sweet potato tahini crostini

sweet potato tahini crostini / loveandlemons.com

We got home last week and I immediately started thinking about post-vacation recovery foods. Kale salads, green juices… that sort of thing. That is until Jack announced that he was craving bread. Which sounded good, so bread we had. This cozy little crostini turned out to be perfect for our lazy, rainy weekend. (Kale salad, on the side).

This sweet potato spread – it’s halfway to hummus. It’s thicker and has a stronger tahini flavor, which was a nice contrast to the light & airy ricotta. It’s also a convenient way to use up a bit of leftover baked sweet potato and a partial can of chickpeas. Which were the lazy-person ingredients I happened to have on hand.

Go to the recipe “sweet potato tahini crostini”…

slow roasted tomato pasta

Slow roasted tomato pasta // loveandlemons.com

Your eyes aren’t tricking you, these are not zucchini noodles. As much as I love non-noodle noodles, some nights just call for a big bowl of pasta. Especially when I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with and a basil plant that is finally flourishing.

Slow roasting tomatoes is, well, slow. But it’s entirely hands-off and you really can’t mess it up. I find roasting to be an easy fix for my tomatoes that aren’t so perfect – you know, the ones that are sadly not that sweet. Eight or so hours later, they’re shriveled up little sugar bombs ready to be tossed into the most simple summer pasta.

Slow roasted tomato pasta // loveandlemons.comSlow roasted tomato pasta // loveandlemons.com

Go to the recipe “slow roasted tomato pasta”…

creamy leek & almond pasta

creamy leek & almond pasta / loveandlemons.comcreamy leek & almond pasta

Meals like this are the reason I love cooking at home. These are the kinds of dishes that my lactose intolerant self can’t order at restaurants. The amount of butter and cream that go into pastas and risottos… I don’t even want to know.

creamy leek & almond pasta

I worked on this a few different ways. I was going to make an almond version of cashew cream (similar to this one), but I decided I didn’t want to ask you to break out the blender. At least not this time.

The winner was this version where I simmered leeks & mushrooms in almond milk. Such a rich & creamy flavor develops, sans the butter. I did a little bit of pecorino cheese at the end, but it’s so very little that you could easily sub vegan cheese or nutritional yeast (or possibly omit it), without compromise.

creamy leek & almond pasta / loveandlemons.com

Go to the recipe “creamy leek & almond pasta”…

butternut squash croquettes

Butternut Squash Croquettes // loveandlemons.com

I don’t have much of a weakness for fried foods. French fries don’t make me crazy, I never really cared for fried chicken… but whenever we’re on vacation, I find myself ordering little balls of fried stuff everywhere we turn. Cod croquettes in Japan, arancini in Italy, and all kinds mashed veggie fritters (with tangy yogurt sauces) in London.

Butternut Squash Croquettes // loveandlemons.com

Since we’re currently not on vacation, these are baked, not fried… but I promise they’re so good that you likely won’t even notice. I mash creamy butternut squash with cumin and smoky paprika, mix in some tangy feta, and serve them with a creamy light yogurt sauce for dipping. They’d be great as party food but, really… Jack and I often sit down to a plate of these, a glass of wine (or two), and call it dinner.

Butternut Squash Croquettes // loveandlemons.com

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roasted cauliflower pasta

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta // loveandlemons.com

This was my birthday dinner last week. My sister called while we were working on this, and the message she left said “I hope you’re out doing something special, and not at home photographing your dinner.”

Well, what can I say, I was obsessed with my cauliflower mission. Plus, it was a cold and rainy night, and this dinner felt warm and cozy. (well, ok, it was warm when I reheated it after the photos were done… but still).

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta // loveandlemons.com

I’m strange about holidays… I just think celebrations should be random. If I made a list of my favorite life moments, most of them did not happen on Christmas or my birthday, or even on my wedding day (family, pretend I didn’t just say that)… they happened on some random Tuesday, at a time and place that I never expected.

To me, expectation muddles things. I’d rather Jack come home some weeknight and announce that we’re going to Uchiko (hint hint) than watch him stress about what to plan for my birthday.

So a low key birthday it was… with Jack, my dad, myself, and the cauliflower…

Go to the recipe “roasted cauliflower pasta”…