Monthly Archives: August 2014

Three Bean Salad


Yellow beans are growing and growing and growing.  Every time we think we have picked them all, we return 2 days later and find more huge ones, that we must have missed last time, or even the last 2 times…

IMG_7454.JPGI picked up some organic green beans from Tap Root Farm at the farmers market. Mix up a dressing of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, stone-ground dijon mustard, seas salt and pepper, and add the cooked beans and some kidney beans and you have a tasty summer side salad.


I also picked up some nectarines at the farmers market to make a nectarine upside-down cake.



It was delicious both as a dessert and as a breakfast treat.


Three Bean Salad

1 lb yellow beans, trimmed (from the garden)

1 lb green beans, trimmed

15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup chopped red onion

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the yellow and green beans until tender, 5 – 7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Add the cooked beans, kidney beans and red onion, toss well.


Serve and enjoy.


Serves 6 – 8.





Categories: Green Beans, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Roasted Lima Beans

I was looking for a new way to cook the lima beans from our garden. After doing an internet search, I came upon this recipe from an NPR piece on lima beans from 2007 by D. Cameron Lawrence.  The recipe is from chef Bruce Ucán of the Mayan café in Louisville, KY. It is adaptable for either fresh or frozen lima beans, of course I think fresh tastes just so much better.

IMG_7500.JPGI cannot overstate how tasty this was. Pumpkin seeds and sesame oil, what a great combination! The flavors are delightfully different from any other preparation I have used for lima beans.

IMG_7574.JPG It was quick, easy and will become a regular addition to my late summer menus.



Roasted Lima Beans

very slightly adapted from chef Bruce Ucán

1/2 pound fresh or frozen lima beans (from the garden)

1 bunch green onions or chives (from the garden)

1/2 bunch parsley (from the garden)

Salt to taste

Lemon juice to taste

6 ounces ground, roasted pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using fresh beans, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, then rinse and dry. (note, the beans will float once blanched). If you use frozen beans, defrost.


Chop the green onions and parsley, medium to fine. Set aside.


Roast the pumpkin seeds in the preheated oven, about 3 minutes, then grind them (medium to fine) in a food processor or grinder.


Put the sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When the oil starts smoking, throw the lima beans in. Saute them until they are brown and roasted, about 6 – 8 minutes.


Add all the other ingredients except the lemon juice and saute for another minute.


Then add lemon juice, serve and enjoy!.


Makes 4 servings











Categories: Kosher, Lima Beans, Recipe, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

Keema (Indian Ground Beef and Peas)

As you can probably tell, we eat mostly vegetarian, with fish or other meats every now and then. But our youngest daughter, who recently turned full vegetarian, was coming home. Since she will only be home for a couple of weeks, we would be having all vegetarian dinners as well. So, to give everyone their fill of meat, we ate meat or fish dishes every day during the week before she came home. My husband called it “party time.”

We rarely eat red meat, or dishes that are focused on the meat. But tonight was different, ground beef (grass-fed) would be front and center in the keema.IMG_7451.JPG

But don’t be fooled, it is not just meat and peas, keema is filled with foods from my garden – tomatoes, garlic, and hot pepper.


I first had keema last summer when an Indian friend of mine brought it to a pot luck. I was immediately hooked, and very happy when I found a Padma Lakshmi recipe that recreated the yummy goodness of Nafeesa’s dish.Here is my adaptation, which we ate with garden-grown pan-seared okra, pan-seared pattypan squash, salad, and of course, some garlic naan.



Keema (Indian Ground Beef and Peas)

Adapted from Padma Lakshmi

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 onion, minced

1 lb. ground lean beef

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 large cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

2 firm, ripe tomatoes, diced (from the garden)

1 tablespoon minced gingerroot, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1 teaspoon minced fresh hot green chilies, or to taste (from the garden)

3 cups frozen peas

1 lemon, juiced, or to taste

Indian flatbreads, naan, or tortillas, as an accompaniment


In a nonstick skillet set over moderately high heat, warm the oil until hot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.


Add the beef, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink.


Add the garlic, tomatoes, gingerroot, Garam Masala, and chilies, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.


Add the peas and continue to cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes more, or until flavors blend. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro and correct seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.


Transfer to a bowl.


Serve with warm rotis, naan, or tortillas and spoon Keema down center of bread and roll up like a burrito. Enjoy!


Serves 4 – 6,

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Pasta with Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic Shrimp

We have been in a bit of a shrimp kick this summer. Wild caught gulf shrimp, it may not be local, but it is certainly good.

20140807-185454-68094523.jpg My goal is to combine the shrimp with food from my garden.  Today it is my basil, garlic, and tomatoes.  Oops there is a bruised leaf in my picture – don’t worry, it did not make it into the pesto.  I love the combination of pesto and fresh tomatoes.  The tomatoes brighten up the pesto and the pesto brings out the flavor in the tomato.

20140807-185454-68094040.jpg Instead of just searing the shrimp, I cooked it in a little bit of garlic and olive oil.  That may be the key to this whole dish – the shrimp could have carried the day on their own. But the combination of the shrimp, pesto and fresh tomatoes made for a near perfect topping for the linguine.  All it needed was some freshly grated grana padano (or parmigiano reggiano).


Pasta with Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and Garlic Shrimp

12 oz linguine or other pasta of your choice

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced (from the garden)

24 – 30 medium-sized shrimp (wild caught)

1/2 cup Pesto

1 large tomato, chopped (from the garden)

Grana padano or parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 second – 1 minute.

Add the shrimp, cook and turn after 2 minutes.  Cook for another 2 minutes or until cooked through.


Put the shrimp and pesto into a large dish.


Add the cooked pasta and tomato.

20140807-185455-68095671.jpg Serve with freshly grated cheese. Enjoy!

20140807-185455-68095980.jpgServes 4.

Categories: Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes | Tags: | Leave a comment

Spiced Edamame

Every year I try to grow edamame (edible soybeans).  The first year I tried, they did fine; but every year since, the plants have been eaten by rabbits right after sprouting.  This year, I have 5 very healthy plants loaded with pods. Hurrah!


There are enough pods that we can eat edamame as much as we’d like and still have a whole bunch left for freezing.

The other good news is that 5 year-old Cam has decided that he loves edamame, especially just cooked and salted.  Just give him a bowl of pods and he is quite content.  For us, I like to spice it up a bit with some chili powder and red pepper flakes in addition to the salt.  I don’t make it too ‘spicy hot’ since I am the only one who would like that.  I just use enough to add flavor.


Just toss the cooked pods in the pan of heated spices and snack away….it’s fun, tasty, and good for you!


Spiced Edamame

Adapted from Food Network

1 pound fresh-picked edamame (from the garden)

2 tsp Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp chili powder

1/8 – 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the edamame pods and cook for 5 – 6 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, stir the salt and spices for 2 – 3 minutes.


Drain the edamame and place in ice water or run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Toss the edamame in the salt mixture.


Serve and enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) – Revisited Without all the Oil

As I have said before, Khoresh Bademjun is pretty much the most popular meal in my household. The only thing that keeps me from making it more often is all the oil used in frying the eggplant. So, when I made the Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses and prepared the eggplant by roasting rather than frying, I was very happy when the eggplant came out tasting just as good as it did fried.  I love fried eggplant, so this was quite a surprise to me.  A pleasant one.

So it was time to try the oven roasted approach to Khoresh Bademjun.

20140801-190421-68661647.jpgThe big test was my husband.  He loves his Khoresh Bademjun. How would he like my new, healthier version?

20140801-190425-68665184.jpgI am quite pleased to report that he said it tasted pretty much the same and that this approach was fine with him.  Now we will get all the yummy goodness of eggplant without the oil. Strike one up for healthy eating!!

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) – Revisited Without All the Oil

 2 medium eggplants, or the equivalent amount of small eggplants Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb chicken or beef, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 onion chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 can diced tomatoes or, as I used today, the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, about 2 large (from the garden)

1/2 cup hot water


 Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and dice the eggplant.  Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

20140801-190419-68659640.jpgBake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven.

20140801-190421-68661647.jpgMeanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the other 1 Tbsp oil.  Add the chicken or beef and onions. Brown on all sides – do not overcook.  After the meat is browned add turmeric and salt. Mix to combine.

20140801-190419-68659973.jpgAdd a layer of tomatoes.

20140801-190422-68662416.jpgAdd the water then cover with a layer of eggplants, covering the tomatoes and meat as completely as possible.

20140801-190422-68662956.jpgCover and cook over very low heat for about 2 hours, check after 1 hour to see if more water is needed.

20140801-190423-68663432.jpgServe with rice and pickled vegetables.   Enjoy!

20140801-190424-68664199.jpgServes 4.

Categories: Eggplant, Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Tomatoes | 2 Comments

Summer’s Bounty “Shakshouka”

I now have patty pan squash and carrots coming out of my ears! It seems like every dinner starts with a cutting board like the one below.


My first night back to work after the California trip, I returned from Philadelphia and just stared at the produce in my kitchen, trying to come up with something new for dinner.  I started with the thought of a vegetable hash with eggs…that’s not new. Then I remembered that my sister-in-law had made some tomato sauce with my tomatoes while I was gone, and there was some left in the fridge. I decided to make a rift on shakshouka, a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions.  I decided to roast the squash and carrots, along with some yellow beans, then cook that in the tomato sauce and cook the eggs on top.


It turned out so tasty, that even though the portions were huge, we devoured it. I especially liked mine with a little sriracha.


Another thing we learned while making this, was that roasted beans are delicious! We could have eaten them all while waiting for the other veggies to cook.

Summer’s Bounty “Shakshouka”

4 – 5 carrots, sliced (from the garden)

2 medium patty pan squash, chopped (from the garden)

4 – 6 oz yellow (or green) beans, trimmed (from the garden)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 – 3 cups home-made tomato sauce 

4 – 6 eggs


Preheat the oven to 425F.

Prepare the green beans for roasting by placing them on a baking sheet,  tossing with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper.


Prepare the carrots and zucchini for roasting by placing them on a second baking sheet and tossing with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper


Roast the green beans by turning every 5 min for about 15 min, or until browned. Roast the carrots and zucchini by turning every 10 minutes for about 30 min, or until browned.

Heat the tomato sauce in a large skillet.  Stir in the vegetables


Make wells and crack the eggs into the wells.


Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 5 – 8 minutes, until eggs are the desired doneness.Enjoy!


Serves 4 with large portions.









Categories: Breakfast, Carrot, Green Beans, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Cool Cucumber Salad – Kid Friendly

The cucumbers are coming in almost faster than we can eat them, which is shocking since everyone in the house loves cucumbers.


The most frustrating thing for me is that cucumbers like to hide in the garden.  No matter how diligent I think I am in searching for cucumbers, I always end up with a few that are fatter than I like to use in a cucumber/tomato salad.  These cucumbers are great for a light, fresh pickled salad – the Cool Cucumber Salad from Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly by Marty Mattare.  It is a vegetarian cookbook aimed at foods for kids, and I have to say that when my son tasted this, he immediately asked for more.


So, tonight my son had some with his fish sticks and ever-present grape tomatoes (from the garden).


We had some with our Eggplant and Tomato Stew.


It is about as simple a dish as you can make…

Cool Cucumber Salad

from Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly by Marty Mattare

for each large, peeled and thinly sliced cucumber:

4 tsp vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

dash of freshly ground black pepper


Mix together all ingredients.


Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy!


Serves 2 per cucumber.



Categories: Cucumber, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Weekend in Sonoma

Sonoma County, California… wine…food…sunshine…and good company.  A perfect place to spend a long weekend.


The grape vines were heavily laden with beautiful ripening grapes.  The setting was perfect for some wine tasting.  My friend, Debby, joined us as we headed off to Iron Horse Vineyards to taste their Russian Cuvee – which was served at the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit and at the White House since.  As it goes with most wine tastings, different people liked different wines, and we laughed our way through our taste disagreements both here and at Russian River Vineyards. But, yes, we did all like the Russian Cuvee – probably the only one we all agreed on – no wonder it ended the Cold War.

20140727-112138-40898904.jpgThe afternoon of tastings was followed by a delicious dinner of locally grown and produced foods at Backyard in Forestville. Below was our pickle board appetizer with house fermented kimchi, preserved mustard seeds, pickled garlic (hey, I make that too!), pickled broccoli stems and more. The food was excellent!


While my husband was busy, I spent my alone-time at the Sebastopol Farmers Market.  What a selection of organic produce! I was quite content among the tomatoes, pluots, dates, almonds, olives and more!






After I met back  up with my husband, we took our pluots and headed to the ocean for an afternoon of walking along the shore, watching the waves.


As we drove to our dinner destination, we stopped for a snack among the redwoods…


And, lastly, made it to our destination – dinner at a colleague’s parents vineyard and olive groves – Old Chatham Ranch in Mendocino County.


The family made some beautiful wines – the best we had tasted yet.  But, alas, they only make wines for their own enjoyment.  But what they specialize in is super high quality extra virgin olive oil.  So, as you can imagine, dinner was a wonderful experience, as much for the company of this warm family as for the sumptuous food and drink.


So, with that, we watched the sun set at the ranch and our weekend in Sonoma ended.


We brought the wine home with us.  I am anxiously awaiting my shipment of olive oil.  This is not oil I will use for cooking, it is for dipping, special salad dressings, and as a finishing oil.  I can’t wait, and I will fill you in on what I do with it. Tomatoes with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing, or perhaps with truffle balsamic vinegar, or just making a good rustic bread and simply dipping it in the oil  – oh I can’t wait!!







Categories: General | Leave a comment

Eggplant and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses

My eggplant are not doing well this year, so I picked up some eggplants from Taproot Organic Farm at the farmers market.  Now, typically, when I have eggplants I make Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew). And when my husband heard that I was not making that, he was not happy.  But I had seen the recipe for Eggplant  and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses in Lousia Shafia’s The New Persian Kitchen and really wanted to try it.


The ingredients that intrigued me were the split peas and the pomegranate molasses.  I love the flavor the molasses brings to dishes and I thought pairing it with eggplant would make for a rich dish…and it did. The split peas added some texture to what otherwise would have been an entirely soft stew. But what I really wanted to try was roasting the eggplant instead of frying it.  I was skeptical about that, but to my pleasant surprise, it worked great. I may even try that the next time I make Khoresh Bademjun.  It makes the dish a whole lot healthier.


S0 what was the verdict?  I served it with some vinegary cucumbers (see Cool Cucumber Salad – to be posted soon). My husband was happy with his dinner.  Chalk one up for me!



Eggplant  and Tomato Stew with Pomegranate Molasses 

From The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

  • pounds Japanese eggplant, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt
  • tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2cup split peas
  • cups water
  • yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • medium to large tomatoes, coarsely chopped (from the garden) (note:  you can use diced canned tomatoes if you need to)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)
  • cups vegetable or chicken stock, boiling
  • freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the eggplant on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the oil.20140720-202526-73526801.jpgBake for 40 minutes, stirring gently every 10 minutes to prevent sticking. When the eggplant is completely soft, let it cool to room temperature.20140720-202527-73527100.jpgWhile the eggplant cooks, combine the split peas with the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, until the peas are tender. Drain and season with 1 teaspoon salt.20140720-202527-73527414.jpgHeat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until it starts to darken, then cook slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes, until it is dark brown and about half its original volume.20140720-202527-73527818.jpgAdd the eggplant, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, pomegranate molas- ses, garlic, split peas, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the stock.

20140720-202528-73528126.jpgBring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the stew is thick.20140720-202528-73528457.jpgTurn off the heat and let the stew rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!20140720-202528-73528788.jpgServes 4.



Categories: Eggplant, Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

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