Category Archives: Snacks and Apps

Grilled Fava Beans

For the most part I’m a lazy cook, which is why I don’t get along too well with fava beans.

If you have it in you to shuck the beans from the pod, simmer them briefly and then peel each and every single bean, more power to you.  You are now ready to make some elegant little appetizer that will be gone in two bites, like this fava bean and arugula crostini or that fava and ricotta bruschetta.  (That second recipe recommends having a friend do the work for you, which is at least a step in the right direction.)

If you don’t have it in you to do all that work, this recipe is for you.  It neatly foists the labor of excavating the tender beans straight onto your guests, providing a lively to start to your dinner party as your guests roll up their sleeves and forge a camaraderie based on their mutual amazement at your laziness.  Provide a tiny bowl of good salt for dipping the beans, napkins, and a bowl for discarded pods and bean skins.Grilled Fava Beans Continue reading

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One-Ingredient Oven Baked Apple Chips

Each summer, I fill my freezer and pantry shelves with jam and pickles and applesauce and roasted tomatoes and pesto and all the tastes of summer that I think I’ll need to make it through the Seattle winter.  And each year, right about this time, I either start wondering where it all went or wondering how we’re ever going to get through it all.  This year it’s the latter.

So here we are: the chickens are laying again, green rows are peeking up in the garden, and although even the rhubarb is a few weeks off, all signs indicate that spring will come again.  Which means that it’s time to be working through our winter stores.One-Ingredient Baked Apple ChipsIt was in that spirit that I hauled the last of our apple harvest out from the back of the fridge today.  Last fall we borrowed two dehydrators from a friend and dried a few gallons of apples that lasted, oh, right until whenever the girls found them.  They loved them.  So today when the counter was piled high with apples and I started talking sauce, an intense lobbying campaign was launched from around the height of my bellybutton.  Who could resist?

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Red Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Of all the tasty little meze dishes that have passed through my kitchen in recent weeks—and oh, there have been many—this muhammara is certainly our favorite.  It’s a thick, rich, flavorful paste of roasted red peppers and walnuts, spicy with harissa and just a touch exotic with the sweet-tart, unplaceable flavor of pomegranate molasses.  Watch around the table: the first bite prompts a moment’s confusion, a second take, another bite, a smile.  “What IS this?”  It’s muhammara.

Muhammara Continue reading

Kimchi Pancakes with Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce

And just like that, the moment is gone.

I go’ FLY, Mama, she warns me, arms outstretched.

You can fly? I ask.  She gives me a serious nod.

Ready SE-GO! I FLY! She lowers her head like a baby goat and charges across the room to me, arms wide as wings.  Even though she expects nothing less, she chortles with surprise and delight every time I catch her up in my arms and swoop her over my head.  Then she wriggles to the floor and we do it again.

One two free FLY!

Fly to me, baby.  I have caught you, and your sisters before you, a thousand times.  My arms will always be waiting (although I’m learning from your sisters that I won’t always be able to lift you overhead so effortlessly).  One two free FLY!Kimchi and Tofu PancakesSometimes change is hard, like knowing that someday soon I won’t have a flying baby anymore.  And sometimes it’s easy, like switching up the latke routine at the tail end of Hanukkah.  Continue reading

Tiny Grilled Brie and Apple Panini

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

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

As an long-time mostly-vegetarian, I know a thing or two about vegetarian feasting in general and the Vegetarian Thanksgiving in particular.

The rules below are mine.  What are your ideas or family traditions for feeding the vegetarians on Thanksgiving?  Please share your own insights—or feel free to request advice!—in the comments. Continue reading

Roasted Squash and Tahini Dip or Spread

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

Creamy White Bean Dip or Spread

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

How to Make Applesauce

I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life.  I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two.  More often, weeks or even months go by between entries.  I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family.  And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce.  It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce.  So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year.  At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes.  And how each chapter is even better than the last.

Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives.  Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house.  We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing.  We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can.  And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead. Continue reading