Category Archives: Recipes

Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe is easy to prepare, delicious and healthy.  I adapted a bit, as her recipe called for roasting the eggplant for 40 minutes, and mine was very brown at 30 minutes.  Also, I make my own pomegranate molasses, which is not as tangy as some commercial ones, so I needed to add a bit of lemon juice at the end to kick up the sour component. Sauteed greens of some sort (spinach, kale, collards) are a perfect accompaniment, along with a flatbread (great recipe here) and a cucumber mint salad (recipe at the end of this post).

The eggplant dish is even better when made ahead, allowing several hours for the flavors to meld.

1 large eggplant (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise then cut in 1/2-inch slices
Salt to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, grated or peeled, seeded and chopped (or substitute 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of mint and parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and oil it with olive oil. Lay the eggplant slices on top. Salt lightly and brush with olive oil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes until the eggplant is lightly browned and soft to the touch (the surface will be dry). Remove from the heat, and fold over the foil to make a packet around the eggplant slices. Allow them to soften and steam inside the foil for 15 minutes while you proceed with Step 2.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy lidded casserole or skillet. Add the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, salt to taste, sugar and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell very fragrant.
3. Add the eggplant, molasses and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should be thick and the eggplant should be very tender, melting into the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add lemon juice, if desired. Sprinkle on the parsley and/or mint, and serve. Alternately, allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Serves four to six.

Cucumber-Mint Salad for 2

1 Persian cucumber, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 teaspoon chopped mint (or more, to taste)
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon mild vinegar, such as rice or champagne
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Music in the kitchen – Gotan Project, Diferente

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Fresh Blueberry Tart

Made this for breakfast today.  Thawed the puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator, prepped the blueberries last night, quick bake this morning, served with a spot of vanilla Greek yogurt. Recipe here.

December Recipe Contest Winner Announced

Michele Em won in our category “My New Favorite of the Year”.  This dish incorporates ingredients readily available year-round, is a snap to throw in a pot, and is a heart-warming favorite for everyone. This can also be made in a slow-cooker.

Chicken in a Pot with Grapes, Peppers and Butternut Squash

Go ahead – enter our next contest!  Get details here.

October Recipe Contest Winner Announced!

Melissa McCabe won in our “Autumn Soups” contest for her delicious Roasted Cauliflower and Squash Soup

Tea Smoked Chicken Wings with a Honey Glaze

I made these last night and served with Thai-Style Slaw and some steamed brown jasmine rice.  Incredibly tasty and not-too-heavy meal!

Make these for a party and I guarantee they will be the first things to disappear.  Everyone, from kids to fussy old-timers, loves these scrumptious wings.

For the marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 thick chunk of ginger, 1 inch long
4 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil

24 chicken wings

For the smoking mixture:
1/2 cup rice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup loose black tea, such as Lapsang Souchong or pekoe
6 whole cloves
3 star anise pods
1 tablespoon orange zest

For finishing:
2/3 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Special Equipment:
Smoker, such as Brinkman electric smoker

1.  Blend the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender.
2.  Place wings in zippered bag or bowl and pour marinade over. Toss to coat wings, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3.  Preheat smoker.  In a bowl, mix all smoking mixture ingredients together.
4.  From double layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, make a tray small enough to fit on heat source in smoker.  Put 1/2 the smoking mixture in tray. (Do not use a water bath for this smoking.) Place tray directly on heat source.
5.  Place wings on oiled rack and place rack on lowest level in smoker.
6.  After 30 minutes, remove tray and pour in the remaining smoking mixture.  Return to smoker.
7.  Smoke for 30 minutes more or until done.
8.  Remove to serving platter and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Music in the kitchen – Jason Vieaux

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Thai Style Slaw

Crunchy cabbage, refreshing lime, dressed up with mint, basil and cilantro – a heavenly salad! This is a favorite in our house, where the young ones will only eat cabbage when prepared in this fashion. You can have it as a side with a meal, as a starter, or use it as a base to top with roasted chicken, grilled shrimp or grilled, thinly sliced top sirloin. The portions here feed 4 as a side, 2 for a main dish salad.

3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon nam pla (fish sauce)
4 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage or tender green cabbage
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 carrots, peeled and finely julienned
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1.  In a non-reactive bowl, mix lime juice, oil, sugar and nam pla.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2.  Add the vegetables and herbs and toss to coat.  Let rest 1/2 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.

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Great Soup and Salad Dinner

I have been traveling for a week, and as it often goes with travel, I have been eating out for every meal, which means eating rich. A simple dinner of soup and salad is the perfect meal after a few days of excessive indulgence.

The Creamed Garbanzo Bean Soup featured here is really easy to make, uses convenience foods, and is extremely satisfying.   Paired with our classic Caesar Salad and some crusty bread, you have a delicious healthy dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes.

Creamed Garbanzo Bean Soup

1/3 cup diced bacon (approximately 2 ounces)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14-ounce cans garbanzo beans
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnishes: Slivered basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, sage flowers, snipped chives

1.    In a large pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until just done, but not crispy.
2.    Turn heat to medium-low, then add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
3.    Add the tomatoes, beans, broth and sage and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
4.    Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor.  It does need to entirely smooth.
5.    Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 4.

Caesar Salad

This is the classic Caesar Salad, with the convenience of anchovy paste, which is readily available in grocery stores.

1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
¼ cup olive oil
1 egg, dropped in boiling water for 1 minute
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup croutons (optional)

1. Mash garlic with salt in large wooden or glass bowl.
2. Add mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and anchovy paste and whisk until smooth.
3.  Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.  Whisk in egg.
4.  When ready to serve, add lettuce and most of the cheese and croutons.  Toss to coat lettuce with dressing.  Top with reserved cheese and croutons.

Serves 2.

Music in the kitchen – Twice Upon a Time, Siouxsie and the Banshees

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