You read the phrase self care quite a bit these days. Get good quality sleep and plenty of it, be sure to exercise mind and body, read thought provoking books and don’t skimp on the aromatherapy. The idea of eating well and thoughtfully so doesn’t always make the list. Let’s change that. Continue reading →
Here’s what I love about tostadas and tacos. One or two makes a fine snack or appetizer and several make a filling meal. Given a wide variety of tastes at the table, they can be made vegan, vegetarian or carnivore style with all types of meats and seafood. Spiciness can be customized with homemade or store bought salsas with varying levels of heat. In short, these are ideal for crowds. Continue reading →
Cooking doesn’t always need to involve heat. Chopping, tossing and blending are all easy methods of cool food preparation, with no flame in sight. The work of a good blender is the only electricity involved in making this refreshing summer soup featuring just-picked basil and chilled buttermilk. Continue reading →
Ever skip a recipe with “grilled” in the title because you either don’t have a grill or don’t want to bother with grill setup? Me, too, except in this case my grill is currently snoozing and I’m too lazy to replace the tank. Cast iron grill pan to the rescue, and failing that, the oven broiler. Both of these are great substitutes for grilling. Smoky flavor will not be imparted but with items like shrimp which take minutes if not seconds to cook, that won’t matter. Continue reading →
Vidalia onions, those paper-skinned squatty sweet onions from Georgia, are back for a limited time. Eat them raw (they’re so mild you won’t suffer from onion after effects) while you can. Use this easy chutney recipe for preserving their goodness for months to come. You’ll dream of late spring when you slather it atop your grilled burgers in summer, your roasted vegetables in fall and your bean soups in cold weather months.
One of the easiest appetizers to serve for impromptu gatherings, pre-dinner nibbles and large crowds is a good spread for crackers and crisp vegetables. This is why hummus is so very popular. If it’s not homemade, there will be various flavors to consider at your local market. This cheese and walnut spread is like hummus for those who don’t fancy hummus. The consistency is similar and the versatility is similar in that you can use this make-ahead spread with crispy things, schmear it on on sandwiches and wraps and use it to add creamy cheesiness to mashed potatoes and polenta. Continue reading →
The less done to fresh asparagus, the better. Brief blanching, quick roasting or a few hops in the saute pan will do. If you’re lucky enough to score some tender, first-of-the-season asparagus, no cooking at all is just fine. Shaved in a salad or finely diced, as in this Asparagus Salsa Verde, asparagus has a pleasantly grassy flavor and gentle crunch that is unlike any other vegetable. It needs a bright wake up from citrus or acid to come to life. This salsa combines fresh asparagus with lime juice and green as far as the eye can see—except for a few bits of red onion for flavor and contrast. Continue reading →
Time once again to eat something special for the new year to bring luck, health and prosperity. And treat your belly to something delicious as well. Of course I’m talking about black eyed peas, which every southerner knows is absolute for the new year’s menu. The vegan version of Hoppin’ John published a few years ago is a thick stew, or a chunky soup, and can be made with smoked meat for a non-vegan version. Today’s black eyed pea fritters are versatile in that they may serve as an appetizer or a light meal and can be accompanied by all kinds of sauces and spreads. Continue reading →
Here’s one for Meatless Monday. Satisfying in a creamy, hearty, chewy way, this goat cheese polenta with wild mushrooms will feed four as a starter course and two as an entree. I’ve been making polenta with parmesan cheese for eons, and for some reason never thought to try goat cheese. What was I thinking? Even those who have not joined the goat cheese fan club will appreciate the slightly tangy and very creamy addition of chèvre to this dish. Continue reading →
Knowing apricots were in season, and feeling certain I had seen them at markets, I began to dream of ways to serve them as a one-bite appetizer, preferably with a cheesy filling. But my local markets only carried red apricots, which resemble tiny plums and have the aroma and flesh of the standard golden apricot. And so, red apricots became my friend.