August: Vegan Samosas with Mint Chutney

Samosas originated in the Middle East as early as the 9th century, then spread across Africa and Asia under a variety of names. The pastry dumplings are usually filled with a combination of potatoes, peas, lentils and spices, and are either baked or fried. This recipe comes from chef Melanie daPonte, a vegan personal chef located in Florida who posted these samosas on her blog earlier this summer.

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July: Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

Strawberries are one of the first fruits to ripen in the late spring and early summer, followed by rhubarb. Washington State has a $49 billion agriculture industry, and there are plenty of places to pick your own fresh fruit if you’re willing to drive outside of the city. The sweetness of the strawberries complements the tartness of the rhubarb, so when my friend gave me a big bag of rhubarb from her parents’ farm, I had to find some strawberries to go with it.

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November: Pan de Muerto

Pan de muerto, or bread of the dead, is traditionally made during the Dia de Muertos holiday celebrated in Spanish-speaking communities. Families make offerings of food, marigolds, calavera sugar skulls and pan de muerto to their deceased loved ones and eat their favorite foods to honor and remember them. The sweet bread differs slightly by region and is often shaped to look like a skull and crossbones, and is believed to help give the spirits strength after their journey back to the world.

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February: Mandelmusslor

This recipe is a bonus because it’s “just” a dessert, while the other recipes I’ve explored can be considered a full meal on their own (or at least the centerpiece of one). I usually don’t plan any big gestures for Valentine’s Day, and would much prefer to make food from scratch with people I care about. I’ve often said that cooking is my love language: if I cook for you, it means that we’re friends. So thank you to everyone who has been taste-testing these recipes with me!

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