My friend Sarah has the greenest thumb of anyone I have ever known. On a small plot of land in the local community garden, she grows a lush variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Recently a big bunch of her mint, newly trimmed, found its way to my kitchen -- thank you, thank you -- so much, so fragrant, that I wanted to keep it forever. Well, not forever, but for the summer, and I think I found a way. In the freezer, I found a bag of chopped walnut pieces, intended for baking in cookies. Into the food processor went the large bunch of mint leaves, plus walnuts and a few more things from the pantry. Voila! A mild-tasting, yet garlicky, pesto that's perfect... Read more →

At this time of year -- beautiful springtime in New England -- I get asked often whether I miss living in the log house in rural northwest Rhode Island. To be honest, I don't miss the pollen clouds, the stink bugs, the carpenter bees. I don't miss mowing the lawn, or weeding the large herb garden, or fending off deer, squirrels and rabbits, just to save a few tomatoes on the vine. Another thing I do not miss is the limited access to a wide range of ingredients. Now that we're living The Downsized Life here in Boston, we can get anything. Our regular grocery store carries a variety of produce used in Caribbean and Latino cooking, to meet the needs of those large populations.... Read more →

When it comes to revisiting old recipes, things don't always work out the way I plan. A post from 2008 needed updating with new photographs -- easy enough -- but when it came time to make the recipe, I realized that this was another case of how my cooking style and tastes have changed. Perfect for the broiler or grill and ideal for Meatless Mondays (and vegan friends), this tofu and asparagus dish with a rich, salty hoisin and sesame sauce bears slight resemblance to the original. I've simplified the number of ingredients, and eliminated the noodles, which I seldom eat these days. The grill lends a slightly smoky taste to the tofu, which is lovely but not entirely necessary if, like me, you don't... Read more →

It takes a village to make a plate of collard greens. Well, it took my village to make this plate of collards. Stephen, a regular user of our Little Free Library, loves to cook and has a large garden in the Fenway near the Museum of Fine Arts. Recently he brought me a wonderful gift of a huge bag of collards fresh from the garden. Believe it or not, I've never cooked collards, because I've never really loved them (too slimy, and usually made with ham hocks, which I don't eat). So I asked for recipe advice, and Stephen suggested the typical long cook time of 2-3 hours, with smoked turkey in place of the ham, or maybe smoked paprika. I knew I wouldn't like... Read more →

It's only taken eight years (gulp) for me to update this April 2008 recipe post for grilled tofu wraps, stuffed with avocado, bell peppers and onions, rolled into a tortilla slathered with honey mustard. Honestly, I can't imagine why I waited so long. The combination of ingredients sounds weird, I know -- tofu and avocado, and honey mustard -- but it makes a really great sandwich. I know, because my husband Ted ate two of them for lunch. Montreal Steak Seasoning is the magic ingredient here. It gives the tofu a salty-peppery-garlicky-herby crust. Nobody knows the exact formulation of the original Montreal Steak Seasoning (available by mail from Schwartz's deli in Montreal, where it was invented to spice up grilled meats), but every version builds... Read more →

Potatoes and artichokes don't often go hand in hand, though you might find them side by side. In a composed salad, like a Salade Nicoise, neat lines of artichoke hearts would nestle up to neat slices of potato, tomato, green beans, hard-cooked eggs, and more. This potato and artichoke salad is the opposite of composed. What would that be -- chaotic, or disorganized, or discombobulated? Whatever you call it, the combination of potatoes and artichokes balances texture with taste. If you prefer, use tart Kalamata olives. The pine nuts keep it Mediterranean, and balsamic vinaigrette brings everything together. If you have fresh basil in your garden this summer, add a few torn leaves to the dish. This salad would be perfect alongside roast or grilled... Read more →

Sweet potatoes can be a tough sell in my house, as I'm the only one who really loves them. (I don't understand...who doesn't crave sweet potato fries with curry sauce, which was a specialty at a few restaurants near our log house in Rhode Island?) However, I don't give up easily, and when I came across a recipe for sweet potato curry, made in the slow cooker, I knew might be a hit with at least one of my resident sweet potato skeptics. I was right. The dish has just enough heat to balance out the sweet. It will keep for two days in the refrigerator, and any leftovers also can be turned into soup with a quick zap from an immersion blender (or potato... Read more →