Tag Archives: Cookbook giveaway

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto from Michael Natkin’s “Herbivoracious”

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

With barbecue season now in full force, I’m on the look out for some portable, flavorful dishes that I can contribute to the buffet tables at these get-togethers.  Yesterday, some friends had located a space where we could grill outdoors, not an easy thing to find in New York City, and had asked everyone to chip in with desserts and salads.  I’d earmarked this recipe for Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto from Michael Nakin‘s recently published cookbook Herbivoracious as one to try out, so this gathering seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it.


I’d first seen this book at the IACP Conference Taste of 5 Boroughs event on the publisher’s table.  After flipping through it briefly, I was taken in by all the gorgeous, colorful photos of the tasty-sounding vegetarian dishes that Natkin had created.  At Eat, Write, Retreat last month, I had a chance to hear him talk about the book and how the community of people who have followed him and his blog Herbivoracious had helped and inspired him along the way.  I also had a chance to taste some of the recipes from his book at an event held in New York by his publishers.

Michael Natkin

Filled with seasonal ingredients and bursting with lively flavors, this salad turned out to be an ideal accompaniment to the grilled meats my friends had prepared.  It’s also relatively simple and quick to prepare.  The potatoes are boiled, green beans get a quick blanch, and the components for the pesto can easily be whipped together in the food processor.  The vibrant, verdant colors pop on a picnic table laden with other salads, chips, and nibbles.


The arugula gives the pesto a peppery upfront bite.  The mint provides lift of freshness while the cheese brings it all together and adds a slightly mellow note to the mix.  My only regret was that I didn’t make an extra portion of the pesto to enjoy on other vegetables, maybe even on the shell peas that are also now in season or to spread on toasted bread or to toss with pasta.

Arugula Pesto

I think I would also have carried the cooked potatoes and green beans to the party separately from the pesto and have added that at the last minute, as the color of it started to change from being more preppy kelly green to forest hued after a while.  I think that tossing everything together in advance also took a way some of the intense, bright taste of the pesto as a contrast to the creamy potatoes and slightly crisp beans.  I opted not to add the extra black pepper and walnut pieces, as I thought that the dish worked well without them.

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto

Everyone at the party seemed to enjoy this dish.  It was devoured very quickly, making me realize that I could have probably quadrupled the recipe (I had doubled it.).  This is definitely one that I’ll be keeping on hand in my files for upcoming potlucks or even just as a light side dish for a hot summer evening.

Buon appetito!

Product Giveaway – Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


When I visited London a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to speak to the head of PR about the Hummingbird Bakery and their delicious products.  I’ve known about them for several years, so it has been great to see how they’ve grown while still maintaining standards for high-quality production (this is due in part to the fact that each bakery location has its own kitchen).  It might be worth it to jot down their addresses to have on hand should you need a sweets fix after tromping around to all the monuments and museums on your trip to the UK.

In addition to cupcakes, they also do cakes (sold by the slice or the whole), pies, brownies (which are also very popular), and other more “American style” treats. Their special flavor of the day is also worth checking out, as those are often huge hits.  They do custom cakes by consultation, as well, should you be looking for just that right dessert to celebrate a special occasion.   

After my visit, I received a copy of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook to give away to the readers of this site.  It is chock full of recipes from the store, featuring many of their well-loved creations.  For a cookbook featuring the classic sweet treats to have in your culinary repertoire, you might want to make room on your shelves for this one.

The Rules (There have to be some of these, you know.)

Eligibility: U.S. mainland residents only. 

To Enter:  Write a comment on this post with the answer to the following question: What were the two flavors of cupcakes that I tried on my visit to their shop? (you might want to read this post before responding)

You must also have a valid screen name (not “Anonymous”) with a corresponding email address to enter this giveaway.  I’ll need to be able to click on it in order to contact the winner.

Deadline:  Is Tuesday, March 15th at 12:00 p.m. EDT,  based upon the date/time stamp on the comments.  (I’m going to be strict about this and make no exceptions, and 
yes, I am aware that it is the Ides of March.)  

The Outcome:  Only one winner will be chosen for this cookbook.  I’m going to put all the entries into an online Randomizer (like this one) to come up with the winner.