Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

A “Vegetarian Dinner Party” For Me, Myself — and Meat Boy?

Tofu that's pretty enough for company, don't you think?

Tofu that’s pretty enough for company, don’t you think?


My husband likes to say he will gladly eat a vegetarian meal.

(Insert eye rolling here.)

But when I cook a vegetarian entree at home, I will see him sneak a few pieces of salami on the side.

What can I expect from someone nicknamed Meat Boy, right?

When I received a review copy of “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” (Rodale, 2014), though, I had high hopes he might actually keep to his word for once.

Not only was the book named the “2015 People’s Choice Award” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, but it was written by our friends and most prolific cookbook writers, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. After all, if you can’t enjoy a vegetarian dish by two people you know and like, when can you?

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Heavenly Hummus

Miso makes this hummus something special.

Miso makes this hummus something special.


There are few things I’m fanatical about.

Hummus happens to be one of them.

It all started when I tried the one at Oren’s Hummus Shop in Palo Alto. It took awhile, though, since the small cafe always has a line out the door, no matter what time of day or night. But it also has tubs of hummus to grab-and-go at a refrigerator case.

After one taste, I was hooked for life. And no other hummus would do.

That’s because Oren’s hummus is the smoothest, creamiest version ever. It’s like the creme brulee of hummus. And I can eat it by the spoonful — non-stop.

The Palo Alto shop, as well as the second one in downtown Mountain View, was opened by start-up investor Oren Dobronsky, who is so finicky about his hummus that he imports the garbanzo beans from Israel.

So, when I spied a recipe for “Hummus with White Miso,” I was intrigued, but dubious. Intrigued, because I wondered what the addition of miso would impart. And dubious, well, because how could it be better than the hummus at Oren’s?

Seven Spoons

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Seven Spoons” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It was written by Tara O’Brady, a celebrated food blogger in Canada.

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Porking Out on Father’s Day

Pork loin gets all pretty and tasty with a profusion of fresh orange slices.

Pork loin gets all pretty and tasty with a profusion of fresh orange slices.


My Dad never met a piece of pork he didn’t like.

Chinese char siu cut into itty-bits and scrambled with eggs for breakfast.

Lacquered pork ribs from Chinatown to gnaw on blissfully until they were picked clean.

A big ham he’d stud with cloves and bake with rings of pineapple for Christmas dinner.

And neatly tied roasts brushed with soy sauce and honey, purposely big enough to allow for leftover slices to stuff into sandwiches packed for lunch the next day.

It’s been seven years since my Dad passed away. But every time I enjoy an exceptional porky meal, I can’t help but think of him.

Chef Charlie Palmer’s “Pork Loin with Oranges” is a dish I know he would have loved. My Dad wasn’t into fancy. While this dish isn’t pretentious, it’s pretty enough to be a party plate for a special celebration, yet easy enough to prepare for an every day meal.

It’s unfussy — just a generous pork loin roasted gently with an abundance of onion and fresh orange slices until the tangy citrus marries with the sweetness of the meat in perfect harmony.

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Oatmeal Tête–À–Tête

Oatmeal for dinner -- a comfort dish even naysayers will love.

Oatmeal for dinner — a comfort dish even naysayers will love.


A typical day at my house:

(Rip, rustle, rustle, as I open a package that arrived in the mail, this one containing sample tins of Flahavan’s Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal.)

Me to my husband: “Oh, look, it’s oatmeal! You like oatmeal, right?”

My husband: (Snorts, shrugs.) “Eh, yeah.”

After all, he eats it for breakfast at least a couple times a week. But of course, I’m in the mood to do something different with it.

Me: “Guess what I’m going to do! I’m going to make savory oatmeal for dinner with it!”

My husband: “WHY?!?!?

Me: “You cook it like risotto. That sounds really good, doesn’t it?”

My husband: (Makes a face, shrugs, looks at me cross-eyed.) “If you must…”

Yup, that response is typical, too, whenever I want to cook up something a little different from the norm. But at least he’s a good sport about it, right? Well, sort of.

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Cutting Down on Salt? Kale Salad to the Rescue

A kale salad low in sodium, but big on flavor and texture. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A kale salad low in sodium, but big on flavor and texture. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)


When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure years ago, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise.

That’s because it runs in my family, unfortunately.

What was a revelation, though, was just how much sodium lurked in so many foods I’d enjoyed without a second thought.

Check the labels on things like instant oatmeal, blue cheese, and even Dijon mustard, and you’ll be astonished.

(Graphic courtesy of the American Heart Association)

(Graphic courtesy of the American Heart Association)

Nowadays, I always read labels. And I wisely use flavor boosters such as good vinegars, lemon juice, herbs, spices, and toasted unsalted nuts to give extra oomph to dishes that are moderate in sodium.

That’s why I love this kale salad. I know — can you stand another kale recipe? I think you will when it’s as simple to prepare and satisfying as this one.

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