The Mission


It all started with these.

I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, and Mike’s even less so, but when I saw the big bags of tiny, shiny-skinned eggplant at the Arcadian Fields table at last Saturday’s farmers’ market, I couldn’t resist. With cold, rainy weather predicted for this week, I knew I wanted to do something similar to eggplant parmesan, though I didn’t want to fry the eggplant, and I also wanted to incorporate a bit more vegetable matter into the dish. Mostly, I wanted to come up with an eggplant dish we’d really love.

eggplant casserole

I ended up borrowing a technique from Nancy Jo’s winning Eggplant Parmesan recipe from food52, salting my eggplant slices, drying them, then tossing them with flour and oven-frying them on sheet pans. When my eggplant coins were crisp and browned, I layered them in a baking dish with a mixture of slow-roasted plum tomatoes, frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained, and the same blend of cheeses Mike’s been playing with for his pizzas.

Dinner: September 27, 2010

What we ended up with was a very unpretty, but surprisingly tasty eggplant casserole, so good, in fact, that my eggplant-averse husband went back for seconds. As did I.

I’m on a mission now: Mike and I are both generally good about eating our favorite seasonal vegetables, but as we enter into the cooler months of the year, I want to work with as many of our lesser-loved vegetables as possible and try to find at least one way to cook them that leaves us wanting more. I think we’ve found our new favorite way to eat eggplant.


No-sweat Cooking, Day 7

Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts

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!

We don’t really snack much during the week, but on the weekends, and Sundays in particular, we love enjoying a big, late brunch at home, followed by a mid-day snack of something substantial. This Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts fit the bill perfectly. It was a great light-but-filling snack with some coriander crackers, Kimball’s radishes and slices of lemon cucumber from City Farm, fresh and bright with the addition of chopped fresh dill, and tangy from its base of strained Narragansett Creamery yogurt. It reminded me very much of Shayma‘s winning Borani Esfanaaj from food52, though Melissa Clark’s addition of a pomegranate drizzle made for a lovely pop color and extra flavor.

Get the recipe: Spinach-Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate and Walnuts


Dinner: June 7, 2010

This here is a plate of farro, gently steamed Cooks Valley Farm spinach, melted Wishing Stone Farm cherry tomatoes with Zephyr Farm green garlic, a healthy hit of lemon juice and zest, some good olive oil, a crumble of Blue Ledge Farm goat cheese, and a sprinkling of crispy homemade herb and lemon breadcrumbs. Summer’s coming, and I love that we’re entering the time of year when I can make a fast and satisfying weeknight meal from a simply cooked grain, a load of vegetables and herbs from the farmers’ market, and a judicious amount of good quality fat and protein.

Desperation Dinner

Dinner:  January 19, 2010

This week is moving by at a dizzying pace. Between our wedding anniversary, the buzz around Cook & Brown and Mike’s involvement in it, and big changes on the horizon at my own job, I’ve barely had the chance to think. I had another meal entirely planned for Tuesday night’s dinner, but as I’ve been spending so much of my time and energy prepping for tonight’s anniversary feast, I got a little weeded and decided to scrap my previous plan in favor of something simpler: lamb ragu from the freezer, thawed and tossed with hot cooked shells, wilted young spinach leaves, and a good hit of grated pecorino. Nothing fancy, but just what the doctor ordered.

A little lighter

Meyer lemon

I’m nearing the end of what has been a very long week, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m tired, and I am so looking forward to a 3-day weekend to relax, connect with family and friends, and process all that has happened this week at home and elsewhere.

One reason for my lethargy is that as we’ve tightened or belts even more at home, I’ve had to change my commute. I still leave home at the same time each morning, but I’ve been lucky to get home before 7:30, and as you may have noticed, I haven’t had much to say here (which sucks, especially in light of the sweet shout-out I got this week from the ladies at food52. To those of you who found your way here via their introduction, welcome).

Yunan Palace Bamboo rice

I’ve been a bit off my game in the kitchen as a result, but last night’s dinner showed signs that I might just be getting my groove back. It wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned (and in fact, this dish was originally planned for Wednesday night, but was rescheduled due to a few major oversights and errors on my part), but it was really satisfying, and it’s a preparation I’ll definitely play more with.


One of the things I picked up on my last visit to Mercato del Mare was a gorgeous slab of line-caught tuna, which I portioned out and froze as soon as I got home that day. I thawed the tuna and had intended to crust the portions in some nori from She Sells Seaweed at our farmers’ market, but the nori didn’t grind as finely as I had hoped when I put it in the food processor (too fresh and pliant, I presume).

Dinner:  January 14, 2010

I ended up saving the shards of nori to sprinkle on top of the finished dish: a bowl of fragrant green rice, the tuna seared and sliced and arranged on top, with steamed spinach and gingery pickled radishes. I made a quick little dressing with Meyer lemon and toasted sesame oil to drizzle over the fish, and while the acid in the dressing dulled the color of the sliced tuna, the flavor was a really nice addition to the meal overall.

Dinner for One

Dinner:  April 29, 2009

This is a plate of creamy Anson Mills grits with Smith’s Farmstead cheddar, Simmons Farm spinach and Hopkins Farm asparagus sauteed with olive oil and shallot, topped with a sunny-side up Zephyr Farm egg – the combination of a cooked bean or grain plus veggies and egg has become my favorite formula for a quick meal, any time of day.



I had every intention of making lasagna last night. I’ve been craving a meat-free version for a while now, so my plan was to make a spinach and mushroom version, but I just didn’t have it in me to make the fresh pasta sheets, or a béchamel for that matter, when I got home from work.

Then I remembered these frilly noodles, which have been hanging out in the cupboard since we moved in (yes, they made the trip from New York with us). They were wide and flat-ish, sort of like the dry lasagna noodles you can buy in the store if you broke them into pieces. I suspected they’d be perfect, so I got a pot of water to boil and cooked them to al dente, then drained them while I finished working on the mushrooms.


To add a bit of creaminess to the spinach and mushroom mixture without making a cream sauce, I used a tub of Angelito, a fresh, creamy cheese with a nice bit of tang from Narragansett Creamery. This version had the added bonus of garlic and herbs.

Dinner:  March 16, 2009

I tossed my cooked pasta, spinach and mushrooms, and Angelito until well mixed, smoothed it into a buttered baking dish, and topped it with slices of fresh mozzarella (also from Narragansett Creamery), loading it into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or so, until it was browned and bubbly. This “broken lasagna” was every bit as satisfying as the real deal, and required a fraction of the effort – just what I needed on a Monday night.