Working Lunch

Yesterday, I led a group of ladies in a corporate team building event.  These are  women who hold high pressure desk jobs, and crave healthy, simple, and inexpensive brown bag lunches. We discussed the limitations and roadblocks to bringing lunch from home. 

I asked the team members why they didn’t brown bag it more often: 

Their responses? 

“It’s expensive”

“It’s boring”

“I don’t know how to pack it so it stays fresh”

“I have no time!!!!!”

My responses? Carve out a little time for prep, and bring meals that are meant to marinate or hang out in the fridge. My “make it yourself” Miso Veggie Ramen Soup requires a container full of fridge-stable goodies, hot water (oh, hello, coffeemaker) and some Asian condiments. (Did you ever see little packets of sriracha and soy sauce at sushi shops? No? Well… look again! And grab a few with your next takeout order, they’re perfect for your desk) 
A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich loaded with texture and flavor. In my life hack version, we skip cooking up protein and we go with hot smoked salmon. This stuff looks like a salmon fillet, but is hot smoked and fully cooked. It comes vacuum packed or plastic wrapped and it has a pretty long shelf life in the fridge. All you need to do is remove the skin and tear it into bite size bits. Not a fish eater? Tofu, seitan, turkey, chicken(I’m talking about you, leftover soup chicken!) Quick pickles vegetables add zing and crunch, while spicy mayo gives a huge flavor boost! 

Invest in some quality containers, good ingredients, and carve out a chunk of time. Workday lunches just got SO much better! 

Smoked Salmon Banh Mi

Picked vegetables: 

1 bag shredded carrots 

1 red pepper 

4 Persian cucumbers 

2 shallots 

1 bunch cilantro 

1 TB sugar 

1 TB sesame oil

1/4c rice vinegar 

Salt & pepper 

– Thinly slice the red pepper and cucumber. Peel and mince the shallot. Roughly chop the cilantro. Combine all in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Add sesame oil and rice vinegar and stir to coat. Allow to sit and “pickle”
Sriracha Lime Aioli 

1c light mayo 

2 limes 

Sriracha (to taste) 

Salt 

-combine mayo and lime juice in a small bowl. Stir in sriracha and salt. Taste for seasoning. Store in a squeeze bottle or sealed container. 
2 large baguettes 

1 lb hot smoked salmon 
To assemble: 

– Slice baguettes in half lengthwise 

– Spread bottom half of baguette with Aioli 

– Flake salmon, removing skin, and add to sandwich 

– Top with pickled vegetables, draining liquid if necessary

– Close sandwich and wrap tightly in foil 
Equipment: 

Tinfoil 

Knife 

Small mixing bowl 

Medium mixing bowl 

2 large platters 

Mixing spoons 

Miso Veggie Ramen Soup 
3 packages rice noodles (Thai style)

1 container miso (white or red)

1 package firm or extra firm tofu 

1/2 lb snap peas 

1 bag shredded red cabbage 

1 package enoki mushrooms (thin strands, at Asian markets, if not avail sub thinly sliced baby Bella mushrooms)

1 bag shredded carrots 

Soy sauce 

Sesame oil 

Chile garlic paste 

Sriracha 

Salt & pepper 
Method: 

Place a tablespoon of miso paste into the bottom of each container. 

Break rice noodles into chunks and place in quart containers. Chop snap peas and mushrooms and add to containers. Add carrots and red cabbage to containers. Dice tofu and add to containers. Each container can be sealed and refrigerated at this point. 

To serve: fill 3/4 of the way up with hot water. Using a spoon or fork, mix miso into water, creating a broth. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, chile garlic paste, sriracha, salt and pepper to taste, and fill water almost to the top. Stir one more time to incorporate flavors. 
Equipment: 

6 quart containers 

Mixing spoon 

Knife & cutting board 

Paper towels 

Hot water urn or kettle 


Black Bean Burrito Bowls 
6 bags steam-in-the-bag brown rice 

3 cans black or red beans 

4 limes 

1 TB smoked paprika 

Garlic powder (to taste)

6 avocados 
– Steam rice according to package directions 

– Drain beans. Add in the juice of 2 limes, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Coarsely mash. 

– Peel and scoop avocados into a medium bowl. Mash with the juice of 2 limes and salt. 
Salsa: 

6 large tomatoes 

1 small red onion 

1 bunch parsley 

Small can green chiles (optional)

2 TB olive oil 

1 tsp cumin 

Salt & pepper 

– Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds. Roughly chop and place in large bowl. Peel and dice red onion, place in small bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Mince parsley and add to tomato mixture. Add chiles and drained red onion. Season with olive oil, cumin, salt & pepper. Stir and taste for seasonings. 
To serve:

Layer rice, beans, avocado and salsa in a container. 
Equipment:

Microwave

Large platter 

3 mixing bowls 

Knife & cutting board 

Small bowl 

Ice water 


Feta & Watermelon Salad 

 

8 c fresh watermelon 

2 c feta cheese 

2 small shallots 

Small bowl of ice water 

1/2c fresh mint leaves 

2 limes

2 TB olive oil 

Salt & pepper 
Peel and thinly slice shallot and soak in ice water for 5-10 minutes. This removes the strong onion flavor. 

Cut watermelon into 1″ cubes and place in a mixing bowl. Crumble feta into bowl. Thinly slice the mint and add it to the watermelon mixture. Drain the shallot, pat it dry, and add to the salad. Dress with oil and lime and taste. Season with salt and pepper as needed. 

Keep in mind, the flavors get stronger as the salad sits. The salad can be dressed before serving. 
Equipment: 

Mixing bowl 

Knife & cutting board 

Small bowl of ice water 

Shopping List:

1 bag shredded red cabbage 

2 bags shredded carrots 

1 red pepper 

4 Persian cucumbers 

1/2lb snap peas

6 avocados 

1 pkg enoki mushrooms (they look like strings, if not avail, sliced mushrooms are ok)

4 shallots 

1 red onion 

6 large tomatoes 

1 bunch parsley 

1 bunch cilantro 

1 bunch mint 

8 limes 

1/2 watermelon 

2 c feta (2 bricks)

1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu 

 1 container miso paste (red or white)
6 bags steam in the bag rice 

2 baguettes 

1 lb hot smoked salmon (this looks like salmon fillets. It’s sold vacuum packed)
3 pkgs Asian style rice noodles 

(These are white/clear noodles, they’re sold in a bag)
3 cans black or red beans 

Small can green chiles 

Olive oil 

Soy sauce 

Sesame oil 

Sriracha 

Chile garlic paste 

Rice vinegar 

Light mayo 

Sugar (1TB)
Salt 

Pepper 

Smoked paprika 

Garlic powder 

Cumin 

I presented this menu for a Women’s Circle event. We prepped & cooked in about 1.5 hours (I know!)

In these dishes, I incorporated the traditional simanim into the dishes. These would work  wonderfully for any event- not necessarily Rosh Hashanah!

A huge key part of getting this meal prepped and ready is taking help from the store! I buy pomegranate seeds, pre shredded slaw ingredients, and chicken already cut up! Frozen leeks are an amazing hack, if available! 
The fig jam is amazing on its own, spooned over chicken, as a glaze for salmon, or in yogurt parfaits. (Or just save it in a mason jar. It needs to be a mason jar for ultimate hipster status.)
Herb Roasted Chicken with Leeks
“Burnt” Eggplant & Pomegranate 
Apple Carrot Slaw/ Honey Chile Vinaigrette 
Apple & Fig Tart 


Herb Roasted Chicken with Leeks 

1 chicken, cut into 8ths or 10ths 

2 fresh leeks OR 1 bag frozen leeks 

6-8 cloves garlic 

1 c fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, sage) 

1/2c extra virgin olive oil 

Salt & pepper 

Cooking spray 

Prepare the leeks: slice off the dark green part of the leeks and discard or save for stock. Slice off the root. Cut each leek in half lengthwise and run under cool water. Roughly chop the leeks and soak in a bowl of cold water. Lift the leeks out of the water and pat dry. (If using frozen leeks, skip this step and just defrost) 

Prepare the herb mixture: mince the garlic and herbs and mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper 

Prepare the chicken: scatter the leeks on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the chicken pieces on top and season with salt and pepper. Smear with herb mixture. 

Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes or until juices run clear. 


“Burnt” Eggplant & Pomegranate 

2 medium eggplants 

1/4c tahini paste 

1 small orange 

2-3TB warm water 

Salt & pepper 

1/2c pomegranate seeds 

1/2c pistachios (optional) 
Slice off the top and bottom of eggplant. Cut into 1/4″ thick slices. Grease a cookie sheet and arrange eggplant slices in a single layer. Spray the eggplant with a generous amount of cooking spray. Broil 2-3 minutes per side or until lightly charred. 

To make the tahini, whisk tahini, juice of half an orange, warm water, salt, and pepper until smooth. It should be the thickness of pancake batter. 

To serve, drizzle tahini over eggplant. Sprinkle with orange zest, pomegranate seeds and pistachios. 


Apple Carrot Slaw with Honey Chile Vinaigrette 

1 Granny Smith apple 

1 honeycrisp or Fuji apple 

1 bag shredded carrots

1 bag coleslaw mix 

1 bag shredded red cabbage 

3/4c apple cider 

1/4c honey 

1/4c olive oil 

Big pinch of chile flakes 

Salt & pepper 

1 TB dijon mustard 
Core the apples and thinly slice into matchsticks. Combine in a large bowl with carrots and cabbage. 

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, making sure to incorporate honey. 

Pour dressing over slaw and toss to combine. 

Fig & Apple Tarts 

Fresh fig jam: 
 2 pints fresh figs 

2 TB honey 

1/2-2/3 c water 
Apple topping: 

2-3 crisp apples (honeycrisp, macintosh)

1 TB sugar 

1 tsp cinnamon 
24 mini puff pastry squares 

To make the fig jam, roughly chop the figs. Combine them with the honey and water in a small saucepan. Mash with a fork while jam cooks. Add water if the mixture looks dry. Continue cooking until mixture is reduced and syrupy. Allow to cool. 
To make the apple topping, peel and thinly slice the apples. Toss with sugar and cinnamon to coat apples. 
To assemble, press a square of puff pastry into a muffin cup. Top with a spoonful of jam. Arrange the apple slices over the fig mixture. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden. 

Shopping List: 

Cooking spray 

Olive oil 

Honey 

Dijon mustard 

Tahini paste

Salt

Pepper

Chile flakes 

Cinnamon 

Sugar

Shelled pistachios (optional) 
1 chicken (cut into 8ths or 10ths)
1 package mini puff pastry squares 
2 leeks (OR 1 bag frozen)

6-8 cloves peeled garlic 

Herbs: parsley & tarragon (OR sage OR rosemary) 

2 medium eggplants 

1 orange

Pomegranate seeds 

2 pints figs 

1 Granny Smith apple 

3 honeycrisp OR macintosh apples 

1 bag coleslaw 

1 bag shredded red cabbage 

1 bag shredded carrots 
1 container apple cider 

Equipment: 

Knife & cutting board 

Baking dish for chicken 

2 cookie sheets 

Small bowls & forks 

Large bowl for Slaw 

Muffin pans (disposable is fine!)

Bridal Shower Fun

I’m sharing this here because it’s my style of cooking in a nutshell. Simple ingredients. No frills. No fuss. Minimal mess. Foil pans. (Whoever invented those should win a Nobel Peace Prize)

This menu feeds about 10-15 hungry people. If I wanted to feed more, I’d add a grain salad (check out my quinoa salad, wheatberry salad, or skip the chicken in my fattoush salad), Caesar salad (hi, dressing I posted a few days ago), and another fish dish. 
This is an excellent Sukkot meal- the gazpacho can be ladeled out into disposable mugs ahead of time. Fancier folks can serve up individual pizzas in pizza boxes. The salmon holds beautifully at room temp. Dessert? Bring on the Carvel cake! (All vanilla for me, my birthday is in January!) 
Like what you see here? I’m launching an all new menu planning service. Give me your crowd, your allergies, your likes, your dislikes… and I’ll plan your menu and write up your shopping list! 

Let me know if you’re interested! 
Gazpacho 
3-4 large tomatoes 
2 stalks celery, peeled 

1 red pepper 

1 small shallot 

1 large English cucumber 

2-3tb red wine vinegar 

1/4c olive oil 

Salt & pepper 

Garlic powder 

Handful fresh parsley (or basil or cilantro) 
Chop all vegetables into large chunks. Pulse shallot and celery in food processor until finely chopped. Add all other vegetables – with machine running add oil and vinegar. Stop machine, scrape down sides. Season with salt, pepper and garlic pepper. Puree again. Taste, season if needed. Chill and taste before serving.
Sourdough croutons: 

7-8 slices sourdough bread 

1/4c olive oil 

2 TB smoked paprika 

Salt & pepper 
Cube or tear the bread into bite size pieces. Spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Using clean hands, toss to coat bread with spices. Bake (any temp between 350-425 works) until golden brown. 
Serve over gazpacho or in small ramekins on the side. 
Equipment: 

Knife

Cutting board 

Blender 

Serving bowl 

Baking tray 


Maple Mustard Salmon 
3-4lb side of salmon 

3/4c maple syrup 

1/2c horseradish mustard 

Salt & pepper 

2 oranges 
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay salmon on top. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Slice one orange in half, and juice half the orange into a bowl. Reserve the other half. Add mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper to the bowl. Stir to combine. Brush maple mixture evenly over salmon. 

Slice remaining orange and half orange into thin slices. Arrange on top of fish. 

Bake for 20-35 minutes at 450. Cool slightly before serving.
Equipment:

Cutting board 

Knife 

Measuring cup 

Baking tray 


Margherita Pizza + Arugula Salad 
2 balls fresh pizza dough (1lb each)

15oz can crushed tomatoes 

2 ripe tomatoes 

3-4TB olive oil 

2 balls fresh mozzarella 

Fresh basil 

Salt & pepper 

1 box fresh arugula 

1 lemon 

1/2c Parmesan cheese 
Stretch out the pizza dough to fit baking trays. Using fingertips, make indentations in the dough. Spread the crushed tomatoes in a thin layer over the dough. Season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the mozzarella and tomatoes. Arrange the cheese, basil leaves and tomatoes over the sauce. Bake at 450 until dough is crisp and cheese is bubbly. 
Salad topping: 

In a mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Tear basil leaves and add to dressing. Add in arugula and gently toss, coating leaves in dressing. Too pizza with salad mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan. 

Equipment:

Knife 

Cutting board 

2 baking trays 

Mixing bowl 


Marinated Feta 
2 bricks of feta (Pastures of Eden brand preferred)

1/3c kalamata olives 

1/3c sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

1/4c roasted red peppers (jarred, not pickled)

1 c multicolored cherry tomatoes 

1 shallot 

1 tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp red pepper flakes 

Salt & pepper 

 2 TB olive oil 

Cooking spray 
Chop olives, sundried tomatoes, shallot, roasted and peppers. Halve cherry tomatoes, or quarter if large. Combine all in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the feta in a greased baking dish. Spread the tomato mixture over and around the feta. Bake at 425-450 for 10-15 minutes, until warm. 
Equipment: 

Knife 

Cutting board 

Baking dish 

Mixing bowl 

Shopping List:

1 container multicolored cherry tomatoes 

6 large tomatoes 

Celery 

1 box arugula 

1 red pepper

1 lemon 

2 oranges 

1 large English cucumber 

2 shallots 

Fresh basil 
Red wine vinegar 

Olive oil 

Cooking spray 

15oz can crushed tomatoes 

Maple syrup 

Horseradish mustard 
Salt 

Pepper 

Garlic powder 

Smoked paprika 

Red pepper flakes 
Sourdough bread 

2 balls fresh pizza dough 

3-4LB salmon 
2 bricks feta (pastures of Eden brand is best)

2 balls fresh mozzarella 

Grated Parmesan 
Kalamata olives 

Jarred roasted red peppers 

Sundried tomatoes (in oil)

Simple Caesar Dressing (allergy free)

Caesar salad is a favorite in our house, though we call it “scissor.” Crisp lettuce, croutons, and a creamy dressing… what could go wrong?
Well, for starters, many storebought dressings basically taste like sweet mayo. My go-to recipe uses anchovies and Parmesan, which is useless for a grilled chicken Caesar. 

I’ve tried countless cashew based versions, and they’re delicious, but I wanted a nut free version. (Sunflower seeds just don’t have the same effect. I’ve tried. More than once)

I was getting out ingredients for my basic vinaigrette, when I came across a can of hearts of palm. THAT WAS THE ANSWER! 

Hearts of palm! It would blend up smooth and creamy and neutral tasting- the perfect mayo sub! Capers stood in for olives, and a ton of black pepper added punch. Make sure to drizzle in the water and oil into the feed tube of the food processor to get the emulsion going. 

I DID IT! Simple, quick, allergy free Caesar with (almost) everyday ingredients. There’s no fish, dairy, nuts, or eggs here. Just wholesome, vegan hearts of palm! 
Simple Caesar Dressing 

1 can hearts of palm 

1 garlic clove 

1 TB dijon mustard 

1 TB capers 

1/4c lemon juice 

Salt & pepper 

3/4 c water

2 TB extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse the hearts of palm. Chop and measure one cup. Reserve the leftover for another use. 

In a food processor or blender, blend hearts of palm, garlic, mustard, capers, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until very well combined. Scrape down sides. Turn on the machine and open the feed tube. Slowly drizzle in the water and then the oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and add salt if needed. 

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. 

Note: dressing may separate in the fridge. Give it a quick stir and you’re good to go!

Fakeout Takeout Lo Mein 

The elusive Lo Mein. Why can’t it ever be delicious? Maybe it looks awesome. (Spoiler alert: it never is) It’s either greasy or dry or both. Or the veggie is a few random pieces of broccoli. 

My version has the best of both worlds- it’s simple and it’s delicious. Ready to stir fry noodles make this a one pot dish. Literally, one pot, one knife, one cutting board. You can even skip the measuring cup and eyeball the ingredients! 
(Super pressed for time? Pre cut veggies!)

Noodle Notes: 

I like the Twin Marquis brand, which is available with an OU in Asian groceries. Many larger supermarkets stock this brand- either in the fridge near the tofu or in the freezer near the dumpling wrappers.

I like the “stir fry ready” type, which means no pre cooking is required. 

If these aren’t available (or shlepping isn’t your game), linguine works great. Just boil it separately till it’s a tiny bit undercooked. If using this option, skip the extra water in the recipe. 

Gluten free? Rice noodles!! Soak them in hot water for a minute or two and then continue with the recipe. You won’t need the extra water in the recipe, unless the noodles start to stick together. 

The veggies I use here are our favorites. But every family has an eggplant hater or a mushroom hater or an anything that grows in the ground hater. Use what you (and your people) like. One rule: firmer veggies go in first, tender veggies usually go in last. Basic rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t eat it raw, sauté it early on. 

I list sesame oil as an optional ingredient since it’s a common allergy. So many schools are nut & sesame free… and this is a perfect school lunch! Skip it if you’d like! 

Got Protein?
Add in your protein as you sauté the garlic. Seitan, tofu, and chicken all work beautifully. Leftover chicken from the soup? Add it at the end, so that it warms through. 

This is more of a method than a written-in-stone recipe. Let me know how you plan on mixing it up! 

Fakeout Takeout Lo Mein 

2 TB vegetable oil 

8 cloves minced garlic 

2 c sliced mushrooms 

3 c sliced Japanese eggplant 

4 c broccoli florets 

2 c roughly chopped baby bok choy 

16 oz fresh noodles 

Salt & pepper 

1/2-3/4c water 

1/4c soy sauce 

2 TB maple syrup 

1 TB sesame oil 

Sesame seeds 
In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the garlic, and sauté 1-2 minutes. Do not let it brown! Add in the mushrooms and sauté 3-4 minutes or until starting to brown on the edges. Add in the eggplant and stir. If the mixture starts to look dry, add in a drizzle of water. When eggplant is tender, add in noodles, broccoli, some of the reserved water, maple syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil. Raise the flame and toss the noodles in the sauce to coat. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats noodles. Turn off the flame and stir in bok choy. Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

Garnish with sesame seeds and serve. 

Apples & Honey Brisket

Every Rosh Hashanah table has apples and honey. And brisket. Because it’s not a Jewish holiday without brisket. 
But this isn’t grandma’s onion soup and cranberry sauce brisket. I’m changing it up and making an Apple & Honey Brisket. Because who doesn’t like make-ahead, simple, fab brisket? There’s no jarred sauces here, except for unsweetened applesauce. 
Pantry staples are the name of the game for this recipe- except maybe the apple cider. (But it should totally be a fall fridge staple!) Don’t cheat and use apple juice, it doesn’t have the same fresh, crisp flavor. 
Choose crisp apples, with a little bit of a tart bite. I like honeycrisp, gala or Granny Smith. 
Enjoy – wishing you & yours a happy, healthy, and sweet new year! 
Crockpot this – just toss it all together and cook it on low till it falls apart
Overnight this- get this baby into the roasting pan, cover tightly and cook on 195 for as long as you’re tucked in 
Freeze this- pulled beef + sauce + freezer container = heaven when there’s no dinner to speak of. Just make sure to label it! (I don’t take responsibility for mystery meat! 

Apples & Honey Brisket 

5lb brisket or brick roast 

1.5c apple cider 

1/2c unsweetened applesauce 

1/3c honey 

2 cloves of garlic 

1 onion 

3 apples 

Salt & pepper
Place meat in a heavy roasting pan or Dutch oven. Peel apples and onion and slice into thin wedges. Scatter over meat. Whisk apple cider, applesauce, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mince the garlic and add to apple mixture. Pour over brisket. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 for 4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. 
To serve: 
Pulled brisket- shred meat while warm and reheat in sauce 
Sliced brisket- remove brisket from sauce and wrap in foil. Refrigerate until cold, remove and slice. Reheat in sauce or separately. 

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.