The basis for Lebanese food is fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, lemon and fresh herbs and spices. Rich, savory, and tangy flavors and an eye toward contrasting textures are also fundamental. Yes. It’s a vegan dream. Like many cultures, the preparing and sharing food is an act of friendship and love. If you share a meal with a stranger, that person becomes your friend. It’s an easy language to learn. I’ve never felt more welcome in a country where I didn’t speak the language, and to do this day, Lebanese is my “comfort food”: creamy fattoush with sumac and crunchy pita, maqluba, chopped salad, balila (cumin chickpeas)…
This Caesar salad has replaced the much-loved Quinoa, Tempeh, and Avocado Bowl around here as our work-night go-to dinner. It’s easy, quick, super healthy, filling, and full of protein, healthy fats, and dark leafies (including a good bit of semi-hidden kale).
The croutons here are made with extra-firm tofu, but you are welcome to sub half with 1/2-inch chunks of baguette, or just eat the baguette on the side. The directions work for both, although for super crunchy croutons, start with stale bread or stick them in the toaster oven for a few minutes. Either way, it’s a perfect 1-bowl dinner.
Aakash, Nate and I drove up to Sonoma to celebrate Nate’s birthday with wine tasting and a peanut butter sandwich picnic. It was overcast and windy, very like New York this time of year. My favorite part (I drove) was buying beautiful purple heads of garlic and the sweetest fresh strawberries from a roadside stand in front of the berry fields and across the road from a vineyard.
Roasting strawberries is a great way to preserve the flavor of fresh spring strawberries for longer than two days – or to save some already sad-looking berries. Roasting them with olive oil, a bit of maple syrup, and a generous spoonful of balsamic gives these a jammy, tangy flavor that goes great with the creamy avocado and a bit of spiciness from freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
I love shakshuka: at it’s most essential, it consists of eggs baked in tomato sauce. Sounds good, but it gets better when that tomato sauce is spicy and full-flavored, and the eggs are replaced with high-quality soft tofu and drizzled in my version of runny egg yolk: saffron cashew cream. Hey now, don’t make that face. A Japanese- or Hawaiian-style silken or soft tofu It is perfect here – light and creamy, but still slightly firm (yes, like an egg white) with a rich flavor. Soft tofu is made with higher-fat soy milk and is never pressed, giving it a light, smooth texture. Plus: tofu is lower in sodium and has more calcium than egg gram for gram, and also has zero cholesterol.
This is a fancy recipe that I made just for you. And don’t worry, it’s not at all hard to make.
I have previously waxed philosophic about my love for muffiny-type muffins rather than cupcake-type muffins. I like muffins that are just sweet enough – and these are even a bit more decadent with the addition of chocolate chips, and super minty flavorful with crushed spearmint leaves and a few teaspoons of peppermint extract. They are perfect as an on-the-go breakfast or a midday snack without hitting you over the head with a sugarbomb.
People are always surprised to find out that my mom and dad eat vegan, but they actually started eating vegan before I did.
I grew up on cube steak and meatloaf, but salad was an essential part of dinner (my dad would sulk otherwise): big chunks of tomatoes, chopped carrots, onion and lots of lettuce. When I went vegetarian, my dad would make special salad-tortilla wraps for me and my mom would buy TVP-chili box mixes from the co-op.
This is my winter version of zucchini bread: carrot bread. It’s a healthier version of a quick bread – it uses mashed carrots for moisture and only a bit of oil, and lots of grated carrots on top of that. Orange zest and fresh grated ginger brighten it up and there’s lots of my favorite (and hopefully your favorite) spices in there, too: cardamom, clove, and cinnamon. Plus coconut – a great texture for the topping. It makes it look kinda like a carrot snowball (the dessert… not a real carrot snowball).
When my favorite vegetables are in season, I try to get sick of them. I don’t want to crave peaches in the middle of winter when there are none to be found (I guess I didn’t eat enough last summer).
I’m working on my Romanesco fix, but even with this Romanesco series I’m doing, I’m just enjoying all the different ways to cook it and I’m getting more excited about all the ways I want to try it. Hopefully the season hangs in a bit longer until fresh beans or rhubarb come into season!
Well, this is probably one of my favorites. Romanesco is roasted intact with a thick, spicy mint-cilantro chutney and served in slices. The mint chutney crust layered atop the lime-green Romanesco makes for a vivid presentation. It’s a great meal for a dinner party – you can make the sauce ahead and marinate the romanesco in it up to a day ahead. Or you can blend up the sauce right away and stick it in the oven for the fanciest lunch ever, like I did.