This week on the blog I'm celebrating vegetables. If you've read the blog for awhile, you know about my love affair with dark leafy greens (I sneak them in everything from soup to pot pies to spaghetti carbonara) and all manner of fresh produce. Not that I don't love a good steak every now and then, but I'd prefer that it be a side dish – colorful, nutrient-rich vegetables are the stars in my opinion.

This week seemed appropriate timing, as I've had the opportunity recently to be involved in some cool farm-to-table projects. Last weekend, as you know, I had the chance to help harvest vegetables from my brother's organic garden in L.A. and I got to cook a big garden-to-table dinner for a bunch of friends and community members. (More details and pictures on the blog tomorrow!)


Vegetables truly are a work of art...


Today I'm heading up to Connecticut to speak to a bunch of elementary students about the importance of cooking and eating fresh foods, and spending time around the table. My dear friend Julia is a teacher at a private school in Green Farms, and their theme this semester is "farm-to-table." (They even have their own garden where the students get to grow and harvest vegetables!) Given the theme, Julia asked her brother and sister-in-law, who own a farm in New England, to come share about the process of growing food, and I'm going to talk about cooking (and eating!).

For the harvest party last week, I created a couple of appetizers to highlight some of the produce from the garden, like this beautiful crudité platter with a lemon parsley tahini dip, and spelt flatbread pizzas with ricotta and sauteed green onions, kale, and Swiss Chard (recipe coming later this week!). I love the vibrant colors and flavors in this vegetarian feast. For your next gathering, do something different and let vegetables be the stars. Use colorful vegetables on the crudité platter that people don't expect, like rainbow carrots, watermelon radishes, or romanesco (a cousin of cauliflower). Sadly, many people are used to vegetables being bland, but when you buy them locally – or even grow them yourselves – the flavors are incredible. Healthy never tasted so good!

(Photos by Signe Birck; props by ABC Home.)