citrus with rose water, mint and lime

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

Hello from Oaxaca!

I’m currently sitting in the courtyard of our tiny hotel, surrounded by a small jungle of flowering plants. I’m here for a photography workshop with Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers, two supremely talented photographers whose work is a continual source of inspiration for me. I can hardly believe I managed to snag a spot. (I might need to pinch myself in a minute.)

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

I’ve been here for two days, shaking off my jet lag, soaking up the ample sunshine and exploring a bit before the workshop starts. 

Oaxaca is a buzzing, bright, welcoming city. The streets are full of life. As far as I can tell, everything of interest happens in the street: buying, selling, gossiping, yelling, singing, working, flirting. Oaxaca feels like Seattle’s polar opposite; it is warm, sunny, loud, colorful, gregarious. 

Already, I love it here.

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

For the next nine days, we’ll be rising with the sun to visit markets, artist studios, restaurant kitchens, gardens and farms. There will be lessons on the technical aspects of photography, how to shape shadow and light, and the subtle art of asking a stranger if you can take their portrait. There will be mole and handmade tortillas and mezcal and even a traditional goat roast. 

It’s going to be amazing. And intense. I don’t anticipate I’ll have very much down time while I’m here. Which is why I wanted to drop in with a quick post before it all begins. 

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

Citrus season has arrived, so this week I have a recipe for Citrus with Rose Water, Mint and Lime. The recipe is adapted from Diana Henry’s excellent A Change of Appetite and it feels like the perfect thing to post while I’m in a city brimming with every manner of tropical fruit you can imagine. 

Here’s the gist: get some ripe, fragrant citrus. Add any other tropical fruit that strikes your fancy. Whip up a light, floral syrup. Pour the syrup over the fruit and you’ve got a dessert guaranteed to brighten up grey winter days. (If I were you, I’d make a double batch of the syrup. It’s stellar shaken or stirred into a cocktail. It’s especially magical with a floral gin like Hendrick’s or Aviation.)

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

The other workshop guests are trickling in as I type, so I'd better sign off for now. But I’ll be back soon to share my Oaxacan discoveries with you!

xo,

Olaiya

P.S. To embark on your own creative voyage, join Yossy Arefi and I in Paris this May for 4 days of food, photography and exploration! There are just a few spots left. Click here for details and registration.


Citrus with Rose Water, Mint and Lime

  • 6 oz. granulated sugar
  • 3-4 wide strips of lime zest cut with a vegetable peeler
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 small bunch mint, plus small sprigs of mint to serve
  • 1/4 to 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
  • 2 large cara cara oranges, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
  • 1 large navel orange orange, peeled and cut into rounds or supremes
  • Small handful kumquats, thinly sliced
  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted and cut into large pieces
  • Fresh or dried rose petals, to serve (optional)

*Note: I used Nielsen-Massey rose water, which is quite strong. If you are using a more delicate brand, you might need to use a little more. Always add rose water in very small amounts drops are good because once you add too much, your whole dish will taste like soap. And we don’t want that.

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water and the lime zest. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for four minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and mint. Set aside to cool. 

When the syrup has cooled add the rose water and strain out the mint sprigs.

Put all the fruit in a large bowl and pour the syrup over it. Place in the refrigerator to chill. When cold, use a slotted spoon to transfer some of the fruit to individual serving bowls. Top with a few tablespoons of the syrup and garnish with fresh mint and rose petals before serving.

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water and the lime zest. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for four minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and mint. Set aside to cool. 

When the syrup has cooled add the rose water.  Strain out the mint leaves.

Put all the fruit into a large bowl and pour the syrup over it. Place in the refrigerator to chill. When cold, use a slotted spoon to transfer some of the fruit to individual serving bowls. Top with a few tablespoons of the syrup and garnish with fresh mint and rose petals before serving.

Recipe adapted from A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry.

Citrus with rosewater, mint and lime on millys-kitchen.com

on nourishing yourself + lemony parsnip and white bean soup

lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com

Hello, beautiful people!

I’m back home in Seattle after our trip to Paris and Brussels and feeling super excited for the new year! I always forget how much good it does me to step out of my day-to-day routine and how travel energizes me like nothing else. There was a piece of me that didn't want to leave town before our trip. I could imagine nothing better than spending the holidays catching up on sleep and work. What the eff was I thinking?!? 

lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com
lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com
lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com

This trip was one of the best ever. I feel like I might say that after every trip, but somehow it’s always true. I walked all over the city. I ate amazing food. I got enough sleep for the first time in ages. I connected with some awesome people doing very cool things. I am starting 2017 feeling full of creativity and inspired to bring new projects to life! (Want to come with me to Paris next time? Click here.)

The benefits of our trip have carried over into my routine back in Seattle as well. December was pretty disastrous in the self-care department. But since I’ve been home, I’ve been eating better, going to sleep at a reasonable hour and exercising again. All of which makes me realize how important nourishing myself physically and emotionally is for creativity. 

lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com

Before I dragged my ass onto our flight to Paris, I was interested in precisely nothing. I was feeling seriously burnt out and uninspired. Photography: don’t care. Writing: nope. Cooking: hardly. I had slid into old habits of pushing myself to the edge of my mental and physical limits with work, shitty food and a sleep deficit no amount of coffee could compensate for. 

Now that I’m home and feeling excited to create again, I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself (and maybe to you, too) that when we stop taking care of ourselves, everything else falls out of whack.

lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com

In 2017, I aim to nourish myself with good food, sleep, connection and travel. One way I keep myself eating well is to fix a big pot of soup for the week. This Lemony Parsnip and White Bean Soup is one of my favorites. It’s got all the good stuff: kale, beans, garlic, olive oil. Simple, hearty and comforting, it’s perfect for staving off the winter blues or a nasty cold. As part of my intention to stay healthier, happier and saner in 2017, I’ll be cooking up a pot (or two or three) of this warming soup in the new year.

xo,

Olaiya

P.S. I’d love to hear back in the comments how you’ll be taking care of yourself in 2017. And for those of you looking to spark your creativity through a retreat in Paris next year, click here!


Lemony Parsnip and White Bean Soup

  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional to serve
  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or bean cooking liquid (if you cooked your own beans)
  • 1 bunch kale (I like lacinato), stems removed and torn into 2-inch pieces
  • A nice hunk of parmesan rind (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (preferably homemade)
  • Grated parmesan (optional), to serve

*Notes: You can leave out the parmesan for a vegan soup. 

- When I have time, I like to cook this soup a little longer to let the lemon peels soften and then serve the soup with the peels left in. When cooked long enough, they're almost like preserved lemons.

- For a heartier meal, I sometimes serve this soup with pasta in it. I like conchighlie, trofie, gemeli and orecchiete in particular, but any bite-sized pasta will do. In order to keep the pasta from getting soggy in the soup, I always cook it separately until al dente, then place it in the individual bowls and top it with hot soup just before serving. I think this soup would also be lovely served with a grain like farro or barley.

- For a non-vegetarian version, shredding some cooked chicken into the soup is delicious.

lemony parsnip and white beans soup on millys-kitchen.com

Use a peeler to cut 4 1-inch-wide by 3-inch-long strips of zest from the lemon. Once the zest is removed, juice the lemon. Set the juice and zest aside.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is translucent and soft, but not browned, 5-8 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, bay and lemon zest and saute for another 4-5 minutes, until the parsnips begin to soften.

Add the stock, kale, parmesan rind and beans to the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the kale and parsnips are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice to taste and season the soup with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

To serve, remove the parmesan rind, strips of lemon zest and bay leaf from the pot. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the soup and sprinkle with parmesan (if using) and some more black pepper. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Inspired by this recipe by Heather over at Flourishing Foodie.

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto, pears and celery root

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com

Hello from Paris!

I hope you had a beautiful Christmas. I was a bit under the weather/jet-lagged, so Beau and I had a pretty mellow holiday: a walk over to Notre Dame to hear the Christmas bells toll, a leisurely stroll through the Luxembourg gardens with a stop for coffee at the Café de Flore. A seafood extravaganza for two and early to bed. We didn’t even pop the bottle of champagne we bought!

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com
Salt-Roasted Beef with Lemon-Hazelnut Pesto, Pears and Celery Root

But I’m planning to make up for our rather subdued Christmas celebration in a few days. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better place to ring in the new year than the city of light. Beau and I have a table booked at one of our favorite restaurants. There will be oysters. There will be champagne. There will be all manner of other deliciousness and then there will be heading out into the chill to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle over the city. 

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com
salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com

But before all that, let’s talk about your New Year’s Eve dinner. 

If I were home, I’d be fixing this Salt-Roasted Beef with Lemon-Hazelnut Pesto, Pears and Celery Root. My friend Kyle and I served this at the pop-up dinner we hosted earlier this month. This beauty is Kyle’s invention. How he comes up with such creative dishes, I have no idea. Also, it takes him about two seconds to whip up an entire menu. Without cracking a cookbook. While I am jealous, I am also thrilled to be the beneficiary of his chef-brain. And even more thrilled that I got to eat this dish three times in one month: once while we were testing it, once at the dinner and again when I shot it for the blog with my friend Carrie

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com

This roast sits at the intersection of easy and impressive. Exactly what you want on a holiday where you should be sipping champagne with your guests instead of sweating away in the kitchen. The salt crust seasons the meat while sealing in all the delicious juices. The roasted pears and celery root are a meltingly soft, subtly sweet base for the beef--far sexier than mashed potatoes. And the bright, herby pesto makes it all sing. Plus, how often do you get to smash open your meal with a hammer? Very exciting stuff.

However you decide to ring in 2017, I hope it brings you joy. Thank you for following along here and for all your kind comments and emails over the past year. You make this adventure I’m on so much more fun! 

With much love,

Olaiya


Salt-Roasted Beef with Lemon-Hazelnut Pesto, Pears and Celery Root

  • 2-3 lb boneless cross-rib roast (also known as a flat iron roast)
  • 6 cups kosher salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup cold water
  • Freshly-grated black pepper
  • 1 recipe Lemon-Hazelnut Pesto (below)
  • 1 recipe Roasted Pears and Celery Root (below)

Lemon-Hazelnut Pesto

  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup mint, gently packed
  • ¼ cup parsley, gently packed
  • ¼ cup cilantro, gently packed
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • ¼ cup minced shallot (about 1 large)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup hazelnut or olive oil

 

Pears and Celery Root

  • 2 slightly underripe pears
  • 1 large celery root
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

 

*Notes: My wonderful neighborhood butcher turned me onto the boneless cross-rib (or flat iron) roast called for in this recipe. I love this cut because it’s flavorful and a great value when you’re feeding a crowd. It does have more connective tissue and marbling in it than some other cuts (sort of like a prime rib roast). If that’s not your thing, you might want to consider a different cut of beef. They’re considerably more expensive, but a tenderloin roast or strip roast never disappoint. 

- If you roast or grill a larger cut of meat even once a year, I recommend you purchase a corded meat thermometer like this one. You stick the probe in the middle of your roast, while the display sits on the countertop by your oven. Set the desired temperature and it will beep when your meat is ready. No opening the oven door and letting out the precious heat. No guessing as to when your roast will be the exact doneness you like. A corded thermometer will take your roast game to a whole new level. 

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com

Remove the beef from the oven about an hour before you want to cook it so it can warm up slightly.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan and toast until the nuts turn golden-brown and fragrant, 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. When cool, roughly chop the nuts or crush them with the side of  chef’s knife or with a mortar and pestle. Place the nuts in a medium bowl. Roughly chop the herbs and add them to the bowl. Cut the preserved lemon into quarters and scoop out the flesh. Finely dice the peel and add it to the bowl. Add the minced shallot, lemon zest and juice, salt and olive oil and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Set aside to let the flavors come together.

To prepare the beef, mix the salt, egg whites and water in a large bowl until the salt is evenly moistened. Place a thin layer of the salt mixture just wider than your beef roast on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the beef on top of this layer and generously sprinkle with black pepper. Use the rest of the salt mixture to cover the roast, pressing to seal the beef in. Place in the oven and roast to desired doneness: 120°F for rare, 125°F for medium rare, 130°F for medium. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest, without breaking open the salt crust. (Don't worry if the crust has a few cracks in it when it comes out of the oven; that's fine.) Rest the beef for at least 15 minutes before you crack open the crust and slice it. 

While the beef is roasting, prepare the pears and celery root. Remove the skin and any roots from the celery root and slice into ⅓-inch thick pieces. Core the pears and slice into ⅓-inch thick pieces. Place the pears and celery root on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and  toss with olive oil to coat. When the roast is about 10 degrees under the desired doneness, place the pears and celery root in the oven. When you remove the beef, increase the oven temperature to 475°F and roast until the pears and celery root are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, 30-35 minutes. 

When the pears and celery root are done, crack open the salt crust on the beef using a rolling pin, meat mallet or hammer. Brush the salt off the beef and slice. Transfer the roasted pears and celery root and the beef to a serving platter. Spoon some of the pesto over the beef and serve immediately, passing the rest of the pesto alongside. 

Makes 6-8 servings.

Recipe by Kyle Wisner

salt-roasted beef with lemon-hazelnut pesto on millys-kitchen.com