Romanesco & Romesco


Romesco sauce may be my most favorite sauce ever. If you love roasted red peppers you will love it too! It works with tofu, on crostini, or as a dipping sauce for this gorgeous Romanesco cauliflower which is just coming back into season.

Romesco is a sauce from Spain that is made from roasted red peppers and almonds. Super easy to make; only a few ingredients in the processor. Don’t tell me this sounds difficult to make like my Aunt just did when I told her I was having it for lunch. It’s only a few ingredients! Make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Then heat it up.

Romanesco is a sort of broccoli/cauliflower combo. It is has little light green cone shaped florets that easily cut apart. It has a crunchier texture than cauliflower and a sort of nutty flavor.

So these two together equal deliciousness for a side or snack.

Romanesco Cauliflower
1 head of romanesco
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Salt, a pinch

Cut the romanesco into florets and cut any really big ones in half. Toss with oil and salt. Turn out onto a baking sheet, cut side down for the bigger pieces, and roast at 425 until browning on the edges and bottom, anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven.

Romesco Sauce (makes about 1 cup)
3 roasted red peppers
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste

Toss the garlic and almonds into the food processor and pulse until finely ground. The finer the almonds, the smoother the sauce. I like a little texture myself. 

Add the peppers, paprika, sherry vinegar and pulse a few times. Add the olive oil and salt and process until combined. Taste and adjust spices.

Serve and enjoy!


Red Quinoa with Chickpeas, Toasted Almonds & Cranberries


There are infinite ways to jazz up quinoa. For this salad, I mixed toasted slivered almonds for crunch and cranberries for sweetness with red quinoa. Regular white quinoa or tricolor would work too!

2 cups cooked red quinoa
1 cup cooked chickpeas (soaked overnight and cooked)
1/2 cup toasted slivered amonds
1/2 cup cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx 1/2 lemon)
S and P

Cook the quinoa. Make the chickpeas. Toast the almonds in a 350 oven for 10 minutes. Mix everything together and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy!

Vegetable Chips: Parsnips


I love roasting vegetables. Cut them in any shape for any meal but for a snack, cut them into thin rounds. Today, I picked up some parsnips at the farmer’s market in Union Square. So, today, parsnips! Tomorrow, carrots, zucchini, or potatoes.

Parsnips (or other vegetable)
Olive oil
S and P

Preheat oven to 375. Peel parsnips and slice into thin rounds. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn out onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until nicely browned. They will be a little uneven due to size but that makes them fun to eat. Take them out and sprinkle with salt. Eat immediately or save for the next day (still good!) Enjoy!

Warm Beluga Lentil, Green Pea & Shallot Salad


I had a lot of leftover Beluga lentils from our caviar party on Sunday. One cup of dried lentils makes almost three cups cooked! So I came up with salad. I think the peas are the perfect compliment to the little tiny lentils.

1 1/2 cups cooked Beluga lentils
6 small shallots
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
Olive oil
S and P, to taste
The juice of 1/2 a lemon

Cook the lentils until al dente. Cover and set aside.

Thinly slice the shallots. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook until soft and fragrant. Season with salt.

Let the peas defrost. Add the lentils and peas to the shallots and toss. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust. Enjoy!

Beluga Lentil Caviar with Candle 79’s Creme Fraiche



This is one of the best things I make! I love that the name of these lentils is Beluga and so I created this “caviar” dish with the standard sides: toasts, chopped red onions, capers, and creme fraiche.

Beluga lentils, cooked
Red onion, minced
Creme fraiche

Cook the lentils. Brush the bread with olive oil and place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes. Mince the onions, drain the capers.

The creme fraiche is made from 1 cup raw cashews, 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons water and pinch salt.

To serve, set up each ingredient in it’s own bowl/plate so everyone can create their own masterpiece. Enjoy!