Saturday, February 29, 2020

Red Cabbage Salad With Dates And Oranges

I love salads that have both sweet and sour ingredients, and I wanted to try using dates as the sweet one. They turned out to be a good complement to the oranges and the balsamic vinegar.

Cabbage, oranges, and almonds all contribute potassium and calcium that we need to keep our blood pressure low. Almonds are rich in the same healthy monounsaturated fat that is found in olive oil, as well as contributing protein, and phytosterols that block cholesterol absorption. Walnut oil is rich in the omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid, that is associated with protection against heart disease.

  • Finely shredded red cabbage (1/2 large or 1 small cabbage)
  • Orange segments from 3 oranges plus any juice from the oranges
  • ~ 1/3 cup almonds
  • 4 large Medjool dates, chopped into pea-sized pieces
  • roasted walnut oil, 2-4 tablespoons (La Tourangelle is a great California brand)
  • balsamic vinegar, 2-4 tablespoons
  • salt

Using a large, sharp knife, cut red cabbage in half, then shave fine pieces off of the cut surface. Peel the oranges with a sharp paring knife, cutting from the top and removing most of the white membrane, in a circle until you have a long strip of peel. Cut each segment out by cutting close to the membrane on each side.

Roast whole almonds in an ungreased pan over low heat or in the oven at about 400 degrees, for ~ 5 minutes, until lightly toasted tasting. Chop coarsely. Remove pit from dates and chop into pieces the size of large peas.
Combine orange segments, juice, dates, and almonds with cabbage. Add walnut oil one tablespoon at a time, until cabbage is barely coated.

Add balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon at a time, tossing well with each addition, until salad tastes nicely tangy. Sprinkle sparingly with salt, toss, and serve.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Smashed Potatoes

This dish is so easy to prepare, only three ingredients, but combined it makes for a very flavorful side dish. It's also a good alternative if you are cutting back on dairy.
  • 8 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper
Serves 6

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and when the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, discard the skins. In a large bowl, lightly crush the potatoes with a fork. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Baked Scallops with Tomatoes and Pistou Sauce

I love this dish, you can make the sauce (pistou French version of pesto) ahead of time. It makes for a great first course!  If you can get good tomatoes before the summer make it, otherwise late summer would be perfect. And if you don't like cilantro, use basil or whatever herbs you like.
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sand and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds sea scallops
  • 2 or 3 large, perfectly ripe tomatoes, or use smaller tomatoes as much as you need.
Makes 4 servings.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine the herbs, garlic,salt, pepper, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Turn on the machine, then add the remainder of the olive oil in a drizzle, (the sauce should be some what thin). Taste it, you might want more salt, lime juice or garlic.

Drizzle a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom of a baking pan that will hold the scallops in one layer. Add the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick and layer over the scallops. season again. Spoon most of the sauce over the tomatoes. Bake until the tomatoes begin to liquefy, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve immediately, with crusty bread, pass the remaining sauce at the table.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Couscous and Chick Pea Salad

This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant’s “Simple Suppers”. I use whole wheat couscous instead of ‘regular’ - couscous is the only grain product that tastes exactly the same to me in both versions.

Since all you need is 10 minutes, boiling water, and a bowl, couscous is definitely the easiest whole grain starch to prepare. The chickpeas in this dish add protein, which is the best appetite suppressant, and the oil will give you energy for hours. Adding generous amounts of chopped greens like parsley or mint will help boost your iron (and vitamin C) intake to increase strength and energy.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (from a health food store)
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 lemon or 2 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tablespoons or more olive oil
  • 1¼ cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • black olives, pitted and cut in half- e.g. Kalamata (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint (optional)

The amounts of these ingredients can be increased or decreased as you like- this recipe works well with many variations.

Put couscous and salt in a bowl, pour boiling water over it, cover, sit 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and break up lumps.

Grate lemon peel, juice lemon, and mix with oil. Toss with couscous. Add remaining ingredients, mix well, and salt to taste. Add more oil and lemon if desired.

Serve immediately, or store in fridge for flavors to deepen. Preferably take it out of the fridge an hour before serving to come to room temperature.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Most Amazing Tomato Salad!

This tomato salad should only be made during the tomato season, it is a crowd pleaser, enjoyed by adults and teenagers alike!!  You may double it if you wish. Enjoy!
  • 6 to 8 in-season tomatoes, washed, cored and cut into anyway you like them.
  • about 1/2 cup fine-quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into slivers
  • 4 or to your taste, garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn
  • sea salt to taste, Maldon Sea salt is great!
  • 1/2  or more teaspoon dried oregano
Serves 6.

To tomatoes add oil and vinegar, then onions, garlic and basil. Spoon onto a serving plate,
sprinkle with oregano, add the salt, mix, add more oregano and basil and if you want, more salt.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Butternut Squash And Chickpea Salad With Tahini

This salad has so much flavor and textures. I like to serve it with grilled fish or just with an assortment of other salads and vegetables. Especially when I have vegetarian guests, they just love it!

Serves 4.
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, more or less. Peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups home -cooked chickpeas or canned chickpeas,drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh coriander
  • sea salt and black pepper
Tahini Sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a sprinkle of salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons water, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Toss the squash with the garlic, olive oil, allspice, and some salt and pepper. Place on a tray in the over for about 15-25 minutes or until soft. Remove and cool.

While the squash is cooking, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with the lemon juice and add the tahini. Thin with the water and olive oil and check for seasoning. You should balance between the nutty tahini and lemon.

To assemble the salad, place the squash, chickpeas, red onion and coriander in a mixing bowl. Pour on the tahini sauce and remaining oil and toss gently.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or room temperature.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Roasted Red Pepper Salad

This salad is so tasty, a great side dish for grilled meats or as a first course. Spread it on sliced bread.  On it's own our spread chevre cheese on the bread followed by the peppers. Whichever way you use it, it'll be unique and delicious!
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup fine-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Serves up to 6 people.

Here you go ...

Preheat broiler. Broil the peppers, turning them frequently, until the skin has blackened on all sides. Spread the peppers on a baking sheet so they can cool to room temperature.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, cut them from top to bottom. Scrape away  the seeds from the insides, then turn each half over scrape away the charred skin. Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Put them into a bowl.  To the bowl add oil, raisins, nuts, parsley and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir. Marinate for at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Cod Baked with Tahini Sauce

This dish is so simple to make but the taste is very Mediterranean and outstanding. Make the tahini sauce first.

Tahini Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 tablespoons water (more or less)
  • sea salt and black pepper
Serves 4.

Crush the garlic clove to a paste with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the tahini and then thin with the lemon juice. Add water until you have a consistency of cream, check the seasoning, add more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste.

Baked Cod
  • 4 thick cod fillets, skin on, about 8 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley, small handful
  • 1 lemon quartered
Serves 4 people.

Place a frying  pan on the stove, medium high heat. Add the olive oil just enough to cover the pan. Season the cod with salt and pepper. Place it carefully in the pan, skin-side up, shaking the pan to prevent it from sticking. Cook for 1-2 minutes until sealed. Carefully turn the fish over with a spatula and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes until it's cooked through. It should flake easily, and be white all the way through.  While the fish is still there, pour the tahini sauce into the pan to warm for half a minute. Transfer to warm plates, spooning the sauce over the fish, sprinkle the chopped parsley over the fish and sauce and lemon on the side.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Mussel Soup with Cranberry Beans, Celery and Basil

I've been making this dish for years now, when I discovered fresh cranberry beans in their pods at the farmer's market and started searching for cranberry bean recipes. Thankfully this one came up! I've found more over the years but this is still my favorite and once more, I can make the soup ahead of time!

Thank-you Marcella Hazan!


1 1/2 lbs cranberry beans, fresh in their pods, if you can't find fresh then use dried, you can find dried at health food stores. 

2/3 cup dried. Also some Latin grocery stores carry them. 

3 lbs live mussels

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes with juice

dried red chili pepper flakes to your taste, I use about 1/4 tsp

1 loosely packed cup chopped celery leaves

Salt and black pepper ground fresh

12 large basil leaves, cut into narrow strips

(Serves 4)

After taking the cranberry beans out of their pods, put them in a pan  add water enough to cover 2 inches. Cover with a lid, bring to a simmer over medium to low heat, until tender, fresh would be about 20 minutes, dried depends on how old they are, up to an hour or more, keep checking. Drain the beans but save  the liquid.

Clean the mussels, getting rid of the beard if there is any and scraping off some grime. Throw away any that are opened. 

Put the mussels in a pan that will hold the mussels in one layer, otherwise, do it in batches. Cover the pan, turn the heat to high, shaking the pan occasionally, once the shells open, remove them with a slotted spoon, pour the liquid into a bowl.  Remove the shells from the meat, discard the shells, 

Using a pan with a fitted lid that will accommodate the mussels and beans, and the liquid. Put in all the oil and the onions, without covering the pan, cook the onions over high heat, stirring from time to time, until the onions are a nice golden brown. 

Add the garlic, stirring for about a minute, until the garlic is a golden color.

Add the tomatoes, breaking them up as you drop them in the pan, along with the  juices, cook over high heat, stirring for about 10 minutes. 

Add the chili pepper flakes and the celery leaves, turning everything over every couple of minutes.

Add the mussels to the pot, stirring gently, a couple of times.

Add the beans, stirring gently a few times.

Add the mussel liquid leaving behind any dirt that's left in the bottom of the bowl. Stir gently a few times.

Add the bean cooking liquid, just enough to have a soupy consistency. Stir, turn the heat down to low, taste and add salt if needed, freshly ground black pepper and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.  This can be made ahead a few hours. When you are ready to serve, bring to a gentle simmer, until heated through, add the basil.  I bring the whole pot to the table, or put into individual bowls. 


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Chicken Tagine with Olives, Almonds, and Yellow Raisins

Use a tagine to cook this dish, which is a shallow clay pot with a tightly fitting conical lid, that very efficiently captures steam, which drips back down into the dish. If you have a tagine, you will not need to add any liquid- the liquid from the onions, lemons, and chicken will form a delicious sauce. If you use another kind of pot, it should be heavy, with a tight fitting lid.
  • 4 T Olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 chicken thighs and 4 legs, preferably free range (or 6 large thighs)
  • salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and barely crushed
  • 2 lemons, in thin wedges
  • saffron
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • pitted Moroccan salted olives, ~ 16
  • whole almonds, sliced lengthwise to make large-faced halves, ~ 16
  • yellow raisins, ~ handful
Saute the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for around 15 minutes, until starting to become golden and tender.

Add chicken pieces, skin side down, pushing aside onion so that skin will brown. Cook over a medium heat until nicely browned.

Salt well, turn over chicken pieces, and salt other side. Tuck in garlic, lemon, saffron, and cinnamon. Top with olives, almonds, and raisins. Cover, and cook over a low heat, simmering, for about 1.5 hours, until very tender.

The tagine will conserve liquid so well that you may have to cook uncovered for a while to evaporate some of the liquid that will bubble over. In another type of pot you may need to add bits of water.

Serve with whole wheat couscous, prepared by adding 2.5 cups boiling water and a little salt to 1.5 cups couscous in a bowl, covering, and letting it sit for 10 minutes.

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • a few capers, optional
Combine above ingredients in a heavy ceramic bowl, pour over 1 & 2/3 cup boiling water, cover with a plate, and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

A great summer salad to go with this is cucumber and tomato. Use ripe tomatoes (beefsteak are good, but any ripe tomato will work including cherry tomatoes) and small pickling cucumbers or Persian cucumbers. Peel the cucumbers, cut vegetables into small chunks, toss with extra virgin olive oil and a little salt. You can add a few fresh mint, basil, or dill leaves if desired