Kale salad with farro, parmesan, pine nuts, and dried fruit

I do two kinds of cooking.

One is cooking for the sheer fun of it. Sweet snacks! Brunch for friends! Ohmygod, I want chocolate!

But I realize that not everyone is as into that first kind of cooking as I am. I hear that.

The second kind of cooking, however, is the kind that needs to happen, week in and week out, to keep me fed, in a healthy-ish way, on relatively little money, often in a somewhat short amount of time. This is the type of cooking that everyone—young or old, in school or employed, with kids or without—needs to do. I don’t think there’s a way to eat healthy, relatively interesting food three times a day on a small budget without cooking for yourself.

For that second kind of cooking, I cannot go without recipes like this one. Continue reading “Kale salad with farro, parmesan, pine nuts, and dried fruit”

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Anglo-Australian scones

For the first twenty or so years of my life, I did not like scones. I found them hard, dense, triangles that, though loaded with sugar and dried fruit and often coated in more sugar, somehow managed to taste like nothing. (Really, how is that possible? At that point, shouldn’t you just call it a day and bake some cookies?)  Presented with the option of scone or any other baked good, I would choose any other baked good. Bah humbug.

Then I moved to Sydney and encountered a different kind of scone. Pronounced “scawn,” Australian (really, British) scones are more like a sweet American biscuit than those dry, brick-like triangles that we call scones in America. They are light and bready. They are only slightly sweet (the idea being you pile sugar and clotted cream on top, rather than baking the sugar into the scone itself). And they are oh-so-nice with fruit for breakfast or with tea in the afternoon. Continue reading “Anglo-Australian scones”

Moroccan-spiced roasted cauliflower and carrot salad with chickpeas and couscous

With about 95 percent accuracy, I can usually judge whether I will like a recipe from the ingredients list.

This was not one of those recipes.

I have been working my way through my most-used cookbook, Salad for Dinner, for years. And for years, I had skipped over this recipe. The ingredients sounded weird together. Would green olives really work with a dressing that was inflected with turmeric and cinnamon? Did cauliflower and carrots really need a starchy bed of couscous? Speaking of: was that really enough couscous for a couscous salad? And what about the chickpeas–where did they fit into this equation?

Continue reading “Moroccan-spiced roasted cauliflower and carrot salad with chickpeas and couscous”

Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad

So often, winter comfort food is heavy. And look–I am passionate about ragù. But if you’re looking for comfort food that doesn’t weigh you down, try this.

This grilled cheese makes the best use of winter produce–beets, fennel, and persimmons burst with bright flavor that is uncharacteristic at this time of year. Yet, as a grilled cheese, it also ticks the comfort food box.

img_0630 Continue reading “Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad”

Hearty kale salad with apples, cheddar, and almonds

This salad is perfect fall weeknight food. It is autumnal: dark green kale, crisp apples, brown almonds, and sharp, aged cheddar mingle prettily in a big bowl. Yet it is also quick, requiring no heat whatsoever and only a few bits of chopping.

It works well in a nice deep plate as a meal by itself or with bread. In a season where we usually turn to braises and roasts to fill us up, this somehow doesn’t feel like a deprivation. (Perhaps it’s the richness of the cheese and the almonds?) Yet it also shines as a side salad at a big fall dinner. (In fact, I’m not allowed to bring anything else to our Thanksgiving potluck.) Continue reading “Hearty kale salad with apples, cheddar, and almonds”

Butternut squash lasagna with sage, caramelized onions, and tofu ricotta

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, but for whatever reason—you’re a vegetarian, your guests are vegetarians, you don’t like turkey, or you don’t like weeks of turkey-themed leftovers—want to skip the bird?


Look no further. This lasagna capitalizes on big fall flavors: butternut squash, caramelized onions, and sage. It’s hearty: noodles and squash means enough starch that nobody walks away hungry. It’s beautiful: that burnt orange dotted with green baked sage leaves looks impressive and celebratory. Continue reading “Butternut squash lasagna with sage, caramelized onions, and tofu ricotta”

Farro salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate

When I talk to friends (and let’s be honest, acquaintances and strangers) about home cooking, the most common complaint I hear is that it is too time consuming. People get off work already hungry. Unsure of what’s for dinner, they head to the grocery store. They try to rustle up a meal plan in the produce aisle. The lines are long. Once home, they cook, but the recipe is time consuming and creates many dirty dishes, which then need to be washed. Ultimately, they spend more time stressing than they do enjoying cooking and eating. Continue reading “Farro salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate”

Acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa salad with pomegranate-shallot vinaigrette

As useful as gravlax is for brunch or Japanese noodle soup is for a quick lunch at home, this type of recipe is my bread and butter. It is plant based. It uses seasonal produce. (Those mealy winter grocery store tomatoes aren’t worth your time or mine, but just look at those pomegranate seeds shining like little jewels on top of that salad there.) It keeps well as leftovers. It is easily doubled to provide a full week’s worth of lunches or dinners. Speaking of lunches, it packs and transports well in my four-cup Pyrex. It is hearty but not heavy. Etc.

Continue reading “Acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa salad with pomegranate-shallot vinaigrette”

End-of-summer panzanella

This week, butternut squash arrived at the farmer’s market, co-existing with the last of the bell peppers, tomatoes, and basil. The end of summer produce season is upon us.

Consider sending off the season with this recipe, which embodies everything that is good about summer cooking. High-quality fresh produce? Check. No oven and only one pan required?  Got it. Acidic tomatoes that burst in your mouth? In abundance. (Insert heart-eye emoji here.) Best served with chilled rosé? Oh yes.

So, one last time before next summer: chop up some fresh vegetables, toss with some crusty bread, mix everything with an easy vinaigrette, and call it dinner. When you dig in tonight (and for lunches this week), you’ll be giving the best food season the farewell it deserves. Continue reading “End-of-summer panzanella”

Zahav’s hummus

When I lived in Sydney, there was a Lebanese restaurant on my block that sold the smoothest, creamiest hummus. It was perfect. Yet it bothered me.

I couldn’t figure it out: why was their hummus so much better than mine? How did they get it so perfectly, pillowy smooth? When I added more liquid to mine, it got soggier. When I blended for longer–much longer, even–some graininess remained.

Then Deb said you had to peel the chickpeas. And so I did. I felt silly. (Who wouldn’t, peeling a pound of chickpeas one by one?) But more than that, it didn’t make sense. Surely the Lebanese restaurant down the road didn’t have an army of people peeling chickpeas in some back room–did it? Continue reading “Zahav’s hummus”