Spring is here! So is green garlic

Spring vegetables are some things I look forward to most after winter.  Even though the mild winters of California are nothing to complain about, part of me is always glad when the days start getting longer and the days warmer.

Will’s co-worker gifted us with a bunch of green garlic from his garden. What a great guy!


Will made an omelette out of them the first night.


I made a simple topping out of chopped green garlic, portabella mushrooms, a dash of red pepper flakes, some salt, a squeeze of lemon, and pepper to taste.  I used a cup of pasta water to make it have more of a sauce consistency and then tossed it with some thin spaghetti.

Two Dinners With Leafy Greens

Can you tell that winter is coming from the dark leafy greens that are showing up in my dinners? Although now that I think of it, any season is great for dark leafy greens.

Veggies & Carbs

Dinner #1 was 4 vegetables, 4 ways:

  • Smashed fingerling potatoes which were boiled, tossed in olive oil, salt, a bit of cayenne pepper, and then roasted.
  • Raw kale salad with mashed avocados and a meyer lemon dressing — still using the raw preserved meyer lemons from Jessica.
  • Pea shoots stir-fried with garlic.
  • Hawaiian eggplant stir-fried Thai-style with veggie shrimp paste, fresh red chillies, and soy sauce,.

The pea shoots were more tender than I thought and tasted fresh and green. The Thai-flavored eggplant was strongly flavored and pungent. This would go well with just a bowl of rice. I think I’m slowly becoming a fan of this raw kale salad fad. Olive oil and salt really does seem to wilt the once-tough leaves into a pleasantly tender texture. The avocado gave the tart dressing a creamier delivery.

Vegan ziti and kale

Dinner #2 was baked ziti with canned tomato sauce mixed with a creamy blended tofu sauce and then topped with Daiya vegan cheese.  I usually mix the cooked pasta with just the tomato sauce and then layer the tofu sauce on top and then top some more with tomato sauce, but this time I wanted to mix them together, which the BF for some reason yelled about. Who knew he took ziti so personally! Even though I mixed the chopped kale into the sauce, I reserved some on the side for me because I liked the texture of the extremely cooked kale.

I thought the Daiya cheese was going to be a good addition to the top of the pasta and give it that characteristic stringiness real cheese does, which it did, but the taste was so fake-cheese tasting in this dish. Maybe next time, I’ll mix it in better with the pasta.

Friends Cook @ Canele

Friends Cook @ Canele

My friend Jessica at Eat Sip Chew was one of the chefs at Canele on Tuesday during their “Friends Cook at Canele” night. It’s an event where anyone with a willingness to work in a hot, busy kitchen and the ideas for a 3-course meal can become a chef for the night.

Friends Cook @ Canele

The first course was a raw kale salad with preserved Meyer lemons and fingerling potatoes. I usually don’t like eating raw kale, but this salad was fantastic. The kale was perfectly tender with no bitterness at all, the potatoes delicious, and the dressing — salty and lemony. I especially liked the small chunks of preserved lemon sprinkled on the salad. It reminded me of eating lemon halves with salt on top as a kid.

Friends Cook @ Canele

My entree was poppy seed pappardelle with a lamb and mushroom ragu. The fresh pasta was spot on and the ragu was great. The lamb ragu went really well with the rich, eggy taste of the pasta. I’ve never had pasta with poppy seeds in it, but it sure made each piece look nice.

Friends Cook @ Canele

The BF for the first time I’ve known him had eggs in his restaurant food! It was okay this time because the eggs came from a no-kill source (someone who owns chickens as pets nearby). He had the fresh pasta, only instead of the lamb ragu, had it topped with artichoke and I think lima beans. It looked tasty and light.

Friends Cook @ Canele

My dessert was a chocolate cake. I thought it was a chocolate lava cake, so the gooey inside was perfect. I could have used more ice cream on top, but then, isn’t that always the case? The pumkin seed brittle on top was a nice touch.

The BF and I were talking about maybe doing a vegan Friends Cook night at Canele sometime in the future, but neither of us has worked in a professional kitchen before, so who knows how that’ll go. I thought that Jessica pulled it off quite nicely, but just watching the open kitchen while eating made me stressed out about having to do it myself.

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