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?

Eggplant, lentils, and corn with charmoula sauce

eggplant, lentils, and corn with charmoulaEggplant was not my friend until I learned how good it can be when it’s fresh or if you’ve salted it to remove any bitterness. Eggplant is plentiful at the farmstands and farmer’s markets right now, and lends itself to so many dishes, including a rolatini with goat cheese and pesto. eggplants at farm

For tonight’s dinner, I started with this lovely eggplant smothered in charmoula marinade recipe and altered it to omit frying the eggplant and to make it into a heartier main dish with a bed of lentils. 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

Green garlic and pistachio pesto crostini

Asparagus and spring garlic are here! I almost cried when a dear friend brought me a bunch of asparagus from McGrath Farm a couple weeks ago. Something freshly grown to eat. And now they have spring garlic!

Spring garlic seems to be fussed over in places with long winters. We will eat almost anything with gusto if it comes out of the ground this month. None of my California friends even knew what I was talking about when I told them about my green garlic find.

It’s a warm day filled with energetic weed pulling and tomato planting and dirt hauling, so dinner is going to be light. Along with a hearty salad, I’m making green garlic and pistachio pesto crostini, with optional burrata on top. Continue reading