To food—and especially vegetable—lovers, kitchen dwellers, cookbook collectors, New Mexico locals and beyond, Deborah Madison needs no introduction. The veteran food writer and chef is, for many of us, a household name, and her recent cookbook, In My Kitchen : A collection of new and favorite vegetarian recipes, is bound to become another kitchen staple. It’s a beautiful homage to, and revisiting of, Deborah’s favorites, recipes that have survived, thrived and evolved over the decades—among many new additions.
“I started cooking for others decades ago,” Deborah—who has cooked in the kitchens of the San Francisco Zen Center, Chez Panisse and Santa Fe’s Café Escalera—writes in the book’s introduction. “I began cooking when vegetarian food was weird.” These days, of course, “vegetarian food is part of a great mash-up of taste, values, and experiences.” Much has changed in the decades since she began cooking—“from values to ingredients” to ourselves, and Deborah’s dishes, like time, culture and individuals, are the result of a fluid, organic evolution. In My Kitchen shares over 100 recipes “that have settled happily into my kitchen and my life,” she writes. “So in a sense, these are all new albeit familiar dishes. Sometimes they’re recipes that have been forgotten or overlooked but that deserve to be revisited and brought to light.”
This month, we share three recipes from In My Kitchen that exemplify Deborah’s gift for simple yet creative dishes with fresh, seasonal ingredients that we might pluck right out of our own gardens, or purchase from our local farmers. As Deborah puts it in the book’s introduction, “I hope you find these—some of my favorite recipes and approaches—delicious and that they enhance your life as they do mine.”
Tomato and Red Pepper Tart
The Yeasted Dough
1 package (2 1⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
3⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, white whole- wheat flour, or a mixture, including spelt, rye, or other flours
The Tart Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red onions, finely diced
2 plump garlic cloves, minced or pounded to a paste
11⁄2 pounds ripe roma or other paste tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled; 2 diced, 1 cut into thin strips
A good pinch of saffron threads, if possible
1⁄4 teaspoon aniseed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons chopped basil
16 Niçoise olives, pitted
To make the tart dough
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and let stand until it’s bubbly, about 10 minutes. Whisk the oil, egg, and salt together with the proofed yeast, then stir in the flour. When the dough is too stiff to work with a spoon, turn it onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add flour to keep it from sticking, but aim to keep the dough on the wet and tacky side. (If you live in a very dry climate, your flour will be extra dry and you may not be able to use entire amount called for.) Set the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat, cover with a towel or a shower cap and let rise until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Turn the dough out. Roll it out into a thin circle (or other shape appropriate to the pan you’re using) and line a tart shell with it. If you’re not ready to fill the tart just then, put in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t continue to rise.
To make the filling
Warm the oil over medium heat in a wide skillet, add the onions, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and diced peppers along with the crumbled saffron threads and aniseed. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and a little pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, especially toward the end. It should be quite thick. Taste for salt and stir in the basil.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Set the tart shell on a baking sheet. Add the filling to the shell and smooth it out. Use the pepper strips to make a crisscross design over the top. Place the olives in the spaces formed by the peppers. Bake for 35 minutes. Carefully unmold the tart onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.
Golden Beets with Mâche
Large golden beets
2 large shallots
3 tablespoons apple cider or champagne vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons best olive oil
4 or more good handfuls of mâche or arugula greens, washed and dried
Purple orach thinnings, if possible, washed and dried
Yogurt, Cumin, and Green Herb Sauce (page 273; optional)
Cut the stems off about an inch from the tops of the beets, then steam them over simmering water until tender but not too soft when pierced with a knife. Remove them, rinse under cool water, and slip off the skins with your hands. Cut the beets into ten to twelve wedges each and set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator.
Peel the shallots and then slice them crosswise a scant 1⁄4 inch thick. Separate the rings and put them in a bowl with the vinegar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 5 minutes or so to color and soften, then whisk in the olive oil. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the dressing over the beets and toss. Taste for acid and salt, adding more vinegar or salt if needed. Season with pepper.
Dress the greens with the remaining dressing and heap them on individual plates.
Tuck the beets in and around the greens. If using the yogurt sauce, spoon some close to the clusters of beets.
Olive Oil, Almond, and Blood Orange Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour or, if available, Sonoran wheat flour
1 cup almond meal or finely grated almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus the 2 yolks from above
Finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges
1⁄2 cup blood orange juice
1⁄2 cup Greek or other full-bodied olive oil, such as Spanish Arbequina
1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄3 cup sliced almonds tossed with 1 tablespoon sugar
Powdered sugar, to serve (optional)
Put a rack in the center of the oven, then heat the oven to 350°F. Rub a 9-inch springform pan with butter, then dust the sides and bottom well with flour or sugar. Cut a 9-inch circle of parchment and lay it in the pan.
Combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk.
Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until foamy, then add 1⁄4 cup of the sugar and whisk at higher speed until the whites are shiny and firm but not dry or stiff. Scrape the whites into a bowl.
Without rinsing the mixing bowl, add the whole eggs, the 2 yolks, the remaining sugar, and the orange zest. Return it to the machine and, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar and orange zest on medium-high speed until pale and thick, several minutes. Turn the speed to low and add the olive oil, followed by the juice and almond extract.
With the machine still on low, add the flour mixture by the heaping spoonful until all is incorporated. Remove the bowl, then run a wide rubber scraper around the bowl, making sure all the dry ingredients have been combined. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, pour it into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the almond-sugar mixture over the surface, making a ring of nuts in the center.
Bake on the center rack until firm, browned, and pulling away from the sides of the pan, 50 to 60 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, then run a knife around the sides. Transfer to a cake plate. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.
Reprinted with permission from In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison, copyright © 2017. Photography by Erin Scott. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
by Mia Rose Poris