Category Archive: Vegetarian
Braised Artichokes, Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Mint
So what’s up this week? Braised Artichokes with Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Mint. Spring has arrived, and with it truckloads of fat green globe artichokes. No groaning (Oh, god, not artichokes, they’re such a pain…). No, they’re not, and if we learned anything at all from recent events it’s that the small gestures we take for granted are more precious than ever. You only know what you’ve got when it’s gone, so start snapping those leaves off.
A patio of one’s own – Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco
Here’s the scene: working-class neighborhood, first house, first back yard, first patio. Radical move against the local pave-the-yard-build-a-grape-arbor esthetic. We christened the patio’s finish by inviting neighbors Pam and Chris to join us for Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco. At the time, almost two decades ago, I’d heard of Romesco, the thick Catalan sauce based on roasted red peppers and nuts, but not grilled spring onions, which my wife assured me was a big deal in Barcelona. She was right. The Calçotada is a month-long Barcelonan lovefest to calçots, spring onions, which are then grilled and slathered with Romesco. Imagine a sloppy Falstaffian bender lasting most of April, involving untold quantities of red wine and masses of fragrant grilled onions wrapped in newspapers or served in inverted clay roofing tiles and eaten with your hands. Uh-huh, who isn’t down for that?
Pressure Cooker Risotto with Kale Pesto
Something discordant this way comes. It happens in every kitchen, if you cook together long enough. Jody and I did a Dagwood and Blondie over today’s post, Risotto with Kale Pesto, made in a pressure cooker. My willingness to fudge things a bit for a weeknight dinner versus the cruel exactitude of a restaurant chef. As Jody not so delicately summed up our contretemps: “You’re the photographer. [Ouch!] I’m the chef, and my reputation is on the line.” Guess who got the broom in the back of the head?
Fennel-Carrot Soup with Ginger
After the complexities of the Blue Zone, we thought some simple pressure-cooker* recipes would make a welcome change of pace. Fennel-Carrot Soup with Ginger is the first of 4 or 5 PC posts (vote with your comments!). If you don’t own a pressure cooker, no worries, all of the recipes work the old-fashioned way; they just take a little longer.
Sweet Potato Wontons with Cashew Sauce
Well, it had to end some day, our last taste of the Bue Zones: Sweet Potato Wontons with Cashew Sauce. Contrary to all of the clichés about Californians, in reading Dan Buettner’s description of Seventh Day Adventists in our final Blue Zone, in Loma Linda California, I was put in mind of the genial self-effacing mainstream Mormons of Jonathan Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. They’re enthusiastic, they volunteer, they care about each other, always willing to pitch in and lend a hand. In short you’d be happy to have them living on your block. Except that they’d live way longer than you; actually, they live longer than just about anybody.
Okinawan Stir-Fry with Bitter Melon, Sweet Potatoes and Turmeric Poached Eggs
If you’ve been plaguing yourself with the question When, oh when, will I ever learn to cook bitter melon? then fret no more, relief is at hand, the stars finally have aligned for you this week. We’re offering our take on the Okinawan dish of Champuru, a Tofu Stir-Fry with Bitter Melon, Sweet Potatoes and Tumeric Poached Eggs. By the time you finish this recipe you’ll be a bitter melon whiz, and when people ask about that cool new flavor you’ve introduced into your stir fries you can say, Nothing, really, just a little goya. Oh, you might know it as bitter melon.
Welcome to our third post on from one of Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones*, the Japanese island of Okinawa.
Blue Zone Redux – Taro and Greens
If you tuned in last week, then you know our posts this month are inspired by Dan Buettner’s work on the Blue Zones,* specific regions of the world where people lead exceptionally long, active lives. But why live to 100 if you have to eat gruel to do it. Thankfully the cuisine of the Blue Zones is both simply and tasty. Last week we spotlighted a Sardinian Fava Bean and Almond Soup. This week our featured performer is a simple dish of Sautéed Taro and Greens, both staples of the Greek island of Ikaria. By coincidence or culinary karma BBC Radio broadcasted yet another story this morning on those frisky long-lived Ikarians. So get with the program! We’re all Ikarians on this bus.
Welcome to the Blue Zone – Fava Bean and Almond Soup
On the Greek Island of Ikaria a startling number of people live to be 100, or older. Dan Buetner has identified five communities with unusually long-living residents, geographic regions he calls Blue Zones@. For the next five weeks–because we don’t like New Year’s resolutions–we’re bringing you healthy dishes from the culinary cultures of the Blue Zones. First up, Sardinia, with Fava Bean and Almond Soup. Simple, easy, delicious. Oh, and you might even live to be 100.
Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese
“Hot-buttered groat clusters!” –Firesign Theater.
One of the pleasures of travelling is tdrawing close to the seemingly familiar only to suddenly discover it strikingly different, like this Puglian Barley Salad with Pecorino Cheese. Looks ordinary. But the taste – not like barley on this planet. Many of the more forward thinking participants in Italy’s agritourismo movement are attempting to preserve regional variations on farm products that for one reason or another have fallen from grace or never gained the favor of larger commercial ventures. Barley is a case in point–in Puglia, where it’s often hulled, rather than pearled, it’s chewy.
And chewy barley is a delight.
Burnt-Wheat Pasta – Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce and Ricotta Salata
Making your own shaped pasta like cavatelli or orecchiette (as versus rolling out noodles) is so gleeful, so hilariously liberating, that I can only compare it to being a little kid running naked down the street hollering, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s just that great. Er… what? You never ran outside naked as a kid? Really? Never? Well, sounds to me like somebody’s got some serious catching up to do. No, don’t take your clothes off–we’re all adults now–the naked-in-the-street developmental train left the station some time ago. But that’s okay–you can still make Homemade Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce. You don’t believe me now, but if you share the joy and invite a friend to help, a friend with a bottle of wine, after seeing each other’s first dozen cavatelli, hilarity will ensue. Nobody’s cavatelli are bad–some are just different–and you do get better, fast.