Cook The Cover

Cook The Cover

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan
Watermelon Radish, Carrot, Bok Choy, Sesame Chili Oil

Have you received a copy of a food magazine in the mail with a cover photo that absolutely floors you? February 2018 Bon Appetit did that for me. There was no way that I wasn’t going to “Cook The Cover” and make that gorgeous Crispy Tofu in Shiitake Broth.

Alas, time passed and I didn’t make it. But, last Saturday’s trip to the Torrance Farmers Market gave me the inspiration…it came from a vegetarian Korean food booth called Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food with a sample of his hot “Vegee Broth.” It was amazing – complex flavors in a vegetarian broth made with fermented vegetable juice, sea salt, low sodium gluten-free soy sauce, and miso.

As I walked the market, watermelon radish and bok choy remembered from that February magazine cover ended up in my basket. I already had carrots and firm tofu at home.

One ingredient that is not in Bon Appetit’s recipe was beautiful Gai Lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. Slightly bitter and slightly sweet, with tasty broad leaves, petite buds, a few pretty white flowers, and tender stems – this had to be added to my version of the vegetable soup.

Here is the link to the original recipe by Bon Appetit, and my adaptations are listed below. Those in the Los Angeles area can find Dave’s Vegee Broth at various Farmers Markets across the county. If you are not in LA, simply follow the original broth recipe. It will take a little longer but be, no doubt, worth your time.

Veggie Broth, Crispy Tofu, Gai Lan Recipe

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Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Jazz Up Store-Bought Hummus, Three Ways

Hummus and Pita

Take ordinary (high quality) store-bought hummus and pita to another level. Easily jazz it up for guests with a few items from the garden and the pantry. Edible flowers, lemon, herbs & spices, olive oil, nuts – with very little effort, anything colorful and tasty can take the ubiquitous dip over-the-top for entertaining.

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Linguine, Arugula Pesto, Edible Flowers

Linguine Arugula Pesto

Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Arugula Flowers and Borage Flowers

Arugula flowers taste just like the leaves, but maybe slightly less peppery and with an interesting hint of sweetness. They make a mighty tasty garnish for such a delicate little white blossom.

Borage flowers have much less flavor, only a whisper of cucumber taste, but what they lack in flavor they make up in color. Because the flavor is mild, borage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they make any presentation pop!

arugula and borage

With Spring in full force, my garden is bursting with arugula and borage…and since they are growing side-by-side, I thought I would combine them in a pasta dish.

Arugula leaves make a peppery pesto so I lower the volume and balance the flavor with the addition of cilantro and mint. Those who are not fans of cilantro can combine the arugula with another mild-tasting herb, such as parsley.

Linguine Arugula Pesto Recipe

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Arugula Borage Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Arugula and Borage Salad

Arugula and Borage Salad
Feta, Pomegranate Arils, Pistachio Slivers
Pomegranate Vinaigrette

It’s April and the borage is blooming! These electric blue star-shaped flowers have a mild cucumber taste and a soft texture. They make a striking addition to any salad.

Here, peppery arugula is accented with borage, giving the salad a distinctive visual emphasis. Feta brings salty-tangy-creamy notes while sweet-sour pomegranate arils add another layer of jewel-like color and a crunchy texture. Pistachios add that distinctive nutty flavor.

Pomegranate vinaigrette ties it all together with sweet-savory-zippy characteristics. Serve the dressing on the side for better presentation. Pair this lovely spring salad with a glass of rosé, of course.

Salad

  • arugula
  • borage
  • olive oil
  • pomegranate arils
  • feta, crumbled
  • pistachio slivers
  • salt and pepper

Toss arugula lightly with olive oil. Gently toss in the flowers. Place salad on serving plates and top with pomegranate arils, feta, and pistachio slivers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a few more flowers on top.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. pomegranate molasses
  • 2 T. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 t. dijon mustard
  • 1 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 T. shallot, minced
  • salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Serve vinaigrette in a small glass pitcher on the side.

How to Prepare Borage for Food

Unfortunately I see many photographs of borage flowers in food with the sepals still attached. The reddish-brown sepals are covered with bristly hairs, they are not something you would want to eat in a salad.

Borage

To separate the corolla from the sepals, simply pinch the middle of the star and pull. Rinse the flowers in a bowl of cool water to remove any dirt or little bugs.

Eat Flowers, Be Happy

Here is a link to all of my Edible Flower posts, photos, and recipes.

Beet Salad and Fresh Horseradish

Beet Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Walnuts

Passover and Vicki’s Beet Salad & Fresh Horseradish

Passover 2018 ends at sundown tonight. As I have for the past 17 years, I traveled to Chicago to celebrate the holiday and cook Passover dinner for my family and friends.

The Seder tells the story of how we were slaves in Egypt before God led us to freedom. Each year at Passover we go on a journey in our hearts from slavery to freedom, from sadness to joy. The 3000 year-old story never changes, and our menu doesn’t change very much either.

Over the years I have been sharing our Passover recipes, this year I am so excited to share my cousin Vicki’s fabulous Beet Salad with Orange, Fennel and Walnuts and her super-popular fiery Fresh Horseradish!

Passover Table

2018 Tables – White Linen with Rainbow Flowers

What does change? The decor. Every year we have a wildly different color scheme. Some of the color combinations from our past Seders include:

And the tables are covered with frogs! Read all about our whimsical Passover Frog Collection here.

The Passover Seder Table is not simply a place to tell the story of the Exodus and to eat dinner. The Table is symbolic in and of itself. It is a place where memories are made and traditions are taught.

It is where we gather with family and friends, and perhaps strangers too, to celebrate our freedoms.

The care with which my sister-in-law Kristy sets her Table reflects the solemnness and seriousness of this holiday. The vibrancy and beauty of the Table reflect our gratitude to God.

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Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel

Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel

Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel

Rice Noodles, Eggs, Ricotta, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Cinnamon, Sugar
Golden Raisins, Cherries, Cranberries, Blueberries, Apricots

Perhaps you were one of the 85,000 people or the 3,500 vendors attending Natural Products Expo West at the Anaheim Convention Center last weekend? Maybe you had the opportunity to try gluten-free, organic, plant-based protein pastas by Explore Cuisine?

It was my honor and pleasure for the fourth year in a row to cook gluten-free pasta dishes to sample the crowds for my friends at Explore Cuisine. Among the most unique and quite popular was my gluten-free noodle kugel. Can I go out on a limb and gather that none of the other 3,500 vendors served a kugel?

Kugel is a beloved sweet Jewish dairy casserole that originated in Europe hundreds of years ago;  traditionally made with egg noodles, eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, and raisins. It is baked and dusted with cinnamon.

Explore Cuisine Brown Rice Fusilli is a kosher-certified,  gluten-free, whole grain pasta made in Italy of just two ingredients; organic brown rice and organic pea protein.

Kugel and rice noodles were a match made in heaven for those with gluten intolerance…those who are fans of original lokshen kugel and those who had never ever heard of kugel, all enjoyed this luscious gluten-free version.

Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel Recipe

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