Monthly Archives: September 2016

Date-Banana Smoothie

My husband says bananas are the perfect food, but I say the same thing about medjool dates.

So, for the ‘perfect’ breakfast smoothie, why not combine the two? Add in some almond milk and vanilla and it is a yummy and healthy way to start the day!

This recipe is for one, it is easily multiplied to serve more.

Date-Banana Smoothie

2 medjool dates, pitted

½ frozen banana, cut up

3/4 cup almond milk

½ tsp vanilla


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix until combined and smooth (I used the smoothie setting on my blender).


Serves 1


Categories: Beverage, Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) without the oil, “Take 2”

During a visit to my friend in San Diego, she took me to this wonderful international food market, Harvest. After being drawn in by the warm, fresh flatbreads, I spotted the warm foods…persian dish after persian dish! I was home! After explaining all the dishes to my friend, and telling her that most of them are on my blog, I went off to find the spices and herbs I was running low on.



I was also inspired to once again refine my khoresh bademjun – our beloved eggplant stew.

I had already figured out how to make it without frying the eggplant and have the taste come out right, but it didn’t look right with the cubed eggplant.


So, I decided to try again, could I bake slices of eggplant? Perhaps if I cut them thicker, about 1/2″ thick. That worked, they baked up well.

So, I was able to arrange and cook the dish as I would with fried eggplant slices.

Success! Eggplant Bademjun – healthy and delicious!

Khoresh Bademjun (Persian Eggplant Stew) without the oil “Take 2”

2 medium eggplants, or the equivalent amount of small eggplants

Kosher Salt

3 Tbsp Canola Oil, divided

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 the equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, about 2 large

1/2 cup hot water


Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.

Peel and slice the eggplant lengthwise, about 1/2” thick.  Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes until browned. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, 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.

Add a layer of tomatoes.

Add the water then cover with a layer of eggplants, covering the tomatoes and meat as completely as possible.

Cover and cook over very low heat for about 2 hours, check after 1 hour to see if more water is needed.

Serve with rice and pickled vegetables.   Enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6.





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

Date and Hazelnut Sourdough Flutes

I don’t often post bread recipes, other than challah recipes, because they are typically not local ingredients. I decided to share this one, even though it truly is not local, using hazelnuts and dates.  The only thing that could even be considered local would be my sourdough starter, which is now almost a year old.

So why share this?  Well, for a sourdough recipe, it is fairly quick and easy, and…I love everything made with dates!

Note: this recipe is done by weight, I have included both the metric and english measures.

These flutes were such a treat with all those hazelnuts and dates, I just had to share it.

Date and Hazelnut Sourdough Flutes

slightly adapted from Le Pain Quotidien’s Nut & Raisin Flutes

100g/3 1/2oz dates, chopped

90g/3oz hazelnuts

225g/8oz all purpose flour (my dough was wet, so I added an extra small handful while kneading)

165g/5 1/2oz water

110g/3 3/4oz sourdough starter (refreshed 8 – 12 hours earlier)

5g/1/6oz kosher salt

2.5g/1/8oz active dry yeast


Toast the hazelnuts in a nonstick or cast iron skillet for 2 – 3 minutes. Let cool, then crack them into halves or a coarsely chop.

Place the flour, water, sourdough starter, salt and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 3 – 5 minutes, until thoroughly combined, then on medium speed for another 2 – 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Add the dates and nuts and mix on low speed until incorporated.

Lightly flour a work surface, then turn the dough out.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.

Dust the dough lightly with flour and using your hands with fingers spread apart, roll into a flute shape about 25cm/10inches long. Transfer the flutes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cover with plastic or a damp dish towel. Let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.


Preheat the oven to 450F, with a baking stone in the center and an ovenproof dish at the bottom of the oven.

Slide the parchment with the flutes onto the baking stone and throw a handful of ice into the dish and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, til golden brown and the sides are fully cooked.Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!!

Makes 5 flutes.


Categories: Bread, Recipe | 1 Comment

Kale Chips

I have finally figured out how to not burn my kale chips!

It was a plentiful year for kale in my garden. I felt like I had kale coming out of my ears.

Kale chips are a fun way to use kale as a snack food… definitely worth a try. FOr this batch I used a mix of Tuscan kale and Russian Kale.

Kale Chips

1 large bunch kale (from the garden)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp Kosher salt


Heat the oven to 350F.

Wash the kale and let it dry.  Tear the leaves into approx. 1 – 2” pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the kale with the olive oil and salt. With your hands, massage the oil onto the kale pieces, the oil should be evenly distributed and the kale pieces shiny.

Spread the kale in single layers on 2 baking sheets. 

Bake unto the leaves are crips, about 12 – 14 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Taste and sprinkle with a little more salt if necessary. Enjoy!

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Recipe | Leave a comment

Tuscan Kale Salad

Tuscan kale is my favorite kale. The only one I really enjoy eating raw. It grew very nicely in my garden this year.

I won’t drag this narrative out…here’s the salad…

Topped with breadcrumbs I made from one of my sourdough breads and more parmigiano reggiano.

Tuscan Kale Salad

Melissa Clark

1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale)

1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse)

½ garlic clove, finely chopped

¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish (I used parmigiano reggiano

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Trim bottom 2 inches off kale stems and discard. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place kale in a large bowl.

To make the breadcrumbs, toast a slice of country bread until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Using a mortar and pestle, or with the back of a knife, pound garlic into a paste.

Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over kale and toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).

Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.


Serves 2 -4.

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Green Beans in Szechuan Sauce

It’s bean time in the garden! Even with the Japanese beatles eating their fill of leaves, the beans are coming in fast and furious.

The magic of the purple beans…I still get tickled when they turn from purple to green as they cook.

This recipe has been one I have worked on over the past couple of years and have finally gotten to the point where I am always happy with the sauce.  My daughters agree that my stir fry sauces have come a long way over the years. A fact that they are very happy about.

As you can see, in our house, it the green beans are usually made with Persian rice with tadig, but I have also made it with a more traditional Chinese sticky rice. EIther way, it is a treat for dinner!

Green Beans in Szechuan Sauce

Inspired by Guy Fieri’s Szechuan Green Beans

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 tsp  ground ginger

1 Tbsp hot chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon white wine

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped


Add 1 Tbsp oil to a wok and heat over high heat. Add the green beans and stir fry till cooked through and tender, about 10 minutes.  (Note: if you want to speed up the process, first steam the beans for 1 – 2 minutes in the microwave, then stir fry).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, ginger, chili garlic sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoison, wine, and sesame oil. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  Heat for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the sauce to the cooked green beans and mix well.

Serve on top of rice, topped with peanuts. Enjoy!

Serves 4.


Categories: Green Beans, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Turkey Meatballs on Leeks

I have started, or attempted to start, writing this post several times. I am not really sure what to say about these meatballs, other than that they make me really happy.

I love leeks, but it is more than that.

The flavor of the sauce is unique.  It is savory, it is rich, but really, it simply makes me happy.  And served with the rice with some crispy tadig…I am very happy.

Turkey Meatballs on Leeks

adapted from Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar’s Turkey Meatballs on a Bed of Leeks

leeks, cleaned, quartered lengthwise and chopped coarsely

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound lean ground turkey (locally raised)

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1 egg (local)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 to 1 cup warm chicken broth

Cooked basmati rice for serving


Saute the leeks in a large skillet or dutch oven with about 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat once completely softened and the leeks begin to turn golden.

While the leeks are cooking, start the meatballs:

In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat, shallot, 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, and egg. Season the lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Put the remaining the bread crumbs in a flat bowl and roll the meatballs in the crumbs as you prepare them. Place the meatballs on a large plate, do not make a pile; use 2 plates, if necessary.

Return the pan with the leeks to a medium-high heat, add the meatballs and saute gently flipping them once or twice.

Once they are browned, lower the heat and add the broth a few tablespoons at a time. Season with a light sprinkle of salt and some ground pepper, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, adding broth as necessary to make sure that the sauce does not dry up.

Serve with rice and enjoy!

Serves: 6.


Categories: Recipe | Leave a comment

Zucchini with Garlic and Lemon

Local zucchini from down the road, almost as good as growing my own. Even better, another zucchini preparation my 7 year old really likes.

Just a note – It is always strange to see the pictures in my glass bowl, feels like the food is suspended in air.

This is a really simple preparation I got from The Sephardic Table by Pamela Grau Twena. Just sauteed zucchini and garlic, topped with lemon juice and parsley (from my garden). I paired it with Tilapia with Bruschetta Topping and some quinoa.  They went perfectly together.

Zucchini with Garlic and Lemon

by Pamela Grau Twena

1 lb zucchini, thinly sliced (locally grown)

Kosher salt

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice from 1 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (from the garden)


Sprinkle the zucchini slices lightly with salt and set in a colander in the sink to drain for 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick (I used cast iron) pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic and zucchini.  Saute until the zucchini slices are golden and still somewhat firm.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Sprinkle with lemon juice, pepper (salt if needed) and parsley.

Serve hot or cold. Enjoy!

Serves 4.


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Tilapia with Bruschetta Topping

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes – fresh summer tomatoes! Mine were taking a hiatus from ripening; it is very frustrating to see my plants loaded with tomatoes that are just refusing to ripen. So the one I used for this was grown by a neighbor down the road. The purple basil came from my garden.

This was so simple and easy; and absolutely loved by my family! I am so glad my son ikes fish, it is one of the best ways for me to get protein into him.

In a few days, I will post the recipe for the zucchini – we all (including the 7 year old) really liked that as well.

Tilapia with Bruschetta Topping

slightly adapted from Realistic Cooking Ideas

1 Tbsp olive Oil
4 – 6 tilapia fillets, thawed
1 tomato, diced (locally grown)
4 basil leaves, torn (from the garden)
1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly brush tilapia with olive oil and place in a baking dish.

Prepare the topping: Combine the diced tomato, basil, balsamic and parmesan in a bowl.

Sprinkle the topping over the fish.

Bake for about 15-25 minutes or until fish is flaky and tender.

Serve and enjoy!


Serves 4.



Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes | 3 Comments

Beef and Zucchini Chili

My super producing zucchini plant was destroyed in a summer storm, so I have been buying my zucchini from a variety of local farmers. The zucchini in this dish was from 2 different farms in Kent and Sussex Counties. They may not be my zucchini, but they are GOOD zucchini.

School is back in session, so our days are filling with sports and after school activities. So, time for some dinners I can make earlier in the day and have ready for a quick meal before we have to head out again. Chili is a perfect dish for that, I can make it and have it staying warm on the stove for the 15 minutes we are all in the house. Yes, I believe in family dinnertime, no matter how short it has to be, we all eat together.

I make several different chilis in different seasons.  This is a perfect summer chili – the zucchini brightens it up and it is bursting with flavor. It feels light and fresh (not something I usually say about chili). It took a great deal of restraint to stop at 1 bowl.

Beef and Zucchini Chili

adapted from Food Network Magazine’s Beef and Summer Squash Chili

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15-ounce can pinto beans (do not drain)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (locally grown)
1 avocado, diced


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and brown, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, poblano and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until combined, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans and their liquid to the pot; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini and stir to mix in. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the chili thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt if necessary.

Top each serving of chili with avocado. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Serves 5.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Zucchini | Leave a comment

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