Maple Roasted Nuts

by Caroline

Lots of people make some version of a sweet or spicy roasted nut during the holidays; this is what Tony makes every year. We give bags to all our teachers and then snack on them all season long.

1 pound nuts
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the nuts. Add the nuts and toss until well coated. Pour into a large roasting pan and spread into a single layer. Bake for 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and filling the kitchen with a delicious maple scent. Let cool in the pan, so that the glaze hardens into a crispy shell on the nuts, before serving or storing.

Roasted Chickpeas

by Caroline

Where was I during the Great Roasted Chickpea Craze of 2010? Google the phrase and you’ll find that apparently everyone was making them, or eating them, except me. But though I’m late to the party, I am happy to be here, because this is a delicious and easy snack.

There seem to be two schools of thought about roasting chickpeas: you can dry roast them and then toss them with an herb or spice-infused oil, or you can roast them in a drizzle of oil with your flavorings. I looked through lots of recipes online and then came back to my bookshelf and used Mark Bittman’s recipe from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, which I have (of course) adapted a bit myself.

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained until as dry as possible
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper
zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 400.

Put the oil in an ovenproof skillet big enough to hold all the chickpeas in a single layer, and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the chickpeas and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shake the pan to coat the chickpeas well.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, shaking the pan periodically, until the chickpeas begin to brown (15-20 minutes). Take out of the oven and sprinkle with the lemon zest and smoked paprika. Cool slightly and serve.

Homemade Ramen Noodles

by Caroline

At some point this summer, I picked up the inaugural issue of David Chang’s new food magazine, Lucky Peach, and then, overwhelmed by work on this book, I let it drop to the bottom of my reading pile. Because this is not the kind of food magazine you flip through, tearing out recipes, and then toss in the recycling; it’s a reading magazine, and I was doing enough reading about food — in the amazing essays by our contributors — that I really couldn’t handle any more.

But this weekend (having submitted the manuscript; hurray!), I pulled it out and read it. I read the journal of David Chang and Peter Meehan’s trip to Japan, I read the story about the New Yorker, Ivan Orkin, who’s opened a ramen shop in Tokyo, I read about the invention of instant ramen and I studied the map of regional ramens. I read Ruth Reichl’s instant ramen taste test (she spent $80 on ramen noodles, so you know it’s thorough) and laughed at the recipes, like Instant Ramen Cacio e Pepe, which reminded me of the Instant Ramen Stroganoff or the Instant Ramen Primavera my college housemate and I used to make. And finally I read Harold McGee’s fascinating piece on alkalinity and alkaline noodles and I learned what gives ramen noodles that slippery feel in your mouth: alkaline! And I discovered that it’s really not too hard to make homemade ramen noodles. So I did.

I probably wouldn’t have been so drawn to the recipe if I weren’t living with a couple of young scientists who are fascinated by the chemistry of food and cooking, and who had just recently asked me why acids get so much more play in the kitchen than alkalines. I won’t go into the science of it all here — just go find a copy of Lucky Peach and read Harold McGee’s piece — but any recipe where you start by baking a pan of baking soda is kind of fascinating, don’t you think? After that, though, it’s not so different from making pasta:

rolling out noodles

mise en place



Fall Fruits & Cucumber Salad

by Caroline

It’s not that often my kids come to the farmer’s market with me anymore. Our neighborhood market is Sunday morning, and it’s easier if I stock up in an early strike mission on my way home from a run, before the boys are even out of their pj’s. But we all went together recently, in combination with a stroll through the local block party, and Ben noticed the information booth stocked with recipes. He grabbed one for pumpkin pie (which I have promised to make for Thanksgiving), and then also this salad recipe. It was ages before we had all the right ingredients, ripe and ready at the same time; first we had the apples and dill but unripe pears, and by the time the pears were ripe the dill was gone and we didn’t have a cucumber. But finally, today, we had a proper alignment of produce and Ben and I shared this for lunch. It’s sweet and crunchy and delicious.

for the dressing:
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons chopped dill
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of brown sugar

Whisk together in a small bowl and set aside.

Core and slice, leaving the peel on for color and flavor:
Two crunchy tart apples
One ripe pear
One small seedless cucumber

Toss with the dressing and serve.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chard, Chickpeas and Dukkah

by Caroline

Chard and cauliflower are two of my family’s favorite winter vegetables, but I’d never thought to combine them in one dish, nor to add chickpeas to make it a really hearty vegetarian dish (this would be a great way to keep your favorite vegetarians and vegans happy at Thanksgiving). Plus the dukkah is my son, Ben’s, new favorite thing: he is dipping carrots and cucumber sticks into it, sprinkling it on noodles, and eating it by the spoonful when he can. I can’t blame him — it’s a fabulous discovery for us.


1 large cauliflower (2 3/4 lbs.), cored and cut into florets about 1 1/2 in. wide
3/4 pound whole shallots, peeled and cut in half if large
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 pound Swiss chard, stems and ribs sliced and leaves chopped separately
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
About 1/2 cup Dukkah (recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a roasting pan, toss cauliflower and shallots with 3 tbsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 20 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, toss to coat, and roast until vegetables are very tender, 7 to 10 minutes more.
2. Stir in chard leaves, chickpeas, dukkah, and remaining 2 tbsp. oil. Roast until chard is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Stir; season to taste with more salt and dukkah.

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


1. Toast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium-low heat until a shade darker, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool.
2. Whirl spices, salt, pepper, and thyme in a food processor until fairly finely ground.
3. Add hazelnuts and sesame seeds and pulse until coarsely ground.