Sunday, November 27, 2011

Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

Roasting broccoli adds an earthy depth to its flavor, and the addition of some thinly sliced garlic provides a delightful kick. I know some people who thought they didn't like broccoli but changed their minds when they tried this recipe.


1 pound broccoli, cut into medium-size florets
1 small clove garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients, and let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Pour the broccoli mixture into a baking dish or roasting pan, and arrange the florets in a single layer.

Cover with foil and roast for 10 minutes.

Uncover, stir, and roast for 10 minutes more.

If the broccoli is not yet tender, stir it again and then roast for another 10 minutes, or until tender and golden.

-- 4-6 servings

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mixed Green Salad with Gorgonzola, Dried Cranberries, and Pine Nuts

This delightful salad is festive enough for your holiday buffet table, but easy enough to enjoy anytime.

While you can use a purchased balsamic vinaigrette in this recipe, I suggest trying our Honey-Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette, as recommended. The homemade dressing is quick and easy to make, and much more economical!


2 tablespoons pine nuts
4 to 6 ounces (4 to 6 cups) mixed salad greens (e.g., spring mix, mesclun, field greens, or your favorite mixture)
4 to 6 tablespoons Honey-Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette (or your favorite prepared balsamic vinaigrette)
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over low to medium-low heat for few minutes until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the mixed salad greens in a large bowl. Add the dressing to the salad greens, tossing well. Use only enough dressing to lightly coat all of the greens with the dressing.

Add the gorgonzola, cranberries, and toasted pine nuts to the salad. Toss lightly, and serve.

-- 2-4 servings

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baked Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Brandied Raisins

I grew up eating the classic candied acorn squash baked with butter and brown sugar. In this recipe, I started with that basic idea and dressed it up with some walnuts and brandy-soaked raisins.

This works well either as a generous side dish or as a main course.

I typically use good cognac to soak the raisins, because I usually have a small bottle on hand for occasional sipping. But an ordinary brandy works well also, and will be more affordable.

Vegans need only substitute vegan margarine for the butter.


2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
2 tablespoons raisins
1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons coarsely broken walnut pieces
2 tablespoons butter (or vegan margarine for a vegan version)
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the microwave or on the stove, heat the brandy or cognac almost to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the raisins to the brandy/cognac. Let the raisins soak in the brandy/cognac for about 15 minutes. Drain the raisins, and discard the brandy/cognac. Place the drained raisins on a paper towel to dry.

Place the squash halves cut-side down in a 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the squash begins to soften.

Remove the squash from oven and turn cut-side up. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Into the center of each squash half place 1 tablespoon of raisins, 1 tablespoon of walnuts, 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

Leave uncovered and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, or longer as needed, until the squash is fully tender.

-- 2 servings

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese

I think of dates as "nature's candy". Stuffing them with Neufchatel or cream cheese creates an easy, healthy, and delicious dessert, appetizer, or snack.


1 8-ounce package pitted dates
3-4 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese

Cut each date lengthwise along one side to "butterfly ".

Divide the cheese into enough equal-size portions to match the number of dates.

Stuff each date with a portion of the cheese, gently pressing each stuffed date partially closed while still exposing some of the cheese stuffing.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.

-- 6-10 appetizer, snack, or light dessert servings

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mock Chicken with Mushrooms and Grapes

This recipe was inspired by a chicken dish I enjoyed at a fine restaurant many years ago when I was an omnivore. I created my own version and veganized it by using mock chicken breasts and no butter. As it turns out, there's nothing missing here.

I like to serve this with a green vegetable and some steamed brown rice.

For the photo above, I used Gardein Chick'n Scallopini, which I found at my local Whole Foods Market.

This recipe also works well with Gardein Chick'n Filets, Morningstar Farms Grillers Chik'n Veggie Patties, or Lightlife Smart Cutlets, which may be more easily found at major supermarket chains.


2 vegetarian "chicken" breast portions (unbreaded), thawed if frozen
1/4 cup unbleached flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3/4 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup mock chicken broth (such as Imagine No-Chicken broth) or vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved

Mix the flour, salt, and pepper, and coat the "chicken" in the flour mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the "chicken" over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned on both sides. Remove the "chicken" from the skillet and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet, along with the shallots, mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute over medium to medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the shallots are soft and the mushrooms are lightly golden. Remove the shallot-mushroom mixture from the skillet and set aside.

Add the wine, broth, and tarragon to the same skillet, increase heat to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

Return the "chicken" and the shallot mushroom to the skillet. Add the grapes, along with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Spoon the mushrooms, grapes, and sauce over the "chicken", and serve.

-- 2 servings

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mushrooms Stuffed with Red Bell Pepper, Herbs, and Feta

I love mushrooms, and this is one of my favorite ways of stuffing them. Offering a bite-size taste of the Mediterranean, these mushrooms are always a hit at parties, and are also great as an appetizer for a special meal - or anytime.


1/2 pound medium-size or large white or brown (crimini) mushrooms, or a mixture
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
1 scallion, green and white parts, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove stems from mushrooms. Finely chop the stems and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the mushroom stems, red bell pepper, scallion, and garlic, and saute for 4-6 minutes until soft.

Add the parsley, oregano, and thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste. Saute over medium to medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes to blend all the flavors. Remove from heat and set aside. Gently stir the feta into the vegetable-herb mixture.

Place the mushroom caps, stem side down, in a baking dish. Cover and microwave on high setting for a minute or two, until soft. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, and discard any mushroom liquid from the baking dish.

Brush the mushroom caps with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the mushroom caps with the vegetable-herb-feta mixture, and arrange them, filling side up, in the baking dish. Drizzle any remaining olive oil over the stuffed mushrooms.

Cover and bake for 10 minutes.

Uncover and bake for another 10-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are lightly golden and bubbly. (The baking time will depend on the size of the mushrooms.)

-- 3-4 appetizer servings