I'm a little giddy around this spring weather. It makes me want to have light, bright and healthy every single day. But salads and rice bowls can get exceptionally boring.
I recently went to a restaurant that had a chopped hearts of palm salsa on top of a fish. It was tart and refreshing - and everything I want in my springtime meals. So I took the idea and made it into a lunchtime-friendly all purpose pesto kind of sauce. It's basically just throwing a bunch of deliciousness in a blender and then making sure you keep some on hand for anything you want to brighten up.
I made it for a rice bowl and then literally ate it for lunch every single day for a week. I started pouring it on eggs in the morning and salads at night. It's the very definition of cheap and cheerful.
It is sunny here in New York today but this will-it-or-won't-it spring still has me hankering for something comforting. So what do you do think this shoulder weather?
Enter the zucchini parm. It's the lightened up version, a lot of vegetables, a lot of freshness with basil and lemon an still a bit of cheese to bring it together. It can be prepped ahead, which for me is usually half the battle.
So if you need an easy, warming meal, I can't think of anything better
I was recently in LA doing some book promo for Bring It! and every kept telling me to go to Kismet. So we went early enough where we could take my son (and...to be honest... when they would let us in without making a reservation weeks in advance). The style and service was very LA - interpret that how you will - but I was really delighted by a lot of the fun and ease of a lot of the dishes.
One dish in particular was a cucumber and orange salad sitting on a little bed of labneh with a lot of surrounding spices. It struck me as such a cool presentation for a salad - leaving the dressing as part of the image, rather than tossed together or drizzled on top.
I got home and decided to make a slightly more home-cook friendly version using a fruit that is coming back into season - grapes! And I also figured that I would char them because why not and I love my broiler.
I have to admit that I am always a skeptic when someone says 'gluten-free'. Often-times substitutions just mean something that tastes a lot worse than the original. But when something is already gluten-free - like a great flourless chocolate cake - I am right on board.
You would not think that empanadas fit into that category but in Ecuador they actually do. That's because they use starchy plantains to make the dough. When I first head about Luis Jaramillo's version at his restaurant Fifty I was intrigued. And then I tasted them and now I am a convert.
There's nothing quite as warming as a hearty soup, and yet sometimes it is hard to find that perfect balance between light and filling. We went to Eataly and found that among all the fancy Italian items, none were quite as tantalizing as this bean soup.
Sometimes a dish is so delightful and surprising I just have to learn how to make it. Often I'm disappointed by the difficulty level. But at Nickel & Diner I was surprise to learn how easily their perfect little bites of ricotta dumplings come to be.
There are few things better than chess pie - it's basically just butter and sugar. Who can argue with that? But then I discovered Popina's Chocolate chess pie, courtesy of chef Chris McDade. It takes one of the best things in the world and combines it with chocolate, arguably the other best thing.