Visiting Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cafe in Berkeley was one of our life’s culinary highlights. Since then, we’ve made countless recipes inspired by or directly from her amazing cookbooks. Now — with springtime bursting out around us — is the perfect time to make this herb-filled thin-crust calzone. (If you have herb beds, you may already have most of these herbs already!)
Herb and Cheese Stuffed Crostata
A few years back, Melanie went to New Mexico with some Peace Corps buddies, and stopped by a cafe outside of Santa Fe called Harry’s Roadhouse. It made such an impression that she bought their cookbook. This enchilada recipe is one of our go-to’s. You can make this with chicken, or go vegetarian and use cannelini beans instead.
Cannellini Bean Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce
When Melanie came back from Costa Rica, she brought some Ducal brand refried black beans, among other things. We used the black beans to make these black bean masa cakes. And we liked them so much we ate them three nights in a row. Clearly, this recipe from Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious cookbook is addicting. The rich and crispy black bean masa cakes sit on top of a sweetly crisp bed of lettuce, with a spicy sweet potato topping and queso fresco to finish the whole thing off. Incredible.
Masa Black Bean Cakes with Sweet Potatoes
Even though the skies were overcast all day Sunday, the temperature felt invitingly warm for gardening. We’ve been itching to plant our April vegetables
Melanie calls this a great shoulder season. What does that mean? I had no idea either. She says it means the weather is flirting with coldness at night, but warm enough with the promise of spring that you can go ahead and plant your April vegetables. Well, both Melanie and the soil thermometer are right – it’s warm enough to start planting.
Soil Thermometer Says…
This lentil salad is rich and sweet with the fresh flavors of slow-roasted tomatoes. It’s hearty and satisfying with the meatiness of the lentils; and it’s stuffed so full of fresh herbs that it tastes like springtime. This recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s PLENTY is another must-eat from his inspiring vegetarian cookbook. We paired this with a roasted halibut and it was amazing.
Lentil Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
These simple potato-scallion pancakes from Thomas Keller’s ‘ad hoc at home’ cookbook are easy to make and even easier to eat. They make a great side dish for all kinds of meals. We had ours with a maple-orange-dijon glazed chicken, also from Thomas Keller’s book.
Scallion Potato Pancake
This is a unique (and uniquely delicious) recipe. We’d never heard of roasting beer can chicken in the home oven. It always seemed like something perfect for a bbq, but bringing the technique indoors turns out to be sheer genius. Another great tip: Adding the glaze at the end, at a very high temperature, makes all the difference. Instead of getting a charcoal bird, you get a richly succulent glaze with none of the risk. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is perfect for a weekend afternoon when you have a little more time to spend roasting the bird.
Maple-Orange-Dijon Glazed Roast Chicken