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Adapted from a Bob’s Red Mill recipe for Raspberry Oatmeal Bars, I made it vegan by swapping coconut oil for the butter. I didn’t have oat flour on hand and instead used whole wheat pastry flour, so it is not gluten-free. The reviews stated that the recipe was on the sweet side, so I used a bit less sugar than called for in the recipe.

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
Scant 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup superfruit jam or preserves (or any flavor you prefer)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease an 8×8-inch pan with coconut oil.
2. In medium bowl, combine melted coconut oil and vanilla. Stir in flour, oats, sunflower seeds, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt until thoroughly blended.
3. Press 1 cup of oat mixture firmly into bottom of the prepared pan. Spread jam evenly on top.
4. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over jam, then gently press.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and firm. Cool bars in pan for 30 minutes on wire rack. Cut into 16 squares and serve at room temperature.

Makes 16 bars.

Notes: for some strange reason, these bars tasted better as they sat. The coconut flavor mellowed and it somehow tasted sweeter a few days later.

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This is summer in a bowl, and I have a loose recipe to represent the season:

170 g (1 6-oz package) raspberries, 12 raspberries reserved for garnish
1/4 cup sugar
1 loaf store-bought cornbread, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
Mint sprigs, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the raspberries (except for the 12 reserved raspberries) and the sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the raspberries have broken down. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Place the cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted and light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until stiff peaks form.
5. Stir a third of the whipped cream into the raspberry compote. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.
6. Divide the cornbread croutons among four bowls. Top with the raspberry fool and garnish with three raspberries and a mint sprig.

Serves 4

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340 grams (12 oz) broccoli
2 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup half and half
30 grams parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for passing
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

1. Steam the broccoli until tender and then place in a food processor.
2. Add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, half and half, and parmesan cheese to the food processor and blend until smooth and incorporated.
3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Cook the spaghetti to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking water.
5. Toss the spaghetti with the broccoli pesto, adding cooking water as needed until it reaches desired consistency.
6. Pass finely grated parmesan cheese and black pepper to garnish.

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3 Tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise
kosher salt and black pepper
1 15-oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Evenly coat a baking sheet with half of the olive oil.
3. Lay the eggplant slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and the slices can easily be rolled.
5. While the eggplant is roasting, make the filling: combine the spinach with the ricotta cheese. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
6. To assemble, place a tablespoon of the filling at the thicker end of the cooked slice of eggplant. Roll the eggplant and plate, seam side down.
7. Serve with red pepper sauce (recipe to follow).

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Couscous, prepared using package’s directions for 6 servings
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10-oz bag baby arugula
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sweet green peas (if fresh: blanch ahead of time; if frozen: thaw)

1. Make the couscous (yeah, yeah, I know–these are very lazy instructions. Womp womp). Add 1 tbsp of the oil, salt and black pepper to the cooking liquid (I used water) before adding the couscous.
2. While the couscous is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-60 seconds.
3. Add the arugula to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir until just barely wilted and remove from the heat.
4. Once the couscous is finished, fluff with a fork and add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice and peas.

A spin on a dish my dad and I made this past Christmas dinner. Beef Wellington (pate, mushroom duxelles, the whole bit) was served with roasted yukon gold potatoes and shallots, and a salad of shaved brussels sprouts, walnuts and apples julienne with a brown butter vinaigrette. Round two, here we go:

24 oz baby yukon gold potatoes
3 tbsp cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
10 oz brussels sprouts
1/2 apple (I used a Granny Smith for its tartness, but any crisp, firm apple will work)
4 oz pecorino, broken into small chunks
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Toss the potatoes with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for about 25 minutes or until fork-tender.
3. Meanwhile, trim the ends off the brussels sprouts, halve, and thinly slice.
4. Julienne the apple (and leave the skin on, will ya?).
5. Halve the potatoes and toss with the brussels sprouts, apple, pecorino, lemon zest and juice and the rest of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

photo(2)This dish will do as a side, but I’ve been mackin’ on it for dinner the past few days and have not been sorry about it. You won’t be either.

It’s Spring, and I must accept it. I, the minority, am annoyed with the lack of the white stuff this winter, and the reality that I’ll have to let another year pass before I’ll be able to cruise down a mountain tumble down a hill on my snowboard on my butt.

To comfort my sorrows, I whipped up a big batch of arugula pesto. And it worked. I mean, who could complain while eating something that looks like this?:

In a food processor, combine arugula, Parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, and S & P, using water to thin it out to the desired consistency. Since only a small amount of arugula will fit in the food processor at a time, continue to add more arugula in batches, adjusting the other ingredients and seasoning to your taste.

I tossed the pesto with bow tie pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and a bit more grated Parmesan cheese on top.

And though I’m still not completely ready to start a new season, I look forward to the pesto.