People often ask me about cookbooks and which ones are best suited for those who are just starting to get into the kitchen. My recommendation is always The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. As the titles states, the recipes are simple. For the most part, they are easy to follow, articulated in a thoughtful manner, and always turn out delicious. The recipes in this cookbook will boost the confidence of even the most intimated cook. Just follow the directions, and in no time, you will be sitting down at the table ready to eat a delicious creation of your own making. This past weekend, I made quarts of chicken stock for the coming weeks, so for lunch, I decided to make Alice Water’s Curly Kale and Potato Soup. I swapped out shallots for onions and added some chili flakes for a little heat. It was satisfying, simple, and kept my energy up for the rest of the afternoon.


Makes 4-6 servings

1 large bunch curly kale, leaves removed, rinsed, and roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Yukon Gold or Yukon Finn Potatoes, rinsed, cut into 1/4 inch slices
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 shallots, skin removed, sliced thin into rounds
sea salt
black pepper
Pinch dried red chili flakes
6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
parmigiano reggiano cheese

Prepare all ingredients. In a large stock pot, heat the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Don’t let the garlic brown. Season with a large pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Then add in the potatoes, kale, and red chili flakes. Stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked all the way through. Taste the soup. Season for salt and pepper.

Garnish with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


(Adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)