We are probably at the end of Spring pea season. I’ve been obsessed with fresh English peas from the market, putting them in every salad and every pasta dish we’ve made lately. There’s just nothing like fresh peas that you pop right out of the shell.
My last recipe, farmers’ market gazpacho, was all about keeping your oven off in the heat of summer. And here I am – coming up with a recipe that requires your oven to be on for at least an hour. Insanity in August, I know. But if you bear with me, you will have a smooth, creamy, and surprisingly light dip that goes well with fresh pita. With only a few remaining weeks of summer produce, I suggest you take advantage of the bounty of eggplant. Crank up the AC, pour a cold beer, and in only a little over an hour you will have a delicious eggplant dip!
I know that you must be as sick of this heat wave as I am. My hair is a fizzy mess, our air condition is running non-stop, and every weekend is spent hiding indoors watching marathons on Netflix (if you haven’t heard of Wentworth, do yourself a favor and start watching…). It’s actually, physically, literally, seriously too hot to cook. And when I feel like that, which isn’t very often, I make gazpacho. It’s soup-salad. It’s refreshing. And it goes so well with wine and Spanish guitar music.
For someone who lives on a plant-based diet, I certainly lack the green thumb. It makes me so sad to admit that I’ve killed a lot of plants in my life. Orchids are lucky to last a month in my house. My zinnias are struggling, and my dahlias became slug food. Just this week I had to throw away two succulents – plants that are notoriously easy to take care of. I am a delinquent gardener.
Confession time: I used to talk a lot of trash on New Jersey. I grew up in the Philly suburbs, and that meant that the yellow licence plates signaled bad drivers, the state was covered in fist-pumping, hair-gelled bros, and the area between the bridges and the shore was a dead-land. But then we moved here. And I realized that New Yorkers are really the worst drivers, Philly has more hipsters than Jersey has bros, and New Jersey is full of hidden treasures beyond the shore. We discovered the cute old towns like Haddonfield and Collingswood. We spent our weekends enjoying the expansive parks and strolling along the Cooper River. More importantly, we met fantastic people. There is such a sense of community in South Jersey, and I feel privileged being able to join in.
Simplicity. It is something we crave at work, at home, and in all aspects of our daily lives. It is also something that I systematically destroy in my own life. I have a knack for making things way more complicated than they need to be. For example, whenever we have holidays or family get-togethers, I always volunteer to bring a ton of food. I’m not talking about, “Yeah, I’ll bring fruit salad and potato chips and guacamole and ice cream” (weird combo, I know). I’m talking about a pie with a homemade crust and ravioli in fresh pasta plus homemade barbecue seitan.* It’s always very much appreciated, and I love having a ton of vegan food options for myself, but it’s a lot of work!