Button mushrooms and asparagus are sautéed with cumin seeds and onion creating the flavor base for this Indian-inspired rice dish. Garam masala lends a hint of warming spice. This dish is a perfect use for leftover rice, and you can substitute 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked rice for the uncooked grains. Make sure the rice has cooled fully before stir-frying with the vegetables or the mixture may become gummy. Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that includes cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, among others. You’ll find it at most grocery stores.
This salad covers all the bases—sweet and salty, crisp and crunchy. Herbal. It’s a perfect throw-together dish when you don’t have much in the fridge beyond the usual—like apples and celery. Substitute raisins or currants if you don’t have grapes. Leave out the greens altogether if you like. Or chop up the bright-tasting celery leaves and toss them in (yes, they’re useful beyond being just compost additives or guinea pig fodder). Cubed fennel bulb and their feathery fronds would be a nice addition as well.
Pepita is the Spanish term for hulled pumpkin seeds. You’ll find them packaged at Trader Joe’s. Be sure to toast extra—they make a nutritious and addictive snack.
This vibrant soup is loaded with sweet, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cook up a pot when the garden is laden with scarlet fruit—so many you can cut up six cups worth, and still have a few to spare. Or make a trip to the farmers’ market in early fall, before the last of summer’s jewels are gone for good (at least until next year). If you don’t have that many fresh tomatoes, substitute a larger amount of canned. The flavor won’t suffer, even if the broth isn’t quite as sweet.
We make these saucy beans nearly once a week—on nights when time’s in short supply, but we crave something that tastes fresh and homemade. There’s not much to prepare, but you might slice a sweet tomato, grate a carrot or cube an avocado while the beans cook. If you have the energy, sauté some vegetables to serve on top—corn, broccoli, carrots, greens—whatever you find in the fridge.
By the way, this is the perfect meal for kids to prepare on their own—as an after-school snack or supper for the whole family.
This easy sauté features crunchy sweet corn and summer tomatoes, stirred up with the spices of Mexico. Wrap some in a warm tortilla, scoop it with corn chips or serve as a side dish. Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans for a more substantial main course. Or a minced jalapeño for spice.