Hello to our first session in the Haven's Kitchen Summer School series. For nine weeks, we'll be expanding on the lessons from each of the chapters of The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School cookbook. Follow along with us each week through our blog, Instagram, Facebook or through our hashtags: #havenskitchencookbook, #hknycookbook and #cookwithconfidence. This first installment is from special projects director, Sonjia Hyon, who worked on The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School with Alison Cayne.
When Ali first started conceptualizing The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School, she wanted to write a cookbook that would encourage people to find confidence in the kitchen. From the start, Ali talked about writing an entire chapter on how to cook grains and beans.
Mastering the art of cooking grains or beans, Ali argues, teaches you the purpose of cooking. For her, it is the key to unlocking the chef in any so-called terrible cook because it teaches a person how to imagine the intention of their process. How do we want to use these beans or grains? What kind of texture do they need to be? And how do we need to use heat, temperature and time to achieve that texture?
When you cook a pot of garbanzo beans for a salad like our Garbanzo Feta recipe, you want the texture to have some give, yet tenderness. This means maintaining a careful watch of the simmering beans, remembering to lower the heat when they bubble too aggressively, and stirring and tasting every so often so they don't become mush. On the other hand, the cook time for a hummus can be more forgiving as mush because they'll be pureed into a dip, which you want to be creamy.
Use this framework when following a recipe as well. In general, recipes are designed to be roadmaps. Each ingredient is used to serve a purpose and intention — texture, flavor, balance, and aesthetic. So when adapting recipes to sub out ingredients you like, which you should do ALL the time, consider the architecture of the recipe.
In our Garbanzo Feta Salad, for example, we use the garbanzo beans as the base for a salad that is complemented by the crunch of fresh cucumbers and onion, and a briny, creamy punch of feta cut by an herbaceous parsley. The red onion gives it color and sharpness.
In the recipe, Ali suggests the garbanzos to be cooked, the red onions to be sliced and the cucumbers to be cut on the bias. But, consider what would happen if we roasted half the chickpeas, diced the onions and cucumbers, marinated the feta, and added tiny rainbow peppers. It reinvents the salad and gives it a different kind of crunch, flavor, and color while relying on the same recipe.
Think about how you can reinvent your own favorite recipes without too much work. Try a different knife cut, substitute an ingredient, try a new spice – this is the beginning of finding an "automatism" in your cooking.
makes 2 cups
3 cups cooked chickpeas
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons smoked paprika, curry powder, or spice of your choice (optional)
salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven, stirring every 15 minutes or so. After the first 30 minutes of baking, start to test for doneness. If you want them really crisp, bake for another 15 minutes, if you like them on the chewier side, only bake for another five minutes.
Add and stir on the seasonings and salt for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Cool on the tray before transferring to an airtight container.
If you don't want to make chimichurri, you can also use olive oil with lemon juice or another type of acide and any other herbs you like. You need more oil than acid so it doesn't break down the feta.
2 cups feta, diced
1 cup chimichurri sauce, recipe from the cookbook or this one is pretty good as well.
olive oil, if needed, to cover
To successfully marinate feta, it should be done overnight.
Carefully toss the in the chimichurri so it’s fully coated with herbs. If needed, pour olive oil over top until the feta is fully submerged. This will help to extend the shelf life and permeate the feta with the flavors of the herbs and oil.
Join us next week when we talk about fritters! Please send us questions, comments and feedback about the cookbook. We want to hear it all.
Helena and Peter's look was inspired by tropical flora. Large palm leaves were complemented by white blooms for a refreshing departure from many of the weddings we host here at Haven's Kitchen. They highlighted the simplicity of the space, creating a vibrant and sunny atmosphere — perfect for early summer.
Helena and Peter couldn't decide on which cocktails they wanted to serve, so they chose all three that they tasted. Pictured are Rome with a View – Campari, dry vermouth, and Lime Picante Punch – Tequila, Pineapple, Jalapeno
What was the most important part of the wedding planning process for you?
The guest list and having an open bar.
How did you plan the menu?
Grandma's tastes and dietary restrictions.
What were some of the details you were excited to see come to life as part of your wedding?
The flowers. The space.
What have you learned about yourselves and each other in the last year as you’ve put together your wedding?
I am a micro manager, Peter is more big picture.
When you think about Haven's Kitchen….
Loved it for its intimacy, every option presented to us was spectacular which made picking hard and sometimes we chose to have everything, like all three cocktail options — our guests really enjoyed that.
Photographer: Khaki Bedford Studio
Dress: Lovely Bride, Williamsburg Seamster
Her Shoes: Stuart Weitzmann
Suit: Bindle & Keep
His Shoes: Cole Haan
Flowers: Adore NYC
Ceremony Music: "Baby I Love You" The Ramones
Wedding Cake: Momofuku Milk Bar
For more photos from Helena and Peter's wedding visit our new Instagram @weddingsathavenskitchen.
Michelle Ishay was a key force in making The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School cookbook happen. An early champion of Haven's Kitchen, she convinced Ali that a cookbook would be an important medium to translate her philosophy of cooking.
And Michelle would know. Michelle is the Creative Director for Artisan books and has been in the publishing industry for over 20 years. Her vision has been important in the design of many of the cookbooks that were inspirational to Ali.She doesn't like to be photographed, but Michelle Ishay's (center) deft touch makes each dish look desirable. The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School author Alison Cayne (left) and photographer Con Poulos (right).
Can you tell us a little bit about your history with Ali?
I was working and living within two blocks of Haven's Kitchen when the carriage house was being renovated. I was praying that it wouldn't become another bank or Verizon store. So when a crisp white awning was installed, I was relieved to have a fresh spot in the hood. On opening day, I popped in to get my morning coffee.
The space was perfection: steel, glass, subway tile, stocked wooden shelves. I knew I found a place where I could escape the bustle of the city. In addition to Bellocq teas and dark chocolates, there was a smart selection of well-worn, much-loved cookbooks on the shelves, many of which I had worked on in my 20 years in publishing. So when the pony-tailed barista handed me my crafted cup of love with the brightest smile, I asked, "Excuse me, whose books are these?" She lit up, and with the wag of her ponytail, Ali said' "Oh, they're mine!" I knew then that I not only found my place, but I also found my person. On that first meeting, I knew we would someday make a book together. I think we even said so.
What do you do at Artisan?
I am the Creative Director at Artisan. I help to shape the content and build the visual teams that brand our authors. Each author has their own story and thus each author needs their own singular look, feel and voice. The photography, illustration and design all shape that voice so the object itself reaches the largest possible audience.
What are some books that you've worked on?
They range across categories and decades. Some recent work: John Derian, the Remodelista series, Paula Wolfert's Food of Morocco, Sean Brock, and Burma and Persia by Naomi Duguid.
How did you get to where you are in life professionally?
I was nine years old the first time I inhaled the ink on the pages of my sister's copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. Only one of the illustrated characters was spot gloss, and I remember being in an utter state of wonder staring at that cover.
After majoring in photography, writing and design at the School of Visual Arts, I got a job in design at Penguin and moved through the large publishing houses until finally focusing on art books at Abrams, and now at Artisan.
What do you find the most interesting part of your job?
The authors and the creative team of people I get to work with to break through the challenge of shaping the content and capturing each author’s personality into a visual language.
How was the process of putting together The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School cookbook different than others you’ve directed in the past?
Knowing Ali, the team, and the vibe at Haven's Kitchen meant I had been thinking about this book for years prior to the actual making of it. The concept and guiding force behind our work was how to represent a cooking school in the form of a book. I knew it should be a manual with Ali's guidance and personality as the voiceover. Teaching through the photography was critical. At the photo shoot, I kept repeating to myself and sometimes aloud "we must teach through the beauty." The headnotes and the team really had to tease out the teaching moments for us.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?
The Chocolate Cake to Commit to Memory! I've made that almost every week since the manuscript.
What's your morning routine?
My kids wake me up anywhere between 5 to 7am with a snuggle in bed. Then, it's a kid marathon before I get to my coffee (black with cinnamon) and an egg over medium. By eight, I'm out the door, dropping off the kids, drinking a matcha from Haven's (if I'm lucky), and biking through the West Village to work.
Where do you find serenity and inspiration when you're in a rut?
Serenity: Turning off my phone. Music. Yoga. Friends. Cooking with my kids. Running by the Hudson. Writing it out.
Inspiration: Deep dives. Books. I really lucked out in the friend department. Hashing it out with them always unlocks something.
What was the last book you read?
Pablo Neruda. always good for a shift in perception.
When Breath Becomes Air. I have been really focused on how death can inform the living after my dad died in June. Most days, it makes me more grateful and productive. Other days, I'm just pissed (but that's between us).
And the Krishnamurti books I bought in India have been my bedside bible for years.
What was the last thing you cooked?
Haven's Kitchen romesco sauce with roasted potatoes and Naomi Pomeroy's cauliflower.
Because the weather is getting warmer.
Because sometimes you just need a place for respite.
Because wine and popcorn are meant to be enjoyed together.
We're starting HK Happier Hours!
Monday to Friday, 4pm to 7pm
Wine by the Glass: $8 for red, white or rose
Spiced popcorn $3
Marinated Olives $5
Seasonal Spread and Crostini $7