I always find a brightly-colored salad to be uplifting in wintertime. Lettuce may not be not a winter crop, but I like to overlook that fact and focus instead on salad as an opportunity to let winter citrus shine. And at this time of year fresh herbs are starting to peek up in the garden, which is a perfect excuse to supplement your salad greens with generous handfuls of parsley. The play of flavors and textures here—sweet, salty, bitter, crisp—will brighten any winter day. Continue reading »
I like my friend Knox for lots of reasons, one of which is that everything he cooks (and bakes, and preserves) is divine and he always shares his recipes. He always has good ideas, and several projects up his sleeve at once, so you won’t be surprised to learn that among his many accomplishments, Knox is the granddaddy of Soup Swap. (What, you haven’t held a soup swap yet this year? It’s not too late! The rules are here.)
And I think it was at Knox’s first soup swap, more than a decade ago, that he made us The Best Tomato Sauce for the first time. There were lots of us, and lots of frozen soup, packed into Knox’s tiny house, and in characteristic fashion he breezily served steaming bowls of pasta to all of us crowded onto the couch and floor and standing in every corner and doorway. The sauce was incredible. I squeezed after him into the arms-width kitchen and wrote down his instructions on a now-battered-and-stained recipe card. Continue reading »
If your house is anything like mine, your floor is littered with hearts and stickers, confetti and sparkles, the uncontainable detritus of the month-long operation that consumes our home at this time every year: making Valentines. The glue! The glitter! The little girls cutting hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts, and the thousands of tiny scraps of paper that float to every corner of the floor! The never-ending sweeping….
I mostly try to just smile and nod, enjoying the spectacle and vaguely hoping that we’ll manage to reclaim the table in time for dinner each night. As you probably know, I prefer to make my own messes in the kitchen.
With Valentines Day coming up this week, if you’re like me, you might like to know that you don’t have to settle for crumbly, flavorless conversation hearts with pre-printed messages. Since I’m rarely organized to make holiday treats before the day itself, I’ll refer you back to a post from last year: Make your own easy DIY conversation hearts and express your true feelings instead!If that’s too extreme for you, though, you should probably at least make your Valentine a plate of cookies.Hope your homes are full of sweetness this week!
By “panini,” as you’ll see from the photo below, I mean the American usage (any toasted or grilled sandwich) rather than the Italian original (referring specifically to a small bread roll, the panino). (At least if you believe what Wikipedia has to say, which, of course, I do.) And by “grilled brie and apple panini” I mean sweet and salty, gooey and crisp, crunchy, savory, wow, that’s good. Go ahead, have another. They’re tiny. Continue reading »
Sweet potato in my pie, pumpkin in my pancakes? That’s right, green vegetables are giving way to orange, as evidenced by the piles of winter squash on my counters. Luckily, orange is a very popular vegetable color around here. Especially when the vegetables come in the form of pancakes. Or pie. Continue reading »
Cooking is a lot of work, wouldn’t you say? That’s why I like to let my dining companions share in the effort every chance I get. Also, interactive food is fun! Everyone enjoys rolling their own sushi. From now on, I’m always going to let dining companions shell their own favas. And serving roasted wedges of unpeeled winter squash lets each eater participate in a simple task that makes the cooking much easier for you. (I’m sure they’ll thank you for the opportunity.)
“Eat your vegetables.”
Those words get such a bad rap. I’d like you to let go, right now, of the nasal, nagging tone you associate with this phrase. Imagine instead, if you will, the swelling of a great horn section, Rockettes high-kicking, and this ecstatic song:
“Eat your vegetables!”
Isn’t that better? Hopefully it will be just as easy for you to part with any lukewarm thoughts you’ve ever had about Brussels Sprouts. Because once you’ve roasted them, you’ll never want them any other way. (Well, except maybe raw in this awesome salad.) Roasting does this special thing to Brussels sprouts where the outer leaves get crisp and salty and the inside becomes sweet and nutty, and all it takes to reach Brussels sprout perfection is is one simple secret….
We are far away from the hurricane that’s raging tonight, but our thoughts have been on the storm all day. Our East Coast family and friends are drenched but well, and the storm gave us the gift of my sister- and brother-in-law stranded with us for an extra day after their flight home was cancelled. I hope that you and yours have fared as well. (I’ve been seeing the photos of flooding and fires and hospital evacuations, though, so on top of just hoping that everyone is well I also made a donation to the American Red Cross.)
I’m thankful to be warm and dry tonight, and to have my big family gathered around the table for dinner. It’s getting to be the season for cozy holiday meals, and, as always, I aim to equip you with a bountiful table of vegetarian and vegan options. Continue reading »
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a good time to have a few secretly-healthier foods in mind to sneak onto the table alongside the traditional fare. This white bean puree works equally well as a spread for crostini or as a dip for crackers and veggies, and its creamy texture belies the fact that it’s just a fancy (and still vegan) alternative to hummus. Continue reading »
This is a soup with a story. It’s essentially a minestrone, so you might think that our tale is going to start in Italy, with a grandmother tending a simmering pot for hours—and you’d be partly right. Except that this story is about my good friend’s great-grandparents, and the pot was simmering on a stove in a bar in Sacramento, California.
Now, Sacramento has a long history as a drinking town. So from the first days of the California Gold Rush, to the speakeasies of prohibition, to—I can only imagine—the indulgences of today’s state government bigwigs, there has been a steady stream of drinking establishment clients in need of a little something to help them sober up.
Our story, this soup’s story, takes place in the respectable post-prohibition era. So it’s the 1930′s, maybe, and later the 1940′s. The bar is remembered in family lore only as “The Joint,” which may or may not have been its name. It resided within what was, at the time, the oldest standing building in Sacramento. A watering trough waited outside the door for customers arriving by horse and buggy. And my friend’s great-grandparents, the proprietors, always kept a pot of this minestrone soup behind the bar. The recipe, needless to say, has been passed down through the generations. Continue reading »