Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad

It’s a bit unconventional but I want to get out of the way a few housekeeping matters before we jump into today’s post.

First of all I’ve updated the book page with a few new events, including a fun dinner/class in March (3/8) at the studio of Sunday Suppers in NYC.

Also, I’m excited and a bit flustered to report that the first printing of the book has all been spoken for and it seems that it is harder and harder to get a copy (we actually have a few signed copies left in our shop). I’m sorry for the inconvenience. The second print-run is on its way. In fact, my books are sitting on a boat off the coast of LA. Let’s hope the labor disputes find a happy resolution and we can get back to having the books in stock. In the meantime, thank you so much for sharing images, words and recipes from the book. It makes me beyond happy to see the words, stories and food from three years of hard work out in the world and doing exactly what I hoped it would; inspiring. Thank you.

Okay. Done with that.


Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

We’ve been away from our home more than usual. Attending parties, dinners and book signings all the while sharing our heart for the book and eager to talk to people about why I wrote it and the result of creating the pages you read in Date Night In. Every bit of it has been encouraging and beautiful (well, except for my crazy insecurities and fears throughout it all) and I thank you for the continued support through conversations, emails, texts, and messages scattered throughout the Internet.

While it all has been wonderful and I am thrilled with the response from the book I have missed the kitchen and really, I have missed feeding you all. What it always comes back to for me is the table and putting something on the table that inspires, that satisfies and starts a conversation.

To be honest, I am a bit tired of trying to sell you stuff; the book, the cookies and quite frankly, me. As proud as I am about all of those things I have missed simply coming here and offering you a recipe that I’ve come to love. A recipe that I made and felt it worthy of living in these pages. I am so eager to feed again.

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

I’m not going to stop talking about the book, however. Or more accurately, I am not going to stop talking about dating my husband, because at the heart of it all, why I want to shout at the top of my lungs standing at the peak of the highest mountain about it is because in it lives a message that I want people to hear. One of love, intention, commitment, and fried chicken.

But right now, let’s sit at the table and eat this salad. It’s the sort of meal that balances those eaten away from home. It’s hearty yet light. Sweet but also savory. A touch spicy, a bit tart, crunchy and chewy, bright and deep. It is comfortable and unfussy. Perfect for easing back into a routine. For settling back to the table. Pull up a chair, it is my joy to feed you.

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad // Not Without Salt

Caramelized Fennel and Farro Salad

Serves 4


1 cup farro

2 cups water

pinch salt

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon harissa (more to taste)

juice and zest from 1 small lemon (more or less to tase)

1/4 cup pistachios lightly toasted

5 dates, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 cup packed mint leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup crumbled feta

salt, to taste


Cook the farro until just tender but still has a bit of bite.

Drain and cool.


In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the fennel and sprinkle in the sugar.

Cook until the fennel is tender and deeply caramelized; copper in color, about 5 to 7 minutes over medium high heat.

In a large bowl add the farro, caramelized fennel, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, harissa and lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.

Toss the farro with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.


If you are making this in advance, reserve the mint leaves until just ready to serve as they tend to turn black when cut.

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Lemon Cake with Raspberries

Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries // Not Without Salt
Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries // Not Without Salt

Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries // Not Without Salt

I love that my husband knows which coffee cup I prefer my morning brew in.

I love that we pre-warm each other’s cup.

I love that I make the lunches because it’s his least favorite task and he ready’s the car so that my seat is warm before I get in.

I love that I know that one of my kidlets likes their blanket cold (five minutes in the freezer does the trick) and the other two prefer theirs to have a quick tumble in the dryer.

I love that they yell at me to cover my eyes when there is a snake on the TV or there is a photo of one anywhere near me.

I love that my mother-in-law always remembers to leave the ice out of my father-in-law’s water glass.

I love that when sick as a child my mom always knew that I needed one day to be doted on and then the next I needed someone to lovingly encourage me out of bed. She’s still the first I call when I’m sick.

And I love that I am a part of a group of friends who knows each others preferred cake flavor.

When you do life together long enough you get to know the little details; the seemingly mundane to most but important to those who know you and love you.

Amy, here is your cake.

Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries // Not Without Salt Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries // Not Without Salt


Heart shaped bundt pan available from Williams-Sonoma

* I’m in San Francisco tonight (Wednesday 2/4) at Omnivore Books 6:30. Actually the whole family will be there so please come say hello! 

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Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberries

Adapted ever-so-slightly from Ina Garten


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pint raspberries


For the glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)




Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 1 large bundt pan or  2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.


Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.


Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Add 1/3 of the batter of the bundt or loaf pans then scatter 1/2 of the raspberries on the batter. Add another 1/3 of the batter then top with the remaining raspberries then finish with the rest of the batter. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.


Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.


For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar,  lemon juice, and vanilla bean, if using, in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.



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