I suppose now is as a good a time as any to let you know I am working on a second cookbook (!!!!). A number of the details are still to be worked out as far as official dates, tentative title, how it will all be laid out, etc. but it's in motion. I am excited to be working with Ten Speed Press again as well as Hugh, my trusted, however easy to argue with, photographer. It should be due out sometime in 2015. I think it's such a privledged that I am able to call this my job. This is so huge! We are proud of our first book, but also feel there was a learning curve that was only possible by being in it. With both feet in, we learned, and we know a few things on the other side that we will do differently this time around. One of those things, for myself, is to try to create food that is personal to me, to us, and not struggle in trying to please every readers taste preferences and dietary or health principles. My hope is that people will tinker around as they prefer. Sometimes there will be pasta with a bit of cream and other times there will be dairy free, gluten free items. Sometimes dietetic recipes and other dishes food for company. This is how my real life works - all real foods, a majority of the time very healthful and especially produce focused, with room for ice cream and a little indulgence in between. The book will be a collection of bowlfoods - dishes that are served in a single vessle, which speaks comfort, ease and community in the way I see cooking and food. There will be green salads, whole grain salads, rice and noodle bowls, a chapter with a few of my favorite sauces for said bowls and treats (ice cream!) of course. I have an inclination that if you relate to the way I cook and eat here, foods in a bowl make complete sense to you. I wanted a narrower focus, something authentic, and when I think about how food applies to my favorite parts of the everyday - it is family-style eating with friends and family, picnics, having sturdy salads that last a few days for Hugh and I to snack on in the fridge or take for work, salads of any and all sorts, really - I kept coming back to the humbleness of the bowl. The best creative work is the kind that is most meaningful to the artist. Cooking is no exception. Sure, it limits me in some ways, and the critic could argue one could eat a salad or berry trifle just as easily on a plate as they could in a bowl, but they'd be missing the intention. The bowl is a point of inspiration, not a rule and I am excited to work on this project. I am back in the throws of some ideas working out as planned and others still far from the mark after 3 or 4 tries. It is not a process for the weak of heart, but I've found myself here again, willing, excited and anxious, and I am grateful to have your support. Life, how I ended up here, it's still kind of crazy to me.
This recipe is from UK based chef Hugh Fearnley. He has a series of books and this is my favorite yet. Unlike American cookbooks, the recipes are more loosely written, leaving some responsibility to the cook and I love that. They don't give amounts for salt and pepper or an estimated time for each step. It's refreshing. We're not huge pasta people over here, but when I do make it, I only have success in small batches. The recipe is printed for two and it worked out great as such. I suppose it could be easily doubled if you're feeding more. Or maybe a side dish with a good piece of salmon. Lastly, against my sprouted nature, I have to say completely whole grain noodles are intense, almost two distracting here in their sturdiness. I like a good brown rice spaghetti or maybe a thinner one than the sort I have in the photos if you're going to use the grainy stuff. Anyway, I'd bet you know what you like as far as noodles go.
So, a book! Here we go, party people. Thanks for being great.
PASTA WITH FENNEL, ARUGULA + LEMON // Serves 2
Adapted from River Cottage VEG
It's simple and lovely as written, I only changed a couple things as mine was looking a tad dry (likely because of my uber sturdy noodles). Nothing is particularly fussy here, just be prepared to move quick, everything comes together in a snap.
- 1 large fennel bulb, fronds reserved
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ounces pasta (papparadelle, linguine, spaghetti etc.)
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche, to taste
- zest of one large lemon, juice reserved
- 3-4 good handfuls of arugula
- 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
- sea salt and pepper
- parmesan or hard goats cheese, to finish
Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil.
Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Remove the tough core and slice it into 1/4'' wedges. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the fennel, give it a stir and let it cook, undistrubed (that's how you get the nice brown bits) for 5 minutes. Give it a stir, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic, a pinch of salt and another splash of oil if the pan looks dry. Start cooking the pasta.
To the fennel, add the creme fraiche, lemon zest and stir to coat. Add the arugula and give it another toss.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the noodles to the creamy fennel pan and toss to coat, adding a pinch or two of salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon juice and pasta water as needed.
Serve each portion with a generous grate of the parmesan and a few fennel fronds.