This week on Food52 I shared my favorite way to cook dried beans and how to stretch a pot of humble beans into a week of family dinners.

I was always intimidated by cooking dried beans. I would either forget to soak them ahead of time (ahhhh!) or keep them simmering in a pot, only to find them undercooked at the end of the day. After a while, I began to shy away from recipes that suggested I try it again.

Discovering the simplicity of preparing dried beans in the slow cooker has thrown my trepidation out the window. You just combine a few ingredients and turn on the machine! A few hours later you have a perfect pot of beans. Life-changing. (But if you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not: I recommend the method outlined in this recipe.)

Click here to read the full story and get four recipes from Feeding a Family including: Slow Cooker Black Beans, Buckwheat Crepes with Delicata Squash, Black Beans & Avocado, Kale & Sweet Potato Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.







All photography by Elizabeth Cecil.



I made this warm vegetable salad the other day when I wanted to eat something filling yet nutritious, warm and comforting yet light. In the season of salads, juice cleanses, and bunny rabbit diets, food like this (flavorful, unique, satisfying) is welcomed. Miso-Curry Winter Squash with Tofu, Kale & Cilantro packs up perfectly for lunch but also makes a delicious light dinner or side dish. The original recipe calls for pepitas to be sprinkled atop the veggies. I didn’t have any handy but I’m sure any nut or seed would make a nice crunchy topping. This dish also holds up well in the fridge making it a perfect make ahead dish.



Miso-Curry Winter Squash: Tofu, Kale, Cilantro adapted from Super Natural Every Day

Serves 4

12 ounces delicata or acorn squash

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white miso

1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste

14-ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes

6 baby red potatoes, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups chopped kale leaves

2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch thick half-moons.

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, miso, and curry paste. Combine the tofu, potatoes, and squash in a large bowl with 1/3 cup of the miso-curry paste. Use your hands to toss well, then turn the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and arrange in a single layer.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until everything is tender and browned. Keep a close watch as the vegetables can go from browned to burned in a flash.

In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-curry paste, then stir in the kale until coated.

Toss the roasted vegetables gently with the kale and cilantro. Serve family style in a large bowl or on a platter.



How to Build an Entire Meal on a Humble Sheet Pan by me is up on Food52 and because it’s Monday morning I’m hoping this article will provide some dinner direction for the week.

Whether you are searching for a way to cook an unusual CSA vegetable, prepare fish for a crowd, or assemble a meal ahead of time, sheet pan dinners are your answer. And once you start crafting your own combinations of protein, vegetable, herbs, and sauce, you will be hooked on this foolproof technique.

Here, I’ll share 12 tips for getting started, some basic time and temperature guidelines to abide by, a few time-saving ideas, and two simple roast chicken sheet pan recipes. (If a roast chicken dinner two-ways isn’t a good place to start, then I don’t know what is.)…click here to read the whole story.


Photos by Elizabeth Cecil.



I was just reminded this morning by our pediatrician that today sweet baby Gray turns 2 1/2 (I think I was too focused on the upcoming shots to think about this happy fact at the time). It’s fitting that our baby’s half birthday falls this week – right between a weather stretch that felt like the middle of winter and today with perfectly blue skies and strong sun pouring into the kitchen. His half birthday reminds me of the days surrounding his birth date as they share this same mushy blend of seasons and feelings. He was due in mid-Septemeber so he always felt like a summer baby to me. The days were hot and I wore a really unattractive maternity bathing suite most of the time. Then, one morning, the fall winds blew in and a few days later he was born, on the first day of fall itself. It just reminds me how much a few days can do in shifting our minds and spirits from one season to the next. So yeah, spring, I’m ready for you my friend – let’s do it.

To this point, I’m trying to encourage spring to hit with full force by eating things that psych me up for the transition from winter (potatoes, creamy dressing) to spring (radishes!, green things!). This meal couldn’t be easier and the Tahini Dressing, I’m telling you, is delicious on anything….anything.



Potato, Broccolini & Radish Salad with Tahini Dressing

serves 2 to 4

For the salad:

2 cups fingerling potatoes

4 radishes

1 bunch broccolini


For the dressing:

1 garlic clove, minced or grated on a microplane

1 lemon, juiced and zested

3 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt



1. First, place the potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil, toss in some salt, and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just knife tender (about 10 minutes). Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon to a strainer to cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice each potato in half lengthwise.

2. Toss the broccolini in the still simmering pot of water and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly, then slice each stalk in half lengthwise.


3. While the vegetables cook, prepare the sauce by simply whisking everything together in a small bowl.

4. Finally, using a mandolin or very sharp knife, thinly slice the radishes into rounds and set aside.

5. Assemble the salad by gently tossing the sliced potatoes and broccolini together and laying the radish rounds on top. Sprinkle everything with salt. Drizzle with tahini dressing and serve.





It’s the season of bringing food (and wine) to parties. For me, many social gatherings get put on hold over the busy summer months but come fall book clubs, pre-school meetings, potlucks, and of course, holiday gatherings are in full swing. I always love to see what people bring to these events and on this little food obsessed island of ours the dishes never disappoint. Last week one such meeting called and I toted this salad along. It sat on a long table next to sesame noodles, zucchini scones, root vegetable-chocolate cookies, and cheesy green dip. The plates were mixed matched and the company was delightful. I highly recommend this Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale & Pesto Vinaigrette as a travel along dish. The sturdy kale and roasted sweet potatoes hold up well while sitting out on a family table.

I’m hoping this recipe may also solve the we need a healthy salad for cousin Alice on Thanksgiving dilemma. And speaking of giving thanks, I heard this story on the radio this morning while rushing down the road. While I listened, one boy was asking about the lost chicken on the side of the road (getting very close to traffic) while the other boy (still in fuzzy footed PJs) wanted only to talk of cows, and baby cows, and utters. I am so grateful for this life of mine.



Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Kale & Pesto Vinaigrette
from Food52 Vegan

serves 4 to 6


2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups stemmed and finely chopped curly kale

1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

1/3 cup thing sliced fresh basil


1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon salt




1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. To make the salad, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, then spread them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, stir well. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until tender and browning. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, put the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool to room temperature.



4. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth but with small pieces of herbs still visible.

5. In a large bowl, gently stir together the sweet potatoes, quinoa, kale, sunflower seeds, and basil. Drizzle with about 1/3 cup of the dressing and gently stir until all of the ingredients are evenly coated. Taste and mix in more dressing if desired.

6. Serve at room temperature. Stored in a covered container in the fridge, any leftovers will keep for 2 days.



PS. The next morning, heat a big serving of salad in a cast iron skillet and fry an egg in the middle. This was the best breakfast I’ve had all year. So good in fact that I made it again for lunch.