Grilled Peach Salad with Halloumi Cheese, Caramelized Onions and Arugula

grilled peach halloumi salad

Our summer sun has disappeared briefly into the gray clouds of “Fog-ust” this month in the Bay area.  I cheated and made this salad on our grill pan inside, as grilling outside huddled in the dark in long pants and a sweatshirt doesn’t have quite the allure of grilling while relaxing outside in your shorts on a warm evening.  For those of you having a legitimate hot August, feel free to do this recipe all outside, cooking the peaches, chunks of red onion and the halloumi cheese on the grill and tossing them from the grill straight to bowls full … Continue reading

Fresh Corn Salad with Halloumi Cheese

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I hate corn on the cob.  Let’s be clear, I adore fresh corn, but I require it be off the cob.  Four years of braces left me with a horror of gnawing the delicious kernels off the cob.  No discussion of typewriter or rotary style here, please let me grill my corn and slice it off the cob to happily consume with a fork.  I love this method of making polenta from fresh corn, but rarely do I approach a summer weekend with that much ambition.  Summer begs for simplicity, just slice, assemble and eat.  If you’ve been in my … Continue reading

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Spicy Maple Dressing

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Fall at the farmers’ market has a whole different feeling, and while I miss the fresh berries terribly, I do love how forgiving fall produce can be.  I lugged home a heavy bag today, filled to the brim with butternut and delicata squashes, onions, garlic, a bottle of apple cider and several pomegranates.  One of my pomegranates escaped and went rolling down the sidewalk in front of me, but I just scooped it up and it was really no worse for wear. Fall produce can be just as pretty as it’s spring and summer brethren (I love the colors of … Continue reading

Pan-fried Vegetable and Tofu Dumplings

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Once I’d discovered how easy spring rolls were to prepare, vegetable dumplings jumped to the top of my list.  These are a much more significant time investment than the spring rolls, but they freeze beautifully.  I made a batch of about 60 while watching an episode of Bones on my laptop (so 45 minutes, give or take).  My first try with dumplings, I followed this recipe for golden potstickers from 101 Cookbooks.  I always trust Heidi to carry me safely through any new recipe or technique with carefully crafted instructions.  I bought gyoza wrappers at Berkeley Bowl (same aisle as … Continue reading

Eggplant Ragu

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When we planted the garden this year, along with the zucchini plant, the tomatoes, the basil and kale, we had a lone eggplant seedling.  I really didn’t think we’d have much luck with it, but our neighbor thought it would be fun to try.  Last year’s “fun to try” plant for the garden gave us more than 100 serrano peppers, so perhaps I should have been more optimistic about this little eggplant seedling. Our little seedling has given us nearly 12 small eggplants so far this season.  I’ve made eggplant parmesan and eggplant sauce with sweet corn polenta.  When I … Continue reading

Kitchen Disasters: The Worst Thing I Ever Made

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Kitchen failures are common.  Cookies spread out and run together into one giant flat cookie pancake.  The bread doesn’t rise.  You overestimate your spice tolerance and make a stir fry so spicy that just breathing near the pan makes your eyes water.  All of these things have happened to me.  Kitchen disasters are so much simpler than life disasters, though.  A flat cookie pancake might not look pretty enough to take into work, but it still tastes pretty delicious.  Even if you’ve concocted something truly inedible, the worst kitchen disaster can almost always be solved by ordering pizza. At this … Continue reading

A Call for New Vegetarian Sandwiches

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Sometimes I just want a sandwich.  This feeling usually hits on a Saturday afternoon.  When I was swimming regularly on Saturdays, I’d leave the pool exhausted, just trying to figure out where I could pick up a good sandwich.  I’m not normally a sandwich person, but the chlorine in the pool seemed to trigger old memories of summer camp.  Right after a swim workout I’d become fixated on the idea of a grown up version of an old camp lunch.  I wanted a delicious vegetarian sandwich, a bag of Pop chips, and an Izze.  Sometimes I even wanted a peanut … Continue reading

Simple Vegetable Spring Rolls

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Isn’t it nice when something that seems intimidating turns out to be super simple? Turns out that if you can chop vegetables and roll a burrito, you can make spring rolls.  This is actually a “clean out the fridge” recipe in disguise.  That lonely carrot and half a head of cabbage?  They’ll go perfectly here.  Just chop your vegetables into similar sizes (I used the length of my tofu as a marker and went ahead and matched that), and roll them into these spring rolls.  We used some leftover peanut sauce from a spicy peanut noodle recipe earlier in the … Continue reading

Polenta from Fresh Corn

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Sometimes a recipe has to be well timed.  I come across dozens of recipes daily.  I pin a handful of them to make later.  If something especially strikes me, I’ll pin it to the “Dinner This Week” board which I consult when writing my grocery list.  This recipe reached out through the Internet and screamed “make me right now” very conveniently on Tuesday morning.  My local farmers’ market is Tuesday afternoon, so I carefully collected corn, tomatoes and eggplant along with my usual haul of eggs, peaches, strawberries and sourdough bread.   Yotam Ottolenghi wrote Plenty, a book which I … Continue reading

Asparagus and Mushroom Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions

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When I was young, without fail, whenever my mom would ask what we wanted for dinner, my sister and I would chorus “tacos!”  Taco night was our favorite.  There was something about the self-assembly part of taco night that made it extra special.  I usually loaded mine up with extra cheese, only adding lettuce or tomato if strongly encouraged. I still love taco night, but these days vegetables play a starring role instead of being a simple afterthought.  I have written about taco night before, as it’s a favorite in our house.  While I love these zucchini and potato tacos, … Continue reading