crispy black bean tacos with feta and cabbage slaw

blackbeantacos  cabbagestill

What to eat now: Cabbage

I try a lot of new recipes but there are very few dishes that I’ll make over and over again. This is one of those dinners that’s truly a keeper: You can make it in about 20 minutes plus it’s vegetarian, uses fridge and pantry staples, and tastes much better than the sum of its parts. It also features one of the few vegetables that’s good all year long: cabbage! This lowly vegetable is part of the cruciferous family, a group of veggies that experts say we should work into our diets a few times a week because of their cancer- and heart disease- fighting benefits. In a pinch, you can use bagged coleslaw mix instead, but I think it tastes much better with fresh green cabbage. Just use the slicer blade on your food processor to shred it in a matter of minutes.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
Adapted from Bon Appétit

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Mexican or regular oregano
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups shredded green cabbage or coleslaw mix
2 scallions, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 to 6 yellow or white corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Hot sauce, for serving

Place beans and spices (you can vary the spices to your liking) in small bowl; partially mash beans with a fork or spoon. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add cabbage, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add more lime juice or salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.

Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer or do it in batches if your pan isn’t large enough. Spoon a few tablespoons of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Carefully fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, a few minutes per side. Transfer to platter. (I sometimes stick the tacos in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to get the tortillas really crispy).  Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Serve with hot sauce if desired. Serves 2 to 3. The recipe can be easily doubled.


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winter salads

What to eat now: Winter salads

Gwyneth's Power Chopped Salad with Creamy Parsley Dressing

Gwyneth’s Power Chopped Salad with Creamy Parsley Dressing

Giada's Chopped Chicken Salad

Giada’s Chopped Chicken Salad

BA's Black and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

BA’s Black and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

I’ve been trialing a gluten-free diet for the past month, which means that for lunch sandwiches are out and salads are in. Problem is, most produce isn’t at its prime this time of year and salads can get quite boring unless you vary the ingredients. Here’s what I’ve been eating to break out of salad bowl boredom:

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Power Chopped Salad with Creamy Parsley Dressing (pictured, top)
Adapted  from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

For salad:
2 hearts of romaine, finely shredded
2 handfuls baby arugula, roughly chopped
1 (14-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
2 cooked beets, peeled and diced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
For dressing:
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon agave, honey, or xylitol
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Place romaine and arugula in a large bowl and combine with 1/4 cup of dressing so that the leaves have a light coating. Divide mixture among four plates or on a large platter. Top the lettuce with chickpeas, tomatoes, beets, and eggs. Drizzle with more dressing and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings. The dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. I make a batch of the dressing and prepare the salad for one each day.

Giada’s Chopped Chicken Salad in Radicchio Cups (pictured above, middle)
Adapted from Giada’s Feel Good Food

For salad:
1 cup diced cooked skinless chicken breast (or you can use rotisserie chicken)
1 cup chopped baby arugula
1/2 diced avocado
1/4 large fennel bulb, chopped
1/2 cup diced or crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup thinly sliced sundered tomatoes
8 pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 radicchio or butter lettuce leaves.
For dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For dressing: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil under the dressing is thick. For the salad: In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients (except lettuce leaves). Add the dressing and toss to coat. Fill the radicchio or butter lettuce leaves with the salad and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Black and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash (pictured above, bottom)
You can find Bon Appétit‘s delicious recipe here.

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tomato scallion shortcakes with whipped goat cheese


What to eat now: Tomatoes

I had to wait nearly a year to make this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook because tomatoes are just no good in October–the month the book was released I was inspired by the play on the strawberry shortcake–instead of strawberries, there are tomatoes. And instead of sweetened whipped cream, a light and airy goat cheese. All tucked inside a savory scallion biscuit. I finally got the chance to make it last week, and boy was it worth the wait! I used Sun Gold cherry tomatoes (a super-sweet variety) from a local farm and yellow pear tomatoes from my own garden. Make this now as tomato season is fleeting.

Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

tomatoshortcakes2    tomatoscallionshortcakes

For the scallion biscuits:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup whole milk
For the tomato salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes such as Sun Gold and/or yellow pear tomatoes or mixed colors and varieties
For the topping:
3 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 scallions, thinly sliced (you can just use the green parts or the whole scallion)

To make the biscuits, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mix resembles a coarse meal. (you can also do this with your hands or a pastry blender). Add the scallion and whole milk and pulse a few times until dough is evenly moistened. Pat out the dough to 3/4 to 1 inch thickness with your hands and cut six 3-inch rounds (I used a glass rim for this, which was approximately 3 inches), reform scraps as needed. Arrange the biscuits on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. To make the tomato salad, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Halve or quarter the tomatoes and add them to the dressing, tossing gently to coat all the tomatoes. For the whipped goat cheese, use an electric mixer or beat heavy cream with a whisk until peaks form. Add the softened goat cheese and beat until the cheese topping is light and fluffy. To assemble, Split each warm biscuit in half and generously spoon each half with tomato salad and dressing. Dollop on whipped goat cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Makes 6 to 8 shortcakes.

Posted in Savory Tarts & Quiches, Summer, tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

grilled clams with herb butter


What to eat now: Grilled shellfish

We’re spending much of July in Narragansett, Rhode Island–a town known for their beautiful ocean beaches and fresh-off-the-boat seafood. We were lucky to get some really inexpensive clams from a wholesale fish market one day. Normally I would cook them indoors in a huge pot with some tomatoes, wine, and herbs to make a delicious broth, but when you’ve got 90+ degree days and no AC inside, you use the grill as much as you can for dinner. Grilling clams is as easy as can be: Just wash and scrub the clams and then put them directly on the grill, like this:


When they pop open (usually in a couple of minutes), carefully remove the clams from the grill (so you don’t spill all the delicious juices) and quickly put a dollop of herb butter–made by mixing softened butter with some green onions, lemon juice, and fresh garden herbs–in each shell.  Eat right away! We served them with a simple Caprese salad and crusty bread.

herbbutter capresesalad

Grilled Clams with Herb Butter
Adapted from Bon Appétit


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1  chopped scallion (aka green onions, white and green parts)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Season herb butter to taste with salt and pepper (don’t go too heavy on the salt as clams are naturally salty). Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Place clams on grill rack and cover grill with lid. Grill until clams just open, about 6-8 minutes (discard any that do not open). Use tongs to transfer clams to a platter, being careful to keep as much juice in the shells as possible. Dot clams with herb butter and let stand until butter melts. Eat immediately, with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over, if you want.

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, BBQ, Dinner, Fish, Lunch, Seafood, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

sugar snap pea salad with burrata

sugarsnapstill  sugarsnapburrata

What to eat now: Sugar snap peas

I harvested the first round of sugar snap peas from my garden last week. My absolute favorite way to prepare them is still this salad from USC and Ina Garten. But the first picking was on the small side (I only got about 1/4 pound of peas), so I decided to try them in another salad, which I saw in this month’s Bon Appétit, tossed with arugula and fresh herbs with a layer of burrata–my new favorite cheese–on the bottom. I thought that the sweet, crunchy snap peas and cream-filled cheese paired nicely, though next time I’m going to add a bit less arugula as I wanted the salad to be more about the sugar snaps and less about the peppery greens.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Burrata
Adapted from Bon Appétit and NYC chef April Bloomfield


8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
2 to 3 cups arugula, thick stems trimmed
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1 pound burrata or fresh buffalo mozzarella

Cut sugar snaps in half lengthwise, leaving some peas on each side of pods. Combine peas, arugula, basil, and  mint in a large bowl. Add oil, lemon juice, and toss to coat. Season salad with salt. Tear open balls of burrata (if using buffalo mozzarella, slice 1/2″ thick) and arrange on a large platter. Top with salad and add more basil, mint, lemon juice, and salt to taste if you want. Makes 4 servings. (I halved the recipe since I only had 4 ounces of sugar snaps and it was enough for 2 to 3 as a side salad.)

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Arugula, Lunch, Salad, Spring, sugar snap peas, Summer, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 great grain salads

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad with Roasted Peppers, Olives & Basil

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad with Roasted Peppers, Olives & Basil

Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Radicchio & Feta

Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Radicchio & Feta

Bulgur Salad with Kale, Salami & Olives

Bulgur Salad with Kale, Salami & Olives

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

What to eat now: Healthy grain salads

We all know that we should be eating more whole grains. One quick way to do this is to make grain salads–like those featuring bulgur wheat, farro, and quinoa (which is technically a seed, but acts like a grain)–a part of your weekly menus. These super grains are high in fiber, contain good-for-you vitamins and nutrients, and some like quinoa and amaranth pack a complete protein punch. Grains are a breeze to cook and lend themselves to lots of different flavor combos. In fact, they’re a delicious vehicle for seasonal summer veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beets. These grain salads will keep for several days in the fridge, making them an easy option for to-go lunches during the week, and fast dinner sides for busy weeknights.

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad with Roasted Peppers and Basil
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten


2 cups Israeli couscous (10 to 12 ounces)
2 (6 to 7 oz.) cans or jars Italian tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 cup jarred or homemade roasted red peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. Drain a colander. Meanwhile, combine the tuna, lemon zest, peppers, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of lemon, and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Radicchio, and Feta
Adapted from Bon Appétit


6 to 8 medium-sized beets, tops trimmed
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled or quick-cooking farro or wheat berries
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed or chopped
2 cups thinly-sliced radicchio or kale, or chopped spinach or arugula
1/2 up finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange beets in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with vegetable oil, cover with foil, and roast beets until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool, trim beets, and peel. Cut into wedges and set aside.

Cook farro in a large saucepan of boiling water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes for semi-pearled farro or about 10-12 minutes for quick-cooking. If you use wheatberries, they will need longer–about 35 to 40 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl, Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature.

Add beets, radicchio or other greens, onion, and parsley to farro, and toss to incorporate evenly. Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or cold.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Bulgur Wheat Salad with Kale, Salami, and Olives
Adapted from Whole Food Market


2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur wheat
6 cups (about 1/4 pound) roughly chopped or shredded kale leaves (discard tough inner stem)
1/4 pound thinly sliced salami or prosciutto (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped pitted olives (I used kalamata)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring broth to boil in a large pot. Stir in bulgur then cover and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, scatter kale over the op, cover and cook until wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Set aside off the heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Then uncover and fluff with a fork. Transfer bulgur and kale to a large bowl, and let cool down a bit. Add salami (if using), parsley, olives, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chill. Before serving, drizzle with a bit more balsamic and/or olive oil, if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 Quinoa Tabbouleh
Adapted from Bon Appétit


Tabbouleh is traditionally made with bulgur wheat, but to change things up try it with quinoa instead. Quinoa technically isn’t a grain–it’s a seed–but it’s delicious, nutty, and adds more protein to this Middle-eastern salad.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large English hothouse cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 cup roasted cherry or grape tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted black olives (like kalamata), chopped (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet or large bowl to let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in half of dressing. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs,  scallions, olives, and feta (if using) to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing over. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Posted in Brunch, Dinner, Kale, Lunch, Pasta, Pasta & Grains, Spring, Summer, tomatoes, Vegetarian, Winter Greens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

grilled white pizza with arugula

What to eat now: Arugula


Last week, after a long winter wait, I picked up my first CSA share of the season! This means that for the next 20 weeks or so my produce will come from a local farm (and my own garden) rather than the supermarket, which for all sorts of health and environmental reasons is a really good thing! But with this excitement also comes a bit of anxiety about how I’m going to use all of the greens in the share–kale, chard, spinach, arugula, mizuna and bok choy–before they wilt. So I have to be super organized with meal planning to make sure we use everything. Pizza just happens to be the perfect vehicle for almost any veggie, and especially for farm-fresh greens like arugula, spinach, or even kale. For the past year I’ve been dreaming about two pizzas–a white pizza and a salad pizza–and last week my wish came true with one pizza that was truly phenomenal. We are new to grilling pizza, but I think we’ll be doing much more of it this summer: It was really easy and less messy than baking pizza, and I don’t have to turn my oven on to 500 degrees in the summer heat. If you’re doing a CSA this summer, please check out the other blog that I write for Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center. There are lots of great recipes for using your CSA veggies, plus helpful nutrition and health advice and cleaning/storage tips, too.

Grilled White Pizza with Arugula
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach


Olive oil, for greasing and drizzling
1 ball homemade or store-bought pizza dough (about 1-pound)
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese
1 large bunch of farm arugula, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 large lemon)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Fresh oregano or marjoram (optional)

For the oven method:
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, grease a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Drop your pizza dough into the center of the baking sheet, and using your fingers, press out and flatten the dough so it spreads as close as possible to all four corners. Alternately, you can roll out your dough to a large round shape and use a pre-heated pizza stone. And you can make two smaller pizzas, if you like. Cover the dough with mozzarella and drizzle lightly with oil. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the cheese is bubbly.
For grilling method: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Roll out the pizza dough to a large round or square shape, or make two smaller pizzas (which is easier to handle, especially on the grill). Oil the grill grates and the dough and place on the grill. Grill until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill a few minutes more. Take the dough off the grill, and top with fresh mozzarella and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Slide the pizza back onto the grill (topping side up) and cook until the crust is crispy and the cheese is bubbly.
For both methods: While the pizza cooks, toss together the arugula, Parmesan or Pecorino, oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. When the pizza is ready, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then top with the salad. Dollop on fresh ricotta and finish with a few grind of black pepper and oregano or marjoram (if using).

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Arugula, Autumn, Lunch, Pizza, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter, Winter Greens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment