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Curried Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Collard Greens

January 19, 2010

A nice warm stew for the winter months and very simple.


  • 1 big can of chickpeas
  • 1 big can of diced tomatoes (in the summer, I’d use fresh)
  • 1 small can of light coconut milk
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch of collard greens or kale or spinach
  • 1 T curry paste

Dice the onions.  Add a small amount of the coconut milk to a big pot on medium heat.  Saute the onions for a couple minutes.

Chop the greens into small strips – like 1/2 by 2 inches.  Add that to the big pot along with the remaining ingredients and stir it up well.  Cook on medium until the greens are cooked.  This will be almost no time for spinach, and longer for kale and the collard greens.

You can also add garlic and ginger to this recipe.  Just dice those up and add when you saute the onions.

I’ve also added jalapeno, carrots, cilantro, and lime juice to this recipe (but not all at once). Experiment with it.  Yum!

Oh, and coconut milk is healthy, trust me. Or, other people. All saturated fats are not equal.


Cooking for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin

October 21, 2009

This coming weekend I’ll be cooking lunch and dinner for 30 or so people at Taliesin, which was the home and studio for Frank Lloyd Wright. This will be the second year I’ve done this and I feel a bit more prepared mentally.

I had only two constraints to work under.  First, sauerbraten was requested for dinner.  I’ve never prepared sauerbraten, but I’m OK with trying new things and constraints are always good for creativity.  Second, protein was requested for lunch.  I can deal with that.


I’m a big fan of L’Etoile Restaurant and owner/chef Tory Miller for their approach of using local ingredients. I try to do this as much as possible myself.  So, both lunch and dinner are attempts to use vegetables from the season.


Borscht and Pumpkin soup.  Tis the season for beets and red cabbage in the Simple Borscht I often make.  The second soup option will be Pumpkin with a bit of squash and probably a red pepper mousse.

Main Course

Quiche, sweet potato “fries“, and a salad. There will be two quiches to choose from as I always offer a vegetarian option.  Roasted squash quiche with mushrooms and spinach will be the vegetarian option.  Bacon and caramelized onions for the meat lovers.  The spinach salad will include pears, although they might not still be around.  We’ll see when I get up there (I’m in FLA right now.)

I’ve been told to not prepare a dessert for lunch.  (but I might try to sneak in a pumpkin treat)


So, I had to design something around sauerbraten and I finally settled on apples.  Taliesin has many apple trees and this seemed like a natural choice. The theme for the dinner is “Apple Celebration!”.  It’ll be fun to decorate.

The initial appetizer will be something with a local cheese and apples, I think.  I haven’t yet decided on the exact thing, but maybe something like an apple sage on cracker appetizer?

Next up will be the classic apples, walnut and chevre salad.  So good every time.

Main course will have the sauerbraten, a braised red cabbage and onion side, along with potato pancakes topped with an apple rosemary sauce.

For dessert, it’ll be something appley. My sister wants to help out and she’s pretty darn amazing with the treat baking gig, so that’ll be a surprise.

The Menu

Borscht & Pumpkin Soup
Quiche (Roasted Vegetable and Bacon)
Sweet potato fries
Green salad with beets or pears (depends what I find)

Apple and sage appetizer
Salad with apples, toasted walnuts, and chevre
Potato Pancakes with Rosemary Applesauce
Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
Apple dessert (pie/strudel/cake/tatin) who knows?

Summer Salads

August 24, 2009
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The New York Times recently published this list of 101 Summer Salads.

I like the simplicity of these recipes.  Like this one

Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing.

Or this one.  God I love mango.

Chop or slice radishes (or jicama, or the ever-surprising kohlrabi) and combine with chopped or sliced unripe (i.e., still crunchy) mango, lime juice and mint or cilantro.

I could go on and on.  Just read the article and use veggies from your local farmers’ market.

Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans.

Mango Salsa

July 23, 2009


I dig making fruit based salsas.

LOTS of color in this salsa. Yellow and green and red if’n you want.

First things first. Don’t buy the crappy mangos you find in your local grocery store. Those big reddish things.  Buy the Ataulfo or “champange” mango.  It has a sweeter taste and smoother flesh – pictured here.

Standard Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
  • 1  finely diced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

For me, the basic ingredients are:

  • mango
  • cilantro
  • lime juice

Take those and add avocado for an incredibly creamy salsa.  Wow!  That mix would be this:

Avocado Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1  finely diced jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Benefits of a paleolithic diet – better eyesight

May 11, 2009

Although I haven’t talked about it much on this blog, I try to follow a paleolithic diet as much as possible. Why? Because I’m a big believer in evolution.

I plan to write much more about why paleolithic diets are healthy and also how they are very similar to raw food diets. But later.

Here’s an article on foods that can protect your eyesight as you grow older.

Of course it talks about the benefits of dark leafy greens.

Spinach, chard, kale, broccoli and sprouts are rich sources of two important pigments – lutein and zeaxanthin – that are used by the retina at the back of the eye for clear vision.

See, more props for kale, my favorite dark leafy green.

Classic Salad Niçoise Recipe

April 14, 2009

That title is somewhat humorous to me because there is considerable debate about the actual ingredients in a Niçoise salad.

I love Salad Niçoise because it is easy to make and somewhat rare to eat (at least for the people I hang out with) which makes it a great salad to entertain with. This recipe is just one version of the Niçoise I prepare. In the future I’ll write a post about a more non-traditional Salad Niçoise I like in the summer which has more greens.


  • 1 lb Green beans
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 C Niçoise or Kalamata olives
  • 1 Can packed tuna (optional)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (or a fresh one if you can find it)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T Red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon


Start with the vinaigrette. In a big bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, juice from the lemon, and mustard. Then, slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking until you get to a good creamy look and consistency – probably about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil will do the trick. Then add the finely diced garlic. If you have some, add chopped parsley to the vinaigrette as well.

Next, steam the beans – if they are thin and fresh, consider not cooking them as that will retain more nutrients.

Dice the tomatoes and olives. Add these ingredients to the vinigrette and mix.

Chop up the artichoke hearts and add to the mix.

Drain the can of tuna and then flake the tuna into the big salad bowl.

Stir all these ingredients up.

Voila. A cool, colorful, and healthy salad packed with nutrients.

Borscht Redux: Easiest borscht ever

March 27, 2009
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Full disclosure. I LOVE beets and beets are a super food.

This is why I love borscht.

But I don’t have a lot of time to cook. SO, I’ve attempted to reduce my borscht recipe down to the fewest ingredients possible. I think I’ve reached the limit.

This soup takes about 20 minutes to make. Fast and super healthy.


  • 2 big beets (baseball size) or 4 medium
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • fresh dill

In a soup pot, add a very small amount of water – this will keep the mushrooms from sticking to the bottom. Turn the heat on medium. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, dice the beets into cubes about 1/2 inch. Add those to the pot along with enough water to cover everything – probably about 3-4 cups.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir.

While the beets are cooking, chop the cabbage into shreds no bigger than maybe 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch. Then add to the pot.

Cook 5 or so more minutes and check the beets and the cabbage to see if they are cooked to your desired consistency. At the very end, add the apple cider vinegar.

Serve with chopped up fresh dill – it really brings out the color. And if you want, put a dollop of sour creme on top as well. The red, white, and green all contrast to make a beautiful presentation.

And that is it. Takes about 20 minutes and just a few ingredients and you have a soup packed with nutrients.