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Eating healthy in 2021 Curry Lentil Bowl

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Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

I am excited to share today’s recipe by Lidey Heuck via the New York Times. If you don’t already know, Leidy began her career as Ina Garten’s assistant, so needless to say, she knows her stuff. You can follow her on Instagram @LideyLikes.

In this vegetarian main inspired by Indian dal, lentils are cooked with an aromatic blend of Thai spices — fresh ginger, turmeric, red curry paste and chile — then simmered in coconut milk until fall-apart tender. Browning the sweet potatoes before cooking them with the lentils brings out their sweetness, balancing the heat from the chile and curry paste, while baby spinach tossed in just before serving adds fresh flavor. Serve over steamed white or brown rice, or with toasted flatbread on the side.

Curry Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Recipe
(from the New York Times) By Lidey Heuck

Serves 4-6

You will need:

– 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
– 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
– 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
– 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
– 1 red chile, such as Fresno or serrano, halved, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
– 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
– 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
– 1 (4- to 5-ounce) bag baby spinach
– ½ lime, juiced
– Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
– Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optional)

To prepare:
  1. In a Dutch oven or pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sweet potatoes to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, stock, salt and browned sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the lentils are creamy and falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.
  6. Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro and coconut flakes, if using.
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Holiday Gift Guide 2020

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It’s that time of year again: time for my holiday gift guide 2020. This year, I am putting an even greater focus on small businesses that I love. These businesses need our help more than ever, and I am happy to send some shoppers their way.

The holiday season is going to look different this season, and I think with the slower pace, there is more time for thoughtful gift-giving. Remember to place orders in advance to allow plenty of time for shipping! Take advantage of this weekend’s sales. With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, you can easily tackle everyone on your list!

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Annette joseph style's From left to right, top to bottom:

  1. La Fortezza Postcards & Art by Kate Bholm.
  2. Puzzle and Puzzle Glue from Anthropologie.
  3. Bottle Brush Trees by Annie Selke.
  4. Gauzy Robes from Food52.
  5. Saint Rita’s Pound Cake from Lucy’s Market.
  6. Negroni Bar Soap by Soap Distillery.
  7. Rain Boots from Le Chameau.
  8. Cookbook and iPad Stand from Etu Home.
  9. De Nimes Candle by Boy Smells.
  10. La Fortezza Workshop Gift Card, of course!
  11. Cashmere-lined, Italian Leather Gloves from Ann Mashburn.
  12. Hemp-infused Honey by Potli.
  13. Forbidden Fruit Puzzle by Piecework.

Happy Holidays!

xx Annette

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Summer Chapter Shoot for La Fortezza Cookbook

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As you all know, I am back in Italy. Mainly for 2 reasons:

1. Check on our house, La Fortezza.
2. Shoot the summer and autumn chapters of my next cookbook La Fortezza Cookbook, Rizzoli NY, Spring 2022.

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This project, for me, is a passion project. The book will be an epic and a beautiful depiction of the region we live in, in northern Tuscany. The book will be filled with local recipes and delicacies, gorgeous travel shots, typical local flavor, and purveyor portraits.

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These photographs will all be captured by the incredibly talented British Photographer David Loftus. I have been an admirer of David’s work for many years, as he has shot for some of the most famous chefs in the world; Jamie Oliver just to name one. His work is insanely beautiful. His discerning eye and recognizable style sets him apart as one of the world’s most respected food photographers. I was thrilled when he agreed to photograph my book.

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My sweet friend and producer, stylist Barbara Pederzini, agreed to help me with the prop styling. She brought all sorts of amazing serving pieces and plates to play with. I used a local chef to help prepare the dishes. It really was a magical team.

Without giving too much away, I believe that this book will take you on a journey and leave you with the lasting memory of a trip to our little piece of heaven. We will be shooting the autumn chapter starting October 5th, so be sure to follow the journey on my insta-stories. I can only tell you this is one of the best projects I have ever worked on. The love I have for this place, La Fortezza will shine through on every page and you will taste the love in every bite.

Until October, stay well x

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AJS Team in Quarantine:: Philip Meeker

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Hello! I’m Philip Meeker, the chef at La Fortezza. Some of you might know me from the cooking classes Annette and I do on her Instagram or from pictures of all the cool things we explore in Italy.

I hope you all are doing well as possible during this time of social distancing. For me, it’s been a mixed experience. Nothing really bad has happened, and I’m thankful for that, but the world has changed in a way that’s left me feeling more uncertain about how to move through it. Being forced to pause also forced me to pay attention to many things I was ignoring. It added to the discomfort of distancing, but it’s given me more self-awareness and has strengthened some of my relationships.

As part of that awareness, I’ve made sure to try to do a few things each week to keep things playful and my spirits up.

Wake up & Dance.
This may sound goofy, but I love to dance. It also gets me to pay more attention to my body and to be comfortable being aware of my feelings there. I’ve been tuning into DJ DNice’s quarantine mixes and have also had Beyonce’s Homecoming on repeat. She’s the Queen B.

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Date nights.
Sarita, who is my partner, and I love to have a night out. Since that’s off the table, I’ve been surprising her with coursed meals, from pasta to octopus salad to pistachio cakes. Sometimes, I feel like I’m unconsciously or deliberately trying to recreate our experience at La Fortezza. If you have a yard, and it’s still cool where you are, I highly recommend an evening picnic next to the fire pit. As the sun goes down, we will lounge about on our blanket in the grass, looking up into the stars, sharing our hopes and dreams. May sound a little saccharine but it’s relaxing. (I made sure to get her permission to share this.)

Nature.
I’ve mentioned this a little in my date night rec, but the outdoors have been bringing me much needed serenity. Whether it’s a jog through the nature-preserve trails near our house or a walk with Louis Harris, our Bichon, I find I start to breathe a lot deeper when I get some exercise while listening to the birds and feeling the sun on my face.

Yoga.
It’s been my centering practice for the last 8 years, but for some reason, I haven’t been able to get myself on my mat much during this quarantine. But as my yoga teacher advises, I’m not going to focus on what I’m not doing with my practice, and I’m going to accept where I am.

Cooking Classes with Annette.
Planning, prepping, and co-teaching these classes has been a welcomed project these months. Cooking with Annette, though virtually, brings back a lot of memories of cooking, dining, and exploring Italy with her. I’m planning to be back there this September with her.

Thanks, Philip! Find Chef Philip’s bolognese recipe here!

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Fresh Pasta Recipe:: Pasta Puttanesca

La_Fortezza_Kate_Blohm_2019-363 Over the past few weeks, our workshop chef, Philip Meeker and I have been hosting cooking demonstrations on Instagram LIVE. In fact, we had another one last week!

Each lesson utilizes our quick and easy handmade pasta recipe found here. It serves as a great base for any pasta recipe, including pasta puttanesca.

Famously named for Italy’s “ladies of the night” who quickly made it between clients, this fast, easy and delicious pasta puttanesca recipe is an ideal weeknight meal and is perfect for the warmer spring weather that is upon us. It’s from the archives, and trust me, you’ll love it. It calls for lots of jars, including jarred marinara. What’s not to love about that?!

You will need:
– 1 pound fresh spaghetti or linguini
– 2 teaspoons anchovy paste (don’t skip this!)
– 1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
– 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
– 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 jar Marinara sauce
– 1 cup jarred olive tempande
– 2 tablespoons drained capers
– 2 tablespoons dried basil
– Optional 2 tablespoons lemon oil

To prepare:

Cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling water until barely al dente.

While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy paste, red-pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and pale golden, about 2 minutes.

Add jar of marinara to garlic oil along with olive tempande and capers and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is ready.

Drain pasta and add to sauce. Simmer, turning pasta with tongs, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and lemon oil.

*Note: for a touch of protein you can stir in canned tuna to the pasta.

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