Dec 07, 2016
Haven's Kitchen Pop-In Shoppe

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We invite you to join us this Wednesday, December 14, for some reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the holidays as we serve you an anodyne of hot spiked cider and doughnuts. While you're here, enjoy 10 percent off our retail goods and free gift wrapping on all purchases. 

Haven's Kitchen • 109 West 17th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) • NYC
For more information, call 212.929.7900 x4.

Nov 16, 2016
The Beet Retox

New York Magazine stopped by this week to get pretty, and Culinary Director David Mawhinney showed them how to build a beautiful cocktail inspired by sweet and #prettythings. David mixed up a drink and toasted to New York Magazine's weeklong break from reality dedicated to all things pretty. 

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Inspiration for new dishes and cocktails can come from many places. A childhood memory may inspire the reinvention of a classic savory dish. In the case of cocktails, inspirations are usually grounded in something classic, and then the ingredients can be swapped around – keeping some basic proportions in check. My Beet Retox cocktail is a play off of a drink one might get at a juice bar after a Sunday morning workout. But here, I stuck with more familiar territory and opted for the booze-based version and skipped the gym. 

 

The Beet Retox uses vodka as the base. For this drink, it's important to use a neutral spirit like vodka that won’t mask the flavor of the beet juice and ginger. Using a shrub —a sweetened vinegar-based syrup— is a great way to add balance and flavor to a classic cocktail; in this case, a dash of habanero shrub brings out the heat in the ginger. This retox also has lemon juice —always fresh squeezed— and simple syrup to balance the flavors of the pungent beet and ginger juices. As beets are naturally sweet, there is more lemon juice than simple syrup, providing that refreshing citrus punch.

 

Once all the ingredients are in the shaker, add ice —large cubes, not crushed— and shake for about 20 seconds. This not only chills the drink down, but also dilutes it. This is one of the many differences between cocktails at a bar and cocktails made at home with friends – cocktails need the dilution in order to be balanced and not overly “hot” or alcohol-forward.

 

After shaking, strain twice in the same motion. Once with a hawthorn strainer placed directly on the shaker, and then again as it pours through a mesh strainer into a coupe glass. This captures any ice shards, preventing additional dilution as you sip, and insures a smooth, velvety cocktail.

 

Finally, garnish the drink. A best practice is to use elements that the drink contains. In this case, I opted for a simple lemon twist and a piece of crystalized ginger. The opposite end of the garnish spectrum is the oft over-garnished Bloody Mary, which can take on the visual of a Carmen Miranda headpiece.

 

Beet Retox

2 oz vodka

1 oz beet juice

½ oz ginger juice

¾ oz lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

dash habanero shrub

lemon twist and crystalized ginger to garnish 

Add vodka, beet, ginger, lemon juice, simple syrup and habanero shrub to shaker and top with ice cubes. Shake for about 20 seconds and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel and crystallized ginger. Serve and repeat as necessary.

Nov 09, 2016
Q + A with Masami Asao: the Art of Shojin Ryori

For dietician and practicing monk Masami Asao, food has come to play a physical, mental and spiritual role in her life. Her deep study into the practice of the Shojin Ryori began when she realized that this ancient Buddhist Temple cuisine could nourish not only the physical body, but also benefit one’s emotional and spiritual health. In her upcoming class at Haven’s Kitchen, Zen in the Kitchen: The Art of Shojin Ryori, students will immerse themselves in this devotional cuisine and learn to prepare vegetable-focused, seasonal dishes that connect heart, mind and body.

 

1. What is shojin ryori, and how does it benefit both the mind and body?

Shojin Ryori (“devotion cuisine”), originally practiced by Buddhist monks, is a carefully prepared vegetarian meal. Using seasonal ingredients, the meal is prepared in a way that produces the least amount of waste – every part of the ingredient is used. The essence of shojin ryori is to achieve balance and the absence of any dissatisfaction; it is meant to fill you with peace and heal both the body and mind.

 

2. How did you first become interested in Buddhist Temple cuisine?

As a dietician, I am tuned in to the way food and physical health are connected. It wasn’t until I married my husband – a priest – that I discovered the connection that the art of shojin ryori has to one’s emotional wellbeing. From the nutritional perspective, food nourishes the physical body, and the art of shojin ryori allows the mind to become nourished as well – that’s when I realized the two could coexist.

 

3. In what ways can learning the art of shojin ryori affect other parts of our daily life and routine?

Learning the art of shojin ryori may help you more deeply experience emotions like harmony, sympathy, thankfulness, and love. In addition, the patience and concentration it takes to create a dish also forces you to take time to self-reflect, which can translate into how you look at any meal you have during the day. For example, you might have a crazy day when you’re working on a stressful project, and you decide to go for a coffee break. When you take that same intentionality you use for shojin ryori and apply that to your cup of coffee, that simple break from work becomes so much more significant; it recharges you. Balance is an important characteristic of shojin ryori, not only in flavor and color, but in the physical proportions of the dishes. The amount of food is proportional to the size of the plate or bowl in which it sits, which prevents overeating.

 

4. Tell us a little about the menu you are planning for your class at Haven's Kitchen, and why you chose those particular dishes.

Since the class will be held around the holidays, and in the preparation for the New Year, I have centered the theme around hospitality. Sesame Tofu is one of the most popular traditional dishes of Shojin Ryori. We will also be creating a dish of chyrsanthemum (shun-giku) and dried bean curd (dried tofu), stuffed persimmon with grated radish, and boiled sweet potato and apple.

 

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Masami Asao will be teaching Zen in the Kitchen: the Art of Shojin Ryori on Wednesday, November 16 at 7pm. 

Oct 18, 2016
Friendsgiving with Williams-Sonoma

There’s nothing like an abundant, shared meal that makes strangers feel like family by the end of the night. Our potluck-style Friendsgiving, hosted in partnership with Williams-Sonoma as part of their Open Kitchen series, was no exception. The evening began with autumn cocktails and toasting to friends old and new. After each guest added the finishing touches to their dishes -- from winter panzanella, to autumn roasted vegetables with miso brown butter and fig and honey hand pies -- we wasted no time piling our plates high with the fruits of our labor. 

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The holidays are around the corner, and for many of us, hosting can be overwhelming. But trust us, it doesn't need to be. Williams-Sonoma sat down with Alison to gather some of her tips on being a warm and welcoming host. One of the biggest lessons she’s learned is to take the pressure off of trying to create a flawless Thanksgiving. If you're relaxed and enjoying yourself, so will your guests. Show gratitude for your guests because at the end of the day, that's the only rule that really matters. “Be sure people know you are happy they are there. That’s it. It’s simple. Everything else follows from that.”

Here are some of Alison's rules for being your best host and staying true to (some) tradition. 

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If you’re a guest wondering what to bring to your next potluck, here are some simple, vegetable-focused Haven’s Kitchen recipes to end your search, once and for all. And since practice makes perfect, be sure to check out our upcoming Holiday Prep Series that will leave you fully equipped -- from cocktail hour, to baking the pie, and mastering all those oh-so-impressive sides. 

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Photography by John Kernick for Williams-Sonoma

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