Tag Archives: food

Almond-Fig-Soy Dressing and The More than a Salad Salad


The More than a Salad Salad: Cucumber, Red Pepper, Onion, Cilantro, Sesame Seeds, an Almond-Fig- Soy Sauce, and Brown Rice Foundation

The halls of Harvard are hallowed, but the dining halls are… embarrassingly void of delicious food. There are the pizza options, the fried food options, and the cheese covered-mystery meat options.
I usually make a salad. But dining hall salads too are disappointing, satisfying hunger without satisfying the tongue. Without good dressing, eating a salad means accepting that I am in fact eating a pile of vegetables.

What the world needs is a hero. A dressing hero to save me from the bland flavor of my own salads. I have made that hero.

“The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films.”  – Paul Newman

Brown Rice


1 c. brown rice

2 c. water

½ onion
½ tsp salt

1.  Soak the rice and drain to rid of excess starch

2. Cook onion with 1-2 tbs. olive oil until begins to turn gold (medium heat)


3. Add the rice and 2 cups of water (medium heat)


4. Bring water and rice to a boil, then drop temperature to a simmer and cover with a lid

5. Follow timing instructions of rice brand


Salad Component


1 cucumber

1 red pepper

½ onion

3 tbs. chopped cilantro


1. Chop all the ingredients into small pieces and toss



Almond-Fig- Soy Sauce


4 tbs. almond butter

1 tbs. fig jam (preferably made without added sugar)

1/4 c. lemon juice

2 tbs. water

3 tbs. Braggs amino acids or soy sauce

1 tsp. fresh ginger

1. Blend until creamy


Toss ¾ of the rice, the vegetables, and the salad dressing and serve with 1 tbs. of sesame seeds


Happy Bowl: Of Brown Rice and Veggies

Image“Not all those who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien

I have been wandering, but am home again, this time in Harvard Square. What better way to settle into a new school year – the LAST school year *cue dramatic music* and a new apartment than with cooking?

Tonight I brought together many, many fresh ingredients to make this Happy Brown Rice Bowl. I admit that by the time you’ve chopped and cooked three or four vegetables and put together the romesco sauce, you may not feel as happy. But the Happy Bowl is delicious and the roasted sweet potato leftovers become morning egg scrambles. Worth it.

Happy Bowl

1 c. brown rice

2 sweet potatoes or 2 cups chopped butternut squash

2 c. spinach

1 tomato

2 onions

1 clove garlic

salt, pepper, paprika, and olive oil distribution will be explained below

Begin with the sweet potatoes


1. Wash two potatoes and peel if you wish

2. Chop into 1/2 inch cubes

3.  Toss the sweet potatoes in 1 tsp. salt and 2 tbs. of extra virgin coconut or olive oil

4. Bake at 350 for between 45 minutes to an hour (making sure to stir the potatoes halfway through cooking so they cook evenly) until softened and beginning to crisp up at edges


Brown Rice Base

Quick cook rice takes about 15 minutes  while ordinary brown rice takes around 40. Check your rice instructions!

1. Soak 1 cup rice in water and stir, then drain to rid rice of excess starch – which can make it sticky


2. Dice 1/2 onion and fry in a pot with 2 tsp. olive oil for two minutes

3. Add drained rice and two cups of water

4. Add 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp salt


5. Bring water and rice to a gentle boil on medium heat, place lid on pot, and turn heat to simmer (following the timing directions for your rice)

Caramelized Onions

1. Chop 1 onion into thin slivers

2. Fry with 1-2 tsp. water for two minutes (you can begin with oil, but I prefer to use water in the beginning), then add 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil and allow to fry for five minutes, stirring and adding oil as needed to prevent burning. Image

3. Add 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp. of honey to increase sweetness and caramelization

4. Onions are done when they’ve turned a golden brown color and have lost much of their original size

Romesco Sause


1 red pepper

2 tbs. basil

2 tbs. parsley

1/2 cup almonds

3 tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp each: salt, paprika, red chili flakes

pepper to taste

Blend, add extra oil or water to reach a thinner consistency if desired.


Garlicky spinach recipe can be found here



fill a bowl with rice, layer with garlic spinach, caramelized onions, sweet potato (or butternut squash) chunks, diced tomato (I trust you to dice a tomato without guidance), and then, oh king of sauces, the Romesco.

Sit, smell, eat, enjoy.


Baingan Bharta – Spicy Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Onions


Baingan Bharta – Spicy Roasted Indian Eggplant

 With Oxford’s biggest boat racing on the river this weekend, it’s like we’ve all stepped into a romantic British novel. Silver skies, a dark blue river, and future members of Parliament sipping Pimms from the boathouses and screaming for their colleges. 

But even with summer just days away, the atmosphere is stormy and dramatic. Even the excitement of the races can’t make it warm and sunny.

When I want to feel sunny or warm, I cook something like this dish, with spicy peppers and brightly colored tomatoes and turmeric.


1 eggplant

2 onions

5 tomatoes

3 green finger chilies (or 2 if they are big)

1-2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. red chili powder

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp. salt


Step 1. Begin by roasting your eggplant at about 375 for 45 minutes until the skin is scorched and wrinkled.


Step 2. Chop the onions, tomatoes, finger chilies, garlic, and ginger in preparation

Step 3. Heat 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and when hot, put in the cumin seeds. Allow to ‘pop’

(Note, heat should be about medium high)

Step 4. Add chopped onions to the cumin seeds, cook for about 2 minutes

(Note, I added an additional two tsp. of coconut oil at this point. You could add it at the beginning as well, but I prefer to keep some of my oil less cooked. You could also probably go without the extra oil if you want a healthier dish)

Step 5. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and finger chilies, stir and allow to cook about a minute


Step 6. Add the turmeric, red chili powder, and diced tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down to a sauce-like consistency and the oil begins to separate from the mixture

Step 7. Cut your cooked eggplant in half and scrap the inside pulp into a food processor or blender. It should be soft and easy to remove from the skin. Blend the eggplant with the ½ tsp. of salt

Step 8. Add the eggplant pulp and the ½ tsp. of garam masala to the pan, stir in, and let cook for an additional 2 minutes so mixture comes together

*Taste and potentially add between a ½ tsp and a full tsp. more salt to taste


Warmth in a bowl! To contrast with gray cloudy days. 

Build A Better Breakfast with Spinach Three Ways and British Tomatoes


Spinach Three Ways and British Steamed Tomatoes

Ah, morning. Even if I’ll be doing the same things I did yesterday, it is a chance to start them over, do better, and feel like this library/essay/walk to town just might be more exciting than it has been the last 150 days. So how can I begin this day of infinite possibilities with a bowl of cereal?

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.  – A. MILNE, Winnie-the-Pooh

Yes, Winnie-the-Pooh understands that what we eat, especially in the morning, is intertwined with what kind of life we build for ourselves.

My first breakfast in England featured the two side dishes I will be bringing back with me: steamed spinach and steamed breakfast tomatoes. Below are three ways to make the spinach (which really can and should be eaten with any meal), and one way to make the simple, healthy, but incredibly delicious breakfast tomatoes.

British Breakfast Tomatoes


Any number of tomatoes you desire (probably 2 per person)


Step 1. Fill a pot ¼ way up with hot water. Allow to boil. Prepare a small steaming colander


Step 2. Add the tomatoes whole to the colander in the pot, (you should just remove the small circle where the stem attached at the top of the tomato). Put a lid on top and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft, slightly wrinkled, and the skin begins to come away from the flesh

Step 3. Peel away the skin, if it doesn’t want to come off, they weren’t cooked long enough

Serve whole with a sprinkle of salt

Spinach Three Ways (for any time a day)


Between 2 and 3 cups of spinach (it will shrink as it cooks)

2 tsp. olive oil

The foundational step will always be to steam the spinach. I put it into a small steaming colander, and then put the colander into a pot filled ¼ way up with water, then put on a lid and steam for only 1 or 2 minutes. Goal is to have it half cooked, because you’ll giving it a quick fry in the pan later.



And now? Infinite possibilities

Simple Chili Spinach


2-4 green finger chilies

(After steaming the spinach)

Step 1. Heat a pan on medium, add 1 or 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil to a pan and add between 2 and 4 chopped green finger chilies (I typically would add 3 – just depends on how spicy you like your food) Allow the chilies to cook for a minute

Step 2. Add steamed spinach and salt, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve


Simple Garlic Steamed Spinach


1 small clove garlic

optional tsp. lemon juice

Step 1. Add the 1 or 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil to a pre-heated pan. Add the chopped garlic clove and cook on medium for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on heat of the pan), or until any of the pieces begins to turn gold

Step 2. Add the spinach and salt, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve

Spiced Onion Spinach


½ onion

1 green finger chili

½ tsp. cumin seeds (or ¼ tsp. cumin powder)

¼ tsp. red chili powder

¼ tsp. turmeric



(After steaming your spinach)

Step 1. Chop the onion and put it into a pre-heated pan or pot with about 2 tsp. water. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes on medium.

Step 2. Add the 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil and the cumin seeds (if using cumin powder, don’t add it yet. Just add the oil) Allow to cook 1 minute more, then add chopped green chili. Cook 1 more minute


Step 3. Add all the spices, and stir with salt to taste.

Step 4. Add steamed spinach, stir and cook together for 30 more seconds, and serve


Bonus recipe, a quick way to make scrambled eggs more interesting!


½ tsp cumin seeds

Just add the cumin seeds to 1 or 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil once the oil is hot enough to make the seeds ‘pop’.

Then scramble your eggs into the cumin seeds like you normally do.


Voila! Excitement for breakfast!

Gujarati Style Daal

ImageCooking is a form of translation, where my taste begins converting flavors and traditions from another culture into my own recipes. Indian food my be my favorite, because the ingredients are so colorful, so spicy, and so filled with life. Inevitably though, I make changes, like adding an onion, dropping a spice I don’t have, or taking out the ever present ghee to make the dish dairy-free with coconut oil

Gujarati Style Daal


1c. lentils (urid daal that has been presoaked in water for 2-4 hours)

4 c. water

1 onion

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 garlic cloves

4 curry leaves

2 tsp. ginger

3 finger chilies

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup pureed tomatoes (about 3)

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. hot chili powder

at least 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt

Step 1. Cook the 1 cup of lentils in 3 cups of water and a teaspoon of sea salt for 30 minutes, and then smash the lentils with a spoon (every lentil does not have to be smashed, but smash enough so you begin to get a creamy consistency)Image

Step 2. Cook 2 tablespoons of virgin/cold-pressed coconut oil, drop a cumin seed in when gets hot, if it pops (a sizzling, crackling noise) the oil is hot enough and you can add all the cumin seeds

Step 3. When the cumin seeds have ‘popped’ add the diced onionImage

Step 4. Let onion cook 1-2 minutes (you don’t want it to brown) and add the diced garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and finger chilies. Allow to cook for an additional minute

Step 5. Add the tomatoes (which you should have pureed in a blender or food processor), turmeric, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt

Step 6. When the tomato, onion, and spices mixture has cooked about 5 minutes more, add this mixture to the lentils. Stir and mash further.Image

Step 7. Add 1 cup additional water to the pot and let cook on low for 10 to 15 more minutes, until creamy.

Step. 8 Serve with chopped cilantro, rice, and some naan or chapati


Note: If you taste the daal and you think “hmm, it needs something, but what is it?” Add a pinch more salt at a time until that question goes away. This lentil dish might just need a little extra salt to taste)

Orange Almond Cake with Sesame Honey Layers

Orange Almond Cake with Sesame Honey Layers


One of the things I appreciate most in England is a national understanding that cake is for constant consumption, best enjoyed with tea. A surprise? Brits do not in fact sip their tea out of tiny little flowered teacups. They drink it out of mugs like the rest of the world.

Here’s my ideal cake. It’s light, fruity, and made mainly with almond flour (milled almonds) so that you can let go of calorie counting, close your eyes, and count the flavors: almonds, tahini, oranges, sesame seeds, coconut, vanilla, oh my!


2 c. almond flour (milled almonds)

1 cup organic flour

¾ c. fresh squeezed orange juice

½ tahini (unhulled sesame seed tahini preferred, it will have a darker color and undergoes less processing)

¼ c. virgin coconut oil (substitution for other oils is fine, but try coconut oil in your cakes once and you’ll be using it for all time. Just make sure you get the cold-pressed/virgin variety)

½ c. coconut palm sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt


Mix dry ingredients together (almond flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda). Then add eggs, tahini, orange juice, orange peel, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside batter and begin…

Candied Almonds and Sesame Seeds


1 ½ c. flaked almonds

1 c. sesame seeds (note, I used black sesame seeds for the amazing color. It locks like volcanic rock)

¼ c. virgin coconut oil

1 ½ tablespoons honey

pinch of salt, a few drops of vanilla extract

Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes (don’t let it burn, keep stirring)Image

Pour layer of nuts and seeds into a greased baking pan, then add a layer of cake batter, then another layer of candied nuts and seeds, then final layer of batter.Image

Place in over and bake at 175 degrees Celsius, or about 350 Fahrenheit, for between 25- 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with the Orange Honey Sauce

Orange Honey Sauce


½ c. orange juice

2 tablespoon honey

1 tsp virgin coconut oil

Cook on medium for about 7 minutes, goal is to see liquid orange and honey mixture begin to thicken, honey crystallize, and consistency become thicker. Notice that the smell will change from heavily orange to a honey candy smell



Ingredients to make 2 sandwiches:

A batch of chimichurri (see yesterday’s post)

½ onion

½ red pepper

5 eggs

4 slices good fresh sourdough or baguette bread

1 avocado

a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

salt (to taste)


To begin, take a deep breath and explain to yourself that yes, actually cutting two vegetables for morning eggs is worth the time. Breakfast should be a meal to savor, because as you take a bite of the fluffiest scrambled eggs you’ll ever get, with slices of creamy avocado, hugged lovingly by two slices of fresh bread, you’ll know that it’s going to be a good day.

Step 1. Chop the onion and pepper. Put the diced onion in a pan with about 1 tablespoon of water (you could immediately add a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil, but I think beginning the onions in water is healthier). Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.


Step 2. After five minutes, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the red pepper. Cook until onions are beginning to turn gold (between 2 to 5 more minutes)


Step 3. Add your eggs and scramble with salt to taste

Step 4. Toast your bread and slather the two sandwiches with chimichurri, pile them with mountains of scrambled eggs, add avocado slices and give yourself a much deserved round of applause for putting so much time into breakfast

There you have it. A heavenly sandwich and the secret to better, healthier, almost-reached-your-5-vegetables-a-day-goal-and-it’s-only-morning breakfast

Note: The Sock ‘em Scramble can go without the red pepper, but if you’re going to eat eggs, just take an extra 7 minutes to go to scramble heaven and add the onion into your morning routine.

Now go enjoy you’re day on a satisfied stomach