"Many top chefs have discovered some surprisingly tasty ways to keep the pounds at bay. [Their] tantalizing suggestions [are] put forth in Smart Chefs Stay Slim, a new book detailing the eating strategies of today’s culinary superstars." -- OPRAH.COM

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Entries in winter (2)


Recipes for Friends: Kimchi-Tofu Stew with Greens

photo by Allison Adato c. 2015Made this last night, and had requests from a few friends for the recipe after I posted a pic on Instagram. Among them was the friend who hates to cook, and who started the new year in a new home with her sons, one of whom has been since the age of 5 a philosophical vegetarian. And the friend who has been eating hospital cafeteria food in Iowa for the last month, while she waits for her beautiful twin baby boys to get hearty enough to venture back to the East Coast. I made it just because it was a rainy night and my husband needed the dregs of a cold kicked out of his system. I think it would be good for any of these situation

I adapted the recipe from Bon Appetit, adding more vegetables and taking down the spice a bit (though you could certainly bring it back up).


serves 4, with some leftovers for breakfast.



kosher salt

1 16-oz package soft or silken tofu, cubed

1 tablespoon oil (canola or other vegetable oil)

1 16-oz jar of cabbage kimchi

1 tablespoon (more or less, to taste; fine to omit) Korean hot pepper paste

1 cup shredded napa cabbage

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

6 scallions, cut to 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup delicate greens (spinach, baby bok choy leaves, komatsuna, whatever), chopped

toasted sesame oil

toasted sesame seeds

ground pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, drop in the tofu cubes, bring back up to boil for 4-5 minutes, until cubes are puffed up.  Drain and keep tofu in a bowl.

2. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the drained kimchi and the fresh cabbage (and the pepper paste, if using). Sauté, stirring frequently just until the vegetables start to brown, but don't let them get dark.

3. Add kimchi liquid and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until kimchi cabbage is translucent.

4. Add the soy sauce, the tofu cubes, and most of the scallions (hold back some for garnishing the bowls), and simmer for about 20 minutes, until tofu takes on flavor of the stew. Stir in the greens just so they melt into the broth.

5. Serve in bowls with a shake of sesame seeds, a small drizzle of sesame oil, a grind of pepper and a few scallions.



Last Gasp of Winter (I hope) Menu

Italian plum and port wine tart Really? Snow less than a week before Spring? Okay, one more warming soup, this one for company.

This is a great, pretty quick vegan soup from Mario Batali that first appeared in Food & Wine. To make the meal we put out slices of a crusty baguette, two cheeses (sottocenere and an asiago fresca), olives, apple slices and Italian dry salami, as well as an herby salad with a walnut oil and lemon dressing.  And an Italian plum tart with port wine for dessert.


Yes, burning a candle near your cutting board keeps the onions from making you cry! (h/t to America's Test Kitchen)MIXED VEGETABLE AND FARRO SOUP

  1. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  3. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  5. 1 cup farro or wheat berries
  6. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  7. 2 quarts water
  8. One 15-ounce can borlotti or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  9. 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  10. 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  12. 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
  1. In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 5 minutes.
  2. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated and shiny, 30 seconds.
  3. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat until the carrots are tender, 30 minutes.
  5. Add the peas, cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, top with the basil and serve.

The tart had a basic pie crust dough (from Martha Stewart) pressed into the pan and the filling of plums, sugar and cinnamon was similar to the roasted fruit recipe in Smart Chefs (with the addition of corn starch to thicken), and a reduction of port wine with sugar and molasses.