Sweet potato, arugula, black bean, avocado salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

sweet potato salad bowlOne of my recurring resolutions is to try more recipes from the cookbooks I receive and amass throughout the year. I’m happy to say that I’ve whipped up the chickpea dressing recipe from the Dirt Candy comic cookbook—which is a fun read and an inspiring and innovative take on vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

lentil ball saucedBut the book that is getting more use right now is the Meatball Shop cookbook, which isn’t even mine. The latest recipe we tried, the vegetarian lentil “meatball” recipe, was enjoyed by vegetarians and carnivores alike. We followed it to the letter, but have some ideas about changing it up for next time, so stay tuned.lentil balls

To accompany the lentil balls, I put together a winter “comfort salad” of roasted sweet potato, arugula, avocado, black beans, and toasted almonds. I call it a comfort salad because it’s hearty and satisfying even on a cold day when you wouldn’t gravitate toward salad, and it could be a meal on its own, along with a thick slice of grainy bread. I dressed it with a pomegranate vinaigrette, but considered topping it with this tahini dressing. Continue reading

Corn soup with oregano pesto burrata crostini and a scallop salad

Lots of excitement yesterday, starting with the local yarn crawl. The goal of such an event is to visit as many local yarns stores as possible, admire new yarns, make aspirational yarn purchases, and hang out with other yarnhoarders likeminded people. But we had a very specific recycled cashmere mission and headed straight to the Woolpack to see Ellie’s new yarns. She unravels worn cashmere sweaters, gently washes the yarn, and spins it into luxurious color combinations. We also wanted to show her the socks we made with her yarn (one of us went on a knitting spree into the wee hours the night before):

OK, I know you came here for the food. Dinner brought some good friends from Newburyport. We had bonded with these folks over burrata earlier this summer, so I decided to indulge us and made the burrata and oregano pesto crostini pictured above. It’s simple. Just make a batch of this pesto, toast some bread, and top it with burrata and a drizzle of the oregano pesto.

I’m feeling the corn countdown. It’s still at the Boston farmer’s market, but some of the local  farms are done for the season. It’s finding its way into salads and is the star in this simple corn soup. To give the presentation a bit more zing, I topped the soup with some of this paprika and herb oil.

The crostini and soup can be filling, so the entrée was on the lighter side: a mixed lettuce salad with seared scallops, roasted beets, lentils, cherry tomatoes, and roasted delicata squash, inspired by this salad from last fall and this one, which helped me get over my anxiety for cooking scallops.

Dinner was followed by this luxurious chocolate pumpkin spice cake brought by our friends, and a round of joke telling. What could be better?

Kale quinoa Cobb salad recipe

Here’s my new favorite salad. The story of how it came to be is also the answer to the question, “what have you been up to this summer?”

I had been wondering about the Boston University Gastronomy program and decided to dip my toe in the pool and signed up for a summer class, “Nutrition and Diet: Why What You Eat Matters.” For the past six weeks, most of my conscious nonworking life involved studying, cramming my brain with how our digestive system works, where our food comes from, what nutrients and how much of them we need, what foods have these nutrients, what sustainability means, what causes obesity, and what research has found about various diets. Yep, all in six weeks. The weekly seven hours of class time was riveting, taught by a nutrition and obesity researcher epidemiologist rockstar whose sheer energy, knowledge, and output (on her blog alone!) is an inspiration. And I was joined in class by other foodies including this blogger. Continue reading

Vegan father’s day lunch: Sweet potato edamame sandwiches

vegan father's dayAfter I wrote about one of my mom’s creative dinner feats, many of you wanted to know about my dad. Did he do unexpected stunts while raising my three brothers and me?

I don’t have one specific story, but there are many things he did that kept his sanity and made us who we are: Every 2 weeks we went to the library, and there was no such thing as an overdue book. On a quiet back road near the 5 freeway, he’d do “crazy driver,” abruptly swerving the car back and forth to make us giggle with delight. He took us screenings of movies he loved, usually starring the Marx brothers, Charlie Chaplin, or Harold Lloyd. He and my mom were committed to exposing us to culture and dragged us to concerts, museums, plays, and ethnic restaurants. And, to this day, he has always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and passions, even if it meant we would move thousands of miles away. Continue reading

What to do with fiddleheads: Fiddlehead rice salad with pepita lemon dressing recipe

I learned about fiddleheads my first spring in Massachusetts, and one bite confirmed what I thought: These people will eat anything that grows out of the ground at this time of year, as long as it’s not that toxic. Fiddleheads can taste like lawn clippings. But then I parboiled them and sautéed them with garlic and oil and thought they tasted good. Continue reading

Kale, roasted squash, bacon, and date salad

There are some ingredient combinations that get the attention of the pleasure-seeking part of my brain. Dates and bacon, chickpeas and cumin, and harissa or cardamom with anything, and I’m ordering it or making the recipe.kale, bacon, date, and squash salad

It was exactly those combinations that played out in last night’s dinner. Lucky for me, my friend Josh likes making the entree and is happy to leave the sides to me. So when I told him that I wanted make a chickpea and date dish, barley pilaf, and a kale salad, he decided that coriander-spiced grilled lamb steaks would be just the thing. Continue reading

Roasted apple, root vegetable, and pumpkin-seed crusted goat cheese salad recipe

My California brother Chuck is visiting for the weekend, and it’s his birthday! We went to Boston to see the last bits of fall color in the Public Garden and admire the Newbury Street shoppers, outfitted in sumptuous boots and scarves, despite the near 60-degree temperature.

In honor of Chuck’s birthday, I combined his favorite foods–roasted vegetables, butternut squash, and goat cheese–into an entree salad. For a Californian who still has access to fresh tomatoes and corn, this salad seems kind of exotic and unusual. It was also inspired by Wednesday’s farmers’ market haul.

Much of this salad can be prepared in advance. I made the dressing, and peeled and chopped all the vegetables, except the apple and potatoes, earlier that day, so it came together quickly. Continue reading