Hello friends! I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays thoroughly. If you've noticed I haven't posted for the past week, it's because we've been trekking across the eastern half of the country visiting family. In the past week we've traveled from NYC to Nashville, TN (my family) to Adairville, KY (my extended family) to Kalamazoo, MI (B's family). There's been lots of cooking, eating, movie-watching, shopping for (and opening of) presents, and lounging by the fire. But unfortunately, not much time for blogging!

Regardless, I wanted to share with you all an amazing recipe I tried over the holidays. I cannot take credit for the recipe–it belongs to Yotam Ottolenghi, my new chef crush. I got his cookbook Plenty for Christmas, and have completely fallen in love with his incredible Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian dishes, ranging from simple (baby lettuce and herb salad) to wonderfully complex (leek fritters with herbed yogurt sauce). Israeli-born Ottolenghi runs several high-end "to-go" food shops in London that sell the same sorts of fresh salads, roasted vegetables, grains, and soups that fill his cookbooks and his long-running vegetarian column in The Guardian newspaper. (Perhaps he will expand his shops to NYC one day??)


There's a big spread on Ottolenghi and his vibrant vegetable dishes in the January 2012 issue of Bon Appetit that includes this gorgeous quinoa salad. I made it for dinner the other night, with some roasted salmon and steamed green beans, and it was such a welcome respite from all the heavy holiday fare. I love the combination of nutty quinoa with sweet caramelized fennel, fresh herbs, and jewel-like pomegranate seeds. And considering the not-exactly-small ingredient list, it's actually pretty simple to make.

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but one of my themes for 2012 is health. Though it's certainly not all in my control, I am on a mission to help Brandon kick his Lyme and babesia with a healthy diet, and starting in January we are going to be cutting back on lots of foods that cause inflammation, like dairy, wheat, sugar, red meat, caffeine, and alcohol. It's definitely going to be a tough adjustment for a gal like me whose basic food groups include bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, and coffee BUT if there's any chance of improving the way B feels by eating a cleaner, leaner diet, then I'm all for it. I am excited to experiment with new vegetables and grains this year, with new herbs and spices, and to eat as simply, healthfully, and deliciously as possible. (And don't worry, I am not giving up ALL coffee and wine and chocolate–that would be cruel and unusual!) Stay tuned in January for more adventures in healthy eating...

Happy New Year!