*MALIGNED VEGETABLES*
Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus

October 8, 2012

I’ve read numerous articles in defense of maligned vegetables, the most memorable being Frank Bruni’s praise of broccoli. I would argue that mushrooms—not broccoli—have the worst reputation and most fervent detractors. But what about that vegetable everyone loves yet only eats once a year in its singular, seasonal manifestation made from overly sweetened and spiced canned goods?

Of course, I’m referring to pumpkin and pumpkin pie. You may be thinking “Wait! We’re much more creative with pumpkin these days! I’ve seen pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin quick bread, even a pumpkin milkshake.” But delve a little deeper and you’ll realize that all of these dishes are made with canned pumpkin, lots of sugar, and “pumpkin pie spices.”

I rarely see fresh pumpkin or savory pumpkin dishes on menus, and that’s really a shame because fresh pumpkin is a versatile, unique, and tasty addition to a number of dishes. Also, fresh pumpkin puree is incredibly easy to prepare and it makes a much better pie than the canned stuff. Continue reading

*THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS—Composed Salads*
Recipe: Albanian Tzatziki

August 10, 2012

This week we have another guest post from Dr. Ingrid Nelson. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the story and recipe as much as I did! Ingrid’s composed salad lends itself to both creativity and the use of leftovers. It’s a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!       -Chloe

The best fish I have ever eaten was a trout simply fried served on a white plate under a tree on the roof of a restaurant overlooking a cerulean blue river from where the trout had been plucked.  The flesh was firm and tasted of cold snowpack water, bright sun, and deep misty valleys planted with walnut trees.  In short, it tasted of where it came from—high in the Dinaric Alps of Albania.

When traveling, I have noticed that the best foods taste like where they come from.  I wasn’t a big fan of figs—mushy and sickly sweet was my opinion—until I picked one off of a tree in Montenegro and popped it whole into my mouth.  It literally exploded with delicately flavored nectar, soft flesh, and crisp little seeds that crackled when I bit into them.  I looked around the garden I was standing in.  There was hot sunshine and a cool salt breeze off the ocean scented by the flowering shrubs that grew around the fig tree.  My fig tasted exactly like this.  Since then, I have searched the specialty shops of Manhattan for an even vaguely similar experience, but without luck.  I guess it’s back to Montenegro for my next fig! Continue reading

*SUMMER IN WINTER*
Recipe: Raw Beet and Carrot Salad

April 5, 2012

It’s a beautiful day in Southern California. The sky is uncharacteristically overcast, the weather is cool but not cold, and the light drizzle makes me feel like I’m enveloped in a cordial mist. It’s the end of winter, and as I carry home my bounty of local produce from the farmer’s market, I take a moment to imagine what my friends and family in New York are doing.

Most likely the city dwellers are shoveling wet, dirty snow from their cars and wishing they’d worn a warmer pair of gloves for the task. Or, since it’s later in the day back in my home state, they may have already shoveled out their cars and have now returned only to find that a third of the street has been converted into snow banks and they’d have an easier time finding a consistent stance in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign than a parking space.

What about the non-city dwellers? Do they have electricity? Are they huddled around their fireplaces and cursing themselves for not buying a generator?

Continue reading