Smoked Paprika Hummus with Warm Pita or Flatbread

Who wants to spend a lot of time in a warm kitchen, during the summer? We like to feast on small quick and easy dishes, like tapas; with a good bottle of wine.

 

 

Several years ago, our son, Alex, introduced us to one of Manhattan’s best gourmet vegan restaurants, Candle79. We all go for dinner there, each time he comes to Manhattan . We all love it, by the way. Our strategy at Candle79 (on East 79th Street), is to have 3 or 4 courses, each ordering something different – and sharing. This way, we all get to sample a wide variety of what this inventive restaurant offers. For the appetizer course, one of the dishes was “Smoked Paprika Hummus.“ This and a few other items on the menu, which we ordered, were so-o delicious, that I bought one of the restaurant’s cookbooks in order to try their recipes out at home. The recipes are not that difficult. We want to share with our readers, Candle79?s “Smoked Paprika Hummus“ recipe.

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use the canned chickpeas)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I don’t use the salt)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I also like to use cilantro instead of parsley, for a change of pace)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup tahini

Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers, roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs

 

Some of the ingredients – Serve with warm pita bread

 

Directions

If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

 

Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

 

Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

 

In the food processor.

 

To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.

 

Try stuffing chunks of cucumber with this paprika hummus, or mushrooms or deviled eggs.

 

On an informal summer Sunday night at home, we find that this hummus is so good, we heat up some pita bread, break out a bottle of our favorite white or rose wine, and just sit at our kitchen table, with raw carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks (and a few olives) and eat this delicious repast with total satisfaction. Sorta like a perfect summer picnic at home.

 

See below the wine we enjoyed with the paprika hummus and warm bread, this past weekend.

 

This is a light and lovely sparkling rose wine; perfect in the summer, with practically everything. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Lemon Mousse Delicieux

This is a delicious, cooling dessert, that’s quick and easy to make. No cooking, no hot oven; just your trusty food processor. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Yummy with fresh strawberries, or fresh mangoes, or fresh blue berries. Experiment with your favorite fresh fruit. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Wonderful (do ahead of time) dessert for a group of people. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients for two desserts – two people

1 small can sweetened condensed milk,

1 container of Tofutti (soy cream cheese)

3-4 fresh lemons

2-3 drops of vanilla essential oil

2 or 3 ripe mangos for bottom of dessert dish and for garnish

Tiny fresh mint leaves, for garnish

 

Shopping list doesn’t get much shorter than this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions

1. Fill a medium or large saucepan with water and boil it. Add the lemons and blanch them. This means let them boil for 30 to 60 seconds. Doing this softens the skins and makes it easier to squeeze them.

 

Blanching the lemons, 30 to 60 seconds in boiling water. I should have used a larger pot, but, hey, I’m not perfect. :) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. When lemons are blanched, either let them cool down so you can handle them, or put them in a bowl of cold water so they cool more quickly.

3. Cut the mangos in half, scoop all the flesh out and cut as many strips as you need to garnish the top of each dessert. Chop the remaining mango in tiny pieces and set aside.

4. Get two or four (or more) dessert dishes out and in the bottom of each, add some of the chopped mango.

 

Cut mango in half. With a teaspoon, dig the pit out. Scoop out all the rest of the flesh from the inside of the mango. Also, scrape off the pit, as much of the mango as you can. Put everything on a cutting board and chop. Before you chop, take out as much mango as you’ll need to garnish the mousse later; set aside. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Get a large mixing bowl out.

6. Grate 1 whole lemon for the zest and put into the bowl.

 

Put a flat grater over the mixing bowl, and great 1 whole lemon, for the zest. Some of the zest will fall into the bowl, so you’ll have to scrape all of the zest, off the grater and into the bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

7. Cut the lemons in half. If they’re large, you might want to cut in thirds. Put each section of lemon in a lemon squeezer or old fashioned juicer and squeeze out all the juice. Place a strainer over the large bowl. You’re going to use the strainer to remove lemon pits and pieces of the flesh.

 

My lemon squeezer catches the pits, etc. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

8. Pour the fresh lemon juice through the strainer and into the bowl.

9. To the bowl, add the Tofutti, the drops of vanilla extract, the condensed milk

 

All ingredients are now in the mixing bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

10. The secret to the light fluffiness of the mousse comes next. With electric beaters at high speed, beat the contents of the bowl for 3 to 5 minutes, until you can see that it is light and fluffy. Then take the beaters out, tap them on the bowl to get every last delicious bit and let this mixture stand about 5 minutes, before you do anything else.

 

Five minutes of beating at highest speed and the lemon mousse is done. Beaters will be tapped to get everything off, then it’s time to lick them. Be sure to let the mousse sit in the bowl for another 5 minutes, before you spoon it into your dessert dishes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11. Lick the beaters.  :)

12. While the mixture is standing, if you haven’t spooned chopped fresh mango in bottom of dessert dishes, do that now.

13. Finally, after letting the bowl of mousse sit for 5 minutes, spoon the lemon mousse into the dessert dishes. Decorate the top with the strips of mango. If you can’t find ripe mangos in your neighborhood, use any ripe fresh fruit, like strawberries, peaches, blueberries, bananas, etc. I suppose you could use a topping of whipped cream or cool whip, but in my opinion, that would be gilding the lily, so to speak.   :)

14. Put the dessert dishes in the fridge for about 3 hours.

15. Just before serving, add one tiny mint leaf to the top.

 

Enjoy !

 

 

For variety, you can add some of the lemon mousse to your favorite pound or coffee cake. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

I got quite sick this week with a horrible chest cough, requiring antibiotics. We didn’t have any wine all week. I lost my appetite for everything. However, we did want to share with you our recent find, of bottled Bellinis. The flavor is fine. I was wondering how Bellinis would taste with the lemon mousse dessert, but we never got around to trying it as an after dinner drink.

 

Even if you don’t make the lemon mousse recipe, you might like to try bottled Bellinis before (during?) and after dinner. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Red Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese, Cilantro, Dates, Flax and Black Sesame Seeds

On one hot evening, last week, this is what we had for dinner: veggie burgers, this red cabbage salad recipe that has been perfected over the years, and sweet ripe fresh mango slices. This was the perfect summer meal, so we wanted to share it with you.

 

Ingredients

1.5 pounds (more or less) red cabbage, sliced very thin on a mandolin

2 heaping Tablespoons fresh cilantro, very well chopped

3 Tablespoons your best extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons, fresh lime juice

1 Pinch Salt, 1 pinch black pepper and 1 pinch chili flakes

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped or sliced

8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, mashed into the dressing

4 teaspoons well-toasted black sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons toasted flax seeds (optional toasting)

 

Take an up close look at each shred of red cabbage. You’ll see that each one has a surface covered with oil. As a result, the cabbage won’t clump together, as it would, if not made slippery with the olive oil. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Thinly slice the red cabbage on a mandolin. As you know, extremely sharp, so be careful and don’t let your kids use it. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Do all your chopping, slicing, toasting, cutting first.

2. In the salad bowl you’ll use for serving, add the olive oil, lime juice, pinch salt & black pepper, and with a fork, mash the two fresh garlic cloves. Also, add the chili flakes and with the fork, stir the dressing together.

3. Next, add all the cabbage and toss it so that every single piece of cabbage is covered with the dressing. Do this before you add anything else. It’s extremely important to do this now and not later. If you don’t cover each piece of cabbage now with the oil, the drier pieces will clump together and won’t toss well later.

 

Toasting all the black sesame seeds in my smallest pan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. Next, add half of the chopped dates, half of the crumbled cheese, half of the cilantro, half of the flax and black sesame seeds and toss the dressed cabbage, slowly.

Chopping the dates. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chopping the cilantro. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. Finally, sprinkle the salad with the remaining dates, cheese, cilantro and sesame seeds and serve.

6. If you want this salad to be less crunchy, let it sit for a while and the cabbage will soften up a bit.

 

We were recently at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant in midtown Manhattan, (East 50s, so, great for pre-theater dinner), and after ordering a salad, I asked about its wonderful crunch and learned that if you add some baked, very hard bread crumbs, pulverized in a food processor, to toasted black sesame seeds, you will get a pleasing crunch along with the flavor, that’s very satisfying. Might want to try that with this salad recipe or others.

If you bought a mandolin, but it’s turned into a dust gatherer, now you have an excellent reason to use it. There are certain tools that you cannot do without in a 21st Century kitchen, a mandolin is one of them and a food processor is another; a small kitchen scale also comes to mind.

 

In this colorful red cabbage salad, every one of the ingredients adds to the final extremely delicious flavor. I’ve experimented a lot with this recipe and you cannot omit any of these ingredients. I would even go so far as to say, don’t even substitute. Wait until you’re able to include all of them. If you don’t have black sesame seeds, don’t use white, order the black online. I get mine from Whole Foods, Amazon, FreshDirect and Nuts.com. All the other ingredients are readily available in an urban location. Considering, the extremely positive outcome, this is an easy recipe. Just a matter of following a few clear steps.

 

For dessert, we had apple circles cooked in dark brown sugar and brandy. Still working on this; will share when ready. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here’s a pricy Italian red, 2012 Tignanello, from the renown Antinori Vineyards. This Tuscan red packs a wallop that captures your nose, tingles your palate and satisfies with a long warm finish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We saw a different type of play this weekend at one of our theater clubs, where we are patrons, the well known, Manhattan Theater Club, called: Cost of Living. There were two disabled characters (out of four actors) in this drama, played by two actors with those same disabilities. I liked having handicapped actors in those roles. During the play and before the curtain call, you could not tell whether or not the actors were disabled, or acting disabled. It was moving during curtain calls, to see that one young female actor, really had both legs amputated from the knees down, and appeared with her prosthetic legs. There were several themes in this play, certainly one was, “who’s in control,“ and being handicapped does not mean being out of control.

 

We had a long lazy stretch of a welcomed extended weekend and managed to stay out of the sun. Hope you were rested too.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Avocado Toast Manhattan Style (move over California)

Born in California. Nuanced in New York. Healthy, easy, beyond tasty, and attractive to serve, especially in the summer. Here and there, I began seeing “avocado toast“ popping up. It seemed too easy to make a big deal out of, but here, there and everywhere, this homage to avocados was ubiquitous. Maybe all the exposure was a subtle marketing tool, but who cares; avocados are on everyone’s top ten list of healthiest foods. Finally, I decided to take a toast challenge, into our kitchen, add my own touches and share the results with our wonderfully responsive readers. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The basic recipe is one slice of whole wheat or whole grain bread, toasted. Then, cut a ripe avocado in half and pit it. With a spoon, scoop the avocado out of its skin, leaving as little of the flesh as you can. Next, slice it, arrange the slices on the toast. (optional) drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the avocado, add seasoning, if you wish. Cut toast in half, in quarters or leave uncut, and eat. Here you see the basic ingredients for avocado toast. Below, are ingredients I have added, to enable you to mix and match, so that this healthy and easy dish stays fresh and new, all summer, indoors or out. Brunch, lunch, beach, backyard, snack or supper. Good with icy beer, chilled white or rose wine, flavored or plain ice water?..just plain delicious with everything, anywhere.

Ingredients

Whole wheat or whole grain bread, toasted

Ripe avocado, cut in half, pitted, sliced

Find ripe but firm avocados. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

These are all the ingredients you need for the original California avocado toast. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

The following ingredients are what I have been adding to the avocado toast idea:

Tomato slices

Orange and yellow pepper slices, cooked in oil a few minutes until soft

Red onion slices

Hearts of romaine

Turkey bacon, cooked first

Ahi salmon, chopped well

Nova salmon under avocado slices

 

In the future, I’ll be trying avocado slices or mashed avocado sprinkled with chopped rosemary pistachios. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Clockwise: Avocado slices, tomato slices, red onion slices, orange & yellow cooked peppers, turkey bacon (cooked), romaine hearts.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado mash: A variation on avocado toast is mash one or two avocados, add some cut up ripe tomatoes, squeeze as much fresh garlic as you like, add fresh lemon or lime juice, flax seeds, mix well and spread on your whole grain toast. Or, use this avocado mash, as topping to other toast ideas. This mash turned out very well. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Fry as many eggs as you want. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Go by your own palate and create as many different combinations, with toast and avocados. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

When I was a kid, my mother used to break a soft boiled egg over whatever hot cereal I was eating for breakfast. To this day, I love runny yolks on top of many dishes like veal chops, veggies, salmon tartare and much more, so this variation, above, was a no-brainer and my first variation for avocado toast. This turned out to be a delicious lunch. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Delicious down to the last bite. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with red onion. Extremely tasty. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with ripe tomato – with or without some mashed avocado on top. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with crispy hearts of romaine, topped with avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast with turkey bacon (cooked first), then topped with avocado slices  and avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast, using soft cooked orange pepper, avocado slice, topped with avocado mash. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Avocado toast, mashed on site, with your fork, then topped with red onion rings. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, slices of avocado, mashed at table with fork, topped with chopped raw ahi salmon, topped with another slice of avocado. When I do this particular variation again, I will top this sandwich with sprouts, preferably broccoli sprouts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, mashed avocado, chopped nova, topped with red onion ring. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Whole grain toast, plain avocado slices, mashed with fork, covered with raw ahi chopped salmon, topped with runny yolk fried egg. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Goodness Comes in Many Forms. Here is my favorite combo of all: Whole grain toast, layer of avocado slices mashed with fork, next layer chopped raw ahi salmon, topped with runny yolk fried egg, red onion ring(s). and sipping chilled white wine. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

The very next day, at one of our favorite restaurants, I asked the chef to make salmon tartare with two runny eggs on top. The green you see (above) is seaweed in the salmon tartare. I created this dish, at this restaurant. -to die for! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This chilled white, went well with all variations of the avocado toast. Here’s another toast: good health, to all our friends and colleagues! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

On Saturday we saw a play at one of our theater clubs, where we are patrons, called: Fulfillment Center. I hear it got good reviews; however, sorry to say, neither Jules nor I liked it.

The Big Apple is beautiful these days. We live near Central Park (luckily) and it’s lush these days, with all the rain we’re getting. Everything is in bloom. The park near the Planetarium is gorgeous, as is (Public Library) Bryant Park, near our offices. The Westside Highway is like driving through a park, so many trees have been planted there, plus the wild rose bushes are in full flower now adding to the pleasure of driving down the WSHighway.

The world is in chaos, but this was a relaxing beautiful weekend for us!

Be well, everyone

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Chickpea-Curry-Pistachio Fritters & Garlic Flax Chive Dipping Sauce

Your mouth is gonna love these chickpea fritters! Good with or without the chive sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Chive sauce Ingredients

20 garlic cloves, peeled and roasted

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup Kraft mayonnaise

Zest of 1 lemon

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon flax seeds

1 stalk scallion, chopped

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch chili flakes

1/4 cup fresh chives, minced

 

Fritter Ingredients

1 1/4 cups chickpea flour

1 cup shredded white Cheddar

1 teaspoon flax seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground curry

1/2 cup toasted, then ground pistachio nuts

Pinch kosher salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch chili flakes

3 garlic cloves, squeezed

2 large eggs

3/4 to 1 cup cold beer

1 cup chickpeas (canned or cook from scratch), drained on paper towels 15 minutes, or longer

1 cup chickpeas (canned or cooked from scratch), drained on paper towels 15 minutes, or longer

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 cup coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil, for frying

 

You can tell just by looking at the ingredients, that this is going to taste good! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions for Sauce

 

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, put garlic cloves in a small baking dish and add enough olive oil to cover. Roast until garlic is soft and golden, about 30 minutes. Cool.

Roasted garlic just out of the oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

2. Drain garlic, reserving oil.

3. Transfer the roasted garlic to food processor, add 1 Tablespoon of the reserved oil, that garlic was roasted in.

4. To the food processor add, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, flax seeds, scallion, salt pepper and puree. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chives. Use remaining oil for another purpose.

 

Final step of chive sauce. The fresh chives give the green color to the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions for Fritters

1. Toast pistachios with or without oil.

2. Slice the onion

Pistachios add a deep mysterious flavor to this recipe; plus they are the lowest calorie nuts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Slicing the onion. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

3. In food processor, puree 1 cup of the chickpeas, then scrape into small bowl.

4. In food processor, pulse the second cup of chickpeas, BUT DO NOT PUREE. KEEP LITTLE PIECES OF CHICKPEAS. This will give the fritters a more interesting texture. Scrape this into the bowl with the pureed chickpeas.

 

This second batch of chickpeas is not pureed. Coarsely pulsed, you want small pieces to remain in the batter, to give the fritter more texture. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

5. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, Cheddar, flax seeds, salt, pepper, chili flakes, turmeric, ground pistachio nuts and garlic and mix well.

All of step five has been added to this mixing bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 6. In a separate small bowl, gently whisk eggs with beer. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined.

Whisking beer with the eggs. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 7. Now, stir in all of the chickpea mixture and also add the onion.

All of the fritter ingredients have been added to the (above) mixing bowl. The batter is ready to cook. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

8. Heat oil (use up any left-over oil from previous cooking) in a large skillet over medium-high flame.

9. Drop about 1 Tablespoon of batter (for each chickpea fritter) into the oil and fry 6 fritters at a time until golden-brown; 2 to 3 minutes a side.

Cooking the fritters, just dropped in pan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 10. When fritters are golden brown and done, remove to paper towels to drain.

Draining fritters on paper towel. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

11. Serve hot, with the sauce on the side and some fresh lemon & lime segments (optional).

We started the meal with the chickpea fritters (chive sauce) as an appetizer with iced Pouilly-Fuisse; but they were so good, the fritters became my whole meal. Jules gives the fritters a thumbs-up, but also had mushroom deviled eggs, baked string-beans with Panko/parmesan coating, chicken, and fresh cold watermelon for dessert. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Fritters and sauce can be as spicy as you wish. Just adjust the seasoning ingredients, to your taste. It’s a wonderful meal when you go from spicy and delicious, to (dessert) cold and sweet. Enjoy! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Just spear a piece with your fork and enjoy cool, sweet watermelon for dessert. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

It was a beautiful late Spring day, here in the Big Apple; so gratifying to end it with this cold Pouilly-Fuisse and all that followed. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This weekend we saw, Oslo, awarded a Tony for best play. Oslo also got a Tony for best actor, Michael Aronov. Oslo is a wonderful, thought provoking work, with just the right amount of joking and light-heartedness, interspersed throughout the play. We enjoyed it immensely and recommend that you get tickets if you can. Our only FYI, is that the acoustics at the Vivian Beaumont Theater are not the best.

 

This venue is great for musicals (We saw South Pacific here) but problematic for the spoken word. Nevertheless, we do think you’ll agree it’s time well spent, with lots to discuss afterwards.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Practically Perfect Veggie Burger

After much trial and error, I want to share with you, a delicious veggie burger recipe.  By adding one fresh beet, health, flavor and color are well dispensed.  Tempeh is another must; it adds wonderful texture, as well as flavor.  Never have burgers disappeared so fast over one weekend.  These burgers were served over tri-color farfalla with a mushroom gravy.  What looks like mashed potatoes, to the right, is actually an easy recipe that I concocted about two years ago: steamed cauliflower mashed with chopped scallions and truffle oil.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

1 medium beet or two small beets: wash, peel, dice or slice

4 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup Coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound cremini, button or baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

Pinch kosher salt (or to your taste)

Pinch black pepper (or to your taste)

2 Pinches chili flakes (or to your taste)

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

3/4 cup toasted (unsalted) cashews

1/3 cup panko

2 ounces Queso blanco cheese, crumbled or grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 large eggs

2 Tablespoons Kraft mayonnaise

2 scallions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 more squeezed

3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

4 ounces tempeh, crumbled

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

 

Directions

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  In a medium to large bowl, put the oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, 1 squeezed garlic clove and mix together.  Set aside

3. Slice tofu into 1/4-inch-thick slabs and pat dry with paper towel. Then put into the bowl with oil and seasoning.

4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment and with a slotted spoon, remove the tofu and place on one side of the baking sheet.

5. Clean mushrooms, then slice them and put into the bowl with oil.

6.With a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms and put them on the other half of the baking sheet.

 

Going into the oven.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

7. Toss the beans in the bowl of oil and seasonings, then with slotted spoon, remove the beans and put on one side of the second rimmed baking sheet.

8. Put the sliced or diced beet into the bowl of seasoned oil, then remove the beets and put on the other half of the rimmed baking sheet.

 

Going into the oven.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

9. Put both baking sheets into the oven. Roast the beans and beets until the beans start splitting. By this time, the beets should be tender. This should take about 15 minutes. Roast  the baking sheet with mushrooms and tofu until the tofu is golden.  This should take about 25 minutes. Remove sheets from oven: 1 after 15 minutes, the other after 25 minutes; then let everything cool.

10. Meanwhile, put nuts in food processor.  Pulse until coarsely ground. Next add the beans and beets and pulse.  Next the mushrooms and tofu and pulse.  At any time, when the food processor is filled, and contents have been pulsed, take a spatula and scrape all contents into a large mixing bowl.

11. Next, add to food processor the panko, cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, scallion, 4 garlic cloves, paprika, chili flakes. Pulse until ingredients are just combined. Pulse in the tempeh and rice but do not over-process. You want small chunks, not a smooth mixture. You do NOT want a smooth paste, because you want the burgers to have texture to chew down on.

 

One of many batches in food processor.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Another batch getting pulsed.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This recipe doesn’t work without a food processor.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Nearly done.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

12. After everything has been pulsed, scrape it all into that large mixing bowl and chill in fridge, overnight.  The burgers will cook better the next day, if you have chilled them overnight.

 

Be sure to mix everything together very well.  Do not use electric beaters for this step of the recipe.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

13. When you are ready to make the burgers, divide mixture into 6 equal portions which yields large burgers.  I’ve made these many times and now prefer a slightly smaller size.  You decide the size you want and form each portion into a patty about 1 inch thick. Return to the fridge until just before grilling. They cook better when they start out cold.  I have never baked the burgers, but am betting they would be very good; also tasty, if grilled.

14. Cook the burgers in a skillet, over a high flame, until they are charred on both sides.  Then lower the flame and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, over low heat.  You want these burgers to be crispy on the outside.

 

Before chilling overnight in fridge, the mixture should look like this, or close to it.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Cooking the burgers – you want them to be crispy on the outside.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

15 That’s it!  Use your imagination and serve these veggie burgers any way you want.  In a bun or without.  With ketchup or with your own sauce.  For one meal, I made a mushroom gravy.  On another day, I made a yogurt garlic sauce, and served the burgers with fresh sliced tomatoes and avocados.  I haven’t tried a mustard sauce, but am thinking about doing that.

 

Out of the pan and onto the table.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

You could add a bun, onion rings, ketchup, etc.  Your choice.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

A delicious dinner: burgers, farfalle, mushroom gravy. mashed cauliflower with truffle oil and a crunchy garden salad.  Not to mention a delicious Shiraz.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Definitely worth snacking on.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We’re drinking another Henschke (Australia) Shiraz, which went well with the burgers.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Red Potatoes: Baked, Smashed & Topped with Garlic-y Asparagus Sauce & Rosemary Pistachio Garnish

All you need for this recipe is basically, locally-grown tender Spring asparagus and a food processor. What would we do without food processors? This dish is quick, easy and very tasty. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

If you’re eating indoors or out, these tasty little morsels can be an easy finger food/ ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

3 cups fresh pieces of asparagus (fat ones), clean and cut, save tips

1 and 1/2 cups pine nuts (toast them first)

6 cloves fresh garlic, peeled first of course

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch chili flakes

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 or 2 pounds mini red potatoes or medium red potatoes

Garnish: 1 cup full of toasted, then chopped pistachios & almonds, mixed with ? teaspoon dried rosemary (I bought this ready-made at Nuts.com)

 

Directions for Sauce

  1. In a food processor, blend together asparagus, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt, pepper, chili flakes, curry.  Put tips aside for decoration, later.

 

Set aside the tips for use later, as a garnish or decoration. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Pulse until you get a smooth green, slightly thick topping. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Your asparagus sauce/topping, should look like this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions for Red Potatoes

1. Wash and oil the red potato skins, then put them on a baking sheet and bake, uncovered in oven at 375 degrees for 60 minutes.  Pinch a little to see if done.  If not put back in oven for another 10 or more minutes.  You could also use medium size red potatoes but bake longer, like 80 minutes.  And, who says you can’t use large red potatoes?  I’m using smaller sizes, simply because I think they look prettier in the serving dish and on the individual plate.

2. While potatoes are baking, heat up the asparagus sauce.  If you think it’s too thin, slowly add a teaspoon of chickpea flour, stirring while you add.

3. When potatoes are done, put a piece of parchment over the potato and push down with your hand, or the back of a coffee mug, or the back of a large wooden spoon.  You want the potato to break open.

 

After smashing the red potatoes, they look like this. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

4. On a flat serving dish, arrange the smashed potatoes. Using a teaspoon, put asparagus sauce on top of each potato.  Next sprinkle some of the rosemary pistachio/almond mixture as a garnish over the asparagus sauce. You could also be creative and use the cooked asparagus tips in a decorative way on the serving dish.

 

Here we had two red mini potatoes per individual plate, with asparagus sauce and the pistachio garnish – with filet mignon and mushroom/marsala sauce.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is the medium size red potato at another meal, with asparagus tip as garnish.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Medium size red potatoes, with asparagus tip plus chopped pistachios & almonds for garnish.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here is the delicious pistachio nut garnish used on the asparagus potatoes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Simple lunch of baked salmon with ginger, plus the asparagus potatoes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Another simple tasty lunch: red cabbage salad with goat cheese & dates  –  and the asparagus potatoes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Both chilled white wines, above, went well with these Smashed Potatoes with Asparagus Sauce, sprinkled with rosemary pistachio chopped nuts. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Asparagus Baked with Goat Cheese, Dill, Flax, Sherry & Gruyere

This asparagus dish is delicious on its own or with fish and/or seafood. Take note that I’m not including a recipe for crust, because I wanted to keep the calories down.  However, feel free to use your favorite crust recipe and/or buy a frozen crust from your local market. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Ingredients

 

1 red onion, sliced. Use 2 if you want to bake onion circles on top

2 scallion stalks, well chopped

8 fresh garlic cloves, sliced

2 Tablespoons cream sherry

1 Tablespoon chickpea flour

Pinch salt

Pinch black pepper

Pinch chili flakes

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon flax seeds

3 Tablespoons, fresh dill, chopped very fine

1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces, stalks and tips kept separate

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

4 ounces creamy fresh goat cheese, crumbled into large pieces

 

Use the thick asparagus, rather than the pencil thin variety. Use fresh dill rather than dried dill in a bottle. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions

1. Be sure to clean the asparagus well, under cold running water, so that you get all of the sand and/or grit off each stalk. The first time I bought Spring asparagus, this year, I was not careful to do this. Nothing ruins a recipe more than having your teeth grind down on sand.

2. Do all your cleaning, cutting, slicing, chopping, etc. If using the 2nd red onion, slice it into medium thick rings and set aside in coconut or extra virgin olive oil

 

Chopping onion, scallion, garlic. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

3. Use a frying pan with coconut oil. Add asparagus stalks (not tips), onion, scallion, garlic, all herbs & all seasoning and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Just before you transfer the contents of this pan, add the white wine and stir in, so everything is well combined. Now, put in a bowl or a plate and let everything cool. Set aside.

 

Be sure to remove tips from each asparagus stalk. You want to decorate the top of the dish with slices of red onion and the tips. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

4. Add asparagus tips to the pan with coconut oil and cook 30 seconds. Put the asparagus tips into a bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.

 

Use the tips for decoration. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

5. Transfer asparagus stalks and everything, (not tips) to a food processor or blender. If food processor is small, do this slowly, removing each batch, to a deep baking dish, then add another batch to be pulsed. Add eggs, cream, flour, goat cheese, salt to food processor or blender and puree until very smooth. Pulse each batch until it’s pureed and very smooth. Pour each batch of puree into the oiled deep baking dish.

 

If you have a small food processor, pulse until smooth, in batches. Wait to use food processor, until the cooked ingredients have cooled down. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Scrape all of the blended ingredients, out of the food processor and into an oiled baking dish. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

7. Sprinkle the top with the grated Gruyere and top the cheese with red onion rings and asparagus tips. Bake about 40 minutes, until edges of custard are puffed, the top is golden brown, and the center is set. If the top is golden brown but the center is not set, make a tent of foil, to prevent browning too much, but still baking until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes before serving.

 

About to go into oven. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

With a nice baking dish, your whole (or part) meal can go from oven to table. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Everyone wants second helpings. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Once again, Louis Jadot, well chilled, Pouilly-Fuisse worked well with the asparagus recipe. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

We had a quiet weekend, with Jules overcoming jet lag. I don’t know how he does it. First back and forth to meetings in Iceland; followed by a week at our NY headquarters, then week long meetings in Israel.

 

We did go to the theater once, at Signature Theater on 42nd Street, where we are patrons. The play by Suzan-Lori Parks, is: Venus, based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, born in South Africa in the 1700s and brought to Europe when she was around 20 years old. Jules liked this play, I did not. I’m sharing the below information because I preferred learning about this well known African woman, by reading and viewing a documentary. I do understand why an African American playwright, would want to present the story of Sarah Baartman. Suzan-Lori Parks won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2002. Her list of other awards and honors is long. She received Phi Beta Kappa at Mount Holyoke College. This is the second play by Parks, that we’ve seen.

 

click here to read more

 

click here for a documentary about Sarah Baartman

 

Suzan-Lori Parks

Photo credit: By I, DerSchwabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2523613

 

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Asparagus Ribbon Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Pine Nuts

I think a well known Manhattan restaurant was the first to introduce ribbon salads; it was either, Union Square Cafe or Gramercy Tavern, I’m not completely sure, but it certainly is a sign of Spring when local asparagus turned into ribbons, start to show up on tables and menus. Let me share my adapted version with you. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Ingredients

 

2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus extra (toasted) for garnish

1 pound fresh, (organic) locally grown fat asparagus, rinsed

1 lemon, halved

1.5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Lemon circles, for garnish

2.5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 fresh garlic clove, juiced (squeezed)

1 Tablespoon fresh chives, minced

Pinch turmeric (that comes with black pepper, already mixed in)

Pinch black mustard seeds, toasted

Pinch chili flakes

Pinch, black pepper

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

 

When I think of Spring, from a cooking perspective, I always think of fresh shoots of asparagus, coming up through mulched garden soil. Since, they’re grown everywhere, buy your fresh ingredients, grown locally . ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions

 

1. Rinse the chives, then chop and set aside.

 

Chopping chives. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

2. Toast the pine nuts and the black mustard seeds together. Keep your eye on them and stir constantly so they don’t burn. You’ll have to do them over if they burn. Set aside

 

Toast the pine nuts and black mustard seeds together; then set aside. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

3. Rinse the asparagus, then make the asparagus ribbons

4. To shave the asparagus lay a stalk flat on a cutting board, holding it at the base. Usually, with asparagus recipes, you snap off the tough bottom, that are too tough to eat. In this recipe, don’t snap them off, so you have something to hold onto when you make the asparagus ribbons.

5. Gripping the base, at about where the pale base turns green, use a vegetable peeler to shave the stalk in long, even strips all the way through the tip. Be sure to peel the asparagus ribbon, all the way to the end of the tip. Some of your ribbons will have part or all of the tip and others won’t. That’s okay. The end result will be a lovely variety of ribbons.

6. The best peeler to use, is the Y-shape one. Peel again until you’re about half way through the stalk, then turn over and peel the other side. When you reach the point that the peeler will no longer shave the spear, rest the spear on top of a wooden spoon (or wooden spatula) with a flat handle, to elevate the spear and take the last two or three strips. Peel all of the asparagus spears, like this.

 

Nice to be able to look out your kitchen window onto a garden or a backyard. However, I’m satisfied looking out onto our block with many trees, and over-looking a little church that fills the air with music – choir rehearsal. With my window open or closed, the lovely sound has a calming effect. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is the Y-shape peeler you should use. I got this either at Williams-Sonoma or Amazon. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

7. Combine asparagus shavings, toasted pine nuts and toasted black mustard seeds, in a large salad (serving) bowl, and toss gently. Save some of the nuts for garnish.

 

8. In a small bowl, place the minced chives and the garlic juice in the bottom of the bowl and cover with olive oil. Add lemon juice, zest, turmeric and pinch chili flakes, and whisk until smooth.

 

Easy dressing to make. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

9. Pour this dressing over the asparagus mixture and toss gently with salad servers, to lightly coat all of the asparagus ribbons. Toss gently. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

 

Last toss; about to bring to table. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

10. Finally, sprinkle the salad with the freshly grated parmesan, a few extra (toasted) pine nuts and toss. Place the lemon circles around the bowl for decoration, or on individual plates. Serve immediately.

 

Easy to make and delicious! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

This is a healthy, truly flavorful salad. With some excellent bread and an icy white wine (or not), you really have enough for a summer lunch and or dinner. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Two of the seven theater clubs we support (RoundAbout Theater and Manhattan Theater Club), started years ago with very little financing. They struggled on, in various off Broadway locations, for many years, until today each owns several Broadway theaters and, each has been nominated for many Tony Awards. Last week, at RoundAbout’s American Airlines Theater, we saw some great theater in Arthur Miller’s, The Price. The surprise of the year, is the emergence of Danny DeVito, giving a great memorable performance, not to be missed. His beautifully created character will knock your socks off. Although, he’s made a name for himself on the screen and in other entertainment ventures, he belongs on the stage in live theater. He is a gem! Run to see this show before it closes. It has a limited engagement.

 

Danny DeVito in 2013; Born, Daniel Michael DeVito Jr, November 17, 1944 (ago 72)

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons – File:Danny DeVito by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50628181

 

Serve your favorite, well chilled white wine with the asparagus ribbon salad. This Pouilly-Fuisse was perfect. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

Date Cookies Made with Three Healthy Ingredients

I’m experimenting by using dates instead of sugar, in recipes. It all started when our LA son, Alex, would visit and have his coffee with a couple of dates. He was right. This is a delicious combo. Take a bite of date, then a sip of coffee – lovely. So, then I wondered if a date cookie would also go well with a cup of coffee and began testing, plain date cookies, plus adding other ingredients, which all ends up, sharing this recipe with you. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Ingredients

 

1 cup almond flour

8 dates (pits removed)

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

 

This is the easiest cookie recipe on the Planet. You can stick to the three ingredients, given, or you can add 1 additional ingredient from the following list: 1 heaping Tablespoon peanut butter (any brand you want, with or without peanuts); 1 and ? heaping Tablespoon shredded coconut (use the half for garnish); 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons white chocolate chips (use the half for garnishing); 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons plain walnuts (use the half for garnish) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

Directions

 

1. Do any chopping, slivering, cutting, toasting, you need to do.

 

Chopping some garnishes at the same time: walnuts in one corner and white chocolate in the other. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Toasting pine nuts for top of cookies using peanut butter. You can toast plain peanuts also. Don’t need to use any nuts that come with salt. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

2. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, or food processor and blend until a dough like consistency is formed. If the dough is not sticky enough, keep blending until it sticks together.

 

Dates in food processor, next vanilla extract, then almond flour. Only pulse these three. Don’t add peanut butter or coconut, walnuts, white chocolate, etc. into the food processor. Add that fourth ingredient, later. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

5. With a spatula, remove all the dough and put into a bowl. Now is the time to add your choice of a fourth ingredient, if you want. White chocolate chips are better added now, so they don’t get ground down too much. You control the size of the fourth ingredient, like walnuts and coconut, much better, if it’s added after the first three ingredients are pulsed in the food processor, and scraped in a mixing bowl. Feel free to experiment with that fourth ingredient. I tried banana but it didn’t work out too well.

 

The three contents of the food processor, were scraped into this bowl. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here, 1 big Tablespoon of peanut butter is being added to the dough. It will get mixed until it’s completely combined with the other ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Here’s the peanut butter, now well incorporated into the dough. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

6. Divide the dough into six pieces. Squeeze each portion in your hand, and roll into a ball.

 

In your hand, roll 1/6 of the dough into a ball. Then flatten it out. Make the rim of the cookie smooth, while it’s in your hand. Just push down a little, all around the rim, so there are no jagged edges. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

 

7. In your hands, flatten each ball into a cookie shape and smooth the outer rim, as well.

8. Place cookies on the baking sheet, with parchment, and bake for 10 minutes, for a warm, just out of the oven cookie.

 

The walnut date cookies came out warm and delicious. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

These are the white chocolate date cookies; they go fast! ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

All of the flavors are good, but these peanut butter date cookies are my favorites; One with a cup of coffee gives morning pleasure. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

When Jules went to a conference in Iceland, last week, he took a whole container of the coconut date version, with him. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Mother’s Day flowers from our daughter, plus some icy Bellinis. Not bad, eh? ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Hope everyone had a special Mother’s Day. It’s been a (welcome) cool Spring, here in the Big Apple.

 

 

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

 

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