Plant-forward dishes bring a tasty helping of green into your Triangle kitchen while giving a shoutout to Earth Day. Lightweight and delicious, these health-conscious recipes from recent cookbooks – including a hardcover from our very own Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties - represent lively additions to your spring menu.



Taste of Tobacco Road:
A Culinary Journey Along the Famous Nine Miles
By the Junior League of Orange and Durham Counties
Food photography by Anna Routh and styled by Alex Blake of Buttermilk Creative




Chilled Blackberry Soup with Stewed Peaches and Candied Almonds

Candied Almonds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of cinnamon

Stewed Peaches
4 fresh peaches, peeled
3/4 cup tawny port
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cups blackberries
1 cup peach juice or other fruit juice
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the candied almonds
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until fragrant; do not burn. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Beat the egg white in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Fold in the sugar, cinnamon and almonds. Spread as thinly as possible on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned, turning once. Let stand to cool. Break up any large clusters.


For the stewed peaches

Cut each peach into 8 slices, discarding the pits. Combine the port, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and vanilla in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium. Add the peaches and stir to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the peaches are tender, stirring occasionally. Discard the cinnamon stick. Let stand to cool.


For the soup

Combine the blackberries, peach juice, honey, water, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until the blackberries are tender and breaking apart, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.


Stir in the yogurt and vanilla. Purée in batches until thoroughly blended. Chill, covered, for 3 hours to overnight. Ladle into soup bowls. Spoon several slices of the stewed peaches and 2 tablespoons of the peach syrup onto each serving and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the candied almonds.


Yields 4-6 servings



Kale and Feta Quiche


Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks
3 cups chopped kale
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon dried herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, fennel, basil or a combination
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 eggs plus 2 egg whites
2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup feta cheese
One (9-inch) pie shell, baked

Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Sauté the leeks, kale, garlic and herbs in the skillet over medium-high heat until wilted and all the liquid is evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand to cool. Whisk the eggs and egg whites, almond milk, Gruyère cheese and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.


Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the leek mixture into the pie shell. Sprinkle with the feta cheese.


Pour the egg mixture over the top, ensuring that the leek mixture and feta cheese are submerged to prevent burning. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let stand to cool.


Note: To make a crustless version, omit the pie shell and spray the pie plate with nonstick cooking spray or coat with olive oil before adding the filling.


Yields 8 servings


Recipes from L.A.'s
Legendary Restaurants

By George Geary
Published by Santa Monica Press




Cobb Salad
The original Cobb salad was created at the Hollywood Brown Derby on Vine Street. It arrived at your table on a platter with the ingredients arranged in separate rows. The waiter would then place the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them tableside, before topping the finished salad with French dressing.


1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 bunch watercress
1 small bunch chicory
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 large chicken breasts, skinned, cooked and diced
6 strips Applewood-smoked bacon, crumbled into pieces
1 large avocado, diced
3 large eggs, hard-boiled and diced
2 teaspoons chopped chives
6 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 cup French Dressing (recipe follows)

Finely chop the lettuce, watercress, chicory and romaine. Toss in a bowl and mound on a serving platter.


Arrange the tomatoes, chicken, bacon, avocado and eggs in rows on top of the salad greens.


Sprinkle with chives and Roquefort cheese.


Present the salad, then place the ingredients in a salad bowl with the French Dressing and toss.


Serves 4-6


– French Dressing –

3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canola oil


Add vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, sugar, pepper, mustard, salt and garlic to a food processor work bowl fitted with a metal blade. Purée for 15 seconds. With the motor running, drizzle olive oil and canola oil through the feed tube until emulsified, about 1 minute.


Use immediately or cover tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, for up to 2 weeks.


Shake before using.


Yields 3 cups


Sour Cream Biscuits
These biscuits were Clark Gable's favorite. They were served at his 40th birthday party, which was catered by the Brown Derby.


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup raisins
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the shortening until well-blended. Add the raisins, sour cream and milk. Add more flour or milk until the mixture forms a soft dough.


Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, pat it into a round and roll it out evenly. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place close together on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.


Serve hot with butter.


Yields 24 biscuits




A Rainbow of Smoothie Bowls:
100 Wholesome and Vibrant Blended Creations
By Leigh Weingus
Published by Ulysses Press






Very Berry Mango Bowl

1 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 cup almond milk

1/8 cup blueberries
1/8 cup blackberries
1/8 cup raspberries
2 strawberries, sliced

To make your base, add banana, mango and almond milk to blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.


Add your toppings. Heap blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries on top in no particular order.


For variation, try out a melon bowl! Instead of the toppings listed above, try these:
1/8 cup cantaloupe
1/8 cup watermelon
1/8 cup honeydew
1 teaspoon honey, drizzled on top


Yields 1 serving


Nutty Avocado Raspberry Bowl


1/2 avocado
1 cup raspberries
1 cup almond milk

1/4 banana, sliced into half-inch-thick rounds
1/8 cup granola
1/8 cup blueberries
1/8 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon almond butter


To make your base, add avocado, raspberries and almond milk to blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.


Add your toppings. Line one side of bowl with banana slices and granola and the other with blueberries and raspberries. Add the almond butter to center.


Tip: Store the other half of the avocado with the pit still in it in an airtight container. This will help you avoid the dreaded brown avocado, so you can toss it in another smoothie or have it with lunch.


Yields 1 servings




The Really Quite Good British Cookbook
Edited by William Sitwell
Published by Nourish
Recipes © the individual contributors,
images © Lizzie Mayson




Lobster on Toast with Crushed Broad Beans, Pea Shoots and Lemon Dressing
Recipe by Tim Hughes


5-1/4 pints water
7 ounces sea salt
Two 1 pound 2 ounce whole lobsters
1 medium fresh red chili, finely diced
3-1/2 ounces broad (fava) beans, cooked, shelled and crushed
1 ounce mayonnaise
1-1/3 ounces pea shoot leaves, carefully washed and dried
4 slices of brioche or focaccia

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoon extra virgin rapeseed oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-inch deep-dish pie dish with cooking spray. Set aside.


Bring the water to a boil and add salt; place the lobsters into the boiling water and cook for 12 minutes; take out of the water and leave to cool. Once cool, remove the claws from the lobsters, then crack the shells and put the meat to one side. Remove each tail by twisting it away from the head, then, with a heavy knife, cut the tail in half lengthways.


Cut the lobster meat into approximately 2-inch pieces, place in a bowl with the diced chili and crushed broad beans, and mix with the mayonnaise.


Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
To serve, place the lobster mixture onto toasted brioche or focaccia, and finish with pea shoot leaves tossed in the lemon dressing.


Yields 4 servings



Risotto of Zucchini and Crab
Gluten-free recipe by Marr Tebbutt


1 white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 small fennel bulb, diced
Extra virgin olive oil
7 ounces Arborio rice
4 fluid ounces white wine or vermouth
2-2/3 pints hot fish, vegetable or light chicken stock
10 small zucchinis, sliced on the angle, with flowers where possible
1 ounce unsalted butter
9 ounces white crab meat
7 ounces brown crab meat
1 large spoon crème fraîche
1 lemon to squeeze
2 tablespoons chopped dill


In a large, shallow-sided pan, throw in the onion, garlic clove and fennel along with a glug of olive oil. Season with salt and cook for 5–10 minutes to soften.


Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in the olive oil. Give it 1 minute in the pan without any liquid, then add the wine and allow the rice to absorb it before following it with one ladle of the hot stock.


Continue to add the hot stock, bit by bit, for about 15–20 minutes. Taste the rice – it should still have a bite to it. Now chuck in the sliced zucchinis and stir through, reserving the flowers for the end.


Just before serving, stir in the butter and the white and brown crab meat.


Add the spoon of crème fraîche and the lemon juice. The risotto may need a little more salt. Add the zucchini flowers, roughly chopped, and the dill.


Taste and serve with enough liquid so that the rice just about holds its weight before collapsing.


Yields 4 servings



The Great Dixter Cookbook:
Recipes from an English Garden

By Aaron Bertelsen
Published by Phaidon Press




Mint and Pea Soup
For me, soup is not just a winter dish – I love to eat it all year round, and I particularly enjoy cold soup during the summer, even when the weather is less than summery. Mint gives this soup a wonderfully fresh taste, and it makes a perfect lunch with some bread and cheese on the side. Perry, the estate manager at Great Dixter, once accused me of being lazy for adding whole peas, pods and all to the pot, but I feel they give the soup more body and intensify the flavor. For the best result, remember to chill the soup thoroughly. Note that this soup does not freeze well.


1/2 stick butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (broth)
4 cups shelled fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
2 cups un-podded peas
Handful each flat-leaf parsley and mint leaves
5 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons double (heavy) cream
Salt and pepper
Handful mixed fresh herbs, chopped, to garnish


Melt the butter in a large, heavy pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until it has softened. Pour in half the stock (broth) and bring to a boil.


Add the peas, shelled and un-podded, reduce the heat and simmer gently until tender (no more than 3 minutes for fresh peas, and about 2 minutes for frozen). Remove from the heat, add the parsley, mint and remaining stock. Transfer the mixture to a blender and purée the soup until as smooth as possible. (If you like a very smooth soup, you might also want to strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.) Season with salt and pepper and let cool, then refrigerate until really cold.


When you are ready to serve, mix the crème fraîche and double (heavy) cream together in a small bowl. Serve the chilled soup topped with a spoonful of the cream mixture and sprinkled with the chopped herbs.


Yields 4 servings