When you set out to create a new recipe, where do you start? Seasonality of the ingredients? Color? Shape? Texture? Sweet versus tart? All of the above? In the case of this easy pan-made farro with butternut squash and pears and dried cranberries and feta, I began with pears so ripe and ready for action that they practically jumped into the frying pan. I diced and sautéed those pears along with a bit of leftover peeled butternut squash, added some of my new favorite ten-minute farro, and the dish began to come together. Tart feta cheese balanced the sweet fruit, and some acidity from the dressing brought everything together. Intended as a side dish, it became an irresistible main course, perfect for a meatless lunch.... Read more →


When readers of my old soup blog asked me for bouktouf, I winced just a little bit. The recipe for this Algerian vegan soup calls for two bunches of cilantro, and I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. It turns out that the bright orange color isn't the only surprising thing about this soup; the addition of a large amount of lemon juice tames the flavor of the cilantro, in a good way, and gives the soup a lovely freshness. Here's the original recipe from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, word for word (because nobody could improve on it). I halved the recipe and ended up with five cups of soup, which I cooked in a Dutch oven.... Read more →


Generally, I think of myself as a person who has not led a fear-based life. And yet, I spent decades living in fear of pressure cookers (once you see green beans plastered to the kitchen ceiling, you cannot unsee them). So I owe this risotto to my friend Kalyn, who nudged me back into pressure cooking, which turned risotto from nearly an hour of stirring (and upper arm exhaustion) to a quick six minutes at high pressure in my fail-safe electric pressure cooker, making this spinach and kale risotto officially fast food. Sun-dried tomatoes bring a little sweetness to balance the bitter greens, creating a risotto that's both easy and healthy. If you have your own slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer, use those instead, and... Read more →


A couple of years ago, I wouldn't have been caught in the same room with raw Brussels sprouts, let alone encourage you to make a salad with them, but here I am. With practice and determination, I've become a Brussels sprouts believer. Roasted or sauteéd, sprouts become soft and sweet. Raw, the sprouts keep their crunch. Mustard in the vinaigrette dressing helps to tenderize them a bit, without turning them to rubber. In the past, I've combined Brussels sprouts with bacon (always a winning combination), and with blueberries, but for the colors of the season, I love these raw shaved Brussels sprouts dotted with bright red dried cranberries. Feta adds tang, though you can omit it for a vegan side dish. This salad would be... Read more →


Many years ago, my husband Ted and I joined his sister and her friends for a Thanksgiving meal at a lakeside cottage in the Ontario (Canada) countryside. It was a bit of a potluck, and because we were from out of town, we were assigned celery and carrot sticks as our contribution. At first, I thought it wasn't much to ask of us, but when we arrived, we found that our little plate of celery sticks was the only green thing on the table. All brown --turkey, gravy, potatoes and more potatoes -- and orange (carrots and sweet potatoes), and a small bowl of red cranberry sauce. All the colors of the Fall foliage, replicated on the table top. There wasn't a salad or a... Read more →


You never know who's coming to Thanksgiving dinner, and what food allergies or aversions they might bring along. Vegans, gluten-free, dairy-free -- I've hosted them all, and often at the same meal. The holiday table can be a minefield for the cook! It's great to have a few please-all side dishes on the menu. This cabbage with warm dressing takes minutes to prepare (the cabbage can be shredded ahead of time), and it's free of gluten, dairy, meat, nuts -- free of everything except flavor. Cabbage is undervalued on the holiday table; it's economical, easy to prepare, and adapts well to sweet or savory seasonings. (I just used some cole slaw mix in a Chinese stir-fry last night.) This simple side dish can be prepped... Read more →


With red curry paste and coconut milk in your pantry, Thai red curry dishes will become a quick and easy go-to meal for busy nights. This recipe combines chicken breast with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms and peppers. Read more →