Profile: Design Consultant Jeremy Morrelli
Jeremy Morrelli is a very good cook. “Look in the fridge, see what’s there, and a great meal usually comes to mind,” he said on a recent April afternoon in the living room of his peaceful home in Beverly Hills. “My father cooked like that, and it’s my style, too.”
A sought-after home design consultant and master craftsman—his specialty is woodcarving, carpentry and joinery—Jeremy comes from a Jewish, English-Italian family and grew up in London, with parents who entertained often. “They loved parties, especially garden parties or Passover parties,” he remembered fondly.
His family had a big orchard with over 90 fruit trees—plum, pear and several varieties of heirloom apple—and an abundant, year-round supply of organic fruit. Jeremy’s mom made jam, and he helped with preserving the harvest as well. “We had an apple-drying room,” he said, describing a wooden, walk-in-closet-size shed, which was attached to their house. “I would string the apple slices and hang them in rows, from floor to ceiling, in this little house. As a boy, I loved to pass time sitting inside and observe the sunlight beams coming through the round holes that were carved in the door.”
At 22, Jeremy traveled to India and lived in a monastery near Darjeeling. There, he learned about vegetarian food—“I was on a Nomad diet”—and met a group of Tibetans, which led to his full immersion in their language and culture. He is fluent in Tibetan, teaches Buddhist meditation, and translates for different lamas when they travel to the United States, mostly on the subjects of meditation, ethics and rituals.
“My impulse is to cook for people,” Jeremy continued, “and I like to feed them. I have vushi [vegetarian sushi] parties at my house. It’s finger food and all-vegetarian.” Recently, he made endive leaf cups filled with chopped portobello mushrooms cooked in red wine reduction; roasted chunks of eggplant with garlic; and zucchini seaweed wraps.
Age 60 — Hometown London — Where do you live? Beverly Hills — Occupation Design consultant & entrepreneur — Signature dish Penne Furiosa — Who taught you how to cook? Self-taught — Favorite kitchen tool Knife — Always in your pantry Turmeric, garlic, olive oil — Go-to snack Porridge — Favorite cuisine Italian and my own vushi — Do you diet? No — Food addictions Olive oil — Food allergies None — Food fad pet peeve Charred vegetables — Who’s your sous chef? Whoever is around — Drinking while cooking? Yes — What’s for dinner tonight? Well, going out tonight. Indian. — Do you ever cry over spilled milk? No — Best meal you ever had Traditional Tibetan breakfast: Roasted barley flour, rubbed in butter, with granules of dry crunchy cheese, and salty butter tea. With a finger, squeeze warm delicious balls, and sip the tea. — Contact morrelli.com
Composed of steamed cauliflower and roasted root vegetables, and topped with raisins, dried currants and dried tomatoes, this is a light, eminently satisfying vegetarian dish with a nice, crunchy texture, subtly sweet coconut flavor and—thanks to the spices—a pretty, yellow-orange color.
It is versatile, too: It may be served cold, hot or at room temperature, and eaten as a main dish, with rice, or to accompany, for example, roasted chicken or grilled fish. It is perfect for dinner parties; you can easily double or triple the recipe and serve it to a crowd, like Jeremy does when he entertains.
- Serves 4–6
- 1 cauliflower, outer leaves removed
- 2½ teaspoons turmeric, divided
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 large leek or 2 small ones
- 1 celeriac, peeled
- Olive oil
- 1 cup coconut water
- ¼ cup apple juice
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup dried currants
- 1 cup oil-preserved sun-dried tomatoes, julienned, oil discarded
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Fill a steamer with 1 inch of water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Place the whole cauliflower into a steaming basket, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of turmeric and the paprika, and steam, covered over medium-high heat until soft without letting it get mushy, about 15 minutes. Using two forks, carefully remove the cauliflower from the steamer. Place it into a bowl and let cool.
- Cut off the green part of the leek an inch above the white part. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and, fanning the leaves, wash it under cold, running water to remove any dirt. Slice it crosswise and diagonally.
- Cut the peeled celeriac into half-inch-thick round slices. Cut the slices into ¼-inch wide julienne strips.
- Place the leek and celeriac on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes.
- Scrape the roasted leek and celeriac into a large sauté pan. Add the coconut water, apple juice, white wine, cardamom, turmeric, raisins and dried currants, and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and reduces, about 8–10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a deep dish or large bowl. Break the cauliflower into small florets and add to the bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, toss and serve.
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