I Want My Brazen Kitchen TV!

In episode one of 'The House Special,' Kate Stoltzfus invites us into her kitchen and teaches us how to make her special kale recipe.


I would say the first seeds of this video project were planted 15 years ago during my first summer in Brooklyn. I had a mile walk from the subway to my apartment and I looked forward to it every evening. I walked a long stretch under the canopy of trees, on streets lined with brownstones. In the purple-gold hue of the late sunset, from the sidewalk, I could see people in their kitchens, busy with dinner preparations.

And it was always so interesting. Slices of life. A mom with a phone clutched between her shoulder and ear, talking while darting from one end of the kitchen to the other; a man with a sharpening steel prepping his knife for some serious chopping; a woman getting a box from the freezer; a couple talking and drinking wine while sharing dinner right in the kitchen.

I had just moved to this big city and these scenes, accompanied by my own internal narratives, somehow helped make the anonymous city more personal.

Kitchens are personal. And I guess that’s why kitchens often become the center of the home. When we have dinner parties, the living room is only second to the kitchen in terms of where people naturally converge to have conversations. It’s far more interesting to talk while food is being prepared, to pick and taste as it goes back and forth from stove to plate. And invariably, at any party — especially potlucks — most of us always end up asking for a recipe or two. And people love to share stories about them.

“Oh, it's my old Aunt Mary’s favorite.”

“It’s a recipe I saw in a magazine and has become a staple.”

“It's my go-to dish.”

So I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to visit people in their kitchens and have them talk about their favorite dishes? I want to know the food that people love! They share and we learn something new. No frou-frou sets. No big production. No multiple takes. Just real people cooking real food. In their kitchens. Fun!

So here we are! And how lucky am I that I get to visit one of Pittsburgh’s biggest evangelists, Kate Stoltzfus? We’ve all been inspired by her blog, Yinzpiration, where she profiles amazing Pittsburghers. Stoltzfus also hosts Creative Mornings Pittsburgh, a “monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types” that has chapters all over the world. She’s also co-pilot at Propelle, where she helps “women entrepreneurs take flight” and works with her husband, Nik, at Plumb Media, a web development company.

Can you say “many hats?” I met Kate at the Highland Park Food Co-Op a couple of years ago and have been the beneficiary many times over of the wonderful food she cooks up in her kitchen.

So what’s the “House Special” (or one of many!) in the Stoltzfus’ home? Cory’s Kale — a kale stew with pineapples and peanut sauce. It is an African stew that is right up my alley — such an interesting combination and so, so, so good. This may sound corny, but I really made it at home the next day. Everyone loved it. And the story behind it can’t be beat.


  Cory’s Kale


  • 1 T grapeseed oil
  • 4 leeks, chopped, white parts only
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups of undrained (and unsweetened) canned pineapple
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • One bunch of kale, chopped
  • ½ cup water, if needed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Toppings: coarsely chopped peanuts and chopped scallions


1.  In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the leeks and garlic.
2.  When the leeks are tender, add the pineapple with the juice and the peanut butter. Heat through.
3.  Add the kale and water if needed.
4.  Once the kale is tender, add half the cilantro and seasonings.
5.  Simmer for a few minutes.
6.  Serve with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Kate and I DISH IT OUT for a Cause!

As some of you know, I’m one of the ambassadors for Food Revolution in Pittsburgh. There are many Food Revolution projects in the city and one of the projects is a Cooking Club at the Obama High School in East Liberty. Kate and I, along with friends from the Highland Park Food Co-op, are supporting this amazing grassroots project with a fundraiser at Bar Marco on April 8. We cook. You eat. Kids learn.

Visit the event page here for more details!

We’d like to thank Zeke’s Coffee, Wigle Whiskey, Dozen Bakeshop, Mediterra Bakehouse, My Goodies Bakery, Nasoya Tofu, So Delicious and Pittsburgh Magazine for their support!

Do YOU have a favorite dish you’d like to share? Email me. We’d love to visit your kitchen!

Categories: Brazen Kitchen