This winter I've been having lots of fun playing around with salads. Seems incongruous, doesn't it, as we associate salads with summer foods. However, there are plenty of ingredients -- not tomatoes or asparagus, but so many other things -- to mix and match for mid-winter dishes that taste just like August. Nothing about this fennel and avocado salad is seasonal, at least not here in New England, and that's what makes it a great mid-winter treat. I'm partial to dried fruits mixed with crunchy greens, and white balsamic vinegar keeps the colors and flavors bright. Fennel and avocado salad with dried wild blueberries, almonds, and white balsamic vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free} From the pantry, you'll need: almonds, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, agave nectar... Read more →


I have to be honest with you. In real life, this white bean and leek soup looks like dishwater. Looks like it, but does not taste like it. (And because it's hard to photograph dishwater and make it look appetizing, I've added some bacon garnish, though it's absolutely not necessary to this otherwise vegan soup.) What makes this simple bean soup great is the technique of reserving a third of the main ingredients to add after the initial cooking and blending of the rest of the soup. Puréed beans and leeks form the "creamy" base, and every now and then, your spoon will find a whole bean or two to awaken your mouth. If you are vegan, omit the optional garnishes (bacon or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano... Read more →


I couldn't help myself: I found one teeny, pretty, ripe tomato at the market, and I had to have it. The tomato, beautiful and flavorful as it was, didn't quite fulfill my craving for tomato flavor in this salad, so I decided to bump up the vinaigrette dressing with rich sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of garlic. If I'd had any of my own slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer (as I hope you do), I would have added those instead. At this time of year, my refrigerator always harbors a collection of dark leafy greens. There's nothing better than tossing a few together in a mixing bowl with a sturdy sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Add a few things for texture and crunch; I used cucumbers and... Read more →


Winter salads can be a challenge, but really, there's so much available as long as you stay away from rock-hard, plastic-looking pinkish tomatoes, overpriced asparagus, and other foods best eaten when they're in season in the summer. This meal-in-a-bowl began as a color study in reds and greens, with a handful of farro thrown in for texture (you could use barley or medium-size couscous instead). Instead of spinach, try kale, or a mix of lettuces and dark leafy greens. Swap dried cranberries for dried cherries, if you wish. This dish filled with fruits and vegetables couldn't be easier, or more satisfying, either as a side salad or a meatless main course. Healthy red and green meal-in-a-bowl salad, with spinach, berries and farro {vegan} From the... Read more →


At long last, in the middle of January, snow arrived in Boston. Not a huge amount yet, but more is on the way, and I'm going to make plenty of leftover mashed potato cheese soup to reward the hardy shovelers. Use your favorite mashed potatoes as the base. You could even use mashed garlic sweet potatoes. Loosen them up in a Dutch oven with a bit of vegetable stock or water; add spices; whisk in the yogurt and cheese; let everything melt together. This creamy good potato soup doesn't have any cream in it; Greek yogurt helps enrich the soup. If you don't have any leftover mashed potatoes, boil some diced potatoes until tender (dicing will make the potatoes cook faster), drain, and smash right... Read more →


"What makes these taste so good?" my husband Ted asked, after the first bite of these mushroom quesadillas with goat cheese and greens went dribbling down his chin. I started to explain about the gooey, melty goat cheese and how it holds the greens together while they wilt from the heat, but he didn't care. He was halfway through the quesadilla by then, bite after oozy bite. Nontraditional though they are, these quesadillas bundle the texture of mushrooms (sautéed to remove most of their excess liquid) with smooth goat cheese and a hint of dark leafy greens (use your favorite, spinach or kale or chard). I like to keep the theme going with spinach tortillas, though you can use whatever type of tortilla you like.... Read more →


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 →