Leek, Lemon and Cauliflower Fettuccine

I’m a big fan of cooking cauliflower until it’s almost creamy … especially in pasta dishes like this one. It becomes part of the sauce, adding heft and health to just a handful of fettuccine.


1 cup thinly sliced leeks (tender white parts only)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole grain)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 lemon (Meyer lemon is great), zested and juiced
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Flake sea salt
1/4 cup snipped chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a large skillet over medium heat, and add leeks and cauliflower. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, until cauliflower is just becoming tender. Start cooking pasta. Drizzle olive oil into the pan with the cauliflower and toss with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until cauliflower and leek start to color a bit and cauliflower becomes fork tender, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup water. Pour the pasta water into the pan with the cauliflower and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter, lemon zest and juice. Pour pasta back into the pot and scrape cauliflower mixture over it. Mix very well using tongs and a stiff spatula. Add cheese and toss again.

Divide the pasta mixture among four plates and top with flake sea salt, chives and additional cheese if desired.

Serves 4

All About the Ham Split Pea Soup

If you’ve got a leftover ham bone in the fridge (or if you can talk your butcher out of one), this is the soup you want to make. And, trust me, take the extra hour to make the Awesome Veggie Broth from scratch … it’s worth it.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced leek
3 cups diced carrot
2 cups diced celery
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds split peas
1 whole ham bone with meat attached
4 quarts Awesome Veggie Broth

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté leek, carrot and celery for 10-12 minutes, until softened and just starting to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add split peas, ham bone and veggie broth, raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, skim any foam and fat from the surface, and simmer for 60-90 minutes (peas should be tender and soft, but not completely disintegrated). Remove ham bone and let cool enough to handle. Pull off meat in chunks as large as you want and stir into soup. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Makes 3-4 quarts of soup

* This soup freezes very well. Bring to room temperature, then ladle into freezer safe zip top bags and lay flat in the freezer.

Awesome Veggie Broth

Make this awesome veggie broth any time you’ve got a bunch of scraps in the fridge or cluttering up the counter. Amazingly easy, and so full of flavor.

8 whole cloves
2 small onions, peel left on and halved (or 1 large onion cut into quarters)
12 cups various veggies, roughly chopped (I like a mix of aromatics like leeks and fennel fronds, leafy greens like kale and chard and lettuce, umami-enriching mushroom stems, and standards that are full of flavor like carrot and celery)
6 quarts cold water
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercorns
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Poke 2 cloves into the cut side of each onion half. Place onion halves cut side down in a large pot over medium heat and sear for 5 minutes, until well-charred. Add the remaining veggies to the pot. Pour in water, add bay leaf, peppercorns and salt, raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Makes roughly 4 quarts stock


What a Trip!

I’m coming back from a week in New York (my old stomping ground) with some exciting news. I won the International Association of Culinary Professionals award for Entrepreneur/Business Person of the Year!

One of the things that excites me most about winning this award is that it’s not just about business, it’s about being a voice of integrity and encouragement to others within industry, which are goals I’ve aspired to my whole career.

Authenticity is my utmost core value, and I thought about it a lot over the course of the conference. I am so grateful to be surrounded by colleagues who bring an authentic voice and vision to their work. People like Cheryl Sternman Rule, who unabashedly writes for the pleasure of writing and enriches all of our lives as a result. People like Maria Speck, who brought her passion to life in a way that inspires me to stick unswervingly to my own call.

Big kudos to all y’all, because following your dream doesn’t just happen. It takes guts and close-your-eyes-and-make-the-leap kind of faith. Grant Achatz, the famed chef from Alinea in Chicago, reminded me of that at what I thought was one of the best sessions of the conference.

Grant is celebrated for pushing the envelope, but when he talked about bringing cellists into the dining room for a certain course to bring the element of music to bear on a certain dish, I had to wonder, “does he ever worry people are going to laugh at him, or critics are going to slam him, or his customers are going to think he’s crazy?” So I asked him.

He basically said he has that “you’re going to fail” voice beside him every day in the form of one of the restaurant’s leaders. His general manager—who is now his director of operations—always tells Grant his wild ideas can’t be done or are a bad idea. Grant said it’s become a sort of joke; that the ideas his colleague deems terrible are the ones that will inevitably succeed.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. In having the devil’s advocate at his side, it forces Grant to constantly define and defend his own beliefs in an external conversation instead of internal. The gem in that tale is that not only does Grant tolerate this person; he reveres him. To me, that in and of itself is courageous.

Those are the things I’ve been thinking about … and now I want to ask you what you’re thinking. If you’re new to NOURISH Evolution, what’s standing out and making you go “a ha!” and what’s leaving you feeling flat? If you’ve been a long-time follower, what are some ways that NOURISH Evolution has impacted your life? Is there anything you’re disappointed with? I’d really like to know. In going forward, I want to continue stepping out in my own authentic voice, while at the same time giving you tools and information that are going to help empower you not just in your kitchen, but in your lives.

Thank you, all my colleagues at IACP—and all you here on NOURISH Evolution–for the way you encourage, inspire and challenge me. And thank you for this validation that following your passion and being true to what you believe in is something worth celebrating.