Portobello Mousse, Dirt Candy

dirt candy

As award-winning chef Amanda Cohen states, “New York has steak restaurants, seafood restaurants, barbecue restaurants, and tapas restaurants, but Dirt Candy is the city’s only vegetable restaurant.” I like that distinction between “vegetable” restaurant and “vegetarian” restaurant. The chef wants to make sure you clearly know that they are all about making you LOVE and even crave vegetables because you have never had vegetables like these vegetables prepared with love and creativity by Dirt Candy.

Chef Amanda Cohen and her staff push the boundaries of what we know about traditional cooking to create complex and delicious meals with vegetables. They are food pioneers in the world of vegetable cooking.

On a recent trip to New York, we visited her tiny intimate East Village restaurant to sample the 6-course tasting menu. Words cannot describe this sensory experience. The fragrant aromas, the aesthetically pleasing presentations, and the surprises to the palate never ceased to amaze and wow us as each new course was presented and as we took each bite. These were some of the vegetable course that we enjoyed at Dirt Candy.

Portobello mousse with truffle toasts and roasted pear and fennel salad
Meaty carrot sliders on carrot buns and
Korean spicy fried broccoli
Cauliflower cake with cauliflower caramel
Chocolate mushroom pudding with warm chocolate sauce

My friend Darnell gave me a copy of the Dirt Candy cookbook last year. I mentioned the book in an article that I wrote on the  blog about my favorite new cookbooks. Not only does the name Dirt Candy grab your attention, but the cookbook itself, which reads like a graphic novel, part comic book, and part cookbook, is also full of surprises, true confessions, sarcasm, and wit. Oh, and incredible recipes.

It won’t be quite like the dining experience at Dirt Candy when you make this portobello mousse at home, but until you can get to the lower east side in New York, this will have to do!

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