Israeli Black Bean Fritters

Eat Well

I call these fritters instead of falafel because, whereas falafel are usually deep-fried – often translating to greasy + heavy – these are sautéed in a lightly oiled skillet for a (healthier) bite that’s tender + fluffy inside with a light crisp on the outside.

Calling on Israeli flavors to pair with a colorful veg chop, I incorporated cilantro, mint, cumin, chillies and lemon into the black bean base — something a bit different and unexpected for summer. In keeping with the theme, ours landed atop a mixture of spinach and arugula, fresh mint and basil leaves. Lemon-thinned tahini sauce + a sprinkle of sumac to finish.

Continue reading

Whole Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Lemon and Herbs

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

I consider myself lucky to be an early riser. It grants me a calm head start to the day, and an opportunity to pause and reflect as the sun climbs up over the horizon.

Like watching birds, one of the easiest ways to keep a finger on the pulse of the changing seasons is to watch the gradual movement of the sun. Standing in the same window every morning, I see it in a slightly different position, literally inching across the sky toward due east ahead of the equinox later in the month.

It’s a subtle signal that summer and its generous edible offerings have a deadline, and each year this ticking clock lights a fire beneath me. I scramble to gather as much of the remaining fresh, seasonal flavors as I can, then light an actual fire to turn them into a few last gloriously summery meals.

Mahi-mahi pre-stuff

Continue reading

Peach and Basil Buttermilk Kuchen (Cake)

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Back in the summer between my junior and senior year I visited a handful of countries in Europe with our high school German Club. We spent a whirlwind week and a half in and out of two coach buses exploring cities, touring castles and cathedrals, admiring artistic masterpieces, and literally shouting from the mountaintops. The second half of our visit was an immersion of sorts, each student living with a different family in a village south of Frankfurt in southern Hesse, Germany.

On instruction from our teacher, talk with our host families and at school was to be a learning experience, and therefore strictly in German. Shy and not at all conversationally confident in this second language, my host father and older brother were gracious enough to bend the rules and intersperse a good bit of English into our interactions. My host mother, on the other hand, was either as timid as me, valued her silence, or couldn’t speak much English, as we seldom spoke more than a few sentences at a time. Still, she headlines my fondest memories under their roof.

Every morning I would help her prepare the lunches she sent my “brother” Ralf and me off to school with. Always the same: 1 or 2 small ripe nectarines, and a simple sandwich on toasted wheat bread with thin slices of a pale gold cheese, giant homegrown basil leaves, no condiments. I couldn’t have tore into the identical contents of those brown paper bags any more excitedly. No doubt it had a lot to do with that I’m in Germany thing, but there was something special about this combination, the tastes and aromas heightened from being kept in my warm backpack until break.

To this day the pairing of basil with nectarine, any stone fruit, is totally my jam, and one I riff on frequently during the summer. Living where we do, we have an easier time finding quality peaches (same went for former locales on the Gulf in FL and TX for whatever reason), so it’s the one I turn to most. Besides that, peaches are a little sweeter and more intensely flavored than their fuzz-free cousins, which makes them perfect for creating recipes with less sugar.

Peach basil cake_prebake

Continue reading

Creamy Carrot Lentil Soup with Crunchy Almond-Coconut Dukkah

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There are a few sections in my raised bed where the soil leaves quite a lot to be desired. I (un)affectionately refer to these as “dead zones,” and after seasons of disappointment, began to expect little, if any growth at all.

This past autumn and spring something spurred me to give the entire bed extra attention in the form of homemade compost tea, manure, and a new layer of peaty garden soil. Spread, till, spread, till, spread, till, wait.

Lo, and behold, a variety of carrots called Short ‘n Sweet came to represent not only the first carrots in my history of gardening, but also the first crop to outfox a dead zone. Though the size and harvest of these gnarly munchkins were small, it was a bounty considering, and proof of what the earth can provide if only we give it love.

Baby carrot harvest

Continue reading