Miso Glazed Eggplant

Miso paste is a Japanese paste that’s become increasingly popular. Everyone’s had miso soup, but chefs are taking miso to a whole new level. Miso glazed fish, miso noodle bowls, and even miso cocktails are showing up on restaurant menus. 
We all learned in school the basic “tastes”- sweet, sour, salty, bitter. Scientists have come up with a fifth taste called “umami”, which basically means savory. It’s that taste where you just need another bite- tomato paste, anchovies, and miso all hit this on the nose. Umami ingredients are typically used as flavoring agents. Say, anchovies in a puttanesca sauce, or a squeeze of tomato paste in a stew. 

I use a miso based glaze to liven up Japanese eggplants. A Japanese eggplant is different than a globe, or Italian, eggplant. They’re longer and thinner, with a thinner skin and little to no seeds. The flesh is sweeter and and less bitter. Japanese eggplants are ready to go once sliced, they need no salting!

Cross-hatching the eggplant allows the flesh to cook evenly. The glass seeps into the eggplant, making its way into all the nooks and crannies. 

Maybe these ingredients are a stretch- and for the eggplant haters, it’ll be ok! Try the glaze on fish. Or thin it out with some hot water and drizzle it over steamed vegetables. I’ll make a miso lover out of all of you!
Miso glazed eggplant 
5-6 Japanese eggplants 
Cooking spray 

1/2c white or red miso paste 

1 TB honey or maple syrup 

2 TB apple cider vinegar 

1 TB coconut aminos or soy sauce 

1 tsp toasted sesame oil 

1/2 tsp garlic powder 

Pinch of red pepper flakes 

Sesame seeds 

Scallions 

Slice eggplants in half lengthwise and score in a crosshatch pattern. Spray both sides of eggplant with cooking spray and arrange on a greased baking sheet cut side down. Roast at 425 for about 20 minutes until very tender. 

While eggplant is cooking, prepare glaze. Whisk together miso, sweetener, vinegar, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. 

Flip eggplant cut side up and brush with glaze. Place back on tray and broil for 3-4 min, or until bubbly and darkened in spots.
Chop scallions for garnish. Sprinkle scallions and sesame seeds over eggplant before serving. 

Blueberry Millet Muffins


“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” is a mantra from the great Michael Pollan. In his books, he discusses the history of food in the United States, industrial farming, and overall healthier eating. His books are a definite must read for any foodie! Every time I pick up one of his books or read an essay, I think a bit harder about what we’re putting into our bodies. 

I’m taking a page from his book with this recipe. I set out to create a simple, healthier muffin recipe, with basic ingredients. Now, I’m no health food freak, but I love a kid friendly recipe with minimal added sugar. Those packages of mini muffins are definitely appealing, but the ingredient list is frightening. My kids devoured these warm- they loved the millet “crunchies!”

Millet is a gluten free whole grain that looks similar to quinoa. It’s ready available in standard grocery stores- check the bulk bins and Bob’s Red Mill brand. It’s versatile and can be cooked like a rice pilaf or simmered in plain liquid or baked with herbs, veggies, and broth. The coolest part about this tiny little grain is the crunchy pop of texture it gives to baked goods. Millet adds fiber and protein- perfect for a morning pick-me-up! 
(Still not convinced? You can skip the millet! The muffins won’t have the pop of crunch.)

I add plain Greek yogurt to the muffins. The dairy in the yogurt makes these muffins a great source of calcium and protein. Yogurt keeps the muffins moist and the crumb tender! For a dairy free muffin, substitute coconut or soy yogurt. Make sure to use plain yogurt, as vanilla has added sugar.

A small amount of maple syrup adds a gentle sweetness. If your berries are tart, or if you prefer a sweeter treat, add an extra spoonful or two of maple syrup. Lemon juice balances the flavors nicely- don’t skip it! 
My secret here is white whole wheat flour. This flour is made of white wheat- it looks like regular wheat, but it’s white! (Fool them kiddos, why not?!) I cut the white whole wheat with regular all purpose flour, to keep some lightness in the muffins. Feel free to adjust the proportions of the flours, but know the more whole wheat, the denser the muffin. 

They key to a tender muffin is all in the wrist. Over mixing will lead to gluten development and tough muffins. Start with two bowls and sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet. Use a rubber spatula and a gentle hand to lightly combine the wet and the dry. A few lumps is perfectly ok!

Enjoy these, and give me a shout out to let me know how you like them! 

Blueberry Millet Muffins 

1 c white whole wheat flour 

1 c all purpose flour 

1/2c raw millet (optional)

1 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp baking powder 

Pinch of salt 

1 c plain Greek yogurt 

1/2 c maple syrup 

1/3 c oil 

1 TB lemon juice 

2 TB milk 

1 tsp vanilla 

2 eggs 

2 c blueberries 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, millet, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt, maple syrup, oil, lemon juice, milk, vanilla and eggs. Sprinkle flour mixture over wet mixture. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir gently until just combined. Fold in berries. 

Scoop muffins into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool slightly in muffin pans before transferring to a rack. 

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

It’s the middle of summer, which means produce is at its best. Gardens are blooming- we’ve picked 14 cherry tomatoes so far! Farmers markets are in full swing, and the groceries have “local produce” signs up. And…wait… it’s almost the nine days. 
Nine days of parve and dairy meals. No chicken or meat, except for Shabbat. So bring on the fish and the cheese. Add salads to the table, and load up on fresh vegetables. 

Tabbouleh is a fan favorite Middle Eastern salad- bulgur, fresh vegetables, and finely chopped herbs. In the traditional version, fine (or #1) bulgur is soaked and drained, no heating or cooking required. 

I’m going rogue here, gluten and grain free, and using riced cauliflower. These “grains” are finely chopped cauliflower and are taking the nation by storm. Trader Joe’s and other national chains sell cauliflower rice fresh or frozen. (It’s so popular, it’s even been rationed!) 

The fresh cauliflower rice requires a quick steaming, but the frozen just needs to be defrosted. 

Lots of chopped parsley and scallion brighten up the salad. Persian cucumbers (no peeling!) and grape tomatoes (no seeding!) make this dish a snap to put together. This beauty is even better made ahead of time, so prep it in the morning or the night before and store it in the fridge. 

Top it with grilled fish, steak, chicken, or tofu. Or just enjoy it plain! There’s no rules when it comes to salad. 
Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh 

10oz Frozen or fresh riced cauliflower

3 Persian cucumbers – chopped 

1 pint grape tomatoes 

4 scallions 

Small bunch parsley 

1/4c lemon juice (or 2 lemons) 

1/4c olive oil 

Salt & pepper to taste 

If using fresh cauliflower, steam for 1-2 minutes. Add cauliflower to a large bowl. Dice cucumber and quarter tomatoes and add to cauliflower. Finely chop scallions and parsley and add to cauliflower. Stir to combine, add lemon, oil, salt, and pepper. Chill and taste for seasonings before serving. 

Wheatberry Superfood Salad 

One of my favorite pastimes is reading restaurant menus. (Someone tell me it’s not just me!) I love seeing what famous chefs are creating with seasonal produce. Summer is the best time- all the hyper-local produce shows up on the top menus in Manhattan. 

Last night, I went to a small farmers market. It wasn’t a huge market like Union Square, but all of the vendors were the actual farmers. The kale I bought (and used for this dish) was picked two hours before I bought it, and ten miles from my house. There were squash blossoms, herbs, tons and greens, and cucumbers. All of it was headed to local restaurants and home cooks. 

Since the kale was so fresh and tender, I decided to shred it and use it in place of herbs in a riff on a tabbouleh salad. Inspiration comes from a restaurant menu featuring a kale and cracked wheat salad with Zaatar. I skipped the herbs here and let the super fresh veggies shine through. 

Cucumbers bring crunch, grape tomatoes add a pop of flavor. I love the mixture of scallion and shallot- they both add a nice bitterness and bite to the salad. For the kale, I used lacinato (dinosaur) kale. It’s flatter and milder tasting than curly kale and easier to shred. To shred the kale, slice out the stems. Stack the leaves and thinly slice into ribbons. 
Not a kale fan? I’m not sure if we can still be friends – but baby spinach or arugula or a few handfuls of chopped parsley would work in place of the kale. 

Wheatberries are the whole grain of wheat. It’s the least processed form, so it takes a while to cook, but it’s got a ton of fiber and a great texture. I boil them like I would pasta. This cooking method ensures that the grains don’t turn to mush. Quinoa is a great gluten free sub in this dish. 

The dressing for this salad is super simple, a basic lemon and olive oil mixture. The oil coats the greens nicely while the lemon adds a burst of acidity. Tahini paste adds richness and creaminess. 
Wheatberry Superfood Salad 

3 c raw wheatberries 

6 c shredded kale 

1 pint grape tomatoes 

1 bunch scallions 

1 small shallot 

2 Persian cucumbers 

Salt 
Dressing: 

1/2 c fresh lemon juice 

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil 

2 TB tahini paste 

Salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes 

Fill a 3-quart pot with water and add a palmful of salt. Bring to a boil and add in wheatberries. Stir and boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. 

Finely chop the scallions and shallot. Dice the cucumber and halve the grape tomatoes. Combine the wheatberries, kale, scallion, shallot, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. 

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss to coat. 

Salad can be served immediately or refrigerated for 2-3 days. 

Best Hummus… Ever!

A few years ago, hummus beat guacamole for #1 Super Bowl snack. Pretty cool for a simple Middle Eastern staple, right? Since then, there’s been a zillion flavors and types of hummus on the shelves. But none quite measure up to the real stuff you can get at an Israeli restaurant. 

Packaged hummus usually contains some type of preservative to keep it fresh for weeks. The consistency is a bit stiffer than the fresh type. Most upscale kosher markets sell freshly prepared hummus, but it pains me to spend $8 on what’s basically a can of chickpeas and some seasonings. 

Over the years, I figured out how to make hummus from scratch. I start with canned chickpeas (read: shortcut) but freshly cooked chickpeas are even better. Just make sure to reserve some of the canning or cooking liquid- the starches in the liquid bind the hummus without making it pasty. Fresh lemon and garlic add an authentic vibe. The bottled lemon juice holds no comparison! 

When it comes to buying tahini, look for the best quality. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods 365 brands are organic and my top choices. They’re thick, but pourable, with a nice amount of oil on top. Stir the oil into the paste before using- don’t pour it off! Tahini should smell nutty and toasty. It’s best stored in a dark pantry, but if you don’t use it often, the fridge is the best place. Let it come to room temperature before stirring and using. Always taste before using- no one wants rancid sesame seeds! It should taste smooth and nutty with a creamy pleasant mouthfeel. 

Want to up your hummus game? Blend in a handful of kalamata olives, roasted peppers, fresh dill or pickled jalapeños. All of the flavor of the fancy stuff, none of the price tag! 

Best Hummus Ever 

15oz can chickpeas 
1/4c fresh lemon juice 

1/4c chickpea liquid 

2 TB tahini paste 

1 tsp salt 

1-2 cloves garlic 

Garnishes: olive oil, smoked paprika, pine nuts, Zaatar, chopped herbs, sesame seeds 

Drain chickpeas, reserving 1/4c of the canning liquid. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and check for seasonings, adding more salt if needed. 

Serve immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to one week. 

*if desired, garnish before serving!

Insanely Awesome Granola 


I have a friend, a rebbetzin, who loves to joke about the food trends abuzz with the millennials. We laugh over the buzzwords and marketing terms used to describe the latest foodie trends. $35/lb wild mushrooms? Sure- but only if they’re sustainably harvested! 

“Fair trade, locally sourced, artisanal, vegan, gluten free” granola. Sounds like it should be “taste free” too right? It’s actually super tasty and the short list of ingredients makes each one shine. The maple adds sweetness and a slight smokiness, while the molasses tang in the brown sugar rounds out the sweetness. Oil adds richness and provides the “glue” for big clusters. Cinnamon and sea salt are the flavor profiles here- the spice adds a subtle warmth and the salt contrasts beautifully with the sweetness. Think salted caramels- sweet + salt= super balanced. 

I use Quaker old fashioned oats, but for a truly gluten free granola, make sure the oats are certified gluten free. The add ins can be easily mixed and matched. Don’t like nuts? Skip em, and use an equal amount of additional oats. Dried fruit not your game? No worries, just skip it. A handful of chocolate or peanut butter chips never hurt anyone either! 

I like my granola in large chunks, and they key is allowed it to cool fully on the baking sheet. Use a small skillet or non-breakable drinking glass to smash your granola into pieces. (Great anger management tip, free of charge!) 

Store the cooked granola in an air tight container or ziplock bag. It should last a few weeks, before getting stale. Honestly speaking, it won’t. It never lasts in the pantry more than a few days! 

Insanely Awesome Granola 

1/2c canola or vegetable oil 

1/2c maple syrup 

1/3c brown sugar 

Pinch of salt 

1 Tsp vanilla

1 TB cinnamon 

5c old fashioned oats

1-2c sliced or slivered almonds 

 1-2c dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. 
Whisk oil, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Stir in oats and nuts. 

Spread into a layer on parchment lined baking sheet. Using wet or oiled hands, pack into a thin layer. 

Bake at 325 for 40 min, rotating pan halfway through cooking time. 

Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Break into pieces and add your favorite dried fruit. Store in an airtight container. 

Asian Cauliflower Not-chos

Peanut noodles. Food of the gods. Smooth and creamy and tangy and spicy. But it involves prep. Boiling and draining spaghetti. A dozen ingredients in a sauce that sounds simple. Plus, all those noodles are like a meal in itself. 
I took out the noodles and kept my favorite part- the peanut sauce! I roasted cauliflower and plated the dish nacho style. A layer of cauliflower, topped with a drizzle of ultra-luxurious peanut sauce and a sprinkle of jalapeños and scallions makes for a great shareable appetizer or side. 
Typically, peanut sauce involves sugar or some other sweetener. I wanted to eliminate that, and charring the cauliflower adds a beautiful element of sweetness. The rich peanut butter, tangy lime juice, umami filled soy sauce play off each other beautifully. A splash of toasted sesame oil adds depth and warmth. 

You probably have these ingredients in your pantry, and that was the goal here. I wanted a fun twist on Asian inspired food without running to ten stores to find that one random item. Toasted sesame oil may not be you go-to, but it should be! It adds toasty warm depth to any Asian inspired dish. It’s not essential, so if you’re not a fan, or don’t have it, it’s totally ok to skip. 

If you’re afraid of fresh cauliflower, frozen is totally fine. Use about two pounds and make sure to defrost and pat dry before roasting. 

Asian Cauliflower “Not-chos”

1 large head of cauliflower 
3 TB olive oil 

Pinch of salt 
1/2c smooth peanut butter 
Juice of 2 limes 

2 TB soy sauce (or liquid aminos)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil 
1/4c chopped scallions 

1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced 

Cauliflower: remove leaves and core from the head of cauliflower. Wash well, break into florets and pat dry. Arrange on a parchment lined sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, or until lightly charred in spots.

Sauce: whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil. 

To plate: drizzle warm cauliflower with peanut sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and jalapeños. 

Truffle Grilled Mushrooms 

There’s something about mushrooms – you either love them or hate them. I’m firmly in the “love camp.” They’re meaty and super porous, so they’ll absorb any flavors you add. Mushrooms can be cooked a hundred ways- roasted, sautéed, stuffed, fried, or made into “ground beef.”

I’ll bet you never thought of grilling mushrooms! Well, maybe you did, but they always slide off the skewers and end up at the bottom of the grill grate. Or they’re watery and lifeless. In this recipe, I use a foil pan and set it directly on the grill. The mushroom and onions char and caramelize. Truffle oil adds an intense burst of flavor, but it’s totally optional. There’s literally no cleanup- just toss the foil pan. 
I use Vidalia onions in this recipe, because of the high sugar content. They cook up nice and sweet and have a great contrast to the earthy mushrooms. Yellow or red onions will definitely be delicious, but Vidalia or another sweet onion is worth seeking out! 

Mushroom washing is a huge debate in the culinary world. Soaking, not soaking, rinsing, wiping, brushing… there’s a million ways to clean a mushroom. Ask ten cooks how they clean a mushroom and you’ll get twelve answers! 
Since mushrooms are cultivated, they’re not super dirty. Open the box and pick out any visibly dirty mushrooms. Give them a quick rinse to remove the dirt and set them on a paper towel to dry. Use a damp paper towel to wipe off all the clean looking mushrooms. Trim the bottom of the stems and you’re ready to cook! 

The best way to preserve unwashed mushrooms is out of their container, and in a brown paper lunch bag! The bag allows the mushrooms to “breathe” without them drying out or getting slimy. Mushrooms don’t last long once they’ve been washed, so use them right away. They can be washed and dried and stored in a ziplock bag overnight, but not longer, or they’ll start to get mushy. 

Truffle Grilled Mushrooms 

24oz Baby Bella mushrooms 

2 Vidalia onions 

2 frozen garlic cubes 

1 TB truffle oil 

3 TB olive oil 

2 TB chopped parsley 

Salt & pepper 

Cooking spray 

Wash and dry the mushrooms. Trim the stems. Peel onions and slice into thin wedges. Combine the mushrooms, onions, garlic cubes, oil, salt and pepper in a greased 9×13 foil pan. Place on a hot (500-600 degree) grill for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot! 

Note: if not using truffle oil, increase olive oil to 4TB 

Grilled Chicken Fattoush Salad


Fattoush salad: the ultimate make ahead, super simple, healthy, main course salad. 

There’s no lettuce here- so leave the salad spinner in the cabinet. Large chunks of veggies mingle with grilled chicken and torn pieces of Zaatar laffa. 

This salad was the Middle East’s answer to stale bread. Toss it up with some leftover veggies, add a lemony dressing, and call it dinner. I doubt most of us have stale pita hanging around, so I make my own “chips.”

I use laffa here because it’s thinner and crisps up quicker. Pre made Zaatar laffa is readily available in Brooklyn, so I use that. (#lazy) But if that’s not an option, split pita, plain laffa, or even wraps are a perfect substitute. To make the Zaatar spice mixture, combine about 1/4c Zaatar seasoning with a drizzle of olive oil. It should look like a paste. Spread it on your bread and proceed with the recipe. 
This is the perfect make- ahead recipe for a busy summer BBQ. All of the components can be prepped a few days ahead of time. There’s no need to warm up the grilled chicken, as it’s traditionally served cold. Just remember to hold back the chips and the dressing until serving time! 
Overall, this was a hit with the kids. The dressing is light and simple, not too strong or spicy. One kid picked out the cucumbers, one kid removed the tomatoes. I’m going to take one for the team and call that a success! 

Salad: 

2 Zaatar laffas 

4 Persian cucumbers 

1 pint grape tomatoes 

3 stalks celery 

1 c olives 

1/4 c roughly chopped mint leaves 

1/4 c roughly chopped parsley leaves

1 small eggplant 

2 medium sweet potatoes 

2 TB olive oil 

Salt & pepper 
Chicken: 
1lb thin sliced chicken cutlets 

1/4 c finely chopped parsley leaves 

6 cloves minced garlic 

2 TB olive oil

1 TB smoked paprika 

Salt & pepper 
Dressing: 
2 lemons 

2 TB olive oil 

Salt & pepper 

Make the chicken marinade: combine oil, parsley, garlic, smoked paprika, salt & pepper in a ziplock bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or as long as overnight. 

Cook the chicken & lemons: remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Halve the lemons and char on the grill for 3-4 minutes. Chop the chicken into bite size cubes. 
Wash and the sweet potatoes and eggplant. Trim ends and cut into 3/4″ cubes. Place in a greased 9×13 pan, drizzle with oil and salt. Roast at 425 for 30-35 minutes. Vegetables should be crisp on the edges and soft in the middle. 
Tear the laffas into 2″ pieces. Scatter on a baking tray and bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes. The pieces should be crispy. 
Peel the celery and roughly chop. Trim the cucumbers and chop. Halve the tomatoes. Combine celery, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, roasted vegetables, cubed chicken, and crispy laffa in a serving bowl. 

To dress the salad, squeeze lemons over the top and drizzle with oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

California Salmon Salad + Creamy Herb Vinaigrette 

Over winter break, we took the girls to California for vacation. We spent days roaming in and out of neighborhoods and checking out the LA foodie scene. Whenever we walked down a busy street, I had to get a look at every restaurant menu. There was kale and salmon everywhere. Every restaurant offered their version of a “chef’s salad” with tons of local and seasonal toppings. I took pictures of the menus for later inspiration. Those few weeks when spring drifts into summer are my favorite. Sturdy kale and fresh corn are next to each other at the market. Some days are too hot to even think about cooking. Boots get packed away for good and the sandals make an entrance. Our California adventure came back to me. 
This time of year brings after school park dates and less time to fiddle in the kitchen. Salads and bright, fresh dishes are key players in the dinner game. I love spending time in the kitchen, but not when it’s 80 degrees out! 
I figured a dinner salad would be the perfect medium between a full meal and a bowl of rabbit food. I put together this salad with the greens and produce that looked the best when I went shopping. I used kale and romaine as the base, but any lettuces would work. Feel free to leave out an ingredient, substitute or switch things around. 
The dressing is simple, flavorful, and bright. Greek yogurt is the base- it takes the place of heavy sour cream but still gives a great tang. Fresh herbs are key. They add a brightness and spring vibe. Any leafy herbs will work perfectly. Lime juice adds zip and tang, while olive oil brings it all together. Leftover dressing makes an amazing dip for raw vegetables!

There’s a lot of steps to this recipe, and it may seem long. But it’s really simple and totally worth the effort! 

California Salmon Salad: 

1lb salmon, skin on 

Salt & pepper 

12 c chopped lettuce 

1 pint grape tomatoes

3 Persian cucumbers 

1.5 c peas (defrosted)

1.5 c alfalfa sprouts 

1.5 c fresh corn kernels 

Preheat oven to 450. Place salmon on a greased baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow salmon to rest for 10 minutes. 
On a large platter spread out lettuce. Slice tomatoes in half and dice cucumber. Arrange tomatoes, cucumber, sprouts, salmon, corn and peas in rows on top of the salad. Drizzle with Creamy Herb Vinaigrette. 

Creamy Herb Vinaigrette 
2 c loosely packed herbs (I used dill, tarragon, chives, and parsley) 

3/4 c Greek yogurt 

1/4 c olive oil 

1/2 c lime juice 

Salt & pepper 

Finely chop herbs, by hand or in a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add yogurt, salt, pepper, oil, and lime juice. Whisk until combined. Check seasonings and add salt or pepper if needed.