Mirroring

AriCooks, Dairy Free, Quick Meals, Salad, Vegan, vegetarian

I know it is the tendency of every parent to see elements of themselves in their children. I certainly expected that my child would be like me, both physically and otherwise. But on the days when Auralee is so much like me that I feel as though I am looking in the mirror or hearing a voice recording of myself, I feel a unique mix of utter delight and paralyzing terror. My daughter – as nearly everyone who knows us well, points out – is not “like me”, she is me, only small. She makes the same sarcastic/silly/surprised faces I make, we have the same sense of humor (which is not saying something particularly flattering or sophisticated about me, sharing my sense of humor with a 5 year-old), and we both get ridiculously silly and hyper right before bedtime. We both love goat cheese, and ginger cookies and watching youtube videos of Swan Lake and baby animals doing funny things. We both stomp. A lot. And feel a great sense of injustice over the denial of our basic desires, like having a cat or being able to teleport ourselves to Boston whenever we want. And like me, Auralee excels at creative endeavors, such as arranging my cookie cutters and pastry equipment to resemble a city or a forest, and drawing pictures of flowers, houses, animals and trees.

The joy in this is seeing the funny, quirky, whimsical parts of myself, embodied in an adorable person , while the terror comes from knowing that there is often an inevitable and drastic mood change lurking beyond the next moment. Seeing my own perfectionism, controlling tendencies, and inconsistent (and sometimes, volatile) reactions to basic, every day  life tasks, makes me worry and fear for this little-me, and for the future of our relationship. These are normal, parental feelings and I know that I follow in the footsteps of millions of mothers before me, but no amount of that knowing, or of watching others, can better inform my relationship with Auralee, beyond the simple fact that I am not alone.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Just the patient, wonderful, difficult, maddening, amazing process of building a relationship with my daughter (and by extension, myself). And all the learning and failing and sometimes succeeding.

And with the cold weather, and unusually terrible rain, sleet and wind, Auralee and I are spending many hours in close quarters, tucked into our little living room, which we have curtained off from the rest of the drafty apartment. Huddled close to the space heater, we tell stories, draw, play Candy Land, and watch endless episodes of her favorite show, Redwall. When I do leave our blanket pile, it is to turn on the oven, or the stove, and cook or bake. And since there is only so much soup a person can eat (though many of my friends have tried to convince me that endless cups of soup are bound to improve my mood this winter), I am posting a recipe for a black bean quinoa dish that is laughably simple, but very tasty, and a baked tofu recipe with honey mustard sauce. Enjoy!

IMG_0465

Ari’s Black Bean Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1.5 cups cooked (or canned) black beans

3 Tbs chopped chives

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 small cucumber, finely chopped

3-4 Tbs red wine vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

chili flakes (optional)

Rinse quinoa very well (it has a bitter coating on it that must be washed off) and put in a pot with 2 cups water, a little olive oil and salt. Bring to boil, then simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed ~15 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix quinoa, black beans, chives, cucumbers and cilantro. Whisk red wine vinegar and olive oil together with salt and pepper and chili flakes. Pour over quinoa and mix. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed. Serve warm!

Baked Tofu with honey mustard sauce

Tofu, sliced into thin rectangles, enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch square pan (or you can double the recipe and use a lasagna-size pan)

2-3 Tbs mustard (not grainy)

Tbs honey/sugar/agave

tamari or soy sauce as needed

water/sesame oil

Whisk together mustard and honey and add enough soy sauce to make it into a dressing-like consistency. Taste, and if it is too salty, or no thick enough to pour over tofu add a little water or same oil.

Bake at 375°F/180°C for 20-25 minutes, until the tofu has absorbed the sauce and is a bit brown.

The Language of the Shuk

AriCooks, Quick Meals, Tips and Tricks, vegetarian

When new English-speaking acquaintances ask me how I learned to speak Hebrew, it is always in the same tone of voice: slightly bewildered surprise. They are often struggling themselves with modern Hebrew, even after years of study in a Hebrew school or Jewish day school. I will speak freely here about one thing I do well, since it is through no exceptional talent that my Hebrew is nearly unrecognizable as anything other than native (on good days). I lived here as a child, I tell them, and usually the conversation ends there. The truth is more complex, and (I think) more interesting than that, however. I learned Hebrew very carefully, and through a system I began devising (somewhat unknowingly) when I was 9 years old.

When my family moved to Jerusalem a few months before my 10th birthday, Hebrew was already familiar to my ears. We had spent summers here and during the school year I attended a Jewish day school outside of Boston where we learned the Hebrew alphabet alongside the English one. Still, I was hardly prepared to be thrust into an Israeli public school on the first day of 5th grade, my loud and aggressive classmates barking in quick, clipped slang as they disobeyed the teacher’s orders to sit down and open their notebooks. When a red-headed girl spoke to me, I recognized only three words in her sentence: “you”, “new”, and “mine”. It was in that moment that I understood that my survival hinged on two things: the red-headed girl’s kind, open smile, and my ability to listen very, very well.

Fifth grade was boot camp for my Hebrew. I can’t say that I learned one other thing that year (certainly not math), but by the time 6th grade began, I sounded exactly like the other children in my neighborhood, at school, and in my Scouts troupe. Had we stayed on as a family, my reading, writing and, in fact, my entire identity would have been quick to follow suit. But my Israeli story is in parts. In the 7th grade we returned to the States, and the next time I lived in Israel was in high school. My 5th grade Hebrew had some catching up to do, and I fell back on a familiar strategy — I listened, parroted, and soon the teenage phrases in the air became my own.

As a college student in Beer Sheva the outdoor market was my favorite place to practice my more grown-up Hebrew. Half the shuk being Arab in Beer Sheva, I learned Arabic words and slang that still tinge my speaking today, occasionally confusing others when my outer appearance does not match the Sepahrdi-colloquial-working class lilt of my words. “Where are you from?” Israelis sometimes ask –not because they cannot place my accent outside the country, but because they cannot place me in it. “Are you French?” “From Bat Yam (a lower-class suburb of Tel Aviv)?” I give them the short answer, not bothering to explain that I learned my Hebrew from children, from the Shuk, from Eyal Golan songs, and from the street.

And now back in (a much more religious) Jerusalem, home to Hebrew University but also Machane Yehuda, I listen to the Hebrew of the Persian spice vendors (musical), to my Kurdish neighbors (colloquial), and to the young women who come for alterations at my shop (educated), and my varied collection of sayings and of ways of expressing myself continue to grow. And even though it fails me from time to time, and little old Ashkenazi ladies who probably taught the language to the Pioneers correct my grammar, I love my spoken Hebrew and its mix of inflections. I love that it is mine.

A couple of readers have asked  for the recipe for the Tomato Zucchini gratin, pictured above, left, in the photo from this week’s meals for the L Family.  It is a fairly simple recipe and I am posting the link here. A couple notes: no need to salt and sweat the zucchini. The tomatoes however do benefit from being drained. You can just saute all the zucchini at once if you have a wide enough saute pan. If cow’s milk cheese is a problem, you can use pecorino, which is made from sheep’s milk. Enjoy!

The Unexpected

AriCooks, asian-inspired, Dairy Free, Quick Meals, Salad, Summer, Vegan, vegetarian

Can't stand the heat? This light and nutritious tofu salad is perfect for summertime lunches.

It’s a tried and true fact of living that few things are what you expect them to be and that life is full of surprises. Of course both those things sound like cliches, but we have sayings for a reason, and as the years go by I am more and more struck by the universality of the human experience.

When we decided to leave Boston it was after a long period of frustration with a place that is undeniably cold and (as a matter of perspective) cold-mannered and, in many ways, ambivalent. Having been a part of a largely non-Jewish (and apolitical) dance community for many years in Boston, few people had much to say to me about our upcoming move in terms of choice of location. Unexpectedly however, a friend who is a well known Irish Dancer mentioned that she knew a fiddle player who was moving to Israel at the same time as we were. I was intrigued.

“An Irish fiddle player?” I asked, “Moving to Jerusalem?”

As it turned out the musician in question was married to a journalist who had just accepted the rather overwhelming job of being the Middle East Correspondent for Public Radio, and they would be transplanted to Jerusalem for the next three years.

“How brave…” I murmured, “To be the wife of a journalist in a land that is so foreign to you, to which you have no idealogical or religious connection. And with small children to boot…”

Seeing as we would both be new in town, the Irish dancer offered to connect us.

“You can show her the ropes,” I believe was the general gist of conversation.

Although I suppose I have showed Ellery around a bit since we both arrived in Israel, our friendship has proven to be a lot more complex than simply a half-Israeli helping out a newbie (who, as it turns out, is quite capable of learning the lay of the land with or without a guide). With Ellery, Matt, and the kids so much a part of our lives here in Israel, I am constantly reminded that Boston is a home. We wax poetic about our favorite cafes, markets and restaurants, and trade anecdotes about Somerville and East Boston (our respective old neighborhoods). I also have the opportunity to see Jerusalem through the eyes of someone who neither loathes nor romanticizes this wild place, a truly refreshing opportunity. Ellery is quick-witted, dry and often very funny in her day-to-day assessments of Israeli society as she sees it. For these and many other reasons (such as my having a partner in Cheesecake Factory-bashing), I am thankful that she is here. I look forward to more adventures with her and the whole K-B crew.

E, this tofu salad is for you!

Ellery and Pookie, drinking a beer.

Tofu Salad, Yerushalmi Style

8 oz firm tofu, drained and crumbled

1/2 cup cooked short grain brown rice (or any cooked grain you have avaiblable)

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs Tamari soy sauce

3 Tbs tahini paste

2 Tbs dijon mustard

1/4 cup mayonaise

3 scallion, green parts only, finely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

2 small carrots, diced

1 small cucumber, peeled and diced

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

a few fresh basil leaves, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the crumbled tofu in a dry skillet over medium heat, until it loses some of its moisture and shrinks slightly.

Put the tofu into a mixing bowl and add the cooked rice. While the tofu is still hot, swiftly stir in the lemon juice and soy sauce.

Now add the tahini, dijon and mayonnaise and stir everything together. Add the chopped veggies and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy on its own, or stuffed into a pita with extra mustard and crisp lettuce leaves.

figs, honey & feta

AriCooks, breakfast, dessert, Quick Meals, Summer, vegetarian

In an outdoor market full of beautiful figs, I was nearly giddy when I came across the most gorgeous, plump, perfectly shaped specimens this season could possibly offer.

The only way to do these fruits justice was to serve them unadulterated with flavors that complimented their seasonal perfection. Figs, I love you.

Mediterranean Fig, Honey and Feta Breakfast

This could also be a snack, dessert, or appetizer. All that really matters is that the fruits are fresh and room temperature and that the honey and feta and both good-quality.

Figs

Goat Feta

Pure Honey

Whole wheat bread of your choice (I got seeded whole wheat honey bread from Russell’s Bakery at Machane Yehuda).

Slice the figs in half or quarters, top with small slices of goat feta and drizzle with honey. Serve with whole wheat bread.

Something in between

AriCooks, cake, Dairy Free, dessert, Quick Meals, Vegan, vegetarian

Eating Chocolate Amaretto Cake. Recipe below.

Carbohydrates, mainly in the form of breads and cakes, are my first love in the world of sustenance. Although I often restrain myself and opt for protein (beans, nuts, etc), a bright green salad, or a beautiful piece of fruit (not hard to find in Israel), most of the time, when my stomach tells me it is time to eat, my immediate thoughts are of tea cake, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, chocolate cake, apple muffins, or pita stuffed with hummus. When the end of the week rolls around and I have finished making my favorite challah recipe, my thoughts immediately turn to dessert. Usually, by 2 or 3 pm on Friday, I am patting myself on the back for having everything done. The house smells like freshly baked bread, the dessert is cooling on a rack and it’s time to relax and catch up with what the rest of the world has been up to…. But then I remember: dinner. Right. Challah and cake are all well and good, but we are supposed to eat something in  between. Darnnit. Back to the kitchen I go.

looks good, but something is missing...

Although Jeff, Auralee, and I are not huge eaters, and certainly do not expect a multi-course feast when it is just the three of us, I understand the importance of a well-balanced meal. Luckily, there are many vegetable and veggie protein dishes in the pages of my  cookbook collection that come to the rescue on the Friday afternoons when the preparation of dinner catches me off guard.

Egyptian Eggplant, adapted slightly from Claudia Roden’s, Cooking of the Mediterranean

This really could not be much easier. A kind of lazy-man’s moussaka, if you will. Accompanied by a freshly-made tabbouleh salad, this was the perfect simple, summer Shabbat dinner, and left plenty of room for Chocolate Amaretto Cake and Lemon Semolina Cake (see below)

3 medium eggplant

3 tomatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup goat cheese of your choice

salt & pepper

fresh mint

bread crumbs

Broil the whole eggplants in the oven (pierce each on a couple time with a fork), until completely roasted, and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before peeling and slicing into rounds or half-rounds. Spread the eggplant into a greased baking dish that has been dusted with bread crumbs and top with the diced tomatoes and diced/crumbled goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle baked dish with fresh, minced mint leaves. Serves 4

Chocolate Amaretto Cake, adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

The original recipe calls for light rum, which I have used before when making this cake. This time, amaretto (almond liqueur) was what I had on hand. Both are delicious.

1 cup all purpose flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar, divided (original recipe calls for one cup, but I think it’s plenty sweet with a little less)

1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder, divided

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup soy milk (I used 1/4 cup soy and a 1/4 cup yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp amaretto

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup amaretto

1/2 cup boiling water

Boil some water in a teakettle, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), and grease a 9-inch round springform cake pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder. Add the soymilk, oil, and extracts and mix into a thick batter (it will be very dense). Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining cocoa powder and sugar. Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water into a glass measuring cup, add the maple syrup, and amaretto to the water, and pour this mixture on top of the cake batter.

Place the cake on a cookie sheet in case of pudding overflow (mine did leak) and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool just a bit and then release the sides of the pan while it’s warm (over a plate to prevent spillage– this is one moist, messy dessert).

Lemon Semolina Cake, from Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl

12 blanched, whole almonds, finely ground in an electric spice mill, or food processor

3 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup superfine sugar (if all you have on hand is regular granulated sugar, you can give it  a quick whirl in the spice grinder as well)

3/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup, plus 1 Tbs semolina (I used whole wheat semolina)

For topping/serving

1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups berries

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325°F/149°C. Grease a cake pan and line the bottom with a round of buttered parchment paper.

Separate eggs, putting yolks in a large bowl and whites in a slightly smaller one. Add sugar to yolks and beat with a whisk or an electric mixer until pale yellow and very thick. 3-5 minutes.

Gently, but thoroughly, fold in ground almonds and semolina.

Beat whits with cleaned beaters (they need to be completely free of yolk/oil) until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold gently but thoroughly into the yolk mixture (try to not over-mix, it deflates the whites, which are your leavening agent in this recipe).

Transfer batter to a pan and smooth top. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean, 25-30 minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and invert cake onto a cooling rack (you do not want to let this cake cool in the pan because the edges will cling to the sides of the pan while the middle deflates and you will have a concave cake). Carefully remove paper and cool cake completely.

Beat cream in a small bowl (with electric mixer or a strong whisk-arm) until it just holds stiff peaks.

Top/serve cake with berried and cream. Serves 6-8

Green Omelette

AriCooks, breakfast, Quick Meals, Salad, vegetarian

Every vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) cook has their particular area of weakness. Mine is leafy greens. Though I love eating them, preparing them in the kind of quantities necessary to receive their nutritional benefits always seems a bit tedious. There’s the washing, which is very serious business unless you want to bite into a hunk of grit or sand (nothing is worse), the air drying, and then the preparation. Sometimes the third step is minimal, especially if you are eating them raw, in salad or on a sandwich. But if you want your greens cooked somehow, more thought must be applied, and the cook-down factor is so very large that in order to get a few decent servings all available counter space must be resigned to drying piles of spinach/chard/dandelion/watercress/whathaveyou. There are no excuses to be made however when one has access to amazingly delicious and fresh variety of greens — and, as was recently pointed out to me by my fellow Israeli food bloggers, I am LUCKY to be living a 5 minute walk to the best shuk in the country (world?), crowds and all.

Green Omelette with Tomato Feta Salad

A little fresh pita and this breakfast would have been perfection. Until Passover ends, however, we’ll just have to settle for pretty-darn-tasty.

makes 2 generous servings

For the Omelette:

5 eggs

1/4 cup goat yogurt

a little water

1/2 cup chopped rashad (watercress or arugula will work as well)

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

salt and pepper taste

Whisk the eggs well. Whisk in yogurt, greens, salt and pepper. Add a little water if the mixture seems too thick. Set aside for a moment while you make the salad.

For the Tomato Feta Salad:

2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (you can use any tomatoes, the cherry toms at the shuk happen to be the best right now)

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled sheep feta

fresh herbs of your choice

olive oil

zatar

salt and pepper

mix everything together and heat up the pan for your omelette

Heat a non-stick or cast iron 9-10 inch pan with a little oil. Coat the surface and sides of the pan with oil using a brush or paper towel. Pour the omelette mixture in and cook until underside is quite firm. Flip, fold or finish the top under the broiler (I know, technically this makes it a frittata, but that’s how I do it). Turn omelette out of pan promptly when done to avoid burning.

Frozen Food

AriCooks, breakfast, Quick Meals, Tips and Tricks, vegetarian

Even people who love to cook need a break sometimes. In a country where the “fast-food” includes things like fried eggplant, fresh tomato and cucumber salad, delicious little finger foods like falafel, kubbe, and freshly baked burekas stuffed with spinach, cheese, mushrooms or potatoes, grabbing sustenance in the go can turn out to be a rather satisfying experience. The same goes, believe it it or not, for the frozen section of the supermarkets here in Israel. While I suppose some of the more American-style supermarkets may stock things like frozen pizza and TV dinners. What you will find in most frozen sections here, are mass-produced versions of real home-style cooking. Things like kubbe soup, jachnun and malawah, in addition to the iconic corn and vegetable patties that are presented as the vegetarian option in Israeli kibbutz, boarding school and army dinning halls, and are actually pretty darn tasty.

Malawah

While I know that some of my Israeli friends may chuckle at the notion of my posting about something that is so easily obtained and prepared, (I promise, one day I will attempt malawah from scratch, folks) for Americans I think this food and the way it is served is of interest, and I hope not to be judged for my temporary “laziness”.

This tasty yemeni treat, which is the quick-cooking version of jachnun, is sold in thin round packages, the servings neatly stacked and divided by pieces of plastic or wax paper. Unlike jachnun, which must cook in the oven for many hours (usually overnight), malawah can be made right on the stove top in a matter of minutes. Although the homemade versions are undoubtedly thicker and more layered, the frozen ones are still pretty darn good in a pinch (and are also loved by 3 year olds everywhere — making malawah and hard-boiled egg, an easy lunch option for mothers across the middle east).

eating malawah in her castle pajamas

First you heat a couple teaspoons of oil in  a 9-10 inch non-stick, or cast iron fry pan- you really need very little oil as malawah has its own grease.

Then you fry for a few minutes on each side over medium heat until both sides have this lovely crispy, mottled appearance.

And serve with your choice of sides. Typically, freshly grated tomatoes and some spicy shug (yemeni hot pepper sauce). I like mine with soft goat cheese, minced parsley and fresh tomatoes.

The future

AriCooks, Quick Meals, Salad, vegetarian

I’ve been absent from my blog lately. Jeff and I are busy (and exhausted) trying to get our permanent housing situation sorted out here, in addition to which all the bad news from Japan and here in Israel has made writing about food seem a little… trivial. Nonetheless, we have continued to cook and eat (thank goodness) in what is soon to be one of the many kitchens-of-our-past. I’ve been thinking lately that these first few months here will seem like a blip in retrospect, a whirlwind of newness, of trying to sort out our life and connect to the ground. It’s a somewhat unfortunate fact of life that one cannot skip over the hard/uncomfortable times in order to get to the better, more settled times. Right now I am looking forward to the future.

Last week was cold and rainy here in Tel Aviv. Although one of my new guilty pleasures is complaining when the temperatures drop below 55ºF, last week I really meant it. I was cold. Especially inside, where there is no central heating, the dampness seeps in to your bones and the laundry hanging in the living room takes 4 days to dry.

Still not a bad-looking country, even on a rainy day

Happily, the sun has returned, making life a little easier as we prepare for our move to Haifa (see above). Although I have enjoyed Tel Aviv a lot, this little cartoon about a young zionist who goes to the Israeli emissary explains some of the reasons why it is not the ideal city to live in long-term (‘Friar’ means ‘sucker’).

Red Quinoa Salad with Walnuts and Ginger


2 cups cooked red quinoa (quinoa must be rinsed well before cooking to remove its bitter exterior. I use 1 1/2 parts water to 1 part quinoa)

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 small kohlrabi, cleaned, and chopped into very small cubes

1 cucumber, finely chopped

1/3 cup cilantro (or parsley) finely chopped

2 yellow bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, and finely chopped

1-2 Tablespoons of fresh ginger, minced

olive oil

salty goat cheese (something that can be crumbled)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (untoasted)

Mix cooked, cooled quinoa with veggies and herbs. Mix in a few tablespoons of a good-tasting olive oil, plus some black pepper (you can add salt too, but our cheese was salty enough). Sprinkle on walnuts and cheese, and mix again. Serve at room temp.

Serves 4-6-ish

Wonder Pot Success! and a Humble Soup

AriCooks, dessert, Quick Meals, soups and stews, Tips and Tricks, Vegan, vegetarian

Although I am grateful to my dad for unearthing a copy of the now antiquated (and somewhat irrelevant) Wonders of a Wonder Pot for its novelty and the mini-history lesson it provides, the cookbook itself is somewhat of a disappointment. Filled mainly with non-wonder pot recipes along with transliterations of Hebrew food words (for the new Israeli citizen), the few recipes Sybil Kaufman does provide for the actual pot are meat or cheese-laden with a heavy eastern European influence. In other words, not appetizing. The good news however is that by reading over the recipes — the desserts in particular — I was able to determine that nearly any cake or quick bread can be made in the pot without any major changes to the recipe. The first recipe I was eager to try out was my quick chocolate cake, an old standby around our house with a simple formula that is both parve and vegan.

Of course, having a dessert baking makes me feel that much more obligated to put a healthy dinner on the table, so I whipped up an easy lentil soup inspired by the ones we’ve been enjoying in the Yemenite Quarter. The soup, and in fact most Yemenite cuisine, is composed of surprisingly few ingredients. The addition of caramelized onions is Claudia Roden’s from her book Cooking of the Mediterranean, and the sorrel was my idea — a delicious addition if I do say so. Enjoy.

Humble Soup

This soup can be made thicker or thinner depending on your broth-to-lentils ratio. Serves 4-6

6-8 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

3/4 tsp ground cumin

large bunch of fresh sorrel, arugula or spinach, washed very well to remove grit

1 large onion, thinly sliced

large handful of parsley/cilantro, finely chopped

Bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add the red lentils (picked through and rinsed) and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils have broken down (sadly, they lose their bright, beautiful color, but are delicious nonetheless). Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and cumin to taste. Meanwhile, saute onions in a shallow pan until caramelized. Stir sorrel into the soup while it is still very hot — it will cook down quickly. Finely chop up parsley or cilantro (you can also do a mix) and serve soup over rice or as it is, topped with onions and herbs.

Wonder Pot Chocolate Cake (parve and vegan!)


First, make the batter for my favorite quick chocolate cake.

Spoon batter carefully into the greased and floured wonder pot (I dust with cocoa) and cook on an electric or gas burner over very low heat until done (~45 minutes).

avoid the hole...

The most beautiful girl in the world

AriCooks, pasta, Quick Meals, Tips and Tricks, Vegan, vegetarian

Sometimes I look at Auralee and I just cannot believe how gorgeous she is. I mean, did she really come from me? Well, yes. I remember it well actually. Ugh. Anyway, I’d much rather stare at her little face than think about the time before I knew what it would look like, although I have often had the peculiar feeling that I always knew exactly what she would look like, and there are few surprises when it comes to her personality as well. In many ways, Auralee is me, only smaller, cuter and, I would venture to say, even more sure of herself. She is pretty wonderful… when she’s not throwing a tantrum, of course.

There are a lot of things you wish for your child, as you trek further down the road of parenthood — far too many to list. But some of the important and recurring wishes I have for Auralee are that she live life without shame and never lose the joyfulness with which she now approaches the things she loves. By the time many of us reach adulthood, we have learned to habitually second-guess ourselves and to feel a certain amount of embarrassment and self-consciousness when it comes to expressing and admitting what makes us truly happy. Let’s hope Jeff and I are up to the task of helping her grow into the kind of adults we want to be, ourselves.

Simple Sauce with fresh herbs

Though I am pretty sure that most of you are not cooking every recipe along with me, if you were to have recently made the corn soup and veggie pancakes, I bet you would STILL have fairly large bunches of thyme and rosemary left over. I am really trying here, people…. how many ways can I use these tasty guys before they go rotten?? Well here’s another answer: a  very simple marinara sauces where the herbs are stars of the show. (I added some fresh basil, which leaves with the new task of finding a purpose for the remainder…)

olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

12 (or so) medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (no need to peel)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 Tbs each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

salt and pepper

fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute gently until the turn soft and are getting some color (if they are browning too quickly, turn the heat down a bit). Add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the thyme and rosemary and stir in the tomato paste. Cook the mixture over medium until it is bubbling, then turn down the heat and simmer until it looks saucy. This will take about 25 minutes or so (I cooked mine a little longer– it’s really up to you, just don’t let too much liquid cook out, or you will have a dense, pasty sauce). Add the fresh basil and cook for another minute or two. Serve over whole wheat pasta of your choice.

great Israeli brand of whole wheat pasta, 'Adama'