the first cookbook i ever owned, that was truly all mine, was mark bittman's how to cook everything, it was a present my mom and dad had given to me for christmas one year. i sat down the next morning with my purple sticky notes tagging all the recipes i wanted to make: basic pizza dough, roasted garlic soup, classic chocolate chip cookies, etc. i came across words like miso, and compote; and read about things i knew nothing about: pickling techniques, and the basics of pasta-making. but out of it all, the one recipe i practiced most was his basic scone recipe. i made them over and over again, sometimes with blueberries, sometimes plain, but they were my baking go-to, something i felt super confident about. i worked up enough confidence in my scone skills that over time i replaced the buttermilk with sour cream, and then ricotta a time or two. i also researched the best way to cut the into the flour while still keeping it cold (turns out quickly grating butter on a cheese grater worked best for me!).
i'm sure we've all had (or have) that one recipe in our back pocket that makes us feel really accomplished or fancy, but the thought of veering away from what's comfortable into an unknown realm is packed with worry (maybe cooking is a metaphor for life?!). so when i read julia turshen's intro in her new, and totally beautiful cookbook, small victories, i knew i was at home. her thought behind each recipe is that if you only have 2 recipes in your repertoire, then guess what, in all actuality you know how to make about 200 things. every recipe in the book comes with ingenious spin-offs, giving us a few different takes on the recipe and turning 1 small victory into a few. it's an encouraging way to cook from a book that motivates rather than overwhelms. similar to bittman's book, small victories reassures you that it's ok to try new flavors, various techniques, and different flavors in a series of inspiring but relaxed recipes, that feels like julia is cheering and comforting you from the sidelines.
but more importantly, julia is teaming up with Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry to raise awareness for childhood hunger and help to make healthy food more accessible to children across the country. to learn more about the campaign or to donate click here.
here's to small victories in and out of the kitchen! xo
shaved carrot & avocado salad w/ tahini
recipe from Small Victories by Julia Turshen. reprinted with permission.
| serves 4 |
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt
- 3/4 lb (340 g) carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal into coins
- 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 scallions, roots and dark green tops trimmed off, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- in a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, boiling water, olive oil, and lemon juice. season to taste with salt. put the carrots in a large bowl, add half of the dressing, and toss to combine.
- transfer the dressed carrots to a serving platter. use a spoon to artfully scoop the avocado from its shell into pieces and place them over the carrots. season the avocado pieces to taste with salt and then drizzle the salad with the remaining dressing. scatter the salad with the sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro (if using). serve immediately.
note: if your sesame seeds aren't already toasted, put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until they're golden brown, about 4 minutes
toss shaved fennel, thinly sliced kumquats, and sliced scallions with kumquat and/or lemon juice and olive oil. garnish with fennel fronds, toasted marcona almonds, and lots of shaved parmesan.
dress shaved celery, toasted walnuts, and chopped italian parsley with lemon juice and olive oil.
dress shaved cabbage with sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil.
dress shaved green apples with fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar. stir in salty peanuts and thinly sliced fresh red chile.