Cherry Tonic

Lightly sweetened elderflower tonic water from Fever Tree is a nice tool for zero proof cocktails. You can usually find it in the supermarket or at liquor stores, like the MV Wine + Spirits at the airport. Elderflower is the ingredient found in St. Germain liqueur, a favorite in many regular cocktails. If you can’t find the elderflower tonic water, add regular soda water and 3/4 ounce of simple or honey syrup.

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Local Watercress Soup

Like potato-leek soup, watercress soup is subtle tasting, and to my taste, delicious in its mellowness. I love the fresh flavor, and green color. Adding fresh spinach at the end is a trick to keep the soup a bright green – but if you don’t have any spinach now, don’t worry. If you happen to have any small edible lawn violets which also come up this time of year, they make a nice garnish on the soup.

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Kale Granola

The combination of kale, oats, and nuts is crunchy and satisfying. Everyone likes to munch on this as a snack – it doesn’t even seem to last until breakfast to top yogurt, mix with fruit, or serve with milk. It’s easy to vary the nuts and the dried fruit with your favorites.

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Veggie Cups with Ranch Dip

Individual veggie cups make a nice presentation and means you can double dip all you want. Use the short, clear plastic cups found at the supermarket. Present the finished cups on a nice, flat platter.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This chunky chicken soup flavored with cumin, chili and lime is served with a variety of toppings that include avocado, fresh cilantro and crisp tortilla strips. Served with a green salad or festive quinoa salad, it makes a nice combination for a casual dinner party. Everything can be done ahead and passed at the table.

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Pan-Sautéed Cape Turnip with Kale

If you haven’t yet tried the over-sized Cape White turnips, you are in for a treat. Yes, even a turnip can taste great, especially this very special heirloom variety. These Cape Whites are creamy and sweet-tasting, more flavorful than typical purple top turnips. Find them locally on Martha’s Vineyard at Morning Glory Farm or at Cape Cod and Southeastern area winter farmers markets. The heirloom Macomber turnips are very similar. Try cooking as you would mashed potatoes, but you won’t need the cream, or roasting in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. This recipe sautes the turnip, adding in some kale, and drizzling over bit of honey over both. Simple, and delicious. Read more about this fall root vegetable, here.

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Apple Butternut Soup with Roasted Kale and Pumpkin Seeds

The combination of kale and butternut is a good one, especially enhanced with apples and a hint of bourbon. I had planned to add some cream, but happily, none was needed. The finishing touch is crispy kale roasted with pumpkin seeds and fresh cranberries, which all gives a crunchy, tart contrast to the smooth, pureed soup.


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Chilled Watermelon Soup with Grilled Shrimp Skewer

Just a whirl in the blender of fresh watermelon with a hint of lime, and the soup is finished. The garnish is a Greek-based salsa of sorts with cucumber, olives, feta and fresh herbs. Try it on its own as a first course or brunch starter, or grill a skewer of lamb to accompany.

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Sweat Equity

Make this anytime, but especially when temperatures soar and you need the ultimate refreshing cocktail. Don’t be tempted to leave out the fresh cilantro – the herb combination of mint and cilantro with the cucumbers, lime and vodka makes this cocktail addictive.  This cocktail first appeared in an issue in Women’s Running magazine.

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Chilled Cucumber Soup with Gazpacho Salsa

A light, and very refreshing cold soup, the base is a creamy combination of cucumber, avocado and yogurt. The topping is a mini gazpacho-like salsa. This soup can be served as a first course at a nice summer meal or as an appetizer in demitasse cups.

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Roasted Salmon + Pea Shoot Salad Platter

In this new yummy salad, roasted and cooled salmon is gently mixed with a platter of pea shoots, sliced cucumber, diced avocado, white beans and slivered red cabbage. The dressing is a simple lemon herb vinaigrette. The platter looks beautiful and makes the perfect lunch or dinner for company. Don’t miss making this one!

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Red Cabbage and Microgreen Salad with Citrus and Pomegranate Seeds

During pomegranate season, these sweet-tart seeds go into many many salads for both color and flavor. Before local lettuces start appearing, I go searching for other interesting greens. My current favorite is microgreens – especially the broccoli or arugula microgreens. Delicate and tender, they are still packed with green nutrition. Microgreens are usually available at Whole Foods. A number of Vineyard growers now have them as well, including Morning Glory Farm, The Hub at Thimble Farm (sold in Cronig’s) and Mermaid Farm. Check them out!

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Thai Chicken Salad with Pea Shoots and Peanut Dressing

Since the pea shoots are delicate, I usually pass the dressing at the table and let guests spoon over. Variations abound: noodles or grains such as quinoa for vegetarians or different market vegetables, such as asparagus, radishes, red peppers, spring onions, fresh mint or basil. Add a little spice to the dressing, if desired, with sriracha or sweet chili sauce.

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Ruby Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Fig Dressing

Earthy and sweet flavors mingle in this versatile and tasty salad. The color comes from raw beets grated and added to the quinoa.  A dressing of orange, lemon and lime citrus with a dollop of fig spread or honey adds a fresh, sweet note.  I’ve had several beet skeptics try the salad and pronounce it delicious.

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Roxanne’s Mediterranean Feta Spread

This feta spread can be made in minutes before company arrives. It’s great served with crostini, pita or crackers. You can try it with lavendar, if available, or fresh parsley, which is equally delicious.

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Fall Wild Rice Veggie Bowl

I love the colors, crunch, and sweet savory combo flavors of the veggies and pomegranate over the wild rice. A cilantro-lime dressing is the delicious “cherry” on this bowl. The grain can be cooked in advance. There may be some dressing left over – for your next bowl.


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Roasted Honeynut Mini Butternut

The size of the “adorable” mini butternuts — four to five inches in length –  compared with regular-sized butternuts of 10 or 11 inches — is actually perfect, making it an easy side for home cooks. Split down the middle and roasted, the mini halves fit neatly and easily on the plate with fall dishes like meatloaf, coq au vin, or Vineyard scallops, and add that beautiful rich burnt orange color as well. Their flavor is sweet and nutty.

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Summer Grain Salad with Tomato and Corn

In summer, perfectly ripe tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, fragrant torn basil and fresh mozzarella mingled with small kernels of grain is a winning combination that goes with nearly everything on a summer table. The combination is good with penne pasta, but healthier and more flavorful with a whole grain, such as farro, spelt, wheat berries etc. If you have herbs from the garden – anything from mint, oregano, chives, dill – add a few tablespoons.


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Strawberry Mint Mojito

The key to this delicious mojito is sweet-tart taste of juicy strawberries and fresh squeezed lime juice rather than bottled. All you need is a muddler to make this refreshing, Vitamin C-packed cocktail. Between the strawberries and limes, you can load up not only on Vitamin A and C, but also Vitamins E and K (good for ), calcium, folate, potassium and B-vitamins. As an added bonus, the vitamin C in strawberries is needed to produce that happiness neurotransmitter seratonin.

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Spring Asparagus + Mushroom Pasta

This is an easy, fast recipe for spring asparagus – which soon will be available from Morning Glory Farm on the island, as well as from a few growers selling at the West Tisbury Farmers Market when it opens later this spring. The eggs, imported Parmesan reggiano, and a bit of pasta water create a luscious, creamy sauce that coats the pasta and vegetables. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal to make the dish look prettier. Prep the asparagus and mushrooms in advance of cooking the pasta, so the timing of the dish works. For other recipes with asparagus, check out the asparagus article I wrote for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine which features Morning Glory Farm and tips for using asparagus.

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Grilled Steak with Mushrooms and Scallions

The fresh ginger, honey, black pepper and soy in this simple marinade results in a juicy, grilled steak with lots of complementary flavors. To serve, thinly slice the steak, sprinkle with sesame seeds, top with the optional scallion and mushroom sauce.

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Fish Tacos

This is a good recipe for a casual dinner party with friends. Toppings including fresh tomato salsa, crispy fish, warm tortillas are placed on the table for everyone to serve themselves. A pitcher of margaritas wouldn’t hurt.

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Maple Sesame Kale Chips

The news reported that the second most googled subject of this New Year 2016, after the holidays were over, was how to make kale chips. As a kale cookbook author, I cheered hearing this news, ever hopeful for that elusive “bump” in sales. I’d like to pass along one of my favorite kale chip preparations, that adds just a tad of sweetness from maple syrup and crunch from sesame seeds to make this an addictive healthy snack. It might make the transition from the season of excess to the season of health just a bit easier…..

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Italian Wedding Soup with Kale and Mini Meatballs

Mini meatballs are simmered in a chicken broth with mellow greens then topped off with Parmesan cheese. There’s nothing better for a winter dinner. It’s a great soup to serve guests as well. The meatballs, about an inch in diameter, are cooked in the oven for about 12 minutes – how easy!

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Apple Crostata

Rachel’s Apple Crostata

This is probably, hands-down, my favorite dessert recipe. Thank you Rachel Vaughn for teaching me to make the best rustic pies ever. It’s called a crostata, a single crust pie, topped with a simple crumble that keeps the apples from browning or burning. Everyone loves this recipe. It’s helpful if you make the topping ahead of time; the topping makes enough for 2 pies.

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Avocado Yogurt Spread

Health-promoting yogurt is in, and offers to turn avocado into a creamy, delicious spread with multiple uses. Use this as a dip, spread on toast, or filling inside a sandwich (BLT!) or veggie wrap.

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Fresh Raspberry Cake

This is an easy, light, delicious cake to make when you pick or buy fresh raspberries. The light lemon flavor highlights the berries. I found it on the internet and would love to credit its maker.

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Milk Chocolate Yogurt Pots from new cookbook Yogurt Culture

Author Cheryl Sternman Rule’s recipe note:  On a visit to 31st Union, a bustling restaurant in San Mateo, California, my family and I ended our meal in the best way possible: with a rich chocolate panna cotta dusted with salty, spicy peanuts. In my version, I’ve omitted the spice and turned to yogurt instead of gelatin for body to create a lighter, more mousse-like dessert.

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Roasted Salmon and Asparagus with Honey Mustard Sauce

The salmon and asparagus are roasted on the same sheet pan to make an easy weeknight meal or casual dinner with friends during asparagus season. Serve this with orzo dressed in a little butter and some of the leftover herbs, or boiled new potatoes.

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Spring Asparagus + Mushroom Pasta

This is an easy, fast recipe for spring asparagus – which soon will be available from Morning Glory Farm on the island, as well as from a few growers selling at the West Tisbury Farmers Market when it opens later this spring. The eggs, imported Parmesan reggiano, and a bit of pasta water create a luscious, creamy sauce that coats the pasta and vegetables. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal to make the dish look prettier. Prep the asparagus and mushrooms in advance of cooking the pasta, so the timing of the dish works. For other recipes with asparagus, check out the asparagus article I wrote for Martha’s Vineyard Magazine which features Morning Glory Farm and tips for using asparagus.

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Chopped: A Very Veggie Spring Dinner Salad with Roasted Smoked Salmon

Green and fresh, the crisp romaine, salmon, snap peas, radish, avocado and red onion make this more than a simple salad. Yet with using packaged or store-prepared smoked salmon (not the sliced salmon, but a chunkier, meatier version – see cook’s note), the only cooking is the 10-minute hard-boiled egg and a quick blanch of snap peas. Serve as a spring or summer dinner salad for 4, or stow away a portion in the fridge, undressed, for the next day’s lunch. Do not be tempted to use bottled dressing here and miss the brightness of this mustard-lemon-honey dressing – so easy to make.


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Protein Plus Quinoa and Broccoli Bowl

When I was growing up, my mom and I loved to make a dish from the original Moosewood cookbook that was called the Perfect Protein Salad – it had cottage cheese and cooked dry soybeans (and mayonnaise, if I can remember correctly). Here is a perfect protein salad for today – featuring a triple dose of protein from quinoa, tempeh and edamame beans – along with broccoli and other veggies. If you think you don’t like tempeh, try it as a crouton as it’s featured here, and topped with this tasty tahini and lemon sauce. This bowl is “perfect” for breakfast, lunch or dinner. How’s that for versatility?

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The Best Beef Stew

I have to say, I love my beef stew that’s printed in Soups + Sides. One of the keys here, which I learned way back from Cook’s Illustrated, is to use the flavorful chuck roast. That’s the kind of beef that becomes fork tender; its marbling melting away during the braise. Don’t be tempted to buy stew meat already cut up because that is often a combination of beef cuts, including some pieces without that similar marbling that toughen and get chewy as they cook, the opposite of what you ideally want. The other key, which does take an additional step, is roasting the potatoes to perfection, and steaming the carrots and green beans – letting you control the end textures. Enjoy!

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The Paloma

It was difficult to choose a favorite cocktail from Booze Epoque’s tequila tasting class this past summer here at the West Tisbury Kitchen Lab. For fans of grapefruit, like myself, this one is bracing and delicious. The cocktail duo behind Booze Époque (link) offers tasting classes and cocktail specialty classes here and in the Boston area such as Creating A Signature Cocktail; Cocktails and Literature; and Basic Bartending Skills.

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Pollo alla Cacciatora

I have been cooking and finding delicious recipes from The New American Cookbook by Joan Nathan since it came out in 2005. It’s one of my favorites. Nathan traveled the U.S. collecting regional and ethnic recipes to give an idea of the best of today’s American cooking and choosing her favorites to publish. “This recipe from Roberto Donna of Restaurant Calileo in Washington, D.C., is better than any other cacciatore I have ever tasted,” Nathan writes. I agree.

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Honey Dijon Salmon Bites

Cutting the salmon into bite-size squares and baking them in their own soy, honey and lemon sauce cuts the cooking time to just 12 minutes and creates a fun presentation. To make the pieces look as uniform as possible, get a piece of salmon that’s not too thick or thin – aiming for about 1 inch thick. Ask fishmonger to skin the salmon for you.


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