Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

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Please take your computer screen–this may be tricky, if you have a laptop–and detach it from the base. Good. Now nail it to the wall with this post prominently featured because DANG, isn’t this salad that I made yesterday a work of art? I’m mighty proud of it. In fact, I’m so proud of it, maybe I don’t even want to tell you how I made it because then you may steal my thunder and tell people that YOU invented it, not me. Well, it’s not like I invented it, but you know what I mean. Ok, fine, you wore me down…here’s how this artful plate of food came into existence.

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How To Make A Summer Farmer’s Market Feast

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It’s August and you have no excuse: tomatoes and peaches are calling. Not the ones with little stickers on them at the supermarket, but the superior, positively bursting-with-summer ones you’ll find at your farmer’s market. “Ugh, but do I really have to go to a farmer’s market?” If that’s you, listen up: yes you do. And I’m going to walk you through it, tell you what to buy, in order to make an incredible Summer Farmer’s Market Feast for six. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

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Hey! What Do You Do With Kohlrabi?

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They look like the aliens in Toy Story, the ones that gaze up and worship The Claw; only those aliens are cute and kohlrabi, which I often see at the farmer’s market, is rather beguiling. What is it? What are you supposed to do with it? What does it taste like? Last week, I bought a few orbs and brought them home in order to finally unpack the mystery of kohlrabi.

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Sensational Summer Salads

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The farmer’s market can be an intimidating place, especially in summer when there’s just so much to choose from. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, buy a few peaches and tomatoes and leave quickly. Other times, I just buy everything in sight, a strategy that seems wasteful at first but which almost always pays off. When I come home with armfuls of bags and mountains of vegetables, I put them immediately to use and whatever I don’t use I pickle. It’s a win-win.

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A Summertime Farmer’s Market Feast (Green Goddess Heirloom Tomato Salad, Haddock Chowder & A Strawberry/Peach Shortcake)

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At the start of my cookbook, I have a list of the ten most important over-arching lessons I learned cooking with the best chefs in America. One of those lessons is: “Put ingredients on display.”

There’s an explanation of that in the book, and I’ll wait for you to read your copy before I spoil that here, but consider this post a corollary to that advice. As you can see, after going to the farmer’s market last Monday, I put my ingredients on display in my kitchen…and that inspired a rather extravagant feast for my visiting friends Kim and Ben the next night.

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How To Store Strawberries

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Strawberry season may be over in most parts of the country, but here in L.A. the strawberries are still bright red and fragrant and sweet as could be.

On Monday, last week, I brought home two cartons of strawberries from the farmer’s market that I planned to use for a shortcake the next night. The question was: “How do I store them so they don’t lose their fresh-from-the-market flavor?” The answer came via Twitter from my friend, the celebrated pastry chef Shuna Lydon.

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Farmer’s Market Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing

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It’s funny how, when a partner goes away on a trip, you start to cook things that you wouldn’t cook if they were there. For many people, that might be something really decadent (rib-eye for one, for example) but for me, lately, I move in the other direction: I go healthy.

Which is not to say that I don’t cook healthy when Craig is here (see: Craig’s Quinoa Conversion) but that it usually takes some convincing. So now that he’s in Seattle for the week, I decided to make a healthy dinner too healthy-sounding for him to accept. Turns out it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a long time.

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Chanterelle Risotto with White Truffle Salt

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Here’s a friendly tip: make yourself buy an exotic ingredient even if you’re not sure what you’re going to do with it.

For example, a few weeks ago I was at the Spice Station in Silverlake and I bought a little bag of white truffle salt. I bought it because after sniffing from the giant jar of it, I was like: “Whoah, that’s really potent and really smells like white truffles.” A small bag cost about $10 or so which is way less than you’d pay for an actual white truffle. And knowing that I had it, I kept my eyes open later that week at the farmer’s market for anything that might work well with it; which is how I ended up buying a bag of chanterelle mushrooms.

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