Salad for the Books

I imagine it's like scoring 100% on your math test but then coming home to an empty house and a fridge with no more magnet space. Or tearing open an acceptance letter in front of nobody. Finding out you've won anything in the middle of nowhere. It's like when I artfully put together a a salad so delicious but no one is home to taste it, ugh!, I want to run outside with no shoes on and yell up and down the block for anyone - "You, walking that dog!" - to get inside, sit down, and take a plate. While I have no problem taking myself out to dinner and eating whatever the handsome bartender tells me to order, I could care less if someone is there to enjoy it with me. But when I'm home on a Tuesday night, alone, sighing and throwing together what I think might not be such a great dinner but then all of a sudden is the greatest dinner, I actually catch myself wishing my parents weren't in New Orleans just so they could be home on Sackett Street eating this salad. 

This salad. This salad is for the books. 

It's a poppy seed dressing without the poppy seeds if that makes any sense. Everything but. We've got some oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon, and a shallot. My only advice is to go easy on the honey because this goo got sweet fast. Two tablespoons honey and you're good. The salad part is chopped iceberg, chopped pear, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, broken pita chips, and some avocado.

Mix it altogether and whaddya get? Ding dong, hot dog?

No. You get salad. Really. good. salad.

Salad Ingredients:

(Serves 2 big portions)

  • head of iceberg 
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • handful pecans, chopped
  • handful dried cranberries
  • handful pita chips, broken
  • 1 avocado, diced

"Everything But the Poppy Seeds" Dressing:

(Pulse and combine)

  • 5 tbsp canola oil
  • 5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • 1 shallot, chopped 

Spicy Ricy Salad

Despite being 32 years old (and I may have just typed 33 because, honestly, I have to think twice these days) and despite being married to the most responsible guy alive, and despite my very mature home ownership stature, I do still secretly harbor the joys of a seventeen year-old, and that is the joy of dropping my parents off at the airport, driving home, pulling into their driveway, and taking over their kitchen. 

Stop, I love my parents!

A Brooklyn Bridge birthday selfie for my Dad's 65th.

A Brooklyn Bridge birthday selfie for my Dad's 65th.

No doubt they are wonderful people for housing us these last five months while we waited to sign our names over and over and over again (for three hours in a windowless room with no coffee or snacks…) but cooking in their kitchen – with them present – was never easy. There’s the looking over one’s shoulder. There’s the picking up of ingredients and exclaiming, “What’s this?” when, oh my goodness, you know what this is. There’s the “helpful tips.” (!) There’s the turning down of flames, the turning up of ovens, and the cleaning up around you. And, my god, someone is always trying to throw something in the garbage can; the garbage can that needs to be wheeled out from behind a lower cabinet that sits smack dab between the stove and the sink. My parents’ kitchen is a comfortable kitchen but it is by no means big. When one person is in there, a good spot for you to be is on a stool on the other side of the counter. “Step away” has been said a million times, nastily, in this kitchen. 

So, Happy Birthday, Dad! While you and Mom are snacking on beignets and po’ boys in New Orleans this week, I’ll be cooking in your kitchen completely undisturbed. And without the television blasting – why is it always blasting? - Entertainment Tonight every night after work. 

This recipe is delicious and 100% inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers at Flourishing Foodie.


(Serves 4)

1 cup long grain brown rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup raisins
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
4 scallions, chopped


1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Sriracha


Brown rice! (Takes a while.) Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes, covered. When it's done cooking, give it a fluff. Put it in the fridge to cool down. 

Throw your cashew pieces, raisins, and chopped pepper into a bowl. 

Mix and shake up all of the dressing ingredients. 

Pour the dressing over the rice and chopped foods. Combine and stir with a big spoon. 


Lemony Kale and White Bean Soup with Itty Bitty Malloreddus Pasta

I had a great weekend. Amid my collection of thick socks, wool hats, fleece gloves, fluffy scarves, and puffy winter coats, I feel like I finally nailed the perfect New York Arctic outfit -- the one that will see me walking at a normal pace around unbearably cold city streets when the subway has signal problems and I'm forced out above ground well before my Carroll Street stop. It took a while to perfect but I've got it down now so fingers crossed the chilly weather stays long enough for me to feel proud of this accomplishment / warmer than everyone else. (Oh, this wasn't a competition?)

Maybe more importantly, I got to experience the pleasure of being free to write all afternoon at my favorite writing spot on both Saturday and Sunday, a rarity. The only plan I had to keep track of was dinner with the Browns on Saturday night. Snow actually fell while I wrote (a writer's dream) and I kept my legs pressed up against the portable heater, my chubby mug of rose petal black tea steaming up against the fogged front window. I took short breaks to nibble on homemade zucchini bread and to listen to an entire conversation taking place between an excited Skidmore alum and a nervous high school senior. When I was done writing on Saturday night, I slid slowly in boots and my perfect New York Arctic outfit down Veranda Place in soft sunset light to Bocca Lupo, the restaurant I was meeting the Browns at but not for another hour. I kept with the theme and took a stool by the window and sipped wine for the hour while reading somebody's leftover newspaper, tapping my foot to some easy motown.

It's kind of gross how nice it all was, the order of events, the timing of a good mood. 

Sunday felt just as right as Saturday with an early morning wake up, a quick run, and some strong coffee and english muffins with my mom at the kitchen counter. And then before CBS Sunday Morning was over, I was back at my writing spot with more rose petal black tea. It was such an inspired two days and to top it all off, I really wanted to come home and do some cooking for Michael, my mom, and I.

This was a recipe hailing from a blog post that really spoke to me last week, so much so that I kept the tab open on my computer for the duration of the weekend. The writer reminded me of me and of all the things I don't write about because I'm convinced it's boring. Her blog post didn't bore me at all though and her recipe for lemony soup with white beans, kale, and pasta had me at the first photograph.

It was a great last taste to the weekend.

Ingredients to serve 6-7:

  • 1 can white beans
  • 2 cups kale, chopped 
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small white potato, chopped
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup malloreddus pasta (or any itty bitty pasta of your choosing)
  • grated parmesan, a sprinkle
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a soup pot over medium-low heat, fry the onion and garlic together until translucent. Add the chopped potato and stir all together for just a couple of minutes. Next, add the vegetable stock and the white beans, squeezing in the juice of the lemon. Let it simmer for 40 minutes. 

When the beans are soft, add the pasta and the parmesan sprinkle. Keep it simmering for another 10 minutes before adding the kale. 

Add salt and pepper to taste. 

*This soup could have used a crusty bread to go along with it. So much flavor to sop up! Next time.


Almond Butter and Basil Curry Sauce

When New York gets blasted with Arctic temperatures, my contempt for the weather-fascinated disappears, clearly getting swept up in the polar vortex of disdain because now it is perfectly reasonable to go looking for that new and dramatic way of characterizing the cold. So crazy this cold! How cold is it? But more importantly, can I tell you how cold I am? Certain mornings, after making the bitter hike from F train to office building, I would feel like Dorothy trying to break in to her storm cellar, our double doors heavy like a pair of mean bouncers. Then, mustering some pre-coffee morning strength I’d shoot myself like a pinball into the foyer warmth I swear still spinning once in the elevator, woozy from the wind freeze, recognizing not one person under their hood, scarf, and cowl.  

When I think cold weather, I immediately think of pasta, of chili, of something bubbling in an oven. But we’d already had our share of linguini around Christmas, and I’d already cooked a beefy chili on New Years Eve, and Michael’s mom had just made a cheesy gruyere potato gratin for dinner the other night. I needed a snug dinner dish that a) wasn’t going to kick my ass all the way to the gym and, b) would taste great tomorrow for lunch when there was no way in hell I’d be venturing back out into the mother lode of cold air. If brown rice, tofu, and broccoli fail to get you excited… then I completely agree with you and you’re not alone. Rather, I’m talking brown rice, tofu, and broccoli dressed for the weather in a creamy, dreamy Thai curry almond butter basil sauce with toasted almond slivers to boot. The great thing about this sauce is how versatile it is – you can play around with the flavors as much as you like, thickening it up or thinning it out. Mine was thinned out and then cooked down with some white wine, fresh lemon, and tablespoons of hot water. 

Ingredients to serve 4:

  • Package of tofu
  • Broccoli head, trimmed to florets 
  • 1 lemon
  • Large handful fresh basil
  • Large handful slivered almonds
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 5-6 tbsp. red thai curry paste
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 20 tbsp. hot water (depending on your preference for a thicker or thinner sauce)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Peanut oil for frying the tofu (or vegetable oil or canola oil; basically, any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoking point will be good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Get moving on the brown rice because brown rice takes somewhat long to cook. 40 minutes for me.

In a small bowl, get started on the sauce by adding 5-6 tbsp. of red thai curry paste to 1 cup of almond butter. Tasting as you go, mix in the juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup of wine, 20 tbsp. of hot water, and a tsp. of salt. Stir altogether and set aside. 

Meanwhile, get a large pot of water boiling for the broccoli. Cook the broccoli until it turns a bright green. Then rinse and drain it under cold water so it stops cooking. Set aside. 

Slice the tofu into squares, then give it a pat down with some paper towels. In a peanut oiled pan, cook it in batches over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to move them around much. You want them golden brown. Set aside. 

In a small pan over low heat, toast your large handfuls of slivered almonds. Set aside. 

Finally, heat up the sauce and stir in handfuls of fresh basil. When you're ready, slowly add the broccoli and tofu to the pan. Sprinkle on top the toasted almond slivers. 

Eat with brown rice, and enjoy.

Cinnamon Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Snowflakes the size of lottery balls are falling midmorning on a day that is not a workday, and there's just no stopping them. It is cold and blustery outside. I know this because I've just come back from crunching snow in my snow boots to get to Met Food. My parents are straight up out of butter, eggs, and dark brown sugar, and you can't bake shit without them. Our ground floor is dark and grainy like video playback, soft tissues of grey light spreading through white shutter windows, almost - almost! - reaching the kitchen counter, but just shy. The oven is creeping to three-fifty while the Sackett Street shovels of the outdoors scrape at the inevitable concrete slush. Peter Sagal of Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! is asking the questions and my mom, her back to the snow light, knitting at the counter without so much as a glance up, is answering them. I am wearing the world's greatest slippers and running butter along two baking sheets. My plan is cinnamon iced oatmeal cookies. Clearly, if you weren't busy baking on a day like this one, I sure hope someone was busy baking for you. 


I feared a few things knowing I was in charge of latkes this year. One, the grating. All you hear is how much better latkes taste when they’ve been shred by hand; I’ve also grated the cheese for macaroni and cheese before and whew!, it’s hard work. But latkes go back a long, long time and I just feel like to take a lazy, lone finger to the pulse of a KitchenAid would not be following in the traditions of my Eastern European ancestors. Ugh, and then it was the squeezing of the potatoes-wrapped cheesecloth, a task I am 100% confident went all wrong. Sometimes I feel like a pro in the kitchen and then there are times where it’s like I’m looking at a fork and a spoon, and saying out loud “Which one is the fork?” I hate feeling dense, but the cheesecloth did not wrap all the way around my soaking wet potatoes, literally drenched with water, turning brown faster than the Hanukkah candles were burning. (Our Hanukkah candles burn fast.) And then, of course, it was the week long search for an inspirational recipe, which meant scrolling through too many blogs and articles and really pretty pictures of people shredding, squeezing, and frying. Would my trip down latke lane work out as well as their trip? You really do need confidence in the kitchen and for this oily undertaking, I just didn't have it. Pictures of brown potato mush under hot orange kitchen lights does not a blog-worthy photograph make; I swore up and down on the hand grating, refusing my mother's food processor but then threw in the towel / shitty hand-grater (we couldn't find the box grater) before I could finish one potato; I think there might have been bits of cheesecloth mixed in with the latkes.

Fortunately, if you fry anything in oil, it will taste good.

Especially with homemade apple sauce and leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.

And my brother's enormous pot of beef chili.

Top it all off with hand-knit gifts of hats and gloves from my sister-in-law, and a family game of Cards Against Humanity, and you could say we had ourselves a fifth night of Hanukkah. 

Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chorizo Soup

I don't know why it took me so long to realize this, but... I like hearty soups. Chili. Gumbo. Chicken. Bean. Lentil. Bouillabaisse. Matzoh Ball. Anything pureed or "cream of" (Pea. Cauliflower. Mushroom. Tomato.) is, in my mind, either not so good for you, or it has me shuddering at the memory of my liquid fasts of '09. Yep, I'm a proud chewer. I bore easily! Slurping - it's the same repetitive motion (spoon, elevate, blow, slurp, swallow) and the same repetitive taste over and over again (mmm pea soup [repeat] oh yeah wow that's pea soup [repeat] is that pea soup? [repeat] and so on...). With a chunkier soup, I'm thinking you taste more flavors, more textures, just more of it. 

With the NYC marathon behind us and the cold weather upon us, on a Wednesday in the middle of the workday, I went straight from a Funeral Mass at a church in Bensonhurst to the butcher's counter at Los Paisanos on Smith Street to buy 10 ounces of Spanish chorizo. Just a luxurious day spent with a very sharp knife. The kind of day I could get used to. With the radio tuned to today's new music (of which I felt no shame), I sliced onions thinner than paper, cut through sweet potatoes with familiar ease, ripped the stems off spinach leaves (because I'm anal and the stems drive me crazy), put the effort in to take good pictures, but to make it seem like I hadn't...

This is my favorite soup. I've made it before and it always turns out great. If some chef in some fancy restaurant takes an immersion blender to it, I'll be pissed. 

Butternut Squash Burritos

Two things inspired this post: one, the disgusting tofu burrito wrapped in foil, wrapped in plastic bag, that sat in my fridge uneaten all weekend and two, when my friends, Sean and Candace, told me a story about homemade sweet potato burritos. (The story being that they made them.) Backing up to the disgusting tofu burrito, I’d just like to say: “No” and “Can we please stop pretending tofu can just go into anything we want it to go into?” Michael made the god awful mistake of buying one from Calexico last week, and when I came home super hungry that night, asking for a bite of his burrito, I took that one bite and said out loud: “Yeah, that’ll do.” (Thanks, but no thanks.) The burrito went uneaten – he disguised his real opinion by saying he’d take it for lunch the next day – but when I came home that night… disgusting tofu burrito was still there, wrapped in foil, wrapped in plastic bag. With Michael having fled for a bachelor party in Cleveland.

Next up was the story Sean and Candace told me about that time they made homemade sweet potato burritos. Wow! People put sweet potatoes in burritos? Really? Because Michael recently bought a burrito with tofu in it and I swear, I might be off burritos for a while. No, these were really good, they said. Sweet potatoes and black beans! That did sound good. I didn’t want to steal it though. So the next day, I came home with some butternut squash, ready for roasting, ready for wrapping. The end product was (high-pitched sing-song voice) awe-some! To be honest, I didn’t have a plan. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about adding brussel sprouts to my burrito. To be honest, I don’t know the difference between a shallot and an onion. To be honest, I stopped in at Calexico the next day and paid four dollars for a large salsa. Yeah, that’s right. Not everything gets to be homemade.

I think that’s the beauty of the burrito. No need for a plan. Wrap up whatever you’ve got, whatever your palette loves, because in the end it’s all going to the same place. Which explains why the owners of Calexico felt no shame adding “tofu burrito” to their menu. 

My Husband's Colossal Zucchini

While a good number of Facebook friends suggested I put my husband’s colossal zucchini to “pleasurable use” (sickos), I elected my holistic health counselor of a friend’s recommendation for zucchini “pasta.” I’ve been an avid follower of her blog, Living Body Wellness, for a while now and almost every day I can be found “liking” her attractive Instagram posts featuring smoothies and food made with chia seeds, coconut oil, hemp hearts, spirulina, aloe vera juice. [Insert more “healthy” buzz words here.] When she posts, I listen. I don’t necessarily run out and buy hemp hearts, but I might come home that evening and decide to drink more water. On my Facebook wall, she put quotes around “pasta” because this dish is, in fact, not pasta. It is zucchini made to look like pasta. It’s pasta trickery! As a lover of all things pasta – I will admit it – I was skeptical. But I did really want to make something where I could taste the bloom of the zucchini. If I was a commenter on my own wall, I would have typed: “zucchini and cheddar mini quiche!” (duh) because it’s an easy go-to recipe of mine, one I hold near and dear to my heart, not to mention addictive-delicious. That said… you can’t taste the zucchini. You see it in there, it adds to the flavor of the quiche, but you’re not like “Oh, this zucchini tastes great.” Zucchini “pasta” (or “ribbons” as I’ve taken to calling it) seemed the best tactic to garner, at the very least, a sweet pat on the back from my husband who is always very, very proud of his vegetable bootee. This meal took minutes to make and, yes, it was as filling (and delicious) as a plate of pappardelle. Lots of garlic (go crazy), lots of lemon (keep squeezing), salt and pepper (always), grated pecorino (for good luck), and a dollop (or three) of pesto, and BAM… I may not be a living body of wellness, but when the bottle of wine runs out, we do glug our water bottles. 

Tonight, with Wine, this Salad

Tonight with wine

I credit my love for cooking

With my love for writing

Because both begin

With the tiniest flick

Of inspiration

Be it something I heard

And can’t stand to let go

Be it something I bought

And won’t allow to go bad.

There’s a freedom in cooking

I add this and add that

There’s a freedom in writing

My words turn sentences turn memories turn memoirs

Both are productive

My mother-in-law says,

“Cook! What else are you going to do?”

I say,


Both are movements that feel

Extremely, extremely familiar to me

And both require

A simple kind of meditation

And patience

To keep the ingredients

To keep the words

Appropriately cut

Appropriately formed

Beautiful and meaningful

Cat Food

The only thing harder than training for the marathon is cooking for the guy who is training for the marathon. The same guy who has cut meat completely from his diet; the same guy who can eat salad for dinner every night and be happy. But the guy has a wife and the wife is hungry for more than just leaves every night. Where to go for the protein? Where to go for the non-traditional protein, the protein with charisma? As a non-vegetarian, my go-to answer will always be tofu, but can we really call tofu “charismatic”? I thought I was on to something charming when I attempted tofu balls last night. This was a recipe that called for a whole slew of ingredients that I enjoy… sunflower seeds, cashews, mushrooms, Dijon, soy sauce… sounds like a great marinade, right? Yeah, for chicken! This is a recipe for someone else, anyone else… just not for me. A cat might like it. Maybe.

Ingredients needed: 1 lb tofu sliced, 2 eggs, 1/2 c panko, 1/2 c cashews, 1/2 c sunflower seeds, 1/2 c sliced mushrooms, 1 tbsp dijon, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp salt. 

Pizza Dough

Louis C.K. once said, “The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” I don’t live by this aphorism but of course, Louis, you are not entirely alone for I have been there amongst the many hungry, hungry, and then not hungry, but still very much hungry people who can’t and won’t allow for leftovers – so the food must be eaten! – And I’ve lived through the post-meal compunctions, lying backside in bed, pining for swift digestion, unable to pull from within one big, deep breath because, oh my god, I just devoured enough food to last me until the next Yom Kippur fast. And it’s not just “undone goes the belt buckle.” As if that trick works! No, Louis and I don’t care to burden ourselves with what’s to come, the amount of blood that will inexorably rush to our abdomens after the inhalation of so much yum, not to mention the naïve notion that this will be my last stomachache, that I will never again have a stomachache like this one – that yes, this will be my last stomachache, I promise. Oh, beloved food coma - how I love and loathe thee.

Yeah, so, a couple of weekends ago in Connecticut, on a rainy night with friends, I ate too much pizza. I couldn’t stop. It was homemade from dough to finish, and it was good. Crispy thin but also light and airy, I’m afraid to say this dough made for the best pizza I’d eaten in a long time. (My favorite spot is Di Fara’s on Ave J but the lines and the hype have chased me away.) Here’s what happened: when you’re making your own dough, you don’t realize how much pizza you’re potentially in for. There were four of us and so each of us made our own pizza, plus some more. We experimented with chopped pear, sautéed mushrooms, raw onions, artichokes, garden-grown spinach and basil, sauce on top, sauce on bottom, doubling the cheese; the amalgamations went on and on. No surprise when the stupor hit like bricks. Even the long walk we managed to take after the pizza-storm failed to remedy my body healthy again (or at least the feeling of healthy). Walking gave me side stitches and, honestly, I could barely breathe through the ingestion of so much cheese, toppings, and crunchy crust. But, but! – this time it had been different – this pizza overload had been so immensely worth the pain that as I was drifting off to sleep that night, I couldn’t help but fast-forward to the morning, dizzy again at the thought of one last leftover slice with my coffee. The meal will be over when I hate myself. A special shout-out to Michelle Hack, the woman responsible for walking my mouth and I through this award-winning (in my mind) pizza dough recipe, and to her saucy husband, Adam Hack, for his sauce contribution.

Asparagus, Tomato and Crouton Salad

As crazy as it sounds (to me), there lived a long span of life when I didn’t cook. I knew how to watch someone else cook and I knew how to heat their leftovers up in a pan, but I was never the one cracking eggs and crying over onions. When people say they can’t cook, what they really mean is that they don’t cook. Cracking the egg and crying over the onion will turn you into the cook. It won’t happen overnight and you’ll have to stomach (or toss the dog) some disappointing meals at first, but you know what? It’s cool to cry over spilled milk. (This is what I tell myself.) Cry over your spilled milk! But then clean it up and try again. (You might need to distance yourself from the kitchen for 12-24 hours, that’s OK.) The silver lining with a shitty dish is that you see (and taste) what went wrong. You were there. You watched it happen. But now, when you make it again, it’ll be great! because you didn’t let the milk spill. Below is a dish I first made seven years ago when I was still trying to convince myself to stay in the kitchen. I made something simple. An asparagus, tomato, and crouton salad. Very delicious, very fresh. It really says: “Hello spring!” (Not that it feels like spring around here.) Seriously though, for your own moral support, sometimes all you need to do is chop something up, throw it into a bowl, dress it, and voila! you’re a cook. Get your ass back in the kitchen. 

Red Lentil Soup with Chicken Sausage, Kale and Fury

You’re not supposed to cook when you’re angry because agitation tastes like crap. That said, I do it all the time. Cooking is one of two things I do when I feel like I am going to burst with fury. Running’s runner up. This past Sunday, the morning I lost such a good piece of writing, the weather was so bitter and cold… the last thing I wanted to do was throw on the old sports bra and go out in it. I needed to chop something. I needed to chop something fast. Fortunately, I had all the ingredients on hand for a red lentil soup with chicken sausage and kale, and many opportunities to use a knife

Lentil Burgers ( / Cookies)

Word association game, here we go. What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say BURGER?


For me, it’s JUICY. Next, GRILL. After that, BUN. After that? I don’t know, maybe KING.

I should have known the Moosewood cookbook would throw me a curveball with their chapter on “burgers.” IF THEIR BURGERS CAN EVEN BE CALLED BURGERS. Because I’m pretty sure what I made last night should have its own chapter and that chapter should be called BURGERS THAT TASTE LIKE LENTIL COOKIES.

Does the below look like a cookie or what? I’m not really sure what I was expecting from a cookbook that “cooks for health” but the further down the recipe I got, the more disappointed I became with Monday night’s dinner. All the chopping of peppers and onions; all the pulsing of chickpeas and eggs; all the washing of dishes and cutting boards. All to show off a lentil burger dressed like a cookie? Are these honestly the dishes that excite vegetarians? I’m not saying these turned out bad, they didn’t. When I threw a “tester cookie” into our green leaf lettuce, pistachio, red pepper, red onion, and feta cheese salad, Michael took one bite and loved it. We may have even high-fived. But for me it was unsettling to have expected one thing and been given the other. Here’s how it went down.


Curry Pan-Fried Chickpea Salad

Trust me when I say that I can eat more hummus than you. Sometimes I will pretend I work in a Mediterranean restaurant and I will spread my hummus on a plate, drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling it with paprika. I will even preheat the oven so that I can warm up the pita. This is definitely the most delightful way to eat hummus. That said, I usually opt for the old dip whatever’s available into the container method while thinking of a real food to make for dinner. Because I love hummus so much, it’s no wonder I love chickpeas. I knew this was a legume I could take advantage of for my first vegetarian entree of the new year. They are not only filling but can be easily spiced to taste however you’d like it to taste. I love a food that does what I say.

Esau's Soup

Really, this soup belonged to Esau’s brother, Jacob… but a trade is a trade.

Channeling my Inner Green Goddess

Every once in a while my boyfriend and I will throw down in the kitchen. I’d say most of the time our arguments revolve around “cooking over one’s shoulder” (i.e. Shouldn’t you turn the flame down on that? Why are you cutting it that way? Don’t you think it should be spicier?) but tonight’s match boiled down to tidiness. There he was using up half the kitchen to make a rocking pot of gumbo, and there I was using the other half to make a pretty! kale salad. Yes, my avocado skins were staining the counter and my carrot leaves were strewn about, but his space was a disaster, and I kept having to wash his pans to make room for my dishes. And then my salad was done… but his gumbo was still gumbo-ing… and I was hungry… and he was mad about something that happened yesterday… and… I had to channel my inner goddess not to strangle him. Now I know green goddess dressing is a dressing consisting of mayonnaise, sour cream, chives and anchovies, but I feel like those ingredients ARE AWFUL and I think I would smell like the complete opposite of a goddess if I splashed it over my pretty! kale salad. (Plus, any chance of making up with my man tonight would be out the door.)

Israeli Salad

This summer, my boyfriend’s garden has been churning out cucumber and red onion faster than I know what to do with them. He’s a freak for cukes (he loves any watery vegetable) and I can’t help but think they’re kind of boring. While I know they have their health benefits (what are they again…?), I can really only associate them with the smell of a 1989 sleepover at Ali Brill’s house where we generously applied a Freeman’s Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask to (probably not just) our faces and then spent the next 30 minutes  feeling phenomenally womanly. However, there is one way I enjoy my cucumber and that’s chopped up in an Israeli salad. And on muggy summer days like these, you gotta believe that a salad is what it’s in the bag.

What do you do with your cucumbers?