Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears and Pistachios

(recipe from Food 52)

1 lb. brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
6 grinds black pepper
1 Bosc pear, halved lengthwise and cored
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped coarsely
Juice of 1/2 large lemon

Preheat oven to 425F.  Place the prepared brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and pour on the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Mix with clean hands.  Place the pear halves, cut sides down, on the baking sheet, making sure there is enough oil to coat their cut surfaces.

Roast the brussels sprouts and pear for about 20 minutes.  Then turn the brussels sprouts with a metal spatula so that both sides will get caramelized.  Check the pear - it may not be caramelized at this point.

After another 10 minutes, turn the brussels sprouts again.  Flip the pear.  Reduce the oven heat to 375F.

Add the pistachios - you just want to heat them up and toast them slightly.

After 5 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Squeeze lemon juice directly over all the ingredients.  Use your spatula to chop up the pear halves.  Toss everything thoroughly, check the seasoning, and serve.

(Yum!  Such a simple recipe with few ingredients, but all of the parts shine.  Bitter, sweet, and a bit of crunch.)

Raw Cranberry Sauce

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 cup pitted dates
1 (16 oz.) bag fresh cranberries, about 4 cups
1/2 cup orange juice

Place dates in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit 15 minutes to soften.  Drain dates and place in a food processor.  Add cranberries and orange juice, and process until evenly chopped.  Chill until ready to serve.  Keeps refrigerated up to 3 days.

(Voila! Super simple, three ingredients, no cooking.  Never eat sugary processed cranberry sauce again.  This is seriously that good.  Fresh cranberry revelation.)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Delicata Squash with Carmelized Shallots & Sherry

(recipe from Fine Cooking magazine)

1 1/4 lbs. delicata squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup dry sherry
Kosher salt and feshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 large)
4 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage

Heat the oven to 350F.  Peel the squash, leaving the skin in the crevices (it's tender enough to eat).  Trim the ends.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Slice the halves crosswise 1/2-inch thick.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the squash in a single layer and cook without moving until the slices begin to brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook until the second side begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining squash.  Arrange the squash in a single layer in the dish.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the sherry, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots turn deep golden brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.  Take the pan off the heat and immediately add the sage and the remaining 2 Tbsp. sherry, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Scatter the shallots over the squash.

Cover the pan with foil and bake until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 25 to 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(I do not peel delicata squash - the skin is tender and edible when cooked.  Also, I skipped the step with browning the squash - I just sliced and layered in the pan raw.  You may want to check on the squash after 20 minutes in the oven, as my squash were very tender after 25 minutes.  The sherry and the sage make this an incredibly tasty dish!  I had some butter to use up in the fridge, but you could use all olive oil and make it vegan.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Winter Fruit Salsa

(recipe from Food 52)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 large limes)
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. minced shallot (2 medium-large cloves)
2 persimmons, peeled and diced
1 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (1 large pomegranate)
1 large Hass avocado, flesh diced
1 serrano chile, seeds and veins removed, flesh minced
2 Tbsp. chiffonade mint
2 tsp. minced sage
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Combine lime juice, salt, and minced shallot in a medium non-reactive bowl while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Dice the persimmon and avocado so the pieces are about the same size as a pomegranate aril.  As ingredients are prepped, add them to the bowl, gently tossing to incorporate.  When everything has been added, toss to blend.

Allow flavors to meld 20 to 60 minutes before serving.  This holds up for several hours, so is best made the same day.  It tastes fine later, but the avocado gets a little ugly.

(I made this to use up a persimmon, but was delighted with it!  Such an unusual salsa.  Very tasty, a surprising combination of flavors.  I actually just tossed some with greens and ate as a salad, but will try it next time with chips or crackers.  Would be good to bring to a party - unique!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Anna Thomas' Green Soup

(recipe from Food 52)

1 bunch chard or spinach
1 bunch kale
4 to 5 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
1 medium Yukon Gold potato
1 medium yellow onion
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
Marsala or dry sherry (optional)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

Wash the greeens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves.  Combine the chard or spinach, kale, green onion, and cilantro in a large soup pot with 3 cups water and a teaspoon of salt.  Peel the potato, or just scrub it well if you prefer, cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot.  Bring the water to a boil, turn down the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onion, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onion with a small sprinkle of salt over medium flame until it is golden brown and soft.  This will take up to half an hour.  Don't hurry; give it a stir once in a while, and let the slow cooking develop the onion's sweetness.  If you like, you can deglaze the pan at the end with a bit of Marsala or sherry - not required, but a nice touch.

Add the caramelized onion to the soup.  Put the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in the pan and stir the chopped garlic in it for just a couple of minutes, until it sizzles and smells great.  Add the garlic to the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.

Add enough of the broth to make the soup a soup - it should pour easily from the ladle - and puree it in the blender, in batches if necessary, or use an immersion blender.  Don't overprocess, potatoes can turn gummy if you work them too much.

Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and taste.  Add a pinch more salt if needed, grind in a little black pepper, and add a pinch of cayenne and a tablespoon of lemon juice.  Stir well and taste again.  Now use your taste buds - correct the seasoning to your taste with a drop more lemon juice or another pinch of salt, and then serve.  Garnish with a thin drizzle of fruity olive oil.

(This soup is light and flavorful and packed with greens!  If you wanted it a bit heavier, I suppose you could add another potato.  The website also mentions that you could use any greens, any herbs; or bolster the soup with arborio rice, yams, sauteed mushrooms, or squash instead of the potato; shallots or leeks instead of the onion - use the recipe as a template.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Dried-Cherry Trail Mix

(recipe from the cookbook 5 Ingredient Fix by Claire Robinson)

2 cups baby pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
6 Tbsp. pure Grade B maple syrup
Coarse salt, to taste
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Preheat oven to 300F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds with the syrup until evenly coated.  Spread the nuts and seeds out in an even, single layer on the lined baking sheets and season with salt.  Bake them, stirring several times with a spatula or wooden spoon, until just golden, about 20 minutes.  Cool the nuts and seeds completely on the sheet tray, then add the cherries and toss to combine.

Store the cooled trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

(Tasty, grain-free version of granola.  I used apple juice-sweetened cranberries, which were a nice alternative to the super sugary versions of most dried fruits.  I ate this alone, and as a topping to various chia pudding breakfast concoctions.  It has a perfect sweet/salty flavor mix.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eggplant Spread

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 large eggplant
1/2 sliced green onion (I used three scallions)
1 cup peeled diced Roma or other meaty tomato (I used canned diced tomatoes)
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
3/4 cup olive oil (optional - I did not oil the eggplant before baking)
3 Tbsp. wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Oil the skins of the eggplant and bake them on a baking sheet at 375F until tender, about 50 minutes.  Cut off the stems and discard the skin.

Chop the eggplant, onion, tomato, and parsley in a food processor or on a cutting board with a large knife.  Pulse or chop until the mixture is fine but not pureed; it should have some texture.  Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper.  Chill until serving time and serve with crackers or crusty bread.

(I made this for the neighborhood get-together at Penny and Dick's next door, and everyone loved it.  Different than a typical babaganoush-type creamy dip: this one is lively and tangy and fresh due to the tomatoes and vinegar.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Arugula Salad with Delicata, Pomegranate, and Pine Nuts

(recipe from

1 medium-size delicata squash (if you can't find delicata, you can sub a different winter squash: just peel it and cut it into chunks)
4 generous handfuls of arugula
a generous 1/4 cup pine nuts
the arils from 1/2 of a pomegranate (about 1/2 cup)
a pungent, hard cheese (like Parmesan or an aged goat cheese) for shaving (I left out the cheese)
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
a pinch of salt
2 tsp. maple syrup

Heat your oven to 425F.  Wash and halve the delicata squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.  Cut each squash half into lots of little moons, a bit over a quarter-inch thick.  Toss them with some olive oil and salt and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake, flipping halfway through, until they are caramelized and tender, about 20 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, put the pine nuts in a separate baking dish and pop them in the oven for just about 5-8 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant.

Let both the squash and pine nuts cool for a little bit, until slightly warm.

While they are cooling, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and pinch of salt.  Then toss the squash with about 1/3 of this dressing.

In a large salad bowl or serving platter, combine the arugula with the squash and pomegranate.  Add more dressing to taste and toss.  Then, add the pine nuts.  Use a vegetable peeler to shave pieces of cheese over the top of the salad - however much you want to use.  Toss again gently, and serve.

(Excellent salad combination!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shaved Butternut and Carrot Salad with Dates and Sunflower Seeds

(recipe from Martha Stewart Living)

2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (I used regular balsamic)
1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
2 tsp. minced shallot
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. butternut squash (from 1 small squash), peeled
3 small carrots, peeled
2 oz. dates, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
4 oz. baby arugula (6 cups)

Combine vinegar, mustard, shallot, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl.  Pour in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.

Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, shave squash and carrots into a large bowl.  Add dates, sunflower seeds, arugula, and vinaigrette.  Toss thoroughly to coat, and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

(Unusual and tasty.  I mixed the dressing in a small jar, kept the arugula seperate, and mixed half the dressing with the remaining ingredients.  This allowed me to mix the arugula in a portion at a time, adding more dressing and additional vinegar and oil to taste, thus extending the life of the salad.  The thin, raw butternut shavings were unique and surprisingly good!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk

(recipe from Orangette)

2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped
3 or 4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 winter squash (about 2 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Asian fish sauce (I left this out, replaced it with 1 Tbsp. tamari)
1 tsp. Sriracha or other Asian chile sauce
Juicy wedges of lime, for serving

Warm the oil in a Dutch oven (or other approximately 5-quart pot) over medium heat.  Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the curry powder, and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the squash, coconut milk, broth, maple syrup, fish sauce, and Sriracha, and stir well.  Raise the heat to bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the squash is soft, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), puree the soup until smooth and velvety.  Taste for salt and sweetness, and adjust if necessary.  Ladle the soup into big bowls, add a generous squeeze of lime to each, and serve hot.

(A creamy, delicate soup with nice flavor.  I used butternut squash, but Molly suggests kabocha as having a nicer flavor.  After looking at the fish sauce in the store, and seeing that the ingredients were just anchovies, salt, and sugar, I opted against it and just used some soy sauce.  I think the other ingredients give it plenty of zip and depth of flavor.  The lime is a nice touch at the end.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

(recipe from ReadyMade magazine)

5 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and chopped
4 jalapeno or serrano chiles, coarsely chopped, with seeds
1 large garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbsp. chopped white onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tsp. fine salt
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted

Put the tomatillos into a blender, then add the remaining ingredients except for the avocado.  Blend until smooth, stopping to prod with a wooden spoon if the mixture doesn't liquidize.  Add the avocado and blend again.  Season to taste with salt and blend again.

(This is the first time I've ever worked with tomatillos!  A neat salsa-quacamole hybrid.  I seeded all but one of my peppers, as I didn't want too much spice.  I also added a second avocado, which made it more quacamole-like.  Tangy and good!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fish Tacos with Green Apple Guacamole

(recipe from Real Simple magazine)

1 lb. cod fillets, 4 oz. each
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 bunch arugula, chopped
Soft corn tortillas

1 diced, peeled Granny Smith apple
1/2 diced small white onion (I used red onion)
1 minced jalapeno pepper
1 diced avocado
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

To make the guacamole, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss well.

In a medium skillet, bring an inch of water or broth (can add some lemon juice, too) to a simmer over low heat.  Place the cod fillets in the pan and poach, covered, until opaque, about 4 minutes total, flipping once carefully.  Remove the cod from the pan.

In a small bowl, flake the cod fillets.  Add ginger and lime juice and toss.

Tortillas can be warmed in the oven (wrapped together in foil and heated in a 400F over for 5 minutes) or in a dry skillet over low heat (individually or a few at a time).

To assemble, spoon some of the fish onto a tortilla, then top with some arugula and green apple guacamole.

(Simple preparation, but the green apple guacamole is an interesting addition.  Note that the fish mixture does not store well - I stored mine in the fridge overnight, and by the next day, the lime juice had turned it into a mushy ceviche mess.)

Lemony Broccoli Chop

(pretty sure recipe was via the Energy Times magazine, from Brassicas by Laura B. Russell)

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lb. broccoli finely chopped (about 5 cups)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Put oil and garlic in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat.  When the garlic starts to sizzle, add chickpeas and stir to coat with the oil.  Add broccoli and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green.  Stir in the water, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Lift the lid and give the broccoli a stir.  If the pan seems dry, add another tablespoon of water.  Re-cover the pan and continue to steam 2-3 minutes more, until broccoli is tender.  Stir in pepper, zest, juice and tarragon, then taste and add additional salt, pepper and lemon juice if needed.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

(Simple and tasty.  I forgot about the zest, and it was still plenty lemony.)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fudgy Chocolate Beet Cake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

(recipe from

For the cake:
2 medium beets
2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups raw turbinado sugar
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt

For the frosting:
2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Few pinches kosher salt
2 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee (optional)

To roast the beets:
Preheat the oven to 400F.  Chop the stems off your beets, as well as the tips if they are long.  Scrub clean.  Wrap in foil and roast until a fork slides easily to the center of the beet, 60-75 minutes.  Remove, unwrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Once cooled, peel the beets by pushing the skins off with the back of a knife.  They should slide off easily.  Cut the beets into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor.  Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary.  You may have to add a bit of water to encourage the beets to puree.  Scoop out 1 cup of puree for this recipe - the rest is leftover.

To make the cake:
Lower the oven temp to 350F.  Coat two 8-inch cake pans (or one 9-inch cake pan) with cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper (trace the bottom of the tin onto parchment paper and cut out so it just fits in the bottom) and spray again.  Set aside.

Whisk together almond milk and cream of tartar in a large bowl.  Let sit about 5 minutes to curdle.

To the almond milk mixture, add 1 cup of beet puree, sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.  With a hand mixer, beat until foamy.  (This is important so that the coconut oil does not separate and solidify.)

Sift in remaining dry ingredients.  Beat again to incorporate.

Divide between the cake pans.  Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, 30-35 minutes.

Remove and cool completely in the pans on wire racks.  Then, if time allows, transfer pans to the fridge to cool further.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan before inverting the cake and peeling off the parchment paper.  (Be sure to allow the cakes to cool completely before removing, or they will not hold together!)

To make the frosting:
Scoop out the flesh of the avocados and place in the bowl of a food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and puree again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

To assemble the cake:
Place the first layer on your cake stand or serving plate.  If the top is uneven, carefully even it off with a knife.  Smooth on about half of the frosting, and top with the second cake layer.  Smooth on remaining frosting and add any decorations you like.  (If you made one 9-inch layer, you will have enough frosting to coat the sides, if you want.)

Refrigerate before serving.  The cake can be served immediately, but I like it best after being refrigerated overnight.

(I made this cake for Ashley's 40th birthday, at her request.  It's actually very good, and easy to make, and keeps well in the fridge overnight so it can be made well ahead.  I added more sweetener to the frosting - a bit more maple syrup and a little bit of sugar - to make it more to my taste.  I also baked my cakes a little longer than stated, about 10-15 more minutes.  The finished cake is moist and dense.  Easy to follow instructions and a somewhat healthy cake!)

Arctic Char with Charmoula

(recipe from Food and Wine magazine)

3 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. chopped green olives
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika)
Kosher salt
Four 5-oz., skin-on arctic char or salmon fillets (I used salmon)

In a small skillet, toast the garlic over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the skins blacken, 7 to 8 minutes.  Let cool slightly; discard the skins.

In a food processor, puree 1/3 cup of the oil, the garlic, parsley, cilantro, olives, lemon juice, cumin and paprika until smooth.  Transfer the charmoula to a bowl and season with salt.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and place it skin side down in the skillet.  Cook the fish over moderately high heat until the skin is golden, about 3 minutes.  Flip the fish and cook just until it flakes easily, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain briefly on paper towels.  Serve the fish with the charmoula.

(After coming across this recipe, I read a post on David Lebovitz' lovely cooking site {} about the spicy sauce called chermoula, so I had to try it!  I noted the ingredients in David's recipe, and sort of combined the two, tweaking the amounts of things, adding red pepper flakes, keeping the green olives, etc.  The sauce is very flavorful, and a nice addition to the salmon.)

Tomato-and-Peach Salad with Crisp Tofu

(recipe from Food and Wine magazine)

2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar (I used honey)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. canola oil (I used olive oil)
6 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained well and cubed
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 peaches, cut into wedges
1 cup arugula or mizuna
1/2 cup basil leaves

Put the serranos in a small heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil with the vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. of salt, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the brine over the serranos and let stand for 15 minutes, until cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, mustard and 3 Tbsp. of the oil.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering.  Add the tofu and cook over moderate heat, turning, until crisp, 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Season with salt.

Arrange the tomatoes, peaches, arugula and serranos on a platter.  Drizzle with the soy-lime dressing, scatter the tofu and basil on top and serve.

(This is a kick-ass salad.  There are many steps, but worth it!  Tangy, sweet, spicy.  I kept all of the components separate and was able to eat several salads over several days, though the sliced tomatoes don't keep too long in the fridge.)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Peaches in Red Wine

(recipe from Marie Claire magazine)

2 cups red wine
3 Tbsp. sugar (I used honey)
1 cinnamon stick
1 2" piece of lemon peel
4 large ripe peaches or 5 nectarines, cut into eighths

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup red wine with sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel.  When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and set pan in a bowl of iced water for a few minutes, until cool.  Add remaining wine.

Place peaches in a large bowl or jar and cover with wine mixture.  Chill.  Serve with your favorite cookies.

(Kind of like a sangria dessert!  I just ate the peaches by themselves with some of the wine spooned over.  After a few days in the fridge, the peaches really soak up the spiced wine and are tasty.  Odd, interesting.)

Black Bean Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups shredded romaine lettuce (I used chopped red kale)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl, whisk together avocado, cilantro, and lime juice until blended.  Add beans, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, pepper, pumpkin seeds and toss until evenly coated.

(This comes together quick and is quite tasty.  Perhaps it's because I used kale in place of the lettuce, but I was surprised that this kept well in the fridge for several days.  Good way to use up a very ripe avocado.)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Red and White Cabbage Slaw

(recipe from Marie Claire magazine)

1/4 cup cider vinegar
5 Tbsp. sugar (I used 3 Tbsp. honey)
2 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used half this amount)
1/2 small red cabbage (about 10 oz.), cored and shredded
1/2 small white cabbage (about 10 oz.), cored and shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large bowl, mix together the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds; season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Add shredded cabbage, carrot, onion and parsley, and toss together until coated with dressing.  This keeps well and can be made one day ahead.

(A nice version of slaw.  Simple and flavorful.)

Shaved Fennel and Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon

(recipe from

1 large fennel bulb, shaved on a mandoline or thinly sliced
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. preserved lemon, minced
1/4 cup olive oil-packed tuna
2 Tbsp. olive oil
A squeeze or two of lemon, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, in a large mixing bowl.  Using your hands, mix everything up until the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated with dressing.  Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if you like.

(Couldn't be easier!  Delicious, simple, and unique.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gingery Carrot and Tomato Soup

(recipe from

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. ginger root, minced
3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 lb. carrots (about 6 large), trimmed, peeled, and sliced
One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
2 to 3 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or hot-smoked paprika
1 tsp. tahini

Heat a large, non-stick pot and add the onions.  Cook, stirring often, until they soften.  (If they start to stick, add water by the tablespoon.)  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, carrots, and pepper or paprika.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, except tahini.

Transfer the soup to a blender (or blend half at a time, depending on size of blender).  Blend until soup is completely smooth.  Pour back into the pot.

Simmer, covered, on very low heat for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  (The soup tastes better the longer it cooks, so if you have the time, give it longer.)  If it seems too thick, add additional vegetable broth.  Stir in the tahini, check seasonings, and add salt or pepper to taste.  Cook for another minute or two before serving hot.

(This is a nice, hearty blended soup and is easy to prepare.  I used the smoked paprika, and it gave a nice flavor.  Also used a little olive oil to saute the onions.  A good variation on the carrot soup repertoire - I seem to make a lot of them!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thai Veggie Salad

(recipe from PureWow)

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced or shredded
1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
1/2 English cucumber, cut into strips
1 cup dried mango, thinly sliced
2/3 cup peanuts, chopped
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (I used olive oil)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup seasoned rice-wine vinegar
1/3 cup peanut butter (I used tahini)

Make the salad:  Toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.

Make the dressing:  In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until the dressing is smooth.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  The salad gets better as it sits, and will keep up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge.

(Awesome salad!  I love chopping veggies, and that is a time-consuming part of this recipe.  I did use a food processor for the carrots.  Brought this salad to an island gathering by putting all the veggies mixed in a large ziplock bag and keeping the dressing separate in a small jar.  When ready for dinner, simply combined and served.  So easy!  A nice and convenient alternative to leafy greens for a salad, though you could probably serve this over a bed of leafy greens.  Everyone loved it!  Very flavorful.)

Braised Fennel Wedges with Saffron and Tomato

(recipe from

2 large fennel bulbs
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. fennel seeds
Pinch of saffron threads
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Finely chopped fennel stalks
Finely chopped fennel greens
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. capers
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (I used water)

Trim off the stalks and greens from the fennel bulbs and chop finely.  Set aside.  If the outer leaves of the bulbs look scarred, take a slice off the base and loosen them and set them aside for another use.  Halve each bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 1-2 inches thick.  (Leave the core intact when slicing the fennel, as it's what really holds the slices together.)

Heat the olive oil in a wide saute pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, crumble in the saffron and thyme, and then cook until the onions soften and the steam releases the color from the saffron, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the fennel wedges and cook them until golden (even a little charred), turning them and the onions occasionally.  Once they are well colored, add the chopped fennel stalks and greens, garlic, stir in the tomato paste and capers, and add the stock and 1 tsp. salt.  Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the fennel is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Serve over a bed of cooked grains.

(Since I'm avoiding grains, I ate this soupy mixture with an egg cooked in it to round it out.  I also just ate it as-is.  The braised fennel is tender and has a sweet, anise-y flavor.  Really unique dish.)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dill Pickle Potato Salad

(recipe from

3 lbs. small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 jar leftover pickle brine, strained and divided
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 to 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise, the low-fat kind without canola oil)
1 tsp. celery salt (I used celery seed)
2 Tbsp. chopped dill
1 tsp. ground coriander (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt, to taste

Set aside 1/2 cup of pickle brine.  Strain the rest into a large pot, add enough water to boil your potatoes, and salt it well.  Bring it to a boil, then add your potatoes.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes; your potatoes are ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork.  Just be sure they don't turn to mush.

Drain the potatoes and immediately toss them with 1/4 cup pickle brine and the shallot.  Set aside to cool.

Mix your dressing:  combine mayonnaise, 1/4 cup pickle brine, celery salt, dill, salt, and pepper.  Taste; add more salt and pepper if necessary, and toss in some coriander if you'd like.  Once your potatoes have cooled, toss to combine.  You can serve immediately, but the flavor is better after a night in the fridge.

(What a neat idea!  The pickle brine makes the salad so tangy!  I found the dressing to be a little watery, and would probably add a tad more mayo next time 'round.)

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

1 cup vegetable broth (I just used water)
1/2 cup quinoa
4 large ripe but firm tomatoes
1/2 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
6 oz. tempeh, diced
2/3 cup raisins
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (I used a smaller amount of dried thyme)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Meanwhile, slice the top off each tomato to expose the inside.  Use a spoon to hollow out the pulp and seeds and place in a bowl.  Chop the tomato tops and add to the bowl.  Set bowl and tomato shells aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a large skillet, combine onion and 2 Tbsp. water or oil.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes.  Stir in garlic, tempeh, raisins, thyme, pepper and reserved tomato trimmings and cook, stirring frequently, until most liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Stir in quinoa and parsley.  Stuff tomato shells with quinoa mixture, mounding it on top, and place tomatoes in a casserole dish lined with parchment paper.  Bake until tomatoes are soft and filling is just browed on top, about 15 minutes.

(While making this recipe, hollowing out the tomatoes, I wondered if it was going to be worth the work...  It was!  You may actually want to double it and make 8 stuffed tomatoes!  The combination of the quinoa, tempeh, raisins with the tomato is lovely.  And each tomato packs up nicely for lunch.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lentils With Carrots

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

3 cups water
3 cups finely diced carrot
1 cup dried small black, green, or brown lentils
1/4 cups minced fresh onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. butter (I did not use)

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Drain.  Stir in butter.  Discard bay leaf.

(I did not drain, instead left it a little soupy and served over the celeriac puree (recipe follows).  The bay leaf amps up the flavor.)

Celeriac Puree

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

3 cups chopped leek
1 lb. peeled baking potato, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 lb. celeriac (celery root), peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
2 Tbsp. butter (I used olive oil)
1/4 tsp. salt

Place the leek, potato, and celeriac in a stockpot; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; cook 30 minutes or until very tender.  Drain.

Place the leek mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.  Stir in butter and salt.

(So much better than straight mashed potato!  The leek and celeriac give a light, grassy flavor.  I suggest using a food processor - a little too much volume even for my Vitamix to handle in the blender.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Belgian Endive and Apple Salad

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper (this seemed like a lot to me, so I used only 1/8 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. walnut oil or olive oil
4 cups julienne-cut Golden Delicious apple (about 2 large)
3 heads Belgian endive, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Combine first 5 ingredients; add oils, stirring well with a whisk.  Add apple, tossing well; cover and chill.

Combine apple mixture, endive, and parsley in a large bowl; toss well to coat.  Serve immediately.

[Note:  You can make the dressing early in the day and toss the apples with it to keep them from browning.  Wait as long as you can to cut the endive because it discolors where touched with a knife.]

(A simple but delightful salad!  I mixed the dressing and apples and kept them in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week.  Then, when I wanted a salad, I sliced some endive, chopped some parsley, and mixed them with some of the apples and dressing for an individual portion.  Really yummy.  I also added some cubed avocado.  Tangy and tart.)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Salmon Moqueca

(recipe from

Fish and marinade:
1 1/2 lb. wild salmon fillets
28 oz. can of peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 Serrano chile pepper, stemmed and cut in half (use the seeds, too, if you want your stew to be spicy)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup water (or fish stock)
3/4 cup organic whole coconut milk
1/2 cup minced green onion - for garnish
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped - for garnish

Place fish in a shallow non-reactive (non-metal) bowl.  Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, chile pepper, lime juice, oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or a blender).  Process until smooth and pour over the fish.  Allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add diced sweet potato and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, adding a little water if needed so it doesn't burn, until softened.  Add zucchini, green and red pepper and continue to cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, again adding water to the pan, if needed.  Add water and stir in coconut milk.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.

Add fish and marinade and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Just before serving, stir in green onion and cilantro.  Serve alone or over rice.

(Based on a traditional Brazilian fish stew.  I enjoyed eating this over rice noodles.  Interesting combination of flavors, with the salmon, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and coconut milk.  Makes a lot, and keeps well in the fridge.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes)

(recipe from

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha, more or less to taste

5 large eggs
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cabbage, shredded with a mandoline or finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
3/4 cup (roughly) baby or chopped shrimp
oil for frying
1-2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Whisk the first set of ingredients together and voila, your sauce.  Set aside while you make the pancakes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt.  Gradually add the flour until incorporated.  Fold in the cabbage, scallions, and shrimp.

Warm a couple glugs of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until glistening.  Ladle the batter into the skillet as you would for regular old pancakes.  I usually make them about the size of a saucer.  Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Keep pancakes covered in a warm oven as you make the rest.  Scatter sesame seeds on top of pancakes and serve with dipping sauce.

(So yummy!  Kind of a pain to make.  The batter is runny, but I made my pancakes a bit smaller and babysat them a little, wielding a spatula to corral the runny batter in the pan.  They set pretty quickly, and I got into a rhythm.  Also, I mixed the sesame seeds right into the batter.  I ate a few warm, and the rest cold from the fridge, dipped in the spicy sauce.  Yum!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tofu-Cashew Mayonnaise

(recipe from

One 12.3 oz. package firm silken tofu
1/2 cup raw cashews (about 2 oz.)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared mustard, any variety
1/8 tsp. granulated onion powder
salt to taste

Drain water from tofu and place it and all other ingredients except salt in a high-speed blender.  Blend at highest speed until light and creamy.  Add salt to taste and blend again.  Seal tightly and keep refrigerated.  Stir before each use.

(I tried this recipe because I needed mayo for the neighboring japanese pancake recipe and thought I'd give it a try.  Not crazy about using tofu, as I've been trying to steer away from using so many legume-based products.  But I found this to be a nice mayo substitute.  I did not drain the tofu first.  I also added more onion powder and lemon juice than called for, because I like a tangy mayo.  It kept well in the fridge for about a week, and was good both by itself spread on toast as well as mixed with other ingredients for a spicy dip.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walnut Miso Noodles

(recipe from

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or linguini (or soba)
1 small bunch of asparagus, sliced thinly (1/4-inch thick)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
2 big pinches salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup+ warm water

Topping ideas:  sliced green onions, chopped chard stems and leaves that have been cooked for a minute or two in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt, chopped fresh chives, toasted walnuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt generously and cook the pasta per package instructions, being careful to not overcook.  About 10 seconds before you are going to drain the noodles, add the asparagus to the pot.  Now drain and toss with about 1/2 the walnut-miso dressing - you can make the dressing as you're waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil.

To make the dressing, use a food processor, blender or hand blender to puree the walnuts, olive oil, garlic, miso paste, vinegar, and honey.  Add the warm water a bit at a time until the dressing is the consistency of a heavy cream.  Taste and add salt if you think it needs it.

Add as much or as little dressing as you like to the noodles and toss well.  Arrange in two bowls or on a platter - I finished off this version topped with sliced green onions, a bit of sauteed slivered rainbow chard leaves & chopped stems, a few toasted walnuts, and some chives.

(I found I liked the asparagus sliced into thin strips lengthwise, which blended with the noodles better.  I cooked my asparagus with the noodles a little longer than 10 seconds, as I like mine less crunchy.  The dressing is very tasty.  I cut down a bit on the olive oil.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baba's Borscht

(The recipe is a photocopied newspaper clipping...  Perhaps from The Philadelphia Inquirer?)

[Note:  The original recipe calls for beef to be included in this dish.  I left that out, of course.  This is my modified version.]

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 medium fresh beets, skinned and shredded
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 small can tomato paste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 handful fresh dill, minced
1 handful fresh parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in the olive oil until softened.  Pour in the stock and reduce the heat.  Add the beets, cabbage, and tomato paste and simmer on low for 2 hours.  Add water if the soup is too thick.

Toward the end of the cooking time, add the lemon juice, dill, and parsely.  Season with salt and pepper.

(This makes a ton of soup!!  You could go with smaller beets for less mass.  I peeled the raw beets with a vegetable peeler and shredded them in a food processor - very quick and less messy than chopping by hand.  As with most things containing beets, this soup has a startling (bright red) appearance, but tastes absolutely delicious.  Keeps well in the refrigerator.)


Monday, March 31, 2014

Union Square Cafe's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon

(recipe from Union Square Cafe Cookbook, via

1 lb. large brussels sprouts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cut the stems from the brussels sprouts and halve each one lengthwise.  Slice each half into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick, and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over high heat almost to the smoking point.  Stir in the hashed sprouts with the garlic and poppy seeds.  Add the white wine and continue stirring for about 3 minutes, until the sprouts are bright green and barely crunchy.  Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 additional minute.  Transfer to a warm bowl and serve.

(My new favorite brussels sprouts recipe!  Amazing!  Fresh and lemony, light, warm.)

Lemon-Dill Pollock

(recipe from Cooking Light magazine)

1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar (I used honey)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
4 (6-oz.) pollock or other firm white fish fillets (I used haddock)

Combine all ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.  Remove fish from the bag; discard marinade.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Place fish on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray (or covered with parchment paper).  Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

(I used the broiler.  An effortless and delicious fish preparation!  I spooned some of the marinade over the fish before broiling, so my fish was moist and juicy.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Carrot Fennel Potage

(I think this came from the LearnVest website... ?)

One large fennel bulb (about 1 lb.), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
Four medium carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled, halved width-wise, and quartered
One medium Spanish onion, quartered
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
Olive oil
One medium Yukon gold potato (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced
3 Tbsp. Pernod or dry white wine
1 quart vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh dill leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the fennel, carrots, and onion with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Divide among the baking sheets and spread in an even layer.  Roast in the oven until caramelized, about 40 minutes, swapping the pans halfway through cooking.  Note:  The vegetables can be roasted up to two days in advance.

Add the roasted veggies to a medium stockpot along with the raw potato and the remaining salt.  Pour in the wine, stock, and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup using an immersion (or regular) blender.  Add more liquid if necessary to reach your desired consistency.

Meanwhile, combine the dill and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding more oil as necessary.

Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with the dill oil.  Garnish with some croutons or a few nuts.

(This is a thick, flavorful soup.  I'm trying to avoid too much oil, so I just blended the dill right into the soup at the end.)

Green Ginger Smoothie

(I have it written on a yellow sticky note - not sure where it came from!)

2 handfuls spinach
juice of 1/2 lemon
1-inch knob ginger, peeled (I don't peel mine)
2 pears
1 small cucumber
1 cup water


(I actually use these ingredients, but differ the amounts: one pear, part of a cucumber, smaller piece of ginger.  I also add celery and aloe juice.  Pears make nice smoothies - a little grainy, but interesting.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Carrot shlada

(recipe from The Africa Cookbook, by Jessica Harris, via Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine)

1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley (I used cilantro)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook carrots with garlic in about 1 cup of boiling water, covered, until slightly tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain carrots and place in a nonreactive bowl.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, pour over the salad, toss.  Let stand for about half an hour.

(A nice salad, can be served warmed or cool.  Tangy and bright.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mango and Avocado Salad with Black Beans and Lime Vinaigrette

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

2 firm-ripe avocados, halved, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. lime juice, divided
1 firm-ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper
1 Tsp. grated lime zest
1/4 tsp. sugar (I used honey)
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, more for garnish
4 Tbsp. olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp.)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Gently toss avocado with a Tbsp. of lime juice in a medium bowl; add mango, jalapeno, and salt and toss to combine.

To make the lime vinaigrette, whisk together the remaining lime juice, zest, sugar, and cilantro in a small bowl.  Whisk in the oil until thoroughly combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the black beans with the vinaigrette.

To assemble the salad, spoon the black bean mixture onto the middle of a small platter.  Arrange the chopped mango and avocado around the black beans.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

(I just mixed everything together, and it was a fresh and vibrant and delicious salad.  It kept in the refrigerator for a few days, too.)

Broccoli Salad

(not sure where this recipe came from...)

3 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (or both)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup raw pecans (optional)

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a couple of hours in water
3 Tbsp. raw honey
2 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup onion
Salt to taste
1/4 cup water

Add first set of ingredients to a large bowl.  Blend dressing ingredients until smooth.  Pour over other ingredients and mix well.  (You could also add purple cabbage, yellow peppers, just to make it more colorful.)

(This dressing is so tangy and delicious!  And healthy.  It would probably be awesome in cole slaw.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Acorn Squash-Ginger Bisque

(recipe from an unknown magazine clipping)

2 medium acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lbs. each)
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 1/4 cups red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened orange juice
2 tsp. ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Slice each squash in half lengthwise, and place cut side down on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes or until tender.

Let cool, and remove seeds and membrane.  Scoop out pulp and set aside; discard remains.

In a large saucepan, bring sherry to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic; cook for 3 minutes and stir frequently.  Add bell peppers; continue to stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Add reserved squash pulp, broth, and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour squash mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Ladle into bowls and serve warm.

Serves 7.

(A thick and delicious soup.  I also blended some canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into some of the servings, with nice results.  If you remove the seeds from the squash before baking, you can bake them separately for a snack!)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Big Comfy Sweet Potatoes

(recipe from

4 medium-large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups black beans (1 can)
1 ripe avocado
Red Blanket Sauce (recipe follows)

Optional toppings:
green onion
lime wedges
crumbled goat's cheese
crushed chili flakes

Preheat oven to 400F.  Prick sweet potatoes a few times with a fork.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potato.  You will know it's done when a knife can easily pierce the skin and the center is soft.

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and slice each one down the center, almost through to the bottom.  Open up to reveal its orange flesh.

Stuff the sweet potato with black beans and top it with avocado and any other herbs, sprouts, or veggies you like.  Pour Red Blanket Sauce over the top. Serve and enjoy.

Red Blanket Sauce

knob of coconut oil or ghee (I used olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can whole, organic tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground chipotle (I used 1/2 a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
pinch of cayenne, if desired
1 - 3 dates
2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp. nut butter or tahini
4 Tbsp. water, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt oil and add all spices.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about a minute.  Add onions, a couple pinches of salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another couple minutes.  If the pot gets dry at any point, add a little of the tomato juice from the can.

Pour canned tomatoes into the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  Season to taste.

Carefully transfer the tomato mixture to a blender.  Add pitted dates, cacao powder, nut butter, lime juice, and a couple tablespoons of the water.  Blend on high, adding water to thin as needed, until desired consistency is reached.  Season to taste.

Serve.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

(Delicious!  The sauce is amazing!  I added some sauteed kale to mine.  Just delightful.)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

(recipe from

Olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
4 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. white miso
1 large yellow onion, diced
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
One 3-lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

First, make your miso stock.  Put 4 cups of water into a saucepan and heat to a simmer.  Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of water together with the miso, and pour that into the saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, but don't let it boil.

Pour a few Tbsp. of olive oil into the bottom of a large, heavy pot.  When it's hot, add the onion and sweat it until it's translucent.  Stir in the ginger, cumin, and cayenne, and toast spices for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Deglaze with a ladle-full of your miso stock.

Add the cubed butternut squash and the salt, mixing everything to combine, and then pour in the rest of the miso stock.  Simmer until the squash is completely tender, about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and puree the soup in a food processor or blender, being careful of the hot liquid.  At this point, you can strain for a super-smooth soup, or you can leave it how it is - up to you!

Return the pureed soup back to the pot, and stir in the coconut milk.  Taste, adjust for seasoning and spice.  Serve warm.

(I found it easiest to heat all of the water, then take out a half cup and dissolve the miso in the warm water.  This soup is spicy with the amount of cayenne called for, so you may want to start with less and work up by taste.  A spicy, creamy, flavorful soup!  I had some of the chutney left over from the previously-posted cod recipe, and found it was a delicious addition when stirred into this soup.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Steamed Cod with Coconut Chutney

(recipe clipped from a newspaper, not sure which one)

6 garlic cloves, peeled
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 small fresh chilies, stemmed and seeded or 1 tsp. red chili flakes or to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup shredded dried coconut
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. cod fillet

Prepare a steamer with at least 2 inches of water.

Put the garlic, ginger and chilies in a food processor and grind to a paste.  Add the cilantro, mint and coconut.  Press Pulse a few times until mixture is chopped but not pureed.  Stir in the lime juice, oil and salt.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Season fish with salt; put it on a plate or in a shallow bowl on steamer rack.  Top with herb paste.  Cover and steam until fish is done, about 15 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife meets little or no resistance.  Serve at once.

(A nice take on cod preparation.  The chutney seems weird and unnecessary, but really adds a unique flavor.  The steaming keeps the fish nice and moist.)