To what lengths do you go to give away your surplus produce at this time of year? Are you the proverbial neighbor who rings the doorbell and runs, leaving behind a 4-lb. squash that will take all afternoon to grate for zucchini fritters? Do you casually drop by a friend’s house and “forget” a basket of plums that you don’t have time to make into jam? Do you foist carrot salads upon unsuspecting dinner hosts?I admit nothing. Continue reading
I love a picnic. And we spent yesterday evening at the best picnic of the year.It was a party with friends and friends-of-friends, all in white at a waterfront park in Seattle. The location was a secret until late afternoon, then the text messages flew, the final arrangements were made, and we began to descend upon the appointed destination. White balloons fluttered at the park’s entrance, white lights lit the path to the water, and soon long tables were set with white linens and plates, flowers and candles. Feasts were laid out. The guests, of course, wore white. A band kept time to the festivities and after dark descended, hundreds of white sparklers lit the air. A very nice picnic indeed.
Luckily our friends are excellent cooks and we ate very well. (They are great photographers, too; you can see my friend Knox’s photos from last year here and my friend Tara’s photos from last night here.) There were meats and cheeses and chutneys and quince paste and three kinds of pickles. There were salads in a palette of brilliant hues: beets with oranges and pistachios, roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, salmon nestled into greens, plums on a bed of grilled kale with ricotta, a saffron coucous with raisins. There was a fancy cake. And, in a nod to the party’s white theme, I brought vegetables with this dip.I also brought it because it’s so good. It’s a savory, moreish way to eat your vegetables. It’s perfect with green beans but I couldn’t resist adding blanched carrots and crisp radishes to the plate as well. The more color the better, I say, at least on my plate.
Colorful Vegetables with White Dip (adapted from Gourmet): Okay, yes, the secret ingredient here is a can of anchovies. Brave them, try them, even if you’re skeptical. This is a gentle introduction for nonbelievers.
Drain and rinse a 2-oz. can of anchovies and dump them in a small pot with 2 big cloves of minced garlic, 2 Tbsp. water, and 2 Tbsp. sour cream (I used low fat). Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Transfer the resulting anchovy-garlic paste to a food processor with another 1 c. sour cream and 1/3 c. mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Optional: add 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice. (I like it both ways, with and without the lemon.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least an hour before serving with blanched green beans or other blanched or raw vegetables.
The challenge with zucchini at this time of year, I find, is how to wrangle overgrown clubs of squash into something that you actually want to eat. With all due respect to the lovely Mollie Katzen (to whom much respect is due), this is not the season for stuffed “Zuccanoes.”My answer to the annual giant zucchini quandary usually involves my food processor. Grating zucchini is therapeutic, first off; literally cutting the squash down to size shows it who’s boss and lets it see that you are not intimidated. Continue reading
Welcome to Emmy Cooks! You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are May, June, and July). If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Think of these as a convenience food.
I know you can buy frozen french fries, but honestly, a potato is pretty convenient all by itself. Chop a pound or two into batons, toss them with oil and salt, and roast them in a hot oven while you make the rest of dinner. You’ll have to hurry, though, because they’ll be ready inside half an hour and you’ll want to eat them hot. Continue reading
I like a vegetable as much as the next girl, but I am the first to admit that they can sometimes be time-consuming to prepare. (I’m looking at you, fava beans.*) As a consolation for the minutes I lose shelling fresh beans or dicing winter squash or washing mountains of greens, though, there are the times when I can cook a vegetable whole (like that cauliflower!) with little or no preparation at all. This is one of those times. Pan, oil, whole peppers, salt, and they’re ready for the table. My mother in law regularly makes these peppers to great acclaim, and I follow her method Continue reading
So here’s a nice secret that I’ll tell you more about tomorrow: I haven’t cooked a thing all week. We arrived home late tonight after lucking out both with the ferry times and the three sleeping children in the car. Smooth sailing of the figurative sort, which we appreciated tonight almost as much as we appreciated the placid waters when we were out canoeing in the lake this morning with a literal boatload of our kids and our friends and their kids. A lovely ending to a lovely week. And not only because I didn’t have to cook.
I think of cauliflower as a highly inoffensive vegetable. (Update: J takes offense at this description. He wants me to describe it as “a PERFECT vegetable.” Anyway.) It’s mildly flavored when cooked, and it’s not green. You can hide it in mac and cheese if you’re so inclined (or so I hear). Continue reading
I’m no Cheryl-style desperado when it comes to dispatching zucchini. In fact, I’m kind of pleasantly surprised when they come my way. The squash plants in my garden are despondent and I think they may have given up for the year, so I’m glad to be getting a weekly bag of bitty squash (with flowers!) from the warm side of the mountains in my CSA box.
I know that most of you are in a different boat, though, so I thought I’d share my favorite method for cutting zucchini down to size. This recipe (once again inspired by Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) cooks a big pile of squash into submission all at once. The resulting dish–sweet, herbal, salty, tender–makes a fine hot or cold salad on its own, but it’s also dandy tucked into tacos, tossed with pasta, or spread onto a summertime pizza. Continue reading Summer Squash with Feta and Fresh Herbs (click for recipe)
Welcome to Emmy Cooks! You can see some of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are April, May, and June). If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email and to follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook or Twitter.
During my first pregnancy, I had an occasional craving for citrus. Grapefruit, oranges, pomelos, lemons, limes, anything. During my second pregnancy, nothing. And during my third pregnancy, I had no cravings, but one aversion: beets.
Other vegetables were okay: I would happily have eaten butternut squash tacos with chipotle and feta or a pound-of-greens frittata. Those risotto-stuffed chard leaves were popular in my kitchen that year, and a simple arugula salad was just my speed (the arugula comes up in the garden by itself on years when I’m neglectful; what could be easier?).
But beets! Woe! I used to love beets! Roasted with walnuts and blue cheese. Grated beet salads with honey-ginger or lemony dressings. Beets steamed with their greens and swathed in oil and vinegar. Goodbye, beets. Even after my baby was born they seemed a little too…sweet, too meaty. Too beet-y. So last year I dutifully piled the beets into my crisper as they arrived from my CSA. I cooked the greens and packed the roots tighter and tighter into the left-hand drawer. Finally, in the dead of winter, I cleaned out the drawer and composted them all. Sorry, beets.
This year I am taking a more reasonable approach. I’m planning to make all my beets into beet chips. They’re crispy and salty and, while they’re still sweet, they’re a world away from the roasted beets that I once loved. They’re a nice change of pace, and they’ll help free up some space in my fridge this summer. Continue reading Beet Chips (click for recipe)
Although it’s only been a few weeks, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for staying on top of both of our CSAs. A CSA is a great motivator to cook vegetables because the more the veggies pile up, the less room I have for my extensive condiment collection and the really good stuff, like chocolate sauce and enough feta cheese to last me until fall. (What? It’s pickled.)
At this time of year, our veggie box is full of leaves, and this recipe is my go-to solution for cooking them down to a manageable size for storage or immediate consumption. These silky greens are great alone or as a component of another dish (try whole wheat pasta with these greens and basil pesto).
This treatment works well for softer greens, including tender kale, and would also work for briefly simmered collards or tough kale. I made one batch with rainbow chard this week, pictured below, and a separate batch using beet greens, arugula, and radish tops. Whatever greens you use, start with a lot; one bunch of greens looks awfully puny after a few minutes in the pan. Continue reading Sauteed Greens with Garlic (click for recipe)