This past weekend’s Virtual Ferment Fest was an absolutely fabulous, heart-lifting, globe-spanning microbial love fest. For  the festival, I did a short and sweet demo on making kosho, a citrus and hot pepper paste and also my favorite condiment for all occasions. Watch me ham it up for the camera here. Or follow the written recipe below.

I like doing these demos, and want to make them a regular thing. If there is a fermentation technique (or other kitchen skill!) you’d like to be guided through live, shoot me an email at

As you’ll see, this is more a loose guide than a recipe. I’m not telling you what exactly to use or how much. I want you to use your sensorial judgment. Be confident in your kitchen abilities and taste as you go!


  • Citrus (whatever you like, but skip the super sweet stuff like oranges, or use sparingly in combination with more acidic options like lemons and limes)
  • Hot peppers (pick your poison)
  • Salt


  • Slice off a small segment of citrus that includes the rind and take a bite. If it isn’t crazy bitter, use the entire fruit. Simply slice and deseed. 
    If it is unpleasantly bitter, just use the rind and juice (not the white pith between the fruit and peel). Feel free to mix different types of citrus together. As for quantity, 2-3 medium lemons will make approximately 1 cup of kosho.
  • Prep the hot peppers.
    -If using a super hot variety, you may want to remove the seeds and interior white veins.
    -If using something milder, simply remove the stem.
    As for quantity, it’s all about preference. If I’m using something very mild like Shishito pepper, I might do equal parts citrus and peppers. If using something very hot, I’ll just throw one or two peppers in. For two lemons, one or two jalapeños is plenty hot for me. 
  • Blend citrus and hot peppers together in food processor. I prefer the consistency a bit on the chunky side.
  • Tightly pack the mixture into a clean mason jar, removing as many air pockets from the mixture as possible.
  • Weigh the contents of the jar to calculate how much salt to add. 
    An easy way to do this is by getting two jars of the same type — one empty and one filled with the mixture. Weigh the empty one on a kitchen scale, and press “tare” on the scale. Then switch it out for the filled jar. 
    Calculate 2 percent the weight of the mixture in salt. So if the mixture weighs 250 g, that would be 5 g salt, about a teaspoon’s worth. Also, don’t feel like bothering with weighing out all the ingredients? A teaspoon or two of salt per cup of citrus-pepper mixture should be just right.
  • Sprinkle the salt on top of the mixture. Use a wet cloth to clean the exposed interior sides of the jar and remove any bits of the mixture clinging to the walls (it’s unlikely, but they could get moldy).
  • Loosely cover and allow to ferment at room temperature for three days to two weeks. Since this is such a salty, acidic environment, it’s highly unlikely that any mold will grow on the mixture. If for whatever reason it does, just use a clean spoon and carefully skim it off, and then wipe again the interior sides of the jar.
  • When happy with the flavor, seal tightly and store in the fridge indefinitely.


Fettuccine with Roasted Mushrooms in Lemon-Miso-Cream Sauce

My dream career would be running a restaurant in which I make one giant bowl of pasta for a dozen or so people four nights a week. While there may be a few financial holes in that particular vision for my future, I must say that I truly excel at making big bowls of pasta. It’s the nonna in me! 

This particular bowl of pasta is a dream. It’s got all kinds of umami (the fifth taste, which captures savoriness) – featuring darkly roasted mushrooms, garlic, miso, and a healthy shaving of parmesan. Buon appetito!


  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms
  • ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts (toast in oven at 350 for 12 minutes for extra deliciousness)
  • Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • a couple tablespoons of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan for grating
  • Olive oil


  • Prepare mushrooms. Preheat oven as high as it will go. Quarter the mushrooms and toss with a healthy glug or three of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven until brown and a bit crispy, about 15-20 minutes. To amplify the flavor, mix with a splash of lemon juice once roasted. 
  • Cook pasta. I recommend amply salting the water (Samin Nosrat says it should taste like the ocean) to properly flavor the pasta. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Heat a large sauté pan — enough to eventually hold all the pasta — on medium. Add the butter, and once melted, add the heavy cream. Once the cream comes to a boil, lower heat and add garlic and miso. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice, zest, and reserved pasta water to the cream sauce. The pasta water’s starchy goodness will give the sauce its body and help it stick to the pasta. Taste once more and adjust seasoning.
  • Return heat to medium, add drained pasta to sauté pan, and mix for about two minutes, so the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce.
  • Toss pasta with mushrooms, walnuts, and parsley, and top with a healthy amount of freshly shaved parmesan.

Orange and Olive Oil Cake

The first time I made this cake, one of the resident artists proclaimed it to be the best cake-eating experience of her life. But so much more importantly than the fact that it is exquisitely delicious, YOU ONLY NEED ONE BOWL TO MAKE THIS CAKE! It’s now become my go-to dessert. I make some variation of it two or three times a month. It’s satisfying, unfussy, and fast. You decide you want cake, and you’re eating it within the hour.

I’ve included several variations on the theme below the basic recipe.

Makes: 1 cake


  • 1½ cups flour (I recommend whole wheat pastry flour, but choose your own adventure)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (fresh is best)
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375 °F. Place a piece of parchment in a 9-inch round cake pan (a springform works well) so the bottom and most of the sides are covered. Lightly coat parchment with a splash of olive oil.
  • In a large bowl, thoroughly mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Crack eggs directly into the flour mixture, breaking the yolks with the spoon. Add orange juice, olive oil, and zest (if using) and mix until there are no more dry bits of flour.
  • Pour batter into the parchment-lined pan, and bake on the middle rack in the oven for about 40 minutes. Insert a toothpick to be sure the cake is cooked all the way through. There should be no wet batter sticking to the toothpick. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cake from pan. Gently peel away parchment, and let it finish cooling, ideally on a wire rack.
  • Grapefruit and Blueberry: sub grapefruit juice for the orange juice, sprinkle a generous handful of blueberries over batter in pan before baking
  • Lemon and Rosemary: sub lemon juice for orange juice, add 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary to batter
  • Lemon and Yogurt: sub 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup yogurt for orange juice
  • Vanilla Buttermilk: sub buttermilk for orange juice, add 1 tablespoon vanilla extra to batter
  • Chai Spice: replace half of orange juice with cooled chai tea, add 1.5 tablespoons chai spice mix to batter
  • Berries and Cream: sprinkle two handfuls of mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, chopped strawberries, etc) over batter in pan before baking. Frost with homemade whipped cream.
  • Chocolate and Orange Cake: frost with chocolate ganache and decorate with roasted citrus slices for a special occasion