Congratulations to everyone who’s made it through one year of the Extreme Home Cooking Contest — 365 days straight cooking nearly every meal at home. I wish we could say this had all been a (bad) reality TV show, but sadly it has not. The past year has been challenging for everyone, but I hope you’ve found snippets of satisfaction in all those appointments with the stove.

Maybe you’ve gained a little confidence (who needs a recipe!), learned to bake bread, or added a cool kitchen appliance to your counter. Me, I’ve upped my grocery-shopping game and honed my work-at-home lunch to a formula (below).

Susie Middleton

Now I think the only thing to do is look forward, and what better way to do that than with a gorgeous new book that’s both a cookbook and a garden primer. The New Heirloom Garden: Designs, Recipes, and Heirloom Plants for Cooks Who Love to Garden is the newest book from kitchen-garden guru Ellen Ecker Ogden.

Cover photo copyright Matthew Benson, The New Heirloom Garden
Ellen Ecker Ogden Design

Ellen’s that wonderful thing – a cook, gardener, and designer who also happens to be generous with her knowledge. And her latest book is no exception: step-by-step design tips, 12 original garden designs, interviews with seed experts, and recipes organized by plant family. Read more about the book (and find the plant key for the “Ark of Taste” garden design here) in The Cook and The Book. Then be sure to make Ellen’s Arugula Caramelized Pear, and Toasted Walnut Salad.

Susie Middleton

Staying planted in vegetable-world (my favorite place), I’ve got a Buddha bowl for you, courtesy of my friend and West Tisbury Library assistant director Laura Coit, who gently prods her family to eat more vegetarian suppers. She makes her Quick Sunny Chickpeas with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce when the fridge is otherwise light on protein, and serves it with rice and greens. We devoured a rendition of it this weekend with my Swiss Chard and Peas with Maple-Balsamic-Lemon Sauce. And that Yogurt-Tahini sauce? Good on everything! 

Alexandra Grablewski

I originally developed that Swiss chard recipe with ham, but it’s tasty without, too. Or you could replace the ham’s umami with some sautéed shiitakes or (yes) shallots. Be sure to bookmark this recipe for when the first garden peas and chard arrive.  

Lower right, Alison Shaw; all others, Susie Middleton

Before I promise you I won’t talk about chickpeas again for a while, I want to remind those of you still on the fence about their deliciousness (especially roasted!) and versatility: (above, clockwise from top left) Cauliflower Coconut Curry with Chickpeas, Spinach and Tomatoes; New Potato, Greens, Garlic and Chickpea CrushEndive & Radicchio Salad with Blood Oranges, Avocado, and Roasted ChickpeasChickpea Burgers with Yogurt Sauce.

Susie Middleton

No meat this week, but you know where to find that meatloaf, those meatballs, that roast chicken. Oh, all right, a visual on the Crispy Sheet Pan Chicken with Baby Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes and Smoked Paprika wouldn’t hurt.

Susie Middleton

And hey, you know how I’m always suggesting you follow us on Instagram? That's because we do some fun things over there that don’t necessarily make it into the newsletter. This week we gathered a collection of food books from influential and groundbreaking women authors in honor of International Women’s Day. And we perked up Friday with an indulgent trip to the Grey Barn farmstand (complete with Morrice Florist tulips.) That carrot focaccia – oh, my!

So come join us on Instagram @cookthevineyard.