Edamame pesto and roasted beet crostini recipe

We are in the home stretch of winter, and even though it’s been one of the warmest winters in New England and the forsythia is blooming nearly 2 months early, it’s still slim pickings, food wise. We are many weeks away from garlic scapes or asparagus or peas at the nearby farms. I’ve had quite enough kale and winter squash and now I long for spring and fresh vegetables.

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Sweet potato chips and yogurt harissa dip recipe

So, if you came over yesterday to watch some football, I might have hung up your coat, offered you a beer, and immediately set out a warm plate of these chips and this dip. And five minutes later, when the chips were gone, you might have asked for the recipe, after acting impressed that I made these chips, and from scratch.

Can I even call this a recipe, since the chips are only 3 ingredients, and one of them is salt?

We discovered it when my mom and I were making a fancy vegetarian torte topped with these lovely slices of sweet potato draped and arranged like a big flower. We had slices left over and baked them with a tiny bit of olive oil until crispy. We were surprised we had never made sweet potatoes like this before and polished off the pan of crispy slices in a quick minute. Continue reading

Greens, sweet potatoes, and cannellini beans with harissa recipe

greens, sweet potato, and cannelini beansWhat was I thinking when I bought a bag of “southern greens blend,” which is a pound of mustard, turnip, and collard greens–stuff I probably would throw away, not knowing it’s edible–and some spinach?

I was thinking its probably good for me and everything else looked kind of tired after a  long drive from the west coast. Flash forward four days, and this bag of trimmings is the only thing in the vegetable drawer. And, right about now I’m thinking this blog should be called the root vegetable kitchen. But, I have hope for a decent healthy dinner in 60 minutes less.

The way some people use bacon to fix food or myriad other situations, I add sweet potatoes. So here’s a quick weeknight healthy vegan dinner that would make Aunt Nettie proud. Continue reading

Ma po tofu and rice bowl recipe

Hello first really cold day of winter! All thoughts of a brisk walk in the woods or a climb up a big hill went away after I stepped outside to get the newspaper. Last I checked, the temperature was trying to climb into the double digits.

When it gets this cold, I want to curl up with the cat and read a book. I want to eat something warm, saucy, filling, and savory. And, a trip to the grocery store or anywhere in a cold car is not for a wimp like me. So this is one of those pantry and freezer cooking challenges days.

Fortunately, I had enough of the ingredients to make a version of Mark Bittman’s ma po tofu. I changed some of the proportions, left out green onions, and added red bell pepper and crushed peanuts. 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

Easy curried sweet pea dip

Party season is upon us, and so I’m sharing one of my favorite go-to party recipes, a curried pea dip that takes 10 minutes to prepare. It’s sweet and spicy and looks pretty in a white bowl.

This is one of my mom‘s recipes, from her book The Nut Gourmet. She drizzles it with pomegranate syrup and calls it hot karachi pea dip, because she’s much cooler than I am.

If you are serving it for a holiday appetizer, feel free to get crafty and form it into a tree or a wreath–with tiny red bell pepper pieces for ornaments! Serve it with crackers or celery sticks. You can even use it as a spread in a roasted vegetable sandwich, or as a topping on a flatbread pizza along with feta or goat cheese.

Even better, it’s a pantry recipe, if you keep a bag of peas in the freezer and have a lemon or a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge.

Curried Sweet Pea Dip
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
5 TBS water
1 TBS lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne, or more or less, depending on how spicy you want it

Put all ingredients in the food processor and mix until blended and creamy. Serve warm or room temperature with crackers and celery. Can be made up to 2 days before serving.

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