Sunday, September 30, 2012

Miso Harissa Delicata Squash

(recipe from

1/2 lb. small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
3/4 lb. delicata squash
1/4 cup olive oil
scant 1/4 cup white miso
scant 1 Tbsp. harissa paste
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 ounce kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped
4 radishes, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 ounce Marcona almonds, toasted pepitas, or other toasted nuts

Preheat the oven to 400F.  If the potatoes aren't tiny, slice them into pieces no larger than your thumb.  Cut the delicata squash in half length-wise, and use a spoon to clear out all the seeds.  Cut into 1/2-inch wide half-moons.  You can leave the peel on these squash.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso, and harissa.  Place the potatoes and squash in a large bowl with 1/3 cup of the miso-harissa oil.  Use your hands to toss well, then turn everything out onto a baking sheet.  Bake until everything is baked through and browned, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Toss once or twice along the way after things start to brown a bit.  Keep an eye on things though, you can go from browned to burned in a flash.

In the meantime, whisk the lemon juice into the remaining miso-harissa oil.  Taste, it should be intensely flavorful, but if yours is too spicy or salty, you can dilute it with a bit more olive oil or lemon juice.  Stir the kale into the leftover dressing and set aside.

Place the warm roasted vegetables in a bowl and toss with the kale mixture, radishes, and almonds.

Serves 2 to 4.

(Absolutely amazing!  Make this at once!!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Green Soup with Ginger

(recipe adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas, via

1 large yellow onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 large sweet potato (12 ounces)
1 large leek, white and light green parts (5 ounces)
1 bunch spinach (8 ounces)
1 large bunch green chard (12 ounces)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger, plus more to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
2 to 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
freshly ground pepper

Chop the onion and cook it slowly in the olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, stirring now and then, over low heat, until it is soft and golden, about half an hour.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato and put it in a large soup pot with 4 cups water, 2 cups broth, and a teaspoon of salt.  Thoroughly wash the leek, spinach, and chard, chop them coarsely, and add them to the pot, along with the chopped ginger.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are competely tender.  Add the caramelized onions when they are ready.  Decide whether you want your soup chunky, like this, or smooth.  If the latter, puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender until it is smooth.

Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper.  Taste, and correct the seasoning with additional salt or lemon juice.

Serves 5-6.

(Absolutely delicious and flavorful, packed with greens.  I did not puree mine.  An instant favorite.)

Tunisian Bean and Chickpea Stew

(recipe from

1 15-ounce can navy beans, drained
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
4 to 6 cups water or broth
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped, or one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups raw pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used butternut squash)
2 to 4 tsp. harissa
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, saute onions until they are beginning to brown.  Stir in the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for another 10 minutes (5 minutes for canned tomatoes).  Add the beans, water, harissa, and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over medium heat until pumpkin is very tender, about 30 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

(On a mission to use all of my small can of harissa!  This was a tasty stew.  The harissa gives it a nice little kick.  Beans, tomatoes, and squash are a nice combo for fall.  I added some kale with good result.)

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Watercress

(recipe from an unknown magazine)

2 lbs. beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. honey
2 medium shallots, minced (about 3 Tbsp.)
12 ounces watercress, washed and trimmed (about 8 cups)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Toss beets and carrots with 4 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.  Transfer beets and carrots to a baking sheet, spread in an even layer.  (Do not wash bowl.)  Roast until vegetables are tender and well browned on one side, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir during roasting).

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, honey, shallots, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in now-empty bowl.

Toss hot vegetables with vinaigrette and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Stir in watercress, transfer to a serving platter, and serve.

Serves 8.

(Delicious!  I took this for work lunches.  Best to mix watercress just ahead of eating, but I found that the watercress holds up well enough when mixed in and kept refrigerated for several days.)

Broccoli Salad with Almond and Chile Dressing

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/2 cup almond butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped pitted dates, raisins, or prunes
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt or 1 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 small serrano pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1/3 cup water
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts

In a food processor, puree almond butter, lemon juice, dates, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, and water until smooth.  Transfer dressing to a large bowl, add broccoli and cilantro and toss well.  Cover and marinate for up to 1 hour, if you like.  Arrange bean sprouts on a large platter, top with broccoli, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.

(The dressing was very tasty! - it would probably be delicious on soba noodles, too.  Make sure to drain your broccoli well after steaming, as mine was a bit watery and it made the sauce too thin.  Also, instead of the mung bean sprouts, I bought a mix of sprouts (like chickpea, lentil, etc.) and I think that tasted nicer, more like a salad.  This salad does not keep too well.  I kept the broccoli and sauce in a separate container from the sprouts, but the sauce breaks down after a day or two.  Perhaps keep the sauce separate and whisk well before using, if you'd like it to keep longer than a day or two.  I also added harissa to the sauce, which gave it a bigger kick than the pepper.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tempeh Chili

(recipe from

2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-oz. cake of tempeh, crumbled
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 small can chipotle chili en adobo (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the chopped onion, red and green peppers, jalapenos, and crumbled tempeh and stir-fry for 5 to 6 minutes.  Stir in the cumin and salt.  Add the canned tomatoes, kidney beans, chopped cilantro, and chipotle pepper.  Allow the mixture to simmer for about 40 minutes.

(Super easy.  You really can't go wrong with tempeh chili - you could add any veggies you like to this.  The chipotle pepper makes it killer!  So good.)

Soft Zucchini with Harissa, Olives, and Feta

(recipe from The Wednesday Chef)

1/8 tsp. ground caraway seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. harissa paste
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
4 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
Handful of Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta
Small handful parsley leaves, chopped

Put the ground caraway, lemon juice, harissa, and olive oil in a serving bowl.  Crush the garlic clove through a garlic press and add to the bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Fit a vegetable steamer into a pot with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil.  Steam the zucchini until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.  They should not be falling apart.  Add the zucchini to the serving bowl and gently toss with the harissa vinaigrette while still warm.

Dress the zucchini with the olives, feta, and parsley.  Serve immediately.

(Keeping it vegan, I did not add feta.  Still very tasty (the olives give it plenty of saltiness).  Note:  harissa is spicy, yo!!  I brought this to eat for lunch, so ended up eating it room temperature most of the time.  It was also good heated up and served with quinoa.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1/4 cup raw sunflower kernels
3 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
3 tsp. mild curry powder, divided, more to taste
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups (about 1 pound) cauliflower florets

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small bowl, toss sunflower kernels with 1 tsp. almond milk and 1 tsp. curry powder.  Spread out on a small parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake, tossing once or twice, until toasted and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup almond milk in a large pot over medium heat.   Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add cauliflower, remaining 2 tsp. curry powder, and almond milk, cover and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 40 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning with more curry powder if you like.  Working in batches, carefully puree in a blender until smooth.  Transfer to bowls, garnish with sunflower seeds, and serve.

(Another delicious and simple-to-make soup!  I doubted the bother of the curry-baked sunflower seeds, but ended up mixing them right into the soup after I pureed it, and they gave a nice surprising texture to the soup.  The curry flavor and the creaminess of the soup were perfect.  I brought this to work for lunches and enjoyed it every time.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Winning Hearts And Minds Cake

(recipe from A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg)

"This recipe is as simple as can be:  all it takes is five ingredients, a bowl, a spoon, and a cake pan.  Because it's all about chocolate, you'll want a good one whose flavor you love, with 60 to 70% cocoa solids.  I like Scharffen Berger quite a bit, but in a pinch, I've also used Ghirardelli 60% chips.  They have a nice flavor and are very inexpensive, and you don't even have to chop them, which saves a lot of time.
Also, note that this cake freezes surprisingly well.  In fact, its texture and flavor are actually improved by freezing.  Try to make it far enough in advance that you can freeze it for at least a day or so, and be sure to allow 24 hours for it to then return to room temperature before serving.  It's worth the trouble."

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 sticks (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375F, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper, too.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium microwavable bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until just smooth.  (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, barely simmering water.)  When the mixture is smooth, add the sugar, stirring well to incorporate.  Set the batter aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition.  Add the flour and stir to mix well.  The batter should be dark and silky.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly crackled, the edges are puffed, and the center of the cake looks set.  I usually set the timer for 20 minutes to start with, and then I check the cake every 2 minutes after that, until it's ready.  At 20 minutes, the center of the cake is usually still quite jiggly; you'll know it's done when the center only jiggles slightly, if at all.

Remove the cake from the oven to a cooling rack, and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Carefully turn it out of the pan and then flip it onto a serving plate, so that the crackly side faces up.  Since the cake is fairly delicate, this can be tricky, but I've found that the easiest way is as follows.

Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, and place a large, flat plate - not the serving plate - on top of the foil, facing down.  (A small sheet pan would also work.)  Hold the cake pan and plate firmly together and quickly, carefully, flip them.  The pan should now be on top of the plate, with the foil between them.  Remove the pan, revealing the cake, which is now upside-down.  Remove the parchment paper.  Place the serving plate gently atop the cake.  Wedging your index fingers between the plates to keep from squishing the cake, flip them so that the cake is now right side up.  Remove the foil.

Cool completely before serving, preferably with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note:  This cake can be kept at room temperature, sealed in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days, or it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  (Be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.)  To freeze it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then foil, and it will keep for up to a month.  Before serving, defrost at room temperature for 24 hours, still fully wrapped.

(No, this is not vegan!  I made this cake for Ashley's birthday; our celebration was held out on Diamond Cove island at Alison's parents' place.  Molly, herself, says this cake is "no beauty queen", but it is decadent (nearly half a pound of chocolate!!) and delicious.  I made it ahead and froze it for a few days, as recommended.  Since it thaws still wrapped tightly, I transported it on the ferry still wrapped on a plate, and it was a cinch.  We served it topped with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries, and birthday candles, of course!  It is surprisingly light and airy, kind of like a more solid mousse.  A big hit!  Almost the entire cake was eaten in the one evening.  I, myself, had two servings.  A real treat.  Also, I used the Ghirardelli 60% chips, which were, indeed, super easy since no chopping was needed.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crisp Fennel and Radish Salad

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 6.

1 bunch red radishes
3 medium fennel bulbs
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

Trim roots and stems from the radishes and halve them lengthwise.  Slice into thin half-circles.  Put the radishes in a medium bowl. Trim feathery fronds from fennel bulbs and reserve for garnish.  Cut bulbs in half lengthwise and then into quarters.  Remove the tough core at the base of each quarter.  Slice each quarter crosswise as thinly as possible.  Add to the radishes.

Add the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt and pepper to radishes and fennel.  Garnish with reserved fronds and serve.

(A tasty and simple salad, very spare - so you really have to like fennel and radishes.  I would recommend eating this pretty soon after making it.  I kept it in the fridge and ate it for several days for lunch at work, and, though the taste was still good, the salad got a little watery over time and the radishes kind of bled their color.  There was an online comment for this recipe which suggested adding dill, which sounds, and would probably taste, really good.)