The thing about early spring, at least here in the Hudson Valley, is that it basically looks and feels exactly like winter. For most of March and even into April, it’s cold and damp, and nothing in the garden will grow. During these dog days, a bright and zingy citrus salad feels like a life-saver. And it’s simplicity itself: juicy, sweet blood oranges (and a few mandarins for variety’s sake), tossed with crisp endive and some quick-pickled red onions. Toss over a little peppery mint and pistachios for crunch and that’s it. A drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt is all the dressing it needs.
Spring is here, and one of the first areas of the garden to poke up green leaves is the stinging nettle patch. If you can avoid the sting, the nettle is one of the healthiest, most delicious perennials that’s super-easy to propagate — and is the superstar of this soup, made with leeks, potatoes, and the green, green nettle.
There’s no getting around the fact that the stinging nettle is the unloved weed, the lurking Triffid, the snarling Caliban, if you will, of the British landscape. If you thought otherwise, let me show you the plant in its natural habitat:
But despite its rather unprepossessing appearance, its urban ubiquity, and the unpleasant electric-shock feeling of walking into one, nettles are one of the most nutritious and tasty spring greens you can cook with. Last spring we made a nettle risotto with garlic and taleggio, and this year we’re combining nettles with leeks and potatoes to create a rich, green soup, sprinkled with brown butter – garlic croutons and wild violets from the garden.
We’ve been dreaming about Michael Solomonov’s hummus recipe (from his incredible cookbook Zahav), since we first made it in 2015. You might remember hearing about it because it was one of those recipes that was everywhere, at least in the food blog world. It seemed like everyone and their cousin Sally was making it, raving about it and blogging it. Well, ever on the cutting edge, we’ve finally come up with our take on it and not a moment too soon.
We give our version a twist with the addition of white (shiro) miso, which is one of our all-time favorite ingredients and something we have permanently in stock. Miso has a deeply nutty, slightly fermented saltiness and a hint of sweetness that is just delicious, especially when paired with something tart, like lemon. Along with the (also nutty) tahini, it adds a layer of flavor that hits just the right note.
Why do winter-season dinners feel more of a challenge to put together than summer ones? The days are darker, the evenings draw in, there isn’t quite as much fresh local produce at the store or farmer’s market, and maybe we don’t have the energy to get as creative as we’d like. But here’s the key: sticking with simple ingredients such as hardy winter squash, healthy farro and fresh greens, and then packing them with winning flavor combinations will reward you with a dinner as healthy and delicious as it is straightforward.
In this recipe, we’ve partnered with Maille Dijon Originale Mustard to create a hearty seasonal winter supper packed with nutrition and flavor.
We’ve never claimed to be on the cutting edge of any particular food trends. In fact, the trendier something is, the more we tend to side-eye it, like a goth kid at a unicorn-themed prom. But you know what? Sometimes dishes we love just happen to also be eminently hashtaggable, as is the case with this bowl of charred broccoli and spicy baked tofu – topped with a vegan miso-kimchi dressing so luscious, we want to drizzle it on just about everything we make from this day forward. So go ahead and call this a Buddha Bowl, a Grain Bowl or a Rice Bowl; it doesn’t matter when dinner is this delicious.