Amaranth risotto recipe


This recipe uses my new favorite grain, amaranth. Amaranth comes from a plant much like callaloo. Amaranth–the grain part–manages to cook up both chewy and mushy. It eats like a hearty porridge with bursts of firm morsels. I looked at my first batch of this creamy base and had a feeling it would make a great risotto.

Check out this recipe on Culinate. It’s my first entry in my new account there, and a contender in the Naked Grains Recipe Challenge. Continue reading

Electronic beer bread, all the way from the edge of irony


To participate in the sustainable food movement today is to live on the edge of irony. Especially if you’re taking part in the movement from a seriously urban setting like, say, Washington, D.C.

What do I mean by this? Just look at this summer. Over the past few months, I’ve taken digital pictures of my hands covered in garden soil, emailed for advice on thinning carrots, Googled rustic local farms, and watched a documentary about real food from a plastic seat in an air conditioned theater.

It’s not just me. Recently, more and more small farms, local food organizations, and gardeners have set up blogs or created Facebook groups. Continue reading

Tomatoes and watermelon—perfect on their own


Cross-posted from

What’s with tomatoes and watermelon this year? I have seen them side by side at local farmers markets, of course, having both come into season recently. But in an odd development, I started to see them together in recipes, too.

At first, I noticed the usual myriad recipes for watermelon-feta salad sometimes included halved cherry tomatoes. Then came the watermelon gazpacho. Then, as if that weren’t enough, watermelon bloody Marys have now poured into the fray, celery sticks and all.

While I cheer combinations like chipotle and chocolate or peaches and basil, I just can’t get into this one. Continue reading

Disastrously Delicious: Food Writers Get Together and Shake Things Up

The following is cross-posted from The Jew & the Carrot


A group of Jewish food lovers, a spread of delectable dishes, and milkshakes made of laughter. If it were possible for one afternoon to be too good, this is where it would start.

A group of Jew & the Carrot writers, editors, and friends faced the risk—overflowing goodness and all—this past Sunday. Of course, it all started with the food. I arrived at host Avigail’s Clinton Hill, Brooklyn apartment to find hand-layered ratatouille swirling from the center of a clay baking dish, crusty homemade beer bread, a cake topped with the purple velvet of baked plums, aromatic rosemary bread, peach-basil salad, and made-from-scratch yogurt. That alone nearly tipped the scales to the side of the too good. Did I mention that we washed this down with homemade sparkling ginger-grapefruit juice? Spiked with gin? Continue reading

Watch that salmon go! Seafood guidance and a recipe for ginger-coconut salmon cakes–Updated!


Although never explicitly a vegetarian blog, this site struck many readers as meat-free—probably because I was. Yes, I WAS. I’ve been eating fish for a few months now, though I haven’t really said anything on YaD.

While keeping up my babble about veggies, I’ve been engaging in a little self-education and finding new cooking opportunities around fish. This means that when the new Seafood Watch guides from the Monterey Bay Aquarium came across my Twitter feed, I eagerly clicked over. It also means I have developed a new recipe using the wild salmon that continues to star in the “Best Choices” category. Continue reading

Strawberries no bigger than a knuckle

Russ Parsons, author of  How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table, was on American Public Media’s “The Splendid Table” this week talking about strawberries.

A few fun facts he shared:

  • Go tiny when you choose strawberries. No bigger than a knuckle is best if you want maximum sweetness and flavor.
  • The best strawberries are not fit for shipping. They’re too fragile! This means you’d better buy local, or you’re getting something bred to last–not to taste good.
  • You can “cook” fresh berries into sauce simply by adding sugar. They’re so delicate that all it takes is the compounds in table sugar to break them down. (The same way the fresh fish in ceviche cooks in lime juice).
  • Strawberries taste really good in this recipe (I have yet to try it, but it looks delightful and gets points for creativity!)

Listen to the whole interview at Scroll down to the links to this week’s show.

For my own contibution, I will point you toward Bon Appetit magazine’s Strawberry Tiramisu. A great no-bake recipe for your sweltering summer kitchen.

Smokey Black Bean Dip

black bean dip ingredients

One party-goer thought it was bacon that made it so tasty. I sensed a smoked salmon flavor. Others just said it was good. So it seems the Smokey Black Bean Dip (incidentally, completely vegan) was a hit.

I was surprised because, out of a mixture of laziness and arrogance, I hadn’t looked up a recipe before I started making this dish. I rarely look up recipes. Sometimes (okay, often), I don’t like the improvised result, and the dish requires so many tastings, minutes of deliberation, and adjustments, that I could have pored over a dozen tried-and-true recipes by the time I get it up to par.

Luckily, in the case of this dip, everything worked out. The dish didn’t even require much tasting! I admit I did peek at The Joy of Cooking, though, and added the lemon juice because of a black bean and salsa dip I saw.

Give it a try, and see if you can sense the bacon/lox flavor. It’s worth it just to experience that odd pairing of nuances. Continue reading

The asparagoi are here!

Asparagus with sea salt

Asparagus is in season, which means it’s fresh, readily available, and reasonably priced. This also means you don’t need to do much to these emerald and amethyst spears from the lily family to make them taste good. For a recent bunch I bought, I cooked them as simply as one possibly can, and they were quite yummy.  I share that method with you now… But I will not share with you the proper plural of asparagus.* Instead, I will make it up.**

Roasted Asparagoi

One bunch asparagus spears

Olive oil

A few pinches sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, herbs, and fresh lemon, optional

Break off the woody ends of the asparagus spears. To do this, just snap off the part at the bottom that’s wider and lighter colored. The stalk should naturally break at the point where that undesirable part meets the succulent yummy part.  (If the asparagus is uniformly green all the way to the bottom, this whole snapping process may have been done for you). Continue reading

Savor-ize your oatmeal

Savory oatmeal
When it comes to hot cereals, steel-cut oats are king. Instead of getting flattened and steam treated like rolled oats, they keep their original cylindrical shape, and more of their nutrients. Cooked up, they’re hearty and a little chewy.

The one problem is that they can get boring. The other day, I departed from my usual sweetened treatment and tried them savory, with rather tasty results.

It was pretty simple to do, and is a great way to use leftover steamed greens or stir-fried vegetables. Instead of thinking soupy and sweet, expect a densely creamy, risotto-like flavor and texture. (Recipe after the jump). Continue reading