Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Candied Orange Peel and Mint

Don’t be swayed by the length of this rather unwieldy-sounding recipe’s name; the latter two ingredients, candied orange peels and fresh mint, are almost inessential to the sparkling culinary gemstone that is roasted beets and fresh orange slices. “Wow” hardly nips at the issue I’m talking about here. Okay, so it’s only food — two foods to be precise. But sometimes, all’s it takes, as they say, is two to tango.

Baba Ghanoush: Eggplant Mush

I find it no coincidence that so many cultures like to tame eggplant by beating them to a pulp. My run-in with not-so-well-cooked eggplant earlier this summer has put me off the poisonous plants for a little while, but I’m not calling it quits just yet. Baba ghanoush, eggplant “caviar,” so to speak, has been enjoyed throughout Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European cuisines for many centuries before peasant food became chic. They must know what they’re doing.

Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans

This side is: a) 100% vegetables b) 100% hearty c) oddly Christmasy-looking d) all of the above If you guessed “d,” then you hate these kinds of questions because you always know whoever’s posing it is trying to get you to say that. And I don’t blame you. But you’ve got to try these green beans to believe how true it is.

Bloody Mary Salsa

As you can see, I’m drinking to the end of summer. Stirred (not shaken) up as a last-minute idea for the Salsa Takedown at Mo Pitkins, this salsa is my sloppy toast to another warm season of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I feel much closer to in the wake of their departure for the fall.

Cucumber Melon Salad

I made this dish twice to get it right. The first time, I was going for salsa. It had hot peppers in it, vinegar, oil and sea salt. The second incarnation was more of a fresh fruit salad. Both were mellow, juicy and crisp little concoctions, like a summer cocktail. When I finally decided on the right balance of flavors, I hit a wall on what to name it. Salsa, or salad? Then again, what is the difference — really … Read More

Manhattan Corn Chowder

Not really, silly. The word “Manhattan” here, of course, simply stands in for “tomato-based,” and though there may be who-knows-how-many similar vegetable soups enjoyed on the island of Manhattan, mine has never graced its turf. Yet while I may be slightly offish about Manhattan, I am not adverse to clams; my boyfriend is. Like relationships, it’s funny how some recipes begin: I had a craving for something soupy this week. (Most people I know avoid hot soups like the plague … Read More

Enjoyably Easy Spinach Salad with Artichoke Hearts and Walnuts

Last week I reached for a jar on the back of the refrigerator door, knocked over the marinated artichoke hearts — the cap must have been lazily placed on top rather than screwed on — and spilled artichoke juice all over three shelves and the floor of the fridge. It didn’t smell half bad. Tonight, I intentionally did much the same to this simple spinach salad — that is, didn’t bother whisking up any dressing. Nada. It wasn’t half bad, … Read More

Plum & Radicchio Panzanella with Honey Mustard Dressing

There is always a good way to use up leftover bread in Tuscany and that, of course, I applaud. Or should I say aspire to. I toast to that good food conscience. Whatever. The point is: panzanella. It sounds like the sweet baby girl name that you would never choose for fear she would take it as permission to wear skin-tight tube skirts and ride on the backs of motorcycles with guys named Marco whenever she’d tell you she was … Read More

A Bloody Good Brooklyn Summer

Two summers ago it was a bar on Columbia St., at the “edge of Cobble Hill,” called the B61 that I went to every spare happy hour I had and ordered a tall pint glass of bartender Jamie’s magnificent Bloody Marys. Two parts homemade Bloody Mary mix heavy on the horseradish, one part vodka, a splash of Guinness straight from the tap, spice seasoning on the rim of the glass, cracked black pepper at the bottom, three olives speared with … Read More

White Bean Confetti Dip

Who says the Fourth of July can’t be red, white, green, yellow, orange, purple and blue? This quick chip and dip snack is an easy fix for barbecue-bringing, and it can be improvised with almost any veggies you might have on hand. Sure, it might not look as bright and pretty in that abstract expressionist painting way as a strictly veggies-only salsa, but white beans go a long way and sure do make one smooth, almost creamy base.

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