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Acorn Squash with Sage and Asiago Cheese


A squash recipe for those of us who scorn marshmallows and brown sugar and the like!


  • Acorn squash, halved, seeded, and rubbed with a bit of olive oil
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt


  1. Cook the squash. You can do this either by baking 1 hour at 400, cut-side up, or even better, on the grill by wrapping each half in aluminum foil and grilling for about 30-40 minutes. Either way, it should be very soft when you are done.
  2. About 5 minutes before the squash is done, melt the butter in a small pan and gently saute the sage leaves for 1-2 minutes.
  3. When the squash is finished, place on a platter and use a fork to mash the squash just enough that it forms a level layer. This will give more surface area to array the goodies.
  4. Spread the melted butter and sage evenly over the squash.
  5. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Layer the Asiago.
  7. Grate a generous amount of black pepper over the top.

Hmm. A great combination of flavors, and the green of the sage looks lovely with the orange squash.
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Spanish Potato Salad


My roommates in Spain made this often. I found it liberating to discover you can make potato salad without mayonnaise and have never looked back.


  • 2-3 waxy potatoes, or a bunch of new or fingerling potatoes
  • 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut in half
  • 2 eggs
  • handful of green beans, trimmed
  • very good extra virgin olive oil, preferably from Spain, white or white wine vinegar, salt, and freshly ground pepper
  • optional variations: parsley, scallions, or dill


  1. Add the eggs and whole, unpeeled potatoes to a medium-sized pot of water and bring to a boil.
  2. When the water is boiling, add the carrots and green beans.
  3. Remove each item from the water when tender, about 5-10 minutes for the carrots, 10 minutes for the eggs, 20-30 minutes for the potatoes. Blanch ingredients in cold water to slow cooking. (You don't need the ingredients to be cold; just cool enough to slow cooking and make them easier to handle.)
  4. Peel the potatoes with your fingers and slice into 1 inch chunks or to the size most pleasing to you.
  5. Slice the carrots into rounds or on the bias.
  6. Cut the green beans in half.
  7. Shell the eggs. Using your fingers, strip off small hunks of the egg white and add to the salad. When you are left with just the yolk, crumble it into the salad. Later, when you add olive oil, the vinegar, egg yolk and the starch from the potatoes will combine to make a dressing.
  8. If using, add the scallions and/or herbs.
  9. Up to this point, it can be assembled ahead of schedule for later that day. Don't refrigerate; just leave the salad out somewhere on the counter. Just before serving, toss with vinegar, freshly ground pepper, salt, and a significant amount of extra virgin olive oil. Adjust seasonings to taste. It is finished only when you can't stop shoving the potatoes in your mouth.

Note that if you save some in the fridge for the next day, you may need to add more seasonings.
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Sauteed Artichokes


My favorite way to prepare artichokes, this recipe comes after tweaking it several times.


  • 3 artichokes, or 1 per person, plus an extra for good measure.
  • 3 cloves garlic, or 1 per choke
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 2 lemons
  • extra virgin olive oil

Saute the artichokes

  1. Prep the artichoke hearts (see below). When you are done, each heart should be sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges.
  2. Briefly saute the rosemary and garlic in extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add the artichokes directly from the lemon bath. Let the artichokes cook until the moisture dissipates and they begin to sear slightly. The garlic will also start to brown, but don't worry! It's good.
  4. Once the chokes begin to sear, you are almost done. Move the artichokes around to make sure they are cooked throughout. Taste one: it should be firm but easy to bite into. It should not be soft as in steamed or boiled artichokes.
  5. When they have finished, add salt. The effect here is almost of adding salt on a fried food, like french fries. The salty taste should be on the surface of the chokes, rather than cooked into them.
  6. After you put the artichokes in a dish, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top. This is an important step!!

Prepare the artichokes

This has become my preferred method for dealing with artichokes. It's probably a sin, and I do feel some guilt, but I toss all of the leaves. You could reserve the leaves for soup stalk.

The only needed implements are a good serrated knife and a good chef's knife.

  • Prepare a large bowl of cold water.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1.5 lemons into the water. Drop the lemon rinds into the water. Reserve half of one lemon to squeeze over the dish after cooking.
  • You may find it helpful to first remove a few of the outer leaves, but it's not absolutely necessarily in this method unless you're having trouble cutting the artichoke in the next step.
  • Using the serrated knife, cut the top half (or more) of the artichoke off. Goodbye.
  • Take one half of the lemon rind floating in your lemon bath and squeeze it all over and into the exposed choke to avoid discoloration. From now on, every time I use the knife to expose more of the artichoke heart, I will dip the entire thing in the water bath or squeeze lemon juice over it.
  • Using the serrated knife, placing the artichoke on its side, cut off the outer leaves where the heart meets the outer leaves. Usually this is between the yellow and green leaves. You are trying to get to the heart. Cut more of the outer leaves off as you turn the artichoke until you only have the heart left. Don't forget to dip in the water.
  • You know have an exposed heart, but there are still some tough green leaves at the base. Using the chef's knife, make a cut toward the stem. You don't have to remove the leaves yet. Right now you're just loosening. Make sure not to cut into the heart.
  • Cut off the base of the stem, just enough to remove the discolored bit.
  • Using the chef's knife, holding the artichoke stem-side up, slice just the very outside of the stem to remove the outer layer (as if you were using a vegetable peeler), and then into the leaves at the base. Because you've loosened the leaves at the base in the previous step, they should come right off. Turn the artichoke to continue peeling the stem.
  • You know have just the heart and cleaned stem. Using the chef's knife, quarter the heart lengthwise and throw all pieces in the lemon bath.
  • Remove one of the quarters. The prickly artichoke "choke" (made up of the fuzzy stuff and the hard, sharp leaves, sometimes purple in color) is exposed and easy to get to. Using the chef's knife, cut it out, being careful not to cut into the heart or remove the leaves of the heart. Cut the heart lengthwise in half again. Return to the lemon bath. Repeat with the other quarters. When you are done, you should have 8 pieces, stems attached. Whew!

Useful YouTube videos using similar cutting methods:

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Lentil and Tomato Stew


And this is different from my hundred other lentil recipes…how? It's a valid question. But here's one with green lentils instead of my usual red lentils with tomato. Signature ingredient? I took some advice from Marcella Hazan and added grated Parmesan to the final product.

The nice thing about lentil stews is you can pretty much use the proportions the suit you.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped or diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped or diced
  • 1/2 bag of green lentils
  • 1/2 can roma tomatoes, pulled apart
  • fresh oregano or thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. To speed the process, begin cooking the lentils in water while preparing the veggies.
  2. Saute the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery until soft.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  4. Add the fresh herbs, lentils, and additional water or stock of necessary; cook until lentils are tender
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in Parmesan.

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Paula JeannePaula Jeanne

This mixed vegetable dish comes from Delia DeMarco, who learned it from her mother. I found it in the Boston Globe years ago. Very simple and very good. Make sure you use a good Chardonay. I used half a can of San Marzano tomatoes instead of the plum tomatoes. I also halved the recipe, enough for 3 people. Really needs the full 45 to 50 minutes.

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds green beans, cut into two inch pieces
8 red potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes
10 plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
2 cups white wine
Freshly ground black pepper, I used a lot

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil until hot. Add the beans, potatoes, wine, and pepper.
bring mixture to boil, lower the heat, and cool for 45 to 50 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.
Remove from heat and serve at once.

Serves 6
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Vietnamese Vegetable Vermicelli Bowl


Ridiculously healthy and much more delicious when you make it at home. Why? Because you use the best, freshest ingredients, of course!


  1. Cook the noodles, rinse under cold water, and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Prepare sauce and fresh ingredients and arrange on the table.
  3. Saute veggies.
  4. Mix your bowl!


Boil a package of Vietnamese dry white rice noodles or rice sticks according to package instructions (about 3 minutes), then drain and bring to room temperature.

Nuoc Cham (Dipping Sauce)
Here I ran into a bit of a problem, as I did not want to use fish sauce. I recommend checking out Andrea Nyugen's recipe, which I used as the basis of the vegetarian variation below.

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (if large, use just half)
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, sliced

Fresh Ingredients
Pile a large plate with these fresh veggies!

  • 1 carrot, julienned or shredded
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • Leaves of 5 branches of mint, whole
  • 1/2 package sprouts
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 handful of shredded lettuce/bowl
  • 1 wedge of lime per bowl

Sauteed Veggies
Stir fry the following ingredients until desired softness. I like them more on the soft side myself and slightly browned. Add salt.

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced in half the long way, then sliced into 1/3 inch wedges
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into 1/3 inch strips
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into 1/3 inch strips
  • 1 package of tempeh or fried tofu
  • 1 zucchini, unpeeled, cut into half moons

Mix your bowl! Serve with a bottle of Sriracha sauce for the table.
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Autumn Minestrone Soup


This Autumn Minestrone Soup has become a Fall staple. Composed of butternut squash, cannellini beans, and tomatoes and served with rice and cheese, this is the autumn version of my beloved minestrone soup. It is a carb festival.


  • 1/2 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 bag of cannellini beans soaked overnight or 1 can
  • 1/2 large can of San Marzano tomatoes.
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chopped herb of your choice: parsley, oregano, sage, or rosemary
  • shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup white rice
  • optional: 1/4 bunch of kale, roughly chopped


  1. Begin cooking the cannellini beans in boiling water lowered to a simmer.
  2. Cook the rice (I usually use a 1 to 1 proportion for white rice).
  3. While the beans are cooking, prepare the onion, garlic, and celery, then saute in olive oil.
  4. Seed, peel, and chop 1/2 of the butternut squash. (Use more than half if you prefer your soup to be squashier or save the rest for another meal).
  5. Once the onion is translucent, add the squash and saute about 10 minutes.
  6. Use your fingers to break up about 1/2 can of the tomatoes and add to the pot.
  7. Add the cannellini beans, herbs, salt, pepper, sugar, and 2-4 cups water or stock, depending on how thick you'd like the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer until the squash and beans are tender. Add more water/stock as necessary.
  8. To thicken the soup, mash up some of the butternut squash. You can do this by hand, by placing some of the soup in a food processor or blender, or by using an immersion blender.
  9. Add kale if using.
  10. Serve with a spoonful of white rice and plenty of cheese.

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