• Colu Henry's Pantry •
No matter how you sauce it, pasta is undeniably a lunch and dinner staple (or even breakfast, for that matter). We #pinefor pasta simply because it’s an easy, nourishing, and delicious meal--and the perfect vehicle for whatever beautiful veg, herb or cheese on hand. Colu Henry and her craveable cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta, is there to remind us of that philosophy. For Colu, a writer, recipe developer, former Director of Public Relations & Special Projects at Bon Appetit Magazine, and freshly announced NYT Cooking Section contributor, pasta, wine and travel are not only a part of her profession, but also her life’s passion. Her Italian-American background is obviously an influence here, but she also credits her inspiration to her fellow food-loving female powerhouses. Step into Colu’s pantry where you’ll find pasta must-haves like anchovies, San Marzano tomatoes, and a plethora of fresh herbs.
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"My cooking style is culturally rooted in my Italian-American upbringing, allowing best quality ingredients to shine through simple, but well executed preparations and techniques. I think that’s why I love Northern California and the South of France so much too, the produce! I also love playing around with new flavor combinations. We have incredible access to so many global ingredients these days. Use them!
Our house was built in 1880 and we ripped the pre-existing kitchen down to the studs. My husband Chad is an artist/woodworker and took the reigns in terms of the overall design concept. I weighed in on materials and insisted on a pot filler (pasta water!), but we were both in agreement that we wanted a clean and minimal space that we could bring our personal touches in to. He built the shelving above the stove to hold my many pots (pops of color!) as well as all the cutting boards, pantry doors, etc. I also like to create little vignettes within the space to up the warmth factor. I’m also a neat freak. My counters need to be wiped down every night and everything should be in its place, because I usually start recipe testing first thing in the morning and I don’t want be cleaning up last night’s mess. It’s my office after all.
My cooking and recipe development skills continue to evolve as I travel, read, cook, and research. I carry a notebooks wherever I go to write down ideas and memorable dishes I’ve had. Also, most of my best girlfriends are all in the industry and we are great resources for each other in terms of workshopping ideas, brainstorming recipe ideas and for just plain moral support. This can be a tough industry!
markets & shopping
- I’m a diehard market-going gal and I buy what strikes me visually and seasonally. When I’m traveling the first thing I do is look up where and when they are. When I’m home, you can find me every Saturday at the Hudson Farmers Market. In fact, I rarely go to the grocery store except when I’m recipe testing (out of season produce sometimes has to happen!) or I need a carton of half and half. When I go down to the city, I stock up on specialty items from Kalustyan’s which are hard to find by me or I take a drive to the Asian markets in Albany where I’ll most certainly make time for some dim sum.
Friends gifts: My dear friend Tamar Adler’s pickled chilies (amazing on soft boiled eggs and pizza, and, and...) and boozy cocktail cherries. Elise Kornack (former owner and chef of Take Root) also keeps me in stock with sweet cider vinegar, rose salt and brioche loaves. I know, I know. I’m lucky, or insufferable, or both?
Wine: Many good friends are in the wine industry and I love supporting them. I’m always stocked with Una Lou from Scribe Winery (full disclosure I work with them, but I’m legit 100% obsessed), Martha Stoumen Wines (incredible woman and winemaker), Eric Wareheim and Joel Brut’s Las Jaras wines and this outstanding new Vermouth de Pamplemousse from Samantha Sheehan from Poe Winery. Right now, all my wine just happens to be from sweet, sweet California.
Fresh herbs in abundance!: They bring every dish to life. Italian parsley, cilantro, mint and chives are always on-hand. I’ll rotate out others such as rosemary, tarragon and thyme seasonally.
Preserved Lemons: Use them for dishes that travel outside the Middle East. Toss them in pasta and in salad dressings. They are also a great way to brighten up a braise.
Anchovies: They add umami to everything. I love them on toast with butter for an afternoon snack, mashed with garlic and oil to dredge chicories through and also in pasta, of course, pasta.
Kimchi: I like the Mother in Law’s brand. I eat it with eggs for breakfast with avocado for lunch and lately have been making a really great kimchi butter with it for grilled shellfish. I also sometimes open the fridge and just eat it with a spoon.
Lime Pickle: I love adding it in marinades and dips and as well as spooning it on top of roasted meat such as chicken or lamb.
Citrus: Lemons (Meyer ones when in season) limes, grapefruit, kumquats. Simply, lots of citrus.
Pecorino Romano: People love their Parm, but I’m a Pecorino girl. It’s saltier and is more assertive, just like me.
Pastificio Di Martino pasta. Artisan quality at an approachable price.
Tortilla chips - these are actually my husband Chad’s, but we are never without
Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Hazlenuts. ALL THE NUTS.
I’m pretty no fuss and believe you don’t need many tools, just good ones:
Wooden cutting boards: All the boards in our home are my husband Chad’s creations. He also makes beautiful knives, spoons and bowls.
Squeeze bottles for oils
Joyce Chen Kitchen Scissors- they are amazing from everything from snipping herbs to spatchcocking a chicken
- I don’t really cook from cookbooks, but I LOVE reading them like novels. They can take you back to a different time and place. I have a crazy collection, these are some of my faves:
To Sum it Up:
one or two items that are always in her fridge: Farm fresh eggs and Italian parsley
her go to inspiration cookbook: An Everlasting Meal. Read it and it will make you a better cook. Promise.
her most trusted kitchen tool: My tongs! I use them for everything.
her favorite dish to order through delivery: Pizza! It’s the only thing we can delivered in Hudson. But, man I miss Indian food.
5 adjectives that describe her pantry style: International, colorful, organized, ever-evolving, ready for anything.
her all-time favorite market: Marché Bastille in Paris!
women she pines for: Tamar Adler, Doris Cooper, Emma Lipp, Carla Lalli Music, Domenica Marchetti,Kelly Mariani, Kristin Marchesi, Samin Nostrat, Eva Karagiorgas, Tracy Kennard, Elise Kornack, Alison Roman, Kari Stuart, Joy the Baker, Kim Bucci
women made food products she pines for: Anything Mona Talbott makes! But, especially her seeded honey, crackers and porchetta!
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