How To Eat Your Vegetables


Since I read Tamar Adler‘s book a month or so back (yes, I’m late to the party as usual), Sundays will find me, at a minimum, roasting a couple of big platters of vegetables to tuck away for the week ahead.

weekly ritual

This sort of cooking ahead is more important than ever now that Julian’s diet has shifted mostly to solids, and we want to provide him with an abundance of tasty, seasonal vegetables in a format that’s easy for him to eat – and that’s easy for both his work-at-home Daddy and office-working Mommy to prepare and eat as well.

It’s also nice to have something easy to throw together for dinner after, say, a long weekend away, when you return home to a near-empty fridge and the thought of another meal out makes you want to stab yourself with a fork.

marinated roast vegetables

Enter our trusty jar of slow-roasted vegetables, a mix of yellow and green zucchini, young eggplant, and candy-sweet golden tomatoes, caramelized and bathed in a soft marinade of cider and champagne vinegars and plenty of fruity olive oil. I’ve tossed these with pasta, layered them in a warmed pita with our favorite local hummus, served them on a bed of wheatberries, or with salty French feta alongside, and on this night, I scattered them over a base of prepared whole wheat dough spread with creme fraiche and dotted with soft goat cheese – a rustic tart, of sorts.

Dinner: August 27, 2012

Julian ate his straight, once it had cooled enough to touch, and devoured room-temperature leftovers the next day, eating crust and cheese first, then gathering up any vegetables that had dropped off and popping them into his mouth one by one. I topped the grown-ups’ portions with big handfuls of raw arugula, a drizzle of red wine vinegar, and lots of cracked black pepper.

the grown-ups' part

A meal that took a minimum of time and effort to put together, packed with vegetables and loaded with flavor, that all three of us loved? You can’t get much better than that.

Shoulder Season Soup

Dinner: September 28, 2010

I’m in commuter hell this week – I’ve had a succession of early or late buses in the morning, consistently late trains, and unplanned cab rides home from the train station which, in addition to being annoyingly expensive and sometimes terrifying, have put me in a big ole cranky mood in the evening, and craving exactly what we’ve been trying to get away from – comfort food.

I sat on the train in my work clothes drenched to the bone after a rain-soaked spin through the Boston Public Market on Tuesday, with tomatoes and fennel and green beans and squash globes and all sorts of other goodies in my totes, and decided a big veg-laden soup was in order. After I got home, I peeled off my damp clothes and changed into something warm and dry, and then I got to chopping: slender leeks, carrots, fresh celery, beautifully ripe plum tomatoes, sweet red peppers, globe zucchini, fresh thyme branches and green beans all went into my pot at various stages, sprinkled with salt and bathed in dribbles of olive oil and a judicious amount of red wine as they cooked down. I added a little bit of orzo to the mix, and when it was tender, added a good amount of freshly grated parm to the soup off the heat. I blitzed up a fresh parsley and fennel frond pistou in the mini chopper to spoon on top, and served up our soup with a few thick slices of Olga’s Pane Francese and some gooey, runny cheese from Farmstead.

As antidotes go, this was just about perfect.

No-sweat Cooking, Day 10


31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via, welcome!

I’ll be the first to admit that summer squash doesn’t often send me, so I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of trying this Summer Squash Carpaccio, but to my surprise, it actually really worked for me.

summer squash carpaccio

It’s an extremely simple dish, ribbons of summer squash dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice, tossed with freshly grated parm and toasted pine nuts – just five simple ingredients, but they come together in perfect harmony. It’s particularly nice when you get a bite of everything together – the flavors and textures play really well together, with crunch and a slight bitterness from the pine nuts, the salty, pebbly parmesan, and the perky lemon dressing all jazzing up the mild, tender squash.

Get the recipe: Summer Squash Carpaccio

Lighter Layers


As weary as I am of the cold weather, it’s not going away just yet, so wintry dishes are still in play. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve amassed quite a selection of root vegetables, and on Monday night, I decided to combine them in a gratin. I was inspired by a recipe in the March issue of Food and Wine for a lightened version, though I used what I had on hand for my own.

building the layers

Thin slices of peeled butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, turnips and sweet potato all went into a buttered baking dish, each layer sprinkled with salt and a little Herbes de Provence, and every other layer got a dusting of finely grated aged Patty Parker cheese from Narragansett Creamery. I poured in a half cup of white vermouth, and a half cup of heavy cream to which I had added a healthy amount of Colman’s mustard. I covered the baking dish with foil and placed it into a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then removed the foil, added a layer of fresh breadcrumbs (a couple of slices of Seven Stars multigrain, pulsed in the food processor), another sprinkle of cheese and a few dots of butter on top, and returned the baking dish to the oven until the veggies were soft and the top crisp and browned (another 20 minutes or so).

Dinner:  February 23, 2009

The herbs, mustard, and flavorful cheese contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the vegetables, and despite the addition of the cheese and cream, this was not a heavy dish, just a richly flavored, satisfying one dish meal.

Winter Doldrums

Dinner:  January 26, 2009

It’s time to come clean. Posting has been light because yes, I am still crazy-busy, with my long commute and full, draining days, but also, I feel like I’m in a bit of a slump. I just haven’t been feeling the weeknight dinners, and it’s a combination of the fact that midwinter produce is relatively uninspiring in this neck of the woods, and that we’ve really been trying to scale back on what we spend. The economy, it sucks, and though we are still among the lucky ones with a source of income and a roof over our heads, it is impacting our day-to-day lives in a very real way.

I’m grateful for the squirrel-like impulse I had through the late-summer and fall to stock up, stash stuff away, bolster our freezer and pantry for leaner times ahead, but I feel like a lot of our weeknight meals have been less than blog-worthy lately. They’ve been tasty and nourishing, sure, but how many times can I talk about pasta with Bolognese, or the cabbage and bacon studded spaghetti that was tasty and filling, but lacking a certain “oomph.”

We made it back to the farmers’ market on Saturday after a week away, which was great, but the dwindling stocks of fresh produce were a little disheartening. Butternut squash is far from my favorite vegetable, but when it’s what you’ve got to work with, you figure something out. At least you do if you’re me.

Soup was the obvious choice, but I thought I’d use the squash as a component of a soup rather than as the focus. Since I had cooked a pound of Rancho Gordo Midnight beans on Sunday for a black bean and quinoa salad (lunch for the week), I decided to use half of the cooked beans as the base for my soup. I sautéed a sliced leek in a bit of olive oil, added the beans, the bean cooking liquid, and some homemade chicken stock, and decided to spice things up with some chipotle. I added a whole, canned chile to the soup, and rubbed cubes of butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and ground chipotle powder to offset the sweetness of the squash. I roasted the cubes until they were caramelized and set them aside for later.

The black bean soup had a good flavor, which I brightened up with a splash of sherry vinegar, but it was a little thin, so I decided to puree it with a stick blender until it was relatively smooth but still had a bit of texture. At this point, I let everything cool and then stored it in the fridge overnight. Yes, I actually did all of my cooking on Sunday, which was a good thing: after a hellish Monday commute, culminating in a walk home of a little over a mile, uphill and on ice, from the train station, the most I had in me was to put a pot on the stove and reheat everything. And toast some pepitas. And eat.

Easy does it

“I love how we eat this time of year. Everything is so fresh and good we don’t have to do much to it.”

Dinner:  July 1, 2008

It’s so true. A little salt, good olive oil, and the kiss of a hardwood fire is just about all you need to get the best out of summer’s bounty. Gild the lily with a little balsamic vinegar or lemon, or shards of salty Pecorino Romano, but exercise restraint. Good ingredients need little adornment.

Double Duty

Dinner:  November 26, 2007

It occurred to me as I started to put this post together that the very first time I prepared this dish was for the first Thanksgiving Mike and I ever spent together. I was still living in Boston at the time, and we had planned to spend the long holiday weekend together in New York as well as to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves and a couple of friends. One of those friends was a vegetarian, so I wanted to prepare something that would serve as both a veggie side for us and a substantial main course for her, and thus my roasted vegetable and gruyere tart was born.


This is almost embarrassingly simple to put together – just cut up a variety of autumn vegetables (I used a mixture of tiny Brussels sprouts, parsnips, multicolored carrots, butternut squash, and crimini and chanterelle mushrooms) into roughly the same size, toss them with salt and a bit of olive oil, and roast them in a 375 degree oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle a generous amount of fresh thyme and chopped fresh sage over the veggies and gently toss. Roll out your crust and place into a lightly oiled pie plate, leaving a bit of overlap around the edges (I generally use good quality prepared pie crust or, as I did last night, all butter puff pastry. Feel free to use homemade crust if that’s your thing). Spread about half a cup of grated gruyere cheese on the crust, add your veggies, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top and fold over the loose edges of the crust. Place back into the oven (at 400 degrees) for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden, then slice into wedges and serve. As a side dish or main course, it’s simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but nice enough for company – a real double-duty gem.