Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Tempeh Stir Fry

Teriyaki….this was an undecided and hesitant vegan exploration of the well-known goopy goodness. Teriyaki seems so basic...because it is. Basic can be ok, but for a chef that tends to get carried away with complex ingredients and grandiose cooking techniques, it is borderline dull. It doesn’t ring bells of Japanese authenticity such as, say, Ohitashi or Bakkake Udon. At its worst it poses as a cop-out during times of indecision or reluctance to venture out at an Asian fast food chain. In its better moments it's a boon for both the inexperienced chef looking with immesnse bottle-opening skills as well as the busy body who aims for something convenient. I see the pros and cons, but it's hard to shake the perception of this sauce as either doing the molasses mamba out of a bottle or slimed all over a fast food order from Samurai Sam’s. What’s so great about Teriyaki?

Everything. Salty, sweet, and hugs food perfectly. Not to mention you can whip it up in about 5 minutes. There are many Teriyaki recipes out there to choose from, though they vary a bit. Regardless of the small nuances here and there between recipes, there are really just two key components essential to the salty-sweet flare of many Asian sauces: soy sauce and sugar. Working at the Indonesian restaurant in Madison, I learned very quickly that sugar is the secret to the deliciousness of most Asian cuisines. And so, soy sauce and sugar are the key players in most versions of Teriyaki. Presumably water is an easy ingredient to come by, so with those three things you're half way there. Garlic, ginger and cornstarch complete the Teriyaki Team and if you don't have those in your kitchen, get them immediately. I chose a simple recipe based on the ingredients at hand and the ease of preparation. With a few tweaks, I was very pleased.

Customizations: For one, I added Sambal Oelek, another Indonesian staple. It takes hardly a teaspoon to break a sweat, so this red chili garlic paste is deceivingly spicy. I used just under a full teaspoon in the whole batch which was perfect. Sweet sauces don’t do much for me, but a mouthful of something sweet and spicy sauce will make my eyes roll in the back of my head. Has anyone seen What About Bob? I hope some of you recall the dinner scene. The second tweak was my sad attempt to make myself feel better about using so much sugar and salt in one sitting. The recipe initially called for brown sugar, but I used turbinado sugar which is raw and unrefined. Its granules are much larger but dissolve all the same. Why not throw in an extra nutritious punch? It made me feel better, especially since I wasn't willing this time around to sacrifice taste to use the low sodium soy sauce. Another way to make this just a smidge healthier is to use less oil when stir-frying and replace with water which deglazes and steams instead. In the end, when you add a thick sauce anyway, it won’t affect the taste at all unless you’ve over-watered your wok (wow, I sure hope those last few words are what people remember me by).

Once again, I’ve used the boil-then-fry method for cooking tempeh with fabulous results. The addition of a handful of sweet, thin green beans and vibrant red bell pepper was perfect. I am very much averse to mushy, overcooked vegetables so I tend to eat them al dente (crisp to the bite) – take care to add the veggies later in the game or they were sog up in no time. When adding the sauce at the end, you won’t need to remove the wok from heat, but you’d be safe turning the burner off so that you don’t overcook the cornstarch. Otherwise you'll end up with gloppy gastro nightmare. I served this over brown rice and decided it’s true what they say – sugar and spice is very nice.

Spicy Teriyaki Tempeh Stir Fry
Serves: 3-4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


For the Sauce
¼ c. Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 c. Water
2-3 T. Sugar, brown or turbinado (raw)
1 T. Ginger, freshly grated or minced
1 Large garlic clove, minced
½ - 1 tsp. Sambal Oelek or red chili garlic paste
2 T. Cornstarch
¼ c. Cold water

For the Tempeh
1 Package Tempeh, cut into small strips or cubes
1 ½ c. Water
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Garlic powder
1 T. Soy sauce

For the Stir Fry
1 ½ T. Canola oil
2 Green onions, white and green parts chopped and divided
2 tsp. Ginger, freshly grated or minced
2 c. Green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
½ Red bell pepper, chopped
½ c. Water (or as needed)


For the Sauce: Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small sauce pan, adjusting the spice level by using more/less Sambal Oelek. Heat mixture over high heat and boil until sauce has reduced slightly, 4-5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and cold water. Add to sauce and stir constantly until reaches desired thickness. The sauce should be fairly liquid still, because some will evaporate in the next cooking stage.

For the Tempeh: Combine all tempeh ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down slightly and keep at a rolling boil until tempeh has absorbed most of the water. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Stir Fry: Using a stove-top wok or large skillet, heat canola oil over high heat. Add white part of onions and ginger, cooking until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tempeh to the pan and toss around to coat all sides. If necessary, add ¼ cup of water if pan becomes too dry. Cook until tempeh starts to brown. Add green beans and red pepper to the pan with another ¼ cup of water. Let cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are al dente (crisp and tender, but not mushy), about 2 minutes. Stir in ½ c of the teriyaki sauce and turn burner off. Stir until sauce has thickened and completely coated vegetables and tempeh. Serve over brown rice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vegan Osso Buco - Stufato Salvatore

A very special occasion arose this week giving me yet another opportunity to feed open minds with a lovin’ spoonful of gourmet vegan fare – meeting the roommate’s family. While I love to cook just about anyone in my home, this dinner was quite special in the sense that there was going to be another vegan attending. What a pleasure! My roommate’s sister had become recently engaged to a fellow vegan. The couple currently resides in Israel, but they’ve returned to the states to plan their upcoming August wedding. I was very impressed to learn that my roommate’s parents are as equally curious as they are enthusiastic about welcoming a meatless mouth into the family – they have an endearing willingness to further explore the vegan diet since it will be one that will have a larger presence in their lives. This also means of course that they will have to include vegan options on the wedding menu and a vegan cake. His mother had requested that I provide some suggestions regarding recipes or vegan references to help the process – but to jumpstart their faith in the possibility of a successful and delicious vegan event, we hosted a lovely and quite lavish dinner.

You may have noticed by now that I have a somewhat neurotic need to suit the meal as perfectly as I can to the vibe of a crowd before deciding what to cook for them. In this instance, there were several factors that helped narrow this down. First of all, knowing the happy couple lives in Haifa and most likely eats Middle Eastern cuisine on a daily basis ruled out a whole genre. Secondly, they are exploring ideas for vegan wedding dishes which helped me narrow down a type of main dish that might be appealing to a mass of omnivores – something rich but familiar, “meaty,” saucy, and more inspiring than an all-you-can-eat veggie trays with a block of bland protein (i.e. no tofu slabs). While I hesitate to resort to Italian because it seems too easy, I came across a vegan recipe for Osso Buco that inspired me to try a dish that is more complex than pasta and traditionally very much un-vegan. I had never made this in my meat-eating days, but it didn’t matter.

Osso Buco is a delicacy originating from Milan and means “bone with a hole,” as the dish features veal on the bone slowly braised in a wine based broth. I wasn’t eager to mimic the bone, but seitan seemed like a good substitute. While I liked the initial recipe, I was under whelmed by its ingredients. I felt I could jazz it up with fresh herbs, fresh tomatoes, and Gremolata like a real Italian would. So I looked for a traditional recipe and found that classic recipes call for fresh herbs in a bouquet garni, which is just a fancy term for putting a sack of herbs in a pot instead of letting them run wild. Well, I let my herbs have their freedom and threw them right in instead of rounding them up in cheesecloth and limiting their potency. I may have had to pick out their stems in the end, but it was worth it. The flavor was highly present. I also called upon my lovely woodsy mushrooms to add another level to the broth. Many Osso Buco recipes call for chicken broth and while vegetarian chicken broth seems like a good replacement, it often has many artifical flavors and/or MSG. So to give it a "beefy" edge, I rehydrated dried mushrooms before mixing up some vegetarian bouillon. I also added a few dried mushrooms to the stew as it simmered and picked them out in the end (some of my guests preferred no mushrooms which I had known in advance).

The vegan recipe I first found also employed the braising technique. I however didn’t see the logic behind letting fake, flavorless meat sit that long, absorbing soupy liquid, when it has the potential to take on its own rich, complex flavor. I found that marinating the seitan and browning it was a good way to seal in flavor. But to take it an extra step, I finished cooking it in the leftover marinade to make its own sauce. Adding it at the end to a very flavorful stew had much more depth than just making seitan taste like tomato soup. Osso Buco is typically served with saffron risotto, but I took a hint from the Vegetarian Times recipe and made an Asparagus Orzotto (a risotto made with orzo). The two made a lovely pair and were scarfed down to the last scrap by each any every one of us. This would definitely make the final cut for a catered event.

By the way, I didn't feel Osso Buco was necessarily an appropriate names with no bones or holes present anywhere in my meal. So I am affectionately calling this "savior soup." One less baby cow totorture.

Stufato Salvatore
Serves 6-8
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour


Marinated Seitan
½ c. Sherry or sweet white wine
¼ c. Hoisin Sauce
2 T. Soy Sauce, reduced sodium
1 T. Rice Vinegar
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
½ T. Hot or Dijon mustard
4-5 Drops liquid smoke

2 Packages prepared seitan or 2 c. homemade seitan, cubed
½ - ¾ c. All-purpose flour or cornstarch
¼ c. Canola oil, divided

¼ c. Olive oil
1 ½ c. Onion, chopped
1 c. Celery, chopped
1 c. Carrot, chopped
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 T. Garlic, minced
1 ½ c. Dry white wine
4 cups vegetable/mushroom stock*
2 c. Tomatoes, chopped
1 T. Tomato paste
4 Thyme sprigs
1 Rosemary sprig
¼ c. Parsley leaves
3 Bay leaves
5-6 Dried mushrooms (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

½ c. Parsley
1 T. Garlic, chopped
1 T. Lemon zest, finely grated
½ tsp. salt

*Make stock ahead of time by pouring 2 cups boiling water over ½ - 1/3 cup dried mushrooms. Add 1 vegetarian bouillon cube and whisk until completely blended. Add another 2 cups hot water to the mix and let sit 5-10 minutes.

For the Seitan
Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Adjust marinade to taste – add sherry if too tart, add soy sauce if too bland, add more mustard for an extra kick, or add hoisin for a super sweet and salty combo punch. Add seitan to marinade and let sit 30 minutes while you prepare stew.

For the Stew
In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and carrots with salt until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium high and add wine, keeping at a boil until reduced by about half or more. Meanwhile, mix the tomato paste with a ½ cup of stock and add mixture plus stock, tomatoes, herbs, and mushrooms (if using) to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove any stray stems and mushrooms (you'll have to fish for them).

Returning to Seitan
Place flour or cornstarch in a medium bowl and set out a separate plate for the seitan. Dredge seitan cubes and set on plate, reserving extra marinade for later. Heat half of canola oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat and add half of seitan cubes. Cook until browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat with remaining canola oil and the rest of the seitan. After the second batch has browned, add the first batch back into the pan along with all of the reserved marinade with the heat still on high. Let sauce reduce until thick and nicely glazed over seitan cubes, most of the sauce will have evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Gremolata
In one pile, finely mince parsley, garlic lemon and salt together. The salt will draw out the juices from each ingredient and allow them to mesh together nicely. Set aside

To serve
Just before serving, place the cooked seitan in the stew. Stir and let sit 5 minutes. Sprinkle Gremolata on top and serve alongside orzo or saffron risotto.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tangy BBQ Tempeh with Apricot Couscous

A partial motivator behind this meal was a recent request for more protein from a resident omnivore who, though very supportive of my meatless mania, needs a little more “umph” to keep up with both weight-lifting and cycling 30-40 miles 3-5 times a week. I consider myself active, but I’ve never had a protein concern on a vegan diet due to my small frame. For someone whose caloric needs are almost 50% more than my own, this was a very polite and respectful request. So as to place more emphasis on the capability of a vegan diet to satisfy even the most extreme of athletes, and to prevent potential carcass from having to be stored in a shared appliance, I’ve been much more conscious of protein’s presence in the general macronutrient distribution on our plates.

On many occasions, I look to tempeh as a tool to both enhance the protein portion in a meal and replace a meat counterpart. A fermented soy bean product, tempeh is thought to have originated in Indonesia on the island of Java. In fact, it was when I was working in an Indonesian restaurant in Madison, WI that I had my first taste. Bandung Restaurant is the only Indonesian restaurant in Wisconsin and makes homemade tempeh from a family recipe. I’ve even requested the shipment of tempeh from my former boss, because there is nothing as good down here in the Southwest. Unlike tofu, which is a coagulated soy product, tempeh is sturdy in texture but soft to the bite. Similar to tofu, it does not have a strong natural taste and therefore holds seasonings and marinades very well. It’s a fantastic replacement for ground beef or other dark meat products. In this case, tempeh stands in for barbecued ribs, a hard thing to replicate as a vegan, not that many vegans want to mimic flesh on bone. But let’s face it - even for the carnivores…it’s all about the sauce.

Which brings me to the key inspiration for this recipe. A dear friend asked a very encouraging question regarding some crazy vegan blogger who listed pomegranate molasses in a recipe she wanted to try. Who has pomegranate molasses and where do you even buy it? You could actually make it at home; it is simply syrup made from pomegranate juice and sugar. A staple in many Middle Eastern dishes, you can find it in any Middle Eastern market or food store. It is the essential ingredient in Muhummara, one of my favorite pita accompaniments. Not wanting to force her to seek out a sticky bottle of obscure molasses for one recipe only, I sought to incorporate it in another tasty recipe.

So to fuse the two inspirational driver – using a lesser known but delicious ingredient in a dish that would satisfy a highly active omnivore male athlete who obliges my plant-based fanaticism – I give you BBQ Tempeh! I hesitate to call them tempeh ribs, because they come from no one’s chest and require no bone-gnawing to enjoy. But they are effortlessly satisfying in a tart, spicy sauce and perfect with a side of veggie-studded couscous. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients in the sauce. They are all thrown together in a food processor and the measurements are by no means strict. Feel free to add more cumin if that’s your flavor of the month. Give it a taste and if it’s to tangy, add a little more sweet. If you need more heat, add crushed red pepper. Keep on tasting until you end up with something that’s finger-lickin’ good – despite the fact that this vegan dish requires no hands-on contact or tacky bib.

Tangy BBQ Tempeh
Makes 3 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min


1 Package tempeh
6 Dried apricots (Turkish, unsulphured)

1 Medium tomato, chopped
2 Scallions, chopped (white parts only)
1 Large garlic clove, smashed
1/3 c. Organic ketchup
1 T. Olive oil
1 T. Pomegranate molasses
2 tsp Maple Syrup
2 tsp Soy sauce
¼ tsp Onion powder
¼ tsp Cumin, ground
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt to taste (if needed)


Steam tempeh (or cover with water and simmer) for 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices, about 12-15 slices.

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a small sauce pan, cover apricots with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apricots are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside reserving cooking liquid.

To make the sauce - combine apricots, ¼ cup of the apricot water and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. For a less tart sauce, add more water and/or maple syrup. For more spice, add some crushed red pepper or more cayenne.

Coat an oven-safe dish with cooking spray. Spread tempeh in one layer and coat completely with sauce. Turn over tempeh to coat both sides. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and tempeh has browned. Remove and serve with couscous.

Apricot Couscous
Makes 3-4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes


2/3 c. Couscous

½ c. Zucchini, diced
½ c. Carrot, shredded
¼ c. Roasted cashews
2 Scallions, finely sliced (green parts only)
6-8 Dried apricots, diced (Turkish, unsulphured)
1-2 T. Fresh lemon juice, from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


Pour 1 ¼ c. boiling water over couscous and let sit until all liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff couscous and mix in remaining ingredients using as much lemon juice as fits your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Orange-Scented Cornmeal Cookies with Cranberry Icing

I facilitate a quarterly meeting with over a dozen people who take the time out of their day and remove themselves from a very busy operation to serve on a panel for an employee recognition program I run. Of course, I treat this meeting as though I were hosting a get together at my home; I bring in baked goods and set up a nice spread so they feel comfortable. Half of them fly in from the east coast on a 5+ hour plane ride for one day’s work, so the least I can do it make some homemade eats instead of leaving them with corporate coffee and Biscoff cookies (ok Biscoff cookies are really good, but they are still airplane food).

With a variety of personalities and tastes, I try to make several things across the board instead of aiming for just one general taste. You might think everyone likes oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but you never know (some very disturbed people don't). The last time this panel came, I made scones and chocolate-dipped biscotti which were  very well-received. So this time I went with the “Everything” cookie – everything including chocolate chips, pecans, oatmeal, and coconut - for the sweet portion. I also made vegan Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake, less sweet than the cookies but also very popular. Then for the not so sweet but great-with-coffee option, I chose Cornmeal Cookies. I found a general recipe on Epicurious.com that I just tweaked to make more flavorful and, oh yeah, vegan.

The texture of these was fantastic, with a soft shortbread give but a pleasant cornmeal crunch. The pink icing was popular not only because of its color, but because it added a faint sweetness without being overbearing. Adding a very sour juice with powdered sugar was a good strategy. The orange barely present, I may tweak the measurements a bit, but give it a shot and see what you think! I’m a lazy cookie baker and don’t like high hassle dough, which is why I almost always make drop cookies. Despite having to chill the dough and then go at it what a rolling pin, these were super easy to make. Perfect for dipping in coffee or tea.

Orange-Scented Cornmeal Cookies with Cranberry Icing
Makes about 30 cookies
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes plus cooling


For the Cookies
1 c. Unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ c. Cornmeal (not corn grits or polenta)
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp. Baking soda
7 T. Vegan margarine, room temperature
½ c. Sugar
¼ c. Applesauce
1 T. Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. Orange Zest
½ tsp. Vanilla extract

For the Icing
1 ½ c. Powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 T. Cranberry juice blend


Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat margarine and sugar together until fluffy, scraping down mixture from the sides of the bowl. Beat in applesauce, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Reducing the speed, slowly add in dry ingredients, about ¾ cup at a time until just incorporated. Form dough into a ball and chill wrapped in plastic for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough with a floured rolling pin into a large square, about 8 inches on each side. Make about 10 vertical slices in dough (about ¾ inch wide) and cut dough crosswise in thirds. Transfer to a cookie sheet about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool, 30-45 minutes.

To make the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk in 2 T of cranberry juice. Add more for a thinner consistency. Using a spoon or spatula, drizzle icing over cooled cookies in any fashion of you preference. Let icing set while cookies are on cooling rack. Transfer to platter or container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vegan Entertaining: Mango Avocado Salsa, Glazed Ratatouille, Muhummara

As I’ve openly admitted in a previous post, one of the perks of moving to a new home is the excuse to party. For me the excitement lies in cooking for guests of course, but hosting others is what I love best. Last weekend, I was very much looking forward to having all of our friends over, subtly stuffing them with vegan delights both savory and sweet and embracing the inevitable house guest shock that nothing on the table contains butter, dairy or eggs. A parade of recipe requests is another pleasant result that is as reassuring as it is encouraging for the vegan chef whose lasso consists of these small culinary triumphs in order to rope others into the meatless life – I swear my intent is not as vindictive as that may have sounded. Conversion is never the goal, but awareness is and enthusiasm is a plus.

When I started menu planning for the event, there was a definite issue with numbers and ease of preparation. While I’m used to the feeling of being in over my head in order to indulge in some hostess fantasy involving complicated and interesting eats enjoyed by even the most cautious of eaters, this was not one of those times I was willing to go crazy folding samosa over samosa. There were too many people to feed and I was going for too much variety to spend half a day on just one item. I stuck with some familiar fare along with some mildly adventurous options. Everything was easy to prepare, with the exception of the apple tart whose challenge was only the perfect crust. I’m not a dough guru yet. Looking over my carte du jour, I started to feel a little plain – salsa, hummus, baguette, chips, etc…but I had to get over my desire to have an eccentric spread for the very first large gathering at the house. After all, I did want these people to return for future bashes.

So the menu was as follows and I’ll include some recipes here for the most popular hits. One certain winner was the Mango Avocado Salsa whose sweet flavor and smooth texture was skipped by hardly anyone. Another was the Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies, whose recipe I took from Vegetarian Times.

A pleasant surprise was the reaction to Muhummara, a Turkish red pepper and walnut spread. That one has definitely made it to the party staple list. Some items that need improvement include the Vegan Goat Cheese Spread taken from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s blog –it wasn’t disgusting, but it did not taste like goat cheese nor did it have even a mildly similar texture. Isa Moskowitz’s Vegan Cornbread recipe from the PPK was good, but needs some enhancements – some reviewers suggested a pinch of brown sugar or jalapenos for a much needed flare. On the whole, these were still well-received.

Housewarming Noshes

 Chips & Salsa – Black Bean Salsa, Mango Avocado Salsa
 Potato Chips & Vegan Goat Cheese Spread
 Pita & Tasty Trio of Dips– Hummus, Muhummara, Black Olive Parsley Tapenade
 Roasted Vegetables – Rosemary Red Potatoes & Asparagus, Glazed Ratatouille

 Fresh Fruit Platter – Papaya, Kumquats, Blueberries, Strawberries, Cantaloupe
 Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies
 Cornbread – Plain, Blueberry
 French Apple Tart

Mango Avocado Salsa
Makes: 4-5 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes


3 Mangoes, ripe but still firm to the squeeze
2 Avocados, ripe but firm to the squeeze
1 Jalapeno*, seeded and minced
½ Large red onion, finely diced (about ¾ c.)
1/3 c. Cilantro, chopped
2 T. Lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. + Olive oil
1 tsp. Salt

* Adjust the jalapeno amount to your personal spice preference. If you have a mild jalapeno, use at least one. If you have a very hot jalapeno, you may want to start with ½ and adjust from there.


To cut mango – with a large knife, cut flesh and peel from around core by slicing 4-5 large chunks from the sides. Slice each chunk into ¾ to 1 inch wide pieces. Slice knife between flesh and peel to remove peel (similar to cutting up cantaloupe). Dice sections and place in large mixing bowl.

To cut avocado – cut in half around seed and pull apart. Remove seed and peel. Dice and place in mixing bowl with mango along with jalapeno, red onion and cilantro.

Whisk lime juice, olive oil and salt together in small bowl. Pour over salsa and stir to coat well. Taste and adjust salt and/or lime juice level. If salsa is too tart, add additional olive oil.

Glazed Ratatouille
Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


For the Vegetables
1 Large eggplant
4 Summer squash (green and yellow)
1 Sweet white or yellow onion
3 T. Olive oil, divided
2 tsp Salt, divided
1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper, divided

For the Glaze
1 14 oz can Diced tomatoes or 2 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
½ c. Water
3 T. Balsamic vinegar
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Sugar
Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450˚F.

Remove and discard eggplant stem and cut into large cubes (1 ½” inches). Place eggplant in a colander and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over cubes. Let sweat for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the remaining vegetables.

Remove squash stems and slice into ½” inch thick pieces. Slice onion and combine with squash in large bowl. Coat with 1 ½ T. olive oil, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper. Spread vegetables over baking sheet and roast in oven until brown and tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside in serving dish or platter.

Returning to eggplant, squeeze out any remaining moisture using paper towels. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and coat with 1 ½ T. olive oil and ½ tsp black pepper. Spread eggplant over baking sheet and roast in oven until browned, 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside in dish on top or mixed in with the squash-onion mixture.

While vegetables are roasting, make the glaze. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat to medium-high, leave mixture at a medium boil until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add sugar. Let simmer another 3-5 minutes until sauce is thick. Season with pepper to taste and additional salt if necessary. Pour glaze over vegetables without stirring in completely.

Makes about 1 cup
Prep time: 25 minutes


1 Large red bell pepper
¾ c. Walnuts
1 clove garlic
½ T. Pomegranate molasses
1 tsp. Lemon juice
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Cayenne or crushed red pepper*
* Adjust to your spice level – start with ¼ tsp and add more to taste.


Place oven on high broil setting. Broil whole red pepper, turning occasionally, until skin is blackened and blistered on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside in a paper bag. Let sit until cool enough to handle, 5-10 minutes. Remove skin, stem and seeds.Place pepper and remaining ingredients in food processor and pulse until walnuts are well-ground but still a bit chunky. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.