Lavender Salted Sunchokes

8 Nov Sunchokes-web

One of the occupational hazards of San Francisco’s Ferry Building farmer’s market is the AllStar Organics spice tent. Every time I wander by, I’m tempted by the siren song of new and interesting salts and sugars – lavender, rose petal and garlic-infused spices with endless possibilities. One particular Saturday, when I just couldn’t help myself, I splurged on lavender salt, and it’s been sitting in my spice cabinet ever since. Allstar’s website suggests using it in dishes in which a minty or cinnamon flavor would be appropriate, like roasting lamb, pork, duck and game. As a 90% vegetarian, I save my roasted meats for nice restaurants, so I had to figure out something else.

Enter sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes: a root vegetable that’s great for roasting, and features a delicious, creamy potato-like texture – and happened to be $3 a pound at the market. Worth an experiment? I think so. The reward? A surprisingly tasty dish that tastes like potatoes, just a little bit healthier.

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Delicious Baked Kale Chips

4 Nov Kale close-up

I, like many, am a snacker. And not just any type of snacker. A compulsive snacker, the very worst kind. When I munch, I usually do so in bulk, when bored, for no good reason, occasionally right before a meal. Much to the chagrin of my fiancé. So what to do, for we who cannot help but eat 10 cookies when 2 will do?

Enter kale chips. For the uninitiated, I know what you’re thinking. How can anything made of green leafy goodness possibly make for a tasty snack? Tasty as say, my go-to chip of choice, or sweet cookie treat? Well, here’s the bad news: it’s not the same as hoovering a handful of Pringles. Nor is it as emotionally satisfying as a sleeve of Thin Mints. But if you can’t stop yourself from eating the whole bunch in one sitting, you will feel better afterward – both physically and calorrically.

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Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

28 Oct SpaghettiSquash-web

Who doesn’t love a nice big bowl of spaghetti topped with big, juicy meatballs? Since it’s squash season, I decided to do a healthy riff on the traditional dish by changing up the pasta base with spaghetti squash, and experiment with the meatballs, as ground beef is not something I generally eat unless it comes shaped like a hamburger. Continue reading

Citrus Quinoa Salad Stuffed Bell Peppers

3 Sep quinoapeppers-preview

Bell peppers – beautiful, crisp and a great vehicle for a delicious summery salad. The following is one of my very favorite cold quinoa salads, which is made somewhat more elegant when served in individual bell pepper-sized portions. They also add a bit of crunch to an otherwise delicious but somewhat texturally monogamous dish.

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Seared Scallops over Sweet Corn Purée

25 Aug P1010342-closeup

Growing up, my family spent summers in Avalon, a peaceful beach side town off the coast of southern New Jersey. It was my first introduction to farm fresh produce, as my grandmother visited a wonderful nearby market almost daily before preparing dinner. So after a long day at the beach, or out fishing, my chore was shucking corn. And as much as I hated it as a 7 year old, and as a 17 year old, my experience served me well as I can now hammer through a dozen ears, silk free, in a few minutes.

Nothing beats fresh corn on the cob with a little salt and butter, but it’s at the top of lists of foods to avoid if you have a sensitive stomach. Since puréeing is a great way to make anything difficult more digestible, I decided to prepare an homage to my childhood days down the shore – scallops over summer corn.

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Panzanella Summer Salad

23 Aug P1010324-preview

I dread the end of the summer. Even though we San Franciscans might finally experience a brief warm spell after unseasonably cold weather, the dissipating fog marks the end of the heirloom tomatoes.  And although there are many ways to enjoy them, I love the simplicity of pairing raw heirlooms with something subtle that allows their natural flavor to shine. My former favorite, a dairy bomb caprese-style, is no longer something I can eat frequently or en-masse. So what’s another canvas for the glory of the heirloom that goes a step beyond salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil? Continue reading

Fresh Spring Rolls filled with Shrimp & Noodles

20 Aug springrolls-close

One night every month, a small group of my foodie friends get together for supper club. It’s a chance for all of us to sit down and catch up over a glass of wine (or 3), and show off our cooking skills. Each time, we have a new theme, from Iron Chef (secret ingredient: SQUASH!) to soul food to Julia Child. This month’s theme was pocket foods; dishes that are served in a hand-held pouch. Examples include empanadas, egg rolls, samosas, knishes, dumplings, gyoza, tacos, spring rolls, cornish pasties, cannoli and turnovers, most of which are fried or are just, in general, not great for a sensitive stomach. Continue reading

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