Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Thanksgiving Celebration

Today I started cooking for Thursday's feast. We are looking forward to a special day with our family and friends.

Here is the planned menu (subject to change at the pleasure of the chef.....) I have linked to some of the recipes that are online. Some of the others I have already posted and I will link to those as well. Others are in my head and when I get them down on paper, I'll link to those.

I'll be back with photos later in the week, but til then Paul and I wish you and yours a blessed and safe
holiday, rich with the comfort of family, friends, and wonderful (vegan) food!

A Thanksgiving Celebration

Creamy Baked Cashew Brie with Seeded Flatbread Crakers
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Cranberry Salad with Whipped Coconut Cream
Mixed Green Salad with Spinach, Arugula, Radicchio,Red Onion, Walnuts, Tofu Feta and
Black Raspberry Vinaigrette

Main Event
Black-eyed Pea Cakes with Chipotle Remoulade
Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potaotes with Chickpea Gravy
Balsamic-Roasted Vegetables
Maple Sweet Potatoes
Freshly Baked Whole-Grain Rolls
Cranberry Chutney

Sweet Endings
Pumpkin Custard Pie
Death By Apple Pie
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Lightly Sweetened Iced Green Tea
Freshly Ground French Roast Coffee
Chilled Chardonnay

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Curried Cabbage with Broccoli and Coconut Almond Rice

It's been a hard week and a half since we lost Winston. He was our precious Sweet Boy and we miss him so much. So many wonderful, silly, funny, memories since he came to live with us 12 years ago when he was only 5 weeks old, so tiny he fit in Paul's shirt pocket.

All the "firsts" have been hard. The first time I came home from work and he wasn't barking joyously to greet me. The first time I made dog food and only needed to make half as much. The first time my mother-in-law came by and she refused to ring the doorbell because she couldn't bear not to hear him barking, so she called from the car to tell us she was here. The first time the neighbors mentioned that they hadn't seen Winston outside for awhile. And then when the vet called to say his ashes were ready for use to pick up.

But time does g
o on and we keep breathing and eventually we hurt less and less until the memories bring more smiles than tears. Winston, we will never, ever forget you, Sweet Boy. And of course Wesley is still here and we do love him so. He has adjusted fairly well - we have given him lots and lots of extra attention. I think he kinda likes being an "only child".

And now for a yummy new recipe. I threw this together as a pantry challenge sort of recipe amidst a week that was challenging from many perspectives. It took about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. (Hmmmmmm.......does that make me the vegan Rachel Ray???? Naah.) It is based on a recipe I came across on the blog One Hot Stove. Very, very yummy served over Coconut Almond Rice. I learned a new condiment from this recipe, ground coconut and sesame seeds, that I will use again. I'm sure this combination has a name but I couldn't find it online anywhere.

Curried Cabbage and Broccoli
3 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 medium head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 bag frozen broccoli
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander

Grind coconut and sesame seeds together to make a fine powder and set aside. I use my spice-dedicated coffee grinder for this, but you could use a food processor.

In a pan, heat 2 tsp oil.

Add mustard and cumin seeds and fry for a minute.

Add onion and cabbage and fry for another minute or so.

Add chili powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and coconut-sesame powder. Fry for another minute or so.

Add tomato and salt to taste.

Let this cook unattended over med-low heat for 12-15 minutes. Do not add water or cover.

Serve with Coconut Almond Rice (recipe below).

Coconut Almond Rice

Prepare white basmati or jasmine rice according to package directions with this exception: Use one can of coconut milk (I use lite, but use full fat for extra richness and LOTS more calories....) in place of an equal amount of water. In other words, pour the coconut milk into your measuring cup. Add water to equal the amount of water called for to cook your rice.

While the rice is cooking, lightly toast 1/4 - 1/2 cup of slivered or sliced almonds by heating them in a skillet until they are lightly golden.
Watch them closely and stir frequently because they will burn quickly. On a rather odd note, Paul always says that toasting almonds smell like scrambled eggs. ???????

When your rice is done, add the almonds and stir gently to mix through.

And right now I have simmering on the stove, a bog pot of leek and potato soup with an added bonus - cauliflower! It smells wonderful, so if it turns out as nicely as it promises, that will be my next post.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good-bye, sweet Winston

Winston LeRoi Jones
6-24-98 - 10-27-10

We are heart-broken to loose our sweet boy, Winston. He brought us so much joy. He was a bright light and we miss him terribly.

When I fell sleep last night I didn’t know

That you would leave today.

You went so quickly and I’m left here

With all these things around me

That remind me that you are gone

And I don’t know what to do.

Your dinner bowl sits there

By the big green water bowl.

It still has speckles of your breakfast

And I can’t bear to wash it.

So your papa does it

And I can hear him crying.

Your toys are still in the basket

But I know you won’t mind

If I leave them there for

Your brother to use.

Your bed has a clean blanket because

I couldn’t stand to leave it empty.

Your papa cries again

This time because he found

Your brand new dog tag

Lying on his desk.

How will I sleep tonight

Without you curled into my belly?

Who will sit and give me the

Silent Stare that says “Let me out,”

But what it really means is

“Go get me a treat”?

Your brother doesn’t stand

At the door and bark like you do.

And I know I really need

To clean the blood spots off

The top stair but I don’t want to

Because it feels like

I am washing you away,

Sweet boy.

These tears keep on coming

Falling, rolling, pouring now.

They don’t wash away the hurt.

I knew that you would be leaving soon

But when I went to sleep last night

I didn’t dream it would be today.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moroccan "Chicken" Stew

I love fall! It is my hands-down favorite season. I love the smell of a wood fire in the fireplace. I love the changing color of the leaves, the color of a September sky, a full October moon. I love crisp mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. I love brilliant hardy mums, and bright pansies. I love college football (GO CARDS!) and I love NFL football (GO COLTS!)

I love winter squash and fall crop greens, pu
mpkins, cabbage, and broccoli. I love thick, hearty soups and stews with warm, crusty bread just out of the oven.

So, without further ado, here is today's recipe: Moroccan "Chicken" Stew. This has become one of my all-time favorite dishes. It is true fall fare - comforting, sweet and spicy and savory all at the same time
. This dish is easy and quick to boot! It comes with a bit of controversy, however, and here it is: It calls for honey. Honey is the one thing that I have never completely let go of in my vegan journey. I don't use it often, and a jar of raw, locally produced honey will last a very long in my pantry. And while I know about all the vegan substitutes (feel free to use any of them you prefer), for this dish, I use honey. Let the beatings begin......

Moroccan "Chicken" Stew
1 lb vegan soy nuggets

2 tbs olive oil
2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 green bell peppers, chopped

2 red onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt
2 fresh tomatoes, pureed (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)

1/4 cup honey
2 cans chickpeas, drained.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add peppers, onion, and garlic and cook 5-6 minutes.

Add cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook another few minutes. Add tomatoes, honey, and chickpeas. Stir to combine and cook another 5 minutes.

Stir in vegan chicken. Simmer for 1
5-20 minutes. Serve over rice. Add a salad with this Vegan Ranch Dressing and some fresh crusty bread.

Here is a quick dessert I made this weekend too. You may have made this or some variation of this cake, but this was my first time, and I was really impressed. This was so easy to throw together!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

1 18-oz spice cake mix (read t
he ingredients to be sure it's vegan)
1 15-oz can of pureed pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish or a square baking pan.

Combine the cake mix and pumpkin puree. Mix well. Add any or all of the optional ingredients you desire (see below). Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Frost with Vegan Cream Cheeze Icing.

Optional ingredients:

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/3 cup raisins soaked in rum for 30 minutes
1/3 cup chopped nuts

Ranch Dressing

1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 not chikn bullion cube dissolved in 3-4 tbs water
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning - optional
3-4 tbs unsweetened soy milk - more or less according to desired thickness

Whisk all ingredients together and chill before serving.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Favorite Things (or Things I Can't Cook Without).....

She's baaaaaaack.......

Sorry for the long absence. Life has been kinda nuts. Like I said in my last post, there has been a vacation (white-water rafting in Tennessee), 2 car accidents (a fender-bender on the freeway and the garage door opener malfunctioned and smashed my car), a bad case of bronchitis which set off my asthma in a big way, work madness, and lots of fun stuff going on in the sports and fitness ministry of my church, where I volunteer teaching spin and doing other cool stuff.

Then there is the fact that my little poodle, Winston, is sick with a mysterious illness that causes his nose to bleed. That all by itself has made me a basket case. The last severe bleed put him in the veterinary ICU for 4 days. He is home now and sometimes he goes for 3-4 days with no bleeding, but usually there is at least a small trickle of blood. I say mysterious because the vets that have examined him all concur that this is most likely a nasal carcinoma, but all the scopes and scans he has had reveal nothing other than inflammatory tissue. No tumor at all. He doesn't act sick - he eats well and he is energetic and happy and doesn't act like a 12-year-old dog.

Statistically, dogs who demonstrate this kind of bleeding and are diagnosed with kind of cancer are usually dead within 90 days of diagnosis. Winston's first bleed occurred over 2 years ago. I don't know - maybe it's his vegan diet keeping him alive. And maybe it's his sweet nature and tenacious spirit.

I'm happy to say that I am healthy and exercising again, although the bronchitis interrupted my training for the Army 10-miler to the point that I had to withdraw from the race. Sorry Jenny - you're gonna rock it even without your mom! You too, Jason!

I've been relying on lots of tried-and-true favorite standby recipes. Not much experimenting or innovating lately. So, I thought I'd write about some of the things you will always find in my pantry, spice cabinet, fridge/freezer. If I have these things on hand, I can always come up with a tasty, healthy vegan meal. These are items that I will buy even if they aren't an ingredient in my meal plan for the week, just because there will usually be a glitch in the plan or something unexpected come up during the week where I need something quick and easy. So, here they are, in no particular order.

With Vegenaise (I think this is the only decent-tasting vegan mayo) and some relish (I like dill best), I can use a can of chickpeas, some poultry seasoning, and some celery seed to make chickpea salad. Makes yummy sandwiches!

Vital gluten for seitan, vegan sausages, or chickpea cutlets is a must.

Many different herbs and spices. Cumin, ginger, cumin seed, fennel seed
, coriander, thyme, basil, rosemary, chili powders (ancho, chipotle, regular - several to choose from), marjoram, herbs de provence, poultry seasoning, several paprikas, several curry powders, garam masala, saffron, fenugreek.... the list goes on and on. If I have to choose a few I can't live without, I'd have to say cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, basil, thyme, and a couple I'll mention later. Thanks to Paul for installing the sheet of stainless steel which holds the magnetized canisters.

Yeah, I know this is funky-looking. These are chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They come in a small can in the Mexican foods section. I never use but one or two of them at a time, so I put the rest in a plastic freezer bag and store them in the freezer til I need them. These are delicious in Cashew Chili-Lime Sauce.

For soups or stews.

Pan-roasted broccoli is the BEST!

Tahini for roasted cauliflower, seitan, or hummus.

Slice these sausages up with cabbage or pizza or grill them just like brats!

Sometime I just like a bowl of rice cooked in broth.

I always have several types of pasta. Rotini or fusilli is my favorite because the ridges hold whatever sauce you use. Easy tomato sauce and Cashew Chili-Lime sauces are my favorites.

Always buy organic soy milk. Organic will never be made from genetically modified soy beans. I like to have unsweetened on hand for sauces that don't need to be sweet.

I go through this stuff like water.

Coconut milk - the large can is the lite to save calories. Bit I keep a small can of full fat when I want more richness and flavor. For Asian recipes, especially soups, and adding richness to baked goods.

These are the best canned tomatoes ever. Throw a can in the blender, add one clove of garlic, some basil and thyme, an a bit of salt. Process, then add a little unsweetened soymilk. Heat. Voila! Almost instant Tomato Bisque!

I keep a variety of canned beans on hand. Hummus, chickpea cutlets, soups, chickpea salad. Lots of quick easy meals start with a can of beans.

Had to include this tea. We make tea in our coffee maker. It's crazy how much tea we drink. Four tea bags and 1/2 cup raw sugar make one gallon of the best iced tea any southern girl ever drank!

Red lentils are a life saver! They are a great meat substitute in pasta sauce and make a delicious dahl. Even my dogs eat red lentils!

Paul loves to snack on these,but I keep them on hand to make Cashew Chili-Lime Sauce, which takes about 5 minutes to make and is wonderful on veggies and pasta.

Red pepper flakes are one of those things I try to never run out of. Even if you don't want much heat in a dish, red pepper flakes add depth and flavor to any recipe.

Yes, fresh is always better, but when you're in a hurry...... And note, these are GRANULES not powder. Yes, there is a difference.

Smoked paprika, how do I love thee...... I love thee in cabbage, I love thee in seitan, I love thee in vegan sausages...... If you have never tried it, you really must buy some smoked paprika. It is my new favorite spice.

I really cannot cook without these wonderful veggie cubes. Rice, soups, seitan, I use them in everything!

Full spectrum sea salt has not been bleached or processed. It has less sodium and lots of trace minerals, including iodine, that are lost when salt is processed. Try some pink Himalayan sea salt and you'll never go back!

My kitchen shuts down when I run out of nutritional yeast. Really. I use it just abut everything. Seitan, salads, sauces, you name it. I try to buy it in bulk and when I have to buy the cannister, I save it to store the yeast in.

This is one of those ingredients that once you try it, you'll use it in everything. Use it in any recipe that calls for soy sauce and in many recipes instead of salt.

So, there are most the things I have on hand on any given day. I'm sure there are probably other things I could have mentioned, but these are the biggies.

What are the ingredients you can't do without? I have learned about many of these items by reading other blogs. Leave me a comment. Maybe I'll learn about a new can't-live-without ingredient!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Amazing Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 cup dill relish
1/4 - 1/2 cup vegenaise
salt and black pepper to taste

Place chickpeas in a food processor and pulse several time until chickpeas are chunky but not smooth.

Scrape chickpeas into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Serve with crackers or as a sandwich.

Rich, Spicy, Delicious Chili-Lime Sauce

1 cup raw cashews
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1-2 clove garlic

2 cups boiling water (if you are cooking pasta, use some of the pasta water)

1/2 tsp onion granules

1-2 chipotle peppers plus 1 tbs adobo sauce

zest and juice of 1 lime
soy milk to thin as needed

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add teaspoons of soy milk if sauce is too thick.

Serve over pasta or veggies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vegan Cream Cheeze Icing

1 container Tofutti Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Earth Balance

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Cream Earth Balance and cream cheese together using a hand or stand mixer. Add sugar a little at a time. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well by hand or with a mixer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lest You Think I'm Gone for Good......

I'm not! Ever since the triathlon I have been busier than I think I've ever been. Work, family stuff, training for the next adventure, vacation, getting sick, oh, and did I say work?? Right now I'm recovering from a nasty chest cold that has worn me out with coughing.

I've been cooking but sticking to my favorite tried and true (and QUICK) recipes, not trying anything new or complicated.

So, look for me back, hopefully soon, when things have settled a bit and I feel better.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I came. I saw. I TRI-ed!

Up way before the sun!

It's a mother-daughter thing!




No food today. Too tired. This grandma had both grandbabies in the house from Thursday night til this morning AND my daughter and I completed our first triathlon. Now, don't hear any complaints in there, 'cause there are none! Anytime I get to hang out with my kids or my grandkids is a great day!

I have to say, in fact, that this was one of the best weekends of my entire life. I really mean that. Preparing for and completing this challenge has meant alot to me. Doing it with my daughter was indescribable. And having Emma and Jane-Claire around for the whole thing, well, there is nothing better. And I gotta brag on my husband, too. He is the true athlete of the family, but he has been so encouraging and has made such a big deal out of me and this crazy goal of mine to do a triathlon! I am a blessed woman, no doubt!

The distance - 1/2 mile swim, 14-mile bike ride, ad 5K (3.1 mi) run. How did we do? Well, my time was over 2 hours, but that was what I expected. The swim went faster, the bike ride went faster, but the run went much slower than I'd anticipated. Just couldn't get my legs back under me after I got off the bike. But we both finished and that was the goal. Next year I'll do it faster!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's a Party!!

Party at Renee and Paul's house! Well, it was a party. Took me awhile to get a post together. It was actually a work function last weekend to say good-by to my former boss and wish him well in his new assignment. So of course I volunteered to host! I love to have company and I especially love to cook for people.

It was a blast with people that I know well and have worked with for many years. Everyone brought a little something so there was quite a variety of goodies! Here are my contributions.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

This a sort of a pantry challenge dish. I pretty much just used what I had on hand to make it. This dish is best when made the night before, chilled overnight, then allowed to come to room temperature before serving.


4 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 red onion, chopped

3 sweet bell peppers - I used 1 red, one green, and 1 yellow - diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bag frozen white corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 recipe Spicy Vinaigrette dressing
1 16 oz bag rotini pasta, cooked al dente

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix. Chill.


Hummus has just a few ingredients and is quite easy, but there are a couple of secrets to making delicious and creamy restaurant-style hummus. Th
e first is starting with fresh cooked chickpeas. Fresh cooked chickpeas don't even taste like the same legume as canned.

When I cook chickpeas I always cook at least 2 pounds and freeze what I am not going to use immediately. I also save the cooking liquid, which
is important for yummy hummus.

The second secret to perfect hummus is the tahini. I'll describe this in the recipe directions.

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 - 1/2 cup water or cooking liquid from chickpeas
2 large cloves garlic

3 cups cooked chickpeas

juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt, more to taste

This first step is the most important for smooth, creamy hummus. Place tahini in a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes, unti
l the mixture is very smooth and creamy.

Add 1/4 cup of liquid and process another 30 s
econds. Add more liquid if it seems too thick. Add garlic and process for another 45 seconds. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. Process until the whole mixture is very smooth. If it seems too thick, add more liquid; too thin, add more chickpeas.

Refrigerate for at least an hour and adjust seasoning as necessary. Sprinkle paprika over top as a garnish.

Salsa Fresca

The secret to wonderful salsa is
fresh ingredients. Use tomatoes and peppers right out of the garden when possible.

4-6 medium-size ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (remove the seeds for less heat)

1 green pepper, chopped

juice and zest of 2 limes
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt, more to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for several hours.

There is one more thing...... See those yummy-looking candy-coated pretzels? Well, I promised to add the how-tos for these on my blog. Kathy brought them and she says they are very easy!

Use one bag of Snyder's pretzel logs, a package of vanilla Candy-Quick (I'm certain this is not vegan, but you could use vegan white chocolate chips instead), and candy sprinkles. That's it!

Melt the Candy-Quick (or vegan white chocolate) in a double
boiler over low heat. Dip the pretzels in it, then roll them in the sprinkles. Lay the coated pretzels on wax or parchment paper to cool. That's it!

Bye-Bye Bob! Good luck!

So please be thinking about me next Saturday! I'll be swimming, biking, and running in my very first triathlon. I'm feeling scared but excited. Actually scared is an understatement - it's more like terrified, but it just makes me that much more determined!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce

It’s been a wonderful summer weekend! Hot, hot, HOT, and humidity off the scale, but the summer produce is rolling in. Preparing, preserving, and eating it is such a delight.....

Yesterday I did my first brick in preparation for the upcoming tri. A brick is when you cycle and then get off your bike, change shoes really fast, then run. It’s really kind of insane when you think about it, especially in this heat, but I did it and it rocked! I think they should call it a “brawl” instead of a “brick”. Bike, run, then crawl the rest of the day....

I spent most of this morning in the kitchen. I had tons of plum tomatoes that I didn’t really feel like canning, a whole basket of different kinds of peppers, and a couple eggplants that needed to be used. So, I put all the peppers in the dehydrator. There’ll be lots more coming and I already had some in the fridge that I’ll use this week. Some of the hot ones I’ll grind into chili powder after they’re dried. Some I’ll keep whole to use when I cook beans or cabbage. The dried sweet peppers will be wonderful this winter in soups and stews.

I made a wonderful thick pasta sauce with the tomatoes, eggplant, and caramelized onions that we’ll be enjoying all week. Here’s how this worked:

2 medium eggplants, sliced about 1/2” thick
20-25 plum tomatoes, quartered
5-6 (or more) large garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper pepper, cut in half (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
2 large onions, sliced
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 cups good red wine
1 cup water
2 veggie bullion cubes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and arrange the eggplant, tomatoes, garlic and jalapeno in a single layer. This will probably require two baking sheets. Roast the veggies for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook slowly until they are soft and sweet and brown.

When the tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and pepper are done, dump them into a food processor along with the caramelized onions and process until all the big pieces are gone. This won’t be quite smooth, but won’t be chunky either. Now dump all this into the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and stir in the wine, water, and bullion cubes. Return to the simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring, occasionally. Serve this over your favorite pasta. The roasted garlic and caramelized onions make this soooooo flavorful. And it’s so good for you to boot!

Just so you know I sometimes make a huge mess of things in the kitchen, I totally screwed up a batch of pita bread I tried to make this morning. I forgot that I was using the oven when I set the dough on a back burner to rise. When I got around to punching it down so I could make the loaves, it was already half baked from sitting on top of the hot oven. I went ahead and baked it like I normally would have, and we’ll eat it, but pita bread it ain’t! It didn’t puff at all and is more like a heavy whole wheat loaf bread. Oh well. Guess I’ll go to the bakery later in the week. Ain’t makin’ any more today!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roasted Veggies and Middle Eastern Hot Green Chili Paste

Still trying to get caught up from vacation. I just returned from my childhood home in Western North Carolina to attend a funeral. Funerals are always sad, but I did get to visit with my cousins and a very good friend, all of whom I see far too infrequently. Combine that travel with training 6 days a week for the triathlon, which, by the way, is in 3 1/2 weeks, and I just can’t find a minute to get anything posted. It has taken me almost 2 weeks to get this written!

I have been cooking, though, never doubt. I’ve already made falafel a couple of times and I have put together my own recipe for that wonderful hot green chili paste we had in Israel.

Curried Roasted Veggies
We have been feasting on roasted veggies ever since we returned. No real recipe to this - just whatever fresh-from-the-garden (or market) things you have on hand. This particular night I had:

yellow squash
red and green peppers
red onion
sweet potato
canned tomatoes (best with 1-2 fresh tomatoes but I was out)
5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 tbs za’atar (optional)
2-3 tbs good curry powder
1-2 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

I have also used cauliflower, broccoli, new potatoes, butternut squash - throw it all in there! I always shoot for leftovers, ‘cause this just gets better as it sets. Talk about making your co-workers drool over your lunch......But I digress.....

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop or slice all your veggies. Place them in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients.

Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray and transfer the veggies onto it. Roast for around 25-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to make sure nothing is sticking.

Serve this with whole wheat couscous or brown rice and some schug or harrisa. Or, split open a loaf of pita bread, slather on some hummus, and stuff the roasted veggies into it. Top with as much schug as your mouth can stand. Heavenly!

Schug (Middle Eastern green chili paste)
Schug, also known as “zhuk”, is more of a method than a recipe. Best I can tell, this dish originates in Yemen. If you Google it, you will find a dozen different recipes for this. Here is how I make mine.

4-6 hot green peppers (I usually use jalapenos), seeded or not, depending on the heat you desire
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 tsp freshly ground cumin seed (toast first if desired)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbs za’atar (totally optional)

You can add cardamom or cloves, more or less garlic, omit the lemon juice - this really is your own creation!

Dump everything into a food processor and pulse until almost smooth but not chunky. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.