Tag Archives: vegan

Zucchini Relish

At 2 a.m. I was still in the kitchen. Peach jam in the canner, tomato jam out of the canner, three trays of fruit leather in the oven, tomatoes and peaches in the dehydrator, prepping zucchini relish.  This is what I always forget in those dreamy, carefree spring months when I plant my garden or sign up for a CSA (or, this year, do both): The harvest season is also a season of all-out frenzy.

This recipe is here to help.  You will find both emotional and practical relief as you reduce two truly gargantuan zucchini to five tidy pints of the hot dog relish you remember from childhood.

Pile it onto a field roast sausage with that better-than-ketchup (and I don’t say that lightly) tomato jam and a beery mustard, and you’ll almost forget about the boxes of ripe pears in the basement still awaiting your attention.

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Any ideas for those pears? Continue reading

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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

Artichoke and Rosemary Pasta

Our artichoke harvest has been meager so far this year: one lonely bud.  The girls’ enthusiasm to eat it buoyed it straight from the back yard onto this week’s menu, where it was luckily joined by a larger bag of artichokes from our CSA.

I always end up feeling that artichokes are worth the work, don’t you?  I usually take the easy way out and steam them in eighths, but at least once a year I roll up my sleeves, clear my counters, and set to work cleaning and slivering artichokes for this recipe.  When you’re done, the deep, haunting flavor of any passable artichoke is magnified by caramelization, teased out by rosemary, and slathered across a gorgeous pile of pasta.  I confidently assert that this recipe is worth the hour it takes.Prepared Artichokes

Here’s a decent photo tutorial showing the steps for reducing a healthy-looking artichoke to a very-tasty shadow of its former self.  You can use artichokes of any size for this recipe–baby artichokes won’t have the thistle-blossom choke in the center, but if you use a larger artichoke you can just scoop out the choke with a paring knife or grapefruit spoon as you go.  Thinking of the task as meditative rather than repetitive helps.

Whatever you do, be sure to save the meaty outer leaves that you peel off.  I usually steam and serve them separately, but Elise of Simply Recipes offers the even-better idea of simmering them to make a broth.  I like the idea of getting three dishes from my bag of artichokes–this pasta, a plate of cold artichoke leaves with dipping sauces, and a steaming bowl of pillowy cheese ravioli floating in artichoke broth.  I’ll try that next time and report back.  Waste not want not, and all that.

p.s. After all that, the kids refused to eat the pasta, of course.  The leaves, which remained in recognizable artichoke form, were as popular as ever.

Artichoke and Rosemary Pasta Continue reading

Pesto Pasta with Beans and Greens

The lifestyle indulgences I go in for might seem quirky, I admit.  In some ways I’m frugal: our cars are old, I usually upgrade my wardrobe only when actual holes in my clothing require it, and we’ll probably never update our very-1980’s kitchen.  But other times, I splurge indiscriminately: finding myself in a new grocery bulk section last week, I bought a bag of every unfamiliar dried bean there.

Yellow beans!  Pink beans!  Speckled beans!  Tiny beans!  And more, many more.  I have only one source to blame for this new obsession: Rancho Gordo.   A local shop carries their beans, which have opened my eyes to the wide world beyond black and white beans, familiar pintos and chickpeas.  I have fallen down the dried-bean rabbit hole and I like it here.Pasta with Beans and GreensThat charmer pictured above is Rancho Gordo’s Ojo de Cabra, a meaty beauty of a bean so succulent that I kept plucking them from the bubbling pot despite the peril to my fingertips.  Like all beans, they’re even better the next day, and that’s when I suggest that you make this pasta.

This dish is fine and dandy with drained canned white beans (maybe add a little chopped fresh rosemary in that case), but it is even better as a showcase for an excellent bean if you cook it yourself and use a few scoops of the bean broth to finish cooking your pasta.

Do you have a favorite bean, or an unusual recommendation that I should seek out?  Please tell me! Continue reading

Winter Salad with Oranges and Oil-Cured Olives

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.Green Salad with Oranges and Olives Continue reading

The Best Tomato Sauce

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.The Best Tomato Sauce Continue reading

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