Barley and basil pesto salad with sugar snap peas and heirloom cherry tomatoes

Basil pesto is always a favorite when served with pasta, but I find the iconic sauce to be incredibly versatile. Indeed, why stop at pasta?

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Risotto with blue cheese and pan-roasted scallions-chive-infused oil

This risotto is a blue cheese lover’s dream! Indeed, a soupçon of the potent cheese makes the creamy risotto even more luxurious… almost decadent, but not too rich. Just before serving, pan-roasted scallions are stirred in to add a marvelous sweetness to the dish as well as another layer of complexity. As a last touch, the risotto is drizzled with an emerald-colored chive-infused oil.

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Food and Style - Farro with Sweet Peas and Ricotta

It’s not easy to make whole grains taste light, or look sophisticated. Yet, they’re so satisfying – not to mention, good for us – that it’s certainly worth giving it a try.

As far as whole grains go, farro has been stealing the spotlight lately. Mostly grown in Italy, farro actually refers to several kinds of wheat – including emmer, einkorn and spelt – which have been cultivated in Europe since ancient times.

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Creamy butternut squash polenta with spicy wilted spinach

I love creating recipes that are both healthy and super-flavorful. And if they’re quick and easy to make as well, then I know I have a winner on my hands!

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Whenever I trim a fresh artichoke, my thoughts always drift to Pablo Neruda’s poem, Ode to the Artichoke. And every time I cannot help but smile that such a deliciously wonderful poem was dedicated to a vegetable that looks so unwelcoming.

“Dressed as a warrior, burnished like a pomegranate, proud…” writes Neruda. Indeed, this spiky-green veggie with its formidable pointy leaves looks as intimidating as a warrior in full garb!

With a little courage, though, and a bit of skill, you can unearth its delectable treasure  — “scale by scale we undress its delight and we eat the peaceful flesh of its green heart.” Thus ends the life of the artichoke, and Neruda’s poem.

I must confess that I’ve trimmed many an artichoke in my day, and the task, if not easy, has become at least comfortable. So I’ve made a video of today’s recipe showing every step of the process. And if you’ve never trimmed a fresh artichoke before I hope it will inspire you to give it a try!

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