recipe: kimchi soup

Having successfully made it through winter without a flu shot or the flu, I was taken aback by a head cold at the beginning of March. Sluggish and phlegmy, but not sick enough to stay home from work, I needed a cure - and fast. Immediately, I thought of a spicy kimchi soup I once tried at Seoul Garden in Korea town. Since I was sick, I didn't take the time to research traditional kimchi soups; rather, I based this version off ingredients already in my pantry/refrigerator. I was stunned with how well it turned out, and it certainly sped up my healing process. To boot, I liked it so much that I made a second batch, adding in some leftover pulled pork that I had frozen from my last supper club. What I've posted is the basic recipe, but feel free to add extra heat, protein or whatever else strikes your fancy.


Kimchi Soup

Prep: 5 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 8 cups broth (of choice - I used a combo of chicken and vegetable)
  • 1 head *napa cabbage, roughly chopped (bite size)
  • 1/2 jar kimchi
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 jalapeno, small dice
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt (to taste)


  1. Quickly heat tomato paste in the bottom of your soup pot, over medium heat. Add broth and turn to high heat.
  2. Add kimchi, lemon juice, napa cabbage and jalapeno.
  3. Once mixture is fully heated, add ginger powder, tumeric, paprika, salt and stir. (Adjust spices/salt to your personal taste, as needed.)
  4. Heat until stalks of napa cabbage are tender. Serve piping hot.

*Savoy or green cabbage will also work, if napa is not available at your grocery store. (You may notice, in my picture, that I used savoy cabbage, since I couldn't find napa for my second batch.)

recipe: gluten- and nut-free granola

If you're a vegetarian, gluten-sensitive, have food allergies or are simply seeking to follow a more health-focused diet, you're a part of a major movement that is reshaping the way we eat. Working for a cooking school, I have witnessed an increased interest in health-conscious cooking and, more interestingly, have noticed that most of my colleagues are affected by at least one food allergy or intolerance. But rather than "suffer" from food sensitivity, home cooks can take this opportunity to become better informed, to learn about what goes into our food and - at best - to make most of what we eat from scratch. 312349_408120529270048_2122183696_n

So that's how I arrived at my DIY granola. I had been innocently enjoying a morning pistachio/mulberry mix, when my allergist informed me that I have a mild allergy to certain legumes and nuts - including pistachios. That's when I realized that the pistachios were the most recognizable item in my granola, and I had no idea what else might be in there.

This granola gets its crunch from seeds, rather than nuts, and coconut chips. The signature (but absolutely optional) ingredient is a spice blend by Lior Lev Sercarz, the master spice blender at La Boîte á Epice. I met Lior at the Institute of Culinary Education, where he was teaching a class inspired by his new cookbook, The Art of Blending. When the class was over, there were a few half-full containers of his spice blends left over, which he encouraged me to take home.

Over the past few weeks, I have sprinkled Lior's spicy "Shabazi" blend over freekeh with eggs and roasted vegetables with his "Marrakesh", but spent more time nostalgically sniffing than actually cooking with his French gingerbread-inspired blend, "Reims". Mixing it into my granola added a savory complexity that goes far beyond cinnamon. In truth, it's an excellent example of how spice can empower health-focused cooks - a flavorful mission that I think Lior, himself, would fully back.

Gluten- and Nut-Free Granola


  • 5 cups gluten-free oats*
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup coconut chips
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins/craisins
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1-2 pinches of high quality sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp "Reims" spice blend (in lieu of this, you can pass on spice, or add fall/winter baking spices, like cinnamon or "pumpkin pie spice")


  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Add coconut oil, and mix.
  3. Beat egg whites, and add to mixture. Dry ingredients should be lightly coated by oil/egg whites, to the point of just beginning to stick together. You can add more oil/egg white if necessary.
  4. Shape granola into a "donut" on large greased baking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. (The "donut" ensures that you don't end up with an uncooked middle.)

*Oats are naturally gluten-free, but if you have gluten sensitivities, it is important that they are verified as being produced in a gluten-free environment.

recipe: sweet and savory leek kugel

Anyone who has stood over my shoulder in the kitchen can attest that I struggle to follow a recipe. Instinct and creativity derail even my most earnest efforts. In fact, most of the time when I cook, I'm just winging it, grabbing the ingredients that look the best and throwing them together in the way that seems the most fitting or interesting. With all this imaginative initiative, you'd think it'd be easy for me to write a recipe...and you'd be wrong. Making things up on the fly is one thing, but writing down what I did so that someone else can test it out is another beast entirely. I look innocent, but trust me, I'm recipe off-roading.

Needless to say, it takes a gentle push to get me to write a proper recipe, and this week, that motivation was Food52's "your best leek recipe" contest. The first time I ate leeks was in Paris, and I instantly fell in love with this elegant green legume. The first few times I cooked with leeks, I used the whole vegetable (and it tasted fine to me!), but as time went on I learned to search for the long, slender white stems that make for the best leeks (and started discarding the rougher dark green tops).

A Carly staple: savory leek tart. (This rendition included asparagus and gruyère)

My favorite way to eat leeks is still in a savory tart. I tenderize mounds of the chopped veg in a little butter, and pile so many leeks atop the crust that there's barely room to add the egg and dairy binding agents. But for this occasion, I wanted to think outside the box. So my humble offering is a spin on another of my favorite foods: noodle kugel. This mildly sweet noodle dish plays on the flavors and textures of your typical kugel, but adds a savory element that renders it suitable at almost any meal. If you test it out, be sure to tell me your thoughts! (

Making her recipe debut! Sweet 'n' savory leek kugel.

Sweet and Savory Leek Kugel


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups chopped leeks
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, chopped (stems and leaves separated)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 8 oz egg noodles (for gluten-free, follow my lead and use spiral quinoa pasta)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups high-quality, whole milk ricotta
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Soak golden raisins in a glass of boiling water. Add cinnamon and stir. Set aside.
  3. Sautée leeks in 2 tbsp of butter. When just soft, set aside.
  4. In the same pan, sautée chard stems until tender. Set aside.
  5. Drain out most of the water from the cup of raisins. Add remaining raisins and liquid to pan, along with lemon zest and chard leaves. Sautée quickly (don't let it get overly wilted) and set aside.
  6. Boil pasta until al dente. Strain into a colander, rinsing with cold water to prevent over-cooking.
  7. Whisk together eggs, ricotta, a splash of milk and a generous pinch of both salt and pepper.
  8. Mix all ingredients together, and place in a medium-sized, greased glass baking dish.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, broil for final 2-3 minutes if you prefer a crunchier "crust".