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Perfect Hummus

Perfect Hummus

I’ve been attempting to make the perfect batch hummus since my mid-twenties. You know, the kind that’s silky smooth, with just a hint of garlic, lemon, and tahini. The kind of hummus that spreads like Jiffy peanut butter.  In the years Before Instant Pot (BIP), 

Pesto (that doesn’t turn brown)

Pesto (that doesn’t turn brown)

Even if it tastes the same there is nothing appetizing about brown oxidized pesto. I used to find it so annoying when I would go to all the trouble and time to make a fresh batch of pesto and within minutes it would go from bright green to muddy brown. Bleh. But now thanks to Maria Rodale’s cookbook, Scratch, I finally learned the trick to keep pesto bright green: blanch the basil leaves. So simple! Below is my version of her recipe — it doesn’t have cheese (not that I’m opposed, I just like it better sprinkled on top not mixed in), uses walnuts instead of pine nuts, and less olive oil. The amount below will make enough pesto for a full pound of pasta.

During the harvest season I make as much pesto as possible and freeze in small 4oz. little jars. I used to freeze batches of pesto an ice cube tray, but I found that unless I wrapped each little cube in plastic wrap, they would freezer burn way too quickly. So now I just put in a little jar with a layer of parchment paper cut to size over the pesto and freeze.

Quick Artichoke Soup

Quick Artichoke Soup

My state of origin is Missouri/Misery — one of the increasing number of states where women are now considered chattel (sorry/not sorry to bring up politics). But I was lucky enough to have: 1. A grandmother who was a Master Gardener and 2. Lived in Laguna Niguel, California. Long before we had access to anything “exotic” at our local grocer she would send us boxes of Meyer lemons and artichokes fresh from her back garden. The photo above is a scene from the very beginning of my love affair with my favorite vegetable.

Nearly five decades later the opening of a Trader Joe’s in Boulder introduced 12-ounce bags of frozen artichoke hearts in the freezer section for $3.29. And suddenly, the ways in which I could express my love for the vegetable — a member of the thistle family — multiplied.

Yes, yes, YES – I get it. It’s totally not the same thing as a fresh artichoke and yes, I know they are not organic. And this does give me great pause. But when I asked a certain local chain to source frozen artichoke hearts for me back in 2010 the only ones they could find where $18 for 12 oz. Gulp. So I take my chances and hope that an article I read about one of the biggest growers in California switching to more organic methods is actually the case with these ‘chokes.

Weck Jars

Weck Jars

When I was in Kindergarten I really loved purses. I would ask for them for presents, save my money to buy them at the local thrift store, borrow them from friends and “forget” to return them. I loved purses so much that I even wrote 

Avocado Decadence

Avocado Decadence

When I 16 and living in Ireland as an exchange student one evening my host mom served these avocados instead of a leafy green salad. One bite in and I remember thinking, “Why the hell have I never eaten this until now? and Can I 

Salad Stuff

Salad Stuff

This so-called recipe is something I make fairly regularly and always have in my fridge. I love it because it adds a little extra crunch, a few more nutrients and a bit of fiber to my salad. The salad toppers in the grocery store are filled with things like yogurt covered almonds, sugar-dipped dried fruit, added oils, and crap like disodium inosinate and FD&C red 3. Bleh. My mix might be considered rather bland, but it’s certainly much healthier, nutrient-dense and, without a doubt, more affordable than what you see in the grocery store.