Friday, November 26, 2010


November is the perfect time to make this delicious dish, especially if you'd like to make it a bit festive with Beaujolais wine as a drinking companion. It is a fantastic food and wine pairing.

Serves 4

1-1/2 cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
6 small garlic cloves, plus 1/2 tsp mince garlic
4 carrots, cut into 1" lengths
2 celery ribs, halved crosswise
3 large leeks-white parts halved lengthwise, 1 leek green reserved
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
7 tablespoons olive oil
Two 2-1/2 pound acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded, or
peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2" wedges
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley (definitely use fresh. Leftover parsley
is great chopped with chopped tomatoes and oil & vinegar)
4 teaspoons rosemary leaves (I used 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 tbs thyme leaves (I used a little over 1/2 tsp dried)

You can make it according to the recipe or the way I did it.
See my way after the following procedure:

1. In a large saucepan, combine the beans with 3 garlic cloves,
1/4 of the carrots, the celery, leek green and bay leaf. Cover with
2" of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for 40
mins. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the beans are
tender, about 1 min. Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of cooking
liquid. Discard the vegetables.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 450. In a roasting pan, toss the remaing
carrots and garlic cloves, the the parsnips, leek whites, and 3 tbs of
olive oil. Place the squash halves beside the vegetables. Season with
salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 15 mins. Uncover and
roast for 30 mins,stirring occasionally, until the vegtables are tender
and browned. Alternatively, toss the squash wedges with the
vegetables and roast them together.

3. Meanwhile, in a processor, make the pistou: Chop the parsley,
rosemary, and thyme. Blend in the minced garlic (used 3 garlic
cloves) and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the beans, the reserved cooking liquid and 2 tbs of pistou
to the vegetables and warm over moderate heat. Serve in the squash
halves or in deep bowls with the pistou.

My way: I roasted the parsnips, leeks, carrots, all together.
I did not add any veggies to the cooking beans. I roasted the acorns
separately because I used a toaster oven and a convection oven.
I did not cover the veggies with foil. I thought the dish
would be tastier with more roasted veggies, plus I hate tossing out
good veggies.

Then I sauteed the celery and garlic.

Once the beans were cooked according to recipe minus the veggies,
and the veggies roasted and sauteed, I added them all together with
enough water to allow them to simmer for awhile blending all
flavors. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of liquid, so add according
to how soupy you want it. First add enough to simmer, then more if
desired. I then used the acorn squash as bowls, ladeled in some
veggies, poured the pistou over each bowl, and voila!

Then I sauteed the celery and garlic

Friday, November 12, 2010


The month of November we celebrate Thanksgiving. I will be cooking American foods in honor of that holiday. There won't be too much activity on my end because I am quite busy this month, so the recipes that I do post will be pretty easy.

One of the first Indian recipes adopted by the colonists was a mixture of boiled beans and corn. The natives called it m'sick-quotash, but to the English it became simply succotash.

This was a surprisingly delicious recipe.

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
10 oz frozen babyLima beans
10 oz frozen kernel corn
1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy butter added at the end
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute onion and green pepper until onion is golden

Add frozen beans, corn, and the water, and simmer
covered, until veggies are tender, about 15 mins

Season with soy butter and salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from The Art of American Indian
Cooking by Yeffe Kimball and Jean Anderson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This thick and warming soup, Grochowka, makes a substantial appetizer, or it may be served as a meal in its own right, eaten with hot crusty bread.

This recipe originally called for bacon and butter, but I omitted both. Between the marjoram and the celeriac it still retained an interesting and tasty flavor.

Serves 6

1-1/4 cups yellow split peas, rinsed in
cold water
1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed in cold water
7-1/2 cups vegetable stock (I used Vogue)
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 oz celeriac (celery root - can be found
at Fresh Market) small cubed
1/3 tbs dried marjoram or a bit more to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Corn or vegetable oil

1. Put the peas and barley in a bowl, cover with
plenty of water and leave to soak overnight.
2. The next day, drain and rinse the peas and
barley. Put them in a large pan, pour the stock
and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and
simmer gently for 40 minutes.
3. Saute the onion and garlic in corn or vegetable
oil and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the
celeriac and cook for a further 5 minutes, or
until the onion is just starting to color.
4. Add the softened vegetables to the pan of stock,
peas, and barley. Season lightly with salt and
pepper, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or
until the soup is thick. Stir in the marjoram, add
salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe from 400 Soups (; www. Cookbook bought at Costco.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Chickpeas form part of the staple diet in the Balkans, where this soup originates. It is economical to make, and is a hearty and satisfying dish. It's an easy simple dish to make.

Serves 4-6

2-1/2 cups dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
4-1/2 cups of vegetable stock (I used Bouillon
veg stock as it is darker and richer than Vogue
veg stock)
3 large potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
Just under 1/4 cup olive oil
8 0z spinach leaves
salt and ground pepper to taste
spicy vegan sausage (I used Tofurky Kielbasa and
fried it till nice and crispy brown and added to the
soup at the last minute so that it would retain the
crispiness and not get soggy. I'm not sure if it makes
a huge difference, but I think if not laying in broth
too long it will stay more tasty.)


1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Place
in a large pan with the veggie stock. Bring to the boil
then reduce the heat and cook gently for about 1 hour.
(In the end, add more broth if you want more liquid.)
2. Add the potatoes and olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes
until the potatoes are tender.
3. Add the spinach and sliced, cooked sausage 5 mins
before the end of cooking. Serve.

Recipe from 400 Soups
Published 2005, 2008


Wow, it has been vitually impossible to find vegan recipes for German month. Luckily, I found a few hearty soups from Russian or Jewish heritage which I included in the German food. We ate lots of vegan hot dogs and sausage this month, which went very well with these types of soups/stews.

Mushroom barley soup is found in most Jewish homes and restaurants. This was the best I ever tasted.

Serves 6-8

2-3 tbsp small navy beans (haricot beans), soaked overnight
3-4 tbs green split peas
3-4 tbs yellow split peas
6-7 tbs pearl barley
1 onion chopped
2 carrots sliced
3 celery stalks, diced or sliced
1/2 large baking potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 oz mixed flavorful mushrooms (I used half shitake
and half regular cremini white mushrooms)
5 garlic cloves, sliced
8 cups water
2 vegetable stock cubes or 2 tsps of veggie broth
(I used Vogue vegebase)
salt and pepper
3 tbs chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1. In a large pan, put the beans, green and yellow split
peas, pearl barley, onion, carrots, celery, potato,
mushrooms, garlic and water.
2. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat,
cover and simmer gently for about 1-1/2 hrs, or until
the beans are tender.
3. Crumble the stock cubes or add the tsps of stock
into the soup and taste for seasoning. Ladle into
bowls, garnish with parsley and serve with rye or
pumpernickel bread.


Recipe is from 400 Soups (
Published 2005, 2008

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


This recipe is low in fat but high in protein. You can also use garbanzo beans or flat gigante beans: the bigger and creamier the beans, the better.

Serves 4
Time: 35 minutes

2 lbs Swiss Chard, large stems discarded and leaves cut
crosswise into 2" strips
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
One 16 ounce can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer
over moderate heat until tender, 8 minutes. Drain the greens
and gently press out excess water.
2. In saucepan, heat oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper
and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden, 1 minute.
3. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Add the beans and simmer
over moderate high heat for 3 minutes.
4. Add the chard and simmer over moderate high heat until the
flavors meld, 5 minutes.
5. Season with salt and serve.

Recipe from Food and Wine, October 2009


I have read that we shouldn't eat fruits and vegetables at the same time, but it is the latest thing in salads and it certainly tastes delicious. This salad is crunchy, refreshing, a bit tangy and sweet at the same time, and the cumin gives it an interesting flavor.

I am trying to ease my way into raw foods as part of my diet, so I think this is a good start. It's really a meal in itself and I think it will do well as a leftover, unlike most salads.

Shallots last a long time and is a great alternative to onion. And not much is needed for great flavor.
Oils last a long time if kept in the fridge.

1/2 cup walnut halves (2 cups)
1 tbs minced shallot
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest*
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs white wine vinegar**
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs canola oil
2 tbs walnut oil (see Walnut Oil salad dressing on blog)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce (I added extra because
I did not use frisee-see below)
4 large radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly
sliced crosswise (1 cup)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (sliced 1/4" x 1-1/2")
1 small head of frisee lettuce, chopped (I just used
romaine. Frisee is hard to get but it is delicious. I
bought it at Fresh Market & Whole Foods previously)
1/4 cup golden raisins (dark raisins would be too sweet)
1 Fuji apple - peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350. Spread walnuts
in a pie plate and toast for about 8 mins, until golden and
fragrant. Let cool, then break into pieces.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the shallot and lemon
zest with the lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk in the
canola and walnut oils and the cumin. Season with salt
and pepper.

Add the romaine to the bowl along with the toasted
walnuts, radishes, celery, raisins, and apple. Toss well
and serve. (I added the romaine last)

Recipe from Food & Wine November 2009

*Lemon zest is grated lemon peel.
**White wine vinegar can be purchase at Publix. It
is very expensive at health food stores.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


This is a great stew that sounded very German to me. I guess it was the barley. I used Gardein Beef Tips. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I don't eat too many fake meats. I think they are a good transitional food for meat-eaters wanting to go veg, but not nutritional enough to be a main ingredient in my diet. I think Gardein Beef Tips are a really good substitute for beef and I usually rinse them before using in a recipe.

Serves 4

1 tbs olive oil
1 package Gardein Beef Tips (cut each chunk
in half while semi-frozen, rinse)
1 cup chopped onions (plus 1/2 small onion for
flavoring for beef tips)
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 cups veg stock (Better than Boullon is more
like beef broth than other brands)
1 bay leaf
A little less than 3/4 cup hulled barley, rinsed
and drained (original recipe called for 3/4 cup,
so since I cut recipe in half you will need half of
3/4 cup)
2 cups peeled sweet potatoes ( 1" chunks ) About
3/4 lb
1 cup sliced carrots, 1" rounds
3/4 cup cubed parsnips
1/4 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes in juice, broken up
3/4 cup frozen peas

Heat oil in large pot on medium-high. Saute onions
and celery for 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
Add veggie broth and bay leaf. Mix well, than add
the sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Worcestershire
sauce, and oregano. Cover and simmer for about 1
hour or until veggies are tender.

In the meantime, saute 1/2 small chopped onion.
Add thawed Gardein Beef Tips. Half-way through
the stew cooking, add the tips to the stew. I did
the onion thing feeling that it would flavor the
tips more, but this step is optional.

As the stew is approaching completion, add the
tomatoes and peas. Reheat and simmer another
10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Delicious Living Magazine,
January 2008

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This recipe was in a gourmet food magazine along with other German recipes in the month of October, celebrating Oktoberfest. I love finding recipes for greens such as kale, spinach, collards, etc. For so many years I've been eating them either plain or with just garlic and/or onions. Such a nice change.

Serves 2

1 bunch of Kale, any kind
(thick bottom stems and center stems
1/8 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (1 large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs drained capers, chopped
salt (I didn't chop them, but think it
would have been more tasty had I done so)

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add
kale and cook until almost tender, about 5
minutes. Drain. Rinse kale under cold
water. Drain again. Coarsely chop kale.
(Can be made 6 hours ahead and chilled)

Heat oil in large skillet (preferably nonstick)
over medium heat. Add shallots and saute
until tender but not brown, about 3 mins.
Add garlic and capers; stir 1 minute.

Stir in kale and saute until tender and heated
through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt
and pepper and serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit, October 2009


It has been difficult finding green vegetable recipes for German food. There are however, lots of recipes for potatoes, beets, and cabbage. I've been trying to eat less carbs, but I will have to make an exception this month with potatoes - at least, they are healthier than pasta and bread. And I do love them.

The original recipe calls for savoy cabbage. I used regular cabbage because I don't care for savoy, unless it is in Asian food.

Serves 6 to 8

3 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1-1/4 lbs)
1/2 of a large head of cabbage (about 2 lbs)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs of soy butter (I added one tbs while cooking
and one after it was cooked.
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Peel potatoes and cut into quarters.
Remove core of cabbage and discard. Cut
cabbage into 1" chunks.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil; add potatoes
and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add
cabbage to potatoes and cook until both
vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain vegetables thoroughly. In a 12"
skillet, cook crushed garlic in hot oil for one

Add potatoes, cabbage, butter,
crushed red pepper, and salt. Cook and
stir over medium heat about 15 minutes
or until veggies are very tender, using your spoon to
break the potatoes into lumpy chunks.
Serve immediately.

I think this recipe is from Traditional Home and
and I have no idea how old it is.

Friday, October 1, 2010


During October I will be cooking German food. This will be very difficult as the Germans are known for their meat dishes. Instead of sticking to just German, I will also use eastern European, Jewish and Russian dishes, if necessary. Although I did not get this recipe from a German cookbook, I am including it this month because of the mustard, a very German condiment. For those of you who don't like mustard on your veggies, just add a little for flavor.

Sauce verte is French for "green sauce." In this recipe, the sauce gets its vibrant color from basil, green onion, parsley, and capers. Any leftover sauce can be stirred into couscous or rice.

6 Servings

1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
(I would not substitute dried herbs)
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
2 tbs (packed) fresh Italian Parsley
(Italian Parsley is more flavorful)
2 tbs drained capers
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs olive oil
1 pound green beans, stem end trimmed
12 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise, each
half cut lengthwise into 1/3" strips (I think
this cut does make a difference)
3 tbs water
2 tbs fresh Italian parsley for garnish

SAUCE VERTE: Blend first 7 ingredients
in processor until finely chopped. With
machine running, gradually add olive oil.
(I added when machine was off) Process
until coarse puree forms. Season to taste
with salt and pepper. Can be made on day
ahead and refrigerated.

VEGETABLES: Heat oil in heavy large non-
stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add
vegetables; stir until coated. Sprinkle with
salt and water. (I browned the zucchini a
little before I added the water). Cover, cook
until almost crisp-tender, stirring occasion-
ally, about 4 mins. Uncover; cook until veggies
are just tender, about 2 mins. Stir in enough
sauce verte to coat generously. Season with
salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit, June 2010


As I am starting to eat more raw foods, I am discovering that it is the dressing that makes the difference. We don't need dairy-based dressings. This is a simple, but delicious dressing, and considering the amount of vegetables, very little oil was used.

Serves 8

1 stalk of fresh broccoli
(some cauliflower too, if desired)
8-10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and
1 6-ounce can of ripe black olives (not
calamatas or greek - the mild black
olives) drained and sliced
1 cup slivered snow peas
3 scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into thin slices
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsps chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp of dried
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine broccoli florets and next 7 ingredients in a large

Process oil and next 6 ingredients in a blender
until smooth; add to vegetables, tossing to coat.
Cover and chill 5 hours. (I only cooled for one
hour and it was delicious.)

Recipe submitted to Southern Living, May 2005
by Stephanie Searle of Brentwood, TN

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This is a refreshing and simple salad. According to Chef Phil, "Take this salad on the road-toss the ingredients together and let them marinate on the way. The salad will be ready when you arrive."

Makes about 4 cups.

2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
I used 2 regular cucumbers. English cukes have
less seeds.

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (1-1/4 cups)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Cover and chill 1 hour. Makes 4 cups.

Recipe from Coastal Living, 2005
Submitted by Chef Phil Conde,
Yankee Pier, Larspur, California


Soup, Zuppa, Sopa, Soupe, Potage, Suppe, Caldo - No matter how you say it, it is the most nourishing, satisfying, simple meal to cook. And, yes, it is a one pot meal. What I love the most about soup is the thousands of recipes from all over the world. If we are low on money or high on pounds, soup will help. This recipe is simple and easy - and delicious.

Serves 8
Work Time: 25 minutes Total Time:1 hour

1 onion
1 small bulb fennel
14-1/2 ounce can tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 pound fresh spinach (3 cups)
1 cup cooked white beans

Chop onion. Trim fennel and cut bulb into
thin slices. Drain tomatoes, reserving
juice, and chop.

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat.
Add onion, fennel, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp
pepper, cover and cook until onion is soft.

Add thyme, chopped tomatoes and bay leaf.

To the pot, add juice from tomato and stock,
cover and simmer over low heat until fennel
is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove bay

Meanwhile, trim stems from spinach. Wash and
cut into shreds. Rinse beans with cold water
and drain.

Just before serving, reheat soup if necessary,
add spinach and beans, heat until spinach has
wilted, about 5 minutes.

Recipe adapted from First 4/15/1991

Thursday, September 23, 2010


In Italian, ribollita means twice boiled or re-boiled and this Tuscan classic would reheat minestrone soup. Why? Perhaps to make it richer. This recipe calls for a regular once cooked method. I think this soup is one of the most delicious vegetable soups I've ever tasted. The roasted tomatoes and the paprika give it a very smoky flavor. The original recipe called for pecorino cheese to be sprinkled on soup, but as with most Italian soups, the cheese is absolutely not necessary. I think sprinkling cheese on everything is just a traditional Italian condiment and should always be ignored as it takes away from the actual taste of the soup.

1/3 cup olive oil
3 large celery ribs, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 medium onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika*
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

One 28-0z can chopped fire-roasted
tomatoes and their juices (I seeded, sliced
and broiled a few tomatoes in the toaster oven
until they got dark and crispy around the edges.
Then I chopped them. They stuck to the pan in spots
and I added water to the pan, then scraped the pan
juices into the soup.

3/4 pound (one bunch) Tuscan kale-stems
and center ribs removed and discarded,
leaves coarsely chopped

4 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts vegetable stock**
Two 15-1/2 oz cans of white beans, such
as cannellini, drained (I always try to use fresh
beans cooked in a crock pot)
2 tbs sherry vinegar (try not to eliminate this as
it adds a distinct flavor to the soup)

1. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the celery,
carrots, and onions; cook over moderate heat,
stirring occasionally, until softened. 8 minutes.
Stir in garlic, paprika and crushed red pepper
and cook until fragrant. 2 minutes. Add the
tomatoes, kale, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf
and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato
juices have evaporated, 5 mins or until the roasted
tomato has been incorporated into the soup.
Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the vegetable stock and beans to the pot;
simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30
mins. Discard the rosemay and thyme stems, and
the bay leaf. Stir the vinegar into the soup and
season with salt and black pepper, if necessary.

Serve with Crusy bread.

*I found this paprika in Aroma kosher grocery
store, and I think it can also be found in Middle
Eastern stores. Whole Foods probably carries this
as they have a huge selection of spices.
**There are two types of veggie broth I use. One
is a yellow powder in a container that doesn't need
refrigeration, but the one I use when I want to have
a darker richer base is Better than Bouillon, which
must be kept in the fridge once opened.

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, May 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I have always liked plain veggies, but now I love them with all these added healthy ingredients. This dish is amazing - I didn't even want to share it with my husband. As with most recipes, I cut this one in half.

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8

1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 bunches broccoli (about 3 lbs), cut into
long florets
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375. Spread the hazelnuts on a
rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing
occasionally, until fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes;
roughly chop

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 1" water
and fit with a steamer basket. Bring to a
simmer. Place broccoli in steamer basket,
cover, and steam until tender, 4-5 mins.
Transfer to plate.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, cook the
oil and garlic over low heat until the garlic
is just golden, 4-6 mins. Transfer to a small
bowl and stir in the hazelnuts, lemon juice,
and 1/2 tsp each of salt an pepper. Drizzle
over the broccoli.

Recipe from Real Simple, December 2008

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have been eating salads my whole life, but it always consisted of just lettuce, maybe tomatoes and/or cukes. But now that I am cooking gourmet vegan, I am making lots of interesting salads. This one is yummy and although we ate it with a bean dish, it really is a meal in itself because of the very filling avocados.

This salad is made at Pizzeria Mozza in LA. Marcos, the chef, makes it with agretti, a naturally salty Adriatic green, but watercress is used in this recipe instead. Sure wish we had Pizzerias like this in Florida.

Total: 25 mins
Serves: 4

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 firm, rip Hass avocados, each cut into eight
Two 12-oz bunches watercress, stems dis-
carded (Watercress is time-consuming in
cleaning because all stems must be removed
otherwise I find it too bitter. Also, use this
veggie very soon after purchase as it yellows

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl,
combine the lemon juice and minced
shallots and let stand for 10 mins.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season
with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie
plate and toast in oven until golden brown
and fragrant, about 6 mins. Cool. Chop.
3. Lightly season the avocado wedges with
salt. Add the avocado, walnuts, and water-
cress to the dressing and toss well. Season
with salt and pepper and serve right away.

Recipe from Food and Wine, March 2009


Italian month is proving to be delicious - even without the pasta, bread, or rice. There are a zillion different beans that are used in Italian cooking and they all go so well with greens. If you don't like to eat just a bowl of greens, this is a great way to get the same benefits.

5 tbs olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch greens (spinach, mustard greens, kale,
or broccoli rabe-about one pound. I used kale)
Remove thick stems, spinach left whole, other greens
cut into 1-inch strips, about 10 cups)
1 cup (or more) vegetable broth
1 15 oz can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed,
drained (I used my crockpot and made fresh-so easy
and no more burnt beans)
1 tsp (or more) Sherry wine vinegar

Hat 4 tbs oil in large nonstick skillet over medium
heat. Add garlic and dried crushed pepper; stir
until garlic is pale golden, about 1 min. Add greens
by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt
before adding more, tossing with tongs to coat with
oil. I cooked my greens a couple of days earlier and
then just added to garlic and red pepper.

Add 1 cup of broth, cover, and simmer until greens
are just tender, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls
if too dry, 1-10 mins, depending on type of greens.
Add beans; simmer uncovered until beans are heated
through and liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 mins.
Stir in 1 tsp vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with remaining 1 tbs oil and serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit, April 2008

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Artichokes and potatoes are my favorite vegetables, so I love this dish. I always use frozen artichokes if I can't find fresh. Jarred artichokes just don't taste like the real thing, but they are good as an appetizer. I rarely eat canned, except when breaded and fried, even then, I prefer the frozen. This recipe is quick and easy and can be eaten as a main meal or a side.

6 cups water
1-1/4 pounds baby red potatoes
20 small baby artichokes (I used two
packages of Bird's Eye frozen. Thaw before
starting to cook)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
8 large cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
3 tbs chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbs dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Heat water and potatoes to boiling. Reduce
to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim artichokes by removing
outer green leaves,stopping at the point where
the leaves are half green and half yellow. Cut each
stem even with base; cut 1/2" off each top.
If you've never tried these fresh baby artichokes,
they are delicious. You can eat the entire artichoke
after removing the outer leaves, etc. You cannot do
the same with frozen as they are too watery and are
not as flavorful, but work well when mixed with
other veggies.

With slotted spoon, remove potatoes to colander;
set aside to cool slightly. Add artichokes and lemon
juice to same water in which potatoes were cooked.
Heat to boiling over high heat; cook 10 minutes.
Drain well and set aside to cool slightly. If using
frozen, just cook for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, cut cooled potatoes lengthwise into
quarters; cut quarters in half crosswise. When
artichokes are cool enough to handle, cut them
lengthwise into quarters. Cut out any interior
leaves that are purple or pink. If you are using frozen,
no need to cut as they are already cut.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the
artichokes, potatoes, oil, garlic, parsley, salt and
pepper. Spread mixture in single layer (or not) in
a baking dish and roast on bottom rack of oven
for 10 minutes. With spatula, turn mixture
until lightly browned - 5 to 10 mins.

Origin of recipe unknown.


This is an old recipe that I learned from my ex mother-in-law decades ago. I didn't cook it this time around, but have eaten it a lot and I wanted to list it in my Italian recipes. It is an unusual pasta dish, that most people have never heard of. Unless, of course, you are Italian, probably Sicilian.

Serves 4

1 15 ounce can of peas
1 large onion, chopped
Enough Ditali macaroni for 4 people*
Olive Oil for cooking onion and a bit extra
Salt and Pepper

Cook macaroni according to directions on box

Cook onions in olive oil until starting to brown.
You don't want to brown every piece, but at least
half, as this will give it lots of flavor.

To the onions, add the entire can of peas, including
water in can. Cook a few minutes until hot. Then
just add to macaroni.

Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually add extra
pepper as it goes well with the peas.

*Ditali macaroni is traditionally used. I usually
eat this dish with a spoon. A larger macaroni
will not go well with the small peas.

Recipe from Grace DiSalvo, a beautiful spirited
Italian woman.


This was one of the best salads I have ever eaten. I loved it and can't wait to have it again. I am so excited because my cooking/eating goal is to eat mainly raw foods. So, for me, finding an exciting, but healthy dressing is key. I served this with Tuscan Bean Soup (see recipe.)

8 Servings

2 tbs yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced shallots
2/3 cup olive oil

2 large bunches watercress, thick stems
1-1/2 pounds celery root (celeriac)*, trimmed,
peeled, coarsely grated in processor or with
box grater
20 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

Stir mustard seeds in dry skillet over medium
heat until lightly toasted and starting to pop,
about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool.

Add vinegar, mustard, and shallots; whisk to
blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt
and pepper.

Toss watercress in large bowl with enough
dressing to coat lightly. Divide watercress
among plates.

Combine celery root and radishes in same bowl
and toss with enough of remaining dressing to
coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top the
watercress with celery root mixture and serve.

*Celery Root (celeriac) can be found at Fresh
Market grocers.

Recipe from Bon Appeitit, October 2007


This month I will be cooking Italian, but I will be cooking it without pasta, rice, or bread. The reason for the elimination of these main ingredients in Italian food, is that since I started cooking vegan gourmet, I have gained weight. I've been eating too many carbs, so I decided to cook this month with mainly beans, lentils, and veggies. (There is barley in this soup, but barley is a low Glycemic Index carb as it has a slow effect on blood sugar levels.)

I will accompany every dish with a different type of salad or vegetable and the salad I chose with Tuscan Bean Soup is out of this world (Celery Root, Radish, and Watercress Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing.)

Note: Do not cook beans in salted water. It will make
them tough.

Serves 4-6 as main meal; 8 as side soup

1/2 cup each dried cranberry beans, red lentils, green
lentils, green split peas, small white beans, and pearl
3 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, thinly sliced and cut into 3/4" pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
Bouquet garni of thyme, bay leaves, sage leaves, and
celery leaves**
3 quarts water
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup fresh parley***

Soak beans in water for about one hour. In a collander,
combine the beans, lentils, and barley. Rinse, drain, and
set aside.

In a large, heavy pot, combine the oil, onion, carrot,
celery, garlic and bouquet garni. Stir to coat with the
oil. Cook over moderate heat until the veggies are soft,
about 5 minutes.

Add the bean mixture, stir to coat with oil and cook for
one minute more.

Add the 3 quarts water and stir. Cover, bring to a
gentle simmer over moderate heat, and cook until the
outer shells of the largest beans are tender, about 45

Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until
tender, 15 - 30 minutes. Stir from time to time to make
sure beans are not sticking.

Remove bouquet garni, add the parsley and serve.

*I was unable to find cranberry beans so I used
Roman beans (cargamanto.)Red lentils can be found
at health food stores.

**I used dried herbs: 1/2 tsp thyme, 2-3 leaves sage,
and one bay leaf. I did not use celery leaves, but if
I did I would have used about a 2 tbs. I urge you to
buy a sage plant when you see it. You can dry it out
immediately if you cannot grow it. I just cut the leaves,
place on paper towel, and leave on counter for a few
days to dry. I have never seen it as leaves in a jar.
For a bouquet garni, I used a small muslin bag or you
can make your own by using a very small piece of
clean pourous cotton (a new hankie)then tied with a
piece of string after placing herbs inside. In the
case of this soup, I guess you can just add the herbs
to the soup.

***If you do not have fresh parsley, use one third of
1/4 cup of dried parsley.

I do not know where I got this recipe


I made this rice with Pecan Crusted Tofu (see recipe.)Both recipes were given to me by my friend Heather. As in the tofu recipe, I received the recipe without measurements, so mine are to my liking.

1 cup dry Brown Rice
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 green large pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 - 2 tsp dried parsley
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp creole seasoning

Cook all ingredients as if making regular rice.


I got this recipe from my friend Heather and it was very good. Not your typical spicy cajun food, but, along with her other recipe, Cajun Green Rice (see recipe,) this meal was comfort food to me. At first, I thought it was going to be too bland for my liking, but the more I ate it, the more I enjoyed it. I think I added some salt after the tofu cakes were cooked-but not much. I didn't want to take away from the sweetness of the pecans.

The recipe was given to me without measurements, so in this recipe they will be approximates.

1 package of firm Tofu
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
pecans (approx 1/4 cup ground down)
soy milk

Mix the flour, cornmeal, ground pecans, and paprika together.
Cut the tofu into 1/2" slices (remove all water).
Dip tofu into soy milk, then coat with flour mixture.
Bake on well-oiled baking dish. Adding more oil, if
Bake at 400 degrees until brown, flipping once or twice
until desired browness achieved.

Friday, August 27, 2010


The real title of this recipe is Stewed Corn and Tomatoes with Okra. I did make it with okra, but I have finally realized that I do not like okra, so I removed it from the dish after it was cooked. I think the okra did not lend anything to the recipe as it was delicious without it. If you like okra, I will add the amount and instruction at the end of the recipe.

Serves 6
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1-1/4 hours

6 scallions, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped, with seeds
(I used poblano pepper about the size of what
a jalapeno would be because I had it in the
freezer. Poblano is not as hot as jalapeno)

1 large green pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tbs of vegetable oil
1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped*
3 cups corn (from 5-6 ears) I used frozen

1/2 pound small fresh okra (if desired), trimmed,
keeping stem end intact

Cook scallions, jalapeno, bell pepper, and oil in a
12" skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
until scallions begin to brown, 7-9 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally,
until broken down into a sauce, about 15 minutes.

Add corn (and okra) and cook, stirring occasionally,
until just tender about 15 minutes.

*To prepare tomatoes, put them in boiling water, and
when skin begins to split remove, cool, peel, chop.

Recipe adapted from Stewed Corn and Tomatoes
with Okra, from Gourmet, 2007

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This recipe called for bacon and shrimp, but I eliminated them both and this dish was still delicious. It is fun to make rice and beans all these different ways. I've been eating only Spanish style r&b forever, so I am enjoying all the unusual mixtures of flavors. Hoppin' John always consists of black-eyed peas and rice and is said to bring good luck if eaten on New Year's Day. This recipe is from the Lowcountry region which stretches from the coastal plains of the Carolinas to the Georgia border.

2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 15 oz can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup hot cooked rice
1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1/3 of 1/4 cup dried)
(Dried is always 1/3 of fresh)
1/3 tbs dried parsley or 1 tbs fresh
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil

Saute shallots, celery, and bell pepper for 7 mins
or until tender. Stir in black-eyed peas and next
7 ingredients.

Combine lemon juice and oil. Stir into mixture.
Cover and chill or eat warm.

Recipe adapted from Coastal Living, September 2008

Friday, August 20, 2010


I try not to use fake meat in my recipes, but the Gardein Beef is really good in recipes. And, I must admit, adding red wine makes it lucious. This was an easy recipe to prepare and didn't take too long - just a matter of sauteeing the veggies and simmering the stew for a short while. If you prefer a thicker sauce, like I do, just add 2 tbs flour to 1/4 cup cold water (mix well) and add to stew a little at a time, stirring until thickened.

Serves 4

One package of Gardein Beef Chunks
(defrosted and each piece cut in half)

2 tbs of olive oil

2 cups Cajun Trinity (1/2 green bell pepper,
1 celery stalk, 1/2 onion: all chopped. Make
up difference with one or more of the veggies)

1 tbs minced garlic
1 large carrot, diced
6-7 large mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Red Wine
1 tbs tomato paste (buy in tube not can)

2 cups veg broth (Better than Bouillon Veg Base-
a nice dark rich veg broth that I use for dishes
that call for beef broth)

1/2 - 1 tsp of dried thyme

Serve with noodles, mashed potatoes or rice. The
recipe called for egg noodles, but I used large
bow tie macaroni (no eggs) which I thought was
the most similar to the wavy texture of egg
noodles. But rice would have been great also.

Saute 2 cups of Cajun Trinity and minced garlic
until starting to soften.

Add carrots and cook 5 minutes.

Toss in sliced mushrooms.

Add wine, tomato paste, and broth. Stir well to

Add thyme and mix.

While Cajun Trinity is sauteeing, brown beef
chunks in small frying pan with a bit of oil. It
will start to brown, but do not over-cook or the
chunks start to shrink.

Once veggie mix is mixed well, add the browned
Gardein chunks.

Recipe adapted from Cajun TV Cooking
(on the internet)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


August is supposed to be Louisiana, Cajun, Creole, and Southern Cooking month. Well, it isn't easy. Everything is meat or shellfish. Hopefully, by next August, I will have found more recipes - possibly a Soul Food Cookbook is needed. There's a good vegan one that I must get. Anyway, this was kind of southern and was delicious. If you haven't tried parsnips (a new veggie for me) you should. This recipe calls for fresh sage leaves. I made it twice: once with fresh and once with the dried herb, which is kinda fuzzy (I usually use it for sore throats or fever). Needless to say, the fresh is best. Perhaps you can try the spice which is sold in supermarkets. Sprinkle it on to your taste. I bought the plant itself, which grows pretty easily in pots. You can cut the leaves and dry them out. Well worth the $2.99.

Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 1 hour, 10 mins

Serves 8

1-1/2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut into thin strips
1-1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup small fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, toss the parsnips,
carrots, oil, sage, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper

Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring
twice, until the vegetables are golden, 45 - 55 mins.

Recipe from Real Simple, December 2008


I eliminated the meat in this chili and added a bit of rice. I think it might have been better without the rice, as the rice took away from the richness of the chili. Cornbread would go great with this. Or corn on the cob. The recipe even suggested french bread for dipping or topping a baked potato with chili.

Cajun Trinity: bell pepper, onion, celery

2 tbs olive oil
1 bell pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Chili Powder (or you could use cumin. I used
chili powder - afterall, it is Chili)
1/2 to 1 tsp of creole or cajun seasoning (see recipe)

2 cans diced tomatoes
(I used one 14 oz can plus 2 plum tomatoes put in food
processor, only because I had only one can. Next time I
make this I will use two cans, but I would put second
can in a little at a time so as not to make too watery.)

1 can pinto beans, drained
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Saute bell pepper, onions, celery in olive oil until soft

Add minced garlic.

Add Chili Powder and Creole Seasoning.

Pour canned tomatoes into blender or food processor
and puree. Add to veggie mix.

Add beans and stir well. Simmer uncovered on medium
to low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to
prevent burning, which it will, so pay attention.

Recipe from Cajun Cooking TV (on the Internet)


While this recipe does contain sugar, it is not super sweet. The veggies add to the sweetness with their own delicious flavors.

2 large sweet potatoes (1-3/4 lbs), peeled and sliced
crosswise 1/2" thick
1 large acorn squash (3 to 3-1/2 lbs), halved lengthwise
seeded, and sliced crosswise 1/2" thick (do not peel)
3 tbs vegetable oil (recipe called for butter, but using
vegetable oil was just fine. The sugar more than makes
up for the butter)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp grated nutmeg (If you use ground nutmet, I would
use 1/3 of a tsp. You can always add more if not enough
nutmeg flavor)

Active time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: approx 40 minutes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss sweet potatoes and squash with oil, 1/2 tsp salt and
1/4 tsp pepper. Place on sided baking sheet or large
casserole dish.

Stir together brown sugar and nutmeg. Turn vegetable
slices and sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture.

Bake until golden and tender. Do not over-cook as the
sugar will tend to make veggies hard and crispy.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine,
November 2009


This mix can be made for Cajun or Creole food.

1 tbs dried basil
1 tbs dried oregano
1-1/2 tbs paprika
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mace (I eliminated because I didn't have it)
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.
Grind until well blended.


Dirty rice is a type of rice used in Louisiana (Cajun) cooking which uses cooked liver to give it that "dirty" taste and look. Of course, this rice is vegan and very simple to make. Using brown rice instead of white rice gives it that "dirty" brown color.

Serves 6

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning *
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 2/3 tbs dried)

Place rice and 2 cups water in saucepan, bring to boil,
then simmer, cover, and cook until done (approx
30 minutes or according to package)

Saute veggies until tender and begin to brown

Add vegetable broth, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper
and bring to boil

Add veggie mixture to rice. Cook until heated through.

Stir in parsley and serve.

*You can purchase already made Cajun Seasoning mix
but I made my own. See recipe.

Friday, July 30, 2010


When I saw the name of this recipe I thought that it sounded Caribbean and wondered what Calico had to do with it. Sure enough, I found out that Calico Jack Rackham was a famous English pirate who patrolled the Caribbean Sea between 1718-1720. The name calico comes from the type of clothing he wore which was linen with calico patterns of brown, white and black.

This recipe originally called for bacon, whipping cream, and eggs. I eliminated all and replaced the cream and eggs with creamed corn. I also cut the recipe in half, which was good for two of us, but original measurements are listed here.

Makes about 16

1 tbs vegetable oil
1 16 oz bag frozen corn, thawed, drained
1/2 cup sliced pimientos, well drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (scallions)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (one third of 1/4 cup
if you use dried parsley)
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Generous pinch of black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 to 1/3 cup cream corn (add to mixture
a little at a time to desired consistency.
Mixture should go into skillet without

I cooked this recipe twice and used a non-stick
pan and a stainless steel pan. I don't think it
matters which is used as long as the oil is hot
so that it starts browning the pancakes right away.

Mix corn kernels, pimientos and next 8 ingredients.
Mix in creamed corn, then flour and baking powder.
Mixture might look a little watery, if so you can add
a bit more flour. It will not have a heavy floury
consistency, but the flour will hold it together.

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil
Working in batches, spoon batter into skillet by
1/4 cupfuls; spread with back of spoon to form
3" pancakes. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes
each side. Add tiny amount of oil as needed.

Recipe from Bon Appetit, 1999 by
Jim Fobel


First of all let me say that I thought "shucked" meant removing the kernels from the cob, so that's what I did and happily so. But it means to just remove the husks from the corn. I am sure the recipe would be great with just pieces of corn on the cob, but I really preferred the kernels as part of the bake. Removing the kernels is easy as long as you have a sharp knife (Stand the cob straight up)
All that said, I loved this dish. I thought it was going to be just baked veggies but the mixing of the tomato juices with the onions and spices was heavenly. A very easy recipe too.

Serves 4-6

2 tbs olive oil
2-1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and halved
1 lb plum tomatoes, cut in half*
12 oz small thin-skinned potatoes, cut in
quarters, unpeeled
2 medium onions, cut in thin wedges

Preheat oven to 450. In a small bowl mix oil, cumin,
salt, sugar, thyme, black pepper and red pepper until

Place corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions in a
non-reactive 15 x 10 roasting pan.

Pour the oil mixture over the vegetables; toss gently
to coat.

Cover pan with foil. Bake, stirring once or twice
until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Recipe from Southern Supersweet Corn via an old
newspaper recipe.

*the only tomatoes I use are vine ripe tomatoes and
I always put them in a brown bag as soon as I get
home from shopping. They ALWAYS taste like tomatoes
unlike all other tomatoes from supermarkets. They
are more expensive, but well worth it. If recipe
says cut in half, I quarter them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Cold rice salads never appealed to me, so I never tried them. This recipe has changed my mind. I have just one thing to say about this recipe: FABULOUS!

Since I cooked this a couple of hours before dinner, I put the rice and beans (separately) in the freezer to cool down quickly. Do not let it freeze.

Serves 6

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs Dijon Mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp minced garlic

2-1/2 cups cooked white or white basamati rice
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed, drained
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
(Don't skimp on the scallions)
Lettuce leaves (optional)

Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, cumin and garlic in
medium bowl until well blended. Season with salt
and pepper.

Combine rice, beans, peppers and onions in large
bowl. Toss salad with enough dressing to moisten
(I used entire dressing). Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Line large serving bowl with lettuce, if desired, which
I did not.

Recipe from Bon Appetit July 1997

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I've always seen this vegetable in the supermarket as chayote, but I have never experienced it until now. It is a very bland tasting vegetable from the squash family and does need lots of seasoning. It originated with the Aztecs in Mexico. Other names are vegetable pear, and (French) Christophene. It can be smooth or prickly. It can be eaten raw, fried, grilled, or stuffed and baked. Keeps in fridge for a few days. Do not buy if wrinkled.

I think the cho-chos need a bit of tabasco while eating or sauce from my other recipe, Xamaca Tofu.

3 cho-chos
1 medium onoin, chopped
1/8 tsp hot pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
(I used red bell pepper)
1 tbs veg oil
1 cup bread crumbs or rice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 1/3 of 1/2 cup
if using dried parsley
Recipe called for yogurt, but I eliminated it.

Preheat oven to 350

Cut cho-chos in half lengthwise and remove

Boil the cho-chos in salted water for about
25 minutes or until cooked (don't overcook)

Mash the cho-cho insides, add to the sauteed
onion and peppers, and mix with the remaining

Place a portion of stuffing in each cho-cho shell.

Bake until the stuffing is light brown, about 20

Recipe from Delicious Jamaica! Vegetarian Cuisine
by Yvonne McCalla Sobers


After slavery ended in Jamaica (1838)indentured laborers from India and China were brought to Jamaica and with them came their fruits and vegetables and their way of cooking. While this recipe is similar to the fried rice we are used to in the states, it is different and would go better with Jamaican food, rather than typical Chinese fried rice. I think it is better.

Serves 6

2 tbs veg oil
2 whole cloves garlic
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1/2 cup sweet peppers, chopped (I used regualr
red bell pepper)
1/4 cup carrots, coarsely grated
4 cups cold, cooked rice (I always use white basamati
rice because it is easier to digest and I prefer the
1 cup of bean sprouts (I used alfalfa sprouts)
2 scallions, chopped
1-2 tbs Tamari (or more to your taste)
2-3 tsp Pickapeppa Sauce*
Bit of parsley, chopped or dried

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan with a cover, and fry
the whole cloves of garlic until they are brown. Remove
the garlic.

Saute the onions and chopped garlic in leftover oil until
the onion is transparent. Then add the celery, sweet
peppers, and carrots, and saute another 2 minutes.

Add the cooked rice, continue to stir-fry for another
3 minutes, and then add the bean sprouts and scallions.

Add the tamari and pickapeppa sauce, and mix well for
another minute. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

Recipe from Delicious Jamaica! Vegetarian Cuisine by
Yvonne McCalla Sobers

*I've had mine for a while, but it probably is available
at Publix, Whole Foods, or Jamaican grocers.


I love cabbage and this recipe puts a whole new spin on it. It tastes like an entirely different vegetable. Steamed cabbage is one of the fastest Jamaican dishes to prepare.

1 medium cabbage
2 tbs margarine (I don't like cooking with soy butter. I
used 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs veg oil)
1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped and seeds removed
(other hot peppers can be used)
2 sprigs thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1 crushed garlic, chopped or 2 tsp garlic powder
2 or 3 small slices of green pepper (optional)
1 medium chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water

Slice cabbage leaves into pieces

Saute onion, garlic, pepper, thyme in oil

Add cabbage and water.

Cover and cook until tender.

Add Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Simmer for a bit and serve.

Recipe from

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The Tainos, or Arawak Indians, are the original inhabitants of Jamaica. Xaymaca is the Taino word from which Jamaica is derived.

The recipe is actually called Barbeque Tofu, but it is nothing like a barbeque sauce. It's much better: thinner, but more flavorful. It was so good I was practically eating it with a spoon. It's easy too.

Serves 4

1 lb firm tofu
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 tsp hot pepper, seeded and chopped
(I used little 3" red peppers from Sedanos which
freeze beautifully. All hot peppers do)
1/4 tsp thyme*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs tomato concentrate (paste)**
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice***
1 tbs lime juice (or lemon)
(I think lime is better for this recipe)
1/2 tsp powdered ginger or 1/2" gingerroot,
crushed or grated
1 tbs prepared mustard (I used French's yellow)
4 pimento grains (I used a tad of allspice which is what
pimento grains are)

Preheat oven to 350

Slice tofu into 1/4" slices, lightly fry, and set aside

Saute the onions, garlic, and hot pepper in the remaining oil,
and blend with all the other ingredients until smooth.

Arrange the tofu slices in a baking dish, pour the sauce over
the tofu, and bake for about 15 minutes.

Recipe from Delicious Jamaica! Vegetarian Cuisine by
Yvonne McCalla Sobers

*dried thyme
**Purchase tomato paste in a tube. No waste.
***I used canned Pineapple Slices in pineapple juice,
used the juice for recipe and enjoyed the pineapple.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I first discovered white balsamic vinegar with this recipe, and I haven't stopped using it in my salads since. It is not as rich as red balsamic vinegar and is sweeter. I love it.

2 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup of walnut oil (this is a light oil compared to
olive oil)

Blend first 4 ingredients then whisk in walnut oil.

Toss with torn romaine lettuce.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I have read that we shouldn't eat fruits and vegetables at the same time, but it is the latest thing in salads and it certainly tastes delicious. This salad is crunchy, refreshing, a bit tangy and sweet at the same time, and the cumin gives it an interesting flavor.

I am trying to ease my way into raw foods as part of my diet, so I think this is a good start. It's really a meal in itself and I think it will do well as a leftover, without the lettuce. I ate the apples, radishes, raisins, etc. and they were like a vegan cerviche.

Shallots last a long time and is a great alternative to onion. And not much is needed for great flavor.
Oils last a long time if kept in the fridge.

1/2 cup walnut halves (2 cups)
1 tbs minced shallot
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest*
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs white wine vinegar**
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs canola oil
2 tbs walnut oil (see Walnut Oil salad dressing on blog)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce (I added extra because
I did not use frisee-see below)
4 large radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
(1 cup)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (sliced 1/4" x 1-1/2")
1 small head of frisee lettuce, chopped (I just used romaine.
Frisee is hard to find but it is delicious. Ibought it at Fresh Market
and Whole Foods previously)
1/4 cup golden raisins (dark raisins would be too sweet)
1 Fuji apple - peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise.

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350. Spread walnuts in a pie plate
and toast for about 8 mins, until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then
break into pieces.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the shallot and lemon
zest with the lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk in the canola and
walnut oils and the cumin. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the romaine to the bowl along with the toasted walnuts, radishes,
celery, raisins, and apple. (I let the veggie marinate a little bit then
added the romaine last)

Toss well and serve.

Recipe from Food and Wine November 2009

*Lemon zest is grated lemon peel
**White wine vinegar can be purchase at Publix. It is very
expensive at health food stores.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


In Jamaica, potato salads are popular for festive occasions. This recipe is best enjoyed at room temperature for two reasons: 1) the marinade warms and spreads 2) it's too cold to chew if right out of the fridge. When I first saw this recipe I thought it might taste like Whole Foods' Vegan Spring Potato Salad, but no way does it. It is much better.

Serves 6

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 small clove garlic
4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cubed
1 cup celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
1 green pepper, slivered
1/4 tsp hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped
(I eliminated the hot pepper because I had kids over)
2 tbs fresh parsley, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped

Blend the oil, vinegar, salt, oregano, mustard powder,
and garlic until smooth.

Pour over the hot potatoes, and marinate for at least
one hour, or until potatoes are cool. (Do not try to
bypass the marinating process - really makes a
difference. I forgot about the one hour time and left
it in fridge for several hours. Delicious!)

Add the rest of the vegetables and the seasonings to the
marinated potatoes.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours, then serve. (I elimated
this step as I left it in the fridge for several hours)

Recipe from Delicious Jamaica! Vegetarian Cuisine


No matter what I do with carrots they never seem to be delicious to me. This recipe has done it for me. Simple and quick, you will love this and so will children. If you don't like cumin, try this recipe anyway. The cumin is not prominent, but adds a really nice taste to the carrots.

A good investment: A Convection oven. They come in all prices. I bought one for $50 at Costco. I love it. Uses less energy and cooks a bit quicker than a regular oven.

Serves 6
Time: 30-40 mins

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
12 medium to large carrots, peeled, cut on diagonal into
1/2" thick pieces
2 tbs olive oil
1-1/2 tsps cumin seeds
2 tsps coarse kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large rimmed baking
sheet with nonstick spray.

Combine carrots and all remaining ingredients in large bowl.
Toss to coat.

Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet.

Roast carrots until tender and lightly caramelized, turning
over once. Do not overcook.

Recipe from Bon Appetit February 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


mm-mm-mm. Shepherd's Pie has come a long way since the late 1800's when it was filled with leftover roasted meats. It has always been topped with mashed potatoes ever since potatoes were considered an edible affordable vegetable for the poor. This is what I call fabulous gourmet vegan food. Try not to eliminate the wine.

I have replaced the milk/cream with soymilk and water from potatoes and replaced the butter with olive oil. I also eliminated the celery root as it is hard to find, and replaced it with some browned shallots, garlic, parsnips, and celery. Stew and potato mixture can be made one day ahead (reserve additional potato water) and chilled separately. Reheat potato mixture slowly in a microwave. Bring stew to a simmer over low heat before topping with warm potato mixture. Broil as instructed.

Serves 4

Cook time: 1 hour

1 cup pearl onions (at least 10)
4 tbs olive oil, divided
1 package Gardein Beefless Tips, rinsed*
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts)
halved lengthwise, sliced 1/2" thick, washed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into 3/4" pcs
2 medium parsnips, cut into 3/4" pcs
1/3 tbs dried thyme
1/3 tbs chopped dried rosemary
1/3 bottle (a little less) full-bodied red wine such as
Burgundy or Cotes du Rhone
1/2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 cups hot rich vegetable stock**
1 tsp dried parsley

1-1/2 lbs (approx) Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and
cut into 2" pcs.
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

Defrost Gardein, rinse, cut pieces in half, cover and put

Blanch pearl onions in a 2-qt saucepan of boiling water
for 2 minutes. Drain and cool in iced water to stop
cooking process. Peel onions, trim, leaving root ends

Heat 1-1/2 tbs oil in pot over medium heat. Add leeks
and 1/8 tsp of salt, cover and cook until softened about
6 mins, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently until almost
golden and fragrant, about 2 mins.

Add mushrooms and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, covered,
stirring occasionally, until they begin to give off some
liquid, about 5 mins,

Add carrots, parsnips,, thyme, and rosemary and cook
covered, stirring occasionally, until veggies are just
tender, about 10-12 mins. Transfer veggies to bowl.

Add wine to pot and boil until reduced to about 1 cup

While wine reduces, make a "beurre manie"*** by
stirring together 1-1/2 tbs oil and flour in a small bowl to form
a paste.

Add stock to wine and bring to a brisk simmer. Whisk in "beurre
manie" then simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened
slightly, 3-5 mins.

Add Gardein, pearl onions, and veggie mixture to pot and simmer,
covered, 20 mins (approx). Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Boil potatoes until soft.

Saute garlic, shallots, parsnip, and celery until golden.
Mash together with cooked potatoes, salt, and pepper, some soy
milk and some reserved cooking water. Mashed potato mixture
should be solid enough to form a topping over the stew.

Add stew to a 2" deep baking dish (approx. 3 qt). Spoon potato
mixture over stew and spread evenly to cover. Broil about 3
inches from heat until top is starting to get golden, about 5-8

Recipe from Gourmet, 2009

*The original recipe called for seitan, but I used Gardein. I think
it has more flavor.
**I like to use Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base. It is dark,
and rich. Comes in a glass jar.
***Beurre Manie is usually made with butter but I used oil instead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This is a nice switch from tomato bruschetta or typical olive tapenade. It is tasty, crunchy, and refreshing.

Makes eight 1/4 cup servings.

Total time: 30 minutes

2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 cup finely diced celery (3 ribs)
1 cup finely chopped pitted green olives (5 ounces)
2 tbs capers, chopped
2 tbs chopped mint*
Freshly ground pepper

In a small skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over
moderate heat until golden. Let the oil cool, then discard the

Transfer the oil to a bowl and add the celery, olives, capers and
mint. Toss, season with pepper and serve.

Recipe from Food & Wine, July 2009

*Mint is not easily found in supermarkets and I prefer dried
mint over fresh mint as it is stronger tasting. The only strong
mint I have found was at Middle Eastern grocery stores. And
don't forget the following: 1 tbs fresh herb = 1/3 tbs dried.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


During Indian month, I cooked many interesting Indian dishes I had never heard of. This was one of only a few that I enjoyed. What I liked about it was that there was a vegan crepe. Rava dosas are savory crisp-edged crepes popular in South India. It didn't taste like a real crepe, but I think with some tweeking I can get it to taste similar to a French crepe. These dosas can bill filled with any combination of veggies, and perhaps fruits. Recipe contains lots of ingredients, but was pretty easy to make. There are also many steps, which are really simple, but definitely read through before starting. Don't over-fill dosas or all the veggies will spill out when eating.

Serves 4

Active time: 40 min
Total Time: 1 hr (Most of the cook time is from cooking veggies in increments)

1-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 (3") fresh jalapeno, coarsely chopped (include seeds)
1 (2-1/2") piece peeled ginger , coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups water, divided
1 large onion, chopped (3 cups)
1 (15-19oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen peas (DO NO THAW)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
Vegetable oil for brushing

1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-1/2 pcs. Transfer to a bowl and
cover with cold water.
2. Toast coconut in a 12" skillet over medium heat, stirring until
golden. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
3. Toast cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat, shaking until
fragrant and just a shade darker. Transfer to another small
bowl. Reserve skillet.
4. Puree jalapeno, ginger, and garlic in a blender with curry
powder, cinnamon, turmeric, oil, 1/4 cup water, and 1 tsp salt
until smooth. Transfer puree to skillet and cook over medium-
high heat, stirring until thickened., about 1 minute.
5. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to
soften, about 8 minutes.
6. Drain potatoes, then add to onion mixture with cumin seeds
and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes
are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
7. Add chickpeas and remaining 1-1/2 cups water, scraping up
any brown bits, then briskly simmer, covered, until potatoes are
tender, about 15-20 minutes.
8. Add peas and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3
minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and

1. Whisk flours, cumin seeds, salt, and water in a bowl.
2. Generously brush a 12" non-stick skillet with oil and heat
over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pour 1/2 cup
batter into skillet, swirling until bottom is coated. Cook,
undisturbed, until dosa is set and edges are golden.
3. Flip using a rubber spatula and cook dosa until underside
is golden in spots. Transfer to a plate. Continue stacking and
covering loosely with foil to keep warm.

To serve, spoon masala filling into dosas.

Recipe from Gourmet, November 2009

Friday, June 18, 2010


This is a simple and easy dip to make. I'm not a lover of dill, but I do like it in some foods. And like most dips, this can be used as a spread for sandwiches. This recipe was on the inside of the box of veggie burgers that I used to eat years ago. They were called Mudpie Vegetable Patties.

1 lb tofu
1 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp marjoram
3/4 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Blend or beat until smooth. Let set a minimum of 15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


There are hundreds of dipping sauces, but the one I used with my spring rolls is as follows:

1/3 cup hoisin sauce*
2 tbs chunky peanut butter
2 tbs water (or more to desired consistency and taste)

Stir together hoisin sauce, peanut butter and water.

(Original recipe was from a different type of spring roll which called
for 2 tbs of pickling liquid which I eliminated because it contained
vinegar, lime, and jalapeno peppers which was leftover from the
mixed veggies and I wanted a sweeter sauce)

Recipe: Gourmet, May 2009

*I am not sure if this sauce is always vegan, but the one I used was
and I purchased it at Whole Foods or Publix.


Don't you just love these delicate little rolls. It was so exciting 20 years ago to find a Thai Restaurant in North Miami Beach that served vegan spring rolls. Now, 20 years later I have discovered how easy they are to make and the many different ways to make them. In their simplicity a feeling of great artistic accomplishment swept over me. I almost felt like I was creating a living thing, even patting it as such. Talk about anthropomorphizing. Seriously, they are fun to make and delicious to eat.

They can be filled with any type of veggie you like (almost) and they can be eaten fried, baked, or uncooked. I love cabbage in mine and prefer my rolls uncooked. The recipe that follows is how I made them.

Tip: I originally made them with tofu chunks but found that they had to be too big, which made them clumsy and sloppy to eat with the tofu poking through the rice gallettes. I prefer them the typical size found in restaurants.


2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs carrots, shredded
2 tbs onions, chopped
2 tbs celery, fined diced
2 tbs green bell peppers, julienned
2 tbs red bell peppers, julienned
2 tbs cabbage, shredded
1/4 tsp soy sauce
4 spring roll wrappers (These are called Gallettes de Riz/Rice Paper)*

If you plan to bake: preheat oven to 350.

Lightly coat skillet with vegetable oil. Saute garlic briefly and add
carrots,onion, celery, peppers, and cabbage. Add soy sauce and
continue to saute until crisp-tender, about 5 mins. Remove from heat
and let cool.

Place 3 tbs of cooked vegetables in each gallette and roll, tucking
in the sides or not.

If baking, lightly coat baking sheet, as well as rolls, with oil and
bake until lightly brown. If frying, fry until golden brown


Recipe: I don't know how long I have had this newspaper recipe,
but it is from the Asian Sensation's luncheons at the Spa at Doral.

*These can be found at Asian grocery stores and Whole Foods, possibly
supermarkets. You simply place each gallette in a shallow bowl of warm
water and within seconds itsoftens and is ready to add veggies and roll.

Monday, May 24, 2010


This recipe is not hot because of the crushed red pepper, but it does give the dish some zing. I think if you used Harissa paste it would be a bit more smokey and spicy. Harissa is a Middle Eastern concoction of spices and is made in many different ways. I made it once, put too much spice in it, and haven't made it since, so I cannot comment on Harissa in relation to this dish - I used crushed red pepper. I made a simple salad of romaine lettuce with olive oil & white balsamic vinegar, which I like better than red - it's less tart. Really delicious - if you've never tried it, you should. The vinegar and the cassoulet complimented each other very nicely.

While this recipe might seem to be a little bit of work, the veggie mix can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. The millet crust is simple to make and can be made the next day.


1 tbs plus 3 tsps oilive oil
2-1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 tbs minced garlic
8 ounces yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, cut into 1/2" pcs
4 ounces green beans, cut into 2" pcs
1 tbs ground cumin
2 tsp harissa paste or 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 15-oz can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat 1 tbs oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers, onions, carrot and garlic and saute until tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash, green beans, cumin, and crush red pepper and stir 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with juices and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mix in cannellini and 1/4 cup basil. Transfer mixture to 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

Millet Crust: Heat 1 tsp oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add millet and stir until golden, about 5-10 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until millet is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. Drain millet. Transfer to bowl and cool. Mix in breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tsp oil.

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle millet mixture evenly over vegetables in baking dish. Bake until vegetables are heated through and topping begins to crisp, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup basil around edges and serve.

Recipe from Bon Appetit May 1998

Thursday, May 20, 2010


If my memory doesn't fail me, I first tasted this when the Unicorn Restaurant came upon the scene many many years ago. (I believe the Unicorn was sold to Whole Foods years later.) They made this as a sandwich filling and then it just disappeared from their offerings.Wholefoods does make a vegan egg salad, which I don't like because of the turmeric that is put in it.

The filling just consists of firm tofu, chopped celery and chopped onions, some salt & pepper. Put as much celery and onions as you prefer. Mix all ingredients together. That's it. I like it on saltine style crackers or whole wheat bread.


I love potatoes and I love potato salad, but frankly, I am a little bored with the same old ways potato salad is prepared. This recipe is a great new way to enjoy it and probably a healthier way also. It is made with arugula, which is very easy to grow. After making this terrific recipe, I am inspired to grow my own arugula.

Serves 12 as a side dish.
(The two of us ate almost the whole thing for dinner with some soup. Told you I loved potatoes)

Time: Active 15 minutes Total: 40 minutes

3 pounds white potatoes, scrubbed (I used red potatoes)
1/4 cup plus 3 tbs olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbs grainy mustard*
1-1/2 tbs sherry vinegar
1 small onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula (6 cups)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the potatoes into 1/2" wedges. Scatter
the potato wedges on 2 large rimmed baking sheets, drizzle with
3 tbs of olive oil and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper
and roast for about 25 minutes, until browned and crisp. (I used a
convection oven and used only one roasting pan and even though
the potatoes were layered, they still roasted nicely)

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil with the
mustard and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. In a large
bowl, toss the potatoes with the onion and arugula. Top with
dressing, toss again and serve right away. (It was still delicious
almost 2 hours later)

Recipe from Food & Wine July 2008

*Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground Style Mustard
Also, consider making my other potato recipe in order to use
up the left-over mustard as it doesn't have a very long fridge
life like regular mustard. See: Skewered Potatoes with Rosemary

Friday, May 14, 2010


I prefer to use dried chickpeas because they are healthier and they just taste better. But you can use canned if you want to. In any case, it is a fabulous dish that I ate even five days later and still enjoyed so much.

After decades of cooking, I finally started to use a whisk for mixing oils or dressings. What a difference. I guess there's a reason for all those kitchen gadgets.

This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and is a nice switch from chickpeas in salad or the way I have always eaten them - sprinkled with salt and pepper. This is also a great
entertaining dish because it is filling and inexpensive to make.

When I made this I added more vinegar, but I don't think this is the type of salad that calls for a very vinegary dressing, so go slowly. I think the vinegar is supposed to be more subtle.

Serves 6

1-1/2 cups dried chickpeas
(3/4 pound) soaked overnight and drained
(This made about 3 cups of cooked)
1 large onion, quartered
12 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb (3/4 pound to 1 pound)
halved, cored, and finely chopped
3/4 cup loosely packed parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

In a large pot, cover the chickpeas with water. Add the quarted
onion and the thyme sprigs. Bring the chickpeas to a boil, then
simmer them over moderate heat for 1 hour. Stir in 1 teaspoon of
salt and simmer the chipeas until they are tender, about 10 minutes
longer. Discard the onion and thyme sprigs (Leave in loose thyme)

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mash the garlic with 1 teaspoon of
salt. Stir in the red wine vinegar, then gradually whisk in the olive

Drain the chickpeas and toss with the celery, fennel, parsley and red
onion. Add the dressing and toss until blended. Add salt to taste.

Serve warm.

Recipe from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2003

Wine suggestion: Fruity low-oak Chardonnay

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This soup is inspired by chef Fabio Picchi of the Florentine restaurant Cibreo, and is his signature first course. It usually uses meat stock as a base, but cookbook writer Faith Willinger thinks water is good enough, and I agree. While I was cooking the veggies for this soup, I was thinking how could this be a good recipe - it seemed so bland. Well, I was wrong. There is something very magical when all the veggies of a soup are blended. And this soup is no exception. Creamy, rich, a slight hint of red pepper. Scrumptious. The original recipe calls for a crisp Italian almond macaroon for sprinkling, but I used some unsweetened coconut (sweet would be fine) I had left-over from my Indian cooking, and some sliced almonds I had. Frankly, I don't think they are needed, but it was a nice touch.

Serves 6
Time: 1 Hour

1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 lb winter squash, such as butternut, peeled, seeded, and
cut into 1/2" cubes (I used 1 lb without the peel as it is a
thick peel) *
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/8 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
2 tsps sea salt
3-1/2 cups BOILING water
1 crisp amaretto (Italian almond macaroon) finely crushed
(approx. 2 tbs) See above note

Cook celery, carrot, and onion in oil in a 3-quart heavy
saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender
but not browned. About 10-12 minutes.

Add squash, potatoes, red pepper, and salt. Stir in 3-1/2
cups of BOILING water and simmer, covered, until veggies
are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Cool soup a bit and puree in batches in a blender. Add water
if necessary.

Sprinkle with coconut and almond, if desired.

*When I cook with butternut squash I cut it into large chunks
before I peel it, and many times I use a knife to peel instead
of a potato peeler. It is a difficult vegetable to cut so do
smaller pieces.

Recipe from Red, White & Greens by Faith Willinger as
featured in The Best of Gourmet 2002

Thursday, May 6, 2010


This is a great way to get your kids, or yourself, to eat carrots. The French love to put nutmeg in their veggies, with cream and butter, of course. I used soy milk and I added the butter (Earth Balance non-dairy butter) at the end because I find that mixing the butter in the food at the beginning, the flavor just gets lost. This is a yummy comfort food for those of us who love our carbs.

PS: After eating leftovers the next day, I added more butter and a bit of sugar before eating and enjoyed it more.

Serves 4

1 pound russet or idaho potatoes
3/4 pound carrots, peeled and sliced, about
1/4" thich
1/2 cup white onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup milk
2 tbs butter
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cumin
2 tbs parsley, finely chopped

Peel potatoes and rinse well. Cut them lengthwise into large

Place the potatoes, carrots, and onions in a saucepan with
water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for
12 - 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Drain

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan.

Put the veggie mixture through a food mill or potato ricer (I
think a regular masher would be fine.) Return it to a saucepan.

Add the nutmeg, cumin, parsley, and pepper to taste. Add the
warm milk gradually, while stirring. Add butter.

If you want to add additional nutmeg or cumin, do it a little
bit at a time, so as not to overdo.

Recipe from Pierre Franey's Cooking in France, 1994

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This month I will be cooking a lot of french recipes, so I am very excited because I love french food. France is not known as a veggie country, but when they make vegetables, they are simple and delicious because they use lots of spices. In France they like to cook cucumbers. This refreshing dish reminds me of gazpacho, even though it is served warm. It's a nice alternative to cucumbers in salad, which is the only way I ever ate them.

Servings 4

2 tbs corn oil
6 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise,
and thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp minced fresh basil
3 tbs minced fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1/4 lemon*
Juice of 1 lemon

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil
until very hot, but not smoking, and saute the shallots
until just softened, about 30 seconds.

Add cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, salt, a generous
amount of pepper, basil, parsley, lemon zest, and
lemon juice.

Toss or stir to mix all the ingredients and remove
from heat. Serve.

Recipe from Cooking Provence by Antoine Bouterin

*lemon zest is grated lemon peel

Thursday, April 29, 2010


These crispy tortilla strips and sweet mini bell peppers make a colorful garnish for the Rustic Tomato Soup which I have listed. Since I have started my cooking adventure, I have gotten excited about the little things: toasting croutons, little pieces of pita, and these rajas. It is such an easy process and the taste is great. The worst part is that you will want to eat all the leftovers.

Serves 8

Vegetable oil for frying
4 4-inch corn tortilla squares (cut from round tortillas)
halved, cut into 2" x 1/4" strips
1 5-ounce package mini bell peppers, stemmed, seeded,
cut into thin strips

Pour enough oil into a heavy medium saucepan to reach
a depth of 3/4". Heat oil over medium heat 4 mins.
Fry half of torilla strips until just golden. Using a
slotted spoon, transfer strips to paper towels to
drain (color will darken slightly). Repeat with the
remaining strips.

Heat 1-1/2 tbs tortilla-frying oil from saucepan in
medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mini
peppers. Toss until tender, about 2 mins. Sprinkle
with salt and freshly ground pepper.

DO AHEAD: All rajas can be made 2 hours ahead. Let
stand at room temperature.

Recipe from: Bon Appetit, December 2009 by
Selma Brown Morrow


This recipe calls for a few kitchen tools that you might not have on hand, but with a little ingenuity, you can find substitutes. If you are really interested in gourmet cooking, a mortar and pestle is an inexpensive purchase. I just bought a great ceramic set (3 different sizes) from Amazon. In this recipe you will toast, blend, and grind the ingredients. I found the extra work worth it. If you don't have lots of time to cook, perhaps you can make this meal for a special occasion. It is certainly a change from the typical Latin meals I was accustomed to. Don't forget, this soup can be made in stages ahead of time. Most Latin ingredients are very inexpensive and generally last a long time.

I post the recipe servings as is and will leave it up to individuals to change accordingly.

I made this smokey tasting soup as part of a Latin meal. I have posted Watercress Guacamole and Rajas (strips of tortillas) with mini peppers, which I made as side dishes.

Serves 8

2 tbs cumin seeds
6 tbs olive oil
4 cups chopped onions (about 2 large)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp achiote paste*
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes
with basil in juice, diced, all
juice reserved
4 cups vegetable broth
1 3" to 4" dried guajillo chile**
stemmed, seeded, coarsely torn
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Coarse Kosher salt

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium
heat until starting to smoke and pop, about
4 mins.

Pour seeds onto plate, cool. Grind finely in
spice mill or mortar & pestle (ceramic)

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Chill in
airtight container.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add
onions. Cover and cook until tender but not
brown, stirring often, about 8 mins. Remove
from heat.

Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Add
achiote and allspice. Stir over low heat
1 minute.

Add tomatoes with juice, broth, and guajillo
chile. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low;
cover and simmer 15 mins.

Working in 2-cup batches, blend soup in
processor to coarse puree (some texture
should remain.) Return to same pot. Mix in
1-1/2 tsp toasted cumin; season with
cayenne, if desired, and coarse salt and
freshly ground pepper.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill
uncovered until cold, then cover and keep

Recipe: Bon Appetit, December 2009 from
Selma Brown Morrow

Suggested Wine: Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner or
Pinot Gris. I prefer the Pinot Gris for it's
cool fresh flavor which would balance the spicy
smokey flavor of the soup. The Gruner Veltliner
would be next, but I don't care for it as much.
I think for the Chardonnay, I would stick with
unoaked as opposed to an oaky one. I am
only a beginner wine student, but I still stick
with the Pinot Gris. And, of course, beer would
be great, as well.

*Sold at Latin Markets
**Dried peppers are very inexpensive and last
a long time. Can easily be found at Latin
Markets. This pepper is a maroon-colored,
fairly hot dried chile up to 6 inches long and
about 1-1/2" wide.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Guacamole isn't one of my favorite Mexican sides. I'd rather eat a whole avocado, sprinkled with lemon, but guacamole prepared like this was really different. The watercress gives it a very unique flavor - I loved it. I am not sure if I would make it as a side with typical Mexican: refried beans, salsa, etc. It tastes much too special for that. I made it as a side with smokey tomato soup, which I have posted.

Serves 8

3 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 cup chopped fresh watercress tops*
Coarse Kosher salt

Cube avocado into medium bowl of cold water, drain well.
Place in large bowl.

Add lime juice and mash coarsely.

Mix in watercress; add salt & pepper to taste.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover & chill.

Recipe from Bon Appetit, December 2009 by
Selma Brown Morrow

*Watercress turns yellow pretty quickly, so I would
suggest buying it the same day you plan to make it.


Dal (Dhal) is a typical Indian soup generally eaten with rice, veggies, or nan bread. There are many variations using different peas and beans. This recipe is very easy to make. I mixed it in a blender because I wanted it creamier. I always preferred chunky soups, but now I am discovering the simple, yet richly flavored taste of blended soups. Plus, in the case of this soup, I couldn't imagine crunching the mustard seeds in my teeth. I think I made the right decision.
The original recipe calls for optional butter, which I eliminated. A delicious soup, not too spicy.

Serves 4

2 tbs peanut oil*
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup dried red lentils (split lentils), washed
and picked over
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs mustard seeds
2 cloves
1 tsp cracked black pepper (If you use regular
pepper, go easy because I think it might be
too much)
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
(I think the soup was better without it)

Put oil in a skillet over medium high heat;
when hot, add onion and cook until soft, about
10 mins. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in
a saucepan. EXCEPT SALT AND CILANTRO. Add water
to cover by about 1", and bring to boil. Adjust
heat so mixture bubbles gently, and cook stirring
occasionally. Add more water if necessary. Cook
until lentils are tender, 15 to 20 mins.

Sprinkle with salt & pepper and keep cooking to
desired tenderness. Lentils should be saucy but
not soupy.

Remove cloves from pan and add reserved onion.
Put in blender and blend until smooth.

*I keep all my oils in the fridge. They last longer.

Recipe from New York Times ( January 6, 2010