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