Julia Turshen rocks my world. My copy of It’s All Good, the best-selling cookbook she co-wrote with Gwyneth Paltrow, is dog-eared, bookmarked and covered in curry from countless batches of my favorite Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas and Mustard. In addition to roasting vegetables with Gwyneth, Julia’s eaten kimchi with Jean-Georges and toured Spain with Mario Batali. These days, the native New Yorker spends her days closer to home doing what she loves most — writing about food. She has been working on two new cookbooks, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries and Dana Cowin’s Mastering My Mistakes, in addition to working on her own book (yes!) due to hit shelves in 2016. When not writing, Julia hosts Radio Cherry Bombe, a live, weekly radio show featuring some of the most interesting women in the world of food. On her show, Julia’s clear voice (literally) and love of food are evident. It’s this passion that has earned her a place on the kitchen shelves and in the hearts of foodies everywhere. In her own words, Julia is a believer in “less is more and simple is best.” She says, “Cooking does not have to be complicated or time-consuming to be satisfying and I often find that the less I do, the better the food is. If I take the time to source and buy good ingredients, most of the work is done before I even take out my cutting board.” In the light-filled Greenpoint apartment she shares with her wife, Design Sponge founder Grace Bonney and their beloved pets, Julia strives to keep meals simple and healthy, but also delicious. “Mostly I keep my pantry stocked with basics and then buy produce and protein on an as-needed basis. My wife and I love to spend Saturday mornings at the McCarren Park Farmers Market in our neighborhood after we take our dog to the park and get a bunch of things to last us for a few days.” Even if you don’t live in Brooklyn, you can channel Julia’s vision of culinary minimalism by swinging by your local farmers market or stocking some of the items she always has on hand.
1. Mama O’s Kimchi — I love having kimchi in the fridge to make kimchi fried rice with leftover rice or any cooked grain really. It’s one of my all-time favorite things to eat.
2. Eggs — My wife Grace makes the best scrambled eggs in the world, and we often eat them for breakfast. I find my best days are the ones that have started with eggs — they fill me up for a long time and give me good energy.
3. Arugula — I always have a box of washed arugula in the fridge. I eat a lot of salads and love that it lasts a while before it wilts and adds a peppery bite wherever it goes. It’s a definite go-to.
4. Gordy’s Pickle Jar’s Cherry Pepper Spread — Two friends run Gordy’s Pickle Jar and while I love all of their products, their cherry pepper spread is my favorite because it’s so versatile. I use it like I do any hot sauce, but I also cook with it often. When I am warming up garlic in olive oil for greens, I’ll add a spoonful of the spread. It’s like having chopped chills on hand all of the time, with a little bit of a vinegary bite.
5. Almonds — My mother told me she ate lots of almonds when she was pregnant with me which might explain my adoration for them. They are my go-to nut! I love to fry them in olive oil and add them to salads or roast them and add them to cooked grains. I like them with yogurt or ricotta. I love adding spices to them and also eating them totally plain. I love baking with almond flour and making almond milk from time to time. They’re so versatile.
6. Phin & Phebes Ginger Cookie Snap Ice Cream — Made by friends, Phin & Phebes is a delicious ice cream with all sorts of fun flavors and the ginger is my favorite. I’ve put away a pint by myself, it’s so good. It’s got tonnnnnns of ginger, which I love.
7. Blue Moon Beer — My favorite thing to drink while I’m cooking is a beer poured over ice with half a lemon squeezed in.
8. Super sharp cheddar cheese — Having cheddar cheese on hand makes me feel like a snack is always possible. I use it for a little quesadilla or on crackers with pickles or alongside a sliced apple. It adds just the right amount of extra heft to make anything feel complete.
9. Salvatorre Ricotta — The creamiest, most decadent ricotta made in Brooklyn by a friend. I like having a container in the fridge to spread on toast and then top with just about anything (sliced figs or peaches, raspberry jam, thin slices of country ham, etc.), or to mix with berries and toasted almonds for breakfast or to swipe on a plate underneath a piece of seared fish to offer a little creamy balance.
10. Hope and Turk – Loyal companions and sous chefs.
photo of Julia: Sasha Israel for bonberi.com