Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

One of Investigator’s favorite foods is fried cauliflower. He can eat half a cauliflower by himself 🙂 So I make it pretty often, as both my husband and I like it too. You basically split cauliflower into florets, boil like pasta (with some salt until al dente), then mix with beaten egg, a pinch of salt and (gluten-free) breadcrumbs, and fry, covered, stirring occasionally until egg is cooked.  Time consuming, but easy and well known.


Smells great!

However, as it does take time, I started asking Investigator to help me out. Suddenly, splitting the cauliflower into florets is a creative undertaking to rival the Mona Lisa 😀 He made florets in the shape of: a duck; a crocodile; a sofa; a face; a pyramid; a plane; and more and more and more. Who knew?


See? Arrow; chess piece; duck.

Gluten free breadcrumbs are either: gluten free crumbled bread of choice, chickpea flour, crushed gluten free cornflakes/rice puffs.

Bon Apetit!

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I’m not much of a soup person. I usually feel as though it’s a first course, and I wait for the main afterwards 😉
However, daylight saving time and colder weather, coupled with trying a healthier lifestyle, changed my mind.
During the summer, my husband and I decided to make a large salad every evening. This worked about 50% of the time 😕 But it was better than nothing. With cold weather, I had zero liking for a salad, so I called my MIL and asked what she puts in her vegetable soup (as that’s one of the few soups my husband eats) and tried it out. I used the food processor to chop the vegetables, using this awesome knife that I discovered for salads:


To my surprise, I also discovered that it’s great for homemade French fries, but that’s a different blog post 😉
Basically chop everything, put in a pot, add water and salt, and wait. Of course, doing this around the kids means that part of the vegetables end up in their mouths,  but that’s just a bonus – and they love working the food processor 🙂 Turned out great and perfect for a quick dinner on those busy weekdays (I made a pot for the weekend and we ate it during the week).

1 onion
2 kohlrabi, peeled
1/2 a cauliflower
5 large carrots, peeled
4 potatoes, peeled

Optional :
1 leek,  cut into 4 (no need to chop)
Canned chickpeas, whole, drained
Small bunch of parsley
Small bunch of dill
(I tie them together without chopping and take them out after cooking)

Chop all vegetables. Put in pot.


Tied up herbs on the right

Cover with water. Add 1 tsp salt or to taste. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables can be easily picked with a fork. Serve and eat!


If you’re in the mood, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top… Yummy!


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As part of the renovations, my husband realized one of his dreams, took over a balcony and bought a Weber gas grill. My husband loves BBQs, and loves inviting friends and family over for them. For me it’s even better, as I need to do minimal prepping of the vegetables and then I sit on the sofa looking pretty until the food is ready 🙂 Great for the last months of pregnancy!

My husband does the entire meal on the grill – meat (steaks/chicken breast/kebabs/sausages), potatoes, vegetables (squash, fennel, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, onion, celery, kohlrabi). The grill is big, so it doesn’t take much time. And everything tastes awesome!

Steaks/Chicken breast: He puts salt and freshly ground pepper on the steaks, and salt and paprika on chicken breasts.  The children love chicken breast on the grill as is, so we don’t even bother with a marinade.

Kebabs/hamburgers: we just use my basic meatball recipe: 1 Kg ground meat, 1 egg, 3-4 tbsp breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp mustard. Comes out tasty and succulent.

Vegetables: a bit of olive oil and salt, one can also add paprika, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. I also tried a marinade of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, olive oil and garlic and it also came out very nice.

Leek in marinade


The challenge actually came when we had a whole lot of celery to use up. Out of curiosity I Googled “grilled celery”. To my surprise, I found a few recipes. What intrigued me most was when I found a recipe for peanut sauce. I tried it out, and dipped the grilled vegetables (including the celery 🙂 ) into the sauce and it made the grilled vegeatables even more awesome!

And what was even more impressive, both my children ate the peanut sauce (with their chicken breast) and both liked it! Definitely a keeper 😉

I split the sauce in half and added chili only to half the sauce (mine! :mrgreen: ):

Peanut Dip:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used B&D)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (to taste)
1/2 dried chilli with its seeds (about 1/4 tsp in all) (optional)

Mix the peanut butter with the chicken broth. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier. Add other ingredients and heat for 30 seconds and mix. continue in 30 second stages until the mixture is smooth and is of a dipping consistency (the more you heat it, the denser and less liquid it’s going to be).  Use for grilled or fresh veggies and meat.

Peanut Sauce and Celery Pieces

In the picture, the celery is pre-grill, with only olive oil, salt and pepper.  After grilling it came out tender yet still crunchy. The left hand sauce is the spicy one, the right hand one is the regular. I cooked the spicy one a bit more, which accounts for the change in colour and consistency.

Happy grilling!

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Last week I went to a cooking workshop with a friend. We made six dishes: whole wheat pita (amazing!!), whole basmati rice with spices and fava beans (ful in hebrew and arabic) (amazing!!), fresh vegetables and dates in rice paper (amazing!!), apple pie without sugar (OK, but full of butter), broccoli quiche (OK, but nothing special except for learning how to use real nutmeg instead of the ground stuff you have in the supermarket) and fried marinated tofu (OK, but tofu is not my thing).

After the cooking workshop

What I like about cooking workshops is the new ingredients. Whole nutmeg; Whole cardamom pods; dried chilli peppers; rice paper; fava beans. These are things that I never tried using, and now they would be part of my kitchen.

The rice rolls from the workshop

I’m definitely going to try doing the amazing dishes at home, but I started with the rice paper. A friend of mine recently gave birth and I wanted to invite her, and I asked her to tell me when they’ll be in the neighborhood (her father lives close to us). Friday an hour before Shabbat I received an SMS from her – they were in the neighborhood for Shabbat, perhaps they could drop by in the afternoon? I said sure! And then I realized that my cake would probably be gone by the afternoon, and I didn’t have the time or patience to bake something additional.

And then I remembered my rice paper. For those of you who, like me, have never heard of it before, here is what you need to do:

1. Buy rice paper (I used 22 cm diameter, there are smaller).

Rice Paper

2. Cut up everything you want to put  inside and place it within reach.

3. Prepare a large pie dish that can hold the rice paper without folding. Put  roughly half boiling water and half tap water. The water should be hot but cool enough to put your fingers in.

4. Spread a clean kitchen towel next to the pie dish.

5. Soak one rice paper in the water for 30 seconds.

6. Take out and spread on the towel.

7. Arrange the vegeatables in the middle, in one line (like for blintzes or similar)

8. Fold the edges inwards;

9. Roll the bottom half, trying to keep it as tight as possible.

10. Continue rolling over the top half.

11. Slice in two diagonally and place in serving dish.

So I cut up our regular vegetables: carrot, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, celery. I prepared for the kids with the vegetables they like: carrot and cucumber for the youngest, carrot, bell pepper and celery for my eldest; I added to the kids’ rice rolls also some dried apple (our dates spoiled, otherwise I would have added dates). For the grown-ups, I just put a bit of every vegetable. I served it with a recipe from my mother’s korean cookbook, for dipping fried vegetable patties in: 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic) and 3 tbsp soy sauce, mixed well and left to stand a bit until the sugar dissolves. It was absolutely fabulous!

my rice rolls and vegetable platter

In the end my guests arrived late (of course, as they were about to leave the baby decided she wanted to eat) so they missed it, but that turned out great as we ate them all! My eldest loved the rolls, my youngest picked out the vegetables and gave the rice paper back. And my husband and I wolfed them down.

My rice rolls

Other ideas for stuffing: bean sprouts; smoked salmon; stir fried vegetables; slices of pickled cucumbers; any salad at all; canned fish such as sardines… the sky is the limit! (I also heard it goes well with shrimp, but we don’t eat that 🙂 )

Shavua Tov (Have a nice week)!

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About a week after passover I called some old friends of mine to ask them if they and their kids would like to join us at the zoo. Her answer was that they couldn’t, they were in the hospital as their youngest (16 months) has cancer.

I was shocked. Their youngest is two months younger than my youngest, and what possible reason could there be for a baby to have cancer? You certainly can’t blame it on ten years of smoking! (our friends don’t smoke either). I was speechless. Ironically, my friends are very calm about it and are calming to their friends. Instead of us supporting them, they seem to be supporting all their friends at the beginning.

I looked it up on the Internet (as I couldn’t go and ask my friend, “so…what are his chances then?”) and found to my surprise that the survival rate for children is above 70% which is good. However, the specific cancer he has is fast and violent which is very very bad. So I did what I could (including crying my eyes out for a week), which is visit them in the hospital when they were there and offer to pick up their eldest to the zoo etc. And every synagogue that heard of them is praying for them, including ours of course. But my faith was and is frankly rocked. I asked “How can this happen? What could they possibly have done to deserve this?”

My husband could not give an answer, of course (if he could, he would be proclaimed the Messiah and the kid and the leopard will lie together etc.) but he says that in cases like these he looks around and sees the effect of this on the surroundings. I looked and I saw that all their friends are coming home and saying thanks for their kids’ health, their own health, their relatives’ health. People are looking at their lives and saying “I have it good”. They are noticing things they took for granted before. They are looking at the good instead of the bad.

Granted this is good but it is a pity that it takes such a shock at the expense of some very good people to cause this.

* * *

When I was at the hospital, I asked her what they were missing. She said frankly that though people are very kind people bring too much cake and sweets. “Oh, for some cooked vegetables!” she joked. I said great, that’s no problem. I’ll also add my favorite granola bars – filling, nutritious AND sweet. She said that would be great.

Fortunately, they weren’t in the hospital long and I haven’t made it yet, but in case you ever have to visit in the hospital, or in case I might have to again (they are periodically in the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, but the baby is doing better and everyone is happy for them) here are my favorite veggie recipes and my all-time best granola bar:

Granola bar

This is based on this recipe. For convenience, I will rewrite it with the small changes I made, and some optional additions. I’ve also done this with my toddler, he loves baking!


4 cups oatmeal
2 cups whole wheat flour (sometimes I substitute 1 cup of ground almonds for 1 cup flour)
1 cup coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 honey (swirl the oil in the cup first for easier measuring)
chopped dried apple/sunflower seeds/chopped dried apricot

Mix everything except the honey and chopped fruit/seeds in a large bowl. As kzmom says, you should really mix with your fingers so that all is coated in the honey. If it is still crumbly, add a teaspoon more applesauce. Press into baking pan, cover (especially if using dried fruit) and bake for 15 minutes at 160 degrees C. As kzmom said, don’t wait until it’s brown. Cut while warm and keep in a closed box. I keep meaning to freeze these and see how it works but I never had a chance yet! I bring them to my son’s day-care. my friends, and we all eat them for breakfast. Highly recommended!

Easy-peasy Microwave Squash

A friend of ours ate this at our house, and as she is originally my husband’s friend this became known at her house as “leftoverrecipes’ husband’s squash”. I always find this hilarious, as my husband hates squash and refuses to touch it. In any case, this is easy and marvelous!


squash, peeled and cubed (not too small)
olive oil

Mix all together in a microwave safe cooking dish. Cover and cook on High for 3 minutes. Mix and taste. Continue in 1 minute batches until tender. If the squash has a bitter taste, add more salt.

Exact amounts are not very important, but there has to be enough olive oil to coat the squash. Fresh squash needs less salt; slightly older squash needs more to prevent bitterness.

Upgraded veggies in microwave

This is simply the first recipe with some nice touches. Everything is optional and can be substituted for whatever you want.


Olive oil
salt or soy sauce
spices as you wish: oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, turmeric, cumin…

any or all of the following, chopped roughly: onion, tomato, squash, red/green/yellow bell pepper, cauliflower, frozen vegetables…

optional: canned chickpeas.

If using onion, place first in microwave safe cooking dish (either the Tupperware microwave cooking series or glass) with the oil and microwave on high for 5 minutes (if your microwave is very strong or your onion chopped very fine start with 3 minutes). Mix and return to microwave if uncooked to your taste (I like mine still a bit crunchy).  Add other vegetables and spices. Cook on high for 5 minutes. stir. Cook again until desired tenderness.

Using tomatoes is great here because it creates a tomato “sauce” with the olive oil and the spices.

You can add chickpeas and serve over couscous or rice for a satisfying vegetarian meal, or serve over pasta with Parmesan, or just eat as is!

שיהיה רפואה שלמה לכל חולי ישראל

Good health to you all

Bon Apetit

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