Vegetarian Paella

Last summer, ten friends and I kissed the summer goodbye with a beach weekend and a clambake. I wrote afterward that there was no greater communal food activity than this, if you’re by the shore with many people. I take that back just a little. Because for all the seaweed we let sizzle on molten-hot rocks, and crustaceans that reddened atop those before cracking open, there is another awesome group food that should not be overlooked in the summer: paella.

Roasted Eggplant “Salsa”

What do you get when you mix two classic condiments: a creamy roasted eggplant dip and a tangy, fresh tomato-based salsa? A colorful cross. And why not? I always liked the brightness of adding fresh citrus juice to roasted or grilled eggplant. It sort of livens the greyish thing up. I also get frustrated, sometimes, spilling the juice of a fresh tomato salsa while trying to scoop it up with a tortilla chip. Or getting one piece of onion on … Read More

Chilled Fava Bean Soup

Ah, fresh fava beans. Who else first heard of this legume via Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? If so, it was a most disturbing way one can be introduced to a new food (and I am amongst those). No, I didn’t eat fava beans for a good long time after seeing that movie, but it wasn’t because I was afraid. It was because I never did encounter them, least of all fresh and whole still in their pods, until … Read More

Sour Cherry Sorbet

Sour cherries, unlike sweet, are just about the sharpest taste you can get from a stone fruit. Eaten raw, these little gems will make your mouth hurt and your face flare up with weird expressions (just try one without making a face). They’re as crimson as cranberries once crushed up. But when cooked with a little sugar, sour cherries take on a unique, classic-candy flavor, which you can’t get from sweet cherries. Not by a long shot.

Sesame Marinated Steamed Cauliflower

When it’s warm out in the midst of summer, one doesn’t feel as inclined to eat, much less cook. Then hunger kicks in, and heavy foods like fried oysters and hamburgers from street vendors and such come into the picture and, well, why not dig in? A certain fatigue that leads to throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air lapses in eating judgement is an expected part of summertime. Problem is, you just want to throw-your-head-on-the-pillow sleep afterwards.

Potato Salad with Wasabi and Nori

There’s German potato salad, Southern potato salad, curried potato salad, mustardy potato salad, boring potato salad, spicy potato salad, and there are lots of thick, mayonnaise-based Japanese-style potato salads, but I’ve never tried one with wasabi in it as well.

Quinoa with Portobello and Peas

Doesn’t the sound of mushroom risotto just pull you by the tastebuds? Creamy rice, earthy morsels of mushrooms, and often sweet peas buried in between. This luscious dish appears on so many restaurant menus as a standard option, perhaps due to its vegetarian-friendly disposition, and I’m tempted to make it on chillier nights when I feel like eating somewhat “light.” But it requires patience, attention, and some good stock to cook well, three things I don’t always have on weeknights.

Chickpea and Roasted Kale Salad

Kale is the new salad green. A couple decades ago, choosy eaters eschewed iceberg for the more nutritionally dense, greener, leafier types of lettuce like romaine. Then, they went onto fluffier, miniature, mixed ones often including — or solely consisting of — baby arugula (RIP AKA “rocket”). Their spicy kick lent complexity to sides, and they’re also very nutritionally dense, much more so than romaine. Baby spinach greens, too, played a role in this evolution, beckoning the health-conscious for its … Read More

Vegetarian Ma Po Tofu, with Photography Lessons

posted in: Recipes, vegan, vegetarian | 4

photo: Brie Passano Last week, I was delighted to sit alongside fellow local bloggers for a panel discussion on food blogging hosted by Edible Manhattan. One of the questions that came up was, how important is photography to you? And another question, or several of the questions, were aimed at understanding what drives readership in a claustrophobic spectrum of sites about food. I’m not a photographer (never learned the ropes formally), but I’d say that photography is important and something … Read More

Cavatelli with Cranberry Beans and Pea Shoots

It’s finally arrived — the season for budding blossoms, bike rides, and all things green. Well, make that Spring 1.0, the beta-test days. We’ve still got frosts and chances of flurries, and at the farmers markets, there’s little green to be seen. Except for those shoots and seedlings grown in a greenhouse. But — tulips and daffodils, mint, parsley and chives! Step aside, winter squashes and brown-speckled apples. A natural changing of the guards has just begun.

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