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This summery dish requires no recipe and demands very little from you. Simply use the freshest, ripest figs you can get your hands on, assemble, and enjoy as a first course or dessert.

Fresh figs, quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pecorino or parmesan cheese, shaved

Arrange figs on a plate or platter, drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with cheese shavings.

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Notes: a pop of green would do this dish some good. Think spicy, like arugula, dandelion greens, or watercress. Not too much–just a few leaves scattered on top.

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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Okay, so I know that it’s not the season for corn and tomato, but this dish just had to happen. Curried tomatoes are set in an Italianesque environment. Hull-less barley has crunchy, al dente consistency, and balances well with sweet, creamy corn puree. Curried tomatoes round out the experience, bringing a sweet, deep richness to the dish.

Make it.

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1 cup hull-less barley
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, medium dice
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 t rosemary
1 large bay leaf
1 cup milk, cream or half and half
1 batch curried oven-dried tomatoes, julienne
Parmesan cheese, to taste

1. Cook the barley according to the package’s directions.
2. While the barley is cooking, heat the butter and oil and sweat the onion over medium heat until translucent, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the corn, rosemary, bay and milk and simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaves and puree the corn mixture until fairly smooth. Adjust seasoning.
5. Stir the corn puree into the cooked barley.
6. Add curried tomatoes and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning.
7. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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.