Archive for January, 2008


Right now, in the middle of winter, I’m dreaming of the warmer days of summer, and missing some of the great foods and dishes that are available only at that time of year. Inspired to just have a taste, I bought some frozen pitted cherries and used them in this recipe. They work just as well as fresh. Dairy-free. Enjoy!

Baked dark cherries with pistachio granola topping

1 cup pistachio nuts, unsalted, chopped

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup rolled oats

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

pinch of cinnamon

2 bags of frozen pitted sweet cherries, completely thawed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together the pistachios, flour, baking powder, oats, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the margarine with the brown sugar. When fully creamed and blended together, add to the pistachio mixture, combining with your fingers until it has a sticky, crumbly consistency.

In a separate large bowl, mix the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon together. Then add the cherries and toss until everything is nicely coated.

In either an 8″ round baking dish or an 8×8″ square baking dish, place the cherry mixture. On top of this, carefully place the granola topping, taking care to cover all the fruit with topping. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the topping is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.


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Any lactose-intolerant person will tell you that ravioli, traditionally filled with ricotta cheese, is absolutely out of the question. The milk sugar content in ricotta cheese is quite high, enough to cause uncomfortable symptoms, at the very least. Silken tofu comes to the rescue as a filling substitute for ravioli, but it is quite bland and tasteless, even slightly bitter. So how do you jazz it up, make it palatable, even a desirable filling? Here is my answer, with what I think is a unique twist on ravioli – a bacon laced tofu filling. Served with a balsamic tomato sauce, this both light and pleasing; the raviolis practically melt on your tongue. Buon Appetito!

Rustic turkey bacon ravioli

4 strips of turkey bacon, diced

1 pound of firm tofu

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large egg white

1 package of wonton wrappers

6 plum tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

soy parmesan

Over medium-high heat, brown the turkey bacon. Set aside.

In a food processor, place the tofu, scallions, salt, and pepper. Process til smooth. Stir in the browned turkey bacon.

Whisk the egg white with a teaspoon of water for an egg wash.

In the center of a wonton wrapper, place about a tablespoon’s worth of tofu mixture. Brush the edges with egg wash, then fold over and press edges firmly together, sealing the contents inside. You can make as many raviolis as you like (a package generally comes with 48 wrappers – you will have plenty of filling). Cover the raviolis with plastic wrap to keep moist.

In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes and the cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for several minutes so that flavors are blended and tomatoes begin to soften. Add the balsamic vinegar, and remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and carefully drop in the ravioli. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove the ravioli and drain. To serve, place several spoonfuls of sauce on your plate, lay several ravioli on top, and sprinkle with some soy parmesan.

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One of the things I love about this salad is that it is what I like to call a “clean” salad – it is not tossed; rather more like assembled on your plate, and you dissemble it while you are eating it. Peanut sauce with chicken, pasta, and thin sliced vegetables is so pleasing to eat. It has great taste and textures, and even feels healthy with every single bite. Enjoy! (makes 4 servings)

Asian chicken salad

Peanut sauce:

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup

3 tablespoons of vinegar

2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

1 tablespoon of minced or chopped garlic

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint leaves

1 quart of chicken broth

1 – 1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts

1 pound of cappellini pasta

1 English cucumber, sliced into thin strips

1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 or 2 carrots, cut into thin strips

Peanut sauce: In your food processor, place the peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, garlic and ginger. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Whisk the rest of the vinegar with the lime juice, mint, and oil in a small bowl.

Boil the chicken broth in a large pot, add the chicken, and simmer until the chicken is completely cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve the stock. After the chicken has cooled, shred it into bit-sized pieces. Toss with the peanut sauce.

Bring the broth back to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, and toss with the vinagrette.

Assemble your plates with the vegetables decoratively placed on each plate, topped by a serving of pasta, and then the chicken.

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Store-bought tube polenta is a wonderful cornmeal creation that serves as a vessel for whatever it is made with. It also tastes very good just sliced and sauted with a little olive oil and mildly seasoned with salt and pepper. This dish has a nice bite from the tapenade spooned on top, which offsets the neutral taste of polenta. It sits on a bed of steamed spinach, and depending how many rounds of polenta you place on your plate, it can be quite South Beach-friendly. Enjoy!

Tapenade-topped sausage and polenta rounds on wilted spinach

2 packages of tube polenta, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound of spicy or sweet Italian chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4″-1/2″ rounds

1 can stewed tomatoes

Two 12 ounce bags of baby spinach

soy mozzarella cheese slices (optional)

tapenade topping (recipe to follow)

Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, and saute the polenta rounds until lightly browned on each side. Set aside.

Saute the sausage rounds until nicely browned on both sides. Add the stewed tomatoes and cook over medium heat for another 10 minutes.

Place the spinach in a microwave safe bowl, covered, and zap it for 2 1/2 minutes until just wilted.

Place a mound of spinach on each plate. Top with 3 or 4 polenta rounds, your choice. Lay the optional soy mozzarella cheese on top of the polenta, and then spoon the sausage/tomato mixture over it. Top with a generous 1 – 2 tablespoons of tapenade. Serves 4.


1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted dry

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon thyme

1 cove garlic

ground pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients into a small bowl food processor and process for 5-10 seconds until blended. Store in fridge in covered container.

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Egg-drop soup


I love Chinese food, and here is a soothing version of egg-drop soup from Cook’s Illustrated. Tastes better than restaurants’ versions to me. Easy to make and no dairy, of course. Enjoy!

Egg-drop soup


2 quarts of chicken broth

a 1 inch piece of ginger, unpeeled, sliced thin

2 medium scallion, halved lengthwise


1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

2 medium scallions, chopped fine

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

4 large eggs, beaten

For the broth: Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the pot.

For the soup: Bring the broth to a simmer and add the soy sauce. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stir until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into the broth until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in the scallions and cilantro.

Whisk the broth so that it is moving in a circle. Whisk the eggs into the broth, pouring them in in a slow steady stream. Keep whisking for about a minute. Serve immediately.

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This week’s edition, #47, is up and running at Once Upon A Feast.

You’ll be drooling too when you se the delicious entries. Thanks for my inclusion, Ruth!

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Last week, my cherry-walnut biscotti were such a hit with the family that I was inspired to make them again, this time with a different fruit and a different nut. Everything else about the recipe stayed the same.


Instead of a cup of chopped walnuts, I substituted pistachios. And in place of dried cherries, I cut up 3/4 cup worth of dried apricots. Same excellent results.

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