Posts Tagged ‘Vegetarian’

Esther’s Artichoke Spread

2 –  8 oz. cans of artichokes (use bottoms, whole, or quartered) – drain liquid

1/2 to 3/4 cup best quality mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip).  Although some cooks make this dish entirely with mayonnaise, I use a mixture of plain low-fat yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, quark, or even whipped cream cheese along

Green artichoke vegetable.

Botanical illustration of an artichoke.

with a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise, adjusting liquid so the mixture retains sufficient moisture.

Fresh lemon juice  — from 1 large lemon

2 or 3 (or more) large cloves of garlic, crushed or minced fine

3/4 cup freshly grated aged Parmesan cheese or  use a mix of grated Romano and Parmesan

dash of rice vinegar or dry white wine

pepper to taste

4 oz. sliced almonds

Chop drained artichokes roughly, mix in mayo, lemon juice and grated cheese.  Mix in garlic and other seasoning.  Taste and adjust with dash of vinegar, white wine or more lemon juice or cheese.

Don’t let the mayonnaise taste dominate.  The mixture should be sticky but not dripping wet. Put mixture in a baking dish, top generously with sliced or slivered almonds.  Walnuts or pine nuts can be used in a pinch.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

This recipe can be increased for a crowd.  For 4 cans of artichokes, use about 1 cup of mayo and 1-1/4 cup grated parmesan.  Let taste guide increases in seasoning.

This is a terrific dish to bring as an appetizer for a pot luck event. Always a pleaser.

The original recipe came to me from Esther Safran Foer when we both worked at a K Street public relations firm.

Beans, tomatoes and celery soup in a spoon and bowl.

Fasolatha Soup.




Fasolatha  is a  hearty Greek Soup  originally conveyed to me by Michigan Schlief and adapted by science writer Sean Markey in November, 2012.

First:  Chop holy trinity of flavor – celery, carrot, onion – 3 of each in small dice.

Second:  Place the chopped vegetables in a wok or soup pot, with 2- 3 tbsp olive oil.  Heat and saute. Season with salt and pepper.

Third:  Add a quart bag of  frozen tomatoes from last summer’s garden or a home-canned jar of whole tomatoes, or, if you must, a can of commercially canned tomatoes.  Add 2 cups stock.  Cook.  Add 2 small cans of cannellini  — white kidney beans which have been rinsed first.

Fourth:  Top with chopped parsley.  Season and serve.

This is a soup that will nourish, heal and enliven the troops.





Chop massive amount of vegetables in fine to small dice. Use sweet potatoes, celery, red, green and chili peppers, red potatoes, julienne of carrots, turnips or yellow beets, mushrooms, greens, etc. Start with onions, garlic and seasoning in a large wok or saute pan. Saute in a small amount of olive oil on high heat. Reduce heat as other vegetables are added. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to avoid burning for about an hour until the vegetables are soft but not mushy and excess liquid has evaporated. Open packet of large size rice flour egg-roll or won-ton wrappers. Working on the diagonal, place an amount of vegetable filling to create a roll approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches diameter and about 3 inches long. Following package directions, wrap and fold over the ends of the wrapper around the vegetables, If the filling is too large, start over with a smaller amount. Place completed rolls seam side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch space around the rolls. When baking sheets are filled, brush with olive oil and place baking sheets in pre-heated oven 325 to 350 ° F. Cook  for about 1/2 hour or more. Rolls should be crisp on the outside, soft inside.

Rolls may be frozen or kept in refrigerator for a few days. Serve with sauce of choice – green chili sauce, soy, oyster sauce, etc.

This recipe was given to me by the Ethiopian parking lot manager during the 1990s when I complained that I couldn’t find a portable breakfast food that wasn’t sweet and starch based. He told me how to make these rolls in a few sentences and I’ve made them ever since varying the ingredients by season, adding dried fruit or seeds for accent flavor.


Of course you can!

Check out the fabulous salsa recipe with chipotle chilies —

Canning steps for tomatoes and mixed tomato sauces — tomato and herb pasta sauce, salsa, tomato chutney, etc.  Review canning process on videos and canning jar websites before embarking on this multi-step process.  Start small and work up to production levels if you are new to canning and preserving food in glass jars.

* Grow fresh produce. Harvest or buy at farm market.

* Wash.  Cut out bad spots, stems and hulls. Remove tomato skins if you prefer.

* Wash the jars.  Acquire lids and rings to match jar mouth.

* Boil water and put in the empty jars and lids.

* Boil water to cover tomatoes packed in the jars.

* Place tomatoes in jars (wide mouth jars are easiest) and push out air spaces with knife or spatula.

* Don’t overfill jars.  Food inside the jar should stop at least  3/4 to 1 inch from top lip. This is called the jar “head space” needed for processing period when the contents will boil and expand.

* Add a little sea salt to each jar.  Cover tomatoes with boiling water just to 3/4 to 1 inch from top lip.  Adjust tomatoes in the jar so there are no air bubbles and hot water is below the head space.  The hot water will spread the salt through the food.  If you are making sauces or salsa, the salt and other seasonings would have been added during cooking.

* With a clean tea towel, dip it in boiling water and wipe the edge of the jar, inside and out, until the entire top area of the jar and the head space area inside and out is perfectly free of food smears, seeds, etc.  Re-wipe the jar top edge with boiling water on another area of the tea towel.  With tongs, fetch a flat lid from the boiling water bath and place on top of jar.  Holding the jar with your other hand, screw on the ring until it is secure, but not overly tight.

* Place all the filled and sealed jars in a large pot about 1/3 filled with boiling water (a crab pot, kettle, soup pot, etc).  The appropriate pot will hold about 6 to 8 quart jars.  Add boiling water until the jar tops are just covered.  Adjust heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  This is called the “boiling water bath” or “hot water processing”.  This is not steam processing in a pressure cooker used for all other vegetables.  Tomatoes are unique that their acid content is high enough to ensure that hot water boiling is sufficient to safely preserve the food contents.

* Please review the canning process on videos and canning websites provided by jar manufacturers.  If you don’t feel comfortable canning, freeze the mixtures.  It’s best to approach canning like changing a tire.  Get someone who knows how to do it to show you.

* Foods preserved in glass are lovely to look at, fun to eat and don’t rot when the electricity fails.

Lentils in Sauce is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook

1 cup dried lentils

1 med. onion, finely chopped or grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil

Pick over the lentils and wash in several changes of cold water.

Put the lentils, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, black pepper to taste, and 3 cups of water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil without allowing it to boil over. Turn the heat down to low and cover partially.  Cook gently for 30 min.  Add the salt and stir well.  Cook, particlly covered, another 30-40 min, or until the lentils are tender.  Stir in the oil.  Serve hot or at room temperature, depending on the season.

6 servings

Iliana de la Vega’s Salsa Verde

From Oaxaca, Mexico, as interpreted by Judith S. Markey, during a July 2005 class with Chef de la Vega.

10 tomatillos, boiled whole for 3 minutes.  Take the husks off first. Drain after boiling.

(tomatillos are little green tomatoes with husks and sticky skin)

1 jalapeno pepper whole (throw into the boiling water with the tomatillos)

2 avacados, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 tsp sea salt

Handfull of cilantro (chop off and discard the main stems)

Throw all into a blender.  Blend until mixture is smooth.  Season with more salt or more cilantro, to taste.  Keeps 2 weeks fresh in fridge.  Or freeze in small containers.

Iliana de la Vega is now sharing her culinary skills and knowledge at the Culinary Institute of America.

This recipe was created by David George, and published in The Herb Companion, February/March, 1996 p . 21

Vegitative Chili


1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup tamari

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cardomom


Main Ingredients:

1 lb fresh firm tofu, cubed into bite size chomps

1 large onion diced

1 teaspoon or more minced garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1 large can red kidney beans drained (save juice)

1 large can black beans (save juice)

1 big can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons basil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Step 1. Put the cubed tofu in the marinade, preferably a glass bowl with plastic sealing lid so that the tofu + marinade can be shaken and evenly coat the tofu.  The longer the tofu soaks, the deeper the marinade seeps into the tofu.  For a fresh taste, add a cup of cranberry or orange juice to the marinade, also horseradish and  a pinch of tumeric – under

a half teaspoon!  Tumeric is anti-inflamatory, good for human skeleton.

Then you saute the onion, garlic and dry spices in a big cast iron fry pan or similar large skillet (with the little dab of oil listed with the spices) – ideally the mustard seed will pop like popcorn (medium high heat) so use a lid! Now before anything burns, but after the onions go limp and translucent, scoop in the marinated tofu with marinade if it isn’t too much liquid.

The heat should still be medium, but you will probably want to reduce after the mustard seed has popped.  Of course, you can omit the mustard seed too.  If the fry pan is well seasoned, the tofu should start to form a crust. Expect some to stick and scrape back with a metal spatula  to keep the tofu loose and browning on all sides. The next object is to bring all the tofu up to temp while not too gently browning the sides of the tofu cubes. This can take as long as 15 minutes. When the heat is right around medium-low,  the fu will not stick too much as it browns and you can flip it every two or three minutes. If some of the cubes go the way of the Berlin wall – not too worry.

The tofu can be served at this point as a flavorful cubes over rice with vegetables.

Or proceed with the chili —

Take the brief time between tofu flips to mix the rest of the goods in a stew pot, pressure cooker or slow cooker. When the tofu meets with your satisfaction, or you’re sick of flipping it, go ahead and toss it in the chili.

Cook slowly over low heat for at least two hours.  Test for flavor and consistency.  Add liquid if necessary as the cooking proceeds.



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