Category Archives: Emmy Cooks Original

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

Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, and Peppers

I meant to eat chocolate cake for dinner tonight.  It was just one of those days.  J kindly intervened and made me this instead.  It was so good.  Salty, creamy, hearty–and it even used up some of our CSA peppers.  That man knows what I like.  It was perfect for a chocolate-cake-for-dinner kind of night. Continue reading

Green Spinach Soup

What more do you need to know?  It’s a velvety, lightly lemony spinach soup.  A nearly-effortless soup.  A 15-minutes-to-the-table soup.  A vegan soup.  A painless way to drink your veggies.  And a green, green, green, green soup. Continue reading

Tomatillo Pizza with Cilantro Pesto

I don’t think of myself as a huge fan of fusion food, whatever that is.  I like a certain harmony in the flavors of a meal, and I think that can be harder to achieve when you bring wildly diverse cuisines onto the plate at once.  But every once in a while I go there.  And every once in a while it works.  Take this pizza.

Continue reading

Baked Pasta With Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella

Someone taught my baby to say “stop it.”  Life with a seventeen-month-old is undignified enough, I feel, without irate admonitions issuing from the tiny person over every little thing.  Like when I try to change her diaper (“Stop it!”).  Like when I take a ballpoint pen away (“Stop it!).  Like when I insist that her carseat straps be buckled for travel (“No no no no STOP IT!”).

Imagine how she feels, though.  She’s the baby in a family of five.  We tell her to stop every time she innocently tries to tear a page from a book, or color on the table, or suck on the bottom of a delectable shoe.  We may both be saying the same words, but there are days when we’re not exactly speaking the same language.  Luckily, I can’t ever get down about it, because at the first sign of sadness this same baby rushes across the room, arms outstretched, yelling “Hug! Hug!”  Hopefully she learned that from us, too.

At times like these, comfort food is occasionally in order for the whole family.  And is there any comfort food that compares to baked pasta?  I guess roasted vegetables, maybe, so I’ve combined the two here to hedge my bets.  The children can pick out the cheesy pasta parts and I can console myself with all the eggplant that’s left in pan. Continue reading

Pear Muffins with Cardamom and Vanilla

The ways of the fruit trees are mysterious to me.  One year it’s a bumper crop of plums, this year just enough for one indulgent afternoon.  The apple trees are staggering under the weight of their fruit, but we only got one apricot.  And the pear tree, espaliered out of the way on our small city lot, produced its customary dozen pears.  Which yielded, after a little bit of cleanup and a lot of simmering down, one and a half cups of chunky pear sauce.

We made the most of it with these muffins.

Let me just admit up front that they’re more cake than breakfast, unless you can see your way to combining the two–in which case, I assure you, you won’t be alone.  The crumb is tender, the tops are crisp with sugar, and the muffins are fragrant with the heady scents of cardamom and vanilla. Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad

Although our Dinner in White has come and gone, this salad endures.  And no, by that I don’t mean that I have week-old leftovers in my fridge.  (I mean, I might, but let’s not speak of that.)  I mean that I already had to make this salad again, and I am looking forward to having it on our table often throughout the winter.  Along with that smoky cauliflower frittata, of course, and the cheddar and dijon cauliflower soup and that whole roasted cauliflower and…I might almost be looking forward to fall.

Unlike most of the recipes I post here, let me warn you, this one takes an hour.  An hour!  But it’s mostly hands-off time in the oven, and it’s worth it.  The cauliflower emerges limp and tender, the chickpeas crisp-edged and meaty.  The pine nuts add crunch and the raisins sweetness and the whole thing will leave you actually happy that it’s cool enough to turn your oven on for an hour.  We most recently ate this dish with a grated carrot salad, baked orzo with tomatoes, and a piece of grilled fish.  It was certainly a feast befitting the harvest season. Continue reading

Five-Minute Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Oh, school.  Its arrival is so bittersweet.  Even though I liked school as a kid, I was never quite ready for summer to end–who is?  And now that it’s my own kids heading happily back to class, a part of me is sorry to see them go.  (Another part of me is looking forward to a few mornings a week alone with my baby, of course, and to the single hour of silence in my day at her naptime.)

So yesterday we celebrated the Last Day of Summer Vacation with swimming, ice cream cones dripping onto the sidewalk, and an afternoon in the park.  Today dawned all business instead: breakfast, brushed hair, a stocked backpack, and then a bike ride to school to deliver our oldest to the rigors of first grade.  (It looked pretty fun, actually.)

And by the end of the day we were all exhausted.  Quesadillas, rice, beans from a can.  And this salsa.  This salsa!  It brightened everything right up.  Bring home a pound of tomatillos and a lime next time you’re out, and in five minutes you’ll be cheered right up.  Have the energy to go beyond quesadillas?  I love tomatillo salsa on black bean tacos, taco salads, huevos rancheros, and chilaquiles.  Especially chilaquiles.  Maybe it’s a good thing that the seasons are changing after all. Continue reading

Fresh Tomato Pasta with Dill and Lemon

The tomatoes are purple, broad-bottomed, flecked with green.  These are not my backyard Sungolds.  They’re Cherokee Purple heirlooms, hefty in my hand, and they come from east of the mountains where it actually gets hot.   They’re rare visitors in my kitchen, but I know just what to do with them today. Continue reading