Where I’ve Been…

RECIPE: Wholegrain Fusilli with Organic Arugula Pesto and Haricots Verts

As some of the regular readers may have noticed, I haven’t been here for a while.  Because it’s been a while, and because it’s certainly not permanent, it’s time I told you why.

In January, fresh back from Marrakech and ready to report all the amazing eating I had done there, I came down with a very bad gastrointestinal infection.  Not the best thing to develop when you’re a food writer, especially if it escalates, which it did.  I developed something called POTS, and what that meant, simply put, is that every time I got up—to stretch, to get a glass of water, to walk to the bathroom—my heart rate would triple and I would collapse.  Not fun.  Terrifying, in fact.

After a barrage of tests that took several months, I was finally diagnosed, and able to start my recovery.  The great thing about my POTS is that it can self-correct and eventually go away, and after nearly six months, I am finally getting close to back to myself.  But I’ll never forget when I first got out of the hospital, and came home wanting to make dinner for Mr. English and my mother.  The Ditalani with Chickpeas and Garlic and Rosemary Oil in Bon Appetit looked to die for, but after ten minutes of standing by the stove, I realized I couldn’t go on.  It would be months before I could eat close to normally, and even longer before I could boil a pot of water.

As someone who had always lived to eat, I was suddenly put in the position of having to eat to live.  The treatment for POTS is oral—salt and water.  I was in the position of having to force myself to keep down miso soup and yogurt, begging my mom to just let me not eat today.  Was that really me?  I had never before been in the position to really regard food as a lifeline, rather than as a hobby—indulgent and pleasurable.

Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into an eat to live website, full of seaweed crackers (although, those are kind of good…).  But I have started looking at food and my body differently.  What once was should, is now must.  I now have to drink three liters of water a day.  I now have to exercise every day.   And I now know what it feels like to be truly sick—the feel the separation between your core you, and your body, when they no longer work together.  It just made me look at food and the body and health differently, and I’m really enjoying the new perspective of loving food for what it is: delicious, wholesome, wonderful fuel, as I rediscover what it is to really eat.

While I have every confidence that I and this site will get back to where we were in 2012, for the coming weeks and months, I will be keeping things a bit more simple, and maybe, you’ll notice, a bit more wholesome.  But don’t worry—I’m still me, and if it’s not good, we’re not eating it.

I hope you’ll love the food that I put together, and I hope we can get back to sharing that and this place.  Thank you to all the readers who emailed asking where I was.  I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you, but I didn’t want to burden this happy place with anything less than a happy story.  Which this is.

Santé!  To health, happiness, and tomorrows full of terrific meals.

To kick it off, check out this recipe I’ve been making–a healthy riff on the classic pasta with pesto, potatoes, and green beans.  It’s a wholegrain fusilli tossed with an organic arugula and basil pesto with roasted haricots verts.  It’s delish, and cinch to throw together at night.  Leftovers make a great pasta salad for lunch.  Bon app!

Fusilli with Arugula Pesto


Wholegrain Fusilli with Organic Arugula Pesto and Haricots Verts
serves 2 to 4

Fusilli with Arugula PestoINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound whole grain fusilli
  • 1/2 pound trimmed haricots verts, halved crosswise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups organic baby arugula
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped walnuts, or chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra
  • S&P


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss the haricots verts with a little bit of olive oil, S&P on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast for the beans are tender and just starting to char–5 to 8 minutes.  Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  They should be done around the same time.  Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid, and drain.

Meanwhile, whiz together the garlic, arugula, basil, nuts, oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until you have a nice smooth pesto.

Toss the pasta, the haricots verts, and the pesto together in a large bowl, adding pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce.  Eat up!

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian

20 Responses to Where I’ve Been…

  1. Hannah says:

    Glad to have you back! I’ve just discovered your blog, and I’m so glad to see that it will be an active one :) Although I love French style cooking, I’m also looking after some particular health considerations, so I’m happy to hear that you’re on the road to recovery and you’re using your love of food and cooking to continue to heal yourself. Best of luck and I’ll be a faithful reader!

  2. Kerry says:

    Thanks, Hannah! Lovely to meet you, and I hope you enjoy!

  3. jaime says:

    Welcome back! I missed your fun, simple, delicious recipes. Sending good thoughts for continued health!

  4. Hi Kerry! Happy to hear you’re feeling a little better! This post really speaks to me as I’ve also recently started thinking about the health side of food. It’s really fascinating how much of a connection there is between the body’s performance and what we eat! What’s baffled me even more is how in sync my brain seems to be with my intake – a day of terrible eating can often lead to a “hangover” sensation the next day, with massive headaches to boot!

    I think the best food has that “wholesome” quality you describe – it makes you feel great when you’re eating it and after you’ve ate it and even the time beyond that. I’m looking forward to your new recipes! À bientôt!

  5. Kerry says:

    Thank you, everyone, for the well wishes. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. And Emily, I completely agree. Last weekend, I was in Paris, and I thought, what the heck. I’ll just go for it. All night and the next day I have a complete food hangover, and felt awful. Would something better for me have been any less delicious at Le Comptoir? I don’t think so. I just need to remember that feeling next time I’m holding the menu!

  6. Jenni says:

    Awwww, sweetie! This whole time I was hoping wedding planning was keeping you insanely busy. How terrible. I’m happy you are feeling better.

    Hang in there. A few years ago I went through a huge health transition – threatening my love of adventurous eating and living, too. On the other side of it, though, I am grateful. Eating wholesomely is so much more pleasurable, I have found. You don’t waste time on things that are not the best (both for your body and for your palate!).

    Good luck. I look forward, as always, to your future posts and recipes.

  7. Teresa says:

    Kerry – I have loved reading your recipes and news for years. Your recipes are the ones I go to for something very special and always delicious. I’m so glad you are back and truly hope you will soon enjoy great health! Teresa

  8. menta con leche says:

    I am one of your silent readers and I am just glad you are back!

  9. Awww, K! I was wondering where you were, but I am so sorry to hear this is what you’ve been dealing with! How awful. I hope you are feeling better, and am glad you’ve at least found the positive in an other wise really tough situation.

    PS – I recently moved to NYC, so when/if you’re back here, please let me know — I’d love to finally meet!

  10. Courtney says:

    As a long-time reader – I am delighted to hear that you are on the mend. Welcome back, take care, and I look forward to trying all of your new recipes!

  11. Donielle N. says:

    Congratulations on your recovery Kerry. I have missed you very much and am sorry that you weren’t away doing something fun (wedding, baby, or some sort of extended vacation to remote and beautiful locations where the internet is spotty). As a loyal follower of your blog and Pinterest feed, I have no doubt that your posts will be as entertaining and recipes as delicious as always. Until then, best wishes on your continued good health and road to recovery.

  12. Julia says:

    I have been wondering what might have happened to you, as I checked you blog/website regularly. Sorry to hear that you’ve been really severely sick, but I am glad to hear you are getting better! I hope you can still keep on enjoying cooking and that you can create meals that will fuel you and support your health improvement. I wish you all the best!!

  13. Rachel says:

    I figured you were just swamped with wedding plans…I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling ill–And what a scary illness to boot. I look forward to seeing the new recipes you come up as you continue your way back to good health!

  14. Kim says:

    It’s great to have you back again and it’s wonderful that you’re on the road to recovery. The new recipe looks fantastic (I’ll be making it for maman and father tonight), hearty and healthful. And I agree with everyone else, we’re so so SO glad to have you back. These kinds of illnesses are so much more difficult when they can take away from something so personally important, but stay strong, Kerry, we’re rooting for you!

  15. Kerry says:

    I have to say, again, how down the bottom of my heart (cue comedy drumroll) these comments have touched me. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. And above all, thank you for being there and reaching out. Lucky is the word I feel most. And grateful. Thank you!

    All my love…

  16. Heather Webb says:

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better! That had to be utterly, horribly awful!! I’ve missed your beautiful posts and look forward to this next frontier. Take care of yourself first! Santé!

  17. I just found your blog and while I am new I just wanted to say I am glad you are taking care of yourself and I am excited to look into the achieves!

  18. Pingback: Whole Wheat Summer Tomato Spaghetti with Fresh Yellow Tomatoes and Fresh Market Red Pesto | French Revolution

  19. Marina says:

    Living in Southern California we have been expecting our usual haevwate. But, it’s been soooooo mild. Still sort of soup weather! But, I know the heats coming! So, I’m going to keep these delicious salads in mind!