Thanks to the leap year, this February has been longer than usual, and summertime is looking awfully far away. So why not add a little sunshine to the middle of your workday by packing yourself a vibrant and fortifying lunch? Spend a little time in the kitchen, and you could have the breads and spreads to turn a week's worth of leftovers into mouth-watering sandwiches. Throw in a crisp salad and a home-spun sweet, and you've got this one in the bag. Brought to you by the spirited home cooks' community at Food52.
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When you write about food, you always have your "foodar" on, as you search for new ideas to write about. So at a recent holiday party at our friends' Rachel and Morgan's, where I was supposedly watching after my two little ones, my foodar went "BE-EP! BE-EP!" when I tasted a grain salad that was served along with delicious roasted turkey. - Amanda Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
The figs and olives strike a lovely balance of savory and sweet, with the balsamic vinegar adding twang and the rosemary anchoring the spread with its woodsy scent. We made ours in a food processor and loved the fine texture, but chop it all rustic-like if you prefer. Crackers or crostini are a must, but serve it with fresh goat cheese (or parmesan, or blue) for even more party karma. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: James Ransom
This chutney is perfect for those looking for something zippy and less sweet than a typical cranberry sauce. It combines the elements of a great chutney (mustard seeds, spices, vinegar, sugar) with other carefully selected ingredients (among them cranberries, dried figs, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and toasted hazelnuts); the result is a sophisticated, jewel-toned "cranberry sauce" with just the right ratio of sour to sweet that's just as well-suited to roast pork or beef as it is to Thanksgiving turkey. Be careful not to cook the chutney for too long -- you want it luscious and thick, not sticky. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
My friend Sara is a great cook, and she's forever amazing me with her deftness at making something transcendent out of a few simple ingredients. She doesn't tend to favor elaborate, cloying desserts -- more than once she's ended a dinner party with a plate of her homemade "granola bars." They're chewy and rich, a jumble of nuts, cereal, seeds and dried fruit barely held together with almond butter and honey (no baking involved). She's not shy with the salt, which I think really sets these bars apart. Last week, she shared the recipe with me, and now I'm sharing it with you. These are great to have around, as a dessert or a snack. - Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
This salad is all about tang and fragrance. It's one of those dishes that really wakes up your tongue: the garlic keeps on giving (in the best possible way); the harissa lends both sweetness and heat (you can control the latter by choosing a milder or more spicy harissa); and the perfume of the preserved lemon lingers after each bite. We love the plump little rounds of carrot, which grab onto just the right amount of dressing. And yes, it is even better the next day. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
This is nursery food with a twist, and it truly tastes like Nutella -- only better. We couldn't resist stealing pinches of the vanilla milk-soaked hazelnuts after we strained them from the base, and we highly suggest you do the same. - Amanda & Merrill Get the recipe Photo: Sarah Shatz
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