Roasted Root Vegetables


This is super easy and perfect for the colder weather. It is also good left over warmed up. You can adjust the amount for the number of people you plan to feed.

1 beet sliced about 1/8 inch thick

2 medium parsnips sliced same thickness

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and sliced same thickness

1/4 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped

Garlic powder

Olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour enough olive oil in a heavy oven appropriate pot to cover the bottom. Layer the vegetables with the chopped onion and a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle garlic power over the top. Place lid on the pot. Bake until the vegetables are tender.

You can use any root vegetables. I used some of my favorites. I never bother to peel beets or parsnips. If you buy large parsnips, you may have to remove the core because it can sometimes be rather hard and bitter.

Easy Vegan Dishes for Summer


It is too hot to do a lot of cooking in many parts of the US these days. Salads are a good alternative. However, if you get tired of just salads, here are two easy vegan dishes to enjoy that require little cooking time. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, you can add some cubed meat as you are sautéing the veggies.

Sauté coarsely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. I have not specified amounts because amounts can be adjusted to your taste. Coarsely chop 1/2 medium sized beet and add to the onion and garlic. Cook this mixture until tender. Add 1/2 seeded and coarsely chopped red bell pepper. Add 2 Tablespoons of Thai red curry paste and mix well. Finally, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Thai basil and 2 cups arugula. Sauté until wilted stirring constantly. Serve over rice.

Sauté 1/3 coarsely chopped medium sized sweet onion, six small carrots cut into coins, and 5 coarsely chopped garlic cloves in olive oil. When nearly tender add five sliced mushrooms. When these are tender, add 1/3 coarsely chopped red bell pepper and sauté until tender. Finally, add 2 cups arugula and stir until the arugula is wilted. For spices add basil essential oil or World Market Greek Mediterranean Seasoning Blend. Serve over pasta of your choice. If you like cheese, grate fresh parmesan or asiago, my favorite, over the top.

Note: these recipes can be adapted by using your favorite vegetables, e.g. spinach in place of arugula.

Kale with Cannelloni Beans


1/2 medium sized sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded, cut in half lengthwise and cut in 1/2 inch pieces

2-3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1/4 large, red, bell pepper, deseeded and coarsely chopped

3 cups lacinato kale–see directions below

1 cup cannelloni beans

Olive oil

Spices–for this recipe I used World Market Mediterranean Greek

Before measuring the kale, cut out the central stem, discard, and finely chop the remainder of the leaves. Sauté the onion and garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan or skillet until the onion is translucent. Add jalapeño and red bell pepper. Cook until tender but the color is still bright. Sprinkle spices over this mixture and stir–amount of spices to suit your taste. Add kale. Stir and cook until the kale it totally wilted. Add cannoli beans and serve over rice.

Note: Other spices I use include basil, thyme, and fennel essential oils. Be careful when using essential oils to cook. A little goes a long way.

Easy Vegetarian Chili Dinner


I had some Soyrizo in the refrigerator–chorizo made from soybeans–and decided to try making chili with it. I sautéed one finely chopped onion in olive oil and added the Soyrizo after removing it from the casing and breaking it up into small pieces. After the onion was translucent, I added one deseeded and chopped red bell pepper and a deseeded and chopped poblano pepper. To this mixture I added one can undrained black beans and 1 small can chopped tomatoes. I let this mixture cook on low for several hours before serving. The Soyrizo makes it a little bit spicy, but if you want more spice add berbere, chili powder, etc. to your taste. I like thick chili but if you want it more like the consistency of soup, just add some broth or water.

The salad was made with a mixture of greens, chopped red bell peppers, dried bing cherries, and sliced leeks broken up so you can see the circles. These bowls have been in my family for decades. They were the everyday dishes my mom used when I was growing up.

Note: For those out there who question, and rightfully, some of the ingredients in meat substitutes, I do get it. However, once in a while I like to jazz up the food a bit.

An Old Bowl and the Silver Spoon


My Aunt Julia, Mom’s sister, lived to 94. She loved fine antique china, linens, and French furniture. The ordinary bowl in this photo defies those inclinations, its origins a mystery. How did she acquire such a plain bowl and why? I will never know. In spite of its age, cracks, dull finish, I have used it every morning for decades. It is my breakfast bowl, filled with yogurt or cottage cheese with dried blueberries and a handful of walnuts, or, occasionally, oatmeal.

The spoon, on the other hand, is not ordinary, but rather good silver from the set Dad gave Mom on their first wedding anniversary. Unlike Mom, who saved her good silver for holidays and special occasions, I use these spoons daily and think of her unconditional love, strong will, determination, and love for beauty.

Persian Rice with Chicken and Saffron


Per request from a friend who actually has recently harvested saffron and wanted recipes. No photos because I have not made this recently.

2 cups rice

4 cups water or enough to allow the rice to roll around freely in a large pot

salt to taste

1 large flour tortilla or chapati or a similar sort of flat bread

melted butter

onion and chicken breast

saffron

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Add rice to boiling water and boil until the rice grains easily break between your thumb and forefinger but not done. Rice should still be firm. Drain the rice in a colander. While rice is boiling, saute one finely chopped, medium sized onion in oil or butter. Add one large diced chicken breast to the onion and saute until tender. Do not overcook the chicken. After rice is drained, add the onion and chicken mixture to the rice. In the bottom of a large pot pour enough oil or butter to cover the bottom and place the tortilla/chapati on top of the oil. Scoop the rice and chicken mixture onto the tortilla forming a cone. Do not let the rice touch the sides of the pot. With the handle of a wooden spoon, punch several holes through the rice mixture all the way down to the tortilla/chapati. Add strands of saffron to the melted butter and pour over the rice cone. Place several layers of paper towels or a thick tea towel over the pot. Place lid firmly on top. Cook at medium low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. To test, place a small amount of water on your index finger and touch side of the pot. If it sizzles, the rice mixture is done. Turn onto a platter and serve. You will have this heavenly crunchy rice and tortilla/chapati mixture at the bottom of the pot. Serve with the rest of the rice and chicken mixture.

You must use long grain rice like Basmati for this dish. Do not use short grain or Jasmine rice. The goal is to have every rice grain totally separate when the dish is done.

Healthy and Fast Food–1


Since I like to know the source of food and never get take out when I am home, I create quick, easy, food that fits my personal health goals for food. Here is an easy recipe for one person. Just double, triple, etc. the proportions to fit the number of people for whom you are cooking.

Saute several chopped garlic cloves and cubed delicata squash–I used one half of the squash–in olive oil until almost tender. Add I filet fish (I used barramundi on which I had squeezed fresh lemon juice). When fish is 1/2 done, add 1/2 chopped poblano pepper and 1/2 bell pepper chopped. Saute until fish is done and peppers tender but still bright colored. Add whatever seasonings you prefer. I used basil essential oil. Serve over pasta or rice. I also grated asiago over the dish when I plated it. I prefer asiago over parmesan.

Note: You can also use butternut squash. Delicata has the advantage in that you do not have to peel it.

Moving 3–More Cooking with Paneer


As I mentioned in the previous post, I am left with one wok and one skillet. The wok seems to work better than the skillet for the sort of dishes I have been making. My previous Cooking with Paneer has been one of my most popular posts. Here is another edition of Cooking with Paneer.

For those who did not read the previous Cooking with Paneer post, paneer is a traditionally East Indian white cheese that does not melt when heated. It is a good source of protein for a vegetarian dish. I use it when a dish calls for tofu because I prefer it to tofu.

Here is a photo of my latest paneer dish.

The paneer in this photo is the white cubes. I sautéed chopped garlic, chopped onions, and purple potatoes in olive oil. Add whatever spices you prefer. Sometimes I use basil essential oil, sometimes the Ethiopian spice berbere. When these were tender, I added the broccoli and coarsely chopped poblano peppers. Saute just until these vegetables are tender but still bight green. Finally, add the paneer and saute just long enough so the paneer is heated through. Serve over rice or farro.

By the way, I did try the rice in a bag since I did not have a normal saucepan. I do not recommend it unless you are desperate for rice. It is extremely bland and boring.

Moving — 2 Cooking


For a few more weeks I am staying at my daughter’s house in Amarillo. A lot of stuff is packed and some of it is already in California. As a consequence I have to cook a bit differently. The usual pots and pans are gone. What is left is one skillet and one wok like pan. The other evening I decided to try one of my favorites anyway using the wok. It turned out great.

I chopped up some onion, garlic, purple potatoes, and Brussel sprouts. I poured olive oil in the pan, added the onion and garlic and potatoes. When they were almost done, I added bite sized pieces of chicken breast. When they were nearly tender, I added the Brussel sprouts with a touch of basil essential oil.

Since I had no pot in which to cook rice, I broke up some grainy bread into bite sized pieces, put the pieces in a bowl and poured the above over them. It was delicious.

Because I love rice but cannot cook it the usual way, I bought some basmati you can supposedly cook in a bag in the microwave. I remain skeptical about this but plan to try it tomorrow evening. I will let you know how that goes.

Two Healthy, Easy Dishes for Dinner


Easy Asian Style Main Dish

I rarely measure, I often experiment, try new flavor combinations. To create this dish I sautéed several cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, in oil–I use olive for just about everything. I peeled and cubed 1/2 sweet potato and finely chopped approximately two tablespoons fresh ginger. I added these to the olive oil. When the garlic and sweet potatoes were tender, I added 1/2 coarsely chopped red bell pepper and several handfuls of baby bok choy which I had sliced into large pieces. When the bok choy was tender, I added peanuts and Thai sweet chili sauce. I served this over Jasmine rice.

Purple Cabbage with Poblano Peppers, and Garbanzo Beans

I had some left over cabbage and decided to create a new dish. Once again I coarsely chopped several cloves garlic and sautéed them in olive oil. When they were tender and slightly browned, I added coarsely chopped purple cabbage and poblano peppers, sautéing only until they were barely tender. To this mixture I added basil essential oil. Then I added the garbanzo beans. Do not add them too soon because it makes them mushy. I served this over conchiglie pasta from Italy.

Note: I use several essential oils in cooking–basil, fennel, lemon, cumin, thyme, rosemary, cardamon. However, they are intense so if using essential oils, use only a little, taste, then add more if necessary. It is easy to over do it.

For more recipes like this, see my most recent book, “You’re Gonna Eat That?!” It is filled with many simple pescatarian and vegetarian recipes.