Behind Closed Doors: Alison Cayne


Alison Cayne is the brains behind Haven's KitchenInitially a cooking school, it eventually expanded to include a café, event space and culinary consulting services. Alison just launched her brilliant line of pre-made sauces, and we can't get enough. Read on for a look into her beautiful and abundant fridge.

Today was kind of a perfect day to photograph my fridge. All five of my kids were home for winter break, and I had a two-day photo shoot for our new line of Haven’s Kitchen cooking and dunking sauces. Needless to say, my fridge is packed. It’s a pretty good representation of the way I eat and cook: I opened Haven’s Kitchen to inspire people and help them cook and eat more locally and sustainably produced foods. Cooking from scratch is not only healthier, but it’s better for the environment, and home cooks are more aware of food justice and farm labor issues. I have always loved cooking and good food and wanted to spread that love. For me it’s about trust. I can’t meet everybody who is producing my food, but I vet pretty heavily, and try to buy from brands that I respect and feel aligned with. My fridge, and our diet, is loaded with vegetables, but I will never turn down a juicy roast chicken or sweet, creamy butter from a farm I trust. As long as the agricultural practices line up with my values, I don’t limit my diet much and believe in whole, real food.

Top Shelf:

I pack a lunch for my 12 yr old son, Will, every day. He’s a sandwich guy, so we rotate breads and fillings to keep things interesting for him. He loves Sir Kensington's Special Sauce on everything from tuna to mozzarella so I pretty much just pick something to fill the gap each morning. He loves fruit, and It’s challenging to stay local in January in NYC, so we end up getting organic grapes and berries to supplement apples. The little containers on the right are a variety of prepped vegetables we needed for the photo shoot.

Milk Shelf:

We all like a variety of milks and yogurt. I do like to make my own almond milk, but have definitely been falling back on Pacific for morning smoothies. Lately I’ve been loving Oatly, but it’s not widely available for retail so I take the barista blend home from work. My kids and I all love yogurt, and White Moustache is the winner by far. It tastes like yogurt, if that makes sense. I try not to combine meat and milk (a Kosher rule that feels right to me) so if I need to add some heft or creaminess to meat dishes, I like to use Anita’s Coconut Yogurt. I mix it with the Haven’s chimichurri sauce for a great, vegan, creamy dressing or drizzle. I also like Anita's in my morning ginger and turmeric smoothies. Just the right amount of tang, and I’m trying to get more probiotics into my family. That’s why the Bio-K is there too: we all drink (look for the orange band, it tastes much better) and it feels like a treat rather than a supplement or medication. I like Go Raw organic, sprouted seeds and nuts and definitely keep those in the fridge for freshness. I have a ton of lidded jars that I use to save everything from dressing to toasted coconut. My kids have a tendency to finish a bag or box of something and leave the empty container on the shelf, so transparency is best. The plastic containers of prepped food were for our shoot and there’s also a big container of zoodles, which I resisted for a long time (too trendy maybe, and if I’m gonna eat pasta I want to eat PASTA) but must admit, they’re a wonderful quick meal sautéed with garlic and oil, and tossed in our pesto or peanut lemongrass sauce.

3rd shelf:

Brodo. I’d love to be able to make my own broth and sip it throughout the week, but lately that’s just not happening, so I think Marco’s brodo is as close to that as possible. Talk about an ancient health secret,  broth has been used in virtually every civilization to fend off illness and strengthen our immune systems. But again, the broth has to be from the highest quality bones, it can’t be loaded with salt or water, and once you shelf stabilize it, I think you lose most of the benefits. Brodo sources organically raised, grass-fed animals, and fresh vegetables and herbs, their ratio of bones to water is close to 1:1 and they ship frozen. Basically, I trust them. I’m a “smother everything in tahini” person, Seed and Mill and Soom are both great brands, with great products. My friend Laura has the most amazing farm, Westwind Orchards, and her jam is simply the best I’ve ever had. There’s also yuzu, I have a slight obsession with yuzu, it’s a perfectly balanced citrus which makes an amazing simple dressing when you mix it with a little sesame oil. I like to sweeten things with date syrup, it has this rich, delicious flavor that blends really well with other flavors and melts a little more easily into dressings and sauces than honey does. Of course, we were photographing our new sauces, so we had a bunch of pouches leftover.

Bottom Shelf:

We roasted a chicken marinated in our new harissa sauce for the photo shoot, so that’s dinner tonight (and Will’s sandwich tomorrow!). My 14-year-old loves applesauce, so I always have that too.

What’s not shown:

My fridge has two drawers, one that’s filled to the brim with vegetables and fresh herbs (I put parsley and cilantro on everything) and the other where I keep butter and cheese.


Fridge Cleaner-Outer Green Curry

Serves 4 as a main

A few friends came over on Saturday night and I still had a lot of vegetables in my fridge from the photo shoot that I needed to use. I roasted the sweet potatoes before adding them into the curry to make sure they were cooked through. I also pressed the tofu because it absorbs more sauce that way. You can really use any veggies you want, but add them in order of cooking time: Peas take a minute, broccoli around 5, so add the broccoli first. The paste is the key here to imbuing the whole dish with a lot of flavor. Leave out the jalapeno if it doesn’t float your boat.


3 garlic cloves
one 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (save some for garnish)
2 Tbsp. neutral flavored oil
coconut oil (optional)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 boxes firm tofu, pressed (ideally) and cubed
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup string beans, trimmed
2 sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 13.5-oz can of full-fat coconut milk
2 limes, cut into wedges


1.To make curry paste: Mix the garlic, ginger, jalapeños, cilantro and oil in a food processor, slowly pouring in ¼ cup water to create a smooth paste. Set aside

2. Heat coconut oil or neutral oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the tofu and sear for a few minutes. Remove from the pot.

3. Add a bit more oil to the pot and sauté shallots for a minute til lightly golden. Stir in curry paste. Add tofu, broccoli, string beans, sweet potatoes and the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Add ½ cup of water and bring to a simmer. When the broccoli is tender, add the peppers and peas until just tender and still vibrant.

4. Garnish with cilantro and lime.

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1 comment

  • Yay!! Someone with multiple kids that manages to stock a luscious looking fridge! also, it’s refreshing to see someone embracing plastic as a lost battle. it’s the one area I really struggle and it’s nice to see I’m not alone.

    Stephanie tanner, rn

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