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Cake Is The Remedy | German Marble Cake

Cake Is The Remedy | German Marble Cake

Marble Cake | Delightful CrumbI am here today to talk about cake. Because cake, if you ask me, is essential. Life is hard and busy and often confusing; the pockets of calm and perfect clarity are rare and short lived. Though the temptation is persistent, I’m determined not to wait for vacations and date nights and holidays and the achievement of lofty goals to enjoy life. We need routine and everyday life to sparkle, too.

Enter cake, preferably during the day. My love of simple cakes is well and thoroughly documented, so perhaps you could wonder what more I might have to say. Forgive any repetition, but here I go again.

In my opinion, afternoon is the ideal time for cake. In many other countries, they understand this, but here in America, we lag behind. Sure, I love to have something sweet at night, but I usually reach for dark chocolate, dates, citrus in winter, berries in summer. At this point, I certainly hope to be satiated from dinner. In the afternoon, however, when one is feeling peckish, deep into the day’s work, perhaps desperate for a break, in need of something warm and/or caffeinated, cake is the remedy.

I’m trying to be more intentional about both rest and inviting people into my home this year. I’ve never been good at pausing from work and to-do lists but know this is an essential practice, one I’d regret not cultivating. And as for the latter, I love hosting and cooking for others, and it brings me tremendous joy, but I too easily hesitate—I don’t have time to tidy up, I should make an elaborate meal, I want to plan ahead, I have other things to do. But these are rather silly excuses in the face of something joyful, life-giving, communal.

And so, I’ve been inspired to host friends for Sunday afternoon cake. Not only does this involve both rest and hosting, but it also has the benefit of not necessarily lasting all night—because the truth is that sometimes we do not have time for six-hour dinner parties, and also some of us do not have dishwashers.

There is much talk of cake in Luisa Weiss‘ lovely book, Classic German BakingGermans understand the importance of cake. They even have a name for the afternoon coffee break, God bless them: Kaffeezeit, or “coffee time,” where cake plays a starring role. All of this makes me very proud of my German heritage, and perhaps explains something about this obsession.

I thought my Sunday afternoon cake idea was quite clever, but then, as I sat down to write this post, thoughts organized and cake baked, I flipped through Luisa’s book and stumbled across this paragraph: “For Germans, the next step to getting to know others isn’t getting together at home for cocktails, like in France, or for dinner, like in the United States, but inviting them over for cake and coffee on a weekend afternoon.”

WELL! Apparently, this whole cake thing runs deep in my German blood. Or rather, it has married with the bit of British in me, and the collision of tea time and Kaffeezeit has created something unstoppable.

I did know enough about German tradition to turn to Luisa’s book—which is full of gorgeous simple cakes—when I decided that I wanted to instate a Sunday afternoon cake tradition. Way back in 2015, I tested some recipes for Luisa while she was working on this cookbook. One was her Gugelhupf cake, and I’ve wanted its namesake pan ever since. A couple of weeks ago, full of weekend cake fervor, I ordered one and went straight to this marble cake. I love its dramatic peaks and swirls, its heartiness and restrained sweetness and glorious crumble.

We ate this on a Sunday afternoon with dear friends, passing around their baby as the sun sank down, lingering long enough to pop open a bottle of pink bubbles, rested and happy and full.

Marble Cake | Delightful Crumb

Marmorkuchen (Marble Cake)

From Luisa Weiss’ Classic German Baking

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

The mention of white chocolate made me hesitate, but Luisa explains in the headnote that this doesn’t make the cake taste of white chocolate but instead adds a richer, toastier quality to the white cake—I found this to be true. I am a bit of a novice at swirling marble cakes, but I think it’s actually rather hard to make a mess of this, so don’t worry too much.

This cake benefits from a rest, so you can make it one day before serving if you like. Leftovers will keep, wrapped tightly in plastic, for three days at room temperature.

3 1/2 ounces (100 g) bittersweet chocolate (minimum 50% cacao), chopped

3 1/2 ounces (100 g) white chocolate, chopped

18 tablespoons (250 g) unsalted high-fat, European-style butter, softened, plus more for the pan

1 1/4 cups (250 g) cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups scooped and leveled (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons whole milk

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, placing the rack on the bottom third of the oven.

Generously butter and flour a 9-inch Gugelhupf or Bundt pan.

Put the bittersweet and white chocolates into two separate heatproof bowls that can be set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolates, one bowl at a time, over gently simmering water. (You can also melt the chocolates in the microwave.) Set aside to cool.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment. Add the sugar and salt and beat until light and fluffy. (Alternately, a handheld mixer will work just fine here.) Beat in the vanilla extract and then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition, until the mixture is well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Beat the flour into the butter mixture. Then, scrape out two-thirds of the batter and place in a medium bowl. Stir the melted white chocolate into this larger batch of batter until no streaks remain.

Add the melted bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and milk to the remaining one-third of the batter, beating until fully combined.

Scrape half of the white batter into the prepared pan. Top with the bittersweet batter, then the remaining white batter. Using swooping motions, drag the blade of a knife through the batter to create a marbled cake. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Place the pan in the oven and bake until the white part of the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean. This will take about 60 minutes in a Gugelhupf pan but closer to 45 minutes in a Bundt pan.

Place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding the cake onto the rack. When the cake has cooled completely, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve.

Avocado, Citrus & Fennel Salad for Winter

Avocado, Citrus & Fennel Salad for Winter

Avocado Citrus Salad | Delightful CrumbWinter in California will always feel like spring to me, because it feels like spring in the Midwest—my home, the place whose rhythms beat in my chest no matter where I go. It’s not just because we go back to Michigan for the holidays and this is the very welcome weather we return to in January. It surely has something to do with the rain. But more than anything else, it’s an unnamed quality, something in the air, that fresh scent paired with the green grass and the warmth of the sun, all bundled up into something I can describe but never name.

And spring in the Midwest feels like hope. Everyone who’s lived in a cold place knows what I mean. It’s the relief of winter ending, of the snow melting and the seasons turning and the sun reemerging, one more time, just as it always does right when you’re about to abandon hope.

But if, perhaps, it comes in January rather than March or April, this sensation is compounded by the spirit of the new year. Intentions and resolutions and all of that hoopla—I love it unabashedly and unironically. The whole thing is cranked up a notch when it also feels like springtime to my soul. But this year, I spent much of January sick, with that nasty flu virus it seems everyone has, and I’m finally reemerging into the glorious world where there are such things as fresh citrus and sunlight and people, gosh darn it! I actually have the energy that one might apply, for example, to a renewed yoga practice! So I’m really leaning into the whole thing right now.

Yet the feeling of spring in January feels like cheating, to be honest, even five-plus years into California living. I’ve not withstood nearly enough to get that boost of light and hope! My compatriots across the country are still digging cars out of snowbanks and bundling against the chill and paying those high heating bills and so much more, building that unmatched Midwestern resilience. I try to just be grateful, and channel all of the springtime vibes I can gather to those of you still in the dark of winter.

Enter this salad.

That winter is the season of citrus and avocados has always seemed so right to me. The vibrant oranges and reds and pinks and yellows of grapefruits and pomelos and oranges and tangerines, their brilliantly bright flavor, the comforting richness of avocado, the way its fat balances out all of that acid: this is my favorite winter combination. Sometimes I keep it at just those two ingredients, topped with good olive oil and flaky salt. But more often, I expand the concept slightly to what follows, bulking up the salad with fennel and layering flavor with toasty nuts or seeds, the spice of pepper and barely pickled onion. This is a formula salad, the sort of thing that takes well to adjustments and improvisation. Leave something out, or follow your impulses to add another dimension. But regardless, let it brighten up your days, like sunshine, like hope, like the coming change of the seasons and perhaps even the reminder of home.

Avocado Citrus Salad | Delightful Crumb

Winter Salad of Avocado, Citrus & Fennel

Serves about 4 but scales up or down easily

1 small red onion or shallot

Red or white wine vinegar

Fine salt

1 bulb fennel

2-3 pieces of citrus, preferably different types; I like to vary both size and color if I can (e.g., orange, cara cara orange, blood orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pomelo…)

1 avocado

Olive oil

Large handful toasted pepitas, sunflower seeds or sliced almonds

Small bunch of parsley, or another soft herb, leaves picked

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Aleppo pepper (optional)

Flaky sea salt

Freshly cracked pepper

Thinly slice the red onion or shallot. If using a red onion, first cut it in half, then slice it into half moons. Put the slices into a small bowl, then pour in enough vinegar to pool at the bottom of the bowl. Add a big pinch of salt, then massage the onion and vinegar. Leave to pickle slightly.

Remove the fennel fronds if they’re still attached to the bulb, reserving some for garnish. Halve the fennel bulb lengthwise, remove the core and thinly slice lengthwise. A mandoline slicer works well here, though it’s not necessary.

Peel and slice the citrus however you’d like. If you have time and the inclination, you can supreme them, but I usually don’t. Usually, I simply remove the peel and pith, then slice each fruit into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Reserve the juices that pool on the cutting board, as best you can. Halve the avocado, then cut each half into slices.

On a large platter, arrange the fennel, citrus and avocado. Sprinkle the onion or shallot slices over top. (If you don’t need all of them, save the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a few days to liven up other salads and the like.) Drizzle generously with olive oil, the vinegar from pickling the onion and the reserved citrus juices.

Sprinkle the nuts/seeds, parsley and pomegranate seeds, if using, over top. Use plenty of toppings, but also make sure to leave the salad below visible. Finish with the Aleppo pepper, if using, plenty of flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Avocado Citrus Salad | Delightful Crumb

Speculoos & Cookbooks for Gifting

Speculoos & Cookbooks for Gifting

Speculoos | Delightful CrumbHello friends, and merry Christmastime! We are in the season of festivity, and I am loving it, as I am wont to do, from baking cookies to shopping for gifts to catching up with friends over drinks. And every day as I work, tucked between my space heater and little twinkling Christmas tree, I am grateful for the extra bit of cheer.

I’m popping by today with a list of favorite cookbooks that would make for mighty fine gifts, plus a cookie recipe that would serve you as either a gift or a treat for well-deserving you.

First, the cookbooks! My list is limited to cookbooks published this year, as I needed some sort of criteria to reign myself in, and have chosen only 10. There are many more that could have made the list, of course, including some I’m hoping Santa will bring to me, but hopefully this gives someone out there an idea or two. As a baseline, these all have the essentials: a strong and encouraging voice, well-tested recipes and good design.

Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh: For the baking enthusiast, or Ottolenghi enthusiast, in your life.

Dining In, by Allison Roman: For your fun sister-in-law who likes such things as red nail polish, witty writing, savory breakfasts, lemons and fresh kitchen inspiration.

Six Seasons, by Joshua McFadden: For the produce lover who makes it to the market rain or shine.

Cherry Bombe: The Cookbookby Kerry Diamond: For all the badass ladies you know. Toss in a subscription to the magazine to really take it over the top.

Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat: For a cook of any skill level who wants to understand exactly how things work (plus illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton!).

Tartine All Dayby Elisabeth Prueitt: For the gluten-free pal you are always forgetting is gluten intolerant, or for anyone who loves fresh California fare.

Feed the Resistanceby Julia Turshen: For the activist who’s always gathering friends around her table.

Dinner: Changing the Gameby Melissa Clark: For the parents who need some encouragement in the daily grind of dinner.

Brave Tart, by Stella Parks: For the baker who loves Americana.

Short Stack Editions (fun little cookbooks organized around an ingredient): For hosts or coworkers, or for that stocking you’re stuffing. Dorie Greenspan has written a new one on butter; I have no doubt it’s amazing.

And now, holiday treats, from the first cookbook on my list. I’m well past my Ottolenghi blogging quota for this quarter, but apparently I don’t care…

Speculoos (or speculaas) cookies are common in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. They are thin and crunchy, made with a blend of warm spices and typically stamped with an image on the front. I encountered them first in West Michigan, where packaged windmill cookies are easy to find even at the big grocery chains. My Dutch friends were enthusiastic about them, but I didn’t quite understand the hype. Out here in the Bay Area, though, I met Evy Ballegeer, who owns the speculoos cookie business Little Belgians. Her cookies are cute, crisp and delicious, and she is a lovely human. I loved her and those cookies immediately. So did Ben. As someone of Dutch descent, he did have a soft spot for the packaged windmills, and Evy’s rendition is even better.

I’ve long wanted to revive some Dutch recipes for our yearly Christmas cookie rotation (my family is big on tradition, so my side is sufficiently covered in this regard). This became especially true after I was charmed by the Netherlands on our vacation this summer. So when I saw Ottolenghi’s recipe for speculoos biscuits in his new cookbook, Sweet, I knew they’d have to make it to the table this season. They’re delicious with a cup of coffee or your evening tea, and I bet they’d be lovely next to ice cream, too, as the recipe headnote suggests.

(Alternately, if you don’t feel like baking, just order cookies from Evy! They are fantastic, and she even makes a striking, 10 inch-tall Saint Nick for the holidays.)

May you and yours be cozy, safe and full of joy this holiday season.

Simple Speculoos Biscuits

From Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet

Note that instead of making the spice mix, you can buy it at certain well-stocked stores. But if you can get all of the spices and spare a little time, this will serve you for a few batches of cookies. Save what’s left from this recipe in a tightly sealed container.

You can make this dough ahead of time and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to bake, or you can make half while freezing the rest for your future self.

Makes about 60 to 70 cookies


Mix together:

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground aniseed

3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


3 2/3 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons spice mix (recipe above)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (250 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 packed cups (330 grams) dark brown sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons (50 ml) dark rum or brandy

1 large egg white, lightly beaten until frothy

1 cup (100 grams) sliced almonds

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, spice mix, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the rum or brandy and beat until inforporated. Add the dry ingredients and continue to beat on low speed. The dough will likely be difficult and dry, but it will come together eventually.

Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and knead lightly to bring together. Divide into two pieces, cover each loosely with plastic wrap, then press down to form flat disks. Transfer to the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can also freeze the dough at this point.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it’s just under 1/2 inch (0.5 cm) thick. Using a 2 1/2- or 3-inch round cookie cutter (or whatever size and shape you like), cut out biscuits and move them to the baking sheets, with a little over a half inch between cookies. Reroll the scraps to cut more biscuits. When the baking sheets are full, use a pastry brush to lightly paint a thin layer of egg white over each biscuit, then sprinkle with the sliced almonds. You may need to repeat this with additional baking sheets, depending on the size of your pans and the cookies.

Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the sheets once, until the cookies are deep golden brown and the almonds toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes on the baking sheets for the biscuits to cool slightly, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

In an airtight container, the cookies should keep for about a week.

Cooking on the Road | Roasted Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata

Cooking on the Road | Roasted Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata

Roast Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata | Delightful CrumbLast week, to take advantage of Ben’s Thanksgiving vacation, we traveled south for a few days, staying for a night in LA (a city that, for me, never disappoints) and then driving east to Joshua Tree. Neither of us had ever been, and it was epic and beautiful, just as we’d hoped. The desert always fascinates me: a wild wasteland yet abundant. We went on a long hike that ended in an oasis, a gathering of willow trees where the temperature must have dropped 10 degrees and all kinds of plants were growing—only a mile back, it was all rocks and dust and Joshua Trees and vast blue sky.

Joshua Tree | Delightful Crumb Joshua Tree | Delightful Crumb I love traveling for many reasons. High on the list is the opportunity to see something new, a place I’ve never been before, surprising in its uniqueness, provoking new thoughts. It’s one of my favorite parts of any adventure. But as much as I love to travel and try new things, I’m not a totally free-wheeling, super-flexible type—those are just not my strengths. I felt bad about this once upon a time, but I don’t anymore. I have other skills. I am proud of my ability to plan a good meal in a foreign kitchen, to scout out worthwhile restaurants and hikes, to keep track of the budget along the way, to choose well on a new-to-me menu or at a poorly stocked grocery store.

There’s an article in the November issue of Sunset Magazine about climbing slot canyons and glamping at Zion National Park—which sounds like a pretty excellent combination of activities, I must say. There was a quote from a middle-aged woman named Lucy who, in explaining how perfect the situation was for her, said how much she loves nature but that she’s “a big scaredy-cat.” And though I’ve never glamped (it is a verb, too?), I share that perspective and loved seeing it in print. Far too often, we talk about enjoying nature and lacking some sort of earthy fearlessness as diametrically opposed, and that’s just not the case.

So in the spirit of adventure-plus-preparedness, I give you an excellent simple recipe, a version of which was on the table at our desert Airbnb for our Thanksgiving-adjacent feast on the holiday. It’s always a trip to cook in someone else’s kitchen, with their pots and pans and not-so-sharp knives and lack of a food processor, using grocery store goods from whichever chain you found on the way. This dish is perfect for such times, whether you’re at an Airbnb relaxing or in your in-laws’ kitchen for the very first time, trying to impress. Consider the ingredient list and instructions loosely; this is an outline that doesn’t require precision.

Roast Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata | Delightful CrumbRoasted Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata

Serves 2 – 6, depending on the size of the squash and your level of hunger

If you want more of the flavorful, herby gremolata, you can easily double what’s called for below. Feel free to switch up the herbs or use another nut if you’d like. If you can’t find kabocha squash, delicata is just as good, but butternut will work wonderfully, too. In that case, peel the squash before slicing it into large pieces.

1 kabocha squash

Olive oil



Aleppo pepper (optional)

Greek yogurt, labneh (which is easy to make yourself) or strained yogurt

Small handful of almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

About 1 cup parsley, mint and/or cilantro, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 lemon, zest and juice, plus additional as needed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds and slice each half into big crescents, about 1 inch thick. Place the slices of squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon for a small squash and 2 for a large one). Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, plus Aleppo pepper if you have it. Mix well with your hands, right on the baking sheet. The squash should be well coated in oil, but there shouldn’t be any extra pooling on the pan. If the pan is crowded, use a second one so that the squash doesn’t steam. Spread the pieces out evenly.

Roast the squash for about 35 minutes, flipping once midway through, until dark golden brown in color.

Season the Greek yogurt or labneh with a pinch of salt. Spread on a serving platter.

Make the gremolata. In a small bowl, combine the almonds, herbs, garlic, the zest and juice of about half a lemon, a pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Add olive oil to cover, then mix again. Taste and add more lemon juice, zest and/or salt to taste.

When the squash is nicely browned, remove the pan from the oven and allow the squash to cool slightly. Arrange it over the Greek yogurt and top with the gremolata. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and an extra sprinkling of flaky salt.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Squash with Yogurt & Gremolata | Delightful Crumb

The Greatest, Smallest Thing | Cauliflower, Grape & Cheddar Salad

The Greatest, Smallest Thing | Cauliflower, Grape & Cheddar Salad

Cauliflower, Grape & Cheddar Salad | Delightful CrumbI used to want to change the world, to influence efforts of justice worldwide, to make my mark in an indisputable, “significant” way. I still want to change the world, of course, and many days I still wish I could make a big, dramatic mark. But I think about these things differently than I once did.

I’ve been reminded lately that my truest scope of influence is the small one: the near connections of close friends, family and coworkers, the interactions I have on a daily basis, the things I say and buy and write in emails, what I destroy and what I preserve. It is easy to feel overwhelmed these days—are there actually more tragedies and disasters, or do we just know about more of them? The question is in the air, at the edges of so many conversations. And it’s not that we shouldn’t pay attention to the bigger issues, not at all—we should pay very good attention. Yet in attending to the big things, we must make sure we do not miss the small ones.

This is what I have always loved about food. It is small. It is everyday. It is personal. You touch it with your hands. You need it to live. Feeding others very literally sustains them. I heard a panel of food professionals asked recently, Is it troubling to work in food in such a time as this? I thought that was a funny question. I’ve never wondered if working with food mattered; it’s what drew me to it in the first place. Because what is more basic and necessary than this? Whether powerful or marginalized, rich or poor, in the apartment upstairs or a country across the globe, we all need to eat.

Here in California, fires ripped through the North Bay just a few weeks ago. It was devastating. I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to a tragedy of that scale. The smoke hung over Oakland for well over a week as first responders struggled to gain control over the fires, giving us the tiniest hint of how terrible things were to the north, ensuring we didn’t move on mindlessly as our neighbors suffered. But it was amazing to see how people responded—with action, not just words or sentiment. And we need to continue doing this: buying California wines especially from those directly affected, visiting these cities to invest in their economies, asking how we can help.

But at the end of the day, it is a tragedy. By definition, we can only do so much. We cannot “fix” it. And when it comes to suffering, this is more often than not the case.

At the end of the first week of the fires, I went to the Cherry Bombe Jubilee in San Francisco, a gathering with so many smart, tough, interesting women in food. It was enlivening. It felt like hope embodied—look, here is a community! You aren’t alone. Also this month, I have both been a guest and thrown a solid dinner party, and both were genuinely life-giving. Because what we CAN do is love our neighbors, open our homes, feed our families and friends and strangers, think beyond ourselves—and this generosity, this spirit, is transformative.

In the midst of all of my musings about dinner parties came last week’s feature in The New York Times Magazine. Gabrielle Hamilton’s thoughts on the matter are characteristically blunt and brilliant. She recommends asking nothing of your guests; to be on the receiving end of this, she says, “is just the greatest thing of all time.” I have to say that I agree, though I’m always glad to bring dessert or a salad or a bottle of wine, too. I’m also all for the dinner party in which you don’t sweep the floors and/or you don’t actually cook and order takeout instead. The key is making it doable enough that you do it again (and again and again). It can’t be so fancy that it becomes a rarity. The point is gathering and giving, and I’m afraid we’re losing this in favor of either eating alone in front of Netflix or going out for an expensive meal where the dinner party is created for us.

Please—let us not lose this, as it is one of the smallest and most glorious things we can do. Feed yourself, as you, too, need to eat. And feed your family, regularly, joyfully, of course sometimes wearily. Then reach out and feed a few more; they will remind you that you’re not alone. When we look to the small things, we realize that we are not powerless after all. While we might not be able to turn the whole world around, we can surely transform these smaller worlds we inhabit, and that’s just as important—one might argue that it’s the very same thing.

Cauliflower, Grape & Cheddar Salad

Slightly adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

I would never have thought to combine all of these ingredients, but the result is exceptional. And yes, I know that I gave you an Ottolenghi recipe last month, too, but I’d forgotten that when I decided I’d share this, and both recipes really are worth the Ottolenghi oversaturation. I know this goes against food blogger best practices or whatever, but I’m not much for following rules on that front these days. What can I say? The man knows his vegetables, and these cookbooks truly are winners in my kitchen, month after month, year after year.

The farro makes for a heartier salad; leave it out for something less filling. Almonds would make a good substitute for the hazelnuts. And I think this would do quite nicely on a Thanksgiving table as this year’s “unique side”!

1 large or 2 small cauliflower, sliced or broken into bite-size florets (about 2 pounds/900 grams)

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup (30 grams) raisins

1/3 cup (40 grams) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

About 1 cup halved red grapes, seeded if necessary

3 ounces (80 grams) creamy, mature Cheddar, coarsely crumbled

1 small or medium bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1 heaped cup cooked farro, optional


Freshly cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, stir together the vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine. Add the raisins and let them marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Just before serving, combine the cauliflower, hazelnuts (reserve some for garnish), grapes, cheese and parsley (reserve some parsley, too) in a large bowl. Pour the raisins and dressing over top and toss to combine. Finish with the reserved hazelnuts and parsley for garnish, plus a little salt and pepper. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.