Rosemary, garlic, and cannellini bean spread

rosemary, garlic, and cannellini bean dipWe like spontaneous and last-minute neighbor drop-ins and have been encouraging our friends to come by even when we don’t have longstanding plans. For these occasions, I’m assembling a collection of quick and simple appetizer recipes that can be made with what I generally have on hand.

This rosemary, garlic, and bean spread has lots going for it: It comes together in less than 10 minutes, has bold flavors, and works for all food constituencies (vegans, picky eaters, and those with food allergies). I serve the spread with crackers, grainy bread, chunks of fresh fennel, or celery sticks. You can do some substitutions—chickpeas, black beans, or other white beans will work well, and chopped shallot can stand in for the garlic. Continue reading

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

Oregano pesto with fresh peas and roasted zucchini pasta

Oregano is growing in huge bunches in the garden, so I decided to see whether it would make a good pesto. I went for simplicity and combined oregano, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and was pleased with the result–herby, slightly lemony, and delicious over warm pasta or drizzled over crostini topped with burrata or tofu.

The pasta also included much of the haul from McGrath and Hutchins farm stands: green onions, fresh peas in pods, and zucchini. The trick for fresh peas is not to overcook them. I put the peas in a colander and poured the pasta and pasta water over them, which softened them while retaining their grassy, fresh flavor and toothsome texture.

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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