Tag Archives: vegan recipes

Recipes for Rosh Hashanah Part 1 & Faith & Multi-tasking

25 Sep

This morning Will, 4, asks for paper so he can make a book about “Evan the Horse.”  He knows no one named Evan nor do we have a horse.  The paper comes from my office and the book involves wobbly letters written in no particular order and lots of tape.

Julia has a fever and spends her time moping on the couch, sighing the drama of the ill and bored, and then smiling because she’s relieved she doesn’t have to go to Sunday school.  [Disclaimer: Whatever your vision of Sunday school is, it probably doesn’t match ours.  I’m fully Jewish as is my husband.  However, our version of a temple is a hike in the woods discussing nature and asking the kids how they feel.  Also, our Judaism involves a lot of food.]

Daniel helps cut celery stalks and questions me in his lawyerly way about why the US has troops in various countries, what we would do if this country were invaded, if we have troops on any borders.  Did I mention he’s been playing the board game Risk?

Jamie sulks about Hebrew school and preps for the birthday party he’s working this afternoon during which he and a friend will wrangle 18 six-year-olds in a baseball game and try to avoid concussions.

So I am on book-making, fever-reducing, war-answering, birthday party tip giving duty…while prepping for the 20 person dinner on Wednesday night.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and a time for reflecting on the past year while opening wide for the sweetness of the year to come.

Our last year, as you might know by now, was anything but sweet.  We had death and loss and tragedy.

And yet we’re still here.

That is the sweetness of life, that tangy bite of the apples dipped in honey Jews consume on this holiday.  True sweetness on the outside paired with the knowledge that underneath are myriad flavors.

We tell the kids that religion is a personal thing, however one chooses to find faith doesn’t matter but having faith matters greatly.  This doesn’t necessarily mean faith in God or even in something you can name.  But knowing how to keep going when the worst is happening and – and this is what I learned this year – that this suffering doesn’t have to be done alone – is faith.  Faith in humanity and faith in family.  Faith that after loss comes life again and even sweetness.

I’ll be cooking for the Jewish holidays bit by bit and offering the recipes to you.  A couple with which to start off…

Honey Cake 

Makes 1 10-inch cake

This cake, traditional fare at Rosh Hashana, is moist and breadlike. Less sugary than many cakes, it still makes a good dessert and a wonderful snack. The coffee brings out the honey’s sweetness. I like to make mine in a Bundt pan and dust it with confectionary sugar right before serving.

3½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, separated

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup warm black coffee

1 cup honey

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Make a well in the center and add sugar, cinnamon, egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice. Add coffee and stir to combine. Add honey and stir to combine again.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into the flour mixture. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Dust with powdered sugar if you like.

Roasted Buttercup Squash and Apple Soup (vegan)

This soup can be made a few days in advance and kept in the fridge.  I suggest garnishing with a bit of diced apple.  This year I’ll serve the soup in mismatching tea cups handed down from my husband’s Nana who escaped Nazi Germany.  She passed away this spring and would really have enjoyed this soup because it is served not too hot, not too cold (she was big on everything being just so).

2 sweeter squash – buttercup or butternut or acorn

2 red onions, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2-3 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt to taste

extra apples for garnish

Oven to 400.  Split the squash and scoop out the seeds.  Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about an hour until squash is very soft. Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil.  Just before they begin to brown, add the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir.  Scoop squash into pot with onions and apple and add 2 cups stock.  Stir.  With hand blender, begin to blend.  The soup should be quite thick.  If you’d like it thinner, add more stock. Add mustard, lemon juice, and sugar.  Blend very well.  Salt to taste.  Serve room temperature or hot or cold.


Black Bean Burgers & Lime-Poblano Corn Salad & Waiting

14 Sep

I’ve kept you waiting, I know.  And you, unlike my children who can be amused by “find something in the doctor’s office that’s a square” or “would you rather meet Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day or Kevin Youklis from the Red Sox” or “list in order the five places you want to visit”…you are not waiting.  I love the emails and the requests.

But the truth is, my new website is not ready.  I’m working on it.  My designer is working on it.  My dog is working on it (he is in charge of lying on my perpetually-cold feet).  Soon!  So, to tide you over (my kids are big on ‘tide-me-overs’), I offer not one but two recipes AND a glimpse of the goods to come…

Black Bean Burgers

Obviously, if you have the time to invest, soak dried beans overnight and cook them and mash them.  But if the back-to-school rush has you hopping around like an extra in the Thriller video (or making outdated references to pop culture), then go with canned. You can prep this in the morning during breakfast and cook at night!

2 15 oz can Black Beans

3/4 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 pinch sea sealt

1 egg

1/2 cup diced red onion

olive oil or coconut oil for cooking

Drain and rinse the beans.  Mash one of the cans and keep the other whole.  Combine in large bowl and add rest of ingredients.  Gently fold together until well-mixed.  Let sit in fridge for 1 hour (or longer).  While you form the burgers into patties, heat 1-2 tbsp oil in skillet.  Cook each side for about 3 minutes, until crispy and got through.

Lime-Poblano Spinach Corn Salad

1-2 poblano peppers

2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)

juice of 1 lime

pinch sea salt

pinch sugar of any kind (honey, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 handful cherry tomatoes or other small tomato

1/3 cup cubed queso fresco

big handful baby spinach, arugula, or other tender green

Roast your peppers by sticking them directly into the flame on your stove.  When charred on all sides, stick in paper bag (this will steam them so the skins slide off).  Chop peppers.  Add all ingredients and toss well.  Keep in fridge for a few hours before serving.


Well-Cooked Life, the umbrella site for my blog, pantry & decor store, books, recipes, and writings, will be unveiled soon.  Here are some of the items you might find:

Warm Vegetable Salad with Beet Greens & Unplugged Parenting (The NYT is Wrong)

18 Aug

Ok, so the NYT isn’t wrong.  I just disagree with this article here in which the author describes his terrific “plugged-in summer.”

Now, don’t for a second start to think I’m going to rant about parents at the playground who are texting or reading blogs (ahem) instead of  interacting or at least enjoying watching their kids.  Because I’m not going to even though when I see this is makes me sad. (And yes, there IS a difference between the odd “Let’s meet at 5” text vs the obvious surfing and Angry Bird playing).

The article makes a decent point that we don’t need to disconnect entirely.  However, I was caught between chuckle and blech-face when I read that he was happy to have the new leaf-identifying app and the bird-sound app and all the other apps.

Here’s a thought: take a field guide to birds.  Or a guide to trees and have your kids – gasp! – open an actual printed book and flip through until they find the leaf.  What happens if you ask your kids to identify a leaf and they can’t…nothing.  There is great joy to be had (and lessons learned) from an adult who says, “I don’t know.”  And further joys from allowing children to make up names.  Ask them, “What would you name this leaf?”  Answer: “Pointy-tipped cloud.”  Collect the leaves if you like, bring them home and continue your summer by looking it up when you get back.

I imagine the campfire the author had and how perhaps they forgot the lyrics to “The Circle Game” or :This Land is Your Land” and before anyone could stumble or search the brain files, they swiped and clicked and found all of the lyrics and had the tune play, too.

I like the forgotten lyrics.  I enjoy the made up words we stick in when we stumble.  I like the mystery of leaves and the satisfaction of paging through bird books to see if we’ve spotted a warbler or a nuthatch.

Why do we feel that answers must come immediately?  Why do we pass this onto our children?  Let them develop skills.  Do I suggest we disregard technology?  I do not.  But virtual nature?  It’s like tasting a picture of a s’more.

Warm Vegetable Salad with Beet Greens (meal in a bowl)

This is a simple dinner in which you can slice all those vegetables you have from your CSA or market and with just a few minutes, make them seem like a collection of gems.  I like to add cheese (try Bucheron or Feta) but this is optional (for vegans) as are the sunflower seeds (for the nut-allergic).

2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

pinch sea salt

1-2 Summer squash, sliced

1-2 carrot, sliced

1-2 zucchini, sliced

1 bunch beet greens, washed but kept long

1 tsp best syrupy balsamic vinegar

handful of crumbled cheese (optional)

handful toasted sunflower seeds

Heat the olive oil and salt in a skillet.  Add squash, carrots, and zucchini and let still until seared.  Gently flip or stir.  Cover the vegetables with the beet greens and let cook for 2 minutes.  Drizzle with vinegar and remove from heat. Plate right away and top with cheese which will begin to melt.  Add seeds for crunch.

Farmer’s Market Gazpacho (Raw-Vegan) & Perspective

17 Aug



“Are you making sauce?” Julia asks.

“It’s actually soup,” I say.

“Actually, it’s ketchup,” Will says.  He’s 4 and everything is better with ketchup.

“It’s soup.”

“The cold one?” Julia raises her eyebrows while I nod.  “It still looks like sauce. You could use it as sauce.”

And thus, the gazpacho sauce was borne.  We had it on raw summer squash ribbons.  We dumped it on noodles.  And we drank it as soup. Sometimes, kids give you the perspective you need in order to reframe your life or your day or your work issue.  Other times, like this morning, they wake you up before the alarm, scream at each other and demand you break up the arguments about who flicked who, and test out every inappropriate word they know and have to miss the sleepover because of it.  Oh well.

Try some soup-sauce and chill, Mom.

Farmer’s Market Gazpacho

This chunky, hearty gazpacho can be eaten right away or savored over a week.  The combination of tomatoes really makes a difference.  I like to keep the gazpacho hearty and the vegetables identifiable, but if you prefer a smoother soup as above, puree half of it or all of it.  All of the measurements are flexible – add more tomatoes, fewer onions, green peppers, or more dill – up to you.  My version is more like a liquid salad with sunbursts of colors rather than a traditional soup.

2 large cucumbers, halved lengthwise and seeded

Bunch of fresh dill

2 onions, chopped

3 peppers (one red, orange, and yellow), cut and seeded

1 28 oz. good quality whole peeled tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes (not the kind with basil in)

2 fresh larger tomatoes in season (plum/heirloom, or any local)

1 pint cherry or globe tomatoes

1 small can tomato juice

2 tbsp. cold water

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup good olive oil

splash red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

sea salt and pepper to taste

Peel the cucumber, slice it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  If you use an English cucumber, the skin is thin enough to keep on.  Chop up the larger fresh tomatoes and halve the cherry or globe, seeding casually (meaning, using your thumb, get some of the seeds out but don’t be fanatical about it).  Put tomatoes into a large bowl.  Cut the peppers, cucumbers, and onions into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl.  Mince the garlic and add it to the vegetables, stirring gently by hand.  Chop a handful of dill and add it (you may use leftover whole sprigs for garnish).  Add cans of tomatoes, reserving the liquid from the cans.  Cut up the whole canned tomatoes, and add.  Stir in lemon juice, tomato juice, vinegar, water, olive oil, into the mix and salt and pepper to salt.

If you want a more liquidy soup, add some of the reserved can juice.  Otherwise, keep it thick, add the Worcestershire sauce, mix with a spoon, and cover in the fridge for a few hours.  The soup will pick up flavor as it sits (the next day it will be great).  Add drizzle of olive oil to each portion if you like and serve cold with homemade croutons if desired.




Twice-Cooked Beans with Smoky Paprika Onions & Laziness

3 Aug


Some recipe are borne of genius.  Some, like this one, are borne of sheer laziness.  What, you’ve never been enamored of Jacobs Cattle beans, their marble-like texture and splotches of brown and white, so taken with them you keep them cloistered away in a jar just to ogle them?  Well, I have.  And then I realized I was hoarding them so I poured a cup into my enamel pot and let them sit overnight in some water.

Then I forgot about them.

Then I remembered them but felt too lazy to cook them.

Then I forgot about them again.

Then I realized they would go to waste if I didn’t cook them soon so I did.

Then I forgot about them for a few hours.

So I cooked them again. And they turned out so well I recreated that dish a few times until it became a recipe.

Twice-Cooked Beans with Smoky Paprika Onions

Today, these are my lunch, on a bed of greens alongside Heidi Swanson’s simple and lovely corn salad.

1 cup Jacob’s Cattle beans (or other large bean)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 red onions

2 tbsp olive oil

pinch sea salt

1 tbsp paprika (smoked, bittersweet)

1/4 cup water

Soak the beans in 1 cup water overnight or however long until you forget about them.  Add 1 cup of stock to pot and boil for 20 minutes, covered. Turn heat off and let cool completely (this is a good time to forget about them again).   Cut onions in half and then into slices.  Add last cup of stock to beans and boil for 30 minutes. Heat oil in skillet and drop in salt and paprika, cooking on med-low until paprika starts to smoke just a little and becomes fragrant.  Drop onions into skillet and do not move them.  Once onions begin to caramelize, turn gently to avoid breakage.  Add1/4 cup water to onions when they are glazed and paprika is sticking or forming paste.  Add beans and stir together until liquid is absorbed. Don’t forget to eat it.


Whole Slow-Roasted Carrots with Thyme & Secret Shame

1 Aug

At the family bbq, our kids were nosing around the yard, digging in the dirt and becoming fast friends as kids under ten do.  This writer and I stood around as writers do, chit-chatting until we feel enough time has passed to discuss work.  Generally the conversations go something like this:

Writer 1: So…what’re you working on now?

Writer 2: Oh, I uh, just submitted a new book to me agent and we’ll just see how it goes!

And then we talk about books we like and how difficult the business is and how tough the buying market and then back to kids and, since writers are often loathe to discuss plot beyond generalities, the conversation feels like a jellyfish – there but kind of tricky to hold on to.

But this time, we actually talked about it.  It.  You know the private shame we feel.  Writing a book takes time.  It takes soul and planning.  And it you create without a contract you are working for free.  Unless some publisher buys it.  Yes, this writer has published books and so have I, but it doesn’t get easier emotionally.  So we found ourselves with downcast eyes, hemming and coughing on our microbrews as the veggie burgers cooked, and we admitted it.  “To be honest, I love my book, but it hasn’t sold yet,” I said.  “Oh my god, me, too!” she blurted out.

Writerly rejection is like the erectile dysfunction of the literary world.  Commonplace but no one really talks about it.

But the thing is, we both felt better.  And because we felt better, we agreed to maybe keep tinkering with our novels. I went back and cut many pages I’d been holding on to and now the book is ready.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and maybe I’ll limp home again, but at least I feel whole.

And so, whole carrots with thyme, the slow-roasting brings out the natural sugars, the thyme scents the orange flesh just right and you can snack away or serve with cold cucumber soup or just share.

Slow-Roasted Carrots with Thyme

1-2 bunches whole carrots

olive oil

2 tsp fresh thyme

Oven to 375.  Trim ends and tops of carrots and wash but do not peel.  Rub olive oil on carrots and place directly on baking sheets.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme.  Roasted without moving for 40 minutes (depending on thickness of carrots, it might be 30 or a bit more), until browning but still with bite.

Maple-Polenta Southern Biscuits & Biscuits & Cuddling (Vegan Option, too!)

28 Jul

Confession: I am not southern.  I am not even semi-southern.  But I harbor deep fantasies about being whisked away and made to eat cheese grits, collard greens, and biscuits.  In fact, last night I ate an entire bunch of collard greens.  ON my own.  I *might* have had to sleep in the attic due to my own stench.


I’ve been thinking about biscuits lately, as one does, in line at the post office or loading children into the minivan.  My youngest son’s thighs are the consistency of dough – soft, supple, delicious.  Last night, before my exodus to the attic, I brought Will in to cuddle with me.  This was my great delight when he was younger.  He’d stay asleep and I would read (my husband works very late on Tuesdays) with a delightful boy curled up next to me.  But he’s older now, and I’ve been writing at night and staying up later with the older kids.  I didn’t realize how much I missed the feeling of having Will near me, the his sighs feel on my shoulder, the way he clucks his tongue as he shifts around.

I carry that memory around with me today while I press coconut oil into the flour and polenta.  The maple syrup is from our friend’s farm in Vermont, the color of an illuminated acorn.

Will asks if he can eat the dough raw.  “It’ll be better cooked,” I tell him and we both wait in the warm kitchen.

Polenta-Maple Southern Biscuits

These are delicate with wonderful crumb and a hint of sweetness.  Great any time of day.

2 cups self-rising flour, plus some to flour the board

1 cup polenta flour (just grind up your regular larger grit polenta)

1/3 cup coconut oil

3 tbsp butter (use all coconut for vegan)

1 cup milk (use almond milk or rice milk for vegan)

2 tbsp maple syrup

Oven to 425.  Cut oil and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the milk and maple syrup and mix just until everything is combined.  Put a bit of flour on your surface and pat (don’t roll) into approx 1/2 inch thick.  Use biscuit-cutter or free-form into 2-inch circles.  Place on parchment-coverec cookie sheet and bake for about 13 minutes or until browned.  Serve hot with: jam or butter, melted cheese, turkey and swiss, coleslaw and baked beans, or eat it plain, savoring every last bit.

Black Olive and Caper Tapenade & Proportional Happiness

25 Jul

When I go to Mexico to visit my old friend, Cristina, I like to help her milk goats, eat the cheese she makes from those goats, and wander into the market to buy hand-made blue gorditas and cactus for salad.  But what I really love is buying spoons.  They are made locally, don’t cost much, and are easy to travel with.  I use them for stirring risotto, scraping coconut oil from the jar, tasting jam as it boils.

Sometimes, I just look at my spoons.

These spoons provide a lot more happiness than they should.

This gets me thinking about proportional happiness – that is, what makes you happier than it should for the cost or effort.

Another example: Thursday afternoons I am in great spirits.  I go to pick up my farm share.  The reality is, I already paid for it, I could get vegetables at the market near me, and it’s not the most convenient time.  And yet.  I go, I stand in line, weigh my beet greens or pluck my bunch of kale or slide fresh ears of corn into my bag and all the while I have a huge grin on my face.  Why?  I guess I feel like part of a community, that I’m part of a farming cycle that I respect and value.  And I’m getting organic, local food for my family which makes me feel good about being a provider.  I also get  a burst of creativity – where I had no idea what to make before, and began to dread dinner, I always get ideas.  What will I do with this giant bag of baby spinach?  I flash to the olive in the fridge, the half-full jar of capers.  Dinner.  Tomatoes and sweet onions and we’ll make soup for tomorrow, serve it in glasses to avoid spoons.

Oh, spoons.  I do like my wooden friends.  I collect them wherever I go – I have spoons from four continents.  Some have cracked from years of use.  Another chipped when the kids formed a band and the spoons were the drumsticks.  It happens.

What are the things that make you happy?  Not the first class all-expenses paid trip.  I mean the 6$ beaded shoes I got in Brooklyn with my best friend that make me ridiculously happy – they make me think of her and how we switched shoes because I had a blister and about the lovely beading that sparkles.  I mean the pasta that is so tiny I hate to eat it but I do and it’s delicious.  I mean the way my mom smells and how, even as a grown woman, I like to hug her and sniff her neck and, when she was far away from me in college I would go into the perfume section of Bloomingdale’s in NYC and pretend to be interested just so they’d let me smell the bottle.  Just a smell, nothing more. And a smile that lasted all day.  I mean the feel of getting into bed at night, with y body sore from being outside and working hard in yoga, and sliding my feet on the clean sheets and finding the person I love next to me.

Ironed tea towels.  There.  I’ve admitted it in writing.  I really, really like how they look all stacked up, how I can fit more in the drawer, how soothing it is to iron something easy.

Wearing my oldest son’s clothes when I can’t be bothered to grab mine – his jackets fit me now, his shoes are too big but fine for walking the dog. Way more happiness than the Land’s End kid fleece warrants.

I could go on.  I think it’s important that we notice small moments, small items that bring us joy, music or mint leaves or brand new thumb tacks.

The best?  Well, probably how my kids sigh in their sleep, and sort of fling their arms around me or how their small chests dip and rise as though just being checked on brings them tons of joy.

That, and spoons.

Black Olive and Caper Tapenade

1 cup black olives, pitted

2 tbsp capers

1/4 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic

big pinch salt

*if you are not a vegetarian, I suggest adding an anchovy or two or some anchovy paste

Put olives and capers in blender (mini one is fine) and pulse, adding olive oil bit by bit.  Add garlic and salt and pulse until blended well.  Adjust for seasoning.  Serve on crusty bread or on pasta.  The above photo is with baby spinach, peppers, and shredded cheese, a family favorite.  Use your favorite spoon to dish it out.

Summer Squash Ribbon Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (Raw) & My Vegan Dog

19 Jul

Perhaps you’re familiar with Newfoundlands as a breed.  Maybe you read Peter Pan (in the original book, Nana is a Newfie, not a Saint).  My dog, Atticus, is, for lack of a better ford, a beast.  He is giant, hairy, drools, has huge teeth, paws that can take out a grown man’s eye (though he’d never do that!), and an appetite to match his girth.

Does he love steak?  Does he crave quail?


Despite attempts as luring him with salmon or lamb, I have come to accept that Atticus is a vegan at heart.  Will he munch some meat?  Yes – he is a dog.  But what he adores, what makes him beg?

Cucumbers ends.

Broccoli stems.


And his absolute favorite?  Purple cabbage.

And yes, he ate this salad.

Summer Squash Ribbon Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

1 baby summer squash per person

sprinkling of dill, garnish/extra crunch with chopped purple cabbage

Slice squash with hand peeler very thin.  Pile on plate and top with dressing (below) and garnish. Serve to friends (hairy and otherwise).

Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 tsp Dijon mustard

sea salt to taste

pepper to taste

dill to taste

Addis (Red Lentils with Tomatoes) & Old Haunts

13 Jul

 I’ve loved some restaurants in my life.  Some remain, some have since closed, turned over into other eateries or morphed into cell phone stores.  I look back on these places the way one might look back on an old flame.  Oh, tiny little place no one knew about in the then-dodgy part of London with a BYOB policy and amazing food.  Your zebra striped cushions and coffee so thick it was like drinking melted chocolate and the Addis…oh, simple plate of red or pink lentils done with tomatoes and onions and served with flat bread, warmed olive oil…I miss you.  I miss your crowded tables and chatter and the way meals lingered and maybe this overlaps with that time in my life and that boy – the brow sweats just remembering the looks over the table and the hot, hot food.  There were other restaurants, of course, but none as flavorful and cheap and buzzy as this.

Addis (Red Lentils with Tomatoes and Onions)

1 cup red lentils

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tsp cumin

1 pinch saffron



1 1/2 cups boiling water

Soak lentils overnight.  Heat oil on medium and add onions.  When just beginning to color, add chopped tomatoes.  Cook on medium until reduced – about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, drain lentils and put into another pot with salt, pepper, cumin, and saffron.  Stir to mix spices and the add boiling water.  Cook on medium-high until lentils are tender.  Drain any remaining water and add lentils to tomato mixture, stirring well.  Heat through, season as needed and serve while very hot, on toasted flat bread with additional olive oil on top (chewy naan is fine, or ripped and crisped pita).

%d bloggers like this: