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!

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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

Sea Scallops Baked with Sweet Butter and Endives

RECIPE: Scallops with Butter and Endives
Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives

Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives. You must dip the bread into that butter!

Every time Mr. English and I are in Paris, we never miss an opportunity to eat at Le Comptoir, our favorite restaurant, just down the street from where we used to live when I was in cooking school. It’s become a lot more popular than it was back then, but the food remains, in my opinion, the best in Paris. Their scallops with endives is one of the best dishes on a menu packed with best dishes.

The dish is unpretentious, but unexpected: five giant sea scallops from Brittany, still on their enormous half shells, tucked under a blanket of soft, roasted endives, anointed with bubbling sweet butter. The sweetness of the scallops and the butter is gently counterbalanced by the bitterness of the soft endives. Breathtaking! And it only takes three ingredients and about 20 minutes. Paris, je t’aime! Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca for Two

RECIPE: Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

I love the flavor of pasta, but sometimes, I don’t want to eat pasta. Do you know what I mean? I get pasta guilt.

I’ve fallen hard for this dish. A super fresh puttanesca sauce, made from throwing olive oil, cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, a fresh chili, capers, oregano, and lemon zest together, and used to poach a ton of giant, tender, meaty shrimp (I always keep jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp in my freezer for just such an occasion as this). The sauce is spicy and bright, and all those salty classic puttanesca ingredients go so naturally with seafood. I grill up some rustic bread, rub it with garlic, and dig in. Another super easy, slightly different one-pot wonder for you and your beloved after work this week.

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
serves 2

Chunky Shrimp PuttanescaINGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1 Fresno chili, seeded and sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 35 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • The zest of half a lemon


Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic and chilies, and sauté over medium heat just until fragrant.  Add the capers, olives, and anchovy paste, and stir around.  Add the tomatoes, clamp the lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a potato smasher to smush the tomatoes.  Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until opaque—about 5 to 8 minutes.  Toss in the oregano and lemon zest, and serve with grilled bread (rub with garlic for extra kick!).

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series

Greek Lamb Burgers with Chunky Mint Tzatziki for Two

RECIPE: Greek Lamb Burgers with Chunky Mint Tzatziki
Greek Lamb Burger

Lamb burger with garlic, oregano, chives, mint, and a chunky tzatziki in warm, soft pitas

I love writing this column!  Because, some lucky weekends, I get to stuff like this.

The best vacation Mr. English and I ever took–and there is some stiff competition–was to the Greek islands.  In terms of a culinary adventure, no other trip has ever matched it.  The gigantes beans baked with tomatoes.  Those deep fried Greek salad fritters (that’s my name for them).  The olives.  The baklava.  The walnuts and yogurt.  The sea bream, every night.  The pomegranates.  The octopus, and urchin, and ouzo.  I was never not hungry on those islands.

Because this column is about what Mr. English and I really eat in our little menage à deux, I take inspiration from what we really love and want.  And that was a little reverie back to swimming in the clear Grecian waters–so different from swimming in puddles under the gray English storm clouds.  These couldn’t be easier. Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series

Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

RECIPE: Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche
Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

Salmon is my sit-down-and-be-good food.  The I-ate-too-many-latkes antidote.  And I’ve been doing a zillion variations on this theme this winter: a slab of salmon slow-roasted with olive oil on a bed of herbs.  Traditionally, I do a simple pairing of rosemary and thyme with a good cascade of olive oil.  But this is a lighter and brighter version, roasted over thyme and lemon.  Usually, I roast fish at 400 to 450 degrees–hot and fast.  But with this, I let it go longer at 350–the edges get crisp.  The cooking is more gentle.  The fish soaks up the flavor of the herbs and citrus.  Everyone is just more relaxed.

I serve it hot, for dinner, or room temp, for brunch, with a throw-together sauce of crème fraîche, thyme leaves, and three variations on the lemon theme: lemon zest, lemon juice, and minced preserved lemon (a gift from my Moroccan grandmother, who makes them herself).  It the salmon is hot, the cream melts and pools in the cracks in the cooked fish.  If the salmon is room temperature, it’s like a dipping sauce.  Either way, this feels light and lean, and it pays due respect to the citrus season. Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series

Poussins (Baby Chickens) with Prosciutto and Rosemary with White Beans for Two

RECIPE: Poussins with Prosciutto and Rosemary with White Beans

Hens with Prosciutto, Rosemary, and White Beans

This meal is a show-stopper. An elegant and expeditious way to serve a roasted bird for a small crowd at the holidays. Although, you could make as many of these as you needed to, to serve a crowd.

Buy a couple of poussin (which are essentially what we call Cornish game hens in the United States), and, using some strong kitchen shears, cut out their backbones. Now, you have a flat bird that you rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh garlic and rosemary needles. As the crowning glory, wrap the birds in prosciutto di Parma. As the birds roast, the skin bronzes, the garlic and rosemary perfumes the meat, and the prosciutto crisps to a salty shell. They’re cooked in under 25 minutes. Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series

Spicy, Smoky Bean Cakes with Limey Slaw for Two

RECIPE: Spicy, Smoky Bean Cakes with Limey Slaw
Spicy Bean Cakes

Spicy bean cakes, lime slaw, and charred avocado

I think it might have been a chemical reaction triggered by my thirtieth birthday a few weeks ago, but a little nagging voice in my head has been whispering to me: “eat healthy.”

I could stand to take the advice. Between rushed office lunches and the inevitable chocolate craving at four in the afternoon, dinner at home with Mr. English actually becomes the time where we both reset and try to behave like the responsible adults we’re pretending to be.

The cakes are awesome for this purpose. They’re kind of like crab cakes, but a Tex-Mex bean version that are low in fat and brimming with flavor. And the best part is, you can whip the whole thing together in five minutes in your food processor. Continue reading

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Eat, Main Courses, Meatless Mondays, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian, Vegetarian