To make great guacamole you have to go off-recipe. It's all about the in-between steps, decisions, and knowing when avocados are at their best.
Tiny socca-inspired pancakes made with buttermilk or keffir - golden, tender, and cooked in cold-pressed spicy mustard oil. Flat out delicious.
Hot, gin-marinated olives. I used big, green Castelvetranos tossed with a mixture of gin and olive oil, big swatches of lemon peel, lots of herbs. Feta cubes were the finishing touch.
A fennel mushroom recipe inspired by one of my vintage cookbooks, The Seasonal Kitchen by Perla Meyers. It's a simple, brilliant twist on everyday sauteed mushrooms with dill, chives, fresh fennel, and a kiss of creme fraiche.
The prettiest dip in my repertoire - my take on the Iranian preparation of Mast-o-Khiar (yogurt and cucumber). I use lots of fresh herbs, dried rose petals, toasted walnuts and a pop of added color and tartness from dried cranberries.
A Parmesan cheese spread made with grated cheese, olive oil, a splash of white wine, and any other accents you can think of.
Gougères - I have these little cheese puffs in my freezer, ready to bake, nearly always. This version, a favorite, is made with whole wheat flour, sharp white cheddar cheese, fennel, and ale.
Potstickers - For my flight to London, I made the filling with lots of caramelized shallots & pureed yellow split peas then pan-fried them until the bottoms were crisp and golden. They freeze like beautifully, perfect for quick dumpling-centric meals later on.
A couple book signing pics. And in an effort to expand my crostini repertoire, I made this flavor-packed liptauer cheese spread on black bread crostini - goat cheese, paprika, capers, pickles, onions.
Snappy, substantial, homemade oatmeal crackers - made with rolled oats and rye flour. Plus a little glimpse at some postcards I made.
Salt & vinegar chip enthusiasts, these are for you. You take slabs of sliced potatoes, boil them in vinegar, then grill them to a crisp. Not for the faint of heart, or anyone with particularly sensitive taste buds ;)...
These cheese straws look like wispy tree branches. Wayne calls them cheese twigs, and they never last very long around here. Crispy, cheddar-flecked, and rustic - it's the buckwheat flour that lends these slender creations their convincing shade of brownish gray.
Baked Sweet Potato Falafel recipe from the Leon cookbook -made from mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea flour, spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro.
Monica Bhide's Chile Pea Puff recipe - crispy-skinned baked snacks stuffed with peas, paneer cheese, chiles, and garlic. From her new cookbook - Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen.
A classic cheese fondue recipe. I've included dozens of my favorite things to dunk - don't limit yourself to just bread!
A grown-up remake of the onion dip I loved as a kid. This one features lots of deeply caramelized onions, sour cream and Greek yogurt.
A beautiful, spicy hummus recipe made from pureed garbanzo beans, toasted walnuts, and spicy crushed red pepper oil finished with a few chopped olives and a bit of cilantro.
Inspired by a trip to Argentina, small crackers topped with an apple-zucchini relish, a tiny kiss of goat cheese, and a couple flecks of black pepper.
Grilled pizza recipe with an outline of techniques and considerations about the technique it takes to get grilled pizzas right - with topping ideas.
A vegetarian dumpling recipe featuring a simple pea, lemon, ricotta filling. Bright flavors and delicious steamed or pan-fried.
This cracker recipe makes thin, snappy, rustic crackers - sturdy enough to stand up to a hearty dip. The technique is simple and straightforward (utilizing just a few ingredients) and the dough is a welcoming canvas to all manner of seeds, salts, cheeses, spices, or flavored oils that you might want to use as accents.
An updated, healthier version of my favorite artichoke dip recipe. Artichokes pureed with yogurt, tofu, Parmesan cheese, and garlic and baked until golden.
Made from polenta, buttermilk, cayenne pepper, and Parmesan cheese, this is a perfect party cracker recipe.
My dad's garlic bread recipe - garlic, lots of butter, chives, and lemon zest slathered on a wide baguette. A garlic-studded, golden crusted masterpiece.
Don't let all those pumpkin seeds go to waste, toasting pumpkin seeds is easy! This year I tried some different flavor combinations: Sweet & Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Black Tea & Butter Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Curried Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.
Great party finger food. A thick slab of polenta is sliced into the shape of a french fry and baked off.
One-inch wide slabs of toasted, cheesy, heirloom tomato filled deliciousness slathered with a basil-chive ricotta spread.
Make crispy crackers from wonton wrappers. The great thing about this cracker recipe is the way the wrappers provide a quick and easy blank canvas to experiment with - sweet or savory, spicy or seedy - there are countless directions to explore.
Great for dipping with olive oil, this dukkah recipe is a crumbly nut and spice blend typically associated with Egypt - hazelnuts, cariander seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, dried mint leaves, and salt.
Actually two different takes on hummus. One with an Italian twist, and one a lovely shade of green from the incorporation of a bit of sauteed spinach.
This candied walnut recipe was is the perfect solution to a New Years Eve hors d'oeuvres dilemma. Made with walnuts, sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and powdered sugar.
A knock-out tomato tart recipe - it highlights the flavor and vibrancy of the tomatoes while remaining mush-free.
This has become one of my favorite crostini recipes - goat cheese, black beluga lentils, and chives on garlic-rubbed crostini.
I went to the market and came back with fresh peas - here's how I cooked them. Pea recipes, time four.
A Paula Wolfert recipe - this is a fantastic Moroccan spread made of a thick mash of herbs and greens, accented with smokey spices, chopped olives, and lemon.
The seasoning from this popcorn recipe hits you in waves - the smell of the dill, the tang of the buttermilk powder, a bit of kick from the onion and garlic powder. You'll never go back to the movie theatre variety.