hakuna matata frittata + a brand new niece

Two Sundays ago, I found myself in a predicament: while my body remained in Bloomington, Indiana, my mind and heart were five hours north, in Milwaukee, where my baby niece had begun her long and laborious entrance into the world. My sister Annie had called, briefly, the evening before, to report, between deep and careful breaths,…

fig & red onion jam (+ a panino)

With all the coverage of humans being incredible in Rio, it can be difficult to take pride in one’s own quotidian achievements.  Yes, Usain Bolt has once again proven himself to be the fastest man alive, but I finally got around to cleaning my shower. Sure, Katie Ledecky is shattering world records and raking in gold, but…

roasted eggplant salad

Solanum. Have you heard of it? No, it’s not a little-known X-Men villain nor a roller coaster at Cedar Point nor the title of the next James Bond movie. It’s actually something much more thrilling: a far-reaching and incredibly important genus of flowering plants, as well as the undisputed queen of late summer produce. Three titans…

farmers’ market summer salad

It’s hot out there, folks — too hot for rambling preludes, so let’s get right to it. This summer salad is a slightly modified version of the one in Sara Forte’s lovely cookbook, Bowl + Spoon (in case you missed it, this recipe came from the same source). I’m calling it a farmers’ market salad because the three…

falafel & kale bowl + the best ever sauce

Attention, dear readers! This is the 100th post to be published on the Sprout Diaries, which feels like a milestone worth celebrating. And what better way to celebrate than with my all-time favorite food? (I know that “all-time favorite” is a big statement, but when it comes to expressing my love of falafel, there’s no…

carrot & chana dal hotpot

Ahlan wa sahlan, shabaab! Life update: I’m six days into a summer-long intensive Arabic course, and already I’m dreaming in Arabic (OK, so they’re more like stress dreams about the next vocab quiz, but I’m hoping that my dream-self will start speaking shaami any night now). In addition to four hours of class time plus three…

grown-up mac n cheese

I am not trying to start a mac n cheese revolution. My posting of this (delectable and sophisticated) grown-up mac n cheese recipe is not, by any means, an attempt to dethrone that pinnacle of mac n cheese dinner perfection, the one that stands sentry in any respectable pantry, cloaked in its midnight blue box, a constant,…

goat cheese polenta with garlicky mushrooms & kale

Polenta is like Carmen Sandiego, that elusive and trench coated criminal mastermind who bamboozled every 90s kid with a computer. Just like Carmen, polenta is a tricky one to track down. I spent a good twenty minutes in Kroger earlier this week, ping pong-ing between the baking aisle, the pasta aisle and the breakfast cereals shelf, but…

mediterranean skillet pizza

The only excuse I will give for my inexcusable five-month hiatus from the Sprout Diaries is two small words: grad student. It’s a busy lifestyle, folks — one that I’m enjoying immensely but one that leaves little time (or brain power) for the finer things in life, like taking extra long to cook a meal…

pear pancakes: party of one

I celebrated my first day back in Bloomington by checking off a predictable list of post-holiday to-dos: Unpack Christmas presents. Do laundry. Pay rent. Buy groceries. Make soup. The best task, though, was saved for last: Redo kitchen chalkboard. With the swipe of a towel, month-old doodles of snowflakes and pine trees disappeared, and the following…

stuffed shells with roasted red pepper, eggplant & zucchini

I have bad news and good news. The bad news is: I don’t have any finished-product photos of this delectable stuffed shells recipe to share with you. Instead, these pre-oven shots will have to suffice (try using your imagination to slather the dish in bubbling-hot melted mozzarella — see how great that looks!?). The good news is:…

less-is-more marinara

There are many, many things that are better bought than made by hand. I’d put cheese in that category, along with baguettes, peanut butter, and most condiments (though I respect people who make their own mustard). If we’re talking non-foods, I’d rather buy than DIY my soaps, candles, and pants — but I’m sure there…