Roasted Shiitake + Tofu Spring Rolls

Roasted Shiitake Tofu Roll - Filling

I only met my maternal grandmother once, when I was two years old. We – my parents and I – went back to my mom’s hometown because her mom was in hospital. My parents said that they booked an emergency flight, and no one in her family knew we were coming. My dad got out of the taxi first, much to the confusion of my mom’s family. They had no idea how he – or I – looked.

Roasted Shiitake Tofu Roll 2

There’s a bit of a gap in the story, the way my parents tell it. I don’t know when we made it to the hospital. I think it must have been relatively quick, because I do know that my grandmother hadn’t been told we were visiting. My grandmother was in the ICU and I was a little, germy being, so the hospital wouldn’t allow me to see her. Specifically, the nurse on duty wouldn’t allow me to visit. The way my parents tell it, I picture her to be plumped up with a sense of importance, an over-bureaucratic type. Of course, they’re biased against her, because she wouldn’t buy into any of their arguments of how they’d come all the way from America, how I’d never met my grandmother, or how I might not have another chance to do so. My parents and the nurse argued, so intensely and for so long that they’d forgotten about me. The two-year-old me got bored, and wandered off. I think it took them a whole to notice, and raised a hue and cry – so I’d imagine, a toddler missing in a foreign land – and go searching for me. And – can you guess where they found me? Somehow, I’d climbed up the stairs, found the right room, and was sitting in my grandmother’s bed.

The story always ends there. I have been told that it was the only time I saw her, because she did not make it out of the hospital. I’ve only seen a few photographs of her, snapshots that are faded or blurry, or with her face turned half away. I have no memory of that day, or of her. No idea what I was thinking, or how I found her. Was it a chance meeting, mere coincidence? Or one of those magic instances of things that were “meant to be”, was it something that had to happen so that we would meet? Who knows? It’s a tiny reminder, to me, that sometimes the amazing and miraculous happens, and everything works out perfectly, just as we hoped it would. Just as it should.

Roasted Shiitake Tofu Roll HRoasted Shiitake Tofu Rolls

 


Roasted Shiitake + Tofu Rolls
Makes roughly 12 rolls
1 lb. firm tofu
1 ¼ – 1 ½ lb shiitake mushrooms
¾ lb. carrots
¼ lb. lettuce (I used little gems)
¼ lb. cabbage or other dark leafy green
1 bunch basil
1 bunch mint
2 tablespoons white miso
¼ cup hot water
1 large garlic clove, minced
About 12 rice paper wrappers (Amazon carries them, but I found at at Asian grocery store for 1/4 of the price)
Wrap the tofu in paper towels or a clean dish cloth, and weigh down with a heavy item for at least 20 minutes. This will squeeze out the excess moisture. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of foil.
In the meantime, slice the shiitakes into roughly ½ inch thick slices. Use a mandoline or vegetable slicer to cut the carrots into thin noodle-like strips. Wash and separate the leaves of lettuce basil, and mint. Wash and thinly slice the cabbage or other leafy green.
When the excess moisture has drained from the tofu, cut it into ½ by 2 inch pieces. In a small bowl, dissolve miso paste into hot water, and add minced garlic. Put the tofu and sliced shiitakes into a large bowl, and toss with the miso-garlic combine. Pour onto the prepped baking sheet. Roast the tofu and shittakes for about 20 minutes, or until the edges have caramelized.
To make the rolls, gather all of the filling ingredients near a clean work surface. You’ll have to fill each roll quickly. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Soak a rice paper wrapper for about 15 seconds, remove from water very carefully and lay as flatly as possible on your clean surface. Work as fast as possible: lay down the lettuce in a row, then the sliced greens, then the tofu and shiitake, then the herbs, lastly the shredded carrot. Clean surface, and repeat until the rolls are assembled. Serve with the sesame sauce (below) and sriracha.

Sesame sauce

1 tablespoon miso
2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
½ cup tahini*
1 – 2 serrano chilis, minced and seeded and depithed according to your heat preference
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a small bowl, dissolve the miso paste into the warm water. Add the vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce. Whisk in the tahini, ginger, minced chilis, and chives.

*I  used homemade, unsalted tahini – so much cheaper – see this recipe

Maple Gingerbread Biscotti

maple gingerbread biscotti 10

The day after my finals, second year, a small cat followed me home. I saw her a few blocks away from my apartment, in the nicer part of the neighborhood, near the Victorian houses. The cat was so little I thought her half-grown. She was friendly, so I petted her head. When I left her, she decided to follow after me. It was a bit frightening – traffic, city streets – so I walked slowly when we crossed streets. This went on for about four blocks, and when I got home I went inside my building alone. Guilt drove me back outside. There she was, waiting as if she knew I’d come back for her.

After a night in the bathroom, I took her to the vet. She had fleas, several half-healed battle wounds, was underweight, and had probably been on the street for a week or so, or so thought the vet. She did not have a microchip. As silly it as sounds, I knew she didn’t. Maybe “suspected” is the better term, or “secretly hoped”. I left contact information with two veterinary offices, the local shelter, and checked lost pet ads for a month. Nothing. It was just a feeling, but I did not think anyone would come forward for her. I worried about someone worrying about her, but simultaneously I liked having her here. You see we’d become friends instantly. We understood each other’s language, that silent sort of sensing of moods and feelings. We have lived together for a year and three months now. For the longest time, I wouldn’t commit to a name, because of a twinge of fear that someone would claim her once I did. Instead, I called her Little One, then Coco, which somehow became Cookie, which has stuck so firmly and sounds so oddly right that I can’t change it. Maybe because she is kooky and eats cookies.

maple gingerbread biscotti 9

I shouldn’t read anything into the story of how Cookie the cat and I came to be a family. It was just a coincidence that I found her the day after finals ended, the logical side of me says. There are so many possible reasons as to why no one turned up for her, a young probably purebred cat. What I do know is this: the timing was impeccable, even if we ended up being a cliche. She saves me from feelings of emptiness and loneliness. What is certain is that we humans need some sort of companionship, someone (even a cat!) to need us and to affirm our existence. And whether it is coincidence or the work of a universe with a mysterious master plan that brings people (and cats, and dogs) our lives, I don’t know. I’m happy and grateful that I’ve got something that works for me.

Maple Gingerbread Biscotti 5


Maple Gingerbread Biscotti
Makes roughly 15 pieces | Adapted from Tartine, and originally from Chez Panisse
Heaping 1/4 cup of sliced pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, very soft
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 – 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 cup each AP flour and whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp butter (melted) and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup for wash (optional, if you would like a little more sweetness)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toasted the sliced pecans on a Silpat/parchment-covered baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and very slightly tanned.
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, maple syrup and egg and beat until smooth. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until just combined. Stir in the toasty pecans.
On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log of roughly 2 inch diameter. Set the log on the Silpat/parchment-covered baking sheet . Glaze with butter and maple syrup if desired.
Bake the biscotti for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool the biscotti log for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Return the slices, cut side down, to the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are toasted. Cool completely.
The biscotti can be stored for weeks in a airtight container.

 


Photos of Cookie: 12

 

Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks

Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks 15

So anyways, a simple post for a simple (but elegant!) pasta recipe. It feeds two, but can easily be halved or doubled. The recipe was born on one of those lazy days when I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, and instead put together a meal out of the bits in my kitchen. I really liked it, and have made a few times since. What makes it nice is how the leeks turn into a lovely creamy tangle that nestle into the shells. The leeks are the star, the peas add a complimentary sweet note, the pepper adds a bit of fire, and the herbs add some freshness. This is a dish worth trying, especially as we slide toward fall, and leeks become more tender and melt-y.

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Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks 2

 


Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks
1 1/2 cups of pasta shells
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp each freshly grated nutmeg and ground black pepper
3 cups of minced leeks (cut into quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/4 inch thick)
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp minced chives
3 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
2 – 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts/sliced almonds (I forgot to add this time)
To Serve: additional black pepper, Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Approximately two minutes before pasta is finished, add the peas to the pasta pot. Drain when pasta is cooked and al dente.
While the pasta cooks, start preparing the leek mixture. Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat. Add nutmeg and pepper. Stir, then add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes (or until the raw garlic smell is gone). Add the leeks, lemon juice, and salt. Cook the mixture until the leeks break down. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes (depending on how tender your leeks are). Add the cream, cook for about three minutes. Add the chives.
Combine the pasta, peas and leek mixture. Add the parsley and stir to incorporate. Top with pine nuts/almonds. Serve warm, with additional pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Olive Oil + Tea Cake with Tea-Glazed Strawberries

Olive Oil Cake and Tea Glazed Strawberries 6-6

 

From my dad and his mother, I inherited small bones, straight dark hair, and a crazed tendency to worry about everything. So when I say that I am scared whatever the future holds, my mom hands the phone over to him. There’s always this little unspoken space, a no-go area, when I’m talking to them. We never talked about the bad things that happened to me, when I was a young teenager and the other thing during undergrad. If we don’t talk about them, they never happened. Instead, a tiny awkward silence grew between us and filled the space where acknowledging those things should have been.

The truth is, I am choosing silence these days. Six months ago, give or take, I was sitting at my desk, reading Facebook posts that reminded me I was supposed to order my graduation supplies by some specific date that I’ve forgotten now. I felt tired. I’d begun to pull the little hangnails off my left thumb again. Facebook also informed me that there was some sort of a graduation gift from the school, a mug. People were pleading for extra tickets so they could have more loved ones watch them to walk. I probably couldn’t even use all of the tickets allotted to me. More hangnail pulling ensued. It sort of hit me then: why I am doing this? I was free! Oh, I know, how silly, how empty, how clichéd, to say that after some life has changed in some way. What does it even mean? The more I tried to explain it to myself, the more hysterically happy I felt. I wanted to laugh but there was a lump in my throat. FREE! Is there a word that so perfectly expresses it’s own meaning? It sounds like a shout, with that joyful syllable at the end you can stretch out as long as you want. I didn’t need that gilt-lettered mug. I wasn’t going to do the ceremonial graduation walk because I couldn’t see the point. For the first time in ever, there wasn’t a person I was responsible to or for. Why I hadn’t realized this before, what this freedom means? In part, it is letting go of what’s expected, of someone else’s notion of ‘perfect’. It is nearly impossible for another know everything you’ve been through, the places your thoughts and emotions have taken you. Who then can say what sort of life you should pursue?

So now, I try to silence the noise around me. For the longest time – a short lifetime, a growing up – I thought that if I followed the prescribed path, if I played the part of good daughter, good student, good partner, karma would send me safety, security, and unconditional love. However, when the person you thought you loved from the moment you first saw each other on a sunset-lit street in Berkeley until the howling windy night he abruptly walked away from you, less than a month before 1L finals, you experience for yourself how the world doesn’t work that way. And then you spend the next two years hoping some sort of answer would appear that would make everything that came before – all of it, not just that – make sense. Yet, no matter how many times you stare at the sky or the ceiling with tears in your eyes, no signs appear. Finally, when you have no more tears left and you’ve stopped looking up for answers, you look back down at your own hands. You don’t even recognize them anymore. How did you get here? Most importantly, where do you go from here? Not to take up the sentimental notion of a journey or becoming more yourself, as if “life” or “you” have an end goal. You have to figure out living the sort of life you want, and how to get there instead. You have to believe that you are capable and work at changing what you think needs to changed.
Eggs in carton 1

I don’t think it will be easy. There’s security in whatever path that your society/culture/family/friends prescribe. And without it, there will be days and weeks of doubt, exhaustion, and loneliness. Your confidence will be shaken. That’s o.k. Use it as fuel for the fight, to work harder and become stronger. As for me, I have a lot of ideas and hopes and dreams, all of that. And even though I’m doubtful and scared, I’ve never felt such peace either. I don’t know what that means exactly, it is just a feeling. Wish me luck? I’ll need it.

 

Olive Oil Cake and Tea Glazed Strawberries

 


Olive Oil Tea Cake + Tea-Glazed Strawberries
For Cake
6 tbsp milk
1 tbsp black leaves, preferably Darjeeling (!) or Earl Grey
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine-grained salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
For Tea-Syrup
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp black tea, preferably Darjeeling or Earl Grey

Preheat oven to 325°F. Oil a 9 * 5 loaf pan.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan. When it just starts to simmer, turn the temperature down to the lowest setting, add tea leaves and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, let stand for 3 – 4 minutes (3 for Darjeeling, 4 for Earl Grey or other black). Strain milk, pressing down on the tea leaves to extract the most flavor. Set milk aside, discard used tea leaves.
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. In a small bowl, combine eggs, yolk, olive oil, and milk. Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry mix. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester poked into the center comes out clean. Test at 40 minutes.*
While the cake is baking, make syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves into water. Add tea leaves, heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Strain out and discard tea leaves, return liquid to medium heat and heat until the syrup is just thick enough to coat a spoon.
When the cake is done, cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, pour 2 tablespoon of tea syrup slowly over the cake, making sure it absorbs into the cake. Turn cake over, and pour the remaining syrup over the cake. Serve sliced, with strawberries and whipped cream.

Tea Glazed (lacquered?) Strawberries
1 pint of strawberries (do NOT remove the tops)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp black tea, preferably Darjeeling or Earl Grey
While the cake is baking, make syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves into water. Add tea leaves, heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Strain out and discard tea leaves, return liquid to medium heat and heat until the syrup is just thick enough to coat a spoon.
Working as quickly as you can, use the top of each strawberry to dip the strawberry into the tea syrup. There should be a thin coat of syrup coating the strawberry. Place top-down on a plate to dry, the syrup should dry and thicken.

*My oven runs cool, which is why I advise to test early.

 

Green Harissa and Halloumi Sandwich

Green Harissa and Halloumi Sandwich

“For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.” Vladimir Nabokov

That sums what I seek to do.  Not just when I read fiction, but oh, everything: writing, photographing, and the rest of it. But right now, my brain feels like a bowl of silly putty and I am still getting back into the groove of things. Best not to force it.

I’ll leave you with just this sandwich today. It’s not the prettiest sandwich, but it’s still pretty delicious. The sharp tart-mineral-spicy harissa cuts through the rich, salty halloumi just so nicely. I ate a lot of cheese sandwiches during my last semester, and this one beats them all. Definitely worth making.


Green Harissa and Halloumi Sandwich
For Harissa:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon each: fennel and coriander seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (see note)
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
¼ cup coarsely chopped mint
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 jalapenos, coarsely chopped, seeded and de-pithed according to your heat preference
Juice of one lemon (approximately 1 generous tablespoon)
Salt, to taste

To fry halloumi:
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 – 6 ounces halloumi, sliced about ¼ inch thick (can substitute paneer)

To assemble and serve sandwiches:
4 slices of rye bread (or other bread of your choice, or maybe 2 sandwich rolls)
Two handfuls of arugula
Optional: a small bowl of green olives

To make the harissa, toast the cumin, fennel and coriander over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until powdery. Combine all of the ingredients, including the crushed spices, in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and blended.

For the halloumi, heat pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil. Fry the halloumi until the liquid evaporates and it’s golden-brown (about two minutes). Flip over, fry the other side for one minute, or until golden-brown.

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading the harissa on both sides (you will have extra leftover). Spread a single layer of fried halloumi on both sides. Put a handful of arugula on one side, and quickly cover the arugula side with the non-arugula side. Repeat the process for second sandwich. Serve with a bowl of green olives.

Note: green harissa usually has more cilantro, e.g. 1 cup cilantro and 1 cup spinach/parsley/mint. I’m not a fan of cilantro so I used more parsley. Feel free to change the cilantro to parsley ratio if you’re a cilantro fan :)

Szechuan Pepper Tofu Bowl

szechuan pepper tofu bowl 4

I’m eagerly counting down the days until 2 a.m. means soulfully gazing at my navel – or more accurately, at my fingers on my laptop. As much as I try not to, I’ve been staring off into empty space and thinking a lot about, oh, you know, LIFE! – the kind of ridiculous big thinking that requires both capital letters and exclamation points.

I write down a sentence and an hour goes by. I turn back to the study books. No use at this point though, I’ve burnt out. Can’t force myself to review material I’ve learned before, none of sticks. It’s hard to admit that weakness, and to think of how little that matters anymore. I tell myself that wearing a suit and heels for 14-hour workdays isn’t part of whatever I hope I’m ultimately going to do. I’d feel a lot less irresponsible if I could say all of these feelings are the result of some deep thinking and reflecting, that’s not truly true. It is sort of because I never wear heels, and I think I’d be a poseur if I did. More importantly, it is almost wholly because I’m tired from trying to keep up with a life that I’ve mentally checked out of years ago. No matter how many times I spin it in my mind, I can’t find a reason in pursuing those old goals. So here I am, at the end of something, and I don’t know what’s next.

The only conclusion that all of that thinking has brought me to is this: no perfect right answer exists. We can only hope it will work out. I’ve gone around and around in circles – literally, pacing around my apartment – and mentally too, and I always come back to that same place. It’s juvenile to presume there is an surefire approach, to have the arrogance. And frankly, you shouldn’t believe any person, any book or blog or teacher that tells you otherwise. Sitting or meditating or traveling to some place where the people look a lot like me (small and brown-skinned) is not going to give you that either. No, there’s just living, not the perfect, glossy version where everyone’s eternally grateful and never has a bad hair day, but real stuff: the mistakes and bad ideas, the ways we seek beauty, how we alleviate our loneliness and put food on the table – that is what informs us. In that we find the shimmering elusive thing that we were seeking, because it was inside of us all along.

I promise I’ll be back, very soon. And I’m trying very hard NOT to add another “I don’t know” because, really, that seems to be the current running theme in my life.

Tofu on board 2
So this recipe is really all about the sauce. I’ve been experimenting for a few months with stir-fry sauce based on Szechuan pepper, and I think this one’s worth sharing. It’s peppery, garlicy, and full of umami and big flavors.


Szechuan Pepper Tofu Bowl

For Tofu
12 oz. tofu, cut into ½ inch by 1 inch pieces
2.5 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
Paper towels/clean tea towel to drain

For the pepper sauce
1 tbsp black peppercorns*
1.5 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns*
1 tsp. olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced (about 2 tbsp minced)
1.5 inch piece ginger, grated (about 1 generous tbsp, grated)
1 tsp or so of cornstarch, leftover from the tofu
1/2 cup good-tasting, low-sodium broth
¼ cup light/white soy sauce  (I used this, cheaper here)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce, preferably tamari
2 tbsp water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp chives, chopped
1 tbsp sriracha
To serve
1 lb steamed broccoli (or other vegetable)
1 cup cooked brown or white jasmine rice

Toss the tofu cubes with the cornstarch. Save the leftover cornstarch in the bowl for the sauce. Heat wok/pan on medium high heat for one minute. Add the sesame and olive oils, and fry the tofu for 1 – 2 minutes per longer side, or until the tofu is golden-brown. Save the oil in the wok/pan used for the tofu. Drain on paper towels/clean tea towel
Grind the Szechuan and black peppercorns. Add the teaspoon of olive oil to the same wok/pan used for the tofu. Re-heat to medium heat, add garlic, ginger, and fry for 2 minutes, or until lightly brown. Add the Szechuan and black peppers, fry for another minute.
While the garlic/ginger is cooking, combine the light and dark soy sauces, broth, water in the cornstarch bowl. Whisk out any cornstarch lumps. Add this to wok of garlic-pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thick enough to coat your spoon. Add the chopped chives, and if using, sriracha.
Heat the tofu and vegetables with the sauce for a minute or two in the wok, and serve with rice. Serve with additional sriracha and/or soy sauce.

*if you’re using pre-ground, you’ll have to reduce the amount. I think after grinding, the whole peppercorns yielded about 4 teaspoons of ground stuff.

 

szechuan pepper tofu bowl 2

Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing

summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing

 

If you asked me right now, I’d say Munro and Nabokov are my favorite writers. I would have said Nabokov a few years ago, because I’d only discovered Munro just before she won the prize. That means that I’ve only been reading her work for a year. When I read that first story, I’d never read anything like it, and it still felt familiar. As though I’ve been reading her work all my life. Part of that is that I recognize and identify with one of her most common character types: the poor girl who wants to escape her place in the world. Mostly though, it’s a sort of pure delight to read something so beautifully written. Munro writes short stories, but her stories have the satisfying depth and character development of the very best novels. The Bear Came Over the Mountain is her most respected story, I think, but my favorite is Free Radicals. I could tell you the basic plot, but the plot is secondary, or tertiary maybe, to sparse, beautiful prose, structure, and organization.

These nights, to relax my mind so I can sleep, I’ll re-read a bit of her, or Nabokov’s, work. Those works are familiar and comforting. But then again, Lolita, how I can find something new each and every time I read of you? The characters are more real to me than friends. It makes feel desperate; I want to climb into their work, to tear it apart from within, to somehow be inside of them. Is this how crushes feel? I’ve never been much of a fan girl, but I totally completely like love them. I haven’t got posters, but I have quotes all over my walls.

I forget to look at those quotes these days. Instead, I do the usual: stare at really boring books for twelve hours, with ab-so-lu-tely­ nothing – like seriously, NOTHING, I’m more burnt  than toast – sticking in my head. I go to the farmer’s market once a week, because it keeps me sane. I buy pounds of zucchini. And a few weeks ago, I got to meet Kimberley H. of The Year in Food. I have a copy of her gorgeous book, Vibrant Food. There’s a reason the whole food blogosphere’s been all a buzz about it for the last few weeks. Highly recommend. This recipe from it, and I’ve made and eaten it about 6 times in two weeks. It’s that nice.

Herbs for Green Goddess Dressing

Zucchini at Castro market 2


Summer Squash “Pasta” with Green Goddess Dressing
Vegetarianized from Vibrant Food

2 pounds summer squash,
1 tsp fine salt, plus more for serving
1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Italian basil, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons tarragone
1 large garlic clove / 2 small, minced
1 tablespoon capers (salted preferably), rinsed
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Pepper and small basil leaves

Cut the squash into very thin strips (“noodles”) with a mandoline or julienne slicer. Sprinkle the squash with the salt, toss gently, and place in colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid to drain. Carefully squeeze the squash over the colander. Pat with clean kitchen towel to dry.

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, chives, tarragon, garlic, and capers in a food process. Blend until smooth, creamy, and pale, speckled green.

Using your hand, gently toss the squash with about ¾ of the dressing. Add the Parmesan and put nuts and toss again. If needed, add remaining dressing. Store remaining dressing in refrigerator, or spoon on the extra if you’re like me.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with small leaves of the basil. The dish is best served immediately.

p.s. Today is Alice Munro’s 83rd birthday.
Also, the underlined areas in my posts (and throughout the rest of this site) are links – if you click on the links above, you can read Munro’s stories online, if you’re so inclined.