Roasted Red Cabbage, Beet, and Potato Salad with Spinach and Horseradish Honey Mustard Dressing

As the days become colder and shorter I find myself craving foods that are warming and grounding.  I tend to shy away from raw salads and turn to roasted grain and green salads that often double as meals on their own.  Unlike leafy salads, this one can be refrigerated overnight and enjoyed the next day at room temperature without suffering in the texture department.  Cabbage (red/green), beets, and potatoes have been plentiful and economical at my farmers market (Islip, NY) so I stocked up with no set plan of what to do with all of them.  My parents were set to come over for dinner for some golumpkis (Polish stuffed cabbage…I used collard greens), a dish that gives my wistful look in his eyes when he describes the ones his Polish born grandmother used to prepare for him.  I was pretty young when she passed away but I am building on my father’s taste memories to re-create her dishes.  This salad accompanied them.

I roasted the cabbage, beets, and potatoes separately (at the same time though)  and then tossed them all together with some red onion,  fresh spinach which wilted a bit from the heat,  and some toasted pine nuts.  Fresh horseradish honey mustard dressing cloaked the salad which looked like rough cut gems sparkling on my plate.  The cabbage stayed a deep purple while the beets became redolent of the darkest garnet.  Spinach glistened like slippery emeralds and the potatoes were a creamy white punctuated with amber toasty tones.

Everyone kept going back for seconds and thirds of the salad (golumpkis pretty much finished after all were served once) so I’ll deem this recipe a success.  Dobry posilek (bon appetit)!

Roasted Red Cabbage, Beet, and Potato Salad with Spinach and Horseradish Honey Mustard Dressing
Serves 6 generously

Preheat oven to 375F

2-3 tblsp. olive oil, divided
1 1b head red cabbage, cored and cut into ribbons
3 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 beet, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. kosher/sea salt
fresh black pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
5 generous handfuls of baby spinach
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted (I did this on a small baking sheet while roasting vegetables for about five minutes.  Watch them they burn quickly!)

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, toss the cut cabbage with 1 tblsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grindings of fresh black pepper.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes, tossing cabbage 1-2 times during cooking.  In same bowl, toss the cubed potatoes with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of black pepper.   Spread on a cookie sheet and roast on the top portion of the oven for about 30 minutes, tossing 1-2 times during cooking.  In the same bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of black pepper.  Put in a sheet of foil and fold loosely.  Roast for about 3o minutes.

Toss all roasted vegetables in a serving bowl, add the raw onion and spinach, and sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts.  Adjust with seasoning with salt and pepper and give a splash of olive oil.  Serve with dressing on the side or toss to coat with the dressing.

Horseradish Honey Mustard Dressing (good on many different things as well…like salmon)

2-3 tblsp. freshly grated horseradish (3 tblsp. gives it a really big kick so adjust for your liking)
3 tblsp. mustard (I would’ve liked to use a coarse grained one but only had brown mustard on hand…use what you have)
3 tblsp. plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream (cashew cream or silken tofu to make vegan)
1-2 tblsp. honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tblsp. water
1 tsp. flax oil (optional)

Whisk all together until creamy of get the job done in a food processor or with a hand blender.


Oatmeal Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Ginger and Orange Zest


Experimenting with making gluten free cupcakes these past few weeks have given way to making cookies.  I have a basic vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe that I make all the time and wanted to change it up a little with some quinoa flour I spotted in the store a few weeks ago.  Cookies seemed like and even better idea when it actually started sleeting (for real) here in New York and a good reason to put an alternative heat source to use.    Quinoa flour is a gluten and grain free flour that has the highest protein count of any flour.  It is also a complete protein and has the added boon of being easy to digest.

Inspired by a cookie I watched Amy Chaplin (a fantastic vegan/vegetarian NYC chef) at an equally fabulous foundation launch in NYC this past May that provides NYC schoolchildren access to natural food presentations/demonstrations/food tastings and fitness  Amy’s cookies used quinoa flour (which I had yet to use) delicately spiced with flecks of orange zest and bittersweet chunks of chocolate.  I have created a new version using some candied ginger and my house is smelling spicy and rich with an orange zing.

Oatmeal Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Ginger and Orange Zest
makes approximately 40 cookies

Preheat oven to 350F.  I use a silicone baking sheet on top of my cookie sheet (which is really a jelly roll pan),  Alternatively, you can line your baking sheet with some parchment paper.

1 c. rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 c. oat bran (alternatively, you can use rolled oats)
1 c. quinoa flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour (whole wheat/whole wheat pastry flour/spelt flour also works well)
1 tblsp. finely chopped candied ginger
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4-1 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 c. coconut oil (you could also use olive oil or softened butter)
1/2 c. sucanet/organic sugar (look for those that are still mineral rich)
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
zest of 1 large Navel or Minneola orange (or any orange for that matter)
1 tblsp. pure vanilla extract
1-10 oz. bag best quality dark chocolate chips

In a bowl combine all dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Use your hands to mix in candied ginger so it is not in one big clump.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand up mixer or in a large bowl using a hand held mixer, cream softened coconut oil and sugar together until fluffy.  Add in maple syrup, applesauce, orange zest, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.  Then, add the flour a third at a time, wiping down sides of mixer, and mixing until flour and oatmeal mixture is fully incorporated.  Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.  Scoop by the generous tablespoon and form into a ball.  Flatten slightly on cookie sheet.  Bake for 15-16 minutes.  Remove to drying rack and cool.

Apple Cider Oatmeal Bars

What started out as a baked oatmeal idea turned into oatmeal bars in the course of baking.  I began with an almost illegible scribbling of Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal recipe from her cookbook, Supernatural Everyday  I have a half gallon of local apple cider sitting in the fridge.  So far, I have poached salmon and cod in in (and reduced it to make a sauce) and have been contemplating on ways to use it more since I am not a fan of it straight up.  Along with some other ideas, baking with it seemed like a good way to go.  The memory of a recipe in Bon Appetit for an apple cider cream pie and the recent making of my grandmother’s applesauce cake provided the jumping off point for this as well.  It baked up beautifully and makes a great breakfast (in a bowl mashed up with some warm almond milk) or wrapped up for a snack later in the day.  I’ve even had it at night with a scoop of ice cream.  Tasting of fall with a nutty crunch, try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Apple Cider Oatmeal Bars
makes 12 generous bars

prepare a 9×13 glass baking dish by greasing it with butter or coconut oil
preheat the oven to 375F

3 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. almonds (or nut of your choice), toasted and chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp  salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 c. apple cider
2 tblsp. molasses
1 tblsp. maple syrup
1 egg or 1/4 c. applesauce
1 tblsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in a larger bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix to combine.  Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.  The top should be golden brown.  Serve warm or let cool and serve

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Coconut Tofu Frosting

Adapted from:

Vegan and Gluten Fee Chocolate Cupcakes
makes approximately 12 cupcakes

3/4 c. tapioca starch
3/4 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. almond milk
1/2 c. cooled coffee/espresso
3/4 c. + 2 T sugar
3 T. coconut oil, melted
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 T apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F and line 12 cupcake depressions in a pan.

Sift the tapioca starch, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum together and set aside in a bowl.

In another bowl or in the bowl of a stand up mixer combine almond milk, coffee/espresso, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar and mix until combined.  Add in the dry ingredients and beat until full incorporated and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of way full.  Smooth the tops of the cupcakes and the pan a gentle rap against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  The tops of the cupcakes will be springy and a toothpick will come out clean.  Remove all from the cupcake pan and let cool on a wire rack.  Frost when fully cooled.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Buttercream Frosting

I’ve recently accepted an opportunity to teach a holiday cupcake decorating class at the elementary school on Fire Island.   I am super excited to see who is going to sign up for my class (it’s in December) and even more psyched about sharing my recipes and techniques.

Baking is an activity that I jump to do at almost any chance I get.  My  mother’s mother and her mother were legendary in their baking skills and I’d like to think that their talent rubbed off on me too!  Over the years I’ve made family classics and developed my own recipes as well.  What really excites me though is creating new and updating old recipes with whole grains and less refined sugar without losing taste and texture.  I want my cupcake class to be decadent but with a side of wholesomeness.  I’ve been so disappointed in the past visiting well known bakeries and tasting nothing but too much sugar.  Most baked treats can be done successfully with a lot less sugar and do not suffer from replacing all purpose flour with white whole wheat (in my opinion at least).  I want to offer a chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for my students which I have devised to be vegan (no dairy/eggs) while the piping and decorating frosting will be a Swiss buttercream which is a fantastic frosting because most importantly it is rich but not too sweet and it is easily piped and/or spread.  It also does not form that crust that traditional American buttercream gets when it hardens.  Swiss buttercream is essentially egg whites which have been heated over a double boiler with some sugar until the sugar dissolves.  It is then popped into an electric mixer and whipped almost into meringue and then room temperature butter is added and beaten until creamy smooth.  It will go through a stage where it looks like cottage cheese and will scare you to death that it won’t come together.  Wait and keep whipping and it will.  I promise.  I used Smitten Kitchen’s helpful tutorial and recipe for my Swiss buttercream and you can view it here:  It is awesome.

The cake recipe is an old popular Depression and/or World War II era recipe that was devised when many kitchens and their cooks lacked butter and eggs but still wanted to have their cake.  I’ve seen countless variations…vanilla, fruit infused, spice type cakes etc.  This cake is adaptable to many flavors and is know to some as “wacky cake”.  I’ve adapted a recipe I copied from an old cookbook in a second hand bookshop in Seattle many years ago.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 white whole wheat flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 t salt
1 t baking powder

1 c. unsweetened almond milk
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted coconut oil
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 T apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F and line cupcake pan with liners.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl or in an electric mixer combine the wet ingredients and let sit for a few minutes.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined.  Divide mixture evenly so 12 cupcake are made.  Each cupcake liner should be about 2/3 of the way filled.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool completely and then frost.

Whole Wheat Bagels

It goes without saying that I grew up eating bagels.  Most Sundays promised an early morning trip to Delsen’s Delicatessen for freshly baked bagels (always onion and plain), cream cheese, and filet smoked salmon and/or whitefish.  Friends and relatives came over, some driving from NJ to join us.   Salty, briny, chewy, juicy, and sharp were all in one compact bite.     Then the bagel building would ensue, which is a fine art.   Bagels were toasted, cream cheese spread, thin slices of red tomato, even thinner slices of red onion, and chunks of the smoked salmon were mashed onto the bagel and silence overtook the table as the eating began.  Salty, briny, chewy, juicy, and sharp were all in one compact bite.  Freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee were sipped in between bites.  It remains one of my happiest memories because during my youth my family’s auto parts store was closed on Sundays and my dad was home for the whole day until the “blue laws” were lifted and retail stores gained the right to be open on Sundays.

Being one of the only vaguely Jewish person in my group of friends (Dad’s Jewish and my mother is Roman Catholic…we were raised Catholic with a heavy dose of Jewish food culture), my friends would practically run home screaming when this breakfast presented itself following a Saturday night sleepover.  Sadly, fish on a bagel was not a universal pleasure in my largely Irish/Italian neighborhood.  Seriously, how could they dislike fish on a bagel?  I thought they were crazy.   My dad I and I still get a laugh poking fun at “those who do not enjoy this delicacy”.

I knew that what made real bagels special was the use of malt syrup (get it at a health food store or on the web) and that they had to be boiled before being baked (to set the crust before baking).  Going to school in Florida in the 1990’s (and some research) also made it clear that special New York water was also necessary to make a bagel that tasted nothing like the fluffy and lily white round things passed off in Gainesville as bagels.  Bagels and pizza may have been the unconscious factor that ultimately made me transfer from Florida back to NY for school.  I had never attempted to make bagels until last year when I decided to make them for holiday presents with home salt cured salmon (gravlax).  Searching the web, it became clear that Peter Reinhart’s recipe was the best, producing the most authentic results.  Taking Smitten Kitchen’s riff on his recipe, I riffed a little more.  I used “method 1” (poke a hole in the ball of dough) foolproof method to shape the bagels…no rolling out of dough in my tiny kitchen!

Don’t be scared by the length of the recipe, you will be rewarded with malty whole grained bagels that are practically free.   I ignored the need for high gluten bread flour and used all white whole wheat flour with a little more water.  I mixed the dough entirely in a huge stainless steel bowl.   My Kitchen-Aid strained and agonized in kneading the dough and I did it in two minute intervals so as to not blow the motor.  I made 24 “mini bagels” that were approximately the size that bagels used to be before they expanded to the mega bagels of today.  Topped with a schmear of cream cheese, red onion, tomato, and salmon, my Sunday morning started with a bit of nostalgia and a lot of personal satisfaction.

Chocolate Blender Mousse

A few months ago, Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for a chocolate mousse done in the blender.  I forgot all about it until yesterday when I looked in my fridge and saw a half pint of heavy cream on its way to expiration and a lone egg waiting to be transformed into something.  Thoughts of bread pudding and homemade butter (not with an egg of course) entered my mind but when my eyes settled on a hunk of dark chocolate, I knew what I had to make.  Usually, I go the more elaborate and traditional French/Julia Child route of warming, separating, whipping, melting, folding, and chilling to make mousse but I wanted the same results with less than half of those steps.  Well, mission accomplished.  The whole process took about fifteen minutes and then chilled for three long hours.  It’s creamy and decadent and I know Julia would be proud.

*This recipe contains a raw egg.

Chocolate Blender Mousse

make 4 servings

1/2 pint heavy/whipping cream
scant 1/2 c. dark chocolate, chopped
3 tblsp. cocoa powder
2 tblsp. brewed coffee (I used some leftover cold coffee)
2 tblsp. maple syrup/sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 egg

In a small saucepan over low heat, gently heat cream.  Add chopped chocolate and stir until melted and combined.  Add the cocoa powder, coffee, maple syrup/sugar, vanilla, salt, and whisk until smooth and creamy.  Strain into a blender and let cool for a few minutes.  Add the egg to the blender and blitz for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides and give another blitz.  Pour into four ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and let chill for at least 3 hours.

Wild Rice Salad with Cannellini Beans, Roasted Vegetables, and Honey Tahini Dressing

Wild Rice and Beans

1 pkg. wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Combine the wild rice and cannellini beans in a large bowl and reserve.

Roasted Vegetables

2 green peppers, seeded and cut into bite size pieces
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
2 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp salt
few grindings of black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.  Toss the peppers, onions, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix to coat.  Pour onto a jellyroll pan and roast for about 30 minutes, turning vegetables about halfway through.  Cook until caramelized and fragrant.  Alternatively, grill on a grill pan.

Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl with the wild rice and cannellini beans.

Honey Tahini Dressing

3 tblsp. tahini
1 tblsp. honey
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp. white miso paste
1/3 c. hot water
pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients except for red pepper flakes in a blender and puree.  Stir in red pepper flakes and let sit for a bit to let flavors develop.  Pour over the wild rice salad and serve.

Blackberry Barley Breakfast Bowl


In my early years, I hated breakfast, unless it was Sunday and there were fresh bagels and smoked salmon. I also struggled with weight (while competing gymnastics and track) and a dangerous sugar addiction (if you consider crossing a major highway on foot for 3 candy bars for under a buck worrisome). Thankfully, this is not the case for me anymore and I have been eating breakfast daily for the past ten years. I started first with Fairway granola with Greek yogurt and progressed over the years to making my own barely sweet granola to grains traditionally reserved for meals later in the day.
This recipe was born out of necessity and the fact that I had half of a whole batch of cooked barley on the stove begging me to use it and not throw it in the refrigerator. It was still hot when I mixed in the frozen blackberries, so they melted into the barley and turned it a vivid Violet blue (as from Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Next, came the toasted and chopped almonds and unsweetened coconut. I added a bit of cinnamon and I was done. When I heat it up in the morning I add a bit of milk, coconut milk, or almond milk and add a stream of maple syrup. I’ve also been know to eat it for dessert with some creme fraiche and once, vanilla ice cream

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of one orange

  1. In a large saucepan, bring pearled barley, water, and salt to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until water is cooked out but barley is fluffy and moist, but not super mushy. Take off heat and let cool a bit.
  2. Stir in the blackberries until they start to melt. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Serve and then store the leftovers in the refrigerator for the rest of the week.

Barley with Edamame, Broccoli Slaw, and Carrot Ginger Black Sesame Paste

Normally, I cook for just my husband and myself but now I am cooking for me brother and my sister-in-law Debbie.  They’ve got a pretty sweet deal, I cook and they pay me for the groceries and a bit extra for my elbow grease. They are also my landlords, so I am extra nice! My brother works long hours at the family auto part store and Debbie works too, so there is always some kind of a grain salad that has the option of being heated, eaten cold, or at room temperature. Diana gets some too.
The barley is hearty and carries the paste flavors well while the broccoli slaw gives crunch and the edamame an earthy grassyness Debbie loves Asian flavors, so this was a winner this week. I use the paste as an all purpose condiment as well, slathered on rice crackers, quick sushi rolls with brown rice and shrimp, or as a vehicle for crudite. I am tempted to make it into a dumpling with pork or shrimp too.


Barley, Edamame, and Broccoli Slaw:

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1 pound bag frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 packet broccoli slaw

  1. Bring the water and barley to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the water has cooked away and fluffy. Transfer to a large non-reactive bowl and cool a bit. While it cools, make the edamame and paste.
  2. EDAMAME: bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the edamame and salt. Return to a boil and let boil for about 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain and stir into the bowl with the barley. Stir in the broccoli slaw at this time as well.

Carrot Ginger Black Sesame Paste:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • Sriacha or homemade Rooster Sauce to taste (optional)

  1. Bltiz all ingredients in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add a bit of water reserved from cooking the edamame if needed. Stir into the bowl with the barley, edamame, and broccoli slaw and mix until thoroughly combined. Taste for seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and an extra chopping of cilantro.