A couple of times a week at SmugMug HQ we have a menu that usually involves roasted chicken, roasted fish, some soup and a few salads. This time the sides were sort of mediterranean-ish. It feels very California to me to have these sorts of meals mostly consisting of vegetables prepared in interesting ways with influences from all over, but that might just be that I’ve lived in California for the past 11 years and that’s how I like to cook.
Hummus is so so tasty (especially mine, if I do say so myself. I use little if any oil, but plenty of tahini and lots of processing time, which makes for a very smooth and rich tasting hummus.) It’s not especially pretty, though. Think of it like a canvas of tan waiting for decoration:
It’s especially nice if your decorations are also delicious. The purply stuff on the hummus is zatar, an herb and sesame seed blend. Mine contains sumac (dried berries of an edible kind of sumac; the sumac we had in Minnesota when I was a kid caused rashes if you even touched it, so I wouldn’t want that on my hummus.) Sumac adds a nice lemony taste to things. I especially love it on pink lentil soup.
Pea shoots are a fun ingredient that I can get year round at our Whole Foods, in huge bags, I think maybe people use them for juicing. But I like to use them in salads:
They taste just like snap peas!
This green bean salad made me like green beans, which I usually find sort of unpleasantly textured. The key is barely cooking them at all, then making a nice sharp dressing and eating them cold, I love them like that:
This soup has a TON of garlic in it, but it’s cooked slowly for a nice long time so that it’s mellow and rich:
The saffron adds a nice bite, and the beans add something filing and meaty.
My jasmine vines are blooming, rhubarb is in the grocery stores and I saw daffodils blooming on the way to work Friday. Spring is here! Enjoy it with some fresh produce, let any cuisine influence you and play with your vegetables.