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I love the way that seemingly complex things can seem simple under the right lens, approach, or perspective. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know how I feel about simplifying. There are always bags for donation piled in the front end of the garage, yet I never seem to be able to really, truly simplify. I’ve always suspected that the root of the issue is having too much stuff, but no matter how much I get rid of there is still clutter, mess, and disorganization.

You can imagine my excitement upon ordering The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m in the middle of reading it and applying the method to my own belongings before moving on to the kids’ belongings, and Kyle is going to apply it to his things too. I have filled several bags full of clothes and boxes of books for donation. I’ve dumped loads of papers in the recycle and I just recycled all my old back issues of Vogue. There’s a small part of me that loved having all those old issues of Vogue, but the reality of it in a cluttered home is much less “Carrie Bradshaw cute”, and way more “Carrie Bradshaw neurotic”.

If any of you have read the book you’ll see I’m only part of the way through the process. I am trying to take it one day at a time and not go overboard (something I have a tendency to do) and try to do it all at once… and also trying to be okay with the fact that in the meantime our house is inarguably a disaster! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our physical environment reflects our emotional life and visa versa. Meaning that if we tend to feel scattered, frazzled, and overwhelmed that our space will not only reflect that feeling, but contribute to it. The way we feel and the space in which we live are intrinsically linked together. My friend Amanda recently wrote a post about how keeping a tidy house helps her with her anxiety. This gives me a more clear and motivated reasons to really, truly simplify.

I also love having a project, especially when things are hard, which they have been. Having something to chip away at helps me stay more centered and focused on something that I have some control. There’s an element of cooking that is centering and focused too, which is probably why I love it so much.

In cooking, just like in tidying, things that seem complicated can really be the simplest of things. Whipping up tart, silky mayonnaise seems like a daunting prospect but in actuality it’s a simply a matter of whisking the right ingredients in in the right order. Making earthy, deep stock from scratch can sound overwhelming but it’s actually just a matter of throwing a few things into a pot, covering them with cold water and letting them simmer away. Making fresh pasta can appear to be complicated, but it is really flour and eggs pulled together, left to rest, rolled out, and cut.


The same goes for complicated sounded meals like Braised Endive Tartines with Prosciutto and Lemon Ricotta. Just the word “tartine” can sound complicated, but it’s really just fancy toast. Braising is one of the simplest forms of cooking. Watery, crisp, bitter endives are quickly chopped and sautéed before being doused with heavy cream and popped into the oven until they have completely surrendered and are soft, caramelized, fragrant and densely rich.


Crisp, buttery toasts are smeared with ricotta that’s riddled with vibrant flecks of lemon zest, topped with salty, ribbon-thin prosciutto, and then piled with the creamy endives. I love to serve these toasts with bitter arugula that’s been tossed in a simple Lemon and Tarragon dressing. The bold salad flavors cut through the richness of the tartines and also help brighten them up.



6 cups trimmed and sliced endive
12 slices prosciutto, very thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
pinch nutmeg
1 cup ricotta
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
2” sprig fresh tarragon, plus 1 tablespoon minced for the salad dressing
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for the toasts
6-8 slices crusty french bread, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
about 4 cups arugula

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in oven-safe pan over medium heat. Sauté the endives for 3-5 minutes, until they have sweated off a bit of moisture and wilted a little. Turn off the heat before adding the butter, cream, nutmeg, and a bit of salt and pepper. Toss in the sprig of tarragon. Stir together and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 1 hour, remove from the oven, stir it together, and return it to the oven for another 30-45 minutes, until the cream is thickened and the top is a deep golden brown. Remove the endives from the oven, stir them together, and allow them to cool a bit while you prepare your bread, ricotta, and arugula salad.

In a small bowl whisk together the ricotta and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Butter your slices of bread and place it, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Pop them under the oven broiler for a few minutes until they are lightly golden and fragrant.

To assemble the toasts, smear each slice of bread with a thick layer of lemon ricotta, top with a little prosciutto and the endives.

For the arugula salad whisk together the lemon juice, the minced tarragon, and continue whisking while drizzling in about 1/2 cup olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss some of the dressing with the arugula.

Plate the toast along with a bit of salad, drizzle a bit of the excess dressing over the toasts if desired, and enjoy immediately.

Serves 4.


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