EyeSwoon

  • The one food group we wish we’d consume more often, if only we could find more yummy ways to eat it? For many of us, that would be vegetables — which is why we’re such supporters of Hetty McKinnon, cook, writer and creator of veggie-centric food business Arthur Street Kitchen. The Brooklyn denizen by way of Australia has been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, and she’s made it her mission to teach people to cook more creatively and confidently with plant-based ingredients. Here, the Community cookbook author and salad specialist shares her pecorino-craving-induced broccolini recipe, plus a peek into her culinary world.

    NAME: Hetty McKinnon

    PROFESSION: Cook + writer

    COOKING MAKES ME FEEL… Like I’m doing what I was always meant to be doing.

    A LITTLE ABOUT THE RECIPE YOU’RE SHARING WITH US?
    This cacio e pepe broccolini with lemon pearl barley dish is typical of my mish-mash approach to salad making. As is common when I develop new recipes, this dish was inspired by a food craving (salty pecorino) which lead me to remember a rather spectacular pepper-laced pasta dish I enjoyed at Frankie’s Spuntino last Spring. I just love this combination of deliciously green broccolini teamed with hearty lemon-scented pearl barley, finished off with generous lashings of grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper. So simple, but full of flavor, which is my idea of the perfect dish!

    ESSENTIAL KITCHEN TOOL?
    My mortar and pestle because you can make countless salad sauces, pastas and dressings with it.

    THREE INGREDIENTS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
    Garlic, oil, butter – the basis of all delicious dishes.

    QUIRKY FOOD HABITS?
    I am rather addicted to the umami flavor of miso at breakfast time. I even love to add it to porridge, (to the horror of my husband).

     

    Eating a plant-based diet is not about what you are eliminating, but rather it adds another exciting dimension of flavor, texture and flair to your diet.

    BIGGEST SINGLE INFLUENCE ON YOUR COOKING STYLE?
    I grew up with my Chinese mother who nurtured and expressed her love for us through food. She cooks for her family with such thought and care. Her approach has had a profound impact on me in my professional career as a cook and as a food writer. When I cook and when I write, my thoughts are always on the person who will eat or cook that meal and how that dish will make them feel.

    SOUNDTRACK IN YOUR KITCHEN?
    I either listen to my retro playlist of ’80s or ’90s classics or a food podcast like Heritage Radio’s The Food Seen or Radio Cherrybombe.

    MIDNIGHT SNACK?
    Cheese – perhaps a block of Comte or D’affinois with my seedy Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers!

    BEST SOURCE FOR FOOD AND RECIPE INSPIRATION?
    Pinterest and The Guardian’s (UK) food columns

    I CAN NEVER RESIST… Coffee. It is the first thing I think of in the morning.

    THE RECIPE OR MEAL YOU ARE KNOWN FOR?
    My salads, of course. I can’t invite people to my house or go to someone else’s without a salad in tow!

    MOST SWOON-WORTHY RESTAURANT?
    I simply LOVE Babu Ji in Alphabet City. It is, hands down, my favorite restaurant in NYC right now. It has that informal Australian sensibility (which makes me feel at home) while showing a refined attention to detail. (Bollywood movies projected onto the walls are pretty cool!) And the food is SO delicious. Dining there is a full-bodied experience.

    THEY SAY YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT — WHAT ARE YOU?
    It has to be brussels sprouts – humble, laid-back, but full of surprises.

    TRIED-AND- TRUE ENTERTAINING TIP?
    I’m a huge planner when it comes to entertaining, so I like to have everything almost cooked or fully prepped by the time my guests arrive. That way you can minimize kitchen time and spend more time with your family and friends. And I always cook too much – it is always better to have too much rather than too little!

Cacio e pepe broccolini with lemon pearl barley

Hetty McKinnon

  • Ingredients

    • Serves 4

      • 454g / 16 oz broccolini, halved
      • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
      • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
      • 30g pecorino cheese, grated
      • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
      • extra virgin olive oil
      • sea salt
      • extra lemon wedges and pecorino, for serving

      Lemon pearl couscous

      • ¾ cup pearl barley
      • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
      • extra virgin olive oil
      • sea salt
  • Method

      1. In a medium frypan on medium heat, drizzle some olive oil and add the broccolini spears, garlic and pan fry for 2 minutes on each side, until there is some charring. Season well with sea salt.
      2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil, and add the pearl barley.
      3. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Drain, and return to a medium bowl.
      4. While still warm, add the lemon juice, zest, sea salt and oil.
      5. Combine the broccolini with the pearl barley and parsley.
      6. Spoon onto a serving plate.
      7. Sprinkle over black pepper and grate over the pecorino cheese.
      8. Serve with extra pecorino and lemon wedges on the side.

      © 2016 Recipe by Hetty McKinnon

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