Chewy Chocolate Chunk-Cherry Cookies

This is a great recipe if you want to make a huge batch of big, chewy cookies. They're packed with chocolate chunks and tart dried cherries. Plus, this may be some of the best cookie dough I've ever licked off of a wooden spoon. I consider that reason enough to whip up a batch.

Chewy Chocolate Chunk-Cherry Cookies
From Martha Stewart Living

Makes about 40 large cookies
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces dried cherries (1 1/2 cups) (note: you can substitute dried cranberries if cherries are hard to find or too expensive)
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then flour mixture. Beat in chocolate and cherries. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1-3/4 inch balls (about 3 tablespoons each), and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets set on wire racks for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks; let cool completely.

One-Pan Eggplant & Chickpea Curry

The next time you need something delicious to make with a beautiful eggplant, or you're too tired to make something really involved for dinner, or you just don't want to do a lot of dishes, try this guy out. This is an insanely easy curry that you just pop into the oven so the veggies and chickpeas get all roasty in a garlicky curry paste. So wonderful with a dollop of cool plain yogurt and some toasty naan for wiping your plate clean.

 One-Pan Eggplant and Chickpea Curry
From Food & Wine
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • One 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup finely julienned fresh ginger
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • One 5-ounce bag baby spinach
  • Warm naan and plain yogurt, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 F. On a work surface, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. In a large roasting pan, mix the paste with the curry powder and vegetable oil. Add the eggplant, onion, chickpeas and ginger, season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the eggplant and onion are tender. Stir in the spinach and roast until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Serve with warm naan and yogurt.

Tortellini Salad

I read a fair number of other food blogs in my spare time, you know, for inspiration and recipes and good things like that. One of my favorites is 101 Cookbooks. The author, Heidi Swanson, posts healthy veg recipes accompanied by the most gorgeous photos ever - I'm just constantly drooling over it. Well, it turns out that she recently published a cookbook, so obviously I ordered a copy as soon as I could. And I am in love.

It's called Super Natural Every Day, and every recipe in it is the kind of recipe I would make up if I were any good at making up recipes. It's all fresh and seasonal and contains unexpected but amazing combinations of ingredients. I made my first recipe from it last night and have pretty much the rest of them bookmarked to make in the very near future. For now, here's Heidi's gorgeous tortellini salad.

Tortellini Salad
From Super Natural Every Day
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh tortellini or about 12 ounces frozen/refrigerated tortellini
  • 8 to 10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1/2 head broccoli or equivalent broccolini, cut into small trees
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro or mint, chopped
  • Small handful of sprouts
  • 1/3 cup/1 ounce pine nuts or almonds, toasted
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced into small pieces
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the tortellini, and cook according to the package instructions. About 30 seconds before the pasta is finished cooking, stir the asparagus and broccoli into the pot. Cook for the final 30 seconds, drain, and run under cold water just long enough to stop the cooking.

In the meantime, to make the dressing, use the flat side of your knife to mash the garlic along with a big pinch of salt into a paste. Whisk together the garlic paste, lemon juice, olive oil, and more salt, if needed. Set aside.

When you're ready to serve the salad, toss the pasta, asparagus, broccoli, and cilantro with about half of the dressing. Add more dressing to taste, if needed, and toss well. Add the sprouts, nuts, and avocado. Very gently toss a couple of times to distribute those ingredients throughout the salad and enjoy. Keep the dressing on hand to refresh leftovers; the pasta tends to absorb it overnight.

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

I know I always say fall is my favorite time of year, but farmer's market season has to be a close second. There's nothing like heading down to the market on a summer Sunday morning, smelling all the fresh produce warming in the sun, and picking out some beautiful specimens to use in dinner that very evening. The fact that the veggies were grown organically not far from your home on a small family-run farm doesn't hurt, either.

This dish is a great way to showcase some of your farmer's market haul. If squash isn't really your thing, feel free to sub out things you like more -- eggplant in particular would be great. A light green salad with a lemony dressing is the perfect accompaniment.

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies
From Cooking Light
  • 4 oz uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-3 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; saute 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic, saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Combine ricotta, another big pinch of salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Variations: Use eggplant instead of yellow squash. Kick up the heat in the dish by adding crushed red pepper.