I was at the farmers’ market this weekend when a woman said “Oh my gosh I just love these!” out of the blue. I looked at her because I was the only person in earshot of her exclamation and saw her holding up some cute little root veggies with tops that resembled mustard greens. “What are they?”, I asked. She told me they were baby turnips, much cuter than grown-up turnips for sure, and they were delicious. So needless to say I bought a bunch, or two or three! 😉 Though the green tops may look mustard-y, their flavor is much more mild and they are very tasty pan sauteed with a bit of butter and salt and served with these roasted nuggets of yum! These little suckers are sooooo stinkin’ delicious with a mustard vinaigrette. I already had mustard on my brain so I went with it.

Easy, healthy, delicious…does it get any better?!

all rights reserved Crysatl Cartier 2013

  • 1 bunch baby turnips (about 6 or so)
  • 1 clove garlic, slivered
  • 1 teaspoon seedy whole-grain mustard
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon parlsey, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar

~ Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a baking dish inside. In a bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, scallion parsley and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

~ Cut turnips in half lengthwise through the stems. Toss with remaining 1/8 cup olive oil, slivered garlic and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on the preheated baking dish and roast for 20 minutes or so until tender, turning halfway through.

~ Toss turnips with vinaigrette.


all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Spring is here at long last, and with it has brought the beloved spring pea back to my table. I LOVE fresh spring peas as you may remember in last year’s tortellini with spring peas recipe. This time around I had some leftover spiral ham from our Eastover celebration. Eastover is where all the best foods of Easter and Passover share a table in delicious bliss with our various denominations of friends. As unconventional as it may seem to have a giant ham next to your matzo ball soup, I assure you it is an unparalleled festivity of flavors!

Anyway, for this recipe I used my leftover spiral ham, wiping off the brown sugar and cinnamon glaze before making the stock. Of course ham hocks work beautifully as well, but after tasting the faint hint of cinnamon from the glaze in the soup I think I’ll add a pinch of cinnamon next time I use ham hocks. It was pretty awesome!

This soup is delightful warm or cold and is absolutely delicious without any dairy, making the crème fraîche a tasty option but not necessary by any means.

Also your house will smell amazing while the stock simmers. I made the stock a day ahead and refrigerated to make the soup the next day because it takes awhile to cool. If you are a better planner than I am you can absolutely do it all same day.

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

2 pounds meaty smoked ham hocks (or the leftover spiral ham in my case)
1/2 sweet onion, halved
3 small celery stalks, roughly chopped
pinch of cassia cinnamon, optional (if using hocks)
1 head garlic, unpeeled halved horizontally
1 dried bay leaf
8 whole peppercorns

8 cups water

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint, plus some torn leaves for garnish
Two 16-ounce packages of baby peas, fresh or frozen
Extra virgin olive oil
dollops of crème fraîche, to taste



~Throw ham, veggies, peppercorns, bay leaf and water in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer with the lid on for 3+ hours until the meat is so tender it nearly falls from the bone. Allow it all to cool in the juices until the ham can be handled. Remove the ham and tear meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones, fat etc.

~ Strain stock through a sieve and discard solids. The meat and stock will keep in the fridge for a couple days or up to a month in the freezer. For me, this made exactly enough stock for the soup.


~ Melt butter in the stockpot until frothy, then saute onion with salt and pepper until soft, about 10 minutes.

~ Add wine and bring to a boil until the alcohol burns off and the liquid is mostly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chopped mint and 4 cups of ham broth and bring back to a boil. Add peas and simmer until peas are tender but not mushy. 5 minutes or so if frozen, less if fresh.

~ Blend soup in batches until smooth. Return to pot and add ham chunks simmering gently for a few minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Season with salt to taste. Be careful as the amount of extra salt needed will depend on how salty the ham is.

~ Ladel into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, torn mint leaves, and small dollops of crème fraîche.




food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

Today I have a deliciously light take on a fairly heavy dish. I’ve never been a huge fan of chicken piccata because I’ve always felt it was too rich with all that butter and the thick sauce. With summer around the corner I’m looking to find lighter alternatives to denser, not-so-healthy chicken dishes. Chicken is the meat we eat most around here and we all know how boring it can get!

This recipe is full flavor with crisp lemon imparting a lovely freshness. Don’t worry, we didn’t ditch all the butter keeping just enough to impart a creamy richness to the sauce. Do you have a favorite summertime chicken recipe? Don’t forget to share it!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts halved horizontally into 4 cutlets
  • 1/2 cup flour, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons drained capers
  • one handful coarsely chopped fresh parsley

~ Using a mallet or heavy skillet, pound each cutlet between 2 sheets of strong plastic wrap. Place 1 teaspoon of flour in a bowl and set aside. Use the remaining flower to dredge the chicken until evenly coated. Season cutlets with salt and pepper.

~ Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan and sauté about 4 minutes or so on each side until done. Remove for pan and keep warm in warmed oven.

~ Drizzle a bit more olive oil into the skillet and swirl. Add shallots and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, stirring continuously. Add wine, bring to a boil while scraping the pan to deglaze. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.

~ Add 1/2 cup broth to the skillet. Cook until liquid reduces by half, about 5 minutes or so.

~ Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/4 cup of broth to the reserved bowl with the teaspoon of flour and whisk until smooth.

~ Stir flour slurry into skillet and cook until sauce thickens to desired consistency. For my desired consistency it’ll take about a minute.

~ Remove from heat and stir in meyer lemon juice, capers, and 1 Tablespoon butter.

~ Spoon sauce over chicken cutlets and sprinkle with parsley.




food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

I LOVE breakfast!!! I am a card carrying member of the “breakfast for dinner” club and regularly make frittatas for dinners with friends. I’m trying to convert everyone into breakfast coveting fiends. Bwahahahahaahaaha!!! Truthfully though, I love frittatas as a way to pack the incredible edible egg with loads of delicious and healthy veg (not to mention the wonderful wonderful cheese;) Frittatas are so easy and tasty it’s amazing that we don’t eat them everyday. Somehow they always taste better than the scrambled egg alternative and look so much more beautiful.

Here’s a lovely and delicate frittata recipe that can be easily adpated with different veggies and cheeses. This time I made an individual serving so as not to waste any since I was flying solo today but the recipe below could serve 4 or so people with a nice side of salad, fruit or toast.

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier 2013 Copyright

  • 1 zucchini, sliced crosswise on a mandolin
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro
  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 shredded manchego cheese
  • salt and pepper

~Preheat oven to broil with the rack at the top third of the oven.

~Melt butter in large oven safe skillet, add sliced zucchini and leeks and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

~Beat eggs in a large bowl, mix in cheese and sauteed veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.

~Heat olive oil in the large skillet and swirl to coat pan. Pour egg mixture in and cook at a low heat until the center of the frittata is just about set, 10 minutes. While cooking, occasionally run a spatula along the edges.

~Transfer skillet to oven and broil for 5 minutes or until the top of the frittata is lightly browned.

~ Cut and serve from the pan or invert frittata onto a plate.


food photographer, food photography, los angeles, crystal cartier

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