I think I speak for all of us on the east coast when I say, FINALLY. Winter can see its sorry self out the door for another nine months or so. I’m preoccupied by my true loves, the asparagus that have arrived,* and I can’t bring myself to talk about much of anything else.

*As I’m writing this, asparagus season hasn’t really started here in Washington.** Usually I’m a stickler, waiting with embarrassing impatience for local farmers to harvest their crop. But this year, weeks after I ran out of creative uses for beets and kale, the asparagus still hadn’t made their debut at my farmers’ market, and yet there they were on display at the Whole Foods, skinny little bundles of asparagus from California. Are they as good as the ones grown nearby? Not even close. But I figure since all my citrus comes from the west coast anyway, I may as well start spring vegetable season a bit early, too.

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D’s birthday falls on Passover this year, which means I can’t get away with thrice-a-day matza brei as our only sustenance. For the first time in a long time, I will be cooking a meal on Passover in actual, non-disposable pans, and serving food to actual friends on actual plates. This small feat makes me feel like an actual grown-up. What that says about me, or the holiday, or both, is a conversation for another day. For now, we need to talk about our menus.

Were my birthday on Passover – and seriously, I love food too much for that to be the case, so phew for February birthdays – I’d probably want a big Greek salad, a plate full of avocado in different preparations, and a dessert made with no small quantity of egg yolks, cream, and chocolate. But this is D; not much of a dessert person, undying lover of meat. We’ll be having brisket.

Our brisket is from KOL Foods, a purveyor of sustainable, grass-fed beef that also is kosher. The brisket’s flavor is good enough — and, considering the astronomical cost, rare enough in our house — that I’m taking a minimalist’s approach to cooking it. Instead of my usual pomegranate molasses recipe, I’ve settled on the famed approach of Nach Waxman. It’s deceivingly simple: onions, tomato paste, and one carrot. But in my experience, no recipe celebrates the flavor of brisket more than his.

As for the rest of the meal, I’m planning to slow-roast a mess of red onions until they become sweet and soft. I’ll also make a carrot kugel, because kugel is D’s favorite, and it’s her day.

But the brisket can’t last forever (at least, not this brisket), and chocolate pudding/mousse/ice cream only gets us so far. Many of our other meals are likely to include a heaping scoop of this pâté. It’s pictured here with sourdough. Of course, it’s better on sourdough; everything’s better on sourdough. But if matzah is your cracker (it’s not bread, people), this pâté will make it taste like something, something delicious.

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Best Mushroom Pizza (or any white pie, really)

March 25, 2015
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I’ve been on a bit of a library bender. Did you know you can borrow Kindle books from the library? Like, without leaving the house? I’m working my way through the Goldfinch and My Brilliant Friend. Both highly recommended. And, in case two books isn’t enough to juggle, I’m also casually reading a real-life paperback copy of The […]

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Chocolate Walnut Marmalade Tart

March 13, 2015
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Guys, tomorrow is Pi Day. Not just any Pi Day, but the Most Exciting Pi Day Ever: 3.14.15. If you eat this pie at 9:26:54 in the evening (or hey, the morning – pie for breakfast!), you are an absolute nerd and I love you for eternity. If you don’t make this in honor of […]

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Lentils and Rice with Tamarind Sauce and Dukkah

March 9, 2015
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As someone who rarely eats meat and almost never makes it to the fishmonger, I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian main dishes that don’t just feel large side dishes. Mujadarra is one of my favorites: basmati rice, Puy lentils, and lots of spiced yogurt for serving and scooping. This here is another rice+lentils creation, […]

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Better Hamentaschen

March 3, 2015
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Since we’ve already established that I’m entering the era of last-minute, hastily prepared dinners, it should follow logically that down-to-the-wire blog posts may happen as well. In this case, it occurred to me perhaps a bit too close to Purim that I should share an update to my hamentaschen recipe. At least one of the […]

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Big Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Feta

March 2, 2015
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A few days ago, I sat on our couch in stretchy leggings, nursing a mug of my favorite chai and watching Adi figure out what hands are. She brought them really close to her face and just stared, turning them slowly, trying to figure out whether they were attached to something, or someone, and what they might […]

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Punchy Crunchy Ginger Salad

February 9, 2015
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So here’s something that just occurred to me: It’s ironic — cruelly ironic — that the season of resolutions (and trying to keep them) coincides with the season of trying not to freeze here on the east coast. The food pages hawk salads and smoothies; bluster and chill begs for stew and hot cocoa. Perhaps […]

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