Vegetarian

Quinoa and Black Bean Burger and a “Grain Mains” Book Giveaway

September 10, 2012
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The media is awash in the benefits of “whole grains” these days. So much that the big food companies have jumped on board touting “whole grains” in everything from cookies to crackers to Cheerios. While my guess is that those products might be slightly better for you than their more processed counterparts, I can’t help but feel this is a bit akin to greenwashing.

This is why I find myself trying to cook with whole grains in their original form more and more. The benefits are clear; whole grains are good for the body. They fill you up with soluble and non-soluble fiber which encourages you to eat less and aids in digestion. They are a heart healthy food, scouring the body of cholesterol and can help cut the risk of diabetes. In addition, not only do they taste good, but they are easy on the wallet, especially when …

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Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Preserved Lemon

August 21, 2012
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It’s been hot here in Southern California. Really hot. Hot, as in the lawn has turned crispy, hot. Hot, as in run the A/C all night long, hot. Hot, as in melt your ipad case in the car, hot. Yep. That last one happened to my husband. He’s lucky the ipad still works.

When the weather is as unrelenting as it has been, I only want to eat cold food, and salads like this one serve double duty. I make one each weekend, usually with some sort of whole grain, rice, or pasta and lots of vegetables mixed in. We eat them first with a piece of  easily grilled protein (chicken or fish grilled outside to keep the house cool). Then I’ll serve the rest of the salad later in the week as a quick veggie lunch or with something like leftover chicken tossed in. These Simple Sunday Salads

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

July 25, 2011
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It’s summer and most of the U.S. is swealtering under a blanket of record breaking heat. The last thing anyone wants to do is cook in a hot kitchen, right? Both my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents had outdoor canning kitchens and I think they had the right idea; get the heat out of the kitchen! This recipe is both flexible in cooking method and usage; cook it outside to beat the heat, and use it with multiple dishes.

First, while you can roast the vegetables in the oven, you can also cook them on an outside grill, keeping your kitchen cool. If you choose to cook outside, I recommend you still place the vegetables on a pan on the grill because the tomatillos will get very soft and you don’t want to lose any of their juice or any of the smaller pieces of onion and garlic.

Second, while …

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Grilled Asparagus and Spring Onions with Dijon Vinaigrette

June 28, 2011
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Sometimes the best meals are those which are uncomplicated; those which allow you to share a glass of wine and chat with your guests while cooking at the same time. This dish is one which will enable you to do just that. You can even prepare it before your guests arrive, because it’s just as good at room temperature as it is hot off the grill. In fact, it may even be a little better if the vinaigrette has time to “marinate” the vegetables a bit.

I used Mexican Spring Onions in these photos, but you could also use the ones which are slightly pink and oblong at the base. Spring onions can range in size from a large version of the standard green onion to small round bulbs about 2 inches in diameter. For the larger ones, it’s a good idea to cut them in half so they cook …

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Beet, Fennel and Arugula Salad

June 20, 2011
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Last week we had a friend visiting Los Angeles on her way back home to where she lives in Cambodia. Living in a developing country can be challenging on many levels, not least among them the quest to find familiar and well loved foods. While it’s often preferable, and easier, to eat local food, sometimes after months of noodles, rice, and curry, the cravings for foods from home kick in.

Knowing that she was on her way back, I tried to craft a meal which included many of the things she likes but cannot get there, chief amoung them beets, arugula, and cheese. While this salad would be lovely with the addition of goat cheese, the night’s meal already included home made pizzas with fresh mozzarella and we had a non-dairy eating guest. When we visited our friend in Cambodia last year we arrived with a cooler bag filled with …

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Wild Mushrooms with Polenta, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

April 4, 2011
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Spring has sprung in Southern California! In one week we’ve gone from rain and chill to sunshine and 90 degrees. It was quite a shock to the system and I suddenly find myself craving lighter food, salads filled with fresh vegetables and meatless meals. This dish fit the bill perfectly, served one night with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and a small spring salad with a light vinaigrette.

Recently, I was contacted by the nice people at Gourmet Mushrooms who asked if I was interested in trying out some of their organically grown mushrooms. This offer piqued my interest because they had some mushrooms I’ve never tried, nor seen in my local market. A box arrived via FedEx, and surrounded by insulated packaging, was a wicker basket tightly packed with 2 pounds of gorgeous mushrooms.  These mushrooms are certified organic, and while not technically “wild” they are certainly …

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