Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Veggies, Spice and Everything Rice has MOVED

If you are looking for Veggies, Spice and Everything Rice, I have moved.

Please find me at my new name and address: Silk Road Vegetarian

Monday, November 4, 2013

Baked Eggs with Arugula, Yoghurt & Chili


I have been inconsistent in posting recipes. Sorry for that. My hands have been very full lately. My father is quite ill and has been and out of the hospital regularly, which has been very disorienting for the entire family. He's at home now and quite a trooper. Never complains and just deals with his life.

My cookbook Silk Road Vegetarian is underway and my publisher has sent me the galley to review several times. Luckily they are always asking for my input, and want my artistic sensibility and the essence of who I am am to shine through the book. They haven't listened to everything I suggested, however the book is definitely forming into a beautiful coffee table cookbook.

Then there is the other book I am writing, on the intersection of Rosh Chodesh (head of the Jewish month) and challah. It's a monthly curriculum on how to incorporate the Jewish theme of the month into the shape of the challah.

Amidst all of this is my dutiful CSA which always comes in on Wednesday to deliver the freshest produce that has been picked the same day. This week I got some arugula and decided to try the very famous Ottolenghis' recipe, Baked Eggs with Arugula. I really savour the peppery kick arugula has near the end of a bite – the taste is nigh on mustardy. That spicy bite so characteristic of arugula has always inspired me to dress it with some yoghurt.  It makes for a quick and effortless meal, where the yoghurt and za'atar really make the dish.

If you don't want to bake this, you can always cook this on the stove and just cover it with the lid. From the much-loved Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ cookbook.

serves 2


4 large eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch Arugula
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
Drizzle of extra Virgin Olive oil

Za’atar, for seasoning


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Place the arugala and olive oil in a large pan and sprinkle over a little salt. Sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes, until the arugula wilts and most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer to a small baking dish (or leave in the pan, if ovenproof) and make four deep indentations in the cooked arugula. Carefully break an egg into each hollow then place in the preheated oven to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until whites are set.

4. While the eggs are baking make your garlic yoghurt. Stir the garlic through the yoghurt and season generously with salt. Set aside.

5. When your eggs are ready to your liking, take them out of the oven. Spoon on a large dollop of garlicky yoghurt and pour over a drizzle of olive oil with za’atar. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Matboucha – Israeli Roasted Tomato Salad

Cooking a medley of tomatoes and red peppers for the Matboucha

I miss Israel. I was there this past summer for many happy occasions in my family. The main attraction was that my Italian cousin Jonny got married to Leor, whose an English Israeli. The common ground location for a wedding was naturally.... Israel.

Among the guests were my cousins from around the globe who came for the wedding – Thailand, Hong Kong, Italy, England, Los Angeles... and the list goes on. Seems like when God commanded his people to be fruitful and multiply, they took it literally. My family thought it meant to multiply in every part of the world, but what ever.... I digress.

A small fraction of my family that could fit into this photo. By the sunset. I am the one whose hand is on the man on the ground (my husband)

The other attractions were that we celebrated many big bash birthday parties in August. Seems like everyone was born in August. Again another reference to be fruitful.... There was my Italian cousin Suzanna's Birthday party on the beach, then there was my Italian cousin Ronen's Birthday party in a Hall where he pulled off a show for us. Like what I mean is that, he was the SHOW! He entertained us and sang to an audience of 200 people for 1 1/2 hours. And not to mention my Dad's Birthday, or so we think. Back when he was born there were no birth certificates, so most likely his parents just made up a day. Sure, he was born in August. Why not, the weather is nice, nice time for outdoor parties. So...

The Ronen Show

With all this movement, the common meeting ground every morning for us 60 cousins that were OCCUPYING HILTON, was the Hilton Tel Aviv Breakfast. I promise you that you have never seen anything like this. Gourmet food – buffet style – non stop. There were every single kind off egg concoction you could think of, waffles, pancakes, seasonal fruits, granola, Israeli yogurts and cheeses, croissants.... got the idea. There was a lot of food.

Honey for breakfast... honey?

Among the list was my breakfast staple... Matboucha. May sound like throw up, but it's actually so not. Matboucha is a mezze dish usually found in a plate with chummus and techina – Middle Eastern staples. Through out the years, Matboucha has become known as an Israeli dish of roasted red peppers and tomatoes. It is served cold and is considered a salad although I use that term loosely. It can be a base for many other dishes... like Shakshuka – another Middle Eastern favorite, Tomato Sauce, spread for a sandwich... just use your imagination.

So when my husband and I came back from Israel, nostalgic,  my good dutiful husband brought Israel to me. He fired up the gill and made us a matboucha. You can forgo the grill and just use the stovetop to grill the tomatoes and red peppers. The roasted caramelized flavors of the two just bring out the sweetness for this matboucha salad.


2 lbs Tomatoes
1 lb red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, quartered
3 dried chilies (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place bell peppers on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 350°F until the skins have browned. Alternatively grill them or use the stovetop and place them on the grills. 
  2. Submerge tomatoes in boiling hot water for 10 minutes or until the skin falls off.
  3. Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze out the juice and seeds.
  4. Cut tomatoes in chunks.
  5. Peel the skin from the bell peppers and remove the seeds and stem.
  6. Cut bell peppers in chunks.
  7. Add all ingredients to a soup pot and pour oil over top.
  8. Bring contents to a boil, then turn down to a medium heat.
  9. Cook covered for 2 hours.
  10. Remove cover and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  11. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  12. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crusted Lemon Tofu

A simple marinade for tofu that has a bright and fresh lemony flavor. Pan frying the pressed tofu in arrowroot flour creates a crispy outside that is so tender on the inside. This recipe can be used year round with a side of any vegetable of your choice forming a complete meal. You also might want to check out a blog post I wrote a little while back on how to successfully press tofu so that you always have a fabulous tofu.


2 blocks extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 cup arrowroot powder, for dredging
2 tablespoon neutral tasting oil (refined coconut or canola preferred)

Sauce Ingredients

½ cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon agave
2 tablespoon sesame oil 

1 inch knob finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, diluted with 1 ½ tablespoon water
2-3 sliced lemon wedges, for serving

Toasted Sesame Seeds, for serving


  1. Press the tofu over a rack for about 10 minutes, or check out this product I reviewed on pressing tofu, which I now use regularly.
  2.  Slice into about ¼ inch thick strips. Drizzle the strips with the rice vinegar and agave and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Allow the marinate to coat the tofu for 10-30 minutes.
  3. While the tofu is marinating, create your lemon sauce by combining all ingredients except arrowroot and water in a sauce pan. Heat for approximately 3 minutes and add arrowroot slurry. Whisk and cook for only one additional minute. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
  4. Pre-heat a large skillet and add the oil.
  5. Place 1 cup arrowroot powder in a large dish and dredge each piece of the tofu in the arrowroot.
  6. Sauté coated tofu on each side for approximately 3 minutes, or until the tofu is golden.
  7. When the tofu is finished, place on platter and top with lemon sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and lemon wedges.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

For the last two weeks, my CSA delivered baby carrots, so have been trying a few different recipes – from soups to salads. I came across a cookbook Roots, by Diane Morgan – catchy title that has so many insinuations, like back to the roots of cooking, and cooking with root vegetables.

This salad embodies what I love most about salads – quick, easy and the ingredients are available year round. I added a bit of my own variation from the original recipe, as really you can add anything to this salad and it'll work. It's that versatile. On the plate is a heady toast of cumin dressing over julienne carrots (which you can use the food processor to cut down on time) cooked chickpeas, little chunks of medjool dates, and some fresh mint to open the palate with slivered almonds to garnish.

Serves 6
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 ounces carrots, julienne
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup medjool dates, cut into chickpea-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
For serving: lots of toasted almond slices
  1. To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, ground cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dates, mint, and almonds. Gently toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (You can toss this salad, minus the almonds, hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Curried Coconut Tomato Soup

As the tomatoes in the farmers market or your homegrown ones start to proliferate, this soup will make good use of those fresh tomatoes. Alternatively, you can use whole can tomatoes, preferably fire roasted. Make sure you get canned tomatoes that have the BPA-free liners. What makes this soup different from the ones you would find in a restaurant, is that it's influence is from India – with some hot flakes of chili and a cool down of coconut milk. Simple, quick and a perfect summer soup on those hot nights. Inspired and adapted from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now.

Curried Coconut Tomato Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil, or coconut oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes or 20 peeled tomatoes*
          6 cups (1.5 L) of water
          1 (14-ounce can) coconut milk

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions really soften up - 10 minutes or so.
  2. Stir in the curry powder, coriander, cumin, and chile flakes, and cook just until the spices are fragrant and toasty - stirring constantly at this point. Just 30 seconds or so.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, the juices from the cans, and water. Simmer for fifteen minutes or so, then puree with a hand blender until smooth. Pour in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust with more salt to taste.
* To peel fresh tomatoes, the easiest method is over a gas flame. Remove any stems that are still attached to your tomatoes. Rinse the tomatoes clean and pat dry. Spear the tomato with a fork at the top, where the stem core is visible. Turn the stovetop flame to medium high. Hold the tomato an inch over the flame, turning slowly, until the skin begins to split and blister. It should take about 15-25 seconds for the skin to loosen all the way around the tomato. Don't hold it over the flame too long or it will start to cook the tomato. Place the tomato on a smooth surface and let it cool off enough for you to comfortably touch it. Begin peeling the skin where it split, making your way all around the tomato till all the skin is peeled off.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Looks like Brick Oven Pizza
Just to be clear, this is not a pizza with cauliflower on it. This is a gluten free pizza where the actual crust is made from cauliflower. Interesting?..... right. That's what I thought when I first found this recipe and had to try it for myself. It is so simple to make.

I think everyone has a food weakness. What I mean is that we all have something we could eat day in and day out that could pack on the pounds, but then... we have to face the treadmill. I am so not into conventional exercising machines, and I do love my pizza. So I am here to introduce to you a really low fat, high fiber healthy pizza. If you ever thought pizza was just fattening, think again. It has been reinvented.

Actually pizza has been morphed quite a few times along the Silk Road. Although the origins of pizza are quite fuzzy, there is an agreement that it did come from Central or South Italy. Originally it's thought that pizza was a focaiccia dipped in fresh tomato sauce. In North Africa, we can find many cuisines that dip their bread in tomato sauce – so my thinking is that pizza originally came from North Africa, maybe even Yemen who are known for dipping the malawach (fried pastry bread) into a tomato puree. There was a direct connection between Africa and Italy in Ancient Rome, where slaves were imported from Africa. I know... not Rome's most stellar act in Ancient history.

Anyway, back to the recipe. The method for making this cauliflower pizza crust is by "ricing" the cauliflower. May seem like an odd term, but essentially what are going to do, is to process the raw cauliflower through a mill until it's broken down into little rice resembling pieces. If you want to make use of all the tomatoes coming in for the summer season, then you might want to make a fresh batch of tomato sauce.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Serves 4; Adapted from Your Lighter Side.


1 large cauliflower, riced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
olive oil,for glaze

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
Fresh Italian Herbs, such as basil for topping


To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
  1. Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
To Make the Pizza Crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cauliflower, eggs and 1 cup mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 12" round pan. Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese and any Italian herbs of your choice. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

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