Celery Root Milanese
1 large celery root, peeled and thoroughly rinsed
¼ cup flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
Pinch each of paprika, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of chopped parsley
2 lemons, halved
1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a simmer, season with salt.
2. Slice the celery root into ½-inch thick rounds.
3. Cook celery root slices in the simmering water until tender. Remove and let cool.
4. Add the spices and pecorino to the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
5. Set out 3 bowls, each wide enough to fit the largest slice of celery root comfortably. Put the flour in one bowl, the egg in the second, and the breadcrumbs in the third.
6. Grab a slice of celery root and toss it in the flour to coat. Shake off excess, and toss it in the egg. Let excess drip off, and toss it in the breadcrumbs, pressing down to get it fully and evenly covered. Repeat with remaining slices.
7. In a frying pan, heat enough olive oil to fully cover the bottom of the pan. Working in batches if needed, pan fry he celery root slices until golden brown and crispy, remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
8. Serve with a lot of fresh parsley cast over the top, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
Coconut Spinach Pea Soup
1 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
1 bunch spinach
1 can coconut milk
1 cup cooked jasmine rice
2 cups shelled green peas (fresh or frozen)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sweat the onions in a little vegetable oil.
2. Add the curry paste and fry till aromatic.
3. Add the spinach, coconut milk, and rice, and simmer for 10 min.
4. Add the peas and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until peas are tender.
5. Blend until smooth.
6. Add water (if needed) to adjust the consistency.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
Crispy Baked Polenta with Herbs
1 cup polenta
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
Chopped fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, chives, parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Generously oil a 9 inch Pyrex or other non-stick pie tin with olive oil.
3. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the water and broth to a simmer. Pour in the polenta in a thin stream, whisking all the while. Stir continuously until polenta is smooth, thick, and bubbly.
4. Stir in the herbs, season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the polenta into the pie pan, tap the pie pan firmly on the counter to get an even layer, let cool for 5 minutes.
6. Brush olive oil over the surface of the polenta, and bake until golden brown and crispy on top and bottom.
7. Remove from the pan and cut into whatever shape you like.
This is adapted from Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe in Soul of a New Cuisine.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temp, plus 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup apricot jelly
1 cup milk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup evaporated milk
Whipped cream (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Beat together 1 cup of the sugar, egg, 1 Tbs butter, and jelly in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture.
4. Butter an 8-inch cake pan, set aside. Mix together the milk, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl, then fold into the egg mixture until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the buttered baking dish, and cover with lightly oiled foil.
5. Bake the pudding for about 30 min., until set. The cake will look spongy, with little holes dotting the top.
6. While the pudding is baking, combine the evaporated milk, the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter, and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
7. Pour the warm sauce slowly over the hot pudding and allow to stand for 10 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
5 cups (2.5 lbs.) butter, softened
3 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
5 tsp vanilla extract
7 ½ cups all-purpose flour
5 tsp baking soda
5 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
15 cups rolled oats
7 ½ cups raisins
5 cups walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture.
3. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.
4. At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slightly less thick.
5. The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in). Take them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.
Esalen Farm and Garden Ratatouille
This is a quintessential summertime meal. Here at Esalen, we are lucky to have an amazing farm and garden growing everything we need for this dish. You can achieve the same sense of place by going to your local farmers market, where many of the farmstands will have all of these ingredients, beautifully fresh and ripe, and harvested from one farm. Serve this with baked or soft polenta, and goat cheese or parmigiano-reggiano.
1 Zucchini, cut into ½ in. dice
1 Eggplant, cut into ½ in. dice
1 Green bell pepper, cut into ½ in. dice
1 Red bell pepper, cut into ½ in. dice
4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1 medium red onion, small diced
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 bunch basil
4 sprigs thyme
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Make a soffrito. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil, cook the onion until softened. Add the garlic, cook until fragrant. Add 2 cups chopped tomatoes, reduce heat to low, cook slowly until tomatoes have broken down and reduced and are almost dry. Remove to a bowl and reserve. Rinse and wipe the pan.
2. Cook the vegetables. In the small saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of oil, sauté the zucchini until golden in color and tender. Remove from pan and reserve. Repeat with eggplant and bell peppers, seasoning each veg. with salt and pepper.
3. Assemble the dish. Return all of the vegetables to the pan, add the soffrito, thyme, and the remaining 2 cups of tomatoes. Simmer everything together for 5 minutes, add the basil, drizzle on some more olive oil, and serve.
Summer Vegetarian Tacos
8 small corn tortillas
1 pint-sized container of Padron peppers
4 big squash blossoms
Handful of sliced button mushrooms
1 cup queso fresco cheese
2 limes, halved
High-quality sea salt
1. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute each of the ingredients separately, putting them on a warm plate as they’re finished. Season each with salt, and a few drops of lime juice.
2. Once your veggies are cooked, heat the tortillas in the same pan, put the veggies on top, crumble on the queso fresco, and serve with your favorite salsa or other accompaniments.