A creative cook needs only two methods of cooking leftovers, two master recipes that disguise those bits and pieces and presto-change-o them into something completely new and exciting. These days we might call them kitchen hacks, but these kitchen "tricks" been around forever: toss leftovers into a soup pot, or wrap them in eggs. Fold any leftovers into any basic soup or egg recipe, and you've got a reliably wonderful "new" dish to put on the table. And that is the genesis of this frittata. I started with a single slice of smoked salmon, and half an avocado. A large fennel bulb intended for something else gave up part of its outer stalk and a leafy frond, and added a bit of crunchy, anise undertone.... Read more →


Got leftovers? A little bit of grilled salmon or chicken? Some cooked lentils, or beans or quinoa? Have I got a salad for you! This summery salad takes all comers. A cup of lentils, a cup of peppers, a cup of salmon: the secret to a balanced salad is to give each of the main components equal weight. Salmon keeps the salad light, but if fish isn't your thing, feel free to use grilled or broiled chicken (you'll need just one-quarter of a pound), or to leave out the meat or fish altogether. The salad will keep for two days in the refrigerator, and makes a colorful and easy contribution to a potluck or picnic. Lentil salad with bell peppers, salmon, and maple-mustard dressing {can... Read more →


For an entire semester during college, my BFF Joyce and I subsisted on tuna salad sandwiches (canned tuna mashed with Miracle Whip), washed down with diet soda (Fresca for me, Tab for her). You would think after months of this, that I'd never want to see another tuna sandwich. You would be wrong. These days, I love to kick up my tuna in lots of ways. This variation calls for fresh, not canned, tuna; lemon zest and dill, for summery flavor; a few hot red pepper flakes, for zing; and celery for crunch. I don't love capers, but if you do, toss a few into the mix. You can broil a piece of tuna days ahead of time, and let it sit in the fridge... Read more →


In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, there's a street closed off to traffic, lined with shops and filled with people enjoying drinks with friends at small tables set up here and there. Along that street, the name of which I can't remember, we found a wonderful bookstore café that had a large selection of cookbooks, including one with English translation. And in that cookbook was a recipe for lambe-lambe, the kind of un-fancy shellfish and rice dish you'd eat while sitting on the beach at sunset, with your toes in the sand. Part travelogue, part love letter to Brazilian cuisine, Caiçara Cooking: Flavor Between Mountain and Sea (published in 2007) features mouth-watering photos plus recipes in Portuguese, though the translations leave a bit to the imagination. This... Read more →


For a few months last summer, I had physical therapy every week to get my new hips working. My husband Ted would drive me to the health center for my early morning appointments, and afterwards we'd treat ourselves to breakfast at the café downstairs. One time I ordered a bagel with smoked salmon, a mild herb cream cheese, and slithery wasabi honey vinaigrette that cascaded over the edge and all over the plate. The presentation wasn't great, but the combination of wasabi and salmon stuck with me, and I knew I had to recreate the flavors in a more organized way. Mission accomplished. This smoked salmon bagel is good enough to build an entire brunch party around it; you and your guests will be licking... Read more →


Back in November 2006, I first shared this recipe for white fish seasoned with harissa, the fiery pepper paste of North African origin. In need of new photographs, the recipe also benefited from a bit of freshening up. I'd forgotten how easy it is to prepare, and how easily it fits into a low-calorie start to the year. Use any type of fish you like; white fish is typical, but salmon would be fine, too. Don't be afraid of the harissa; I promise that it mellows a bit in the cooking of this fish. Not like Donovan mellow, but mellow enough to leave only an interesting tingle in your mouth. Cut the amount of harissa in half, if you are concerned, but don't omit it... Read more →


What's your go-to recipe, the one you make when you absolutely cannot think of what to cook for dinner, or you can think of something but don't have the ingredients, or you do have the ingredients but don't have the energy? For me, that recipe is most often a Thai curry. Quick and easy Thai curries require only a few key ingredients -- coconut milk and Thai curry paste -- plus some seasonings like lime, sugar, and fish sauce. From there, add a protein and vegetables. That's all you need to do. Because there are so few ingredients, make sure you use the best. I love Mae Ploy or Maesri brand curry pastes; the green, a tub of which always resides in my refrigerator, has... Read more →