This cranberry sauce tastes just barely sweet with orange and a hint of ginger. It is as low in sugar as I could make it, sweetened with only 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1/4 cup apricot jam (made with sugar), reduced apple juice and fresh orange.
This yields 1 cup sauce, since I used only half the 12 oz. bag of cranberries, which is enough for a small Thanksgiving party. You can make this several days ahead of the big feast. I made it on Tuesday.
10 oz. bottle of apple juice (the little Martinelli bottle)
1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (1/2 of a 12 oz. bag)
1 large naval orange
1/4 cup apricot jam made with sugar
1 Tb white sugar
Heat apple juice and ginger slice in a medium saucepan. Boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard the ginger or put it in your tea for some nice ginger tea.
Pour out the cranberries into a colander and pick through them, discarding any that are getting old. Rinse and add to the reduced apple juice. Bring to a boil.
Stir in 1/4 cup apricot jam. If you have other jams in the house, you can experiment with them.
Finely zest the orange on a plate, then add to the sauce.
Cut all the white bitter pith from the orange and cut up the orange into small pieces working around the core. Set the orange skins and core aside. Add the orange pieces and juice from cutting to the sauce.
Squeeze the juice from the peels and core into the sauce.
Cook a total of 20 minutes over medium heat, until the texture is thick as jam and about half of the cranberries have burst.
Handle this soup gingerly. The spices in this delicious soup make it a perfect Fall warm-up and it’s chock-full of vitamin A. I made mine with Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup,but you can use vegetable broth for a vegan version.
4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 large yam, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
5- inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt to taste
a few shakes cayenne to taste
a few shakes pumpkin pie spice
13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk
Heat broth to boiling. Peel and chop yam, carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir into broth. Let come to a boil and turn to simmer.
Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Cool for about 20 minutes or overnight.
Pour into a blender and blend in batches until smooth. Add coconut milk to the last batch, reserving a spoonful or two of the cream for garnish. Adjust salt to taste.
Marinate a salmon filet in olive oil, lemon juice, dried dill, salt and a sprinkle of the lemony Middle Eastern herb Sumac. Throw it on the grill for an easy and delicious summer meal. The salmon is moist and lemony.
Make the marinade with the juice of half a medium lemon and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as the hipsters call it). Add a dash each of dried dill, salt and sumac. I buy the sumac in Arab markets in Berkeley. You can buy it online if you don’t have such markets where you live.
I marinated a 3/4 pound tail piece (tails don’t have bones) skin-side up, for about 15 minutes. Heat the grill to high and place the salmon skin-side down on it, basting the salmon with a few tablespoons of marinade. Cover the grill and cook for about 5 minutes, until the top is pale in color and the skin is beginning to cook. Flip the salmon over and peel off the skin with a spatula. Baste the salmon with more marinade. Cook another 3-5 minutes until it is just done.
Kabocha squash has a delicious green peel. My friend Randi turned me on to kabocha soup with chunks of squash with the peel. We cut it up and roasted it with the peel immersed in a 1/2 inch water bath until it was tender. This recipe can be made vegan with vegetable stock.
Makes about 1 gallon.
1 medium kabocha squash
1 small piece of ginger root, grated to make 2 tsp (more if you really like it gingery)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
14 oz. can coconut milk
1 quart (4 cups) broth (chicken or vegetable stock)
a few grinds black pepper
1 tsp salt to taste
about 1/4 cup of roasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish
Preheat oven to 350′
Rinse off Kabocha and dry with paper towel. Cut off the stem.
Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Cut squash into about 16 pieces. Place in 8″ x 11″ x 2″ pan and fill pan with 1/2 inch water.
Sprinkle with 1 tsp melted coconut oil.
Roast for 45 minutes until squash is tender.
Let cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
While squash is cooling, grate ginger, discarding fibrous part. Saute it in 1 tsp coconut oil in a gallon size heavy pot.
After a minute, add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Add the small pieces of squash to the broth. Stir in pepper.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the softened squash into the broth. Add salt to taste.
A dressed up tabouli made with protein rich quinoa instead of the traditional Bulgar wheat makes a delicious low-carb summer meal. I based my recipe on Mollie Katzen’s Bulgar wheat one in the classic moosewood cookbook and added lots of extras like artichoke hearts, pine nuts and feta cheese.
Make the quinoa ahead of time and stir in the olive oil and lemon. Then refrigerate until cold. I used a food processor to mince the green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts. I learned the hard way not to use it for the cucumbers or red peppers (it got mushy) Just take out the sharp knife and chop chop!
Makes 10 cups
1 cup dry quinoa. You can use white or red
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 medium lemons)
3 Tb high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb garlic infused olive oil
1 bunch parsley -approximately 4 cups leaves makes 1 cup minced leaves
4 scallions, both white and green parts
3 sprigs fresh mint leaves (about 15 leaves)
3 medium tomatoes. I used dry-farmed tomatoes for outstanding flavor
1 red bell pepper
3 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed
14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed
15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Rinse quinoa well under cold water, rubbing the seeds between your hands. Drain quinoa for a few minutes, then add water and salt and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. It will make 3 cups cooked quinoa. You can also make it in a rice cooker using the white rice setting.
Transfer quinoa to a large bowl or container. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oils in a small bowl, then stir into the quinoa. Let it cool and refrigerate until cold.
Using the blade in the food processor, mince green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts until feathery. Stir into cooled quinoa.
Dice red bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado and stir into quinoa along with garbanzo beans.
Serve cold, sprinkled with feta cheese and pine nuts.
Braised eggplant is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Our favorite restaurant, King Yen in Berkeley, serves it fragrant with fresh basil. I picked up the veggies from the farmer’s market: long Asian eggplants, mushrooms, with fresh basil, red bell peppers and green onions (scallions) for color.
I added a chicken breast for more protein. If you have leftover roasted breast you can chop it in bite sized pieces and add it in with the basil.
I make it vegetarian/vegan by swapping the chicken for tofu. and use vegetable broth. I also use both chicken and tofu. I add flavor to the tofu by salting it and frying it in the same oil I used for frying the onions, garlic and ginger.
I only add a teaspoon of Sriracha because I can’t handle much heat, but feel free to amp it up, adding it at the end to taste.
This is even better the next day, when the basil has a chance to permeate the dish.
This is a time consuming dish. Be sure to do all the chopping and sauces prep before you start to cook so you’re not all stressed out while you’re cooking!
3 1/2 Tb canola oil for frying (2 Tb if not using tofu)
1 Chicken breast, about 3/4 pound (optional)
1 package extra firm tofu. Salt for sprinkling on tofu
1 pound Chinese eggplants (3 long skinny ones)
8 medium mushrooms (crimini or white)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)
1 medium or 2 small red or yellow bell peppers
2″ piece of fresh ginger to make 1 Tb grated ginger
5 large cloves of garlic to make 1 Tb thinly sliced garlic
2 green onions (scallions). You can mince a slice of regular yellow onion to make 2 Tb if you don’t have green onions.
1/2 bunch fresh Thai or regular basil to make 1 1/2 cups basil leaves
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (add more for more heat)
4 teaspoons (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) water or reserved soaking liquid from dried mushrooms.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Make brown rice
Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup warm water
If using tofu, cut the block into 3 or 4 slices. Pat dry with a paper towel and wrap in a clean dishtowel. Press between two cutting boards and place a heavy frying pan on top for 15 minutes while you prepare the sauce. Unwrap and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and sprinkle both sides with salt.
Peel and grate ginger to make 1 Tablespoon
Peel and thinly slice garlic to make 1 Tablespoon
Trim woody ends from mushroom stems, then quarter.
Slice red peppers into strips
Slice green onions crosswise. Mince the green parts and reserve for garnish.
Chop eggplants at angles into uneven bite-sized pieces. This will help prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Rinse water chestnuts and chop them into halves
Chop chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, if using
Pull leaves off of basil stems to make 1 1/2 cups of leaves
Heat wok on high and add oil (2 Tb if adding chicken, 1 1/2 Tb if not.) Stir-fry chicken a few minutes to sear it, then toss with onions and red bell peppers. Mix in ginger and garlic with metal spatula to incorporate browned bits of chicken.
If you are making this vegan, just stir fry the pepper and onion mix
If adding tofu: remove vegetables (and chicken if using) to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Add 1 Tb of oil and add 1/2 the tofu at a time and fry on each side until browned. Remove and set on paper towels to drain, then add anther Tb of oil and fry the remaining tofu and drain.
Slice the reconstituted dried mushrooms and discard the stems. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the soaking liquid for the thickener. If making vegan, use soaking liquid in the sauce instead of chicken broth.
Add the onion mix back into the pan along with the rest of the chopped vegetables and water chestnuts. Stir-fry a few minutes over high heat.
Pour in the sauce and toss the vegetables to coat. Add the fried tofu and gently toss to coat it. Lower heat and cover wok. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that vegetables are submerged.
Stir in the basil leaves and continue simmering covered for another 3 minutes until eggplant is thoroughly cooked and tender.
Mix the reserved mushroom soaking liquid with the cornstarch. Stir in the thickener and bring sauce to a boil until it thickens
Serve over brown rice or on its own. Garnish with a few basil leaves and green onions.
This is a delicious summer fruit salad masquerading as a caprese salad.
I got the idea when I visited the SF Giants Baseball Stadium (AT &T Park) Organic Garden with our CHEFS students. After the garden tour, they gave each of us a delicious strawberry wrapped in a basil leaf.
Cut summer fruit: Strawberries, stone fruit such as plums, apricots and /or peaches. Mix in ciliegine, little balls of fresh mozzarella. Tear basil leaves and sprinkle over the fruit and mozzarella. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fruit and cheese.
Make caprese salad appetizers by threading a piece of fruit, basil and half a ciliegine on a toothpick. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. I mixed in a bit of blood orange infused olive oil with the regular oil.
Cucumber and mint make a refreshing combination, and when added to yogurt with a little salt, it’s the perfect drink for a hot day. This is popular to drink in Afghanistan alongside kabobs. Iranian doogh is made with seltzer and mint. Most recipes I’ve seen call for full-fat yogurt, but I prefer nonfat. I made mine in a blender with ice water with a few small ice cubes. I used Europeans-style yogurt (Strauss brand) which has a loose consistency. If you use a thick yogurt, you may want to add more water. Serve ice cold. I like to crunch on salty pita chips on the side.
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 cup ice water
6 leaves fresh mint
1 inch slice of cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Run on highest setting for a minute. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.
The last 10 minutes of San Francisco’s Heart of the City Farmers Market are filled with vendors shouting “$1 a bag!” which is how I ended up lugging home 2 bags of eggplant and a huge bag of tomatoes home on the Bart train!
We’re in the middle of one of those rare but scorching Bay Area heat spells, so I decided to use my Crockpot to cook the eggplant and veggies instead of roasting them in the oven. Although not as toothsome as roasting, they came out tasty and ready to mix with penne or rigatoni pasta.
A very large bag of tomatoes. It’s fine if they’re a little soft, and that’s what you’re going to get with bargain bag tomatoes anyway.
5 long Italian eggplants and 4 small globe eggplants
1 ½ small onions, (or one large onion)
2 bell peppers (or a bag of frozen sliced bell peppers).
5 large mushrooms
6 spicy chicken Italian sausages (you can use sweet if that’s too spicy for you)
8 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 bay leaves,
Sprig of rosemary
1 Tb oregano
1 ½ tsp salt
A few grinds black pepper
1 Tb of olive oil
1 Tb red wine
1 Tb of sugar
Add after cooking sauce:
1 can artichoke hearts
1 fresh bunch of basil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 pound of penne or rigatoni pasta
Chop the vegetables and sausage and add the other ingredients in the first list to the Crockpot. I went to the trouble of dipping the tomatoes in boiling water and peeling them, but it’s not really necessary to do that.
Cooked sauce in the Crockpot
I started the sauce after work and let it cook all night. (You can also start yours in the morning and cook it all day.) I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough liquid to cook it properly, but in the morning I realized that the vegetables had released plenty of liquid. I removed the Parmesan rind, which had given up its flavor to the sauce.
I added a can of chopped artichoke hearts. I chopped half the bunch of fresh basil I had bought at the farmers market and stirred it in with the freshly grated Parmesan. I let it sit in the fridge until dinner time so the flavors would develop.
At dinnertime, I boiled 2/3 of a pound box rigatoni pasta and mixed it together with the sauce. I chopped up the rest of the fresh basil and sprinkled it on top with more Parmesan. This made 9 meals. Yay for leftovers!
This summer drink gets a healthy kick from fresh ginger and ginger tea. Fresh mint brings the flavor up a notch! If it’s a hot and sweaty day, I like to add a bit of salt to replenish my electrolytes, much as a sports drink would.
I picked up some very sweet and ripe strawberries, fresh mint and ginger root from the farmers market. Some of the strawberries were so soft they had to be picked over, and these sweet things went into the lemonade.
2 teabags ginger tea (I use Yogi Tea, which contains ginger root, lemongrass, licorice root, peppermint, and black pepper.)
about 2 inches ginger root
1/2 pint very ripe strawberries
a few sprigs fresh mint leaves
1 Tb honey (to taste)
1/4 tsp salt for a hot and sweaty day (optional)
Heat a kettle of water to boiling.
While it’s heating, peel the outer skin of the ginger root and discard. Peel the inner parts of the ginger root into a large teapot. Add the mint sprigs and the teabags. Pour boiling water over everything and let it steep for at least 10 minutes.
Remove green tops from strawberries and any parts that went bad. Cut them into quarters and put in blender. Remove the teabags from the tea, and pour remaining ingredients with the tea into the blender.
Peel a few pieces of lemon zest (just the yellow parts) and squeeze 1/2 the lemon into the blender. Stir in honey and the salt if you like. Add some ice to the blender, then run it on the highest setting until all ingredients are liquefied. Add more ice and water until you get a few quarts to the strength you like. One Tb honey is all I need, but sweeten with more if you like.