Seamus Mullen, Chef/Owner of Tertulia and Author of "Hero Food"

Seamus Mullen, Chef/Owner of Tertulia and Author of Hero Food

It's not everyday we get to hang out with celebrated chefs, so when the opportunity to visit Seamus Mullen in his own home presented itself, we jumped at the chance. We'll be the first to admit going through a bit of a fangirl moment - after all, he's spent time in some of Spain's most renowned kitchens; has competed on The Next Iron Chef; and has a laundry list of celebrities passing through Tertulia, his first solo restaurant here in New York. He quickly revealed, however, just how grounded he is, always letting his ingredients take center stage (and demonstrating how very little can't be improved upon with a few shavings of buttery jamón). Seamus is a true devotee to his craft and we have no doubt it's his eagle eye for detail, evident in both his restaurant and well-appointed home, that makes him the great chef that he is. Get ready to be inspired.

Read on to learn how Seamus's love affair with Spain began and for an incredible - yet easy to replicate - recipe for truffle risotto. Plus, an opportunity to win a signed copy of his informative and beautiful book, Hero Food!

Hello, chef! Please tell us a little bit about yourself, the amazing journey you've taken from your upbringing in Vermont to Spain, the country that seems to have largely shaped your cooking style and aesthetic.

I grew up in rural Vermont, in a tiny little town called Vershire. I was never particularly good at school, but I did have a knack for languages, which my high school Spanish teacher picked up on. She encouraged me to go to Spain for a study abroad program, and that really opened my eyes to a whole new world that was out there. Somehow I ended up in Michigan at Kalamazoo College (otherwise known as the Ivy League of Michigan) but was soon back in Spain, I couldn't stay away. Fast forward a few years and many highly random jobs later (including, in no particular order: working at an internet startup, driving a bus and teaching Spanish at UPenn), my grandmother Mutti really encouraged me to take cooking seriously and turn it into my career. My restaurant path took me from San Francisco (Mecca) to New York (Tabla) to Spain (Mugaritz, Alkimia and Abac), and back to New York (Crudo, Suba). In 2006, I opened Boqueria with a partner and in 2008 we opened Boqueria Soho. In 2010, I left Boqueria to pursue my own projects and I opened Tertulia in August 2011 - and here we are!

Huge congratulations on your first book, Hero Food, which focuses on the healing powers of foods you (re)discovered after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. It seems many of these foods already fall within the realm of your cooking repertoire. How difficult was it to change your old diet to accommodate this new, more healthful one? What food do you miss most from your old life?

Thank you! It was certainly a labor of love... a very long labor of love, but it was all worth it. I am eternally grateful to my editor, Dorothy Kalins, and to one of my best friends, Colin Clark, who shot all the gorgeous photography.

Health and nutrition are, naturally, of great concern and importance to me. RA can be a very difficult disease to understand and cope with, and it's certainly exacerbated by a job that is as physically demanding as being a chef is. But at the same time, I'm very fortunate that my profession just so happens to be in a field that allows me to better understand my health and nutrition, and do something about it. What I've learned or realized along the way is that all too often we think of "food/cooking/cuisine" and "health" as two separate categories, but they are not mutually exclusive - in fact, they very much go hand in hand.

Hero Food is, first and foremost, a cookbook. Whether you pay much attention to nutrition or health or not, at the end of the day, it's a collection of delicious recipes that I hope you'll want to make time and again. But my larger goal is to bridge the gap between the concept of "healthy" food and "delicious" food, and drive home the point that healthy food can be delicious, and vice versa.

It was a bit of a happy accident that I was already well-versed in the Mediterranean diet, which is rich with olive oil, fish, legumes, beans, etc. So I already had a leg up in terms of eating things that were good for me. More recently though, I've incorporated a few more changes to my diet, which have had a noticeable effect on how I feel. I've been reading a few pretty amazing books on health and nutrition that have really changed the way I think about food, such as Wheat Belly and Why We Get Fat. For example, I've cut out gluten from my diet, avoid sugars and too many carbohydrates, and increased my intake of protein and good fat, such as grass-fed butter. I do miss the occasional sandwich or slice of pizza, but overall, it hasn't been too tough of a transition.

(To learn a bit more about RA, visit the NIH site here.)

DIY copper pot rack created through the handiwork of chef Seamus

You've worked in some incredible kitchens and have quite a few celebrities among your fan base. Tell us: who's your favorite guest so far?

My favorite guest story would have to be when I cooked for Isabella Rossellini - she must have enjoyed it because afterwards she took my face in both hands and planted a big one, square on the kisser. With tongue, I might add.

With Tertulia, you're really opening up New Yorkers' perception of Spanish food beyond patatas bravas and gambas al ajillo. Other than drawing from your extensive time abroad, what else inspires you to create these fresh, innovative dishes?

You're exactly right, there is so much more to Spanish food than just tapas. Spanish food is still relatively underrepresented here in the U.S. - people know it mostly as tapas on one end of the spectrum, or the super avant-garde, El Bulli-end of the spectrum. But there is such a broad range of Spanish cuisine that is still unexplored, and that's what I'm trying to do here. In Spain it's called cocina de producto, or product-based cooking, where the ingredients are the real stars, and you do just enough with them to make them shine. I always say that I cook in the language of Spanish food - my food definitely has Spanish roots, and draws from the traditions I learned and embraced in Spain, but I am an American cook, cooking in New York.

As a professional chef, you must have a treasure trove of tricks up your sleeve - can you share a couple with us?

Definitely! Here are a few favorites:

When barbecuing, bury vegetables (eggplants, onions, peppers, etc.) directly in the coals. Let them roast in the intense heat of the coals until tender. Remove, let them cool, brush off the ash, peel and discard the exterior, and you're left with incredibly sweet, smoky, intensely flavored vegetables. You could also blacken eggplant/peppers in a dry cast iron pan slowly turning them until completely charred all the way around, for the same effect.

Embrace vinegar for finishing dishes - a couple of drops can balance the right amount of acidity and brightness in a stew, sauce, even a risotto. It's always good to have your workhorse vinegars, and then your finishing vinegars.

One last trick - one of the secrets to robustly flavored vegetarian cooking is having a rich, aromatic vegetable stock. Perhaps the greatest way to achieve really intense umami in your vegetable stock is to add dried shiitake mushrooms, in addition to aromatic veggies like carrots, onions, celery, or fennel.

What comfort dish do you and your wife, Lynn, like to make at home?

If we are cooking, we're big on one-pot meals at home - stews, risottos and the like. Easy and delicious! We are in and out of the restaurant so much and our schedules tend to be unpredictable, so it can be tricky to plan ahead or try to make anything too elaborate at home. And of course there are times where we cave and order in, in which case our go-to comfort food is Thai - specifically Pad See Ew noodles.

What is your biggest kitchen pet peeve?

My biggest kitchen pet peeve is not cleaning as you go! It's one of the most important lessons we learn as cooks. Especially in New York, where space is such a premium, both at home and in the restaurant. It helps you stay disciplined, organized and focused because you have to finish what you start, before moving on to the next step. It's my opinion that you're not finished cooking until you're finished cleaning. I love my wife dearly and she is a great cook, but sometimes it looks like a tornado hit our kitchen!

Favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?

Probably our Lagioule steak knives that we received as a wedding gift. They are really beautiful and just the best quality. And of course, my collection of Japanese knives.

In terms of gadgets, I do love my VitaMix blender. It just leaves all other blenders behind in the dust. I use it to make all kinds of soups and purees, but I especially love it for making smoothies in the morning. I'm a big fan of green juices and smoothies - I have a favorite parsley-based recipe in my book - but lately I have been making these coffee smoothies. I've been following Dave Asprey's Bulletproof protocol. The Bulletproof smoothie is coffee, MCT oil and 2 TB of grass-fed butter. I know it doesn't sound that appetizing but it's actually quite good, and gives me great energy. In Tibet, sherpas have been doing this for years at high altitudes, using yak butter mixed with tea. Think of it as Tibetan tea with yak butter with the added advantage of the caffeine kick.

They are more of an appliance brand than gadgets per se, but I'm a huge fan of Breville; they make the best home kitchen appliances. Really smart, well-considered designs. I have their SmartGrilljuicer and oven, all equally awesome. My latest acquisition is the Breville burr coffee grinder. I'm a bit of a coffee junkie so I'm pretty excited to use this.

Also, never underestimate the value of a good old spoon! It's good for tasting, basting and making a point!

Top pantry essentials in your kitchen?

My top three would easily have to be sherry vinegar, good salt, and excellent olive oil. Those three relatively simple items, but of the best quality, make a tremendous difference in cooking. I love Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar made from the PX grape for rich braises and stews - it has a deep, sweet flavor and mild acidity - and Montegrato Fino sherry vinegar for finishing salads, vegetables or anything that requires a delicate pop of fruity acidity. I always have at least kosher salt, sea salt, and fleur de sel on hand. My preferred olive oil is Valderrama Arbequina or L'Estornell unfiltered Arbequina olive oil.

Grass-fed butter is something I've become hooked on recently. I've used it often before of course, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I learned just how good it is for you, nutritionally-speaking. People shy away from using too much butter, but grass-fed butter is actually extremely nutritious. Among other things, it's got Vitamins A, D, E and K, lots of antioxidants, and it's a great source of Omega 3s and 6s. It's great for everyone, and particularly for someone like me who deals with chronic inflammation.

I always have good quality anchovies around - Don Bocarte or Ortiz are both great brands. Anchovies are one of my favorite foods (in fact there is a whole chapter dedicated to them in my book). I get weird looks when I say that, but I am happy to report that people are starting to come around! I serve a dish at my restaurant Tertulia called Tosta Matrimonio - it's a duo of black and white anchovies on olive oil bread with slow-roasted tomato and sheep's milk cheese, drizzled with a little bit of aged balsamic vinegar. It's been on the menu since Day 1, and it's one of our most popular dishes - once people try it, they totally become anchovy converts! And for good reason - they are super flavorful, and are incredibly healthy and good for you. They pack a big punch, so a little bit goes a long way. At home, we find ways to use it all the time - we put them in salads, in scrambled eggs, etc. Trust me on this!

I don't always happen to have a leg of Ibérico ham laying around, but luckily, today I do! It is hands down the best ham in the world. When I don't have the world's best ham readily available at home, I do usually have a good selection of cured meats - chorizo, sausage, soppressata, etc.

As you can see, I'm a big fan of Brooklyn Roasting Company too! When we moved to Dumbo, we discovered it was just around the corner from us, and as it so happens, one of the cofounders, Emily Sheppard, used to work with me back in the day at Boqueria. Their coffee is really excellent, and I'm really proud of what she's done with the company and how it's grown.

As far as condiments go - ketchup and mustard, because I secretly love hot dogs, and Sriracha, because it's good on everything! Last but not least, I always keep a stash of emergency chocolate somewhere. Oh, and ice cream.

Who is your biggest food inspiration?

Wylie Dufresne, for his out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. He looks at food as a logic problem that needs to be solved and comes up with a really unusual and unique point of view.

Jordi Vila, whom I used to work for at Alkimia. Jordi has expanded on the Catalan tradition that is his foundation, and has created a new Catalan cooking that is true to the flavors and ingredients of the past but integrates a lot of new influences. He's the guy that taught me to think about tradition but executing with impeccable technique. Elevate something humble to a completely new level just by considering how you prepare it.

On the personal tip, both of my grandmothers. Mutti, on my mom's side, is the one who really inspired and encouraged me to pursue cooking as a career, so I really have her to thank for where I am today. She attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris when she was young, and she introduced me to good technique at a young age. Meme, on my dad's side, was also instrumental in my culinary upbringing. My grandfather Proctor Mellquist was the editor-in-chief of Sunset Magazine for many years, so the two of them were really at the forefront of the California cuisine and lifestyle. I would visit them during the summers and was exposed to all sorts of incredible things at a young age such as truffles, foie gras and the most amazing coffee, which is probably what kicked off my caffeine habit; when other people were making Folgers, they had an Italian espresso maker and made Americanos in the morning and perfect frothy cappucinos in the afternoon.

Favorite restaurants, high and low?

Neta: this is one of our favorite new restaurants, just a few blocks away from Tertulia. They're doing some really amazing, inventive things there. And they make an incredible peanut butter ice cream.

Kyo Ya: Kaiseki is probably one of my favorite cuisines, and in New York, they do it best.

Pok Pok: Andy Ricker just kills it here. And I'm not just saying that because he's a friend of mine. His food here is so intensely flavorful and awesome, there's no other Thai place like it in New York. I could eat here every day.

Asiadog: I don't know why, but I just love hot dogs.

Locanda Verde: Consistently excellent, all the time.

Miss Lily's: Love their juice bar.

Favorite cookbooks?

This isn't a cookbook but I love Edible Selby. I love the way Todd Selby understands the whole package, how food, design, and aesthetic are all rolled into one experience. 

Hiroko Shimbo's Japanese Kitchen. For American cooks striving to understand Japanese cuisine, this is the quintessential book. It has all the traditional dishes and techniques.

I'm a huge fan of Olivier Roellinger. He was one of the first French chefs to eschew butter and cream in favor of delicate spice and vegetables. He truly captured the exotic flavors of far flung reaches of the world and brought it into his cuisine in a unique and beautiful way.

And without a doubt, Michel Bras' cookbook Essential Cuisine - it is the standard by which all food photography should be measured.

Just your average, everyday plugged-in New York couple ;)

A portion of Seamus's antique collection on display

Play out your last meal for us.

For my last meal, I'd kick it off with a bowl of heirloom tomatoes, Cantabrian anchovies, and fresh burrata, drizzled with Arbequina olive oil, 50-year old balsamic vinegar, and a fistful of fresh herbs. I'd follow that up with a huge bowl of Santa Barbara sea urchin with chilled dashi, fresh wasabi and yuba skin - I love sea urchin. Then, a few pieces of Toro sushi, shima aji tartare, Kobe beef carpaccio and white truffle risotto. For the grand finale, I'd have a plate of 48-month aged Ibérico ham from 5Js with a glass of Lopez de Heredia 2001 Rose wine. For dessert, two scoops of coffee gelato from il Laboratorio di Gelato and a Romeo y Julieta Churchill Cuban cigar. I think this feast would be most delicious somewhere in Paris, sitting alongside Picasso, Escoffier, Hemingway, Michelle Obama - and of course, my better half.

Whose pantries would you like to raid?

Juan Mari and Elena Arzak - they have probably the most insane catalogued spice collection I've ever seen.

Lior Lev Sercarz, from La Boite Biscuits & Spices. Here's a guy who spends all day, every day, thinking about spices, sourcing irreproachable spices, dreaming up spice blends - he is just amazing.

Yes, that would be an old school barber chair!


Wild Mushroom Risotto with Hen's Egg and Black Truffle

Serves 2

2 cups Arborio rice
1 shallot, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups mixed wild mushrooms, cut into equal sized pieces
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon dry white wine
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup finely grated Parmiggiano Reggiano
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 free range eggs
Fresh black or white truffles (as much as you can afford and then a little extra!)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 ounces sliced Iberico ham

In a medium sized pot heat the stock up to a simmer, then turn off. In another medium-sized pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the mushrooms a little bit at a time so as not to crowd the pot and to allow the mushrooms to brown evenly. Once they have browned, about three minutes, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic and sweat for 1 minute, taking care to keep them from taking any color. Deglaze with the Champagne vinegar and add the rice.

Toast the rice, stirring to keep it from burning, for two minutes until the grains of rice begin to turn translucent. After 2 minutes, add the white wine and cook to allow the alcohol to evaporate, about 1 minute. Season lightly with kosher salt and with a ladle, add the stock a little at a time, stirring constantly in the same direction with a rubber spatula (this keeps you from crushing the grains of rice.) As the rice absorbs the stock, add a little bit more, taking care not to boil the rice. Once the rice is nearly fully cooked, about 18 minutes, season with fresh ground pepper and fold in the grated cheese. Cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and emulsify in the butter until creamy. The rice should be nice and creamy, but you should be able to see each individual grain.

Divide the rice into two warmed bowls, making a small indentation in the middle of the rice. Carefully separate the egg yolk from the white and set aside the white for another use. Nestle the yolk into the indentation in the rice and season with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. Finish each dish with as many truffles and slices of Iberico ham as your budget allows. Eat right away!

To learn more about Chef Seamus Mullen, visit his website, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and if you're lucky enough to live in or around New York, be sure to drop by his gorgeous restaurant, Tertulia, where you can pick up signed copies of his photo-filled book, Hero Food!

Thanks, Seamus! We had risotto-filled dreams for a while after this. For your chance to win a signed copy of Hero Food, please leave us a comment below. You have until the last day of the month, Thursday, February 28, at 11:59pm/EST. Winner will be chosen at random - good luck!

*Photos by Christine Han Photography for Pantry Confidential. All photos on Pantry Confidential are original. Please credit and link back to our site when using our images, thank you.

Mindy Fox, Food Editor of La Cucina Italiana and Author of "Salads: Beyond the Bowl"

Mindy Fox, Food Editor of La Cucina Italiana and Author of Salads: Beyond the Bowl

Don't let that disarming megawatt smile fool you - Mindy means business in the kitchen and she's got the chops to prove it! After years of cooking professionally in restaurant kitchens, Mindy turned to publishing, gracing the general public with her flavorful and often Mediterranean-inflected cooking through titles like A Bird in the Oven and Then Some and Olives and Oranges. Her latest cookbook, Salads: Beyond the Bowl, explores precisely that, shaking up the paradigm of orthodox greens and infusing a fresh, delicious point of view - perfect for now, when the dog days of summer settle in and green markets really start to flourish. Meet this incredible woman whose love of good food is matched only by her passion for good design. A true fox!

(Sorry Mindy, we simply couldn't resist!)

Read on to learn an easy technique for making garlic paste and to find out how to take stock of your fridge "bank account" - plus, your chance to win a copy of Salads: Beyond the Bowl!

Hi Mindy! Please tell us a bit about your background and the incredible road you took to get to where you are today.

I'm the food editor at La Cucina Italiana magazine, and a food writer and cookbook author. I’m so grateful to be able to do a variety of things that I love, including developing, testing and editing recipes; styling food or overseeing styling at photo shoots; and researching, developing and writing food articles. Sometimes I travel to cover an article -- new environments, people, languages, ingredients, architecture, design, history and more are so inspiring to me; all are tied to food and cooking in all sorts of cool ways. Occasionally I do a TV segment to promote my new book, Salads: Beyond the Bowl. I also teach cooking classes.

My mom and dad are serious food enthusiasts and talented at the stove; both are adventurous with food and travel—they’ve influenced and inspired my food from day one. When I was 13, we moved from Chicago via NYC to New England. I was devastated! I missed my friends and felt like an outsider -- a big city kid who needed to form new friendship bonds and adapt to small town life. I sulked for what seemed like forever. Then I got busy with my mom in her kitchen and beautiful gardens. We had apple trees, a blackberry bramble, rhubarb and blueberry bushes, nasturtiums, zucchinis and their blossoms, pumpkins and more. My dad decided to raise a small flock of sheep, so in came the rams and ewes and of course the gorgeous little lambs then arrived (I went through a vegetarian phase at that time!). My mom began to market her famous Fox More Than a Mustard. We earned our allowance by putting labels on jars for her!

We didn't live off the land, but we did harvest and cook with everything we grew and raised. When I opened my eyes to what we had and how life had changed, it was magical. I began my path to understanding the value and quality of organic and freshly harvested ingredients, the deep satisfaction in raising and growing your own food, and the importance of farm preservation and sustainable land use. I spent a lot of time cooking with my mom during those years; it was transformative and the springboard to my career.

At college in Madison, Wis., I worked the outdoor coffee cart for a local cafe called Victor’s. On Saturday mornings I woke at 3am to brew coffee for the farmers' market. I’d pull up to the market around 5:30am to set up. As the sun rose over the Capitol building, the farmers unloaded gorgeous vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, cheeses, honeys, pies, maple syrup, and more from their trucks. Then they’d line up for coffee and to share their bounty with me before the throngs of marketers arrived. The sense of community among the farmers and people who worked the market was fantastic. I’ve found this same sort of bond in the greater food world, too.

My obsession with food and cooking continued to grow in Paris, France, where I spent my junior year studying film theory and photography. It was my first time in Europe. I fell madly in love with the culture of food shopping: going to the butcher for my meat and the cheese shop for my cheese; purchasing pastries from the patisserie. Each artisan doing business from his or her own focused environment felt natural and appropriate. I lived in a tiny maid’s room, with just a sink and a hot plate. No fridge! In the winter, I kept milk and other perishables on my windowsill. I’m amazed to this day how simply and well I cooked and ate in that sweet little space with such elemental tools. After college I worked my way up the line as a restaurant cook in Boston, then came back to NYC, where I landed my dream job as an assistant editor at Saveur. My publishing career grew from there.

Left: Mindy's mother's tasty mustard | Right: A favorite shopping staple

How would you describe your food aesthetic and cooking style?

Fresh and seasonal. Clean, vibrant flavors. Unfussy but dignified, i.e., simple-chic! Not too rule-oriented; healthy, but not without a bit of bacon, chorizo, prosciutto or mortadella often involved! Aside from Dijon mustard and Hellman's mayo (I love both and I use mayo on sandwiches and for quick weeknight aiolis), I’m not big on condiments. I love spices. My favorites include Aleppo pepper, piment d'Espelette, smoked paprika, sumac, coriander, za’atar, fennel pollen and fennel seed, and I rely heavily on good sea salts and freshly cracked pepper. My dad taught me about dried Greek oregano which I find at Greek and ethnic markets, often in long cellophane packages; it’s fantastic – intensely fragrant and flavorful.

What is the motivation behind your latest book focusing on salads?

I'm a serious salad fanatic! Salad is truly part of my everyday eating lifestyle. With Salads: Beyond the Bowl, I teach the craft and balance of a truly great salad. This involves everything from how you shop for, store and handle ingredients to the best way to dress and toss. A few little technique tweaks can help you master the dish!

Since a salad can contain as little as one main ingredient or many, and can include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, grains, pasta, fish, beef, poultry or game, and flavor influence from any culture, the variations are truly endless. And great salads can be made throughout the seasons! Have you ever shredded a raw celery root or shaved raw Brussels sprouts for a salad? You might be surprised how amazing it is!

We all like the idea of incorporating more vegetables and hearty grains and legumes into our diets, and it’s imperative that we do. When healthy food tastes incredible, you forget the “good for you” part. It just becomes fantastic eating.

Nothing is more gratifying to me than when I can contribute to another person’s enjoyment of food and cooking, and share how simple and phenomenal healthy eating can be.

Do you have any good chef/restaurant tips you can impart to the enthusiastic home cook?

I sure do! Much can be said here, but these are my biggies:

1. As much as is reasonably do-able for you, purchase ingredients locally and as close to the time you plan to cook them as possible to ensure vibrant and “alive” flavors.

2. It’s totally ok – encouraged even! — to veer off the recipe roadmap; this can help ensure that you use the freshest of what you find in the market and/or to waste less in your own home by using ingredients you already have on hand.

3. Relating directly to the above, I take an inventory of my fridge contents once or twice a week, and my freezer every few weeks; I jot it all down on a piece of paper and keep it handy to remind me to use up what I have. Chefs do this to look after their bottom line; you can do it, too. In 2010, the New York Times published an article stating that 25 percent of the food we bring into our homes is wasted. Try thinking of your fridge like a food ‘bank account’!

4. Prepare your mise en place (i.e., chop your veggies, garlic, herbs; measure your liquids, etc.) before you go to the stove to begin a recipe, instead of during the cooking process. And “clean as you go.” Both techniques help you keep organized and focused -- a major key to cooking well.

Clean as you go!

What are your favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?

The tools that probably get the biggest daily workouts in my kitchen are my microplane zester, which I use most often to zest lemons and grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and my timers. When you develop and test recipes, it's crucial to have good-quality timers that count both up and down. I also love my adjustable-blade slicer; it cuts radishes, fennel and all sorts of other veggies paper-thin which is very hard, if not tedious, to do with a knife, even a good sharp one, or thicker, depending on what you want. The way you slice a vegetable impacts the way you experience its texture and flavor; the same goes with cheeses and other ingredients.

Where do you shop for kitchen supplies?

Despaña in NYC is one of my all-time favorite shops. They have a Soho location and a lesser know outpost in Queens, which is a great local scene and is where they make their outstanding homemade chorizo and morcilla sausages. I go on Saturdays when as early as 9am they will pour you a glass of red wine to wash down the generous bites of cheeses, olives, sausages and more that are offered for sampling.

(Sounds right up our alley!)

I also love Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, and Eataly, where the espresso and gelato can’t be beat!! I shop at both often for ingredients for La Cucina Italiana magazine recipes. And I teach classes at Eataly; they have a great school there. 

Also Fante’s, which is very special kitchen shop in Philly. They have an extensive selection of Italian tools, including hard-to-find items like chitarra pasta makers and corzetti stamps. If you love to make pasta, these two shapes are really fun and easy. Check out recipes for chitarra, corzetti and more at La Cucina Italiana.

For kitchen and home gifts, I’m especially crazy about Marimekko, where I purchased the apron I’m wearing and our blue dot coffee cups, and The Global Table in Soho, for gorgeous bowls, serving ware and more.

What are your top pantry essentials in your kitchen?

I always have several high-quality extra-virgin olive oils, plus a good "cooking" ‘EVOO’ on hand. A great red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar and sherry vinegar (there are many others, but those tend to be my most reached for). A selection of high-quality sea salts. Black peppercorns. Garlic—especially fresh from the farmer's market when in season; what a difference! Anchovies. Lemons. Salt-packed capers. Good-quality canned tuna. Good dried pasta; several shapes. Freekeh and farro. Lentils. Sriracha! Pumpkinseed oil is a recent obsession... Honey; lots of varieties. Farmers' market eggs. La Colombe coffee beans!

Who is your biggest professional and personal food inspiration?

So many people! Here are a few:

Dorothy Kalins: My first boss in the food publishing world at Saveur, where she was founding editor. Dorothy is smart, funny, exuberant, demanding for all the right reasons and very real. Her instinct for intuiting what resonates with readers is genius and totally from the heart. Dorothy launched and edited powerhouse magazines for decades. She's produced stacks of fantastic cookbooks, including My New Orleans, by John Besh, which is one of our official 'house favorites'!

Alice Waters, for simple but amazing cooking and cookbooks, and for her beautiful life mission to help people eat better from a young age.

Heidi Swanson, for her unique flavor combinations and gorgeous photography, and her all around elegance and style.

Michael Tusk, for the way he so subtly puts his own touch on Italian cuisine while staying true to root principles of the culture and ingredients, and for his deep knowledge of and excitement about many lesser-known Italian ingredients.

Sara Jenkins: I love how she brings a broad range of Mediterranean ingredients into her Italian cooking. And for her tenacity and her porchetta!

My parents.

Is there a tasty hole-in-the-wall, neighborhood spot you'd be willing to share?

I love Tanoreen in Bay Ridge for delicious Middle Eastern/Mediteranean.

Chao Thai: tiny super-spicy Thai place in Queens.

Casamento's in New Orleans (family-owned since 1919!!) for the oyster loaf sandwich – supremely plump and crispy cornmeal-fried oysters between 2 slices of pillow-soft white Bunny Bread, slathered with a mayo and pickle mash-up and topped with shredded iceberg; a sublime and very particular sort of heaven... There’s a great tiny Mexican resto, hidden in the back of a bodega up here in Washington Heights, where I live... I can’t remember the name!

Favorite cookbooks/blogs/sites?

I love 101 Cookbooks, which is Heidi Swanson’s blog. I also am a dedicated reader of The Improvised Life and Remodelista blogs, which are about creativity, architecture, art and design, with lots of food and kitchen overlap.

I love so many cookbooks; too many to mention, so I’ll name some of the lesser-known: Lebanese Cuisine, by Madelain Farah; The Golden Lemon, by Doris Tobias and Mary Merris; The Geometry of Pasta, by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kennedy; The Balthazar CookbookFrank Stitt’s Southern Table.

AND lovely, interesting, super-cool food writing: Gumbo Tales, by Sara Roahen; Serious Pig, by John Thorne; and anything by Calvin Trillin.

Whose pantries would you like to raid?

1. Angelica and Marcos Intriango; owners of Despaña in Soho -- for AMAZING Spanish everything!!

2. Stanley Tucci -- he's a serious cook, the host of Vine Talk on PBS and is set to debut his cookbook this fall! And his role as Paul Child in Julie & Julia!? WOW; so sweet.

3. Sara Jenkins --we share a love for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients; she introduced me to Aleppo pepper, fennel pollen and sumac, and she’s always finding something new.

4. Massimo Vignelli -- I've actually pawed through his pantry and I'd do it again any day! Massimo designed the award-winning line of colorful melamine stacking dinnerware called Hellerware; I still have pieces from my parents' 70s collection! I’ve written about him for Saveur and Edible Manhattan magazines. He’s one of my design superheroes.

When beautiful form meets practical function: good design on display

What else should we know about you? ;)

My husband, Steve Hoffman, is an architect with his own design/build firm here in NYC, called DBA. He recently redesigned one side of our kitchen (the previous owner had done a gorgeous job with the other side. We surmise that her budget only allowed for that 50%!). We tore out the old and built the new together over one insanely crazy long weekend. We found elegant, simple cabinet doors and drawer fronts at Ikea, which we outfitted with invisible touch latches. And we got our dream fridge, a Fisher & Paykel "Active Smart". After years and years of using very old, super low-quality fridges, we are in supreme fridge heaven, and it's beautiful, too--smooth white with brushed aluminum handles.

Mindy with her sweet dog, Jasper


Panzanella Di Farro | Tuscan Bread Salad with Farro

Courtesy of Salads: Beyond the Bowl, by Mindy Fox

Serves 4 to 6

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Fine sea salt
1 large ear of corn, shucked
½ pound green beans, trimmed
6 tablespoons very good extra virgin olive oil
1¼ cups farro
1 large garlic clove
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Finely ground black pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into half moons
1 cup packed basil leaves, large leaves torn
4 medium radishes, halved and very thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. In a large serving bowl, toss together the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cook the corn and the green beans together in the boiling water; after 3 minutes, using tongs, transfer the corn to a cutting board. Continue to cook the green beans until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. using tongs, transfer the beans to a colander to drain, pat dry and place in a medium bowl (reserve the pot of water). Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and toss to combine.

Cook the farro in the boiling water that you used for the corn and beans, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the green beans until golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Let the beans cool, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Cut the corn kernels off the cob.

On a cutting board, slice the garlic clove, then mound the garlic together with ½ teaspoon salt, and using both the blade and the flat side of a chef's knife, chop and scrape the mixture into a paste. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 5 tablespoons oil and the vinegar. Add the garlic paste and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and vigorously whisk the dressing to combine.

Drain the farro, then spread it on a baking sheet set over a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. When the farro is cool, whisk together the dressing and add it to the tomatoes, along with the farro, green beans, corn, cucumber, basil, radishes, scallions, ¾ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss the salad to combine well.

What's your favorite way to enjoy salads this season? Share with us in the comments below and enter for your chance to win a copy of Mindy's inspiring cookbook, Salads: Beyond the Bowl!

Deadline: Friday, August 10, at 11:59pm/EST.

Good luck, readers! :)

*Photos by Christine Han Photography for Pantry Confidential. All photos on Pantry Confidential are original and copyrighted. Please credit and link back to our site when using our images, thank you.

Tamar Adler, Author of "An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace"

Tamar Adler, Author of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

“There is a prevailing theory that we need to know much more than we do in order to feed ourselves well. It isn’t true." 

The opening lines of Tamar's first book, An Everlasting Meal, speak to the heart of natural, resourceful cooking and eating that often gets muddled in this age of shiny tools and instant meals. She shares simple, but no less valuable, lessons in beautifully crafted essays that let you know she's equally adept with words as she is with ingredients. Having trained in the kitchens of Chez Panisse and Prune, Tamar provides thoughtful recipes (which don't often read like traditional recipes) that yield tremendously satisfying results, for both stomach and soul.

Read on to find out what irks Tamar in the kitchen and for your chance to win a signed copy of her amazing book!

Please tell us a bit about your writing process and if you can draw any comparisons between cooking and writing.

Something that's true of my writing is that I find that when things are just beginning, they're really tender, like small children, and I don't think they're ready to be thrown into the world. I'm not sure there's a correlate to that in cooking. Except that I can say, for me, that I don't particularly like making a lot of decisions before I'm in the middle of cooking something. That is to say that when people ask me how much salt I add to something, or how I'm going to finish something, or even sometimes what the finished dish is, I can't often answer. I add salt by tasting, like most cooks who haven't been beaten down by the cult of the recipe. Sometimes it's only when I've roasted broccoli, or cooked beans, or roasted a chicken that I decide that I want to make a broccoli bread salad, or make a chili oil for the chicken. So, in those cases, I suppose the idea of the finished dish is a little like the early stages of writing something.

That said, I don't have very intense expectations for what I cook. I just want it to taste good. When it comes to writing, I am meticulous. Every word matters, every comma matters, the rhythm of sentences read out loud matters. The nicest compliments I've gotten about An Everlasting Meal were the ones that said that parts of it read like poetry. One of my friends tried to get me to stop fretting about my fish chapter while I was working on the first draft by reminding me that I was writing a book on cooking, not a poem. But rhythm, diction, and cadence always matter to me, regardless of what I'm writing about, or for what. I've tried to rein that in a little as I've been asked to write blog posts and do written interviews because I could spend days on something people will skim in under a minute, if that.

As a professional cook, you must have some tricks up your sleeve. What is just one for all our readers, amateur, avid and everything in between?

Taste, taste, taste. And let yourself make changes if it doesn't taste right. Lemon helps everything, so does olive oil. If it tastes dull, make a little herby salsa, and breathe deeply.

Any tips to navigate the green market this season?

Go early. No, I would say to let yourself eat the most labor intensive vegetables raw. This can even go for artichokes, which can be de-leaf-ed and then sliced thinly for a salad. For everything else, buy a big, huge bag, and then put it on the table for everyone to help themselves to -- there's nothing wrong with having everyone snap and eat their own peas, or favas. And if you want to cook whatever it is, at least get help in the preparing.

You've worked in some incredible kitchens. Can you share with us a memorable war story?

I resist the current characterization of kitchens as mega-tough places. I tend to think of anyone who dramatizes the intensity of professional cooking as someone who just handles stress badly. I did have a rather mortifying experience one day in the prep kitchen at Chez Panisse when the chef that day -- cheffing duties are split between two people, with one working each half of the week to keep from burning out -- tasting these incredibly labor intensive tomato-potato tians I'd just made -- two massive ones, each with layers and layers of peeled, mandolined potatoes, thinly sliced incredibly ripe, salted, drained tomatoes, fresh herbs, oil -- and declaring them inedibly salty. I was saved by the fact that the second chef was in that day for a meeting, tasted them to confirm or deny, because deciding that would have meant either starting over or changing the menu, and deciding that they weren't at all, but only quite savory, as cooked, caramelized tomatoes can be.

Who is your biggest food inspiration?

Fergus Henderson; my old boss [at Chez Panisse], Cal Peternell; my brother, John Adler.

Favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?

Mortar and pestle. Everything needs pounding.

Where do you shop for kitchen supplies?

I can't remember the last time I bought a kitchen supply. I like a Japanese knife store called Hida in Berkeley, and when I'm there I buy a little paring knife, if mine is lost, which is often is. My kitchen utensils are old. I was just given a nice blender for appearing on a panel, and it's so new and shiny I've been scared to use it.

Top pantry essentials in your kitchen?

Good olive oil, kosher salt, lemons, dried chilies, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, fresh or stale bread, beans.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

Franny's, where my brother is chef; Camino in Oakland.

What are some of your most trusted cookbooks?

Simple French FoodThe Zuni Cafe Cookbook, Edna Lewis's The Taste of Country CookingNose to Tail Eating, anything by Hugh Fearnley WhittingstallBiba's Italian Kitchen.

What is your biggest kitchen pet peeve?

I really dislike when people leave something out after using it. I can't bear when someone has used jam or honey and then left it out, or left out the rest of the milk after using a little for coffee. It's so easy to put things away.

Whose pantry would you like to raid?

Alice [Waters]'s! She has the most wonderful utensils and ingredients and everything.


Braised Beef

Adapted from Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal

3 pounds meat from a tougher part of a happily raised animal
2 tablespoons olive oil
up to 1 cup clean vegetable scraps: onion, celery, carrot, fennel. If you've got no scraps, use pieces from whole vegetables
a bundle of parsley stems, sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf
optional: 1/2 teaspoon spices such as fennel seed, cumin, and/or coriander
8 cups stock, heated if you've got time
2 cups white or red wine or beer (or a nice rosé, in today's case), or a combination of any and the liquid from a can of tomatoes

Between a day and three hours before you want to cook the meat, salt it heavily.

If the meat has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature two hours before you want to cook it.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the oil in a pot big enough to hold the meat plus all the liquid. Add the vegetable scraps and herbs to the pot. If you're using the spices, add them, too. Once the vegetables have begun to soften, add the meat, stock, and wine-beer combination, and bring almost to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover tightly, and let cook for 3 to 4 hour in the oven (or a low simmer on the stove top) until the meat is tender enough to fall apart when it's pressed with the side of a wooden spoon. Check the pot more frequently if you're cooking different cuts of meat. Smaller pieces of meat will get fully cooked before larger or denser ones. When any is completely tender, remove it.

Strain the vegetabley liquid through a strainer. Discard the vegetables and taste the liquid. If it's too salty, add a little stock or water or some tomato paste. If you're eating the meat immediately, once it's cool enough to handle, cut it into slices or pull it into large pieces. Skim whatever fat you can off the braising liquid. Serve the meat with a little of its liquid on warm polenta, boiled vegetables, or beans.

If you have time, refrigerate the meat in its liquid overnight or for a few days. Fat will harden on its surface. Remove it and save it to cook vegetables in. Slice or tear the meat, reheat it in a little liquid, and serve as above.

*In today's application, Tamar suggests serving the beef at room temperature with olive-hazelnut tapenade, which can easily be made by finely chopping olives, pounding a little garlic with salt, adding red wine vinegar and toasted hazelnuts, and mixing in a good amount of olive oil. 

Thank you, Tamar, for fitting us into your busy schedule and letting us peek into your pantry! You can read more about Tamar on her website. She writes for The New York TimesMartha Stewart LivingGilt TasteFine Cooking, and The New Republic, among other publications.

Those in New York City-area are also invited to an event this Thursday, June 28, at Bubby's Tribeca, 120 Hudson Street. There is a free panel, whose speakers include Tamar, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Ruth Reichl, Jack Hitt, Gerry Marzorati, and Ron Silver, on the influence of MFK Fisher, at 6pm. There is a ticketed dinner at 7:30pm. More information on Bubby's site.

*Don't forget to leave a comment below for a chance to nab your very own SIGNED, paperback copy of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace. You have until next Thursday, July 5, at 11:59pm/EST. We will choose the winner at random and announce the lucky winner the following day - good luck! :)

*Photos by Christine Han Photography for Pantry Confidential. All photos on Pantry Confidential are original and copyrighted. Please credit and link back to our site when using our images, thank you.

Robynne Maii, Chef Instructor

Robynne Maii, Chef Instructor

When we first got together with Robynne over the summer, it was pretty apparent just how passionate this girl was about her food - whether it was through the photos she shared of her recent Persian pilaf obsession, or the very patient way she handled her gorgeous apricot tart. One look at her meticulously organized cabinets (check out her freezer!) seriously had us itching to run home and clean out our own unkempt pantries. We couldn't be happier to have someone as knowledgeable and downright nice as Robynne kick off Pantry Confidential with us.

Read on for Robynne's trusted pantry items and which chefs she thinks "give a shit about their food"!

Please tell us what you do.

I teach culinary and pastry arts classes at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). Last fall, we rolled out our new culinary arts AAS degree (we are the only school offering this degree in the New York metro area). I feel very lucky and privileged to teach with tremendous colleagues and to share my enthusiasm for all things related to cooking, eating, and experimenting different cuisines with our students.

What made you decide to go into culinary arts?

When I graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in English and modern dance, I was offered a teaching position at an all girls school in Manhattan - teaching, of all things, English and modern dance! I couldn't stop thinking about food and turned the position down and moved back to Honolulu and enrolled in the culinary program at Kapiolani Community College. It was important for me to pursue a career that I felt passionate about (I know this sounds cliche, but it's true!) and I could see myself enjoying for many years. Culinary arts is constantly evolving and there are endless things to learn. Everyday, I feel grateful for an opportunity to work with my hands and create delicious food. It's exciting and rewarding and I feel an extra responsibility to not only teach my students how to cook, but how to cook responsibly - minimal waste, good safety and sanitation, identifying quality ingredients, caring where our food is sourced, composting, recycling, and overall, becoming more involved than just putting food on a plate.

How would you describe your cooking style? Has being a Hawaiian in New York City impacted your food aesthetic at all?

I like rustic ethnic home cooking from all cultures - food made at home for either everyday cooking or for special occasions, but nothing that requires liquid nitrogen, sous vide, gums, etc. (I think molecular gastronomy is important and fascinating, but it's not how I like to cook). I mainly draw from the French and Italian repertoire - which is interesting, because I didn't grow up eating a whole lot of either cuisine.

I've been in NYC for 12 years and my palate has changed. I stopped eating white rice everyday during my first year here and have learned to love other grains - kasha, quinoa, spelt, barley, as well as pasta and couscous. I also go through phases where I'll do an intensive study of a particular cuisine. My latest obsession is Persian cuisine. No one makes pilaf like the Persians! The food is hearty, sensual, yet not overly aromatic with spices.

Moving to the East Coast has introduced me to really paying attention to eating seasonally and locally. In Hawaii, we have access to incredible tropical fruits, but I never really had great apples, pears, berries, and stone fruit until I started shopping at the Green Market. All these fruits and many vegetables are flown into Hawaii and are inevitably sub-par at best. During my visits home, I look forward to the papaya, mango, and apple bananas and likewise, when I return to NYC, I look forward to each season's offerings.

A lot of the ethnic culinary influences are Asian, yet the "local" food really has evolved into its own cuisine. It's a taste I don't find outside of Hawaii (well - perhaps in Vegas!). But, I've fallen in love with all the Mediterranean cuisines and when I go home, cook my family something new to give them a break from white rice, soy sauce, and meat. I think one of the most important things I learned from growing up in Hawaii is developing a good palate. People in Hawaii can cook! My mother and father are great cooks and I grew up eating well-seasoned home-cooked meals nearly every day. I feel that I bring this sensibility to my cooking style.

What are your favorite things to cook and eat at home with your husband?

On the weekends, we love making frittatas. I have to be careful because I can easily eat two eggs per day. We also love roasting chicken and make it about once a week. I've been experimenting with Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread book. It is brilliant and I've been baking some spectacular loaves of bread made from a natural yeast starter. We toast this bread nearly every morning for a quick breakfast. During the winter months, I make kimchee chigae pretty regularly to stave off the chill!

What's your go-to dish that's sure to draw raves from guests?

Korean-style braised short ribs (kalbi chim/beef Bourguignon hybrid) or slow-roasted leg of lamb (marinated with herbs, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest) or Zuni roast chicken and bread salad.

What are you favorite kitchen utensils or gadgets?

Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler: best peeler ever; comes in fun colors; useful for ribbon salads.

Sitram pot ware: great value and even cooking.

Top pantry essentials in your kitchen?

- Extra-virgin olive oil

- Red wine vinegar

- Kosher salt

Maldon Sea Salt

- Shoyu

- Rice wine vinegar

- Pasta

- Anchovies

- Crushed chilies

- San Marzano whole plum tomatoes

- Unbleached all-purpose flour

- Granulated sugar

Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

- Unsalted butter

- Chilled Champagne

- Water crackers

- Large eggs

- Parmigiano-Reggiano

Who are your cooking inspirations?

- My father and mother

Claudia Roden

Richard Olney

Edna Lewis

Which chefs do you admire?

This is such a hard question to answer simply! Too many to list! But, as of this moment:

Gabrielle Hamilton: love her food - simple, gutsy, delicious

Sara Jenkins: ditto from above - some of the best Italian I've had recently

Nick Anderer: if we lived in Manhattan, we'd go more often - superb pasta

Zak Pelaccio: I'm totally on the Fatty 'Cue wagon - some of the most addicting food I've ever eaten

These folks give a shit about their food! You taste it in every bite!

Do you have a tasty hole-in-the-wall you'd be willing to share?

Thai Son on Baxter for pho.

Whose pantry(ies) would you like to raid?

Families with lots of children because there's always fun snacks!

Where do you shop for kitchen supplies?

A Cook's Companion (Brooklyn)

Broadway Panhandler

JB Prince

Best tips for novice home cooks?

- Start with what you love to eat.

- Don't recipe hug! Improvise and relax!

- Learn to use salt!

What do you like to listen to while you cook?

Frank Sinatra


Nina Simone

Louis Prima


Favorite cookbooks/blogs/sites you get inspired by?


Canal House Cooking Cookbooks (all)

- All cookbooks by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

- All cookbooks by Claudia Roden

In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley

The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Sites (I'm not much of blog/site reader)

* * *

Robynne's Apricot Tart

1 recipe pâte brisée (see below)

1 cup frangipane (see below)

1 lb apricots

½ cup apricot jam

2 tablespoons apricot or cherry brandy (optional)

¼ cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely crushed

1. Roll out pâte brisée and line tart pan. Dock with a fork and chill until firm.

2. Blind bake tart shell for 10-15 minutes at 375F. Cool.

3. Spread frangipane over tart shell.

4. Halve or quarter apricots and nestle in decorative pattern in frangipane.

5. Bake tart at 375F until crust and frangipane is golden brown (frangipane will puff up around fruit), about 35-40 minutes.

6. Heat apricot jam in a small saucepan and loosen with 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a simmer and stir for an even consistency. Take off heat and add brandy if using.

7. Brush apricot mixture over tart—being generous.

8. Sprinkle nuts on tart as a decorative border.

Pâte Brisée (Flaky Tart Pastry)

Yields: One 10- to 11-inch tart shell

1¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

3-5 tablespoons ice water

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture until butter is the size of peas. Add water, starting with 3 tablespoons, and use the tips of your fingers to toss until dough holds together when squeezed. Add a little more water if necessary.

2. Form dough into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours to rest. Dough may be stored in freezer up to 2 months.

Frangipane Filling (almond cream)

Yields: about 1 cup

7 oz almond paste (not marzipan)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 oz unsalted butter, softened

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat almond paste, sugar, extracts, and salt on medium speed until uniform in texture.

2. Add butter in chunks, being sure to scrape down bowl between additions and maintain a cohesive mixture.

3. Add eggs in one at a time, scraping down bowl and beating well after each addition. Then finally, add flour.

Thanks for the beautiful recipe and peek into your pantry, Robynne!

*Photos by Christine Han Photography for Pantry Confidential. All photos on Pantry Confidential are original and copyrighted. Please credit and link back to our site when using our images, thank you.