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The night before my husband was leaving for four days, for a conference in L.A, we determined to have “date night” at home.
Once the kids were fed, and in bed, it was time for the adults to enjoy a peaceful, romantic dinner, where no manners had to be corrected and no one complained about the food. Heaven!!


2 lamb shanks
1 onion, quartered
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 cups beef broth
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can cannellini beans, drained
4 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup undrained chopped canned tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Rinse the lamb and pat dry with paper towels. Place the lamb and the onion in a large pot, add the turmeric and stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, skimming as needed, until the lamb shanks are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Add the chick peas, cannellini beans, garlic, tomato paste, tomatoes and potatoes to the lamb. Season with salt and pepper, cover, simmer for 35 minutes.
Spoon the broth and vegetables into a bowl, place a lamb shank on top, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with toasted pita bread if desired.

Recipe adapted from Please to the Table, The Russian Cookbook, 1990


1 teaspoon ground caraway
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
bunch of carrots, peeled, tops discarded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup sunflower sprouts
1/4 cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
lime wedges for serving

Heat oven to 350F.
In a small skillet, toast the ground caraway and coriander over low heat, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey.
In another small skillet, toast the whole caraway seeds over low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer the touted seeds to a small bowl and stir in the buttermilk, yogurt, serrano chile and half of the honey mixture. Season with salt and refrigerate.
Spread the carrots on a large baking sheet and season with  salt. Toss with the remaining honey mixture and top with the butter. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and slightly charred on the bottom.
Pour the buttermilk dressing onto a platter, arrange the carrots on the dressing and top with the sunflower sprouts, sunflower seeds and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, October 2013


4 bunches kale
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Remove stems from kale, chop leaves (I used baby kale, so left out this step).
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Add half of kale, cook until kale wilts, tossing often, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add remaining kale and half of pine nuts, toss until kale is just tender, about 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with remaining pine nuts and serve.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit