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In the Kitchen: How to Eat Your Veggies in the Dead of Winter

The buzzword in January may be detox, but according to Alison Cayne, founder of cooking school and café Haven’s Kitchen, you don’t need a juice cleanse to hit reset. You just need some hearty vegetables from your local market. Using produce from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, she and head chef David Mawhinney make a toasted farro salad with roasted winter vegetables just for us.

Haven’s Kitchen head chef David Mawhinney and owner Alison Cayne. He wears the selvedge Japanese chambray utility shirt. She wears the Collection classic turtleneck sweater in cashmere.

“People think that you need some sort of radical change in your diet to detoxify your body, but the truth is, that’s not really how the body works. Your body is actually happy to have vegetables and whole grains all the time.”

David preps the vegetables. 

A tip: “Don’t peel the skin of the delicata squash—just start slicing. The skin is packed with nutrients.” 

“When it gets cold out, people naturally gravitate toward heavier foods. Sure, it’s challenging to eat vegetables in the winter, but there are winter greens and root vegetables that are filling and nutrient dense. You just have to go to your local green market to find them.”
Alison chops the celery root.

A note on salt: “Always use sea salt, which includes actual minerals, rather than iodized salt.

“Your cutting board should reflect your mental state—have everything organized and set up your station. We don’t believe in measuring everything out perfectly, but we do believe in having everything prepped and ready to go.”
“Be sure to taste everything while you’re cooking to see if you want something a little saltier or with a bit more acid. No good chef puts anything on the table without tasting it first.”


Toasted Farro Salad with Roasted Winter Vegetables

Inspired by the prettiest and most inviting winter produce at the Union Square Greenmarket.
2 cups farro
1 carrot, diced
½ onion, sliced
Bay leaf
2 to 3 sprigs thyme
3 cups assorted winter vegetables: brussels sprouts, delicata squash, rainbow carrots, yams, celery root, red onion, Romanesco cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil
Black sesame seeds
Toast the farro in a dry pan for a few minutes on high heat, stirring constantly until you start to smell a nutty aroma. Transfer it to a pot and cover it with an inch or two of water. Add the carrot, onion, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, approximately 40 minutes. Add salt and let cool in the liquid. Drain from water and toss with olive oil to prevent sticking. 

Cut the vegetables into fork-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and toss with a small amount of olive oil and salt. Heat a pan on medium-high heat, place vegetables in a single layer and cook on one side until they start to caramelize. Transfer to a baking sheet, the uncooked sides turned down, and place in a 375°F oven. Cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and check seasoning.

In a bowl, mix the farro and roasted vegetables, then add the tahini dressing (recipe below), enough to lightly coat. Place in a bowl and finish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds.


Tahini Dressing

Creamy and bright, this tahini dressing livens up the roasted vegetables and farro.
1 cup tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
2 to 3 whole cloves garlic
¼ cup parsley, washed and roughly chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, slowly adding water until desired thickness, and adjust seasoning with lemon juice and salt.

Photographs by Winnie Au. 

Learn more about Haven’s Kitchen and its cooking classes here

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TAGS: in the kitchen