Citrus Fruit Salad & A Field Trip to Haven’s Kitchen

This past week I had the extreme pleasure, along with 7 other bloggers, to be invited to the beautiful Haven’s Kitchen. Now just coming up on its 1 Year Anniversary, Alison Schneider created a stunning cooking school, specialty food shop and event space not far from Union Square on W17th Street, just off of 6th Ave. She filled the space with a stunning aesthetic and surrounded herself with a talented and winning crew.

Her mission was to create a space that promoted a better relationship to the food that we eat, and our connection to the planet. The result is a healthier you and a healthier planet. Respect is given to the farmers that grow the food, how food is to be handled and prepared, and how to eliminate waste. There is a tremendous risk of this message coming off like a finger wagging lecture, but instead all this done with a beauty and grace that makes you want to move right in and never leave.

After a brief introduction by Alison on the genesis of her idea, we were introduced to David Mawhinney, her Executive Chef, who talked us through a short cooking lesson that included how to make homemade ricotta and a simple Jerusalem Artichoke soup using only 5 ingredients.

Before heading upstairs to get the full tour of the three story town house, we got to nibble on some of the ricotta on crostini with squash and sizzled sage leaves. Just a tease of what was to come and an insight into what some of their cooking classes might be like.

We climbed a spiraling marble staircase to two floors of event spaces. On the second floor is a large expansive dining room set with a rustic table and a miss match of chairs. The space is open and simple, but the rough repurposed wooden sub flooring Alison brought back to life, and the long row of linen curtains, give the room an ease and coziness. The space is perfect for an intimate wedding or a sumptuous rehearsal dinner.

At the other end of the floor is a sitting area with couches that surround a fireplace and a pretty bar where guests can relax and mingle before sitting down to dine.

The third floor is an austere space with an additional kitchen that is well suited for private events and their popular mixology classes.

After getting the full tour we returned downstairs the the kitchen to sparkling wine cocktails and our pretty flower and candle set table. Over petite cups of soup, plates of Kale salad and hearty servings of cauliflower tartines, we bloggers chatted and laughed and enjoyed the afternoon.

Alison and her crew were full of great stories fueled with such warmth and enthusiasm. It was hard to leave and head back out into the cold. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in for a tea or a latte and peruse the shelves of food gems in the store- or go sign up for a class! And please tell Alison I said hello.

Inspired by simple grace with cooking, I returned to my kitchen after purchasing a smattering of different citrus to make this pretty salad. Opting for an array of colors and sweetness, I sliced up Ruby Grapefruit, Minneola orange, Navel Orange, Blood Orange, and Tangelo. I chopped up some pistachios for some crunch and drizzled a little honey that Lauren brought me back from Provence that she picked up during her Honeymoon. Along with I had some seeded crackers with dried apricots- the recipe for which you can find here.