Plum Baked Chicken

Serves 4

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine and thought it looked interesting but some of the ingredients were hard to find so I just put it aside in my “try it” file. Then online I noticed that there were many comments posted on the recipe about how amazing it was and decided to move it to my “try it now” file. I changed a few of the hard to find ingredients and the results are great. Moist and flavorful but not fruity.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/3 cup sliced shallots
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup sweet white wine plum wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon chile sauce
1 teaspoon spicy mustard Chinese mustard
1/2 cup halved dried plums (about 9)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1/2-inch) slices green onions

Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl. Add shallots and ginger; sauté 1 minute. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Add broth, chili sauce, and mustard; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 8 minutes). Stir in plums. Remove from heat.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; swirl. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, and sauté for 3 minutes. Turn chicken over; pour plum mixture over chicken. Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until done. Let chicken stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Meatless Tacos in Won Ton Wrappers

If you feel like getting creative during the nine days (and we won’t blame you if you don’t!), here’s a treat that everyone will love.

1 pound vegetarian ground round
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon pepper
36 won ton wrappers
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
Tortilla chips
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Toppings: sour cream, salsa, guacamole, chopped fresh cilantro, black olive rings

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 18 standard muffin cups (remember recipe is dairy).

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown ground round, onion and garlic, about 5 – 8 minutes. Stir in spices and cook until flavors are incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Place one won ton wrapper in the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Top with 1 tablespoon of refried beans, 1 crushed tortilla chip, 1 tablespoon of the ground round mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Repeat.

Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from tins and serve with desired toppings.

Indian Tofu and Cauliflower


Serves 6

1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained until almost dry
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 head cauliflower, florets only
¼ cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Optional Garnish:
Plain yogurt
Chopped cilantro

In a large skillet or work, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin, curry, garlic, ginger, black pepper and red pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Add tofu and cauliflower and sauté until both begin to brown – about 10 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes – or until cauliflower is soft. Serve over rice and garnish with yogurt and/or cilantro, if desired.

Easy Italian Bean soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1 (32-ounce) box pareve chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 (15-ounce) can cannellini (sometimes called white kidney) beans, drained
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a medium Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add broth, beans and spices and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Just before serving, add spinach and cook briefly until wilted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired and serve alongside a crusty bread.

Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

A spicy variety on an easy favorite. Recipe is for 1 – can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled etc. etc.

1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
2 slices crusty bread
1 tablespoon butter, softened
¼ cup shredded pizza cheese

Place jalapeno on a baking sheet, cut side down. Broil for about 10 minutes or until blackened. Cool and chop. Mix with grated cheese. Butter outsides of bread. Place cheese and jalapeno mixture on top of one bread slice. Cover with other slice and grill in pan – about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted and bread is crisp. Yum!

Cajun “Shrimp”


One more take on the imitation fish…

2 (200-gram) packages imitation shrimp, defrosted
2 (12-ounce) bottles of beer
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons peanut oil (use grapeseed if you have allergies)

Accompaniment: Cocktail Sauce (add a little fresh cilantro to the cocktail sauce for some extra zing!)

In a large bowl, soak shrimp in beer for about 3 hours.

In a large freezer-strength Ziploc bag, mix flour and seasoning. Remove shrimp from beer and add to flour mixture. Shake to coat.

Heat oil to medium-high in wok or large frying pan. Sauté shrimp until crisp; 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve immediately or at room temperature with cocktail sauce.

Broccoli Slaw and Ramen Salad

photo: thecocinamonologues

A refreshing change from coleslaw.

1 (16-ounce) bag broccoli slaw
2 scallions, minced
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 (3-ounce) package chicken-flavored ramen noodles seasoning packet removed and set aside
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar

In a large bowl, mix together broccoli slaw, scallions and sunflower seeds. Crush ramen noodles and stir into mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar and reserved season packet. Pour over salad and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Black Bean Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (4-ounce) can diced, roasted green chilies
1 jalapeno, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (preferably Corona)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth or pareve chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Accompaniments: sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, guacamole, sliced olive rings

In a medium Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chilies, jalapeno, onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in beer. Cook until reduced by half. Add beans, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing flavors to blend. Stir in lime juice, remove from heat and serve. Good over rice with some or all of the accompaniments listed above.

(Imitation) Lobster Rolls

The nine days are the perfect time to try this summer treat.

8 kaiser rolls, split in half
8 lettuce leaves
2 (16-ounce) packages imitation lobster, defrosted and flaked
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 stalk celery, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Line bottom of buns with lettuce leaves.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lime juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Stir in celery and lobster.

Fill buns with lobster mixture and dig in!

Peach Strawberry Crisp

photo by

Serves 8

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons margarine, melted
6 ripe peaches, peeled and halved
1-pint strawberries, sliced
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pareve whipped cream or pareve ice cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons sugar, and lemon zest. Pour in melted margarine and gently mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut peaches into ¼-inch slices. In a large bowl, toss peaches, strawberries, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and remaining ½ cup sugar. Let stand 15 minutes.

Pour fruit into an oven safe 2-quart dish. Top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is bubbling. Cool 30 minutes.

Serve with pareve whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

White Asparagus Salad with Creamy Tomato Dressing

Serves 6

This time of year white asparagus is readily available. I like to find ways to use it because it is always delicious and more interesting to use seasonal ingredients. Don’t worry, if you cannot find it, you can use canned white asparagus or regular green spears.

5 large plum tomatoes, divided, 4 cut into wedges, 1 coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound green beans
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
12 spears white asparagus, steamed or grilled or
One 12-ounce jar of white asparagus, drained

In a blender, puree the 1 coarsely chopped tomato with the lemon juice, mustard and sugar. Add the mayonnaise and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and blend the dressing until thick. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature, then drizzle the beans lightly with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Arrange the beans, tomato wedges, onion and asparagus on a platter. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and serve.

Make ahead the dressing can be refrigerated overnight. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.

Watermelon Mojito

photo: Quentin Bacon

Serves 12

I’m obsessed with mojitos and this time of year I love to mix in fresh seasonal sweet fruit into my mojitos. Watermelon works great because it pairs well with the lime. I also love to use pureed peaches and pineapple.

1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1 bunch mint leaves, plus some for garnish
2 cups lime juice, from about 1 dozen limes
2-1/2 cups white rum
9 cups watermelon, pureed and strained

Yields: 10-12

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

In a small mixing bowl, muddle the mint leaves, dissolved sugar/water mixture, lime juice, and rum. Add the pureed watermelon and stir. Pour into a large pitcher.

Serve over ice and garnish with mint.

Falafel Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw


Serves 4

This chicken recipe doubles well and is great for kids and adults.
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix (boxed – available in major markets)
2 pitas, halved
6 tablespoons hummus
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon chile sauce
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. Arrange the chicken on the rack and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the hummus, lemon zest and juice, chile sauce and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix, radishes and parsley to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt.

Divide the chicken among plates and drizzle with the reserved hummus sauce. Stuff the slaw in the pitas and serve with the chicken.

Cold Sesame Noodles with Vegetables


Serves 6

I love this as a side dish. We make many versions but this one is great with good summer vegetables.

1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers; about 1 1/4 pounds)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or spaghetti
1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

Whisk rice vinegar, oil, Sriracha, and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and scallions; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.

*** Note:
If noodles are too sticky, add 2 tablespoons of hot water and toss.

Lemony Chicken with Zucchini

Serves 8

This is an easy and super flavorful chicken. The natural juices of the chicken and the lemon flavors yield a very fresh tasting chicken dish.

½ cup olive oil (or a little less)
2 chickens cut in 1/8’s
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 lemons cut into 1/8’s
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives (or other flavorful black olive)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down, and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes.

Transfer chicken, skin side up, to 2 large roasting pans. Pour fat from the skillet into the roasting pans. Add zucchini, lemon and olives to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring, until zucchini and lemon are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, and oregano and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer zucchini mixture to the roasting pans, spreading them around the chicken. Roast for 25 minutes.

Spinach Pasta Salad


Summertime is salad time. A nice big salad can take the place of a heavier meat meal. This salad, with pasta in it, is filling, healthy and delicious to boot. You can always be creative and add your own favorite ingredients. If you want to serve this for your July 4th picnic, just take out the feta cheese. Or serve it for lunch – before the festivities begin!

Serves: 8

1 (16-ounce) package rotelle pasta (or any other pasta you prefer), cooked, rinsed with cold water and drained
1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach
2 tomatoes (fresh off the vine), chopped
½ red onion, diced (optional)
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
½ cup sliced black olives
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup olive oil
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine pasta, spinach, tomatoes, onion (if using), cucumbers, olives and feta.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Let sit for 5 minutes for flavors to blend and serve.

Miso Soup with All the Fixings

Miso soup is a marvel: Quick is not even the word. By the time it comes to a boil, it’s done, a whole pot full. It’s also an incredibly nutritious and versatile low-calorie treat. I am giving you here a basic recipe, but I am including as many variations as I can think of, and let you play with it and get another exciting soup each time. It will all be ready as soon as it comes to a boil. The miso, ginger, toasted sesame oil, bottled hot sauce, and scallions are a constant with all variations. You may never go back to the Chinese-restaurant variety, unless you do (as I do from time to time) order it to your specifications: First, make sure it has no MSG. Then, no canned veggies please! Banish the canned baby corn, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Who needs them? Instead, spread the fresh good stuff thick: fresh mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, and so on.

2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced thin
1 pound firm or extra-firm tofu, cut in small cubes
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves only, cut into ribbons
1 cup miso paste, dark for a stronger taste, white for a milder taste
2-inch piece ginger, grated
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon bottled hot sauce, or more to taste
4 scallions, sliced very thin

Bring all but last ingredient to a boil, then turn off the flame. Stir in the scallions. Serve hot. Makes a dozen ample servings. variations:
Choose from sliced celery, sliced zucchini, sliced carrots, frozen corn kernels, sliced nappa cabbage,
sliced bok choy, etc. Nothing canned whatsoever please! Proceed as above. Throw in a nice handful or two of rice noodles or soba noodles, left whole (get ready for slurping) or cut into smaller pieces (no slurping).Proceed as above.
Throw in a handful of seaweed: crumbled nori, wakame, arame, hijiki. Proceed as above.
Include 3–4 cups either cubed chicken breasts or fish: They will cook in the same time the soup does. Proceed as above. Add bright green vegetables such as snow peas, spinach leaves, watercress leaves, asparagus sections, broccoli spears, or string beans all the way at the end of cooking, after the soup comes to a boil, so that they retain their bright color Throw in a 15-ounce can of coconut milk for a richer soup. Proceed as above. Throw in a cup of sake for added punch. Proceed as above.

Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche with Potato Crust


This is a great summer weeknight dinner or a nice Sunday lunch.

Serves 6 to 8

1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted


2/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups nondairy creamer
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan (preferably deep-dish).

To prepare crust: Arrange potato slices along bottom of pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake for about 15 minutes.

To prepare filling: Sprinkle tomatoes, scallion, garlic and cheese over crust. Whisk together eggs, creamer and spices. Pour over crust. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is solid and lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Drumstick Ice Cream Pie

Your kids will love making and eating this!

12 sugar cones
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons margarine
½ gallon pareve vanilla ice cream, softened

Put sugar cones in a freezer-strength Ziploc bag and seal tightly. With rolling pin or hammer, crush cones into small pieces. Mix with pecans and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together chocolate chips and margarine. Stir until smooth. Pour over cone-nut mixture and mix well. Press hall of chocolate mixture over bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread ice cream over all. Top with remaining chocolate mixture.

Cover and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Salami

One of my greatest sellers! These delightful confections have a funny name, because each slice is specked with the nuts and graham crackers and looks as funky as salami. No problem making them gluten-free! No need to slice all of them, leave the unused logs in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to use: They keep very well.
1 ½ cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1 cup margarine spread
3 tablespoons rum, bourbon, or unflavored brandy
2 cups best-quality semisweet chocolate chips or grated chocolate
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder, decaf OK
1 egg (or 2 egg whites; if you must, settle for ¼ cup flax mixture, page 276)
1 cup toasted pecans or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
½ box (7½ ounces) unflavored graham crackers, gluten-free OK, broken by hand into small pieces
Melt the first set of ingredients on a very low flame, stirring. Turn off the flame and quickly whisk in the egg until incorporated. Add the nuts and grahamcrackers and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate briefly to let the mixture firm up so it’s easier to
handle. Shape into logs about 2 inches in diameter and wrap tightly in plastic, securing the ends with twisters. You will get 4 to 5 logs total. Refrigerate the logs 2 to 3 hours, until firm (or freeze the logs you will use later).Unwrap the logs, and slice ½ inch thick with a sharp serrated knife. Makes about 4-5 dozen slices (each log makes about a dozen slices). Keep the slices refrigerated until serving time.

Bolognese Sauce with Pasta


There are many variations of Bolognese sauce but this is one of my favorites. It’s not typically a summer dish although I think all times of year are good for pasta with meat sauce!

Serves 8

6 tablespoons olive oil
4 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary (optional)
1 teaspoon pepper
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground lamb
4 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups red wine
½ cup nondairy creamer

2 pounds spaghetti or any other pasta of your choice

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium flame. Add celery, carrots, onions, oregano, basil and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, broth and cinnamon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ground meats, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until meat brown is browned and broken into small pieces. Drain off fat. Add wine and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Add the cooked meat to the tomato mixture. Stir in the creamer. Return to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Toss with pasta, adding reserved liquid if necessary.

Spinach and Chicken Salad

This salad says summertime to me.

Serves 8

¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup toasted cashews
2 (10-ounce) packages baby spinach
2 scallions, diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup bean sprouts

To prepare dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Set aside.

To prepare chicken: In a large wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through. Cool

To prepare salad: In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients with chicken. Add dressing and toss to coat.

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

What makes this a summer dish is not the ingredients but the ease!

2 cups stuffing mix, divided
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 cups frozen petite pois, thawed
1 (8 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
4 cups chicken broth
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Mix 2 tablespoons stuffing mix with melted margarine; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine remaining stuffing mix with peas, mushrooms and chicken. Spread evenly in prepared dish.

Whisk together broth and eggs. Pour over chicken-stuffing mixture. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake until fully cooked and bubbly, about 45 minutes.