Vegetable Curry Stew, Quick and Vegan

Stuff the pot–and your belly–with curried roots, stems and tubers.
Vegan curry

It’s a real winter here this year. Steady days of cold, sun and snow just the way I like it. Also, that means any time is time for stew.

Not surprisingly, my go-to is beef stew. (Here are some great beef stew tips from Serious Eats if you go that route.)

Since I’m always looking to change things up (yup, “variety” is my middle name), the last carrots from our garden (pictured below), a week-old half head of cauliflower and some kale stalks (yes, I am that cook who saves them all in the name of food waste reduction) set me on a different stew route. (more…)

Quicker Preserved Meyer Lemons Brighten Winter Cooking

When winter brings you Meyer lemons, use the whole thing.
meyer lemons

These Meyer lemons stopped me dead in my tracks at the supermarket last week. It was like having a farmer’s market experience in January. You know that moment when you spot something so fresh and picture-perfect that you have to possess it?

More typically I feel grocery store envy, a pining for the luxuries of urban grocery stores in places I used to live. A friend once referred to them as “food museums”: the cheese section with entire continents of cheese and accompanying cracker displays, the glass-jarred sea salt section in the loveliest palettes. Oh, not to forget the local artisan breads, the fresh wild fish… I digress.

The point is, it’s not like that here in the far reaches of Oregon. Still [sigh]. So, I was startled and delighted by the novelty of these gorgeous Meyer lemons. And they were a bargain! (more…)

Let Sweet Crêpes Carry You Away

When it comes to crêpes, the simpler the toppings the better.
sweet crêpes

I completely forgot about crêpes. Like, for years.

Then, my friend, the fab artist Lisa, served crêpes to our family for a weekend brunch in Portland. We were travel weary, craving the comforts of home and nourishment. The coffee was hot and bottomless. There was bacon and sausage. But the crêpes stole our hearts.

Especially the girls’. So enthralled they unanimously declared that crêpes would now alternate with pancakes in a new Sunday breakfast rotation. (more…)

Dinner 911: Red Lentils to the Rescue

Unleash the exciting dinner possibilities of red lentils without the wait.dry red lentils

I returned home from our giant holiday trip with my own resolutions. Sure, I want to eat more mindfully (especially after the excesses of vacation) and to feed my family more vegetables (in spite of winter). But along with those goals, I’ve set out in this first month of 2016 to cook even more intentionally with the food that I already have in the house.

It’s a simple premise: before heading to the store, I take stock of the cupboards, fridge and freezers and build meals around what dwells there. Then, I only buy the fresh ingredients needed to round things out.

On our first night at home, I did not have to look far to spy the persimmon-colored red lentils in a jar in the pantry. Funny when returning home how differently everything strikes the eye.

Lentils, of course! How many times have I overlooked them? Likely, it was no coincidence that beans and lentils are the foods of prosperity and luck for the new year. (more…)

Essential Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Whole Wheat Flour

Spiced pumpkin bread revved up with crystallized ginger.
Pumpkin bread

Here, I present to you the holiday MRE, though you only have to ration yourself. It is savory and sweet. It is moist and tender. It contains your daily recommended dose of winter squash.

It eats well at any time of the day. It goes with coffee or tea, milk, hot or cold or even a glass of hard cider.

Say hello to the Christmas week staple, pumpkin bread.

No matter what else is going on in the week leading up to Christmas, I make sure to bake at least two loaves, then stash them in the freezer. At any moment, I am ready to go to a holiday gathering, host friends or treat myself and my family.

And it’s all effortless. (more…)