Tag Archives: vegetables

Veggie “Hand Roll” with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Hello again everyone!

This week we’re going to move out of the realm of dinner and explore a lighter, and usually more rushed, meal: lunch! The goal is to show you all that lunch doesn’t need to be a rush job. Instead, it should be the mid-day break that you look forward to. So here’s your challenge: pick a day next week that you’re going to forgo to protein bar and on-the-go yogurt and make lunch in the morning. If you need some help deciding what to make, I can help!

Today I’m sharing with you Veggie Wrap “Hand Rolls” with a Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. This recipe is an obvious play on sushi. We’re going to put a ton of fresh, crunchy veggies and hummus in a crisp seaweed wrap. Our “soy sauce and wasabi” is going to be a deliciously sweet and savory honey mustard. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so good.

Here’s what you’re going to need to…

Wrap/Hand Roll

1 Raw Nori Seaweed Sheet

1 Red Bell Pepper

2 Carrots

2 Leaves of Kale

A heavy dollop of your favorite hummus


Dipping Sauce/Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Dijion Mustard

1 tsp. Honey


FIRST… Wash your veggies well. Julienne the pepper and carrots (cut them into long, thing strips as seen below.) Cut the tough, center core out of the kale. Then, just rip the kale into bite-sized chunks.

When all is said and done, your cutting board should look like this…


TO MAKE THE SAUCE…Put your teaspoon of both dijon mustard and honey into a small bowl. Mix it up. (How easy is that?!) You can use another kind of mustard if you have no other choice, but I strongly encourage the dijon. The difference in flavor is really noticeable.  The dijon has a kick that plays off the honey brilliantly. It’s borderline magic.


NEXT… Toast your seaweed. You can do this several different ways. If you have a convection oven, that’s the easiest. Pop the sheet in there and toast it for about 30 seconds, or until it turns green and is flexible to the touch. The change from toasted to burnt happens really quickly, so keep your eye on it. Other ways you can do this is holding the seaweed in tongs over an open flame or in a dry pan on your stove top.

TO ASSEMBLE… Do this quickly while the seaweed is still malleable. First spread a generous heap of hummus into the middle of the wrap on the diagonal (because thats the direction you’re going to roll it.) Then, add your cut vegetables. You can put as many as you feel comfortable with. I like to really load it up. If you have extra, just make another wrap, or dip it in more hummus!

Roll it all up on the diagonal, using your fingers to scrunch in the veggies and keep the roll tight. Channel your inner Chipotle worker. Then, slice it down the middle and you’re ready to eat!


Happy lunching everyone! Let me know how this works for you in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!



Time to change your mind about Brussels Sprouts

From the blog, The Neurotic Kitchen, http://www.neurotickitchen.com/2012/10/restaurant-inspiration-ilili-brussels.html

Brussels sprouts. My mother never really cooked them when I was a kid. The first time I heard of them, I also heard that they tasted like rotten socks. And so I avoided at all cost for the majority of my life until I had them as a mezze at Ilili, a modern Lebanese restaurant in Flatiron. They were bitter, salty, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. Recently, I’ve decided to try my hand at making them. I looked up the recipe online and made them for myself and I was so surprised at how easy they were to make. There really aren’t any measurements involved, and so I’m not going to give quantities in this recipe.

All you need are brussels sprouts, a good quality fig preserve, yoghurt, and fresh, finely chopped mint.

First, blanche the vegetables by cooking them in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

Then, on high heat, shallow fry the sprouts in vegetable oil until they become very golden brown and crispy.

Next, make a mint-yoghurt by adding the amount of mint that you’d like to the yoghurt. Mix equal parts fig preserve and water, and heat them in the microwave until you get a nice smooth mixture.

Finally, assemble your dish by layering the mint-yoghurt, and fig jam over the fried sprouts. Optional but delicious toppings are fresh grapes, cut in half, and toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped. This is a really easy recipe to make, and I hope that it changes your mind about brussels sprouts the same way it did for me!

Image taken from the blog, Marisa's Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/
Image taken from the blog, Marisa’s Healthy Kitchen, http://marisashealthykitchen.com/2011/06/05/figgy-brussel-sprouts-with-grapes-and-walnuts/


Black Bean Burrito with Mozzarella Cheese

In this installment of Mexicali cuisine, I offer you a version of a classic; the burrito. There are so many variations in making a burrito, from breakfast (i.e. huevos rancheros style), to a lunch, snack, or a full meal accompanied with rice, and potatoes. This Black bean burrito features the classic Mexican vegetables: red bell peppers, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, beans, jicama, and of course, spices to add flavor. While the variations of the burrito can fill cook books upon cook books, the way to make them is quite simple. Whether you’re grilling the vegetables, using boiled or refried beans,  adding salsa layering or going sans salsa, the instructions are clear and simple. 1. Cook the vegetables (always, always garlic first, then onions!) 2. Season them while cooking 3. Add remaining vegetables/spices/cheese topping and mix, mix, mix.

For the fulfillment they provide, burritos are a valuable dish to master. One burrito can take a mere 15 minutes to make if you’re in a hurry, and if you’ve got time, a large mixture can last days without losing flavor. Because of their special ability to deliver a full meal-sized punch with little effort and money, they make a convenient dish. Versatility, like with nearly all Mexican and Mexicali cuisine is essential, so nearly all the ingredients listed below can be swapped out for convenience, experimentation, or taste. So while you can go the Mexicali route and stuff your burrito with peppers, jicama, corn etc, you can always go the traditional Mexican way and simply use two ingredients: beans and rice or potatoes or fish, etc. Whatever makes you and your stomach happy.




  • ½ chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, or any other hot chile, chopped
  • 3 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • sprinkle of salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano


  1. Dice up the vegetables
  2. Mix together in a small bowl
  3. sprinkle pepper, salt, and vinegar in another small bowl
  4. Blend the vegetable and the vinegar mixture together and set aside to cool


Black Bean Burrito with Mozzarella cheese
Jump in with your hands, or with a fork and knife!

Black Bean Burrito

  1. ½  white onion, diced
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1/2  (8oz of a 15oz can) can of black beans, or 1 ½ cup of boiled black beans
  5. 1 tsp black pepper
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 2 tsp paprika 
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes pepper
  9. ½  Serrano chili  pepper
  10. 1 can diced tomatoes
  11. ⅓ cup of diced jicama
  12. 1 tortilla
  13. ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Dice the vegetables.
  2. Fry garlic for 30 seconds on medium high heat.
  3. Add onions and spices, cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion begins to become translucent.
  4. Add red bell peppers, jicama, and Serrano pepper, mix well and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Stir frequently to reduce burning. 
  5. Add beans, tomatoes and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, let is stand, do not mix often. 
  6. Add cheese, and cook for 1 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. 
  7. Turn off heat, let the beans mixture sit for a 5-7 minutes.  Then, add about 1/3 cup of it on a heated tortilla, wrap it up, and layer 1/4 cup of salsa on the burrito.
  8. Done and Done! Enjoy the meal!

Cheating Recipes

I’m always pretty skeptical of “cheating recipes”: recipes that claim to provide a way to enjoy everything from brownies to pudding by replacing all the good stuff (butter, flower, cream, chocolate, etc.) with vegetables. I had an especially bad experience last week with a recipe for Cauliflower Pizza Dough. The only ingredients were cauliflower, eggs, herbs, and a little bit of cheese. Red flags should have gone up, but the excitement about the possibility of a bread-free pizza that I could eat without abandon was too overwhelming.
They were horrible. Horrible actually doesn’t even begin to cover it, inedible would be more accurate. So when I came across a recipe for Avocado Chocolate Mousse, although I was curious, I didn’t have even mildly high expectations.
To my surprise, the mousse came out very well. The creamy texture of the avocado perfectly translates into a mousse. It is not on par with a proper mousse made with cream, butter, and chocolate, but it’s simple, uses natural ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes. Most importantly, it can quickly get you past those mind-numbing chocolate cravings without doing too much caloric damage.
I made mine by adapting Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Chocolate-Avocado Mousseand making a few substitutions based on some similar recipes from health food websites. However, this recipe has so few ingredients that you can just do it by taste.

I started with four ripe avocados, blended them in a food processor and then added unsweetened cocoa powder, melted chocolate chips, honey, and some almond milk to thin it out. I couldn’t even tell you how much of each ingredient I added because I just tweaked it until it tasted right. Add cocoa powder if the avocado taste is too strong, honey if it’s not sweet enough, and almond milk (I’m sure any kind of milk would work) if it gets too thick. I only added about a third of a cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips because I wanted to feel no guilt when eating the mousse. However, my finished mousse has an aftertaste with a tiny reminder of the presence of avocado. That didn’t at all bother me but if it bothers you, the more melted chocolate you add, the more you cancel out the avocado flavor. Chill it in the refrigerator for about three hours then serve with berries or chocolate chips.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Lately it has been soup weather. When I am frozen to the bone all I want is a big bowl of tomato soup. The thing is, I really don’t like canned soup. Campbell’s tomato smoothie in a can just doesn’t do it for me. Sadly, prime tomato season is early august to late september. We are far out of prime tomato season. This did not stop me from running to Whole Foods to buy a big bag of tomatoes. The recipe below is insanely yummy and there are a few quick tricks to make it more winter friendly.

  1. Collect amazing tomatoes in summer and do all of the steps below up until cream is added. Pour the mixture into strong plastic bags and freeze. When you want tomato soup in the dead of winter thaw it, warm it up, and add the cream.
  2. Drain whole canned tomatoes (I suggest San Marzano) of as much liquid as possible and proceed with the recipe.
I suggest serving this with a good piece of crusty bread with butter or a spread (peppadew pepper spread). 
Roasted Tomato Soup (Serves 6)
16 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut into 2 inch slices (or 3 cans of whole tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic, un-peeled
1/2 cup +2 tbsp  olive oil
Coarse Kosher Salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and lay tomatoes and garlic in baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.
  2. Roast tomatoes for 1 hour or until they are soft, caramelized, and the skin comes off easily.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle them. 
  4. Peel tomatoes and transfer into pot/soup pan. Squeeze garlic from its skin, add it to the pan, and pour in any pulp or juices remaining. Place pan over medium heat and crush tomatoes against the side of the pan with the back of a metal spoon until there are only small chunks. If you like smoother soup use a immersion blender or food processor to smooth it out. 
  5. When the mixture is hot but not yet boiling slowly pour in the cream. Season to taste and serve. 
  6. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil, rosemary, and thyme in  a small saucepan over low heat until fragrant. Spoon over soup and serve immediately. 

Leek and Gruyere Tart

Photo Credit: Pippa Biddle

I was perusing West Side Market and was sadly not being inspired by any of the vegetables on offer and then I saw these huge scallion things. They looked familiar but I was completely blank on what they were or what I could use them for. Pulling out my handy phone I gave my resident culinary genius (my mother) a call and was told that what I was staring at were nothing other than leeks!

A leek are is like an onions nicer cousin. Leeks are harvested in the autumn but certain types are also harvestable in the summer and spring. They are a year-round crop! While leeks are often used for adding flavor to stock they are also sauteed and used in quiches, tarts, and other yummy goodies. A fun fact is that dried specimens have been found in archaeological sites in ancient Egypt that point to them being a part of the diet starting in the second millennium BCE.

This tart is perfect for a light vegetarian dinner or can be cut into smaller pieces and used as an “on the go” lunch. I served it with roasted sweet potato with a browned butter vinagrette. Continue reading Leek and Gruyere Tart

Unglamorous Cooking in College

Manon ushers in the first of her Thursday series as Culinary Society President as she Strives to Become a College Gourmet.  It can be hard to keep up 5 Star Dining even in a dorm, but Manon’s determined to make it work.

So here we are, back in the city, back at school, and for some of us, away from our mother’s fabulous home-cooked meals and fully equipped kitchens with stocked fridges. Cooking and eating well in college is, at least for me, really hard, but it doesn’t mean that I lose the appreciation for good food. True, I won’t be having my favorite roast chicken with stuffing and rice unless I am able to assemble all the necessary cooking material and allocate enough time for the preparation. And even if I did have all the time in the world, I wouldn’t be able to make whatever I feel like having that day unless I am able to fill up my fridge with all the standard ingredients.

No, cooking in college takes careful planning and the ability to adapt to different cooking situations. Although I know that I am particularly lazy when it comes to preparing myself dinner (because I’m one of those people who need all the perfect circumstances to even begin to think about making something), it still isn’t easy. But if you’re willing to eat the same leftovers for a few meals straight, cooking in college can be easier than it looks. Yeah, it can get a little repetitive, I know, but it’s better than it could otherwise be.

During my search for easy, delicious meals I was inspired by different kinds of salads, like rice, quinoa, or pasta. They are easy to make, don’t require a whole lot of cooking material, and keep for a couple days, so if you make a ton you won’t have to go back in the kitchen for a little while (not to make it sound like I don’t like being in the kitchen, because I do!). Plus they’re pretty healthy and filling.

So here is the recipe for my mom’s rice salad. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious, and I love to make it because every bite brings me a little closer to my mom’s home-cooked meals, which as you can probably tell, I miss so terribly. Also, you can make a ton of it and have it last a couple days.

Continue reading Unglamorous Cooking in College

Almost a Veggie Overload

Manon returns for her second post!  Her story includes the vegetable treasures her mother brought from France, as well as the plethora of recipes they tried out.  Stuffed Eggplant recipe after the jump.

Last week my mom went on a four-day long trip to the south of France and bought a car full of fresh fruits and vegetables on her way back. So for the past week she’s been making apricot, peach, and prune jams, and the freezer is full to the brim with frozen pesto and ratatouille. With the endless quantities of vegetables that still remain, we’ve been making every different vegetable recipe we know. There have, of course, been our old classics: various sliced vegetables tossed in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and then baked in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, served with couscous or pasta. We’ve also served them cold with a vinaigrette or in a salad. And as my mom is famous for her fruit desserts, there have been quite a few cobblers and tarts as well.

Today though, a brand new recipe entered into our cooking arsenal: inspired by my mom’s magazine recipe binder, we made goat cheese-stuffed eggplant “packages” baked in the oven and served with a fresh green salad and tomatoes. It was pretty great. The outside of the eggplant got crispy and super flavorful, and some of the cheese fell out of the packages and became golden and crispy. Paired with the fresh salad and tomatoes, we avoided having the eggplant become too rich.

Continue reading Almost a Veggie Overload

From the President’s Kitchen: For the Love of Vegetables?

Who says vegetables can’t be a main dish? Although we in the Culinary Society have always been strong proponents for the carnivorous way of life, Matt plays a different tune this week.

Let’s face it. I’ve been known to herald a certain type of cooking: plentiful amounts of butter, generous cups of cream, and (of course) tons of meat. A good steak is a God-send in college. Seafood and shellfish when cooked to perfection (or even better, raw) are divine. And I could not live without pork. I went a whole month last year, and when I looked back on my grocery lists, I realized that pork had been my main source of protein. For a month!

So it should come as a shock that I would buy a book on vegetables. Wandering through Barnes and Nobles last week, a thick book by Nigel Slater caught my eye: Tender. A cookbook full of vibrant food photos, it’s hard to resist. Vegetables have never looked so good. I sat in the bookstore, salivating and thinking about Saturday’s GreenMarket in Union Square.

The farmer’s market has always intimidated me. There’s so much to choose from, and I don’t want to feel like I’m pledging allegiance to one farm. With the book in hand as my guide, I approached some vegetables that I have never eaten, much less cooked. Radishes, turnips, and even Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes). Winter produce, in particular, is not my strong suit. I picked up a 1 1/2 lb. of little Jerusalem artichokes for a warm winter salad, and I headed home excited for a new taste.

Warming Salad of Jerusalem Artichokes Continue reading From the President’s Kitchen: For the Love of Vegetables?

The (green)Market Watch: Brussels Sprouts

Photo courtesy of www.thedailygreen.com

Ready to help the hesitant cook tackle an unpopular breed of wild cabbage into a savory main dish.

Who doesn’t love having the full spread? A salad, meat with something starchy and some vegetables on the side, followed with dessert. But for me, this sort of tried and true arrangement is now usually reserved for special occasions. A girl can only do so many dishes.

As a kid, I was never the type to keep my foods separated on the plate by a wide margin of clean porcelain. On the contrary, it always seemed like a great idea to mix everything together. Mashed potatoes, broccoli and chicken all tasted great on their own, but whenever I tried to combine, they seemed to lose their individual power. I think my mixing skills have grown up since then, and I often combine all or most of the elements of a balanced meal to make life easier for myself (okay, I never combine dessert with anything).

Since I often replace meat with vegetables instead, I’ve found that what would be a paltry (but perhaps delicious) side dish on its own becomes a hearty full meal when served over pasta (or quinoa or rice or whatever grain you can get in the bulk foods aisle of Whole Foods). In fact, the recipe for the Kale and Cannellini Pasta was created with just that idea in mind. If I saw a lonely bag of brussels sprouts in my near empty fridge as only having potential for a side dish, I would certainly need to run to the store to buy some pork chops. But through the power of penne, every vegetable can get its moment in the sun. Continue reading The (green)Market Watch: Brussels Sprouts