Friday, November 14, 2014

RECIPE: Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples

Difficulty Level: EASY

1 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread, whole grain, or, if you are gluten free, millet bread will work nicely. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1.Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots in 2 tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast till vegetables are very tender and remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350.

2.Heat other tbsp oil in a large pot. Sautee the onion and celery till translucent (about 5-8 min). Add the bread cubes and allow them to get golden brown with the veggies in the oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

3.Add the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans, and seasonings. Stir the mix till the broth has almost entirely absorbed in the toasted bread. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot. And delicious.

RECIPE: Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Level: Easy

Small sugar pumpkins

1.     Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center
2.     Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet face side up and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender
3.     Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces
4.     Add the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and add a splash of water
5.     Pulse the pumpkin until smooth
6.     You can either use this immediately or store it in the freezer for later use

Friday, November 7, 2014

RECIPE: Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage

Difficulty Level: Easy


·        2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed

·        1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

·        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·        Olive oil cooking spray

·        3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

·        8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

·        1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced

·        2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

·        4 cups tightly packed torn kale

·        1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

·        1/4 cup chopped walnuts

·        2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan

·        2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside.

Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash.

In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.

RECIPE: Cinnamon Baked Apples

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings

4 thick-skinned, large and slightly sweet apples, such as Cortland or Rome (varieties like McIntosh or Macoun will burst & split, although will still taste delicious--I speak from experience!)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 Tbs. dark brown sugar

2 Tbs. softened butter

2 Tbs. finely chopped walnuts (or large pieces, if you prefer)

Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut a thin slice from the top of each apple, as well as a small slice from the bottom of each apple, so that it has a flat base. Then core the apples about 3/4 of way down. If you own an apple corer, this can be done very quickly. To core the apples with a paring knife, please read theses simple instructions:
2. Place apples in a baking dish (8x8 glass Pyrex fits 4 apples perfectly), filled with 1/2 inch of water; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, brown sugar, softened butter, walnuts and salt. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture into each apple.
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until apples are tender. Drizzle pan juices over tops of the apples and serve. Your home will smell delightful!

RECIPE: Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake-street food)

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha, more or less to taste

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

1.Whisk the first set of ingredients together and. Set aside while you make the pancakes.

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

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

RECIPE: Oven Baked Turnip Fries

Difficulty Level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


•Olive Oil
•Salt, garlic powder, and paprika


Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel rutabagas with a paring knife and slice in 1/4" rounds. If you like, you can do them in strips - they will cook a little faster, but you have to watch them carefully or they'll burn.  Smear with oil and a little salt and put them on a nonstick baking sheet.  Cook about 12 minutes, turning twice. Take out when golden brown and tender. Immediately sprinkle with garlic powder and paprika. I like to add kosher salt at the end as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

RECIPE: Swe​et and Sour Delicata Squash

Difficulty Level: EASY

1. 1 pound delicata squash

2. 1/3 cup olive oil

3. 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed

4. 1 tablespoon light brown or demerara sugar

5. 3 tablespoons white wine, red wine, or sherry vinegar

6. 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste

7. Freshly ground black pepper

8. Fresh mint, chopped

1.Trim the delicata squash on both ends. Halve lengthwise, and slice in 1/4-inch thick half moon slices.

2.In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil with the garlic over medium-low heat, cooking it until it is fragrant but not at all browned. Press down on the garlic cloves with a spatula or wooden spoon to release their flavor. Remove the garlic.

3.Arrange a layer of the squash slices in the heated oil. Cook, turning once or twice, until they are beginning to be golden, with some chestnut spots, on each side, but not mushy. Remove the slices with a slotted spoon or spatula and continue to work in batches until you’ve cooked all the squash slices this way.  

4.In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and sugar. Return the squash slices to the skillet and add the vinegar-sugar mix. Season with some salt an pepper, and carefully toss the squash in the mixture until it reduces and coats the slices. This won’t take long. Taste for salt and season more if necessary.  Don’t agitate them too much, or else they’ll start to fall apart.

5.You can serve the squash right away, but it is best to transfer it to a platter, covering it, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, and serving at room temperature.

Scatter the chopped mint over the squash before serving

RECIPE: Apple Brownies

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Time: 1 hr. 25 min.
Yield: 12 bars

1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for baking dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 chopped walnuts
2 large firm, sweet apples (about 1 lb. total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (approx. 2 3/4 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in center position. Generously butter a 9x11 baking dish.
2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar and egg with a hand mixer until pale, about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and apples and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until combined, about 30 seconds more.
4. Spread batter in pan and bake until golden brown and slightly firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars.

*Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

RECIPE: Stuffed Napa Cabbage with Napa Slaw

Difficulty Level: Easy 

Stuffed Cabbage:
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 lb pork and fennel sausage (out of its casing)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp Siracha
6 large Napa cabbage leaves

Add the sausage to a nonstick skillet and sauté until cooked through.  Add Siracha and stir to combine. Steam cabbage leaves, 2 at a time for 2 minutes just until pliable. Add sesame oil to warm rice and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add spoonful of rice and a spoonful of cooked sausage to cabbage leaf and roll up.  Repeat process with the rest of the leaves.

Napa Slaw:
3 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar 
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. mustard
salt and pepper

Combine the wet ingredients and toss with cabbage.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, October 24, 2014

RECIPE: Roasted Squash and Apple Chowder with Potatoes

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Serves 8

Puréed roasted butternut squash provides the creamy base for a hearty chowder. If making the chowder ahead, prepare the recipe through step 3, then assemble and reheat just before serving.

2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks (6 cups), divided
3 medium apples, peeled and diced (3 cups), divided
2 large leeks, white parts cut into 1-inch chunks (1 cup), plus ½ cup thinly sliced leek greens, divided
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 lb. multicolored potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks
½ cup apple juice
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine 5 cups butternut squash chunks, 2 cups diced apple, leek whites, oil, and maple syrup in large bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spread squash mixture in single layer on prepared baking sheet, and roast 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook potato chunks and remaining 1 cup butternut squash in boiling, salted water 5 to 7 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, and set aside.

4. Purée roasted vegetables in blender until smooth. Add purée and apple juice to large soup pot with 4 cups water. Whisk in vinegar, and heat over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Add boiled potatoes and squash, remaining 1 cup diced apple, and leek greens, and simmer 5 minutes, or until hot.

RECIPE: Balsamic Plums and Mozzarella

Difficulty Level: Easy

1 large ball buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
4 ripe plums, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped optional
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted optional

1.Put vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Adjust heat to low and simmer until it is reduced nearly three-quarters in volume and thickened to a syrup. About 15 minutes.

2.Add plums to syrup turning gently to coat and continue to cook for another 4-7 minutes more. Turn off heat and let cool.

3.Meanwhile assemble mozzarella slices on platter, allowing to overlap slightly and season with salt and pepper to taste. With a fork, remove plums from syrup and place atop cheese, then top with the remaining syrup, pine nuts and mint.

RECIPE: Coconut Oil Kale Chips

Difficulty Level: EASY

Note: you can shred the kale and massage with the below ingredients - or you can sprinkle with lime and it is a great kale salad.

1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, and stems removed
1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. red chili flakes (use ⅛ tsp. if you are not big on spice!)
⅛ tsp. ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste (be sparse on the salt, trust me.)

1.Preheat oven to 300F.

2.Cut or tear the kale into smaller pieces so the chips are not huge. Spread them out onto a baking sheet. Pour the melted coconut oil over the kale and massage until all kale leaves are covered. Sprinkle on the garlic, red chili flakes, ginger, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

3.Place into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, and then give them a toss. Continue cooking until crispy, 5-10 minutes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

RECIPE: Maple-roasted Butternut Squash

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Active Time: 20 min.
Total Time: Approx. 60-80 min.
Servings: 6


1 large butternut squash
1 head of garlic, separated but not peeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 1/2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
16 whole fresh sage leaves


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and seed the butternut squash and then cut it into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Place squash and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on a sheet pan in one layer.

2. Toss the squash & garlic with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until squash begins to brown, turning once during baking.

3. Sprinkle the pancetta and sage leaves evenly over the butternut squash and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the squash and garlic are tender and caramelized. Season taste with salt & pepper and serve hot.

Note: the roasted garlic spreads easily onto crusty slices of bread, such as a baguette.

RECIPE: Roasted Tomato Soup

Difficulty level: Easy

4 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
12 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 small red onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
5 cups cold water

Note: adjust everything according to how many tomatoes you have. I used mint and parsley-AMAZING! Just be creative.

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

2. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the black pepper. Transfer the tomato mixture (including all of its liquid) to a large, heavy rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer, skin side down. Roast until the tomatoes are charred on the edges, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Slip the skins off the tomatoes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are quite soft, about 10 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, and sage and sauté for about 1 minute.

4. Stir in the roasted tomatoes and garlic along with all the accumulated juices from the baking sheet and bring to a simmer. Add the water and simmer gently just until the flavors meld, about 8 minutes. If a smoother consistency is desired, blend all or a portion of the soup with an immersion or standing blender.

RECIPE: Gooseberry Ideas

Difficulty Level: Easy

Here are a couple great ideas for what to do with any leftover gooseberries: 

(1) Compote: husk, wash and cook down on the stove with a little sugar and water.  You can put it in yogurt, toast, etc.  Super easy and very delicious.

(2) Another suggestion for the compote is spooning it in elderflower soda or cordial. The french soda is available in so many supermarkets...quite elegant.

Friday, October 10, 2014

RECIPE: Coconut Gooseberry Clafoutis

Difficulty Level: Easy 

serves 4 for breakfast

1 1/4 cup coconut milk
3 eggs
scant 3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup gooseberries, canned or fresh
butter to grease the pan
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, crack 3 eggs and whisk to combine. Add coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until well blended. Finally, add the flour to this mixture and stir until evenly incorporated.

Generously grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet (or pie pan of similar size will work as well). Pour batter into greased pan, then sprinkle the gooseberries evenly throughout the mixture. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, then broil on high for about 2 minutes (until golden brown and puffy). Let stand 5 minutes, then serve with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

RECIPE: Cooked Carrot Salad

Difficulty Level: Intermediate


·  1 1/2 pounds carrots
·  3 1/2 cups cold water
·  1 1/2 cups white vinegar
·  2 tablespoons honey
·  1/4 cup pine nuts
·  1/4 cup golden raisins
·  1/4 teaspoon salt
·  1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·  1 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint leaves

1. Peel and trim the carrots and cut them into 3-inch lengths. Slice each length lengthwise into wedges about 1/3-inch thick.

2. Pour the water and vinegar into a 3- or 4-quart saucepan and set over high heat. Stir in the honey. When the water’s boiling, drop in the carrot wedges and cook, uncovered, at a good bubbling boil for approximately 25 minutes, until cooked through but with some bite. Don’t let them get mushy.

3. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat tossing them frequently until light gold; spill them onto a plate to cool.

4. When the carrots are cooked, lift them out of the pan with a slotted spatula and let them cool and drain in a colander placed in the sink. Keep the carrot cooking liquid at a boil. Drop in the raisins and cook until plump, about 5 minute, then lift them out and let them cool and drain, too. Keep the pan of carrot cooking liquid at a boil.

5. Boil the vinegar liquid vigorously and let reduce until only 1/4 cup or so of thick syrup remains in the pan, about 5 minutes. Watch the pan carefully and lower the heat as the liquid level nears the pan bottom. Immediately pour the carrot cooking liquid into a cup or small bowl before it burns.

6. Put the carrots in a bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons syrup and several pinches salt, and let them marinate briefly. Before serving, toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the pine nuts, the raisins, and the shredded mint leaves. Taste and add more salt or oil or syrup if needed. 

RECIPE: Fresh Tomato Salsa

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: About 2 1/2 cups

4 lbs. vine-ripened, summer tomatoes (5-6 medium)
1/2 medium onion (preferably white or yellow)
1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
4 fresh Serrano or jalapeño chiles, seeded & chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. sugar
3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Quarter & seed tomatoes. Dice tomatoes and transfer to a bowl.
2. Finely chop the onion; chop cilantro.
3. Stir chiles, onion, cilantro and garlic into the tomatoes. Add sugar and lime juice and season with salt & pepper.
4. Can be refrigerated for 1-2 hours if preferred chilled.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

RECIPE: Muhammara Dipping Sauce

Difficulty Level: Easy
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 small red chile
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 to 3 roasted red peppers
1/2 to 1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

to serve: torn basil

Using a hand blender or a conventional blender, puree the chile flakes, cumin, most of the walnuts, bread crumbs, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, and red peppers to a smooth, even consistency. Mix in the warm water in increments to achieve an easily spreadable consistency similar to a thick yogurt. If you¹re going to use it for dipping, you might want to leave it a touch thicker. Stir in the salt and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve topped with torn basil, the remaining walnuts, and a thick thread of olive oil.

RECIPE: Savory Apple Pie

This is the ultimate picnic dish.  It can be made ahead, eaten warm or cold. Versions exist in Italy and Nice, and whether you make it with chard or spinach or kale, it is always delicious.  If the thought of an apple, veggie, cheese, nut pie sounds weird to you, do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Trust me!

Difficulty Level: Advanced

3 cups unbleached flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
scant 1 Tbs salt

By hand: dump everything in a bowl and with the tips of your fingers, start working everything into each other until it all comes together into a shaggy ball

By food processor: pulse all the ingredients together until they come together into a shaggy ball.

Shape into a ball, cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 2 hours

4 large apples (nothing too mushy: Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smiths, Honeycrisps, all work well)
3 Tbs raisins
2 Tbs dark rum (optional. You can use hot water too)
1 Cup cooked and thoroughly drained chopped greens (spinach, swiss chard, and kale all work well. Make sure to really cook them though. Totally wilted and very tender).
4 Tbs pine nuts
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 to 1/2 lb of a mild cheese, diced (young Gouda, mild Cheddar, mozzarella all work well)
2 beaten eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbs of red currant jelly, room temperature and stirred with a fork to loosed it up a bit
3 additional Tbs confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 375 and butter a 9 inch springform pan or a 10 inch pie plate. Set aside.

Peel the apples and cut 2 into small cubes.  Place raisins and rum (or water) in a small pan and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the greens, raisins and their liquid, apple cubes, pine nuts, sugar, cheese, eggs, and lemon zest. Slice the remaining 2 apples, set aside.

Divide the pastry with one piece being about a third of the size of the larger piece.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as you can into two circles.

Place the larger circle in the prepared mold, covering the bottom and coming up the sides. Prick all over with a fork. Spread the currant jelly all over the bottom. Add the filling. Cover with the reserved apple slices (a concentric circle pattern looks nice and works well) and then with the remaining dough. Pinch the bottom and top crust edges together and trim off any excess. Prick the top crust with a fork and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, place on a rack to cool, and just before serving, dust with remaining 3 Tbs confectioner's sugar

RECIPE: Moroccan Ratatouille

This is a great recipe for using up a lot of produce at once. The recipe is very flexible so feel free to add in additional vegetables as you see fit.

Difficulty Level Easy
Time: Aprox 30 minutes

1 TBS butter
2 Cloves garlic
1 Onion
1 eggplant
2-3 zucchini
2 carrots
1 bell pepper
1 rutabaga
1 can tomato paste
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and Pepper

1.     Chop vegetables into small, bite sized pieces that are approximately the same size

2.     Heat butter in a pot and add onions once hot

3.     After a minute or two when the onions begin to get translucent add pressed garlic

4.     Once Garlic has browned add the chopped vegetables starting with the carrots and rutabaga as they will take longer to cook

5.     Allow the veggies to brown for approximately 5 minutes, this will bring out a more robust flavor

6.     Add tomato paste and a the water or stock to form a sauce like consistency

7.     Season with spices and allow the sauce to simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the sauce is significantly reduced and the vegetables are tender

8.     Season with salt and pepper to taste

9.     Serve over couscous or as a side!

Friday, September 26, 2014

RECIPE: Zucchini-Applesauce Chocolate Chip Loaf

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Time: 2 hr. 35 min.
Size: 5-by-10-inch loaf pan


Nonstick cooking spray
Parchment paper
1 cup spelt flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coarse salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups grated zucchini (from 1 large zucchini or several small ones)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of overhang on the long sides. Spray the parchment, as well.

2. Whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 5 minutes. Let loaf cool completely on wire rack before removing from pan.

 *Loaf can be stored at room temp. for up to two days.
**You can also bake the batter in 4 mini (3 x 5 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Divide batter evenly among  pans and reduce baking time to about 45 minutes.

RECIPE: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Difficulty Level: Ambitious Beginner
Time: Approx. 90 min.
Yield: 8 cups; serves 4-6


1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6-8 sprigs of fresh basil
4 lbs. ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Kitchen twine


1. To peel the tomatoes, slightly score the base of each tomato with an X. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and plunge the tomatoes into the water for 10-15 seconds. Remove the tomatoes and set aside until cook enough to handle. The skins will slip off easily. Seed the tomatoes by cutting them in half along their equator and gently squeeze. Chop them and set aside in a bowl.

2. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 7 minutes). Tie the basil sprigs together with a piece of kitchen twine. Add to the onions the basil sprigs, tomatoes, chicken broth, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by one-quarter (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat & let cool for about 20 min. Remove the basil sprigs.

3. In a blender, puree the soup in 2-3 batches until very smooth, at least two minutes per batch. Place each blended batch into a large bowl. *Take extra care as the soup will still be quite hot while blending. Transfer all the soup back into the soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in cream and balsamic vinegar and remove from heat immediately. Taste and add salt & pepper, if needed.

4. Just before serving, cut the fresh basil leaves into thin strips. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cut basil.

RECIPE: Roasted Cabbage Wedges

Difficulty Level: EASY

1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Place 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds. Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

RECIPE: Beef Kofta Stuffed Apples

Difficulty level: Easy
Makes 6-8 Servings 

6-8 Gala Apples, Cut 1/2 inch off the top and core center, leaving the outside to form a cup. (reserve top and all the extra cored apple pieces)
1  Egg
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3 (3 tsp.) Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint, finely chopped
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 tsp. Ground All Spice
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
¼ Cup Pinenuts, toasted (optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 lb . Ground Beef

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a muffin tin.

Dice the extra insides of the apple that you cored, removing the seeds.  In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg, panko, garlic, mint, cumin, all spice, cinnamon, pinenuts, cored diced apple pieces, salt and pepper. Crumble in beef and gently mix.  Do not overwork.

Stuff the cored apple cups with the meat mixture.  Place the apples in the greased muffin tin, one apple per muffin mold. Place the top (stem and all) of each apple on top of the apple and meat cup, leaving a bit of the meat exposed.

In the preheated oven, bake the apples, uncovered for 45 minutes until they become soft and juicy.

Serve warm.

RECIPE: Greek-Style Roasted Vegetables

 Difficulty Level: Easy
 Servings: 6 (as a side dish)
 Time: 60-70 minutes

 The perfect recipe for clearing out your produce drawers!


 1 medium onion
 2 small carrots
 1 zucchini
 1 eggplant
 2 small potatoes
 1 small tomato (or 6 cherry/grape tomatoes)
 1 red or yellow pepper
 2 cloves of garlic
 Salt & pepper to taste
 2 tsp. dried oregano (or to taste)
4-5 Tbs. olive oil (or more to taste)


 1. Preheat oven to 375°. Quarter and slice the onion thinly. Dice all the vegetables into pieces that are approximately the same size (no larger than 1/2 inch).

 2. Pile the vegetables into a 9x13 baking dish so that the vegetables lie a few inches thick. Season with salt, pepper & dried oregano, and the pour the olive oil over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly, but gently. Veggies should be well-coated and glistening with oil. If needed, add more oil.

 3. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes to an hour. Halfway through the roasting process, remove the dish from the oven and gently stir the vegetables, so that the ones at the bottom come to the top. Stir one more time towards the end of the roasting time. Let cool slightly, check for seasoning & serve.

RECIPE: Easy, Delicious End-of-Summer Salad

A tasty idea for what to do with all those tomatoes and fruit...
Peaches or nectarines cut up into slices
Tomatoes cut up into slices
Feta or ricotta cheese
Oil and vinegar                 
Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl.  Add oil and vinegar (I like Champagne vinegar).  Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

RECIPE: Blistered Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives and Feta

Difficulty Level: Easy
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 large eggplant (about 1 3/4 lbs.), cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 3/4 lbs. mixed tomatoes, small ones halved or quartered, large ones cut into 1/4-inch rounds
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. feta, crumbled
1/2 cup mixed pitted olives
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, lightly chopped
Bread, such as a baguette, for serving (optional, but great for soaking up the drippings!)


1. Preheat broiler with rack 6 inches from the heat source.

2. Place eggplant rounds on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until eggplant is blistered and deep brown on one side, 10-12 minutes. Flip and broil until blistered on other side, 10-12 minutes more. Check on the eggplant periodically, as broiler heat varies from oven to oven.

3. Immediately transfer the eggplant rounds to a medium bowl, toss with olive oil, and cover with a plate. Let stand until softened, approximately 10 minutes.

4. Arrange eggplant and tomatoes on a platter, seasoning each layer (eggplant, then tomatoes) with salt & pepper and drizzling with additional olive oil. Top with feta, olives, and parsley, and toss gently. Serve with bread (optional).

RECIPE: Cucumber ginger ale

Difficulty level: Easy 

Makes 2 drinks (can easily be doubled)

Three 4-inch-long slices English cucumber
2-inch piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup raw sugar
Chilled seltzer

Put one of the cucumber slices in the seltzer bottle. Let sit while you make the drink.

Put the ginger, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring if needed. Strain and let cool completely.

Fill two tumblers halfway with ice. Add 3 tablespoons ginger syrup to each glass. Fill the glass with the seltzer -- and stir and taste as you go -- add just enough seltzer to make the drink as sweet and gingery as you like. Garnish each glass with a cucumber slice.

RECIPE: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

Difficulty level: Intermediate 

1 Onion, diced
2 medium summer squash, diced 
Corn kernels from 2 ears of corn
3 cups chicken stock
1 tbs butter
3 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as thyme or parsley)

1.     Heat butter in a large sauce pan

2.     Add diced onions and sauté until soft

3.     Add diced squash and herbs and cook until slightly softened (about 5 minutes)

4.     Add stock and bring to simmer

5.     Add half the corn and simmer all the veggies for another 5 minutes until the squash is soft and mostly translucent and the corn is tender

6.     Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth

7.     Once blended, return the soup to the pot and add the rest of the corn

8.     Bring the soup to a simmer and cook the corn until tender, about five more minutes

9.     Season with salt and pepper, to taste

10.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 5, 2014

RECIPE: Lemon Sesame Cucumber Salad

Difficulty Level: Easy

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a pan over medium heat until fragrant and golden, 4 to 5 minutes
3 medium cucumbers, sliced, salted, and drained (see directions)

Peel, halve lengthwise, and scoop seeds from cucumbers. Stack halves flat side down; slice diagonally 1/4-inch thick. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt in strainer or colander set over bowl; weight with water-filled, one-gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag, sealed tight. Drain for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 hours. Transfer to medium bowl; reserve for further use.

Whisk all ingredients except cucumbers in medium bowl. Add cucumbers; toss to coat. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

RECIPE: Summer Raw Pasta Sauce with Spaghetti

Difficulty level: Easy
serves 2

6 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or more)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
4 heirloom tomatoes, any variety, cut into bite-size chunks
12 olives, a mix of green and black, coarsely chopped
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into bite size chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients, except basil, in a large bowl (large enough to hold the pasta too) and gently stir to combine.

3. Season raw sauce to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When pasta is al dente, scoop the pasta directly over the sauce and gently toss to combine.

4. Add more olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sprinkle basil slices over the top and serve immediately.

RECIPE: Stone Fruit Compote

 Difficulty Level: Easy
 Yield: 1 1/3 cups
 *Consider enjoying this chunky fruit spread on toast with ricotta or spoon it over yogurt.

 2 1/4 cups coarsely chopped stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines & plums, about 3/4 lb. total (leave skins on)
 2 Tbs. honey
 Coarse salt (a pinch!)
 1 wide strip lemon zest
 1 small cinnamon stick
 2-3 Tbs. water

 1. In a small saucepan, combine fruit, honey, pinch of salt, lemon zest, cinnamon stick & water.
 2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft, 8-12 minutes.
 3. Transfer to a pint-size jar & let cool. (Remove cinnamon stick)

 *To store: tighten lid on jar & refrigerate for up to 2 weeks

Friday, August 29, 2014

RECIPE: Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime

Difficulty Level: Intermediate


  • 6 ears of sweet yellow corn, unhusked
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 cup finely grated Manchego cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Manchego cheese is sold at better supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.
  • Preheat oven to 450°. Roast unhusked corn on a baking sheet, turning occasionally, until heated through and crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Shuck corn and cut kernels from cobs. Discard cobs.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add corn kernels and sauté until heated through and light-golden in spots, 3-5 minutes. Add butter; stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer corn to a large wide bowl or deep platter; sprinkle jalapeño and crushed red pepper flakes over. Squeeze lime wedges over; sprinkle with cheese, chives, and lime zest.

RECIPE: Dill Potato Salad

Difficultly level: Easy


1.5 lbs potatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
1 red onion
1 TBS dijon mustard
1-2 TBS white wine vinegar
Bunch of fresh dill
Salt and pepper


1. Dice potatoes into equal, bite sized pieces

2. Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender

3. Drain, and allow potatoes to cool

4. Dice the red onion and chop dill

5. Mix remaining ingredients in with cooled potatoes


RECIPE: Zucchini Agrodolce

Difficulty level: EASY

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, finely sliced, soaked in ice water

1 pound zucchini, julienned

1 cup  toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

2/3 cup  toasted coconut flakes

3 dates, pitted and chopped

to serve: micro greens or chopped herbs

Combine the vinegar, honey, garlic, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it comes together, remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in the olive oil. 

Drain the onions, and pat dry. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini and onion together, pour over the vinegar mixture, toss well, then taste and add more salt to taste. Set aside for a few minutes. Alternately, you can move it to the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.

Before serving, toss the zucchini mixture with the walnuts, coconut flakes, and dates, then finish with a generous sprinkling of herbs or micro greens.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

RECIPE: Orzo, Green Bean, and Fennel Salad with Dill Pesto

Yield: Makes 6 servings
Difficulty Level:

8 ounces green beans, trimmed
8 ounces orzo (1 1/4 cups)
2/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups 1/3-inch cubes unpeeled English hothouse cucumber (about 8 ounces)
3/4 cup diced fresh fennel bulb


Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beans to plate. Add orzo to same boiling water. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally; drain.

Blend dill, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice in mini processor until almost smooth to make pesto. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cut beans crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add orzo, cucumber, and fennel; mix in pesto dressing. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

RECIPE: Fermented Sauerkraut

Difficulty Level: Easy

2 heads of Cabbage
Approximately 2 TBS Salt
1 TBS Caraway seeds (optional)


1.      Clean all your equipment -- e.g. a knife to shred the cabbage or a Julienne slicer to get it thinner. You can ferment it in a vegetable fermenter or a crock, just need something that will release the extra pressure as it ferments!

2.      Chop, grate or shred cabbage

3.      Transfer cabbage to a big mixing bowl as you go and sprinkle with salt. Periodically massage and squeeze the cabbage with your hands. At first, it may not seem like enough salt, but gradually, the cabbage will become watery and limp.

4.      Once the Cabbage has become limp and releases its juices, transfer it to a sauerkraut crock or vegetable fermenter, sprinkling the caraway seeds in as you go. Pack cabbage down as tightly as you can.

5.      Once the cabbage is submerged in its brine, cover loosely and allow to sit at room temperature, undisturbed for at least a week and up to 2 months, testing the sauerkraut as every few days until its done to your liking.

6.      Transfer to the refrigerator where it will keep for a few months.

RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato and Bulgur Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Difficulty Level: Easy


• 1 pound heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped, juices reserved

• 1 cup uncooked bulgur

• 1/2 pound green beans, thinly sliced on the bias

• 15 pieces sundried tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil, thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon oil from the jar

• 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


In a large, nonreactive bowl, stir together heirloom tomatoes and bulgur, and then cover and set aside at room temperature until bulgur is tender, about 3 hours. Stir in green beans, sundried tomatoes and oil, and salt. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Friday, August 15, 2014

RECIPE: Asian Bitter Melon Stir Fry

Difficulty Level: Easy


Bitter Melon
2 cloves chopped garlic
2TBS Oil
1 TBS Fish Sauce

1. Cut the bitter melon lengthwise and scoop out seeds

2. Slice the melon into small bite sized pieces

3. In a large wok or frying pan heat up oil and then add the melon

4. Cook the melon over high heat for about 10 minutes, being sure to stir every minute or so and to add more oil if necessary

5. Add the chopped garlic and allow it to brown

6. Cook for another 5 more minutes or until the melon is slightly browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and toss in the fish oil.

7. Enjoy!

RECIPE: No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Difficulty Level: Easy 

Makes 6 to 7 cups, enough for 8 to 10 servings

Let the tomatoes do the talking with this raw version of a spaghetti-night essential. Use this sauce over hot pasta, raw vegetable ribbons or poached fish or poultry. You can season it to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper or red pepper flakes if you like.


• 1 large clove garlic, minced

• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

• 3 pounds fresh tomatoes

• 1 teaspoon honey

• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves


In a cup, combine garlic and vinegar; set aside. Remove stem end of each tomato. Cut tomatoes in half and use your fingers to scrape the seeds into a bowl. Set seeds aside.

Place half the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not liquefied. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining tomatoes and honey, oregano, and garlic and vinegar mixture to the food processor and repeat. Stir into the sauce in the bowl. If the sauce seems too thick, strain the reserved seed mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and use some of the tomato liquid to thin the sauce.

The sauce will keep refrigerated for a few days.

RECIPE: Miso Garlic Eggplant

Difficulty Level: EASY

1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)

3 tablespoons yellow miso (soybean paste)

2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 Japanese eggplants, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 1 pound)

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spread mirin mixture evenly over the eggplant slices, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Broil 8 minutes or until topping is golden. Place eggplant slices on a platter, and sprinkle with onions.

Friday, August 8, 2014

RECIPE: Plum Tarts with Honey & Black Pepper

Difficulty Level: Easy

 Servings: 6

 Time: 10 minutes active, 40 minutes total


 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

 1 pound plums, apricots or peaches (or a combination), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

 1/4 cup sugar

 Freshly ground black pepper

 Flaky sea salt


 1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut pastry into 6 four-inch squares. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork (to keep from puffing up during baking).

 2. Top with fruit wedges, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with sugar; season with a few grinds of pepper.

 3. Bake tarts, rotating pan halfway through until edges of pastry are puffed and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt just before serving.

 *Tarts can be baked 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.