pear & pecorino pasta

so it’s been awhile.

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how’ve you been?

when i wrote my last post, i truly had no idea that it would be almost six months before i posted another one. and wouldn’t you know it – my last recipe was for veggie pasta, and this one is for fresh pasta with fruit.

a lot has happened in the last six months. i took a trip to wine country with my husband, and had more wine and cheese in a week than ever before – and that’s really saying something.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

i photographed some really beautiful restaurants for eater

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central wharf company

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row 34

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

steel & rye

ward 8

ward 8

…and also got the chance to take some chef portraits.

steve peljovich

steve peljovich

garrett harker, skip bennett, & jeremy sewall

garrett harker, skip bennett, & jeremy sewall

steve "nookie" postal

steve “nookie” postal

i spent thanksgiving up in maine, and enjoyed a leisurely christmas at home for the first time.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

the cookbook that i styled is finally getting shipped.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

lobster mac & cheese bites from “stuffed” by dan whalen

and i landed a very exciting new position with oyster.com, taking photographs and writing reviews of hotels all around new england. i should start traveling for them in a few weeks.

and in the in-betweens, i really have been cooking. and taking photographs. and writing. i participated in national novel writing month for the first time in ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastanovember,and successfully wrote 50,000 words of a new, original novel in 30 days. and maybe eventually, i’ll even finish it and try to get the thing published.

but i’ve also been a bit low. trying to find paid, full-time work in a creative field is exhausting, and discouraging, and draining. you put so much into your work, and it’s so easy to get taken advantage of. people want you to work for free, to give your photographs or writing or editing away like it’s not worth anything. they can’t do it themselves, but they don’t think it’s valuable enough to pay you to do it.

i’m not crazy. i know that most people aren’t 100% happy with their jobs, that most aren’t following their dreams or doing something they love every day. but i’ve worked the random jobs, the unappreciated jobs, the minimum wage jobs. i’ve bussed tables and made coffee and worked at malls on black friday and christmas eve. i’ve been an intern. i’ve worked for nothing – sometimes i’ve even ended up losing money after my jobs. i went to college and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i went to graduate school. and when that didn’t get me what i wanted, i started taking photography classes. and it was tough. and it seemed like the job i wanted might not really exist. but somehow i have continued to dream that i could do something wonderful, something that sparked my passion, something that let me express myself and make beautiful things and inspire people.

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i don’t know if i’m ever truly going to do that. i’m not even sure that i know what that looks like, for me. but in a few weeks i’ll be getting paid to not only take photographs of beautiful restaurants and talented chefs, but also photograph new hotels and landscapes. and for the first time, i’ll get paid to write. and i think that that’s pretty wonderful.

but food is also wonderful. and this blog has always reminded me, even when i don’t write as regularly as i’d like, that a well-crafted, addictive, can’t-wait-to-cook-that recipe can soothe and calm and lift spirits. and while the posts might not go up every day (or even every month), i don’t want to stop blogging. i don’t want to stop cooking. i don’t want to stop loving food for the delicious pleasure that it can bring.

and in my opinion, this recipe does that.

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i received a pasta machine for my birthday, and after i swallowed my pride and gave it a shot, i realized that it really isn’t at all hard to make homemade, hand-crafted pasta. i haven’t made it into the big leagues and tried making tortellini or anything too fancy yet, but there’s something about making fresh pasta at home that’s really inspiring. ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastathere’s so much you can do with it, and it gives you such a sense of pride, of accomplishment. it’s pretty cool to serve handmade pasta, with handmade sauce, and know that your effort went into everything on the plate.

if you want to take the plunge, you don’t need a machine to do it – but it definitely makes the process less intimidating (especially if, like me, you don’t have an experienced italian grandmother to teach you how to do it). i love the book making artisan pasta for recipes and techniques, and this recipe for basic egg pasta is a no-brainer.

but if you don’t feel like making fresh pasta (it does make a bit of a mess, and don’t wear black like i did or you will walk around with flour on your tummy until someone points it out to you), just use whatever you like. i won’t tell.

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this recipe was inspired by the pears that kept showing up in my winter fruit share, week after week, from the fantastic crew at SomethingGud. i like the flavor of pears but rarely enjoy eating them raw, and i wanted a savory dish that would bring out their sweety, spicy flavor.

ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pasta

pear & pecorino pasta

2 ripe pears ( i used bosc, use what you love)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
a pinch each of salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ounce pecorino romano cheese, in a single piece, plus shavings for garnish
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 cup arugula, roughly chopped
enough pasta for two people (i refuse to tell you how much pasta to eat. that’s your journey and i won’t interfere…but i made about two cups of fresh pasta for two people.)

preheat your oven to 425 degrees. quarter and core your pears, and place on a baking ginger-snapped.com | pear & pecorino pastasheet or ovensafe dish. in an small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. brush over the pears, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft and golden brown. allow to cool.

in a saucepan, combine wine, butter, salt and pepper. bring to a simmer and allow to reduce, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. add cheese, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, continuing to stir until cheese is melting and sauce is beginning to thicken. if the cheese has melted completely you can leave it in – otherwise, remove it and discard.

once the pears are cool enough to touch, carefully remove the peels. dice the pears and add them to your sauce. (if you’d prefer a smooth sauce, you can puree the pears before adding them.) turn heat to low, cooking for five more minutes. at this point, taste and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. you can add more wine (or your favorite stock) if you find the sauce too thick, or more butter if you’d like it to be thicker.

cook your pasta according to recipe or package instructions. fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook – i cook mine for about 2 minutes – so don’t start the pasta until you’re ready to eat. strain the pasta and toss with the sauce, adding the arugula. separate into serving dishes or individual bowls and garnish with shaved pecorino.

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thoughts on meat-eating

before i get into this post, i want to say a huge thank you to all of my new readers! i’m honored that my recent post on copenhagen and sweden was selected for wordpress’ freshly pressed page, and it’s been so wonderful to get new perspectives and kind words from photographers, travelers, and foodies alike. (and if you don’t know what i’m talking about, check out this hilarious blog post for more insight.)

the past few weeks have been absolutely beautiful here in budapest, and as steve and i have traveled through sweden, copenhagen, and dublin, i’ve continued to wrestle with the plant-based diet and its ramifications for my daily life. since my puppy is living with my parents in the states and my current projects have wrapped up, i have a lot of free time to wander the city, snap photos with my camera, and think about food.

it’s so fascinating to me that as americans, we are absolutely obsessed with our looks and weight, yet our food and lifestyle choices rarely reflect that – fast food chains and doughnut shops on every corner, grocery stores filled with instant foods and preservative-filled snacks, and public transportation that stops every 100 yards so that no one has to walk more than a few steps to get where they’re going. but the foodies in america and around the world are getting louder, whether they’re champions of vegetarian and vegan diets or are instead pushing the paleo/caveman diet, and they’re all saying the same thing: we need to pay more attention to what we’re putting into our bodies.

having just completed a masters of liberal arts in gastronomy, i can honestly say that i’ve spent some serious time thinking about what i eat, where it comes from, and how my eating patterns affect the planet. i even took an entire course devoted to meat with the wonderful warren belasco, and obsessed over the ethics of eating meat for an entire semester.

the arguments for and against meat-eating are complex and involved, and there are enough well-written and exhaustively researched works out there that i won’t bother recreating them here. i’m not going to try to explain how i feel about every issue – i find the subject incredibly draining, particularly after so many conversations in class about the issues. it’s a topic that everyone has an opinion about, and is one that brings out strong emotions in just about everybody. after all, everyone eats, and everyone likes to talk about food. it isn’t just the nerdy foodies or the gastronomy professors or the celebrity chefs or the smarmy nutritionists – we all love food, and we all want to believe that the way we’ve chosen to eat is the best.

well, i’ll admit it here and now: the way i eat is probably not the best, in spite of my expensive gastronomic education. i love to eat, and cook, and bake, and talk about food. i love to write about food, and i love to photograph food. i love to know where my food comes from, whether it’s a raw vegetable or a pre-assembled cookie dough. but i’m not rich, and i don’t always have unlimited time to prepare my food. i can’t always afford to buy all of my produce from the farmer’s market, especially when it’s only once a week – sometimes i’m cooking and realize i’m out of garlic, and i cheat and just run to the stop & shop because it’s half a mile from my house. and not every restaurant that i eat at serves exclusively local meats…but sometimes i still order the steak, because i’m in the mood for it.

does this make me a bad person? maybe not, but i’m not proud of it. i want to be more responsible in my eating. i want to support local farmers as much as i can afford to. and i desperately want to eat in a way that’s healthy, but still gives me all the foodie satisfaction of a delicious meal, prepared beautifully from fresh, amazing ingredients. this is not a change that i’m pretending will happen overnight – i’d rather take my time and find solutions that i can stick with.

my first goal? stop eating so much meat, especially at home. and keep an eye on how much dairy i’m really consuming.

avoiding meat and dairy in eastern europe is no easy feat. since i’m just starting my journey and am more concerned about my meat intake than my dairy intake (mostly because my “dairy intake” is really just a lifelong love affair with cheese), it’s been fun to find satisfying substitutes for the chicken and duck that are present at most hungarian meals. there certainly aren’t as many grocery shopping options here as i’ll have when i’m back in the states (boy, do i miss whole foods…), but i’ve been doing pretty well so far. and i don’t miss meat quite as much as i thought i would, which is a wonderful thing.

feeling inspired? try this refreshing, satisfying, power-food-packed lentil salad for an easy meat-free option that doesn’t feel like you’re giving anything up. lentils are fantastic for you, and this recipe (a variation on alice waters’ delicious original) showcases them beautifully. if you’re avoiding dairy, just leave out the cheese – and if you fall more on the caveman diet side of things, cold shredded chicken would be a delicious addition.

lentil salad

1 cup french green lentils (i had to use brown lentils, which are still very healthy but don’t hold their shape as well after cooking)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or red or white wine vinegar, if you prefer)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon juice

sort and rinse lentils. place in a large saucepan and cover with water about 3 inches, then bring to a boil. lower heat until simmering and cook until tender, 25-30 minutes. drain, then transfer to a bowl and add vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, tasting to adjust seasonings.

add tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, feta cheese, bell pepper, parsley, and lemon juice. if lentils are dry, add a bit more olive oil or a tablespoon of warm water. 

sweden, denmark, and the plant-based diet

this weekend, steve and i were fortunate enough to be able to visit two countries i never thought i’d get to see: sweden and denmark.

i did not bring warm enough clothes. but these countries are absolutely gorgeous, particularly the city of copenhagen, where we met up with a few of steve’s friends and got to view the city through a local’s eyes.

of course, on our way to copenhagen (taxi, plane, bus, train, metro, train), we stopped in the swedish city of malmo for lunch at a little place called victors, and had a chance to wander around a bit before our train to copenhagen arrived.

when we finally arrived in denmark, we were fortunate to be able to stay with two different and wonderfully kind couples, who showed us around the city, brought us to fabulous restaurants, and put up with my constant photo-taking.

copenhagen is beautiful. buildings can only be built to a short height of six stories, so the city has an open, breezy feel to it. every street has wide bike lanes that are slightly raised from traffic, and absolutely everyone seems to ride their bicycle around town. while this dynamic makes things a bit hectic when walking for hours, it also gives the city a delightfully charming feel.

one of steve’s triathlete friends, david deak, was even kind enough to cook a few meals for us with his girlfriend, sharing his plant-based diet and food philosophy with us. one of our meals were these absolutely delicious buckwheat and quinoa pancakes. you must try them, immediately.

despite the cold wind that refused to die down, we were able to see all of the major copenhagen sights: the little mermaid, the opera house, the royal palace…

…and the free town of christiania, one of my favorite sights from the trip. there’s nothing quite like seeing hash and marijuana for sale in a display case. of course, i couldn’t take pictures inside this autonomous, rebellious little community, but i did get a photo of the gate separating the commune from the rest of the city:

love it.

we even visited the carlsberg brewery, and saw the largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world.

as we took our hundred and one trains, buses, and planes back to budapest, steve and i couldn’t help talking constantly about how many animal products we consume on a daily basis. it’s easy to think that i eat a well-balanced diet because i like fruits and vegetables, but i’ve realized just how many quick sandwiches and bowls of pasta i often eat in my hurry to get out the door and explore the city. as much as i love veggies, i’m not consistently eating in a healthy way.

as a girl who finds it hard to imagine a day without smelly cheeses, crusty bread, or rare steaks, i was intrigued by the idea of plant-based eating. and while i’m not sure that i could completely give up meats, fish, and dairy for good, it seems like my diet could use a change. hungarian food is mostly chicken, with serious amounts of pasta, dumplings, and cream-based sauces on the side, and i’ve been struggling a lot with finding a healthy balance between the veggies i love and the rich, delicious local cuisine. but i think it’s time for me to stop eating meat and cheese at every single meal and get healthier, especially if i’m serious about eventually completing a marathon. it may even help my knee to heal completely and let me finally start running on a regular basis. and if limiting my intake of meats and cheeses will also help me lose weight, how can it be a bad thing?

so we’ll see what the future holds. going fully vegetarian over the summer wasn’t a completely successful experiment, but it did show me that if i want to try limiting my weekly intake of animal products, i need to spend more time and research planning my daily meals – something i tend to avoid. perhaps something as simple as meatless mondays is just what i need to get me on track.

would love to hear thoughts from some of my fellow foodies! how much meat, fish, and dairy products do you typically eat during the week? would you ever consider a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, or have you ever followed one? and am i nuts to think about starting this while still living in europe?

cold bean salad with parsley almond pesto

yet again, my csa box inspires me.

sometimes i get ingredients that i’ve never used before, like romano beans – they kind of look like big pea pods. and who’s not excited about getting fresh garlic? i put garlic in everything. unfortunately my csa box has changed the pickup times on campus, and instead of having until 4pm to get there, now i only have until 3pm. this really sucks, since i drive into the city every day and can only leave my dog alone for so long – it seems ridiculous to drive in, get the box, drive home to drop it off, then turn around in 30 minutes and go back in for class. the main reason i chose this one is because of the convenience, but now? i might have to stop, unless i can find a way around this.

but i digress. today is my little brother’s birthday (hi eric!), and it’s also my friend kathryn’s birthday. birthdays in july mean picnics, barbecues, and running around in the grass, acting like we’re 6. i can’t wait.

in the meantime, i’ve gotta use up all of these veggies before they start to look sad, and i’ve been dying to experiment with a parsley pesto. the barbecue seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine a bunch of my csa ingredients into one fantastic summer dish: cold bean salad with parsley almond pesto. you’re welcome.

pesto is so fresh and delicious, and you can make it with just about anything. plus, it’s so easy to get it to just the consistency you want. when i’m spreading it on thick slices of crusty bread, i want it thick, like jam. but when i’m mixing it with salad or pasta, i throw in some extra olive oil to get it a bit thinner and help it stick to the veggies or noodles more evenly. and so on.

i didn’t measure any of my ingredients, so i can hardly call this a recipe – if you really want specific proportions, try this guy out, but it’s not quite the same as mine. and this would be really yummy with walnuts, but i didn’t have any.

for the pesto: in a food processor, combine the leaves from one bunch of parsley with a handful or two of whole toasted almonds, a pinch of dried thyme, and a bit of black pepper. gradually add olive oil until everything is finely pureed – add as much oil as you want until it’s the consistency you prefer. i like to make it thick, then add more oil later when i need it in a particular dish. move to a small bowl and add a splash of lemon juice, some sea salt, and a handful of grated parmesan cheese.

for the cold bean salad: trim the ends off of two pounds of your favorite beans – i used a pound each of romano beans and wax beans, since that’s what was in my csa this week. in a large pot, bring salted water up to a boil and blanch the beans for 4-5 minutes. drain and let cool, then chop into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. combine with several big scoops of pesto, and additional olive oil if needed. chill until ready to serve.

csa yumminess

i love my csa box. i’m not really sure why it’s taken me this long to sign up for one, but it’s one of the best things about my summer. granted, my summer is basically filled with classes, and i haven’t been to the beach at all yet, and i barely see my super busy workaholic husband, and i haven’t slept in about a week. but still – my csa box is totally rockin’.

this week, i got carrots, beets, potatoes, summer squash, raspberries, parsley, wax beans, romano beans, sugar snap peas, and garlic. so many great, basic ingredients that i can do so many things with – i could hardly wait to get into the kitchen and start cooking.

of course, i’m completely exhausted. don’t get me wrong, my cooking and baking classes are absolutely worth the exhaustion that they create – i’m learning every single day, and my confidence in the kitchen is blowing up. but all this work has the unfortunate effect of making me a bit lazy in my own home kitchen, looking for quick and easy recipes that aren’t too complicated, that i can make with a glass of wine or while i’m still half asleep.

so…potato and summer squash gratin, thanks to a simple online recipe that i adapted slightly with my own ingredients – namely, regular potatoes, skim milk, and a rather obscene amount of grated parmesan cheese.

there’s not much need for a recipe. basically, chop up a few potatoes and a couple summer squashes (squashi? what is the plural of squash?), then layer them in a olive oil coated baking dish with handfuls of your favorite cheese and some salt and pepper. top with a bit of milk and some extra cheese. bake covered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes until the top is golden brown. top with fresh herbs and serve.

it rules. and tomorrow, i’m gonna whip up some parsley and walnut pesto with some of my other goodies. yum.

summer gazpacho

i love to cook, but when it’s hot out i like to just keep things simple. pour a big glass of iced tea, put my feet up, and relax with something cool and refreshing to eat. enter: gazpacho. crisp, flavorful and delicious, gazpacho is ridiculously easy to prepare, and can be made with just about anything.

we made the simple chilled soup in my very first culinary class last week, following a basic recipe and throwing it together in no time. i really enjoyed what we created – the recipe included tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, scallions, garlic, and bread crumbs, plus a splash of red wine vinegar and some olive oil. but i wanted to try something that was just…more. more flavors, more textures, more contrast. gazpacho is supposed to be smooth and almost creamy, with a rich texture and smooth mouthfeel. i browsed through tons of recipes and finally found one that i liked (though of course, i messed with it a bit), that included some extra garnishes to give more contrast in texture. i especially love the cool creaminess of the goat cheese and the smooth coolness of diced avocado.

of course, gazpacho by nature is super easy to customize. basically anything that sounds good can get thrown into the mix. the basic recipe: breadcrumbs and oil for texture, plus whatever sounds delicious or you have on hand at the time. try fruits, seafood, bacon, or even roasted vegetables from your garden.

plus, isn’t everything better with goat cheese?

summer gazpacho with goat cheese

4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 cup v8 or tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 ounces plain goat cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
12 sugar snap peas
1/2 avocado, diced

in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, breadcrumbs, v8 juice, olive oil, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of the chopped basil and all of the chopped mint. puree mixture in food processor, working in batches if necessary, until all ingredients are smooth and creamy. keep in refrigerator until chilled.

in a small bowl, combine goat cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. pop in refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

grab a saucepan and put several cups of water on to boil. throw in peas and cook until tender, about a minute or two. remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool completely, then slice diagonally in half.

when everything is chilled, serve with garnishes – chopped avocado, goat cheese mixture, and several sugar snap peas.

first csa box

i finally got my hands on my csa box from ward’s berry farm on thursday. i was so excited to pick up all the fresh produce, and the combination of goodies was awesome – arugula, beeets, garlic scapes, collard greens, dill, strawberries, and spring onions. i brought them home, and didn’t have any time to use my beautiful veggies. i finally saw my husband, who’d been working very long hours, and we spent as much of the weekend outside as possible.

i made a few different types of bread this weekend, my favorite utilizing some of the garlic scapes in my csa box.

i chopped up a few of the scapes and put them into a pompe à l’huile, a sweet olive oil bread. the recipe is from saveur, and came out really well – moist, sweet, doughy and delicious.

but today…i just wanted to cook. Continue reading

tofu and veggie pasta salad

so far (3 days in), the whole vegetarian thing hasn’t been so bad. sure, i went out with some friends last night and was about to order a burger before i remembered that i wasn’t eating red meat, but i ended up getting a veggie quesadilla instead and didn’t feel too deprived.

however, the pathetic tofu mash in my refrigerator really had me down today. in my excitement yesterday over crafting my first tofu burger, i mashed up the entire block of tofu, following the recipe and then ultimately hating it. i’ve been irritated all morning – what am i supposed to do with all of this tofu? i’ve been browsing vegetarian recipes and blogs, scouring cookbooks, but nothing jumped out at me. and googling “tofu mash” isn’t particularly helpful.

finally, i decided to do what i do best – just start cooking and see what happens. the result was a lovely sauteed tofu and fresh veggie pasta salad, which was refreshing, light, and delicious on this gorgeous summer day. sauteing the tofu gave it a much better texture, and combining it with the crisp veggies and cold pasta made for a really satisfying meal.

Continue reading

the first tofu burger

in case you haven’t been paying attention the last couple of days, massachusetts was hit by tornadoes particularly hard yesterday afternoon. boston was fortunate to only suffer severe thunderstorms, crazy lightning and strong winds, but with all of the excitement, my husband wasn’t really feeling tofu.

fast forward to this morning, when i decided to use my tofu for a veggie burger. according to a few of my vegetarian websites, tofu burgers are a great, easy and delicious way to enjoy high levels of protein.

unfortunately for the instructions that i followed, this didn’t seem to be the case.

the recipe that i followed, which seemed simple but offered many possibilities for adaptations, on its own is fairly bland. mostly mashed tofu with onions, breadcrumbs and rolled oats, the burger had a mushy texture and was difficult to fry. the small patties fell apart in the frying pan, and were difficult to get into my pita halves without abandoning their shape further.


i’ll keep playing with this recipe, and hopefully adding some other components to this basic starter will produce a burger that maintains its shape, has a more appealing texture, and offers a flavor that isn’t completely bland. i was pretty disappointed in this first attempt at a vegetarian burger, but hopefully my next tofu burger will be more enjoyable.

if anyone has a tofu burger recipe that they love or tips for putting one together, i’d really appreciate it!

my vegetarian summer begins

today, i – meg jones, lover of rare, bloody steaks and red hot buffalo wings – bought tofu for the first time. it’s june 1st, and it’s time for my vegetarian summer experiment to begin.

i have lots of vegetarian and vegan friends – more than i’d realized when i first considered this project. there are tons of resources for non-meat-eaters out there, and i intend to take full advantage of their recipes, techniques and suggestions in the coming weeks. i have several “so you want to be a vegetarian?” type pamphlets coming my way, and lots of intriguing recipes and blogs bookmarked and ready to go.

of course, i spent this weekend with my husband, parents and puppy in vermont, so we came home yesterday to a very empty kitchen. my csa box doesn’t start until next week, but i know it will be filled with more produce than i’ll know what to do with, so i thought this week i’d take it pretty easy and start with meals that i’m comfortable with. today’s lunch was this simple, colorful salad, but tonight i’m tackling tofu. i’ve eaten it before, of course, but never prepared it myself. recipes are welcome (begged for!), and i’ll post what i make tomorrow.

i really, really don’t want to be one of those temporary vegetarians that simply cuts meat out of their diet, then replaces it with meat substitutes, salads, and pasta – i want to do this properly. there are so many delicious vegetables, fruits, starches, beans, sprouts, fish, and pasta products out there that i’ve never experimented with – so this is the time to learn. i’m gathering natural cookbooks, blogs and recipes together and am hoping that this summer will really help me to broaden my food horizons.

but today, lunch was simple. i spent too much time obsessing over recipes, and then realized at whole foods this afternoon that i’d hardly had more than a glass of v8 juice that day. cue my favorite ingredients in a quick, delicious salad – fresh greens, crunchy walnuts, tangy goat cheese, sweet cranberries and a light balsamic vinaigrette. not the most creative lunch, but one that i never get tired of – and it photographs beautifully.

tomorrow, i promise to post more interesting recipes. but today? i’m just trying not to think about barbecue baby back ribs.