Category Archives: Vegetarian


Challah is my favorite thing to bake, hands down. I don’t do it often, but I relish every opportunity to bake a couple of loaves for friends and family. My friend Vered invited me to her family’s Rosh Hashanah dinner, so I decided to bring a couple of loaves of round challah (the traditional shape for starting the New Year), one with golden raisins, one with sesame seeds.

My favorite challah recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s blog, Smitten Kitchen. It’s an adaptation from Jewish cookery guru Joan Nathan. However, I did not follow Deb’s instructions on how to braid a round challah (though, her directions on how to weave a six-stranded challah are perfect). A while back, I researched how to weave a round challah, and I came across this gem from Chabad’s website. That link shows you how to weave the challah, and also how to incorporate raisins into the dough without driving yourself crazy.

The raisin challah. Vered’s mom said it reminded her of her own mother’s challah. The ultimate compliment!

As Deb (by way of Joan Nathan) suggests, I allowed the dough to rise three times — the second rising took place in the fridge overnight. In the future, I’d probably double the raisins because, while I’m not the biggest fan of raisins generally, I do like a very raisiny raisin bread.

photo 3

I even made a baby challah wreath for myself.

Citrus-Ginger Tofu Salad with Kelp Noodles

One of my clients loves soba noodles, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting soba recipes. This week, I came across a recipe for Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad with Soba Noodles on Food52, and I prepared it for my client, pretty much as the recipe is written. It is everything you’d want to eat in the summer — bright, refreshing, full of crunchy vegetables. I highly recommend the recipe as written.

The version I made for myself later in the week had a few modifications. For one, I substituted kelp noodles for the soba because I had them on hand. Why did I have kelp noodles on hand? I’ve been meaning to experiment with them for some time because I’m attempting to incorporate more sea vegetables into my diet. The trace minerals found in sea vegetables — including iodine, which was added to table salt to prevent goiters in the early 20th century — are especially beneficial for thyroid health and other hormonal functions. The noodles have no flavor or color — they look like glass noodles — and they’re crunchy. However, after the salad marinated in the fridge overnight, the texture of the noodles resembled that of rice noodles. Also, they’re a raw food, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I also modified the variety of vegetables in the salad, based on what I already had in the refrigerator. For one, I peeled and grated the broccoli stalk, a sadly underutilized ingredient. It’s sweet and crunchy, and it adds another lovely layer of flavor and texture to any summer slaw. The recipe yields a lot of salad, and I’ve been eating the leftovers for the past few days. (If you know me, you know that I hate leftovers, so the fact that I’m not sick of this salad yet is a big recommendation unto itself.)

Here, I served myself the salad without the baked tofu to accompany some seared sockeye salmon. For breakfast because I love a really savory breafast.

Here, I served myself the salad without the baked tofu to accompany some seared sockeye salmon. For breakfast because I love a really savory breakfast.

Citrus-Ginger Tofu Salad with Kelp Noodles
Serves 4 (generously)

For the Tofu + Marinade:

  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce tamari (or other soy sauce, such as shoyu)
  • 1 ounce toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ounce sunflower seed oil (may substitute: grape seed, peanut, raw sesame oil)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 package extra firm tofu

Preparing the Tofu + Marinade: Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. In a bowl mix together orange juice, tamari, sesame oil, sunflower oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, and cayenne and set aside.

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into a small baking pan without overlapping. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Put the tofu into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for 15 minutes more until browned. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the tofu and place onto a plate and allow to cool. Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and set aside.

For the Salad:

  • Leftover marinade
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 (12-ounce) package kelp noodles*
  • florets from 1 bunch of broccoli
  • stalks from 1 bunch of broccoli, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (I used a variety of rainbow carrots)
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preparing the citrus vinaigrette: Add the lemon zest and juice to the remaining marinade. Continue to add the orange juice, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt to taste. Set aside.

Preparing the salad: Rinse the kelp noodles in cold water and drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds. Immediately strain the florets and rinse with cold water. Put the blanched broccoli florets, shredded broccoli stalks, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, basil, and sesame seeds into a large bowl and toss. Dress the salad with the citrus vinaigrette. Serve the salad topped with baked tofu and garnished with sesame seeds.

*You can find kelp noodles at Whole Foods and most health-food stores.

CSA Quandary: Zucchini

For the past two weeks, I’ve received four pounds of zucchini in my CSA share. I like zucchini just fine, but it’s not my favorite vegetable, so (with the help of Facebook and Twitter) I crowd-sourced some ideas of what to do with my bounty. Food writer Leah Koenig linked me to her zucchini post on Saveur’s website.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake piqued my interest because of its seemingly bizarre combination of ingredients. The recipe is good — very easy to follow. I, of course, complicated matters because I was missing a few ingredients and had no interest in schlepping out to the grocery store at 9pm. The missing ingredients: corn oil, one of the two eggs, and buttermilk.

The substitutions:

  • Corn Oil: The only cooking fats in my house last night were virgin coconut oil (I didn’t want to make the cake coco-nutty), butter, ghee, and duck fat. (This is why I need to go grocery shopping sooner rather than later.) I decided to go with melted butter. If I hadn’t just finished all my olive oil, I would have used that as a replacement.
  • One Egg: Having gone to a culinary school with a heavily vegan curriculum, I learned that flax seeds can act as egg replacers in baked goods. 1 egg = 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • Buttermilk: I happened to have whole milk on hand. Generally, 1 cup buttermilk = 7.5 ounces milk + 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.
The results were good, although I think I overcooked the cake slightly. I’m still figuring out the calibration of my oven. I also omitted powdered sugar because my sweet tooth simply isn’t that strong. Here is the recipe as I have prepared it.
Chocolate Zucchini Bread (tweaked)
Serves 8
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, finely ground
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 ounces whole milk
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated on large holes of box grater
  • 9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  1. Make Egg Replacer: stir together ground flax seeds and water. Set aside.
  2. Make Buttermilk Substitute: stir together vinegar and whole milk. Set aside.
  3. Working in batches, put a small mound of zucchini in center of large square of double-layer cheesecloth. Gather corners together and squeeze out as much water as possible. Transfer zucchini to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 325º. Butter a deep 9″ cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together into a mixing bowl and set aside. Beat together remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add melted butter, beating well. Beat in egg, then egg replacer. Add vanilla, reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk substitute in 3 alternate batches. Stir in reserved zucchini.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to let cool. Invert onto a plate and dust with sugar.

Not the prettiest presentation, but it sure is tasty!

Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam, Take 2

In my last post, I had mentioned that I might make this Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam recipe from Food 52. I’ve decided to make my own variation on it. I didn’t read the editor’s note to the original recipe until the jam was already cooking — if I had, I probably would have halved the total amount of sugar in the recipe. The resulting jam is definitely sweet, but also complex and delicious. I decided to use half organic cane sugar, and half sucanat. I’ve mentioned sucanat before, and I really do love the deep molasses flavor it imparts — a perfect complement to rhubarb’s bright tartness. For the most effective use of vanilla beans, check out Shuna Lydon’s blog post about vanilla.

Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam with Sucanat

Yields approximately 1 pint


  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic sucanat
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 18 ounces rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch kosher salt


  1. Whisk together the cane sugar and sucanat. Split the vanilla beans into two halves. Lay each bean on a flat surface and scrape the interior out with a small sharp knife. Knock the oily interior into the sugar mixture and smush the seeds into it with your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to distribute evenly throughout.
  2. Place the rhubarb, vanilla-sugar mixture and water in a heavy saucepan with a generous pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring to scrape the bottom. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the fruit with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the jam is thick, just shy of spreadable, as it will thicken when it cools.
  4. Remove the vanilla beans and reserve them for later use. Carefully spoon the hot jam into jars and leave unsealed to cool. When cool, screw on the lid and refrigerate.

Rhubarb: not just for dessert anymore!

A quick note about rhubarb. This week, our CSA fruit share included about 3 pounds of rhubarb from Briermere Farms, and I’ve been contemplating what to do with it. I’ll most likely make a few pints of this delicious Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam from Food 52 that I made last year, but I’m also thinking about savory uses for rhubarb. Rhubarb, in and of itself, isn’t sweet, but it’s most often paired with strawberries in jams, compotes and pies. I found this savory, Indian-inspired recipe for a Rhubarb Lentil Stew last year, and I thought it was brilliant. Usually, I’ll add lemon juice to lentil-based soups and stews to add that bright burst of tartness that balances out the earthy flavor of the legumes. In Mark Bittman’s recipe, the rhubarb provides not only the necessary acidity, but also complex flavor and texture to an already flavorful dish. As with so many of Mark Bittman’s recipes, this one is minimal effort for maximum pleasure. Enjoy!

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices by Mark Bittman

  • 3 or 4 stalks rhubarb, strings removed, chopped
  • 1 cup orange lentils, well washed
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 dried ancho or other mild chili, optional
  • Salt
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Combine all ingredients except salt and cilantro in a saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook at a steady simmer until lentils and rhubarb are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove cloves and, if you like, cardamom pods. Add salt, then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and serve.