Welcome to the Shop!
Our doors are finally open. You know how long I’ve been waiting to say that?!
The idea to create a shop open to the public for workshops, meals, and a few of my favorite things in and out of the kitchen came at the start of 2017. Like so many of you I was asking myself a lot of questions about life, work, and how am I helping to unite and move my community forward. From all of that soul digging I heard, “build a table and they will come”. Okay, it wasn’t exactly like that but that phrase and consequently that scene from Field of Dreams continually played in my mind throughout the entire process.
I dreamt about a space to work that was away from our home so that home could feel a bit more as such and I could have the ability to leave work at the door and focus on my family without being lured away by the computer in the other room. I longed for complete freedom of creativity in the kitchen. My career in food began in professional kitchens and I missed the ability to stand in the kitchen and watch the delight on the diner’s faces as the plates I just created hit their table. I missed the rush of service and the stretching of my creativity in the kitchen using techniques and ingredients that I don’t often share here for fear of limiting the audience. And I wanted a place to play host to authors, instructors, artists, creatives and whoever else is wanting to inspire and teach 14 people at my table. I wanted to continue to learn from others and be able to create an environment of learning.
Building this space felt like putting in the last piece of the puzzle. Every recipe I share, word that I write, and image that I take and share with you all here, on Instagram, Facebook – anywhere – is with one goal in mind: To encourage and inspire all of us to spend as much time at the table as possible. I never regret a minute spent at the table, in fact it’s at the table where relationships are built, memories are made, tears are shed, laughter is abundant, and food is shared.
In the early part of last year I started spiraling into a place of feeling as if my work didn’t matter. I talk about food a lot and in light of everything else in the world that just felt so trite until I really saw that yes, I talk about food but really that is simply the medium used to gather people. So it seemed fitting to take that purpose and make it more tangible by building out a homey space with a 12-foot table eager to seat anyone and everyone.
I do hope that someday all of you can stop by and sit at my table but until that time I won’t stop sharing the work I do here and elsewhere online.
There are so many people to thank for helping me turn this dream into a reality. KitchenAid heard my dream, saw the vision and helped make it happen. Their generosity gave me the chance to build out a kitchen that I would say was my dream kitchen, but honestly even the kitchen in my dreams isn’t this good. Every large and small appliance you see in this space is from them and I assure you this place would not be the same without their help. I have been a loyal fan of KitchenAid since my first mixer nearly fifteen years ago. I returned so many wedding gifts in order to be able to afford the one I truly wanted; a 5-quart stand mixer in Pistachio green. My kitchen has never been without one of their mixers since. And when you do come and sit at my bar while I’m making us something to eat, I will gush about my induction cooktop because I am a huge, huge fan.
Last week I hosted our first ticketed event in the shop. This meant that most the people coming to the table didn’t know one another before they sat down. Just before dessert came out I turned to Gabe, who was my server for the afternoon, and said, “That is my favorite sound in the whole world.” The volume had crept louder and louder until the music could no longer be heard. There were glasses being clinked, laughter extending the entire length of the table, business cards being shared and dates being planned for the next lunch at the shop. I’ve yet to have an event here where the sight of the table full of people doesn’t fill me with tears. A dream realized.
This Farro and Parmesan pie was the main course for that lunch and all the plates came back to the kitchen completely clean. In fact I am sharing the recipe here because I promised everyone at that table that I would. I saw the burnished crust of this pie on BonAppetit.com and immediately knew I needed to make that.
There are few ingredients so each must be treated with care. I’ve made a few changes from the original recipe in the form of lemon zest, garlic, thyme and Italian farro. When I first tasted Farro in Italy I thought they must have cooked it for days and days. It was tender, still delightfully nutty but it didn’t have the irksome chew that I find to be more laborious than what I want in a meal. And in actuality, Italian farro, or semi-perlato (semi-pearled) takes about 10 minutes from dry grain to tender. I’ve been able to purchase it online, at Whole Foods or at a local European import store. If you can’t find it, regular farro is completely fine.
*This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid. Thank you, as always, for supporting the brands that support the work I create.
Farro and Parmesan Pie
Yield 8 - 10
Adapted from BonAppetit.com
Olive oil (for pan)
1 cup Italian farro, or semi-perlato farro (available at WholeFoods)
2 thyme sprigs
2 cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Pinch of nutmeg
4 large eggs
Grease a 9-inch springform pan with olive oil. Wrap the exterior in aluminum foil then place on a sheet tray. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large saucepan add 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the farro and thyme. Sauté the farro until toasted, about 10 minutes. Carefully add water to cover, along with a couple of hefty pinches of sea salt then bring to a simmer and cook until the farro is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the farro and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together 1 3/4 cups of the Parmesan, cream, milk, sea salt, lemon zest, garlic, nutmeg and the eggs. Add the drained farro and pour the entire mixture into the prepared springform pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until slightly puffed around the edges but the center has a bit of jiggle still in there.
Top the pie with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, move it to the top of your oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until deeply golden and bubbling.
Serve while just warm or room temperature.
The pie can be made the day before and gently reheated just before serving.