Sketches. I've been cooking sans recipes a lot lately, so I apologize that I can't offer precise measurements, but nonetheless want to give you a jumping-off point for the photos above. Trust in the ingredients, they will guide you. From top to bottom:
Watermelon-Fontina Melts with Dill: I have a thing for grilled watermelon. And since broiled cheese makes everything better, the pairing was only natural. The simple, summery appetizer/dessert/snack/side lends itself to a range of cheese and herb combos. Get creative with it. Heat broiler. Slice watermelon into wedges, top with sliced fontina cheese and freshly chopped dill. Broil until cheese is brown and bubbly, about 8 minutes.
Spaghetti alle Vongole: One of my favorite quick weeknight meals. Literally like 6 ingredients: clams, white wine, garlic, olive oil, pasta, herbs. If you like shellfish and spaghetti, this one must be in your arsenal. Recipe adapted from Tasting Table
Diablo Granola: My approach to granola is based on a rough framework, but infinitely variable. I rarely make it the same way twice and don't really measure, so I urge you to experiment with ingredients and amounts til you hit your stride with it. I'm currently obsessed with adding cayenne to my batches, I love the hit of heat amidst the sweet roasted crunch. But if you're not a fan of spicy granola, this recipe is just as good without. In a large bowl combine several cups of oats with a combination of nuts and seeds (feel free to use whatever varieties you prefer -- I happen to like a combo of dry roasted pepitas, sunflower seeds, crushed cashews, chia seeds and quinoa for this particular version. I also like to add some ground flaxseed and unsweetened coconut flakes.) Sprinkle dry ingredients with a spice combo of cinnamon, cardamom, paprika, cayenne, and a dash of salt. (Start easy on the cayenne, you can taste and add more gradually.) Stir dry ingredients to combine. Add a heavy drizzle each of olive oil, molasses, and maple syrup. (I probably use about 1/4 cup of each, but don't take my word for it, you may need to taste and adjust to preference). Stir to coat evenly. Bake at 290dg F for 30 minutes, stir, and bake another 10-15 until golden brown. (You can skip the mid-bake stir and your granola will be clumpier). Let cool completely before serving/storing.
Lemony-Cumin Pinto Dip with Caramelized Onions: This was the result of a pantry/fridge purge and proved to a be a winner. Great alternative to hummus if you want to switch up your legume dips... Heat olive oil in a skillet; when hot, add 1 sliced vidalia onion and cook over medium heat until caramelized. In a food processor combine 12oz pinto beans (drained and rinsed) with freshly chopped chives, dill and parsley. Add a few teaspoons ground cumin, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon and several glugs of olive oil. Process until smooth; season with salt and pepper, and adjust flavors as needed. Top with caramelized onions and serve with chips or pita.