These millet muffins and roasted strawberries are two tried and true recipes I've enjoyed over the years, often together. They come from Heidi's Swanson's second cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.Read More
If you're ready to welcome fall into your kitchen, this skillet meal should be top of your list to make! Its sweet and smoky flavor, hearty chunks of squash, apple, and beans, and topping of....Read More
What does a crashed computer, a puzzle, and a mango smoothie have in common? Well, nothing really, until this weekend when I decided they all help me gain perspective.
There was a meltdown at home this weekend, but not the kind you might imagine. It was a mechanical/electronic meltdown. The vacuum cleaner stopped working, then my computer decided to follow suit. We don't wear shoes in the house so going without a vacuum for a little while is manageable (some people with dogs may justifiably argue against this). But the computer is my lifeline, and as there is not a support center less than an hour's drive, it clearly had to be fixed at home. So my amazingly competent and proactive husband worked on it all day (I won't say just how many hours that was!), updating, installing, and re-installing software. Twenty-four hours later it was better than new and I am gratefully connected to the world again. During the crisis though I lamented that this had to happen and required such a complicated fix that took up much of his weekend. He objectively said, "things like this happen and we just need to fix it." It's a simple statement but it was clear that he was focused on correcting the problem rather than dwelling on the fact that it happened.
I left the computer in good hands and went about my computer-less day. Knowing we would have to reschedule our ski trip for the following weekend I decided it would be as good a time as any to start a puzzle of St. Gallen we were recently given. I haven't worked on a puzzle in years, but as I methodically sorted the pieces and started to form the border, I remembered how this simple activity brings to light many of life's most effective coping strategies: focus on one section at a time so the whole project isn't overwhelming; don't dwell on one single piece for too long as you'll miss opportunities to make progress in other areas; and have patience and trust that the picture will start to come together.
While working on the puzzle I sipped this mango lassi. Mangos are still front and center at my market, so if there is ever a time to buy them here, this is it. The simplicity and brightness of the creamy, fruity smoothie reminded me why I love food in it's pure, whole state. In season, it is packed full of nutrition and flavor which means prep does not have to be complicated nor time-consuming to enjoy something delicious and good for me. The universe offers us this food for a good reason, and we can give back by enjoying it in it's unprocessed, unadulterated state whenever possible.
Traditional lassi is a savory yogurt drink from India flavored with salt and spices. There are also sweet varieties made with fruit pulp and/or sugar, and either yogurt, ice cream, or cream. I have made the sweet variety a little more palatable for breakfast with mango, avocado, and natural sweeteners blended together and subtly flavored with lime and cardamom. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
And if you're wondering what else you can do with cardamom, check out the puffed quinoa granola and apple glogg here on the blog, or a few of my favorites from other sites.
- Best Lentil Salad,Ever
- Persian Rice-Stuffed Zucchini with Pistachios and Dill (sub 1/4 tsp. ground for pods)
- Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls
Breakfast Mango Lassi
Notes: You may use frozen mango instead of fresh but omit the ice cubes.
- 1 cup diced mango (~1/2 large mango or 1 small mango)
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/8 tsp. cardamom
- Heaping 1/4 cup plain, natural yogurt
- Juice from 1/4 lime
- 4 Ice cubes
- Squeeze of of honey, if desired
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute, or until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness and spice to your liking.
Additional add-ins: banana, chia seeds, raw cashews (soaked for at least 6 hours)
I cannot take credit for this recipe, but I really wish I could because it is that good. The dish comes from my favorite cookbook, Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Yotam and Sami grew up on opposite ends of Jerusalem, one in the Muslim east, the other in the Jewish west, only meeting years later when they both moved to London. In this book they reflect on their childhood memories of Jerusalem's diverse mosaic of cuisines and offer a collection of recipes inspired at once by the foods their family fed them and their own interpretations of the overlapping culinary traditions from the city's Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities.
*Photo courtesy of Jonathan Lovekin
They put it best when they describe Jerusalem food: "We want to eat, cook, and be inspired by the richness of a city with four thousand years of history, that has changed hands endlessly and that now stands as the center of three massive faiths and is occupied by residents of such utter diversity it puts the old tower of Babylon to shame. Is there even such a thing as Jerusalem food, though? Consider this: there are Greek Orthodox monks in this city; Russian Orthodox priests; Hasidic Jews originating from Poland; non-Orthodox Jews from Tunisia, from Libya, from France, or from Britain; there are Sephardic Jews that have been here for generations; there are Palestinian Muslims from the West Bank and many others from the city and well beyond; there are secular Ashkenazic Jews from Romania, Germany, and Lithuania and more recently arrived Sephardim from Morocco, Iraq, Iran, or Turkey; there are Christian Arabs and Armenian Orthodox; there are Yemeni Jews and Ethiopian Jews but there are also Ethiopian Copts; there are Jews from Argentina and others from southern India; there are Russian nuns looking after monasteries and a whole neighborhood of Jews from Bukhara (Uzbekistan)."
The eggplant is roasted with a boldly-spiced but not overpowering North African paste, then topped with a zesty bulgur salad studded with olives, almonds, and raisins, and rounded out with cool and refreshing yogurt. Another highlight of the dish is it's likely to convert eggplant loathers to eggplant lovers! I am fortunate to have a partner who embraces and enjoys most dishes I serve. But eggplant is not one of them. Until now! The wise combination of flavors and textures bring out the best of the eggplant to please everyone. This also makes for a great dinner party menu. I served the eggplants with grilled halloumi cheese and an arugula salad.
Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt
Notes: If using course rather than fine bulgur, cook according to package directions or increase the quantity of boiling water as suggested below. To make this gluten-free exchange bulgur for quinoa or brown rice.
- Zest of 1 lemon can be substituted for preserved lemon in a pinch.
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped preserved lemon peel (available in whole food stores)
- 2/3 cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 cup fine bulgur
- 2/3 cup boiling water (or 2 cups if using course bulgur)
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 3 1/2 Tbsp. warm water
- 1/3 ounce (2 tsp.) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
- 1/3 ounce (2 tsp.) mint, chopped
- 1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika, preserved lemon, two-thirds of the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal crisscross cuts, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.
- Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and the boiling water and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 20-25 minutes, depending on how course your bulgur is.
- Soak the raisins in leftover boiling water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place 1/2 eggplant, cut side up, on each individual plate. Spoon the bulgur on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.