For the last 10 days I was in Germany taking a break from kitchen life. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, but somehow I managed just fine. Before leaving, Felipe repeatedly said to me: “Take a break, take a real break, and don’t cook.” I nodded like a good girl and rolled my eyes. How could I go 10 days without cooking? Somehow I was also able to eat meals out and not think about how I might take that idea and use it at Comodo. (OK, that’s not true. There was at least one exception.) But I took this vacation from cooking knowing two things. A. Soon enough I’d be back in our charming kitchen on 58 MacDougal. And B. on my last night, my lovely host in Berlin, Tory, and I would be cooking for a group of people. And so that’s exactly what we did. Our menu came together beautifully as we shopped for our ingredient list at the farmers market. We ended up buying beets, which we roasted and turned into chips that we paired with a cumin hummus. We bought white nectarines, chopped them up and added them to a leafy salad made up of arugula, mache and spinach, toasted mixed nuts and made a light dijon-honey dressing. We bought cauliflower, topped it was an array of spices (black mustard seeds, curry, and cumin), and roasted it as well. Our main course was a slow-roasted salmon topped with thyme and lemon zest and a side of chanterelle mushrooms. And for the finale, Tory turned avocados into a chocolate mousse that nobody could stop eating. It was nice to know that after many days of no cooking, I hadn’t lost my love of cooking. Not that I thought I would.