Kale and Lemon Ricotta Tartine

Kale and Ricotta Tartine

This dish has us shaking our heads in disbelief.  One bite, and now we actually crave kale on a sandwich.  Those chewy, ultra healthy leaves.  What just happened?

This is an improvised version of my friend Lauren’s killer, kale-topped, lemon-ricotta toast—our current go-to lunch-dinner-late-night-snack favorite.  Lauren is one of my inspirations in the kitchen—a busy doctor who somehow carves out time to lovingly tend cabbage roses, bake moist cake with a tender crumb, can jars of sweet homemade jam (from her backyard trees, of course), transform sautéed kale into tasty bites—and talk intelligently about any number of interesting topics, all the while.  Move over Martha.

Any sandwich this special has earned a bit of flourish in its name—even a self-important swagger on the plate.  Though in truth, a tartine is nothing more than an open-faced sandwich.  To be precise, a French one.

The proportions here rely on taste, since that’s how Lauren does it.  Don’t be afraid to dip a spoon in, see what you think and adjust to your personal preference.  Be sure to use fresh ricotta—as opposed to the processed, supermarket variety.

Continue reading

Vegetarian Kale and Romaine Caesar

Raw kale is the perfect foil for garlic and lemon-laced Caesar dressing.  The substantial leaves stand up to the thick, flavorful mix.  I like to add some lettuce, too—to soften up the overall mouthful. You might add another green as well, perhaps a bit of spinach or arugula, or a few herbs. I developed the egg and anchovy-free dressing for my egg-avoiding, vegetarian husband.  You’ll hardly miss either.  The dressing is thick, fragrant and packs a lemony punch.  Just what you’d expect with Caesar.

Try adding some ripe avocado to the bowl—it adds a pleasant creaminess to balance the crunch and chew.

Continue reading

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Aioli

Artichokes are a special treat—as an appetizer or side dish they’ll elevate an ordinary meal to an occasion worthy of real conversation.  And conversation you’ll get since it takes awhile to eat these enormous, spiky flowers.  Pluck each leaf individually and scrap the tender flesh off with your teeth—but first dip it into a lemony mayo sauce.  Our sauce isn’t true aioli.  If you feel inclined to mix up the classic garlic, egg yolk and olive oil mixture, please do.  But if you’re in a pinch or want something simple, try the sauce my family always enjoys—something a 10 year-old can manage.  And it’s actually pretty tasty.

Continue reading

Israeli Couscous Salad with Spinach, Pistachios and Lemon

This light, spring salad finds inspiration in the flavors of the Middle East.  Israeli couscous is a round, pasta-like product — you’ll find it with dried grains and legumes at many grocery stores. Substitute orzo if you are unable to locate.  Cook the couscous like you would pasta, in plenty of water until it is past al dente — pleasantly soft when you bite into it, though not mushy.  Arugula could sub for spinach here, or a few handfuls of fresh spring herbs.  Add some blanched broccoli, crunchy celery or fennel.  Try cooked lentils instead of chickpeas.  Or leave the legumes out entirely.  Zest the lemon before juicing, for easiest handling.

Continue reading

White Beans with Lemon and Greens

We adore white cannellini beans — a mild, creamy-soft source of delicious, low-fat protein. They pair nicely with lemon and any green leaf.  This dish works in its chunky form — or you can chop the greens finely and mash the beans as they cook, for a smoother spread. A super quick turn with the immersion blender does the job.

Continue reading