Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce

The recipe calls for eggplant, but suggests you can use zucchini or cauliflower, and it was so so good and the best way to use up some odds and ends. You basically cook eggplant (or zucchini, cauliflower or broccoli) until it softens, then add just enough stock to allow it to bubble away and fall apart so it becomes a savory pasta sauce

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Basic Bean Recipe

Basic Bean Recipe

For the longest time, I didn't bother to cook my own beans (and still often end up reaching for a can at times) despite people telling me how far superior home cooked beans are. I'm not great at planning meals ahead, and was always bound to have last minute plans come up the day after setting beans to soak on my counter. The notion that I had to remember to soak beans and then be sure I was home to cook them was more than I could deal with. And yet, everyone really was right. Home cooked beans are outrageously good.

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Spicy Cauliflower Soup

Spicy Cauliflower Soup

Somehow through the magic of soup alchemy, a few veggies, chopped onion and herbs turn into something so deeply delicious. I sautéed onion, carrot and lots of spices, then added a head of cauliflower, water and broth. After just 10 minutes of prep my dinner was simmering on the stove and I was advocating for our programs to a funder. After 40 minutes or so, dinner was ready - warm and satisfying. Cheap and easy. It was the perfect weeknight meal, with lots of leftover for lunches.

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Burnt Eggplant with Tahini

Burnt Eggplant with Tahini

A friend of the garden, Caroline, dared me to eat eggplant every day on my trip, a challenge I gladly accepted. The eggplant in both countries was staggeringly good and it tasted like something, like its own beautiful eggplant flavor, rather than the bland sponge it is often relegated to here. There, the eggplant is king, treated with respect, coaxed from its shiny skin into super stardom. We ate it rolled around chunks of feta and lightly braised in tomato sauce. In Tel Aviv they would split it down the middle, leaving the stem in tact to hold it together, and drizzled with a nutty tahini sauce.

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Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Along making spring rolls I made a fairly traditional noodle salad, but added some grilled eggplant to give it more heft. The sauce is similar to a spring roll dipping sauce - very tangy and bright, with lots of lime juice and fish sauce. The chopped, fresh herbs (and many of them) make this salad so flavorful and complex. I look forward to making this in the weeks and months to come, changing up things here and there, and making plenty of leftovers for a great lunch.

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Seasonal Grain Salads

Seasonal Grain Salads

This is the best kind of picnic food, hearty and easy to transport. It's what I made when I took Get Up! and needed a healthy and satisfying lunch for a group. It's great for dinner at home with leftovers for lunch. It could even be a great side at Thanksgiving, especially if for whatever reason you had to, gasp, forgo the stuffing.

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Green Chile Enchiladas

Green Chile Enchiladas

We grabbed a bag of dry, red chiles of medium spice and were thrilled to find fresh green chiles - exactly what we were looking for. These chiles, grow in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, are the state vegetable as well as its signature crop. They grow both red and green varieties in the Hatch Valley, and the green chile it turns out is also called an Anaheim pepper, easily found at markets here in San Francisco.

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Goat Cheese + Beet Plin

Goat Cheese + Beet Plin

Bull's blood beets live up to their name. They'll also stain anything, from your fingers to countertops - turning anything in its wake a nice, bright pink. The striking color makes them so fun to cook with, and I recently made a pasta stuffed with beets and goat cheese. A plin is similar to a ravioli, and when you bite through the pasta you are greeted with a ruby red filling. 

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Ginger-Chicken Soup

Ginger-Chicken Soup

This ginger-chicken soup recipe is my foolproof way of getting better, and fast.  After one bowl, my stomach warms and I can feel my nose clearing and chest opening. The considerable amount of ginger makes the broth almost spicy and it cooks for so long the meat becomes tender and the soup takes on a beautiful rich color.  It's warm and comforting and simple - just how I like my Januarys.

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Braised Artichokes

Braised Artichokes

In celebration of this spring crop that is ideal for our SF environment, we’ve been cooking them all week – both large and small. Any way you eat them, artichokes are a bit of work to prepare; either by steaming them whole until finally those tough outer leaves become tender, or by trimming them up and focusing all your cooking (and eating!) attention to the tender and delicious heart. 

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Chard and Onion Panade

Chard and Onion Panade

My sister had made this for me once before, and I’ve never forgotten the texture or flavor. It starts off almost like a bread pudding (minus the egg and milk) but after nearly 3 hours the bread and broth have become one, sinking into each other, and becoming the most extraordinary texture. It's soft and rich and smooth and almost otherworldly. 

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Corn Fritters with Sweet Chile Sauce

Corn Fritters with Sweet Chile Sauce

The most amazing part of this recipe is how the corn is truly the star here. The kernels pop in your mouth with each bite, and the flour really acts only to hold the whole thing together, not weigh it down. I am already imagining delicious variations, namely adding jalapeno to the fritters themselves, or a couple crumbles of cotija cheese. They are a great summer dinner, yummy with things from the grill or a large salad on the side.

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Asparagus Frittata

Asparagus Frittata

So, my roommates and I decided to get chickens. When I tell people I have chickens, they are either happily shocked or look at me as if I’ve lost my cookies. While there are lots of folks in the city getting into raising chickens themselves, it’s still rare enough that most people are stunned by the idea. But, I feel we are in good company. 

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Zucchini-Crusted Pizza

Zucchini-Crusted Pizza

Talk to most farmers or avid vegetable gardeners and they will tell you that often squash plants begin the season as a blessing - Tender! Versatile! Delicious! But then things change, and as the months go on the plants keep producing. Suddenly you’ve grilled squash, roasted it, made ratatouille, added a flash of basil or mint or a yogurt sauce to mix it up, and then you’re not sure you can eat it anymore. And while you may not be there just yet, it is only June after all!, soon you’re going to thank your lucky stars for squash pizza crust.

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