The season of green

I’m back… with a big sigh of relief.

Lots of things have been happening and will be happening for me during the next few weeks. I was in Boulder, Colorado a couple of weeks ago teaching two food styling and photography courses at The Makerie. I really had a wonderful time and loved sharing stories with both students and teachers. I left emotional and inspired.

Two days after I returned home from Colorado, I packed my bags and took Jon and Miren to Vermont with me. We stayed on the hill with my dear Nadia (thank you Nadia!). Remember our trips last summer and autumn?

The kids were so excited to see her. “I want you” Miren said to Nadia many times. Jon loves feeding the animals and collecting eggs, rocks, and sticks. Ryan Marshall joined us at the farm and he shot a short video for my upcoming book. I have admired his work for a long time and was super thrilled when he accepted my offer.

Nadia also took some beautiful shots of us working so I cannot wait to share some of her photos and mine.


I have been wanting to write about all the greens that have been available at our farmers’ market. Some old favorites, but also many new ones, like a bunch of purslane I brought home from Jodi a few weeks ago.

Have you ever eaten or cooked with purslane? I had not and what a revelation it was.

I learned that purslane it is one of the most nutrient-packed greens. Contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. The leaves, flowers, and stems are all edible and it can be eaten raw in salads and also cooked.

I was intrigued.

Back at home, I cooked a batch of black quinoa. I made a salad with all the farmers’ market finds. Blanched English peas, shaved radishes, diced avocado, and purslane leaves. All dressed with a lemon and grainy mustard dressing. It was wonderful.

There were also pea shoots that I turned into a pesto with almonds and lemon. Tossed quinoa pasta with some of the pea shoot pesto and served it with soft-cooked eggs.

On those mornings that I have to run out the door by 2pm to get Jon and Miren from school, I ate lots of raw pea shoot salads with radishes and also soft-cooked eggs. My new favorite.

And lastly, asparagus, fennel, and purslane soup served with blanched asparagus tips, onion chive blossoms, chervil, and a bit of yogurt.

Absolutely spring.

I will be back soon with more behind-the-scenes images from our Vermont shoot and also some book news.

So much going on.

And this Friday, I leave for New York City where I will be attending the James Beard Awards. I am a nominee, did you know? And I am exhilarated. Of course, I am.

Black quinoa, English pea, avocado, radish, and purslane salad

serves 4 to 6

1 cup black quinoa
2 cups water
8 ounces (225 g) shelled English peas
2 ounces (60 g) fennel, very thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pit removed, and diced
4 French radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup purslane, washed
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp grainy mustard
Black pepper

In a medium sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the black quinoa and pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes until quinoa is tender (it will be slightly crunchier than ivory quinoa). Cool completely.

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the peas. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but still have a bite. Drain them and submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the black quinoa, peas, fennel, avocado, radishes, and purslane. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Asparagus and Purslane Soup

serves 4 to 6

1 pound (450 g) green asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
A few springs thyme
A few stems chervil (optional)
2 cups water
4 ounces (110 g) purslane, tough stems removed
Whole milk yogurt, optional
Chive blossoms, optional

Cut the tender tips of the asparagus. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Season with a bit of salt and add the asparagus tips. Cook for 1 minute or until tender but still have a bite. Drain them and immediately submerge them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them well and set aside.

Dice the rest of the asparagus stems.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and fennel. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add the thyme, chervil, and diced asparagus stems. Cook for 1 minute. Add the water and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until asparagus are tender. Add the purslane and cook for 2 more minutes.

Transfer to a blender and puree the soup. Adjust seasoning and liquid if needed.

Serve warm topped with asparagus tips, yogurt, chervil and chive blossoms.

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49 Responses to “The season of green”

  1. Two wonderful recipes! I have never cooked with purslane. Something to try soon. Delightful pictures!

    I particularly love that shot of the quinoa pasta dish.



  2. Hola me encanta tu blog, que fotos más bonitas he inspiradoras.


  3. so beautiful aran, to see you cook and create is always a thrill. Oh how i wish we would have talked about purslane i have so much of it here. i have never had it cooked so i must try. It was so great having you and the children here i loved photographing you while miren hang form my arms, she as you know is so very special to me as well as jon.

    the best of luck at the James Beards award.

  4. Laura says:

    Oh my god…your pictures are incredibly mouth watering. I would love to one day take your food photography course because you really know what you are doing. How did you get started with food photography?

  5. Allie says:

    I love your blog. I especially am inspired by the balance of visual beauty and amazing recipes. Incorporating both loves into one blog must have taken awhile to get it going this well. I hope to get mine up to par. :)

  6. cowparsley says:

    Your blog is an inspiration and beautiful too. I have only recently discovered you and become a follower I am so glad to have found you.

    Very best of luck with your nomination.

    Best Wishes xx

  7. Ronja says:

    Aran, so wunderful and amazing pictures, you know your pictures are some of my favourites :)
    Have a nice day

  8. Maria says:

    I love purslane! I’m glad to see it starting to get the recognition it deserves :-) Beautiful dishes!

  9. Oh, fresh peas!!! My favorite when I was little. We have been growing sprouts like mad around here for summer sandwiches, soups, salads…

  10. Shelby says:

    Dear Aran,
    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, as a blog that inspires me more and more every day… Thank you and Congratulations!
    Please, visit Tutus&Tea where you can see a list of fellow nominees as well as the rules of this blog award!

  11. Sarah says:

    So beautiful! I wish I could be better about making beautiful dishes like these. Yours are like works of art. I copied the salad recipe for dinner on the porch this week. The farmer’s markets just opened this week so I’m excited to take my basket and get lost for a couple of hours!

    I am looking forward to your Vermont pictures and stories. Nadia’s hill takes my breath away.

    Congratulations on the nomination!

  12. The lighting on your photos is just beautiful and the styling is simply dreamy! Of course, the food is the star -and it looks scrumptious! Inspiring!

  13. OMG what amazing photography!!! I lack words, so beautiful!!!!

  14. MMM LOVELY PICS:) I really like your blog, its so cute.

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria at

  15. Meg says:

    I knew I recognized Colorado in that pic!! This looks so delicious!

  16. Oh how delicious! And your photo’s are beyond beautiful. I always get so excited when a new post of yours pops up on my google reader!

  17. What gorgeous pictures! I love the salad and soup recipes; must make them.

  18. Kelly says:

    Wow, you are one busy gal!! I’m so happy for you, and best of luck at the JB awards – exciting! Wonderful post, as always.

  19. Wonderful! Congratulations on your very well deserved JB nomination!


  20. a. maren says:

    i wish i knew all about these greens. i wouldn’t even know where to begin to find purslane around here, although it’s probably just out in the woods behind the house! sigh. someday i’ll grow up and cook with real vegetables like you :)

  21. I am such a huge fan of your work. Love the bursts of Colour in your pictures. Follow me for creative healthy food ideas. I am a university student from Brisbane, Australia.

  22. Duygu says:

    I love purslane and I do cook it with chopped white onion,garlic and olive oil.Maybe a a handful of quinoa or rice or bulghur in it.Also I make purslane salad without cooking it.Just adding virgin olive oil,garlic cloves and plain yogurt in it as the base.You can add anything else if you want,like aleppo pepper,fresh ginger,black pepper,scallions,tomatoes.etc.

  23. Anis says:

    Hi Aran
    I don’t Know if you get updated when getting comments on your older posts because I asked for your help on this post but didn’t get any answer If you can please help me I would really appreciate thank you very much

  24. Super beautiful once again. I look forward to trying these recipes.


  25. Maria Fl says:

    I just wanted to Say i absolutely love your work on this Blog!!!It is so inspiring for me cause am both into baking and photography!Amazing photographs and food that looks delicious and am sure it is too!I live in Greece and only recently i read about your blog in a womans magazine (Red).I have become a big fan of yous..keep up the good work!

  26. Kanene says:

    Izugarri gustatzen zait zure bloga. Zorionak!

    Very very beautiful.

  27. This is crazy but I have never seen a soft boiled egg look so tasty. Great pics!!!

  28. Aran, you are so busy!

    I recently got ramps and pea shoots from our market. A pea shoot pesto is such a good idea!

  29. shelbygail says:

    Another lovely, refreshing and inspiring Spring post Aran! Thank you and Congratulations on the nomination! Best of luck!

  30. It looks perfectly delicious to me. The photos are just beautiful!

  31. Martha says:

    Lovely pictures as always, I can’t wait for your book to come out. I will definitely try the quinoa and peas salad. I have some peas and radishes growing in my garden.

  32. Anis- sorry I didn’t see those comments. I have been traveling a lot lately and short of time. It’s best to email me directly with questions like that. I tend to respond to emails quicker.

    Thanks all. It’s been such a whirlwind of travel and work recently. I shall share photos of Vermont soon.

    Thank you!

  33. Mary Sanavia says:

    Good luck :D

  34. I used to nibble on purslane while weeding vegetable garden beds. Finally I decided to get culinary with it and made a salad, but I’m sorry to say that it just wasn’t quite right, largely in terms of texture. A purslane soup sounds like it might work much better! Glad your travels were fine; fun to see a picture of Chautauqua Park, as I lived in Boulder County for nearly two years. As always, thanks for the lovely images.

  35. Marion says:


    So wonderful Pictures.
    I love them!

    Lovely Blog also, congratulations!!


  36. Andrea says:

    There is such honesty in your work. I feel like work is to harsh of a word to use for such creativity, and beauty but I am not as clever as you, and cannot think of a better choice of word.
    But its amazing, it is as if my whole mood changed as I started to read and look through your pages- feelings of calmness and peace silently took over.
    Thanks for creating a retreat of beauty and bliss!

  37. Oh your pea salad looks like a moss and fern terrarium I made a dew days ago, only delicious. It’s so funny, I made an edible terrarium too! What fun it is to bake and build and create. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down or need cheering up, I visit your blog because it’s so colourful and comforting.
    Thank you for your time creating such beautiful dishes and photographs.

  38. Andrea says:

    The radishes look divine, what do you use to to slice them so fine?

  39. So beautiful. Just the look for my vintage Mother’s Day brunch. The tender greens and pinks really work. The little bits of yellow and red really pop. Great inspiration. Thanks.

  40. Everything looks so beautiful and delicious!

  41. Love your blog, pics and stories. I am so inspired.

  42. KLFoodblog says:

    i have a question. How do you slice the vegetables so thin, what device do you actually use? Thanks

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