Well I sure didn’t and was blown away when I went on a hunt for different urban farms in New York City. The biggest surprise was finding the Riverpark farm in midtown Manhattan. It comes out of nowhere and the entire farm is built out of milk crates. They are stacked two deep and everything from tomatoes to peppers to cinnamon basil is grown there. The coolest thing is that the produce that is grown on the farm is then used in Tom Colicchio’s restaurant on the property. Having a meal where the produce has been grown on the same property as the restaurant is unheard of in Manhattan.


Today’s episode features this amazing urban farm and I go foraging for incredible ingredients to take back to the kitchen and make a few delicious dishes. The recipe I recently made on the Today Show is featured on this episode along with a delicious green goddess dressing and a fiery red pepper jelly. Don’t miss it!


The recipes in this episode are listed below.



Green Goddess Dressing

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Lemon-Scented Crispy Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Baby Carrots



Sauteed Mustard Greens with Pancetta
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Red Pepper Jelly
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I made this recipe on a recent episode of Kelsey’s Essentials and have gotten a great response. I’m glad to hear that people love this recipe, because I love it too! I created it after having one of the best slices of my life at a spot in Brooklyn. I thought it was strange to see lettuce on top of a pizza, but it totally worked. This recipe utilizes classic flavors that everybody likes and is delivered in a unique way, which always makes eating more fun. It works great as a main dish, but you could also cut it up and serve it as an appetizer at a party.


I loved reading through some of the reviews on Cooking Channel’s website. It’s always wonderful to see how people use my recipes and add their own elements.

“Absolutely delicious. I made one just as the recipe describes for my family and a vegan one for myself. I added chopped carrots, cucumbers, and spinach to the salad and corn meal under the dough. Huge hit with everyone. My mother immediately asked for me to email the recipe to her.”


“Totally awesome. Watched her make it on tv and it looked good yet simple to make. It proved to be both. The crust surprised me as to how good it was. Thumbs up from guests and some ate seconds!”




Yield: 4-6 servings




1/2 recipe Simple Pizza Dough, recipe follows
Olive oil, for brushing crust
8 ounces mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus small chunk for shavingw
1 chicken breast, grilled and sliced thinly
2 romaine hearts, washed and dried, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Caesar Salad Dressing, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper



1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and dried



1 3/4 cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
Nonstick spray




Prepare the Simple Pizza Dough according to recipe.


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.


On a baking sheet brushed liberally with olive oil, stretch the dough to desired shape and thickness. Brush the crust with olive oil and top with the mozzarella slices. Bake the pizza until the dough crisps up and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.


Remove the pizza from oven. Top the melted mozzarella with the grated Parmesan and sliced chicken. Toss the romaine hearts with the Caesar Salad Dressing and season with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the Caesar salad and shave over some Parmesan. Serve and enjoy!


Cook’s Note: If you don’t have a pizza stone at home, no worries, use a well-oiled sheet tray and a hot oven to achieve a crisp bottom on your pizza! Also place the dough on the very bottom rack of your oven. It will help to create that crispy crust.


In a blender or food processor, process the Parmesan, mayonnaise, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic and anchovy until emulsified and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow the yeast to dissolve and bloom, about 5 minutes. Once bloomed, add the olive oil.


Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Stream in the water/yeast mixture and as the dough begins to come together, switch to a dough hook attachment. Allow the dough to knead, adding a bit more flour if needed, so that the dough releases from the sides of the bowl, 1 to 3 minutes. You should be able to touch the dough and not have the dough stick to your fingers. Once the dough has kneaded and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl, remove the dough from bowl to a floured work surface and, with floured hands, continue to knead it by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Then form the dough into a round ball and place it into a large bowl sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm area of your kitchen until it doubles in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After the dough has risen it is ready to be cooked however you’d like!


Cook’s Notes: This dough is wet dough, keep bench flour at the ready and make sure to flour your hands when working with the dough. Trust your gut as a chef, if the dough is to wet, add more flour, if it is too stiff, add a little water.


Sugar is used to feed the yeast which will help the dough to grow. Bread flour will give you a chewier texture because the flour has more gluten. You don’t need to use a thermometer to get the water temperature, it should just feel warm to the touch.


To print this recipe and read reviews, click here.

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Everyone has their go-to spot for takeout. In fact, since moving to New York, I now have a go-to spot for just about any cuisine you can think of. As much as I love cooking, I’m a big fan of taking a night off in the kitchen and letting my local joint doing the cooking for me. For years I only knew how Sesame Chicken tasted coming from a takeout kitchen, (and it tasted goooood), but my love for great takeout ended up inspiring a whole episode of Kelsey’s Essentials dedicated to figuring out how to actually make some of these dishes. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this particular cooking challenge and just how good the recipes came out!


You can catch me making all of these recipes on Food Network today or check out the recipes below. If you were to try and re-create your favorite takeout meal at home, what would you make?


Sesame Ginger Chicken




Pork Dumplings



Shrimp Lo Mein



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My ‘My Trip to France’ episode of Kelsey’s Essentials airs on Food Network today! I had a fun time reminiscing about this amazing trip that Robby and I took together a few years ago. I can’t even begin to describe the amount of incredible food we ate on that trip! These recipes below are a result of the inspiration I received there. If you’re feeling fancy, try my Seared Duck Breast with Fig Sauce with my Haricots Verts Almondine as a side. For dessert, you won’t regret my Apple Tarte Tartin. Links are below. I hope you enjoy this episode!



Get the recipe for my Seared Duck Breast with Fig Sauce here and my Haricots Verts Almondine here. 





Get the recipe for my Apple Tarte Tartin here. 


And since I’ve had a blast walking down memory lane, here are a few photos from our trip!


Couple Eiffel

Fruit Tart


The most delicious (and beautiful!) gelato I’ve had to date!



KR Castle

Sarlat Market

Loved the Sarlat Food Market!



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I have exciting news today! You can now watch episodes of Kelsey’s Essentials on Food Network!!! The show airs Monday through Thursday in the afternoons (check your local listings for times). To say that I’m ecstatic about this would be an understatement. In fact, I’m still wrapping my head around it all. Nearly 10 years ago I set a lofty goal to be on the Food Network one day, and it’s actually happened! The show is sandwiched between Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meals and Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa. Two women who inspired me to venture down this crazy culinary road in the first place. Such an honor!


I hope you’ll tune into Kelsey’s Essentials, especially if you haven’t been able to see it in the past!

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