Chef Ali's Cellophane Noodle Soup with Beef and Chinese Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage

Long, pale and frilly Chinese cabbage is mainstay throughout Asia. Left raw it adds crunch to a salad or slaw, sautéed it adds texture to a stir fry and slowly braised it soaks up flavors becoming a beautiful vehicle for flavor. Here are 3 recipes one for each incarnation.

Cellophane Noodle Soup with Beef and Chinese Cabbage

This soup is sort of an amalgam of a Japanese dish called Sukiyaki and Vietnamese Pho. It is wonderful on a cold night, or afternoon, even the morning. Cellophane noodles can be found at most natural food stores. They are made from mung beans and get all slippery and unctuous in the broth. If you don’t eat beef substitute chicken, fish or vegetable stock and obviously leave out the beef, if you choose chicken you will have to let it cook a bit longer in the broth, but leftover roast chicken is a terrific substitute.


  • 3 quarts Aromatic broth (recipe below)

  • 1-pound sirloin or chuck steak sliced against the grain as thinly as possible, which works best when half frozen marinated in the following and– (you can also use cooked leftover meat, add marinade directly to broth if you chose that option)

  • Marinade:

  1. 2 cloves garlic sliced
  2. 1 tsp fish sauce
  3. 1 tsp raw sugar
  4. ¼ cup sherry or rice wine or sake
  5. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  6. 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 whole Chinese cabbage- white parts cut into 1” pieces
  • Burnt onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup carrot cut in 1” pieces
  • 3 scallions cut in to 1” pieces
  • 1 package firm tofu cut in 1” chunks
  • 3 bundles of cellophane noodles soaked for 10 minutes in hot water then drained
  • arnish- Raw sliced jalapeno, basil leaves, lime juice, scallion, Gochuchang (Korean red pepper paste) or sriracha, hoisin sauce)


  1. Bring Aromatic broth up to a simmer

  2. Add Chinese cabbage, carrots & scallions

  3. Cook for 20 minutes until carrots are soft

  4. Bring heat up to almost a boil and add the raw meat and marinade

  5. Cook for about 5 minutes you want it to remain tender

  6. Add cellophane noodles, cook for another few minutes until then become clear

  7. Divide tofu among 4 bowls

  8. Ladle soup over tofu along with, spoon out meat, noodles and vegetables

  9. Garnish with whatever you like

  10. The noodles are very very slurpy – you’ll need a spoon and chopsticks or a fork.


Aromatic Broth - you can make this a few days ahead of time or even overnight in a crock pot.

  • 1 half of a yellow onion (Don’t slice it just cut it in half)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 10-12 black peppercorns
  • 1” piece peeled ginger, smashed
  • 2” piece of lemon grass pounded with a mallet a few times
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tbs fish sauce (omit if vegetarian)
  • 3 quarts beef stock – homemade or purchased
  1. Place the onion cut side down in a pre-heated pan (if you have a gas stove you can do this directly over the flame) and let it burn—no really it needs to char- you should probably open a window or turn on the exhaust fan when you do this- it takes about 8 minutes. Set it aside when done to use for the soup.
  2. Heat a large pot and add cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds and black peppercorns
  3. Cook until fragrant- only a few minutes, watch them carefully you don’t want them to burn
  4. Add the garlic, lemon grass and ginger stir around
  5. Add Stock and fish sauce
  6. Allow this to simmer for about at least hour, don’t let it boil.
  7. Strain and discard all the bits

Chef Ali's Peanut Noodles with Asian Slaw

Chinese Cabbage

Long, pale and frilly Chinese cabbage is mainstay throughout Asia. Left raw it adds crunch to a salad or slaw, sautéed it adds texture to a stir fry and slowly braised it soaks up flavors becoming a beautiful vehicle for flavor. Here are 3 recipes one for each incarnation.

Peanut Noodles with Asian Slaw

I LOVE this dish for a potluck it can be served warm, room temperature or cold straight from the fridge (actually it’s a fabulous thing to find in your fridge when rummaging through looking for a midnight snack). If you have a peanut sensitivity substitute tahini for the peanut butter, and toasted sesame seeds for the peanuts. This works well with many types of pasta from soba noodles to rice noodles to angel hair, it is especially fantastic with fresh Chinese egg noodles if you can find them.


Asian Slaw

This slaw can hold its own as side dish with sticky ribs, teriyaki salmon or shrimp, on top of any sort of fish especially tuna or pan fried haddock. It makes a terrific addition to sandwiches and a fun refresher with sriracha spiced chicken wings. It works well with anything spicy, sticky or fatty.


  • 3 cups Chinese Cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons (julienne)
  • cup red bell or horn pepper, sliced into thin ribbons, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2 scallions sliced thinly
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 1 whole Asian pear cut into matchsticks (sub apple or jicama if there is no Asian pear available)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. neutral oil (vegetable, canola or grapeseed or peanut)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Juice & zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves


  1. Place the cabbage in a large bowl
  2. ix together salt, ginger and sugar
  3. Rub the salt/sugar mixture into the cabbage and let sit about 10 minutes
  4. Add remaining vegetables
  5. Whisk together the oils, lime juice & vinegar
  6. Let sit at least 15 more minutes or overnight
  7. Toss cilantro leaves in right before serving

Other things you can add: Slivers of ripe mango, slivered of under-ripe mango or papaya, julienned daikon radish, julienned jicama, julienned broccoli stems, Thai basil leaves, fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, pea shoots or slivered snow peas (raw or blanched)

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. dark soy or tamari
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  1. Put everything in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy
  2. aste and adjust seasoning to your liking, you may like it saltier or sweeter or find you like more acid or spice

Putting the dish together

  • 1 pound noodles of choice
  • ½ cup chopped salted roasted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds
  1. Boil the noodles in salted water according to package instructions
  2. Before draining the noodles set aside ½ cup of the pasta water
  3. Drain noodles and set aside in large bowl
  4. Whisk reserved hot noodle water in to the peanut sauce
  5. Add sauce to noodles and using tongs gently turn the noodles in the sauce about 20 times until all the noodles are covered in sauce
  6. op with slaw and peanut right before serving.

You can make this a more substantial meal by adding cooked shredded chicken or some bits of firm tofu or cooked shrimp, pork or beef.

Chef Ali's Parsley Recipes



Fresh parsley is full of flavor, vitamins and antioxidants. The curly parsley sprig of yore, awkwardly sitting atop a slice of orange belies nothing of the actual power of the parsley! Parsley’s main flavor is green, it adds freshness and vitality to rich, fatty, unctuous foods, it brightens and lightens. Parsley is the Bob Balaban of herbs—it may not be the star attraction, but the dish is ultimately better because of its presence.


Toss fresh parsley leaves with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and strew them across a plate of pasta Bolognese or Alfredo.

Chop fresh parsley and add it to a rice pilaf or stuffing just before serving.

Save parsley stems to add flavor stock and soups, add fresh chopped parsley to soups (especially chicken)  just before serving

Dress parsley leaves and thinly sliced white onion with red wine vinegar, olive oil + salt and pepper and add to a sandwich. (especially good with leftover roast chicken and Dijon mustard).



Persillade- Parsley Sauce

This simplest of sauces elevates any dish. Simply drizzled over a grilled chicken breast or a filet of fresh fish it quickly converts eating to dining. I like to toss it in with roasted vegetables right before bringing them to the table, or I spoon it over a simple roast chicken, grilled meat. Finish a risotto, or creamy pasta dish with a few spoonfuls. I use it as a layer is a mushroom lasagna, or I toss roasted mushrooms with a spoonful or so, also great with oven fried or roasted potatoes.  And let me tell you it quickly makes fried or scrambled eggs (esp. duck eggs!) into a meal (it’s not bad on toast, but even better if that toast has something fatty like goat cheese or pate on top). It has endless uses and lasts a couple days in the fridge.


  • 1 bunch fresh parsley

  • 1 small clove garlic (or one large depending on your garlic preferences)

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (You can use a fine salt IF that’s all you have, but a salt with some texture really takes this up a level- I recommend Maldon Salt or coarse Maine sea salt)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (anything but balsamic, it’s too heavy) or the juice and zest of a lemon, or orange or lime.


  1. Place parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, alternatively you can chop them by hand or use a mortar and pestle- you want a fine chop but not a puree (though a puree is fine too)

  2. Stir in oil and vinegar and season with salt


Other things you can add

Persillade will become Salsa Verde if you add a finely chopped anchovy filet and a tablespoon or so of capers (or just capers if you are anchovy adverse)- I am particularly fond of this sauce on lamb or beef, and it is rather beautiful on grilled fish, or mix into roasted peppers and serve with thick grilled country bread.

Replace half the parsley with mint for an exotic South American twist.

A teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes will add heat, and is especially nice with pork chops, or added to a dish of pasta with clams or shrimp.

Replace the garlic with finely chopped shallot and spoon over raw, grilled or roasted oysters.

Replace the olive oil with softened unsalted butter and smear under the skin of a whole chicken right before roasting--- or top of the skin right before carving, or both.

Replace olive oil with mayonnaise and use a dip for cold poached seafood or with fried fish as an alternative to tartar sauce, or (my favorite) French fries


Parsley and Toasted Almond Pesto

I absolutely LOVE this with clams, and of course it is lovely with pasta. Simple bright fresh and green its beautiful and relatively inexpensive dinner put together in mere minutes. You can make a large batch of this and freezer for later use.


  • 2 cups parsley (you can use the stems!)

  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds (if you want to be fancy use Marcona almonds)

  • 2 clove garlic

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

  • Salt & pepper to taste



  1. Place parsley, garlic, orange zest, nuts in bowl of food processor.

  2. Process until it becomes paste

  3. With processor running slowly add olive oil

  4. Scrape in to a bowl, stir is cheese

  5. Season to taste.

  6. Toss into hot pasta along with a ladle full of pasta water for creamy sauce or dollop on to steamed little neck clams ---or both.


Other ways to use it

This pesto is also an AMAZING addition to grilled cheese, use a good strong sharp cheese like a tome. Aged gouda or cheddar.  

Slather it on chicken breasts or shrimp before or after roasting (or both).

It’s also rather good spooned in to a minestrone soup (or creamy  potato soup, or butternut squash soup or white bean soup—really almost any soup- it may seem wrong but a spoonful stirred into clam chowder is pretty great too)


Apple, Parsley & Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese

This is my favorite Thanksgiving salad. The Thanksgiving salad is a something my husband and I fail to agree upon, he thinks it an unnecessary addition, I think salad should be part of every feast. My Dad, who was my Thanksgiving cooking partner would have loved this salad—bitter greens with fruit and cheese, slightly decadent but not so over the top. I personally like it after the turkey, before dessert as a Cheese/Salad course hybrid with a few oat crackers and glass of tawny port. The apples, parsley & lettuces help ease your digestion, and the cheese and nuts get your palate ready for dessert.

I especially love this salad with foraged wild apples, I am deeply in love with those random roadside fruits, if you can get your hands on a rough skinned perfumed Russet apple they are glorious in this recipe, but any apple (even pear) will work.

Lovely on its own, serve it alongside a bowl of butternut squash soup with some good bread and you have a hearty fall lunch or lovely light supper. It is also a terrific side dish to roast pork, duck or sausages.

If blue cheese is not something you love you can use fresh goat cheese or leave out the cheese altogether or set a wedge of ripe creamy camembert, brie or other washed rind cheeses on the side.

This makes 2- 6 salads depending on the portion- actually it could just be a big salad for one, I love a big salad.


Ingredients -Salad

  • 1 cup apple cut in thins slices or matchsticks (I don’t peel them but you can)

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves (I prefer flat leaf for this salad)

  • 1 cup bitter lettuces (radicchio, endive, frissee or all three) julienned or in the case of frisee torn in small fluffy pieces

  • ½ cup toasted walnuts

  • ½ cup celery leaves (those pale green leaves lurking deep in the heart of a head of celery)

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • ½ cup good local blue cheese, crumbled

Ingredients - Dressing (can be made ahead up to 3 days ahead)

  • 1 small shallot diced (about a tablespoon or so)

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (if you can find some good artisan vinegar that is the best)

  • ½ tablespoon honey

  • 2/3 cup Olive oil OR 1/3 cup grapeseed oil + 1/3 cup walnut oil

  • 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves

Instructions- Dressing

  1. Pour vinegar over shallots and let sit while you prepare the vegetables

  2. Whisk honey & thyme leaves into the vinegar and shallots

  3. Slowly whisk oil in to the vinegar mixture

  4. If you are using 2 oils start with the grapeseed and finish with the walnut oil

You can also just put in all in a mason jar, screw the cap on and shake hard about 20 times

Instructions- Salad

  1. Toss the parsley, celery leaves and lettuces together

  2. Add the apples

  3. Season with alt and pepper

  4. Toss altogether with dressing

  5. Top with walnuts & blue cheese

Jenn's Honey-Pickled Red Onions

Delicious on a spinach salad or a panini sandwich!

From Jenn Legnini of Turtle Rock Farm


2 pounds Red Onions, sliced ¼” thick
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsps black peppercorns
1 tsp salt



  1. Bring water, vinegar, honey, peppercorns and salt to a boil.

  2. Pour over sliced onions.

  3. Refrigerate overnight.

Option: Can in pint or half-pint jars, leaving ½” headroom. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.



Kohlrabi Hash Browns

Kohlrabi Hash Browns

From Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables.  By Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics via our customer Karen and her work at the FARMS Community Kitchen. Thanks Karen!        

Serves 4 to 5


  • 4 medium kohlrabi bulbs (about 1 pound total)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp. dried bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil


  1. Peel and grate kohlrabi.  Wrap in dish towel and squeeze away excess water.
  2. Combine eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salt, ginger, red pepper and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Blend together.
  3. Add kohlrabi and mix together.
  4. If desired, roll into 1 inch balls.   
  5. Heat oil in large, heavy skillet.  Add kohlrabi mixture or balls to skillet.  Flatten the balls with spatula or continuously mix the mixture.  
  6. When golden brown, flip the flattened balls.  (5 to 7 minutes per side)

Ham Steaks and Gravy in the Crockpot

Fresh Ham Steaks and Gravy in the crock pot

Perfect for the crock pot or other slow cooker.


• 1 Whatley Farm organic fresh Ham Steak, cut into 2 pieces. Our ham steaks are large and equal 2 store-­bought steaks
• 1⁄4 cup butter
• 6 Tbsp flour (or equivalent gluten-free thickener - see this article in Bon Appetit for suggestions)
• 2 cups chicken or turkey stock – preferably homemade
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1/2 tsp celery seed
• 1 Tbsp "Rosemary's Italian Blend" from Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants 
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped – or use dried mushrooms and rehydrate


1. If you are using dried mushrooms, rehydrate in enough warm water to cover, until tender.
2. Warm the chicken stock.
3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add flour and stir together. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until slightly golden. Slowly pour in the warmed stock, whisking to smooth out the lumps, until mixture is nice and thick. 
4. Add remaining ingredients – salt, pepper, chives, parsley, garlic, mushrooms. Stir sauce until well mixed. Adjust seasoning to taste.
5. Pour a little sauce into crock pot, place one piece of ham steak in crock pot, pour half of sauce over it, place second piece of steak in, pour remaining sauce.
6. Cook for at least 4 hours on high. It is done when the meat is tender and falls apart in large chunks. If you double this recipe you will need to increase the cooking time, as the bulk in the crock pot will slow down the cooking a bit.

Sweet Dumpling Squash Wedges

A lot of the smaller squashes like acorn and delicata will work in this recipe, but Sweet Dumpling is one of our favorites, so it gets to be the featured squash. 

Two medium Sweet Dumpling squash (about the size of softballs)
Oil to grease the baking sheet
Salt to taste
(Optional) Spices to taste: Cinnamon and ginger; cumin and smoked paprika; cayenne and nutritional yeast - the combinations are endless!

1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
2. Start with two Sweet Dumplings that have definite orange edges along their stripes, or have stripes that are entirely orange (see below). The color change from green means that more of the starches have converted into sugars. Yum!

3. Cut your squash in half with a nice, sharp knife. (If it's dull, it may slip, especially around the stem areas).
4. Scoop out the seeds - you can compost them, or save them to toast them, just like pumpkin seeds! Backyard chickens are also very fond of squash seeds.
5. I break off the stems if I can; otherwise cut around the stems and the blossom end scars after you have cut the squash in half (see below).


6. Coat an edged baking dish (like a jelly roll pan or a casserole dish) lightly with your cooking oil of choice. 
7. Toss the squash in the oil so it gets lightly coated; sprinkle with salt and spices. I generally start at a half teaspoon salt and a teaspoon or so of spices. Then diners may add more salt, pepper, or spices at the end to their taste, too.
8. Bake squash for 25 minutes, then stir with a spatula so each side of the wedge has some time in contact with the pan to get nice and caramelized. Bake 5 minutes and stir again. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork through one of the wedges.
9. Remove from oven, sprinkle with more salt, seasonings, honey, or maple syrup if you desire.
10. Enjoy!

Cider-Brined Pork Roast

Pork Loin Roast Brined with Cider: Roasted with Potatoes and Onions

Based on Dawn Perry's recipe from Bon Appetit (October 2013)

Serves 4-6

1 Whatley Farm pork loin roast (bone-in, 3-5 lbs)
2 pounds Whatley Farm Blue Gold potatoes
3 large or 4 medium Whatley Farm red onions
¾ cup + 3 teaspoon fine salt (or 1 cup coarse)
1-2 T smoked salt (Gryffon Ridge is great)
1 teaspoon peppercorns, plus more fresh ground
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 T coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
32 oz hard cider (use dry cider such as Norumbega; buy extra so you can drink it as you cook!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Defrost your loin roast by sticking it in the fridge a day ahead of when you plan to brine it. Brining is best done for approximately 8 hours (not much more or it will taste too salty—if you need to brine it longer, plan to soak the meat in fresh water before roasting).

  2. Prep the brine—bring 2 cups of water to boil, add brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, 1 T of the coriander seeds, peppercorns. Simmer and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Transfer to a bowl, add the hard cider and 2 cups of ice.

  3. Place pork roast and brine in a water tight container. This can be a large resealable bag, or a bowl or pan. You want the roast to be completely submerged in the brine. Put in the fridge and let sit 8-10 hours. See note above about not brining too long!

  4. Remove pork and pat dry. Let sit at room temp for an hour.

  5. Wash but don't peel the potatoes. Half or quarter them, depending on size.

  6. Peel and cut the onions in half.

  7. Toss potatoes and onions together in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  8. Preheat the oven to 425 F, and place rack near the bottom.

  9. Using the side of your knife, crush the remaining 2 T of coriander seeds, and rub these, along with some smoked salt and fresh pepper, all over your roast. (optional: grind the coriander coarsely in a coffee grinder).

  10. Heat some olive oil in a skillet (medium heat) and brown the pork on all sides (about 2 minutes per side).

  11. Place pork in roasting pan and surround it with the potatoes and onions.

  12. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the roast reads 140 F. It will continue to cook while it rests, so don't overcook it. Turn the roast and stir the vegetables after half-an-hour. The roast should be ready in around an hour.

  13. Rest the pork roast on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing, and keep the potatoes and onions in the still-warm (but shut-off) oven.

  14. Optional: make a gravy with the pan drippings, cider or white wine, flour, and milk.

  15. Carve roast in between the bones for thick loin chops.

  16. Serve with the potatoes and onions, and optional gravy.

  17. Baked winter squash is a great side dish! Make a root veggie slaw or salad and have a nearly 100% local winter feast.


Enjoy! -Whatley Farm


Whatley’s Carrot-Cumin Soup for a Crowd

Based on Alice Waters’ “Carrot Soup” in Soup for Syria (2015).

4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons olive oil
3 medium or 2 large onions, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 Tablespoon dried
1 Tablespoon whole cumin seeds
3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
8 cups chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
½ cup yogurt (optional)
Fresh ground pepper, Sea salt
Handful chopped fresh parsley


  1. Gently heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy pot (do not let the olive oil smoke). Add the chopped onions and whole springs of thyme. Saute until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the peeled and sliced carrots, cumin seeds, and some salt. Cook for 5 minutes or so.

  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil before lowering the heat. Simmer until the carrots are tender, about half an hour.

  4. Remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender, if you want. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Add the yoghurt and blend it in.

  5. Top with fresh parsley, chopped fine.