondence, my mom and her parents were invited—and most importantly permitted by the Soviet officials—to visit her pen pal. Along with a bag full of trendy garments, chewing gum, and fancy stationery, which made her the coolest teenager in school, she brought back this recipe for a good old Russian rassolnik, cooked by her Polish friend’s mom. The delicious soup always reminds me of the interwoven nature of the Soviet and Slavic histories and cuisines.
Sometimes I wish I could eat a roast bird and mashed potatoes and gravy for every meal. Most times, I just want somebody to pour gravy all over everything I eat. This chicken-stock gravy is pretty straightforward (just the pan drippings deglazed with chicken stock and thickened with cornstarch), but it’s spiked with a little soy sauce for extra umami and Dijon mustard to give it a little kick. And, oh yeah, alongside the gravy, there’s, like, a juicy roast chicken with an amazing bounty of citrus. There’s also a nontraditional but super delicious mashed sweet- and russet-potato dish with a ribbon of toasted nuts and seeds and fried shallots running through it. And there’s also a righteous green bean salad with a lemony yogurt sauce. And all of these are full of things that make you feel alive. Like gravy!