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23 Aug

Because we’re still trying to put a dent in the zucchini supply, today’s recipe? Quick pickled zucchini. It’s great to have on hand, and allows you to flare out all sorts of things. We always take a jar camping, and a tangle is always great on a cheese plate or veg platter. They’re really good on cheese-slathered crostini or thin garlic bread, see the photo down below! This is the time of year to keep a steady supply at the ready, and bonus points for making extra for friends. 

Quick Pickle RecipeQuick Pickle Recipe

More Ideas

Quick pickled zucchini is A+ on these veggie burgers, on certain tacos, and as part of simple green summer salads. I also like them in place of relish on veggie dogs. If you come up with other ideas for them, let me know.

Quick Pickle Recipe

Quick Pickle RecipeQuick Pickle Recipe

The recipe

The only thing that takes much time here is draining some of the liquid from the zucchini, if you plan ahead a bit, the rest of the process only takes a couple minutes. One thing to be mindful of is how thick your slicing is. It’s the sort of detail that changes the preparation quite dramatically. You can see in the photos how thick I like my zucchini to be, but its a variable to play around with. Thicker slices will have more structure.

Quick Pickle Recipe

Quick Pickle RecipeQuick Pickle Recipe

Variations

As far as flavor and seasoning go, this recipe delivers a bit of spicy bite from the mustard seeds and red chile, coupled with a hint of sweet, but not much. If you like a super-sweet pickle, double the sugar, and go from there. Same goes for the spiciness. Use this recipe as a jumping off point!Quick Pickle Recipe

Quick Pickle RecipeQuick Pickle Recipe


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17 Aug

If you love a classic berry swirl ice cream, this is your recipe. Intense, bright strawberry or raspberry sorbet threaded with the creamiest waves of vanilla. This version is made with cream, but I’ve also posted a non-dairy version here. It is my absolute favorite flavor, and yes, you can absolutely use frozen (thawed) berries!

Classic Berry Swirl Ice CreamClassic Berry Swirl Ice Cream

The Recipe

The berry sorbet component couldn’t be easier to make. You use a blender to puree whole fruit with some sugar, strain, and you’re in business. The vanilla swirl is a bit more intensive. You need to make a classic vanilla custard, and then churn from there. I like to make the swirl components up to a few days ahead of time, when I have a few minutes, and then churn a couple hours before serving. It’s great for days after, but is full-stop magic enjoyed just shortly after churning.


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17 Aug

Let’s make paella! You can absolutely do it, and for this veg-centric, California-inspired take on the Spanish classic, you don’t need a special pan. Many paellas feature various meats and seafoods, but vegetarian paella can be a revelation. This version is fully loaded with a rainbow of seasonal vegetables cooked into a saffron and paprika-scented rice based dream. 

Once you have the technique down, the adaptations can be endless. Paella is a great way to use up random seasonal vegetables in your crisper, and leftovers are A-plus. And I’m going to tell you how it can be week-night friendly. Really!

An Amazing Vegetarian Paella RecipeAn Amazing Vegetarian Paella Recipe

You Don’t Need a Special Paella Pan

If you have a traditional paella pan, great! Use it. That said, don’t let the lack of a special pan foil your paella endeavors. I’ve successfully cooked paella in copper pans (a favorite), as well as stainless steel, and cast iron. Use what you have, the wider the better. I’m including instructions for two different sized pans in the recipe, please reference the head notes. 

How to Make Paella Weeknight Friendly

Paella can be a great, realistic go-to weeknight recipe if you do one thing. Keep this sofrito on hand. Have some ready in the refrigerator, keep back up in the freezer. If you have a bit of saffron and paprika around, with some broth, rice, and seasonal vegetables, you’re ready to make paella. And it’s quite simple.

An Amazing Vegetarian Paella Recipe

An Amazing Vegetarian Paella RecipeAn Amazing Vegetarian Paella Recipe

The Best Rice For Paella

Choosing the right rice for paella is key. Ideally, you want a short-grain, stubby paella rice, something like this, or this. Look for Bomba. Paella rices are celebrated for being able to absorb more water (or broth) than other rices, while maintaining structure. This translates to a paella with definition between grains – no mushy rice. I also love this article about choosing rice for paella with Russ Moore (of Camino in Oakland, CA). He uses a well-rinsed, local, Japanese short-grain varietal, and his paella is beautiful. If you do experiment with non-paella rice varietals, you’ll need to play around a bit and adjust the liquids.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

I’ve tried. I’ve tested 100% brown rice paella, and blends. Here’s the problem. Brown rice takes a lot longer to cook comparatively. So, the way paella comes together is the following. You get all your ingredients in the pan, stir once, and then leave it alone. This is half the battle when it comes to achieving a golden-crusted bottom (desirable!), see below. When you use brown rice, you end up with overcooked vegetables, because you need to cook it so long. My advice? Stick with tradition and use a short-grain paella rice.

The Trick to Achieving Socarrat Magic

Today’s recipe focuses on paella made indoors, in a modern kitchen. That said, many paella are cooked grilled, over open flame. One of the things you hope to achieve in either scenario is socarrat – that golden crusted rice bottom. The skill, of course, coming from just the right amount of toastiness – not too little, not burned. If you’re brave, give your paella a moment or so on a burner, after removing from the oven, to  increase your likelihood of some good socarrat! Takes some practice.

How to Make Vegetarian Paella Awesome

Here’s the deal, you need to load up on seasonal vegetables. Experiment! There are so many ingredients that are fair game here. I like ingredients with a bit of structure, that can handle some cooking time. Asparagus (thicker stem vs. skinny), baby artichokes, summer squash, fava beans, cherry tomatoes, peas, etc.

Paella Verde Variation

A green version of the paella you see pictured here is fantastic. Simply stir in 1/4 pound of well chopped spinach or kale with the other vegetables.

This recent paella bender was inspired by a beautiful paella birthday dinner cooked by my friend Bonni Evensen. You can see pics in my Instagram feed.


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15 Aug

As far as ice cream goes, berry swirl ice cream is my favorite. Intense, bright strawberry or raspberry sorbet threaded with the creamiest waves of vanilla is hard to beat. I often make a classic version (and will post that version before the weekend), but wanted to challenge myself to create a vegan, dairy-free version as well. A lot of you requested one when I posted about it to Instagram the other day.

Berry Swirl Ice Cream (Vegan, Dairy-free)Berry Swirl Ice Cream (Vegan, Dairy-free)

The Recipe

I tried a number of different approaches here, and landed on a creamy, cashew milk base. Oat milk turned out too icy, and I wanted to opt for something other than coconut milk, which I suspect would have been the obvious choice.

I also wanted to simplify and streamline the process as much as possible, wondering if I could get away with making a “blender custard” instead of a cooked custard, the more typical approach. And I was really happy with the results! You definitely get mild nuttiness from the cashews, and theres the mouthfeel that reminds me of the hazelnut or pistachio gelatos you might get in Italy, but it’s really nice alongside the vibrant berry swirl. The dairy based version I make uses a classic vanilla swirl, creamy brightness. This is a slightly different beast, but a big hit with kids and adults!


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04 Aug

The only zucchini recipes that have my attention right now call for pounds of it. One half cup here, or a medium zucchini there just isn’t going to cut into the supply coming out of the garden. Apparently many of you feel similarly, because a lot of you made the Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream I posted last week (so good! Also uses 2 pounds). Today’s recipe is a panzanella of sorts, a simple bread salad made with torn pieces of toasted multi-grain bread, grilled zucchini, chickpeas, and a simple, garlic-forward ponzu dressing. Like the pasta, it will also put a 2 pound dent in your zucchini haul.

Grilled Zucchini & Bread SaladGrilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

The recipe

You can toast the bread, and pull the dressing together ahead of time if you like. Beyond that, when you see an opening on the grill, get in there. Grilling the zucchini takes ten minutes or so. This is a great side for whatever else you might have coming off the grill, but I also like it as a light main for summer nights.

Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

Grilled Zucchini & Bread SaladGrilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

Tips

Choosing zucchini: This is a great way to use up larger zucchini. Sliced zucchini with a larger diameter is easier to grill, if you’re not using a grilling basket.

Thickness: You want to get the thickness of your zucchini slices right here. In the recipe, you’ll notice that I I have you slice the zucchini 1/4-inch thick. The main thing is this – I’d rather you err on the thicker versus thinner side when slicing here. This way your squash will maintain some structure. It’s on the grill for a bit, and if you slice too thinly, the slices are more likely to tear or disintegrate. If your slices are right on the money at 1/4-inch-ish, you should be all good.

Bread: I like a good-quality multigrain bread here. Tear bread pieces large enough that the edges get crispy, but the interior stays a bit chewy when toasting.

Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

Grilled Zucchini & Bread SaladGrilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

Variations

– With Crispy Fried Shallots:  I wanted to keep this recipe as simple, summery, and straight-forward as possible, so I didn’t call for any intensive toppings. That said, crispy fried shallots, to finish things off, would be bonus here. If I’d had some on hand, I wouldn’t have skimped using them. I use them in this cilantro salad, and the recipe is included there.

– Spicier! To let everyone dial up the heat to their liking, serve with a little jar of sesame chile oil on  the table. Drizzle to taste.

– With cheese: Not for the vegans in the crowd, but a bit of crumbled feta or cotija cheese is a nice touch here. 


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28 Jul

There is an incredible amount of zucchini coming out of our garden right now, and I’m focused on using it. This means ignoring recipes that call for small quantities of zucchini, turning my attention to making things that can put a real dent in the supply. Enter this simple, garlic-boosted pasta. It uses two pounds of zucchini, and is endlessly adaptable.

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini CreamPasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Pasta Choices

I used long, slender bucatini pasta this time around, but enjoy this recipe with a wide range of pasta shapes. It’s nice with whole wheat pasta, or even some of the alternative lentil noodles. It’s particularly good with textured, short pastas because the sauce and garlicky zucchini chunks get caught up in every bite.

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini CreamPasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Favorite adaptations

Once you have your smashed zucchini sauce and pasta as a foundation, you can take this in a lot of different directions. We’ve been finishing it off with lots of halved cherry tomatoes plus garlic bread crumbs in place of the sliced almonds. The flavor pop of sweet from the tomatoes alongs with the crunchy crisp of the breadcrumbs is great. Alternately, you can boost the whole situation nutritionally by stirring in a few handfuls of thinly sliced kale that you’ve massaged with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. You can also make more Asian-inspired, brothy version by adding more water to the zucchini, add a dollop of favorite curry paste, and use rice noodles. Top with crispy, grilled or oven roasted mushrooms and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Or, simply add a few dollops of pesto to the smashed zucchini sauce to up the summer basil factor.

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini CreamPasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Other ways to use up zucchini

I like this super quick, sautéed zucchini – similar in spirit to today’s recipe, it is also extra garlicky, and you get those nice browned bits where the zucchini hits the pan. You see it pictured over noodles as well, but I often enjoy it over quinoa or farro. And, this one is an oldie (posted in 2010), but these quick pickled zucchini are always nice to have on hand.

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Pasta with Smashed Zucchini CreamPasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream


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10 Jul

Let’s talk about how to make a great vegetarian poke bowl. Poke is a much-loved, traditional, raw fish preparation, long popular in Hawaii. Fishermen would season bits of their catch, and snack on it while working. Poke (pronounced poh-kay) has exploded in popularity, well beyond Hawaii, in recent years. The version I’m posting today is for any of you who love the idea of poke or poke bowls, but don’t eat fish for whatever reason. Vegetarian poke bowls are particularly fantastic this time of year because they’re light, clean, filling but not heavy, you know?

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke BowlHow to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Vegetarian Poke Bowl: The Components

I typically use a watermelon poke, a version of this sushi rice (but any favorite sushi rice / blend will do), and a host of other vibrant toppings. Here you see firm, organic tofu, sliced avocado, blanched asparagus, shaved watermelon radish, and micro sprouts. The bowl is drizzled, simply, with good soy sauce. And there’s a sprinkling of sesame seeds and scallions. The other topping I really crave, not pictured here, is a showering of crispy, fried shallots. 

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke BowlHow to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Seasonal Variations

When it comes to toppings, what you see here is just a jumping off point. And I encourage you to play around with all the components. For example, you might trade in roasted squash cubes for the watermelon later in the year. And do roasted onions in place of scallions. Or, play around with the drizzle on top. For a quick poke bowl, I just do a soy sauce drizzle, but you could whip up something more complex. Have fun with it!

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl

How to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke BowlHow to Make a Great Vegetarian Poke Bowl
Although, it can be argued, a vegetarian poke bowl isn’t a real poke bowl, it’s a great meal just the same. Keep your eyes peeled for other inspiration as well. I love seeing the creative vegetarian and vegan poke bowls on menus at poke spots all over. Lots of ideas there that you might replicate in your own kitchens!


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07 Jul

This is a noodle salad you’ll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. It has tofu and peanuts, coconut, ginger, avocado, and hemp seeds. The dressing(!) – it’s simple but strong, and steps in with an assertive spicy sriracha-lime punch. This is one of those near-perfect one dish meals. You might not want to prep this many ingredients every day, but you’ll forget about that detail the minute you take a bite. And you can see exactly how it comes together in the video below. xx! -h

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Noodle Salad: Make Ahead Components

A couple of tips – you can make the dressing a few days in advance. You can also do much of the chopping and grating a day or two in advance. Cook the noodles to order, though.

Sriracha Rainbow Noodle SaladSriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

Let me know if you try it, and please report back if you land on any seasonal adaptations that you are particularly excited about.


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30 Jun

I love this salsa recipe, and make it every year for Fourth of July. While it appears deceptively average, it actually delivers electric flavor with each bite. When you’re ready to move on from salsa fresca, make this. What you’ll have is a deliciously vibrant, earthy, and slightly smoky-tasting salsa. Different from salsa fresca, the deep, caramelized flavors of roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotles make for a richly beautiful and balanced salsa. And, that color! It’s beautiful.

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa RecipeFourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Salsa Inspiration

Initially, I’d been sitting on this salsa recipe for over six months, waiting (and waiting) for tomato season. I waited through citrus season, asparagus season, and a good chunk of the stone fruits. Every few weeks I’d flip through my pocket-sized notebook and there it was, a messy scribble of black pen spanning three-quarters of a single page. The black letters were there to remind me of the deliciously vibrant, earthy, and slightly smoky-tasting salsa I jotted down while visiting friends (Hadley & Philip) in New Zealand. It is a salsa richly red in hue, accented with tiny flecks of green cilantro. We stayed with in Wellington for a week, and Hadley made this salsa for us one evening. 

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa RecipeFourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Why this Salsa?

If you are used to making or buying salsa fresca, great. I love salsa fresca and make it regularly. This salsa is an entirely different beast – the deep, caramelized flavors of the roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotle(s) makes for a richly beautiful and balanced salsa. The other thing I love is the texture. This salsa has a rustic, hearty texture which comes from pureeing a portion of the ingredients toward the beginning of the process, and then hand-chopping the majority of the roasted tomatoes and onions. With the roasted ingredients, it is a bit more effort, to be sure, but SO worth it.Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Fourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa RecipeFourth of July Roasted Tomato Salsa Recipe

Not just for chips, this is the perfect salsa recipe for use on nachos, tacos, eggs, veggie burgers, quesadillas, kabobs…..a perfect addition of a Fourth of July spread. Other ideas? Give a shout in the comments.


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25 Jun
Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

This is a noodle salad you’ll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. It has tofu and peanuts, coconut, ginger, avocado, and hemp seeds. The dressing(!) – it’s simple but strong, and steps in with an assertive spicy sriracha-lime punch.


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