Recently my siblings and I were passing online messages about my father. At one point, my older brother Mike said, "Dad's cooking broke down into two categories: it either tasted good, or it was healthy, but generally not both. Or more that his thinking was, if it's healthy, there's no reason to be concerned with it tasting good or not."
This was the 1970s and "health food" was not what is today. Besides my father's tendency towards "more is more" ("Dad, raw oats in the hamburger? Really?"), his Sunday specialty was, no lie, seaweed-soybean waffles. Good God, that was dreadful. [Ed. note: That sounds worse than disco in bell-bottoms.]
Truth told, he was ahead of his time, very disciplined about exercise and nutrition. During WWII, as a teenage Austrian refugee in Shanghai, he took up boxing and sparred with US Marines stationed there. Growing up with my siblings, we never witnessed him missing a workout, no matter the weather or how late he came home from work. He'd jog a couple miles, hit the punching bag, skip rope double-time while running in place, do countless push-ups. Something. Every single day.
We ate 14-grain bread (which tasted like brick and mortar back then), when all I craved was that soft, white Wonder bread that was popular at the time. Now, this is not to say that we didn't have delicious food and sweets at home, just not on Sundays.
Dad passed away on September 23, 1979. Forty years gone. If he could only see us now. See, Dad, we were listening! I'd like to think that he would have loved these veggie burgers.
These days, the BF and I eat healthy, but it has to taste good. [Ed. note: Oh hecks no, inject those soybean-seaweed waffles directly into my veins. :-/ ] And we both love a healthy veggie burger. Am not trying to make this taste like a beef burger, it's not a beef burger, but I will say that I've made hundreds of variations of veggie burgers and the BF and I absolutely adore this one from the talented women at Pollan Family Table.
PS: A year ago I lamented the scourge of jury dury and the terror of a broken refrigerator, survived both, and made Mom's apple cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/moms-apple-cake).
Adapted from: Pollan Family Table
Number of servings: 4
Dad's boxing gloves, 2019.
Dinner guests who visit the house often have some form of dietary restriction: carb-, gluten-, grain-, or sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, flextarian, only white-meat chicken-eater, allergies (shellfish, nuts, dairy), etc. You know what I'm talking about. I understand. Am a selective eater myself. [Ed. note: Run away run away run away do not comment I want to live...]
However, this summer has been about streamlining, making things as easy as possible. This dinner is the perfect solution. Have to give props to the BF, who suggested that kebabs would be a good accompaniment. [Ed. note: I can't help myself. I like good food, ok?]
This is especially effective for a dinner-party menu. Serve your favorite hummus for appetizers, follow up with two entrees: Roasted Harissa Spiced Ratatouille and Chicken Kebabs. The ratatouille will satiate the vegan guest and be a nice side dish for the carnivores. FYI, this dish is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegan.
Have been on a harissa kick lately, adding it to shrimp skewers, lamb patties, and roasted Japanese eggplant. Harissa is a spicy aromatic North African chili paste made out of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. It comes in sauce form or paste, as you can see in photo below. I used a mild harissa sauce for this dish, but next time might opt for the paste, which is spicier and more concentrated.
Adapted from: Gourmande in the Kitchen
Number of servings: 4-6
[Ed. note: Our special-guest blogger from last Halloween, returns.]
Marlowe here. I is chocolate "rescue" lab who pawed blog last year about Mini Butterscotch Apples. Dad said to leave a computer web internets link to remind you so I do now here goes make way: www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mini-butterscotch-apples. He also says I says to reminds you to click ad links so we have more money for treats. Also says he hopes I do not eat too many minty-breath treats at one time, like that day I did and trew up so much he called me Shamrock Shake for month. I not know what that mean.
Today I has a sad because Mom go away for while (in dog weeks this will suck) to do human things and leave me with Dad, who cooks like a cat. While Mom gone I hope he do not overdose on cheeseburgers and shame.
Luckily he like all varieties of healthy greens, so for side dishes Mom often make sautéed leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard and mustard greens, or bok choy. Dad say primary care physician appreciate. What. Ever.
Mom say this original dish can't be more easier to prepare, five whole minutes (35 if you is dog), and can be served as a side or main. Also Dad say use bullet points hey me no know how slow down I bite you:
In closing, please enjoy, and I now go enjoy NBA finals with Dad. Me no fear no deer or dinosaur from Canada. Go Warriors. #DubNation
Number of servings: 2 as a main, 4 as side
I worked on this all night.
Something about watching the BF's expression go from "Vegan, really?" to "Yes I would like forty more of these, thank you" does my heart good. [Ed. note: These kind of surprises are the best.]
Actually made these for the first time last August, and wondered why I'd waited so long to try them. Cinco de Mayo provides a perfect excuse to bring them out again, and will hopefully give you a healthy, vegan, gluten-free option should you be hosting family and friends for the holiday, or any day!
PS: A year ago we were watching the Golden State Warriors in the middle of a playoff run (tonight they're headed into Houston for a game against the Rockets) [Ed. note and game recap 5/5: DAMMIT], and we had a bit of fun with some coconut curry shrimp dedicated to one Wardell Stephen Curry II. www.moveablefeast.me/blog/three-point-coconut-curry-shrimp
Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld (jessicaseinfeld.com/)
Number of servings: 2-4 depending on how hungry you are
Pickled onion and Jalapeños
Pickled Onion & Jalapeños
This Russian cabbage borscht is another winter warm-up secret weapon. Not to be confused with borscht made with beets or various meats and winter vegetables; while that is good, this soup is pure Jewish comfort food. Just a handful of simple ingredients, mainly cabbage.
When I was a kid, momala made a cabbage borsht flavored with short ribs or brisket. Once the meat finished cooking, she would shred and add it back into the soup. After pouting, I would pick out all the meat and leave the cabbage. Then I would complain. A lot. (Cabbage: not a favorite.) My childhood best friend loved the soup, so much so that momala would joke that she was the rightful daughter, not me. Today, I would never dream of doing that. Cabbage is actually my favorite part.
However, this version is different from my mom's soup, but an homage all the same. Kept her addition of golden raisins for the sweetness, but I made this version more brothy and added caraway seeds, V8 juice and cayenne for a little kick. Also, everything is finely chopped or minced rather than chunky. Always have to mention, the BF absolutely loves this soup. [Ed. note: Can confirm.]
You can even make this vegan by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
Healthy, flavorful, delicious, inexpensive and it freezes very well. Makes a delightful lunch or perfect dinner paired with Russian rye or black bread. [Ed. note: HOW ABOUT VODKA OKAY JUST KIDDING]
What's not to love? Momala would be proud!
Number of Servings: 10-12 cups
Happy Hanukkah! One of my favorite holidays to celebrate with my BF and family. It's also latke time!
I love this method for making latkes, mainly because it's baked and not fried. You use oil, but it won't splatter all over the stove.
And yes, it's parsnips instead of potatoes. Parsnips taste nutty and sweet, so to complement that sweetness you can top the latkes with tangy creme fraiche or sour cream, hot pepper jelly and chives (as shown in the photos above and below). Smoked fish or poached eggs are also delicious as a topper. The BF and I love them with mashed avocado and a poached egg, drizzled with chimichurri sauce (bottom photo).
If you don't have a Spiralizer, don't worry, the large grate on your hand grater will work fine. The bones of the original recipe are from Inspiralized, I just changed the quantities to my liking.
Closing on a different note, my cousins in Chicago recently sent me this amazing "Bohemian Chanukah" by Six 13 (see below), and this, along with the fact the BF and I loved the film Bohemian Rhapsody [Ed. note: if Rami Malek doesn't get a best-actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the offending non-voters should be studied in a lab], reminded me that Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time.
How favorite? I actually "gave" a Queen documentary DVD to the BF as a Hanukkah gift, and he kindly reminded me that he'd actually received a press-review copy of the same film years ago when he was working as a music journalist. He offered it to me, and for some reason at the time I said no.
Sometimes you need to be reminded.
Reminding you that we hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
Adapted from: Inspiralized
Number of servings: makes 5-6 large latkes or 10-12 mini latkes
We're getting deeper and deeper into October (don't know about you, but did this past week feel like a month or what?), which doesn't just bring us closer to my favorite holiday, Halloween, but all the signs are pointing to another very busy Thanksgiving-to-Christmas season. Meaning, with all of the impending insanity, it's always a good idea to have a few "make-ahead meals" on hand to save time on the off nights. Off nights that are better spent curled up with the BF watching a favorite show like Better Call Saul, or the World Series where his team the San Francisc—oh. Sorry. [Ed. note: Twist the knife, why don't you.]
This Moroccan stew is delicous the night it's made, and reheats well for lunches or make-ahead dinners, without losing any of its vibrant cumin, cinnamon and saffron flavors. Colorful and brothy, light and healthy, it's filling without being heavy.
It's also vegetarian, but can easily be made vegan by replacing butter with olive oil and skipping the yogurt (see note).
Changes made to the original Smitten Kitchen recipe: substituted yams for the plain potatoes (I recommend the dark red Garnet yam variety), and left out the preserved lemon.
The BF loves it over couscous, but I love it on its own. My dinner guests love all the toppings. A supremely versatile dish you can whip out while you prepare for the costumed kids soon to run amok. Amok! Amok! Amok!
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Number of servings: 6-8
NOTE: To veganize this, replace the butter with additional olive oil, use vegetable broth and skip the yogurt.
PS: Sweet tooth? Did you miss a year ago when I whipped out the caramel apple cheesecake that destroyed the BF? [Ed. note: And no, she's not kidding.] (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/caramel-apple-cheesecake)
PPS: Amok! Amok! Amok!
Tonight at sundown begins Yom Kippur. For 25 hours we will fast. [Ed. note: A WHOLE DAY AND AN HOUR DEATH WHERE IS THY STING?] This “Day of Atonement” (English translation) isn't Hanukkah, but it's the holiest day of the year, and a day to begin the new year with a fresh start.
When I was young, my mamala used to make her famous roast chicken before the fast and another one to break fast. We lived in a small town about 200 miles (round trip) from the nearest synagogue in Portland, Oregon. By the time services were over, and it was past sundown, we made it home around 8:00pm and started roasting a chicken we didn't actually eat until 10:00pm. It was a long day and we were all pretty hangry [Ed. note: A technical term.] by that point!
Although hardly traditional Jewish fare, this Mexican-marinated roast chicken is the perfect way to start the fast and it will be an easy and equally delicious meal to break fast. Best of all, I prepared everything ahead of time, so I didn't have to start the process after work.
A word about the marinade: you're probably thinking mayonnaise is an odd choice, but it's not. It works. The Best of Fine Cooking explains, "Mayonnaise is the perfect base for marinade as it takes the place of oil and keeps the marinade ingredients suspended. The lime juice cuts through the richness of the smoky chipotle and the beer adds depth of flavor."
The spice level is relatively mild, for my taste. If you like a bit more kick, like the BF and I do, add an additional ¼ - ⅓ cup of purée to the mayo.
Serve this chicken with anything! We made burrito bowls, but it's perfect served in a tortilla as a burrito or taco. Our side dishes included saffron rice, black beans, pickled red onions, avocados and a delectable cilantro vinaigrette that was so good, it will have its own blog entry very soon.
To all of my tribe, wishing you a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.
Adapted from: The Best of Fine Cooking, Mexican, 2018
Number of servings: 4-6
NOTE: You can make the marinade ahead of time. Tightly covered, the marinade (with mayo) will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.