Healing through Homecooking

I hope the stress and shock of the election is behind us. Whatever candidate you voted for, I’m sure you’re still feeling, as I am, the aftershocks of this year’s election.

What can we do to lighten up? For me, one of the most healing acts is to get in the kitchen and cook and then to connect with our families and our communities over a table laden with delicious food and drink.

Cooking grounds us and allows us to use our imaginations. What better way to heal than cooking together with your loved ones?  When I’m in the kitchen with a glass of wine and my music, this is when I feel present. When I go to the grocery store and see and smell the abundance of seasonal ingredients and produce, I’m happy. I feel hopeful.

I hope you’ll find time to reconnect with yourself and your families during the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. Get in the kitchen or help the hostess by bringing a gift that you made yourself.

I will leave you with several of my favorite Flirting with Flavors recipes: Ginger Pear Martini, Celery Root and Leek Soup,Kale and Red Kuri Salad, Secret Ingredient Sweet Potato, and Roasted Cauliflower.

I have made all of them numerous times and I can assure you, that they are crowd pleasers.

Wishing you and your family a peaceful, delicious and healing holiday!!

Pear and Ginger Martini
Pear and Ginger Martini
Print Recipe Pear and Ginger Martini
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Martinis


The Martini

  • 1/2 cup ginger simple syrup, cooled
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • 3 tablespoons St. Germain Liqueur
  • 3 cups pear juice
  • 6 pear slices, garnish

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons piece ginger, peeled and shaved


Pear and Ginger Martini

  • Place all the ingredients in a pitcher.
  • Stir well, then chill in refrigerator.
  • Pour into martini glasses.
  • Garnish with pear slices.
  • Alternatively, you can shake mixture in a cocktail shaker filled with ice to chill immediately.

Ginger Simple Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, add all ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium.
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, strain, and cool.


Celery Root Soup With Pear & Pancetta
Celery Root Soup With Pear & Pancetta
Print Recipe Celery Root Soup With Pear & Pancetta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 ½ pound pancetta, finely diced
  • 3 pears, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 leeks, carefully washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Salt and pepper


  • Heat a large stock pot over medium heat for a minute, and then add oil.
  • Give oil a few seconds to heat up before adding pancetta.
  • Cook, stirring, until pancetta is very crisp, about 6 minutes.
  • Remove pancetta and let drain on paper towels.
  • Add 2 of the diced pears, carrots, leek, garlic, and celery root to the pancetta fat in the pan.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, melt the butter.
  • Add the remaining pear and the sugar, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until nicely browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the thyme and chicken stock to the stock pot and increase the heat.
  • Bring the soup to a boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Purée the soup using your preferred method, either with a blender or food processor.
  • Divide soup amongst serving bowls, and garnish with pancetta and caramelized pears.

Kale and Red Kuri Squash Salad
Kale and Red Kuri Squash Salad
Print Recipe Kale and Red Kuri Squash Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


For Salad

  • 1 Red Kuri Squash
  • 1 pinch Ancho Chile Powder
  • 2 Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch Kale, ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 Sea Salt

For Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  • 1 pinch Ancho Chile Powder
  • 2 Sea Salt

For Parmesan Tuilles

  • 1/4 Grated Parmesan


Roast Squash

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split red kuri squash in half from top to bottom and scoop out seeds. Slice squash into 1 1/2 inch wedges. Toss wedges with a pinch of ancho chile powder, sea salt and lightly dress with olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees until tender.

Prepare Kale

  • Massage the kale with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Let marinate at least 10 minutes, and up to 24 hours. Set aside.

Make parmesan tuilles

  • Sprinkle grated parmesan in 2 equal rounds on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake in a 350-degree oven until lightly golden. Let cool, then carefully remove from tray and set aside.

Make vinaigrette

  • Whisk together the red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, honey, and a pinch ancho chile powder. Season with salt.

Put it all together

  • Cut warm squash into large chunks. Dress squash and kale together with vinaigrette in a bowl. Crack the cooled tuilles into the salad and serve.

My Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes
My Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe My Secret Ingredient Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: Holiday
Servings: 8


  • 5 pounds (4 or 5 large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 oranges, sliced in half and flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 regular-sized (not mini) marshmallows, cut in half horizontally, or toasted chopped nuts, optional


  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 1 ½ hours.
  • Remove from the oven and cool. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F. 
  • While the potatoes are baking, add the pineapple, orange zest, and the flesh of two oranges to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth.
  • Peel the baked potatoes, discarding the skin. Place them into the food processor or blender with the orange mixture, as well as adding in the brown sugar, butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Puree into smooth.
  • Divide the mixture evenly amongst orange halves. Bake for 20 minutes, then take out of the oven and set to broil at 350°F. 
  • Place 3 marshmallow halves on top of each orange cup and broil for 30 seconds, or until nicely toasted. 

Simply Roasted Cauliflower
Simply Roasted Cauliflower
Print Recipe Simply Roasted Cauliflower
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 2 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Salt
  • 2 Pepper


  • Preheat the oven at 350F
  • Rinse and dry cauliflower head
  • Trim away the leaves at the bottom of the cauliflower
  • Cut out the stem and tough core of the cauliflower
  • Place on a roasting pan
  • Drizzle with EVOO
  • Rub the oil on cauliflower until it is well coated
  • Season the cauliflower with salt and pepper
  • Place the pan into the oven, and cook for an hour
  • Crank the heat up to 450F and roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes until it is golden brown on the outside, and tender on the inside.
  • Enjoy.