Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Lettuce with Mushrooms

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Lettuce with Mushrooms

1 cup boiling water
8 dried shiitake mushrooms (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
½ teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
½ cup vegetable broth
½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 head baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1 medium head romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

Combine 1 cup boiling water and shiitake mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Rinse mushrooms. Remove and discard stems; cut each cap into quarters. Set aside.

Combine soy sauce, wine, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat a small saucepan over medium high-heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and ginger to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add reserved mushrooms; sauté 1 minute. Add reserved mushroom liquid and broth, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Combine 2 tablespoons water and corn starch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk, and stir into mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat, keep warm.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add garlic and stir-fry 10 seconds. Add bok choy and stir-fry 2 minutes or until bok choy begins to soften. Add lettuce and stir-fry 2 minutes or until lettuce wilts. Stir in mushroom mixture and soy sauce mixture and cook 3 minutes or until bok choy is tender.
Serves 8

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lemony Artichoke Dip

Lemony Artichoke Dip

1 garlic clove, peeled
1 shallot peeled
2 tables,poons lemon juice
½ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup great northern beans
¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
½ teaspoon powdered mustard
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
2 ½ cups canned artichoke hearts, drained

Using your food processor, put in garlic and process until minced. Turn off processor, scrape down sides of bowl, add remaining ingredients except artichokes and process until well combined. Add artichokes and process briefly so that small chunks remain. Season to taste with additional salt and serve.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Roasted Tofu with Green Beans

Roasted Tofu with Green Beans

I made this the other night and loved it! Experiment with any vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or fennel. Serve with brown rice for a heartier meal.


2 pounds fresh firm tofu, cut into cubes
10 garlic cloves, pealed
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
½ pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed
2 leeks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
All purpose seasoning blend or salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 °F

Place tofu, garlic, green beans and mushrooms in 9 x 12-inch baking pan. Cut leeks in half lengthwise, rinse, cut into ¼ inch slices and add to pan. Drizzle olive oil and liquid aminos over tofu mixture, sprinkle generously with seasoning blend and toss to combine. Roast uncovered 1 hour. Stirring every 20 minutes, until tofu is firm and vegetables are caramelized. Remove from oven and serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice

You can use any vegetables you have on hand. For best results, the rice needs to be made ahead of time or use left over rice from the day before.


3 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ red onion, diced
½ red pepper, diced
½ celery stalk, sliced thin
Handful of chopped asparagus or small broccoli florets
4 cups cooked and cold rice (use brown basmati, it's healthier than white)
1 cup snow peas, cut in half
2 green onions, slice thin
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
Pinch of dried chili flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice or rice wine vinegar
1 cup bean sprouts


Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs and set aside.
Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in wok or large sauté pan over med-high or high heat. Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, red onion, red pepper, celery, and asparagus or broccoli and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the cooked rice and stir. Once incorporated and rice has been heated through, add the snow peas, scallions, coriander, dried chilies, and sesame seeds. Combine the soy sauce and lime juice in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the pan and toss until the liquid has been absorbed into the rice. Add the scrambled eggs and mix to reheat. Garnish wit the bean sprouts and serve immediately.

Mushrooms are also nice to put in. If you want to leave out the eggs you can add some tofu instead for the protein. Just cut into cubes and sauté until crispy, or use baked tofu cut into cubes, then add it at the same time you add the rice.

Gado Gado: Vegetables and hardboiled egg with Satay sauce

Gado Gado: Vegetables and hardboiled egg with Satay sauce
By: Lorena Uriarte

Satay Sauce
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 Eschallot, finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoons Grated ginger
¼ teaspoon Sambal Oelek
1 cup Crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Kecap Manis
1 Lime, juiced
¼ cup Coconut milk
¼ cup Water

1. Gently fry onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in oil.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and heat till thick and bubbling.
3. Adjust flavourings to suit ie. Sugar, chilli, lime juice, salt.

1 cup Green beans, halved and blanched
1 cup Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
4 Small potatoes, cooked skin on and sliced
1 cup Bean sprouts, rinsed
4 Eggs, hard boiled, peeled and quartered

Cucumber, sliced
Crackers, prawn or taro
Fried eschallots

Tempeh Goreng and Sambal Terong (Eggplant with mild chili sauce)

Tempeh Goreng (Fried Fermented Soybeans)
By: Lorena Uriarte

3 Garlic cloves
½ teaspoon Coriander, ground
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
1 tablespoon Water
250 grams Tempeh, cut into 1cm slices, scored with a fork
Oil for deep frying
Salt to taste

1. Pound spices, salt and garlic together, mix with the water.
2. Rub this marinade over the tempeh slices and leave them to dry min. 20 mins.
3. Deep fry slices till brown, drain and reserve.

Sambal Terong (Eggplant with mild chili sauce)

2 Japanese eggplant (long thin ones) cut lengthways and into thirds
1 tablespoon Oil
¼ cup Sambal Balado or Sambal Oelek
Kecap Manis

1. Place eggplants on a baking tray and brush lightly with oil.
2. Bake at 180C till slightly softened
3. Top with sambal paste and return to oven till warmed through.

Spinach & Pumpkin Sayur (Spinach “soup”)

Spinach & Pumpkin Sayur (Spinach “soup”)
By: Lorena Uriarte

3 cups Vegetable stock (1 teaspoon powder per cup)
5 cm Galangal, sliced and bruised
1 cup Corn kernels
1 bunch English Spinach, washed and trimmed leaves
200 grams Pumpkin, diced and blanched

1 small red chilli, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green shallots
Salt and pepper
Palm sugar to taste

1. Make spice paste first by blending the chili, garlic and shallots, add ½ cup stock and blend again.
2. Bring the rest of the stock to the boil, add galangal and spice mix, simmer for a few minutes.
3. Add the corn and then the spinach leaves, cook briefly, taste and adjust seasoning before serving.


By: Lorena Uriarte

A lovely South East Asian dessert.

Serves: 6
Preparation: Soak rice overnight
Cooking Time: 20/30 minutes, depends on the rice.

knife, chopping board, wok, measuring cup, 2 large spoons or spatulas for tossing noodles, small bowl for rubbish, vegetable peeler.


300gms black glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight
7 cups water
150 grams Dark palm sugar, broken up
2 Drops pandan essence (or pandan leaf if available)
Pinch of salt
2 cups Thick coconut milk
Toasted shredded coconut for garnish

Optional: Serve with sliced mango cheeks or bananas and palm sugar syrup

1. Drain rice and bring to the boil in a pot with 6 cups of water.
2. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft.
3. Add the sugar, pandan essence and extra cup water, stir until sugar dissolves.
4. Take off the stove and chill in a bowl or individual ramekins. (May also be eaten warm or hot)
1. In another pot simmer the coconut milk and pinch of salt till thickened. Cool.
6. Serve a few of spoonfuls of rice pudding topped with the coconut milk and garnish.


By: Lorena Uriarte

The quintessential Indonesian snack food.

Serves: 6
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

knife, chopping board, saucepan, wok, measuring cup, metal spoon, small bowl for rubbish,


2 tablespoons Sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
2 tablespoons Light Soy sauce
1 tablespoons Sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sambal belado or mild chili sauce (or fresh chilli slices)
Salt and pepper

Stir Fry
¼ cup Canola Oil
175 grams Firm tofu, cut into 1 cm cubes

4 cups Steamed rice, warm or cold
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 cup Chinese cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup Green beans, cut into half and blanched (boiled till al dente in hot water)
1 cup Carrot, peeled and cut thinly into long matchsticks, blanched
1 cup Snowpeas, julienned into long strips

4 Eggs, fried or thin omelet slices
1 Tomato, thinly sliced
½ Cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ cup Bawang goreng – crispy fried onion

1. Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Deep fry tofu till lightly golden, drain and reserve.
3. Keep 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok and gently fry onion and garlic.
4. Add remaining vegetables and stir fry till capsicum and cabbage have softened.
5. Add rice and tofu and mix through, add sauce and mix till evenly coloured.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve in a mound with a fried egg on top of each serve, alternatively slice thin omelet pieces and scatter on top with a few slices of tomato, cucumber and crispy fried onion

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mushroom and tofu pot sticker dumplings

Mushroom and tofu pot sticker dumplings
By: Lorena Uriarte

1 x 2 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
200 g Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
250 g silken tofu
50 g water chestnuts, chopped
50g dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mushroom oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine (or dry sherry)

2 packets gow gee pastry wrappers
2 cups water
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Dipping sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 x 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Combine the first list of ingredients in a food processor and pulse gently.
2. Lay out gow gee wrappers and brush edges with water.
3. Place a tablespoon of mix on each wrapper.
4. Fold into little parcels and place on a tray and set aside.
5. To make dipping sauce combine all ingredients and set aside.
6. Combine water and flour in a jug and set aside.
7. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauce pan with a well fitting lid.
8. Place as many dumplings in the pan as will fit snugly, cook 1 -2 minutes.
9. Add 1 cup water and flour mixture and cover immediately.
10. After 2-3 minutes remove lid and let the rest of the water evaporate and brown the bases.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce.


By: Lorena Uriarte

These are a coiled Greek version of the popular baklava.
Serves: makes 20-24 coils
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

Equipment: chopping board, knife or food processor, pastry brush, greased baking tray, tea towel
Oven 200C

1 box Fillo pastry
½ cup melted butter or olive oil
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup pistachio nuts, unsalted finely chopped

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 orange, peel only
A little extra melted butter or oil to grease the baking tin

1. Prepare all ingredients and grease baking tray well before taking fillo out of the box
2. Lay fillo in a stack on your clean work surface and cover with a clean tea towel
3. Working on the top sheet first, brush lightly with melted butter or oil
4. Sprinkle surface with nuts. Remember these nuts have to go on all the sheets, a tablespoon is fine
5. Starting at one of the short edges, gather up the fillo like a loose fan fold
6. Don’t worry if fillo tears
7. Scroll the strip of gathered fillo and place in the baking tin
8. Continue until you have used up all the fillo and nuts and scrolls are packed in tightly into the baking tin
9. Bake at 200C for up to 40 minutes till golden and crunchy. Let cool for 10 minutes in tin
10. Whilst they are baking make the sugar syrup by boiling all ingredients and stirring till sugar is dissolved
11. Pour syrup over the pastries and let sit 4 hours or overnight to absorb the syrup.
12. Serve pastries at room temperature.

For a more fragrant syrup you can add a little rosewater, cinnamon, cardamom or cloves to the syrup whilst it boils and strain before pouring over the pastries.


By: Lorena Uriarte

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Equipment: chopping board, knife, grater, large mixing bowl, pastry brush, 20cm x 30cm baking tray
Oven 180C

2 bunches English spinach or silverbeet (or a combination)
2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
4 green shallots, chopped
400g Greek feta cheese
150g ricotta cheese
½ cup finely grated kefalograviera, parmesan or pecorino cheese
6 eggs
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon black pepper
50 ml olive oil

16 sheets packet filo pastry
150 g butter, melted

1. Trim spinach/ silverbeet removing the stalks. Wash well and chop finely. Dry and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine feta, ricotta and hard cheese. Mash well with a fork.
3. Add eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, oil and mix well.
4. Add spinach mix through and set aside.
5. Grease a 20cm x 30 cm baking tray.
6. Take filo pastry from box and cover with a clean tea towel.
7. Take one sheet of filo pastry and place on the bottom of the tray making sure all sides are covered.
8. Using a pastry brush lightly spread some melted butter on the pastry.
9. Place the next sheet on the tray and brush with melted butter.
10. Continue till roughly half the sheets are used.
11. Pour in spinach and cheese mix, spreading the filling till it is level.
12. Place a sheet of filo pastry on the top, brush with butter.
13. Continue with the remaining filo pastry and butter.
14. Make sure final layer is well buttered.
15. Trim and tuck in the top into the sides.
16. Using a sharp knife cut through the top layer of pastry into diamond shapes.
17. Bake in 180C oven for 45- 50 minutes till golden brown and cooked through.

To serve: Cool slightly before serving cut into diamond slices.


By: Lorena Uriarte

This salad is best made just before serving using fresh ingredients.
Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Equipment: chopping board, knife, large bowl

6 ripe yet firm tomatoes, chopped into 1” pieces
3 Lebanese cucumbers, chopped into 1” pieces
1 red onion, halved and then sliced into rings
1 red capsicum, halved seeded and chopped into 1” pieces
200g kalamata olives
220g Greek fetta, cubed
1 tsp dried Greek oregano
½ cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

60 ml red or white wine vinegar (optional)
Iceberg lettuce (optional)

1. Place tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion and fetta in a bowl.
2. Sprinkle over fetta, oregano, olives and olive oil and mix till combined.
3. Place into serving bowl and sprinkle with oregano and pepper.
4. Taste and if desired add the vinegar and salt.

In Australia this salad is often served with crisp iceberg lettuce and crunchy bread.


By: Lorena Uriarte

This rich lentil soup is traditionally served with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Serves: 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45- 60 mins

Equipment: chopping board, knife, vegetable peeler, garlic press, large pot and ladle.

375gm lentils, washed and picked over
½ cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery, stalks and leaves –chopped
½ red or green capsicums
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoon oregano
3 litres vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

2 tablespoon parsley, chopped to garnish
¼ cup virgin olive oil, extra for drizzling
Red wine vinegar for drizzling (optional)

1. Place lentils in a pot, just cover with water and boil for 10 minutes whilst preparing the other ingredients.
2. In a large pot heat oil and gently fry the onion, carrot, celery, capsicum and garlic for 5 minutes .
3. Add the bay leaves, oregano and pepper.
4. Drain lentils and add them to the vegetables along with the stock, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste.
5. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 30- 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with a splash of olive oil and a dash of good red wine vinegar.

Accompanied with bread, fetta and olives it forms a satisfying and complete meal.



By: Lorena Uriarte

A great family dish for all to share, they will be surprised when you tell them they are meat free!

Serves: 16 meatballs
Preparation: 15 minutes + 30 minutes refrigeration
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Set oven to 190C

½ c cheddar cheese, grated
¼ c parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ c walnuts, finely chopped in a food processor
1 c breadcrumbs, large crumb
2 cups cooked lentils (or a tin if you are rushed), well drained
200 gm mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Using your (clean) hands, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Form into 16 balls and place on a paper lined baking tray.
4. Spray with canola oil.
5. Bake at 190C for 20 minutes, turning occasionally for an even colour.

At this stage you can add the “meatballs” to your tomato sauce or use it in other recipes.

Add tomato paste, chilli or chopped fresh herbs to the mix for a different flavour.
The same mix can be formed into patties for burgers. oil the grill plate well so they don't stick.


By: Lorena Uriarte

An Arabic chick pea (hummus) dish perfect for vegetarians.

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Refrigeration: 30 minutes (minimum)


1 ½ cup chickpeas, canned or soaked and cooked chickpeas
1 clove garlic, crushed
50ml olive Oil
1tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Virgin olive oil
Sweet paprika

1. Blend the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini, cumin and lemon juice in the food processor till just combined
2. Whilst the motor is running slowly add the water till the desired consistency is reached. Thicker for a dip, runny for dressing a salad or serving with falafel etc
3. Cover and chill till required

To serve:
Scoop into a dish, make a small well in the center and pour in a little olive oil.
Sprinkle with the sweet paprika.

A smoky eggplant dip

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 20 minutes
Refrigeration: 30 minutes (minimum)

Oven: set oven to 180C to roast eggplants.
A gas flame is required or alternatively, use a char grill or BBQ for best results.


1 eggplants (large) washed and dried
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
½ lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Dukkah ( a mixture of crushed hazelnuts, seeds and spices)
or chopped pistachios, chopped parsley, diced tomato etc

1. With a sharp knife cut skin of each eggplant about 4 times and place directly over a flame with tongs or skewered on a fork
2. Turn till charred on all sides. This gives the eggplant smoky flavor
3. Place eggplants on a baking tray and bake for 20 to 30 minutes till soft
4. Set aside to cool
5. Once cool peel away the skin
6. Place flesh in a large bowl with the garlic, tahini and the lemon juice and oil
7. Using a whisk beat until the eggplant is mashed and ingredients are combined
8. Taste and season with salt and pepper

To serve:
Scoop into a bowl and sprinkle with dukkah or your choice of garnish.

This earthy beetroot dip makes a colourful addition to your dip selection!
Serves: 6 (as part of a dip selection)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Refrigeration: 30 minutes


3 beetroot, washed, trimmed and wrapped in foil squares
1 small onion, peeled and wrapped in foil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoon plain/ Greek yoghurt
Salt and pepper to taste

Sumac powder (optional)
Olive oil (drizzle)

1. Roast beetroot and onion for 40 -50 minutes till tender
2. Cool and peel beetroot. Chill in freezer till cold
3. Chop beetroot and onion roughly
4. Place beetroot, onion, garlic and in a food processor and blend quickly till just mixed through.
5. Add yoghurt and blend till roughly combined
6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, cover and chill before serving.

To Serve:
Sprinkle with a pinch of sumac powder or cayenne pepper and then a light drizzle of olive oil.

This Tunisian dip is tangy, spicy and slightly sweet.

Serves: 6 (as part of a mezze spread)
Preparation: 20 minutes


500 grams carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
2 tablespoons lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon harissa, chilli paste or paprika (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt to taste

Pinch toasted cumin seeds

1. Gently boil the carrots in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and gently fry the garlic, harissa and cumin, set aside
3. Drain carrots well and place pot back over a low heat to dry the carrots well
4. Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till mix is smooth.
5. Taste and adjust salt, lemon juice and chilli to your taste

To serve:
Scoop into a bowl and sprinkle with roasted cumin seeds.
This dip is best served warm or at room temperature.

A refreshing and garlicky yoghurt dip
Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 0

2 cups plain yoghurt (preferably Greek)
1 cucumber peeled and grated.
¼ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toasted cumin seeds

1. Place cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt, drain over a bowl for 10 minutes.
2. Squeeze as much water out of the cucumber as possible.
3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
4. Taste and adjust seasoning (remember cucumber will be salty!)
5. Cover and chill till ready to serve

To serve:
Scoop into a bowl and top with toasted cumin seeds


By: Lorena Uriarte

These sweet, cigar shaped pastries are perfect with coffee or as a dessert.

Serves: 8 (as a dessert)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Equipment: chopping board, knife, food processor, pastry brush, paper lined baking tray.
Oven 180C to toast walnuts and bake pastries

1 cup Medjool (fresh) dates, pitted
1 cup walnuts, toasted in the oven
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon orange peel, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

8 sheets filo pastry
50 g unsalted butter, melted

To serve:
2 cups thick Greek yoghurt

1. Combine dates, walnuts, orange peel, cardamom and 1 tablespoon of honey in food processor
2. Blend until a rough paste forms
3. Divide the mixture into 8 and form into even cigar shapes, set aside
4. Cut the stack of filo pastry in 2 lengthwise (making two long rectangle stacks)
5. Cover filo stack with a tea towel to stop it drying out
6. Take one piece of filo, brush with melted butter and top with a second sheet. Brush with butter.
7. Place a cigar shaped log of filling 2 cm away from the edge and roll into a log
8. Place on tray and brush with butter
9. Repeat till you have completed 8 logs
10. Bake until golden (about 20-25 minutes)
11. Cool on baking sheet before serving

To serve:
Serve each log with a dollop of yoghurt drizzled with honey for dipping.

Roll prepared pastry around bananas cut in half with crushed macadamias, sugar and cardamom


By: Lorena Uriarte

A hearty Moroccan stew to be served with sweet couscous

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 30 minutes (not including chick pea soaking time)
Cooking time 30 - 40 minutes

Equipment: knife, measuring cup, large pot with lid, small bowl for rubbish, wooden spoon, vegetable peeler


2 brown onion, large cut into 1/8 ths
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
¼ bch parsley, washed and left whole
¼ bch coriander, washed and left whole, smash the roots with heavy knife
¼ c olive oil
salt and pepper

1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into large chunks
1 green capsicum, seeded and cut into large chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 sweet potatoes or kumera, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 4 pieces
2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks (or fennel if in season)
1 tin tinned tomatoes, whole
1 tin chick peas, drained

1 pinch saffron threads, soaked in half cup warm water
1 litre vegetable stock

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, fry onion gently until translucent, 5 minutes
2. Add the rest of the first list of ingredients and gently fry for a further 2 minutes
3. Add capsicum, carrot, potato and sweet potato and celery, gently colour them whilst stirring for 5- 8 minutes
4. Add tomatoes and chickpeas, place lid on and cook for a further 5- 8 minutes till carrots are slightly coloured and soft to pierce with a knife
5. Add zucchini, saffron and stock.
6. Place lid on and cook gently for 20 minutes till all vegetables are soft and the flavours have developed. Add more water if it is too dry.

To Serve: Serve hot with cous cous or crusty bread

Cous cous is a great compliment to a tagine as it helps mop up the juices

Serves: 6 (as part of a meal)
Preparation: 30 minutes (not including soaking time)
Cooking time 10 minutes

Equipment: knife, measuring cup, large pot with lid, wooden spoon, large fry pan or wok.


2 cups Cous Cous
2 cups Water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon Butter
½ cup currants/ raisins soaked in ½ cup warm water
¼ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
¼ cup almonds, slivered
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 lemon, zest only
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 bay leaves
¼ c fried onion
1 Tbsp dried dill

¼ c parsley and/or coriander, chopped

1. Heat water, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large pot
2. Add the cous cous and stir quickly, cover with the lid and remove from the heat
3. After 5 minutes remove lid and fluff gently with a fork. Set aside
4. Melt butter in a large frypan and gently fry all fruit, nuts, seeds and spices for 5 minutes to release their aroma
5. Add cous cous to the frypan and fry gently till warm and mixed through.
6. Stir through chopped fresh herbs

To serve:
Remove cinnamon and bay leaf.
Serve cold as a salad or hot with a tagine or vegetable stew.


By: Lorena Uriarte

A beautiful tart with crunchy almonds and caramelised onions.
Serves: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes (not including pastry)
Cooking time: 1 hour

Equipment: chopping board, knife, mandolin, measuring cup, wooden spoon, large pot, bowl and whisk.

Oven 180C

200g green zucchini
200g yellow zucchini or button squash
¼ cup olive oil
500g onions (about 3) halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped
30g slivered almonds
1/3 cup crème frâiche or sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten

1 prepared and baked pastry shell (see Pâte Brisée recipe)

1. Cut zucchini and squash into 2mm thin slices.
2. In a colander, salt layers of zucchini and squash over a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a large pot and gently cook onions, herbs, ½ teaspoon salt for 5 minutes.
4. Cover and gently cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally till very soft.
5. Remove onions from heat and season with salt and pepper, cool.
6. Rinse and pat dry the zucchini and squash.
7. Spread onion mixture into prepared pastry shell, scatter with almonds
8. Layer alternate overlapping rows of green zucchini and yellow squash on top of the onions.
9. Combine sour cream and egg, season and pour over the zucchini.
10. Bake at 180C for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

To serve:
Serve hot or at room temperature cut into slices.
Pair with a fresh garden salad.


By: Lorena Uriarte

This simple shortcrust pastry is essential for making quiches and tarts.

Serves: makes 1
Preparation time: 5 minutes + 2 hrs chilling time
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Equipment: Food processor, measuring cup, scales, tablespoon, rolling pin, cling film, tart tin, baking paper, pastry weights or rice/ beans

Heat oven to 180C

300gm plain flour (2 cups)
150gm cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons soda water, cold

1. Place flour, salt and butter into food processor and process till mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add soda water and pulse till mixture just comes together.
3. Turn onto a lightly floured bench and press into a ball. Do not knead it as it will toughen the pastry.
4. Press or roll into a flattened disc (for a round tin) or rectangle (for a rectangular tin) and wrap with cling film. Chill for at least 2 hours.
5. Roll pastry into a rectangle or circle large enough to line tart tin (around 4mm thin).
6. Place pastry into tin and press into the sides, trim by rolling over the top with the rolling pin. Chill 30 mins.
7. Bake blind for 20 minutes till pastry is pale golden. (line with baking paper and pastry weights or rice)
8. Remove paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes till pastry is crisp.
9. Pastry case is now ready for filling.


By: Lorena Uriarte

Use large eggplants for a main course or smaller ones for entrees

Serves: 8
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Chopping board, sharp knife, garlic press, large bowl, baking tray
Oven at 200C

4 eggplants
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 lemon, zest and juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup capers, drained and finely chopped
20 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano or thyme
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Trim green tops off eggplants and cut in half lengthways
2. Using a small sharp knife cut deep slashes across the flesh. Don’t cut the skin!
3. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a baking tray.
4. In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients well with your hands
5. Pull open the slashed eggplants and fill with stuffing.
6. Fill all eggplant halves and press any extra stuffing on top
7. Bake in a medium hot oven till tender (30 min for small 45 minutes for large)
8. Eggplant should be tender and tops golden brown

Serve hot or warm with a tomato salad or as part of an Antipasto spread.


By: Lorena Uriarte

Bruschetta or crostini are a perfect finger food or entree.

Serves: 6
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Chopping board, knife, brush
Grill or oven

6 slices Italian style bread (eg. Pane di Casa )
4 ripe tomatoes, washed and sliced
10 bocconcini, sliced
¼ cup pesto
A little extra olive oil

1. Grill or toast slices of bread in the oven
2. Brush or spread each slice with a little pesto whilst still warm
3. Top with alternating slices of tomato and bocconcini
4. Drizzle with a little pesto mixed with olive oil.

Serve warm or cold.
To serve cold assemble just prior to serving so bread doesn’t go soggy.

Goat’s Cheese & Arugula
Red onion, tomato and basil with balsamic vinegar
Roast red peppers with capers and shaved parmesan


By: Lorena Uriarte

This dish elevates humble broccoli to a delicious zesty dish.

Serves: 6
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Chopping board, sharp knife, large bowl, large shallow baking tray, lemon zester
Oven 180C

2 large heads of broccoli (c. 700gms)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup pine nuts
1 lemon
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1. Cut the broccoli into medium size florets
2. In a large bowl toss broccoli, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts
3. Spread evenly on baking tray and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper
4. Roast for 20 minutes till stems are tender
5. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.

The cooked broccoli is great tossed through penne pasta.

Broccolini or cauliflower can also be cooked this way.


By: Lorena Uriarte

Frittata is a convenient dish for entertaining, a quick meal or even picnics.

Serves: 6
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Chopping board, sharp knife, saucepan, non stick frypan, large plate

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cups pumpkin, peeled and sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” lengths
¼ cup fresh herbs, chopped
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil or steam the pumpkin and asparagus individually till just tender
2. Drain pumpkin and asparagus well. Patting off excess water if you need to.
3. Heat half the olive oil in the frypan and gently sweat the sliced onion
4. Take the onions out and heat the remaining oil.
5. Add pumpkin, asparagus, onion and herbs to the pan.
6. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Gradually pour in the beaten eggs making sure it falls through to the bottom
8. Cook on a medium to low heat till almost cooked through.
9. Place the frypan in the griller to cook the top.
10. Place a large plate over the frypan.
11. Flip the frittata on to the plate and then slide it back in the pan
12. Cook a little longer so there isn’t any raw egg in the middle.
13. Remove and turn onto a cutting board or serving platter.

Serve hot or warm with a salad and bread for a meal or serve thin slices as antipasto.


A fresh, spicy tofu salad from North Eastern Thailand.
By: Lorena Uriarte

Serves: 8 as part of a meal
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

knife, chopping board, large saucepan, measuring cup, wooden spoon, small bowl for rubbish, mortar and pestle (optional).

1 Tbsp jasmine rice, toasted in the wok till yellow
4 dried large chillies, toasted in a wok (warning: open window!)
500gms firm tofu
3 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp mushroom Soy sauce
1 small red (bird’s eye) chilli, finely sliced (optional)
2 red eschallot (or a small Spanish onion) finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 handful snake (or green beans) washed and chopped into 3cm lengths
1 handful cashews, roasted
½ cup cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 cup mint leaves
½ cup coriander leaves
2 spring onions, sliced

To serve: Lettuce or cabbage cups (optional)

1. Boil tofu in water for 2 minutes to remove raw taste. Drain well and cool.
2. In a mortar and pestle (or in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) pound the rice till coarse, like sand.
3. Add the toasted dried chillies and garlic and pound again.
4. Add green beans, tomatoes, cashews and crush them lightly.
5. In a large bowl, crumble the tofu into cottage cheese like bits with your clean fingers.
5. Stir through all other ingredients, reserving some mint and coriander leaves for garnish.

Serve in little lettuce cups with jasmine rice or steamed sticky rice.



By: Lorena Uriarte
A traditional Northern Thai dessert, with a modern cooking method!

Serves: 6
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Microwave, Oven at 180C to toast shredded coconut, glass bowl, cling film, chopping board, knife, small saucepan, baking tray

1c white sticky/ glutinous rice
1c coconut milk
2 Tbs sugar
2 pinches salt
Warm water

2 mangoes, peeled and sliced (or lychees, pineapple, papaya, bananas etc)

Garnish: Toasted coconut and palm sugar syrup

½ c shredded coconut, toasted in the oven on a baking tray
½ c palm sugar
½ c water


1. Soak the sticky rice in warm water for 10 minutes.
2. Drain and place in a glass bowl with 1 cup water, cover with cling film.
3. Cook in microwave for 3 minutes.
4. Carefully peel back cling film and stir rice thoroughly.
5. Replace cling film and cook a further 3 minutes.
6. Whilst rice is cooking heat coconut milk, sugar and salt in saucepan.
7. Check if rice is cooked, stir through ¾ of the hot coconut milk.

Palm sugar syrup:

1. Chop ½ cup of palm sugar and combine with ½ cup water in a saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil and stir till dissolved.
3. Set aside to cool.

To serve: may be served hot or cold.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of sticky rice into a bowl and serve topped with mango slices, remaining warm coconut milk, palm sugar syrup and shredded coconut.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce

Marinated Tofu with Ginger Cashew Dipping Sauce

2 pounds firm tofu (not silken)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon chickpea or mellow white miso
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup orange juice

Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 green onions, minced
3 tablespoons Tamari
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup finally ground cashews
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Hot pepper sauce

Preparing Tofu

Slice tofu lengthwise into ½ -inch strips. In shallow baking dish, combine ginger, liquid aminos, miso, garlic, sesame oil, juice and 2 tablespoons water. Place tofu in dish and coat with marinade (flipping to coat both sides). Set aside to marinate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place tofu on ungreased baking sheet and save leftover marinade. Bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, flip tofu, baste with remaining marinade and bake another 15 minutes.

Preparing Sauce

In small skillet over medium heat, gently sauté garlic and ginger in grapeseed oil for 2 minutes. Add green onions and sauté another 2 minutes. Add tamari, syrup, coconut milk, cashews and ¼ cup water and stir to combine. Increase heat briefly and then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to combine flavors. Remove from heat and season to taste with toasted sesame oil and hot pepper sauce.
Serve tofu with sauce on side or drizzled on top.

Note: Tamari is a soy sauce. Bragg liquid aminos is a condiment that tastes like soy sauce with a hint of maple. Miso is a rich source of minerals, helps to cleanse the body of toxins. It can be found in specialty food stores or Asian markets.

Three Bean Chili

Three Bean Chili

1 thumb-size piece kombu (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
¼ cup red wine
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
6-8 drops hot sauce (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1 ½ cups cooked black beans
1 ½ cups cooked aduki beans
1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans
Vegetable stock as needed
Garnishes: chopped green onions, shredded soy or rice cheese (or regular cheddar)
Tofu sour cream (posted on Veggicurious)

Place kombu in bowl with enough water to cover and soak 10 minutes or until soft, Drain, mince and set aside.
In large pot over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil for 3 minutes or until soft. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Add green peppers and sauté 2 minutes more. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, wine, oregano, cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, cayenne and salt. Add cooked beans and kombu, stir to combine. Add just enough vegetable stock so that it's still thick but has some sauce. Simmer for at least 45 minutes adding stock as needed to thin. Check for seasoning, garnish as desired and serve.

Note: Kombu is a sea vegetable. Kombu is known for it's ability to tenderize legumes and reduce their gaseous properties. It can be found in specialty food stores (Whole Foods) or Asian markets.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tofu Sour Cream

Tofu Sour Cream

8 ounces firm or extra firm silken tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Canola oil
2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

In food processor, whip tofu until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined.
Chill before serving.

Note: if you want a spicy sour cream, just add ½ a jalapeno (stem and seeds removed) while processing remaining ingredients.

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

About 5-6 cups vegetable stock
1 large bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced shitake mushrooms (1/4 inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon, minced garlic
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine (optional)
1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup coarsely grated Fontina cheese
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Pour the stock into a saucepan, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Snap the woody ends from the asparagus and peel any tough skin from the stalks. Discard the stems. Slice the spears ¼ inch thick on the diagonal. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Scatter in the mushrooms and do not move them until they begin to brown, about 1 minute. Then season with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, season lightly with salt, and cook until soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the rice and stir until the grains look pearly white, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine, if using, and cook until the pan is nearly dry. Adjust the heat so the rice cooks at a slow simmer. Add ½ cup of the stock, stir, and cook until the pan is nearly dry again. Season lightly with salt and pepper now so the flavor permeates the rice. Add another ½ cup of the stock and continue to stir and cook, adding stock as necessary., until the rice is three-fourths cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme, mushrooms, and sliced asparagus. Continue to cook until the rice is al dente and the asparagus is bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter, Fontina cheese, ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley and the lemon zest. Taste for seasoning. Dust with the Parmesan before serving.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces whole-wheat pasta of your choice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese for sprinkling at the table.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
Toss zucchini, bell pepper and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large roasting pan or large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables, stirring every 5 minutes, until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta until just tender. Drain and transfer to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add the roasted vegetables and toss well. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve, passing feta cheese separately.

Note: I added some sliced shitake mushrooms while baking. It was delicious.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas)

Cooking the onions:
2 large onions
5 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Finely dice the onions. Then heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and melt the ghee. Once melted, add the onions followed by the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until soft and golden but not brown. Do not rush this step.

Preparing other ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
1 ½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 green chilies (Serrano or jalapeno), minced
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 3 cups) chopped
2-19 ounce cans chickpeas
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
½ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon Kashmiri powder (An Indian Chili powder. If you can’t find it, just use regular chili powder).

While the onions are cooking, you can start getting the rest of the ingredients ready. First, crush the garlic into a paste. Then finely chop the ginger and mince the chilies. Depending on how spicy you like you curry, you may want to remove some of the ribs and seeds. Next, core and dice the tomatoes into medium dice. Drain and rinse the chickpeas under cold water and set aside.
Remember to stir the onions occasionally and adjust the heat lower if necessary. Remember to cook them slowly.
Next, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the coriander flowed by the cumin.

Cooking the Dish:

1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups water

Once the onions are soft and golden, add the garlic, ginger and chilies. Stir to coat with the butter and let cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma. Then add the spices and fry just until they release their fragrance. Next, turn the heat up to medium, add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Then add the salt and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and soften, about 10 minutes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the chickpeas and water. Bring the mixture to a quick boil and then turn the heat to low. Cover only partially to allow the moisture to evaporate very slowly, while the chickpeas cook. Let this simmer and cook for about 20 minutes in total, stirring occasionally to ensure noting is sticking. After about 10 minutes, check to see how much moisture remains. You want to reduce and thicken, but still have some liquid. Meanwhile, you can prepare the garnish.

Finishing the dish:
1 lemon
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¾ cup plain yogurt (thick yogurt)

Roughly chop the cilantro and cut the lemon in half. Once almost all the liquid has evaporated, squeeze half the lemon juice over top and let cook for another minute or so. To finish the dish, turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt. Just before serving, fold in the cilantro and test for seasoning. Serve over brown basmati and you have a great meal.

Note: To make ghee, just google it and they will tell you exactly how to make it.
If you do not have a grinder for the seeds, just use ground cumin and coriander, making sure to use less since it’s already ground.

Fusilli alla Caprese

Fusilli alla Caprese

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 ½ pints)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 ¼ cups)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky sauce, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine. Stir in the basil leaves and mozzarella, then add the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Pasta with Asparagus-Lemon Sauce

Pasta with Asparagus-Lemon Sauce

1 pound fresh, medium thickness asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound penne or preferred pasta
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces; reserve tips separately. Cook asparagus stems in 5 to 6 quarts boiling water with 2 tablespoons salt until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain asparagus well and transfer to a food processor or blender.

Cook asparagus tips in the same boiling water until just tender, 3 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to colander, reserving boiling water in pot, and rinse under cold water. Drain tips well.

Puree asparagus stems with zest, oil, and ½ cup asparagus cooking water. Transfer sauce to a 4-quart saucepan.

Cook pasta in boiling asparagus cooking water for about three-fourths of the recommended time (very el dente). You will finish cooking off the pasta in a sauce pan.
Reserve 2 cups cooking water and drain pasta.

Add pasta, asparagus tips, and ½ cup reserved water to asparagus sauce and cook over gigh heat, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until pasta is almost al dente and sauce coasts pasta. Add more cooking water, a bit at a time, until sauce coats pasta but is a little loose (the cheese will thicken it slightly).

Stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper, to taste and cook, stirring until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, add the vinegar, shallot, garlic, salt, and the pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to combine. Serve over any favorite salad.

Zesty Basmati Rice with Cinnamon and Cumin

Zesty Basmati Rice with Cinnamon and Cumin

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
¼ cup toasted cashew pieces
¼ cup coarsely chopped
Fresh cilantro or parsley

Place the water or stock into a sauce pan with cinnamon stick, cumin, salt and orange zest. Bring to a boil, and add the rice. Bring to another boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and fluff with fork. Toss with sesame oil, cashews and cilantro or parsley and serve.

Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews

Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews

1 8 ounce package tempeh
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1 tablespoon roasted Thai red chili paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons tamari
1/3 cup water
4 scallions finely chopped

Cut tempeh into large chunks and steam 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.

In a large cast-iron or sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onion in the olive oil 10 minutes or until caramelized. Crumble chunks of tempeh directly into skillet. Add roasted red pepper and cashews and sauté 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together chili paste, syrup, tamari and water. Pour over tempeh, and sauté another minute to combine flavors.
Remove from heat, top with chopped scallions and serve.

Note: For those who don’t know what Tempeh is, it’s made from pressed and fermented soy beans. Comes in many varieties with ingredients like grains and vegetables.
Tamari, is a soy sauce made from soy beans, water and sea salt.

Cantaloupe, Red Onion, and Walnut Salad

Cantaloupe, Red Onion, and Walnut Salad

Orange Vinaigrette
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

To make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, and raspberry vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly add the live oil whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the salad, combine the cantaloupe, red onion, arugula, and ½ cup of the walnuts in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Garnish with the remaining walnuts.

Fusilli alla Caprese

Fusilli alla Caprese

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 ½ pints)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 ¼ cups)

Bring a large pot of slated water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky sauce, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine. Stir in the basil leaves and mozzarella, then add the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Emeril's Minestrone Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, split in half and rinsed well under
running water, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 ½ cups
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, cubed, about 1 ¼ cups
1 medium yellow squash, cubed, about 1 ¼ cups
10 cups vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 Parmesan cheese rinds, about 5 by 2-inches
1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 medium new potatoes, scrubbed and cubed (6 ounces or 1 ¼cups cubed)
2 cups packed fresh chopped kale leaves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
¼ cup small, dried pasta such as ditalini
½ cup Great Northern beans, soaked overnight or 1 (15-ounce) can white
beans, drained and rinsed
Garlic loaf for serving if desired, recipe follows


1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leek, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, cheese rinds, basil or oregano, crushed red pepper, potatoes and kale. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and beans and simmer for a final 15 minutes.

2. Remove the cheese rind with a slotted spoon and serve with slice of Garlic Loaf.

Garlic Loaf


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of fresh black pepper
1 loaf French or Italian bread, about 22 inches long, cut in ½ lengthwise


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine all ingredients except for the bread in a small bowl with a whisk. Brush the mixture evenly over the cut sides of the bread. Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown and just crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Cut into desired portions and serve hot.

Yield: 6 to eight servings

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables

Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables

This is a great and easy side dish to make. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
1 pound fingerling or small potatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), trimmed. If you can’t find French green beans, just use regular green beans and cut them diagonally into 2 inch pieces.
1 bunch thin asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into 3 inch pieces.
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the fennel bulbs into 6 wedges each, cutting out the core. Cut the potatoes in half length wise and place them on the pan with the fennel. Drizzle the live oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss with your hands.

Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking. Toss the string beans and asparagus with the roasted vegetables an roast for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if desired and roast for another minute until the cheese melts.

Check for seasoning and serve hot.



This hummus is very lemony with a little bit of spice. It’s great to serve with pita crackers or serve with endive leaves and veggies.

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
8 dashes Tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed adding water as needed, making the hummus slightly thinner than desired, as it will thicken when refrigerated.

Taste for seasoning and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Aglio e olio

Aglio e olio

This is a very simple pasta but very delicious. If you don’t have a lot of time to make dinner, this is perfect. Serve with a simple salad and a baguette, you have a nice dinner in no time.

½ lb spaghetti or linguine
1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
Handful of Italian parsley (flat leaf parsley) chopped
Freshly ground pepper

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta reserving a bit of the pasta water. If the pasta is too dry, you can add a bit of the pasta water at the end. Try to time the olio and the pasta to be done at the same time.

In a small sauce pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, salt, and hot pepper flakes and stir. Turn the heat to low and gently cook the garlic until golden but make sure you do not let the garlic get too dark. Garlic burns very easily and tastes bitter if over cooked. Cook for about 8-10 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Toss the pasta and olio adding some of the reserved pasta water if the pasta is too dry. Add the parsley and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
  • 3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables


* 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
* 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 4 cremini mushrooms, halved
* 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
* 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
* 1 pound penne pasta
* 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
* 1 cup grated fontina cheese
* 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
* 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
* 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Emeril's Portobello Mushroom-Blue Cheese Burgers

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Food of Love Productions, 2008

Yield: about 1 cup

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 large fresh portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed
4 thick Vidalia onion slices
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Gorgonzola, thinly sliced
Lemon Aioli, recipe follows
4 large whole-wheat hamburger buns or large kaiser rolls
1 bunch watercress, rinsed and dried, stems removed

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, and rosemary. Place the mushrooms in a large re-sealable plastic bag, or a baking dish, and cover with the marinade. Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Prepare the grill.

Drizzle onions with olive oil and place on grill. Cook until softened and slightly charred.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and place gill sides-down on the grill.

Cook for 5 minutes, then turn. Arrange the cheese on the gills of each mushroom and continue to cook until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Open the rolls and lightly toast on the grill, insides down.

Place 1 grilled mushroom inside each bun and top with grilled onions. Garnish each, to taste, with aioli.

Divide the watercress among the 4 buns and serve immediately.

Lemon Aioli:

3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

While the food processor is running, drop in garlic cloves. Add the salt, eggs and lemon juice. Pulse to incorporate. Add the cayenne. Slowly drizzle in the oil, a little at a time, until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture emulsifies. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (Use within 24 hours.)

Sherry Vinaigrette

Sherry Vinaigrette
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the sherry vinegar, garlic, dijon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil so that the vinegar and oil do not separate. Pour over a mixed green salad.



4 Ripe Haas avadados
3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avacados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out and place into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and toss well. You can break up the avocado with a fork but try to leave it a little chunky. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Check for seasoning. To store the Guacamole, make sure you place cling wrap directly on top of the Guacamole and get all the air out so that it does not turn brown and store in the fridge. Serve with pita chips or anything that you like to dip.