Category Archives: vegetarian
Spring is a time of transition–Fava beans, along with calcots, ramps & fiddleheads, are some of my favorite in-between spring crops. The hearty fava’s season is a bit longer, and they’re more available across climates and geographies than some of the others, and they pair well with a variety of other foods, and can be really enjoyed both hot and cold.
Blood oranges have a late season this year, so I’m still enjoying them here in California. This is a really straight forward but delicious and loved dish, which serves 3-4 as a side.
Fava Bean & Blood Orange Salad Recipe
1-2lb fresh fava beans, whole
1 medium blood orange, peeled with a knife
1 tbsp (Spanish! buttery!) olive oil
Ricotta salata (or bits of fresh goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, sheep’s feta or shaved pecorino romano)
lots of salt & fresh cracked pepper
Pop the beans out of their pods, and bring water to boil. Boil the beans for about 1 minute, until the color has brightened a bit. Strain, and dunk immediately into a cold water or ice water bath. Once cooled, strain again and begin peeling the beans out of their membrane. You can do this part ahead, stopping at any junction and resuming later. Cut the blood orange into diced chunks. Toss all the ingredients together, topping with shaved ricotta salata (which I clearly managed to get in the photo…) or other cheese as mentioned above.
Blanched Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Ricotta and Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe
4 leaves butter leaf lettuce, washed
1 watermelon radish, sliced thin with a mandolin
1/2 C snap peas, trimmed and blanched in salted hot water for 30 seconds-1 min
2 C broccoli and cauliflower in even, small pieces, blanched in salted hot water for 1 minute
1/2 C ricotta cheese, fresh
Zest of 1 lemon
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tsp djon mustard
1 T olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh dill or tarragon, chopped finely (or 1/2 tsp dry and soaked in the lemon juice for a few minutes)
salt & pepper to taste
Set the ricotta out to room temperature. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard together, and add the fresh herbs and shallot, along with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes (or store up to three days in refrigerator).
Once you have prepared all of the vegetables (the snap peas, broccoli, and cauliflower not only need to be cut to an appropriate size, but also should be blanched for 30-60 seconds in salted, boiling water), assemble by placing lettuce at one end of plate, or off center on a round plate, and arranging the blanched vegetables from there.
Use a spoon to drizzle dressing over the blanched vegetables, then mix the ricotta with a bit of salt and the lemon zest. Top the salad with a quenelle of ricotta, and a few slices of watermelon radish.
We had planned to visit Captain Barry’s Fresh to pick up some crab on Thanksgiving morning as a project and tasty dinner, but also to have a bit of Thanksgiving fare with the crew; there had been an accident the night before and while Thanksgiving was cancelled, we hope all will be well soon. They were still selling crab this morning, so we decided it would be a great, light departure from the gut-stuffing realities of turkey day. We loaded up the dog and headed down to the dock.
We brought home three lively critters, about 2 lbs each, and got our pots boiling. Being a total sissy, I didn’t want to kill and clean them raw, so we dunked them right into the boiling water for 15 minutes each (since they were so large). Afterwards, I cleaned them using this method, and stacked them up on our table with some melted butter, a fresh fennel-celery salad, and a bottle of champagne.
Fresh Fennel and Celery Salad Recipe
1 small or 1/2 large head fennel, sliced thinly on a mandolin
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly on a mandolin
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper
Mix all ingredients together and serve. This holds up very well over night, but is best dressed freshly for maximum crunch.
How to Cook Live Crab
Prepare large pots of boiling water; when boiling, add the live crab. Cover most of the way and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the crab and let it cool a bit, then use this crab cleaning method to prepare for the table. Serve with drawn butter; use a cast iron based pan (in my case, a vintage dutch enameled pan) to keep the butter warm for longer, tableside.
One of my all time favorite upscale bar snacks, these crispy, fluffy, roasted chickpeas are versitile and delicious. You can serve them by themselves as a snack or on a salad to add a substantial note to it, such as the Arugula Pistachio Salad. These are also known as garbanzo beans–so, roasted crispy garbanzo beans with bangkok spice.
Roasted Crispy Chickpeas Recipe
Feel free to make a double or triple batch. This is a great snack for 2-4.
1 can or 15 oz cooked chickpeas
1 T olive oil
Bangkok spice or Cajun seasoning (or similar)
Preheat oven to 400. Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Dry them between paper towels, lightly smashing each one to break it open. If you have a cast iron pan, add the olive oil and mix the chickpeas into it. If you don’t, use a heavy bottomed baking pan or pie pan. Add the salt and spices, mixing well. Bake for 35-45 minutes, agitating/stirring every 10 minutes for maximum crispiness.
I’ve served this arugula salad with pistachios countless times over the last month. For a catering event I headed, for friends at dinner time, for family at dinnertime, for lunch with a friend, while visiting Calistoga, and others. It’s a hit 100% of the time and it’s very filling.
Arugula Salad with Pistachio Dust Recipe
8-10 cups baby or wild arugula
3 oz parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated
1/2 C raw hulled pistachios, ground in coffee grinder or mashed with mallette into dust, crumbs, and chunks
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh cracked pepper
Whisk the lemon juice with olive oil–use 2x more olive oil than lemon juice. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss arugula in the dressing. Toss arugula in parmasean, then in pistachio. Serve!