Archives for category: Guest blogger

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Happy Monday! I’m very pleased to introduce Lauren Salkeld, guest blogger for this week’s post. As a senior editor at Epicurious.com, Lauren develops, tests, and edits recipes, and writes about various cooking techniques, from making homemade marshmallows to deep-frying a turkey. You can follow her on Instagram (laurensalkeld79) and Twitter (@laurensalkeld). I’m thrilled she’s contributed this delicious yet easy-to-make recipe, combining some of my favorite ingredients. 

This farro and kale salad came about when I was creating a menu for a friend’s baby shower. I love grain salads because they can be made in advance—some even taste better on the second day—and can be served at room temperature, which are two really important things when you’re the only person cooking for a party, which for me is often the case.

Grain salads are also really flexible, so you can add in whatever ingredients you picked up at the farmers’ market, or the ones you happen to be really into at the moment. I’ve developed a bit of formula for mine, which goes something like this: grain + green + veggie or fruit + cheese + nut or seed. And I typically add some kind of homemade pesto or a shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing like the one used here. This version is great as leftovers, and I bring it to work for lunch all the time, but you may want to leave the crispy shallots and walnuts on the side until you’re ready to eat, because otherwise they can get a little soggy.

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Farro and Kale Salad with Roasted Grapes, Crispy Shallots, and Ricotta Salata

Makes 4 servings

1 ½ cups red seedless grapes
6 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked farro, at room temperature
About 5 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta
½ cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a baking dish, combine the grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until slightly shriveled, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Peel the shallot and slice it crosswise into rounds. Remove the first 2 or 3 large outer rings of each round and set them aside. Mince the rest of the shallot (the smaller inner rings).

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the minced shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Once cool, add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl, add the lemon juice-shallot-olive oil mixture and use your hands to massage it into the kale.

Place the flour in a small bowl. Add the reserved shallot rings and toss to coat the shallot rings in flour. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, shake any excess flour off the shallot rings then fry them in the hot oil, flipping once, until just crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer as fried to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Fluff the farro with a fork then add it, along with the grapes and ricotta salata or feta, to the kale and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the salad with the crispy shallots and toasted walnuts, if using, and serve.


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This is the first in a series of guest blog posts. This week I’m delighted to introduce Jill Ulicneya Brooklyn-based photographer and food lover. You can find her latest photos and drawings at jillieu.tumblr.com and at Instagram via @jillieu.

There used to be a wonderful Italian cafe on Bleecker Street named Scali, which I would frequent for its incredible vegetarian pasta e fagioli soup. Six dollars would get me a generous serving of steaming hearty tomato, white bean, and pasta goodness along with a crusty piece of bread. Since they closed in 2012, I haven’t found a better lunch deal nor have I found a pasta e fagioli that compares to theirs.

Now that winter is here in New York, I’ve been dreaming about a reunion with this soup. After researching, I found countless methods for pasta e fagioli, but nothing that sounded quite like Scali’s version. This is my attempt to recreate my old favorite.

Note: many recipes suggest cooking the pasta in the soup. I chose to cook it separately because I didn’t want the pasta to absorb too much liquid since I prefer a brothy soup.

Pasta e Fagioli

40 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 medium carrot chopped
1 small rib of celery chopped
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried Italian parsley
5 fresh basil leaves torn
1 15-ounce can of white beans
12 ounces small pasta, like malloreddus or ditalini
Parmesan (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Soup Directions

Heat a large pot with two tablespoons olive oil.
Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bay leaf to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for five minutes on medium heat or until onion is tender.
Add canned tomatoes (do not drain), vegetable stock, red pepper flakes and dried parsley and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaf (do not discard) and use immersion blender to blend ingredients to preferred smoothness.
Return bay leaf back to the mixture and add basil leaves and white beans.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pasta Directions

Fill a medium pot with water and set to high heat.
When the water begins to boil, “salt it like the sea” as my pasta nerd friend says.
Add the pasta and cook until pasta reaches preferred state
Drain the pasta.

To serve, place pasta in individual bowls and ladle the soup on top.
Grate some fresh parmesan over the soup and enjoy!

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