Dec 29, 2011

Spiced Melitza with Tabbouleh

For dinner, tonight!

Spiced Melitza

  • 1 medium melitza (ok, ok dammit eggplant)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 dried Thai bird chilis
  • Olive oil


ETA I didn't use the bird chilis. Instead I used
dried habanero chili from my garden
  1. Slice melitza in half lengthwise.
  2. Score the cut surface about 1/4 to 1/2 " deep as if for two games of tic-tac-toe.
  3. Salt the cut surface.
  4. Place the half melitzas, cut side down in a shallow roasting pan and leave on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
  5. Drain the expelled liquid and add it to your stock pot.
  6. Turn the melitzas cut side up.
  7. Dry roast the cumin and coriander in a small skillet.
  8. Grind the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and chilis in a suribachi or mortar.
  9. Peel crush and mince the garlic.
  10. Put the garlic, lemon zest and spices powder into a small bowl.
  11. Add enough oil to the bowl to make a loose paste.
  12. Rub the spice paste onto the cut surface of the melitza.
  13. Roast at 350 for 50 minutes.
I don't need to repeat my recipe for tabbouleh.

Here's what dinner looked like:

First the plate:
Plate by Droll Designs, Salem, MA

Then the food on the plate:
That's tabbouleh at the top left, two types of zkhuk at the top right, 1/2 the melitza in the middle and a couple of pappadums balanced on the left edge.

Day 80/240: Eggplant

"Eggplant" is such an unwieldy word, it has altogether too many stops and starts, the ratio of consonants to vowels is out-of-whack. It is the auditory equivalent of porridge hitting the floor.

I'd prefer to use "aubergine", but then nobody knows what I'm talking about. When I lived in Italy, I knew it as melanzana, Greeks call it melitza, elsewhere it's melongene. In India it's brinjal and in Lebanon batinjan.

Since most of my recipes seem to have a middle-eastern quality, I'm really tempted by batinjan. Y'know ... come to think of it melanzana and melitza have Zs in them. There's a certain etymological aesthetic thrill at imagining putting some zkhuk on my melitza. It reminds me of the duke in The 13 Clocks who was prepared to slit minstrels from their guggle to their zatch.

So, dinner tonight will be ... wait ... am I going to have to explain what a melanzana is over and over? Will Google's spiders  pass me by unless I list the most common name each time? Will I have to sacrifice aesthetics on the altar of search engine optimization? What a dilemma.

Day ~79/240: A handful of days

At first I was shocked that it had been so long since I last posted last (this actually being Day 80), then I said to myself, "it's one a.m. so it's not been that long." I've got to stop lying to myself.

Instead of trying to force you into my altered reality (in which I firmly believe that there's a kind of blog limbo where posts are cached and not released until the maximum degree of procrastinative embarrassment has been achieved), and instead do a brief retrospective before returning to my chair ... here ... by the fire ... with a book.

Sunday - Day 76/240: Chili Seitan Steaks with boiled potatoes, some butternut, squash and a salad. Just me and my wife and younger son at her Uncle Bob's house. They had roast beef and I was the little piggy that had none. The old wolf (to twist the metaphor painfully) beat me three times in a row at Mancala. He's got a killer instinct that hasn't dimmed at all. I hear he's even more ruthless at Backgammon. (Note to self: avoid getting sucked into one.)

Monday - Day 77/240: A nice seitan salad sandwich made from diced chili seitan, diced onion, diced celery, mixed with my tofu mayonnaise.

Tuesday - Day 78/240: A delightful plate of roasted vegetables. Nothing fancy, just easy to prepare and pretty enough to take a picture of.

Wednesday - Day 79/240: On the way back from an hour ride (each way) to an appointment today, I suddenly realized that my wife was with me, sitting quietly, knitting diligently, listening to some tediously inspirational tripe on NPR. "So!" I said to her suddenly, hoping to startle an honest and non-self-effacing answer out of her, "Do you want to stop somewhere for an early dinner on the way home?"

After the usual dithering, it turned out that she would be perfectly happy to have an early dinner. After substantially more dithering, intended to point out to me the additional effort, forethought and self-sacrifice my dietary choices had forced upon her, and how with a Brave Heart, a Good Will, and Boundless Patience with the Awefull Trialls I had inflicted upon her (I note, in passing, that we were passing at the time past the City of Salem and it may have affected my psychic hearing somewhat) it was then determined that, despite all of choices available, we would go to the restaurant we nearly always go to.

I had some guacamole and chips followed by the veggie burger which was ... okay. A construct of beans, rice and a couple of other veggies partially held together by some searing with barbecue sauce. It needed more texture or more spice but, preferably, both.

It's now 0145 I'll be making a spiced eggplant dish tonight with some tabbouleh.

Whee! I'm up-to-date. I'm au courant, I'm ... going to put the trash out front and go to bed.

Dec 24, 2011

Day 75/240: Celebration?

This is not my holiday. Internally I'm basically an unconverted Grinch, but the folks around me claim they enjoy making a big celebration at this time of year so I keep my thoughts to myself.

I did have a seasonal idea though ...

I'm thinking that I should lay a thick tapering line of hummus down the center of a platter for a trunk,  construct branches of the same stuff and foliate it with green zkhuk and tinsel it with red. Slices of carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, and boiled purple potatoes would be the ornaments.

Or ...

I could have another bowl of lentil soup with a chunk of fresh bread.

Lentil Soup

Friday was a cold and somewhat gloomy day so I made my favorite cold weather food, lentil soup.

Some of the reasons it's my favorite are:
It's easy to make.
It's easy to modify.
It's a good way to use up stock and any scrag ends of veggies.
It tastes good.
It smells good as it cooks.

I could go on and on, but I won't. This is a good recipe to use as an example to show my thoughts process as I cook.

I decide to make lentil soup at about 0900 and spend 5 minutes searching for the lentils. I finally find a bag of them at the bottom of a plastic container filled with other bags of beans (my wife gets confused by unfamiliar beans and hides them away to avoid feeling threatened). I put the bag on the counter and open the fridge to look for vegetables. I have two carrots and the remnants of a bunch of celery. I also have some onions and garlic in the large storage bowl on the counter along with one lonely potato.

Cool! I dice the onion, celery, and potato. I mince the garlic, and grate the carrot.  I pour some olive oil into a soup pot (medium-low) and start the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery frying. I wash and dry my hands.

Now I pull down some spice jars. I put a hefty 3-finger pinch of whole cumin into the pot, followed by a 2-finger pinches of whole mustard seed, rosemary, thyme, and sea salt. Two dried chilis are tossed in whole. I have about 3 cups of stock left and I pour it all in followed by the potatoes and, at last, about a half pound of lentils. I wait until it starts to simmer, then turn the heat down until it's just barely on.

I get to work on my writing projects for the day. Every time I go out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, I stir the soup and add water if it needs it. Once the lentils are nice and soft, I add a cup of chopped tomatoes left over from the Metch failure.

About 1730 my wife decides that she wants to play a couple of games of Mancala. Before we start I toss check the cupboards and find a couple of partial boxes of pasta and toss them into the soup too.

Dinner is at 1830 and is wonderful. A big bowl of soup with plenty of refills available, a couple of slices of toasted whole grain bread with an olive oil based spread.

Now I've made myself hungry again.

Dec 23, 2011


So I tried making Metch for Thursday's dinner. It didn't work well. I think that part of it was just sloppy work on my part and being too lazy to go to the computer and double-check the recipe. It ended up being more Meh than Metch.

I'll turn the leftovers of it into soup and spice it up a bit. (BTW I made a delightful discovery. If you toss the pith and seeds of chilis into your vegetable stock, you end up with a brew that will turn your hair white, melt your earwax and curl your toenails. Good Stuff!!)

Luckily I also had some small potatoes on hand. I cut them in half and quartered a yellow onion, tossed  them in tahini and roasted them.

Day 74/240: A continuation from Wednesday

Thursday I was out and about again during the day. There's a game that I wanted to give my wife as a present, but all the stores seem to be sold out. There was one last toy store to check in a nearby town but there was no joy to be found there.

Since I was just a half block from a place that is known locally as a locovore's lunch counter, I went in to see what they had. As usual, all of the vegetarian options included cheese, good local cheese, but dairy nonetheless. One of the few items that did not have any cheese listed was a homemade veggie burger on whole grain bread.

I'm not sure why it occurred to me but, as it was being rung up, I double-checked. "There's no cheese on that," I said. "Oh the cheese is mixed right into the burger," was the answer. I changed my order to a hummus and sprouts sandwich and had them substitute avocado for the Muenster cheese.

When I got home I went on line and ordered the game for my wife direct from the manufacturer. It is back-ordered and won't get here until the middle of January. Poor planning on my part.

Day 73/240: A Salad Sandwich

It's very tricky trying to exclude dairy from my diet. Apparently, restaurants assume that vegetarians eat cheese butter and eggs. The frustration of having to parse each menu carefully and query the waitrons about the preparation is probably what makes so many vegans seem intolerant and intolerable.

Usually, it all works out, but sometimes I can't help but think that my choice of diet forces me to be more of a center of attention than I would like.

I had lunch at a not-so-local restaurant on Wednesday and realized that all of the vegetarian sandwiches were topped by cheese. Not a big deal, I just asked for the sandwich I wanted to be made without it. But still ... it bothered me. I guess that there's a chunk of OCD brain matter that gets irritated by niggly things like, if it's a vegetarian sandwich, why don't they make it with just vegetables and let people add the cheese if they want to.

Why am I more bothered by asking people to take food off than I am by asking to add something on?

The sandwich, by the way, was a humungous, and tightly rolled salad wrap with a vinaigrette dressing. I barely finished half of it and took the rest home for dinner.

Day 72/240: Hummus on pita

I still had some nice garlicky hummus left over from Saturday, so I sliced a pita in half, stuffed both sides with the yummy stuff, added some shredded carrots, romaine lettuce, and some chopped olives. Then I topped one pocket with green zkhuk and the other with red in honor of the season. A cup of ginger tea was a fine accompaniment.

Day 71/240: Vegetable rolls again

I meant to take pictures ... I really did. Perhaps it's better that I get some more practice before I do.

I happen to know that I'm getting a tripod as a present, so that will help. The problem is that working with the rice paper is wet work, and I don't want to get the camera all crusty. Perhaps at some point I'll get myself a DSLR that will let me set it for 10 second intervals.

Well enough about that.

This time I added tofu to the spring rolls. I pressed it under a weight to force most of the water out, then sliced it into long skinny pieces and marinated it in teriyaki sauce overnight before baking it until it developed a crispy skin. I rolled it into the spring rolls with some veggies and made a dipping sauce with almond butter, teriyaki sauce, and grated ginger.

Dec 18, 2011

Day 70/240: Leftovers

There's lots left from yesterday's feast so I'm having leftovers. Hummus sandwiches with shredded zucchini and zkhuk (I do love typing that) for the first course with a bit of baba ghanoush and tabouleh to follow. Life is good.

Day 69/240: A feast

Saturday, December 17th

I have been put in the position of having to worry that my blog title sounds a little whiny.

My brother and SIL came to visit and they brought food. In times past they have occasionally brought hams or cold-cuts for these daylong visits, so imagine my delight when they told me that they were bringing vegetarian dolmades (rice-stuffed grape leaves).

I decided that I would provide some dishes that were similar culturally and geographically. Since I already had the excess from the jars of red and green zkhuk that I'd made as a present for them, I was already partway there. I cooked a pot of chickpeas for hummus last night. This morning I started soaking the bulghur in stock for a tabbouleh salad. I made a quick trip to the store for some flat leaf parsley, lemons, good olives and pita. By the time my guests arrived, I had the makings of a pretty good middle-eastern feast.

Imagine my surprise when they started hauling out containers of baba ghanoush, another eggplant dip, more hummus, some salads, a block of halvah and something I'd never seen called "metch" (it turned out to be a delicious cooked tomato and bulghur combination which looks easy to make).. They also had tzatziki and baklava (but I won't hold that against them since they did so spectacularly well on everything else). We ended up with a dining table groaning under the weight of a fantastic 95% vegetarian meal.

I was deeply touched. Even my relentlessly omnivorous wife and son were joyfully filling their plates over and over.

In the middle of our meal there was a knock at the door. Outside was one of the neighborhood kids. He and his siblings and friends were making the rounds of our cul-de-sac with a large insulated jug in a red wagon. They were hawking hot chocolate door-to-door! I was tickled by their industry but didn't think that cocoa went with the meal in progress so I thanked them kindly and refused.

When I returned to the table I had to suffer my wife's disbelief and horror at my callousness. By the look on her face you might have thought that I had killed the tyke's puppy. Eventually the discussion of my curmudgeonly ways faded out and the rest of the meal continued pleasantly.

After dinner, we moved to the living room, lit a fire, poured some wine, and chatted before exchanging gifts. I guess that, with the previous evidence of thoughtfulness, I shouldn't have been surprised that one of the gifts I received was a cookbook, "The Artful Vegan".

Day 68/240: Another round

Because I already had the makings, I had another meal of vegetable rolls tonight. Didn't photo them but had enough problems with handling the wrappers, that I looked up a "how-to" and will do it better the next time (sometime this week), at which point I will take pictures.

They turn out very pretty.

It's interesting that some restaurants treat them as appetizers. I find them quite filling.

Dec 15, 2011

Day 67/240: Vegetable Rolls

I decided to try something new tonight, not new to eat, but new to make.

So I made some Vietnamese vegetable rolls. It ended up being much easier than I thought, and now I have ideas for extending the roll up concept to other cultural foods.

The rolls tonight were simply lettuce leaves and julienne-cut carrot, red bell pepper, cilantro, and celery wrapped in a rice paper round and dipped into a sauce made of peanut, Hoisin and chili sauce. I liked it so much, that I may have it for lunch tomorrow. If I do, I'll pull out the camera and document it.

Dec 14, 2011

Zkhuk Yarok - Step-by-step

Yes, I know I changed the spelling. It's listed as an alternative and I like all the Zs and Ks.

I listed the ingredient amounts in an earlier post so I'm just going to take you through the process.

First you wash your cilantro to make sure that it is clear of sand or whatever other growing medium they used. Let it drip-dry in a colander.

Then, if like me you're crazy enough to only have pods, you have to decorticate the cardamom (take the seeds out).

Take the cardamom seed, cumin seed, and coriander seed and dry roast them in a skillet.

When they are nice and toasty, put them into a suribachi or mortar and grind them to a powder.

After I grind the spices, I put the powder through a wire strainer to remove the hull of the coriander. (Anything that doesn't get through the sieve goes into the stock pot.) Ad some ground cloves and a two-finger pinch of salt to the other spices.

Peel an entire bulb's worth of garlic cloves.

Smash them with the side of the cleaver and mince them coarsely.

Cut off the stems of about 6 fresh green chilis (I used jalapenos) and slice them in half. long ways.

Clean out the pith but leave some of the seeds. Toss everything that you just prepared into the food processor and turn it on. Drizzle olive oil into it until it seems to have the right consistency.

This makes enough to fill one of my standard small storage containers (empty 1 pound Teddy Peanut Butter glass jar. 

I've designed a label for it, and my wife is going to illuminate it. when it's done I'll post a picture of the finished product. 

Day 66/240: Making a gift

We're having visitors on Saturday and, since they are being kind enough to bring vegetarian fare with them, I have decided to make them a nice jar of Skhug Yarok to take home with them. I think that I will try to do a photo shoot of the preparation later today.

The problem with doing that is that I end up washing my hands a lot in between steps so I don't get the camera all food-encrusted. Sometimes I think I should invent a camera I can wear on a head band and use voice commands for the shutter. (I know ... I'm sure that one already exists. That was just a bit of blatantly rhetorical pathos.)

Speaking of photos ... it's a shame that, in order to make the food show up nicely, I've had to restrict myself to the white plates and bowls. One of these days I need to make something that I can display on some of our fancier plates.

My wife used to work for Droll Designs and created some of their patterns, so we have a stack of DD plates in the cupboard. Unfortunately their colors are so bright that the food can some times get a little lost on them.

If you're interested, here are a few of the patterns she created:


Seder Plate Set

Birthday Bunny

Day 65/240: Roast Baby Bellas with Brussels Sprouts

No need to repeat the instructions. The modification this time was that, after cleaning and halving the sprouts, I tossed them in a mixture of olive oil and mango chutney and left them to marinate for a while.

They were very tasty but, for some reason, this time they left me gassy.

Dec 13, 2011

Day 64/240: Gluten

It's hard for me to not make a pun every time I write the word "seitan" (I still hope I can come up with a recipe to justify "Seitanic Verses" but "gluten" is almost as bad (Glutenous Maximus) and also suggests the sound of something thick and viscous oozing down the side of a bowl.

So guess what I had for dinner last night!

Standard seitan recipe with about 3 Tbs chili powder and 1 tsp whole cumin seed mixed into 2/3 cup of gluten. Then I added some cold stock with a couple of dashes of vegan Worcestershire Sauce. Then I kneaded it. steamed it and fried about half of it as a small steak for a sandwich. Some of my tofu spread mixed with a spoonful of Skhug kept it from being too dry.

I found a wonderful benefit to putting my stock in a bottle in the refrigerator. My wife jumps to the conclusion that the dark liquid is ice coffee. Considering the amount of cream and sugar she uses, I suppose it tastes nearly the same.

Dec 11, 2011

Day 63/240: Damn, Damn, Damn!

There's a little restaurant in Ipswich that I really like. Since I have chosen to be herbivorous, I have only been there for lunch. They have some good sandwiches that fit my needs.

This afternoon my wife and I were out on some errands and decided that, damn the expense, we'd have a second dinner out this week.

When we got the dinner menus, I got a bit of a jolt. After five there were only three choices that could be considered vegan. One was a side salad and the other two were pastas. I decided that there wasn't enough egg in the pasta to distress me too much and I ordered Eggplant Ravioli. It was described as: "Filled with roasted eggplant, roasted garlic, red peppers and olives. Topped with pimavera sauce."

I was hungry but, on about the third ravioli, I realized that something wasn't right. I checked and realized that what they had served me was a dish of ricotta-filled ravioli in a primavera sauce that was filled with chunks of eggplant. I ate the sauce.

So, once again my diet has been compromised. I figure that I probably ingested about 2 tablespoons of cheese. It's not the end of the world, just damned irritating. I mean ... I like this place and they lied to me.

Anyway, I was still hungry when we got home so I made myself another hummus roll-up.

No agonizing this time. I am NOT going to reset for such a trivial amount of cheese. I just have to be more diligent.

Day 62/240: Chickpea Curry

Stuporific day. Unable to overcome inertia. Threw cooked chickpeas and leftover rice in skillet with onion, garlic, and oil. Sprinkled curry powder on top. Stirred. Added stock. Spooned into a bowl. Topped with shreds of raw carrot and zucchini. Ate. Watched a movie. Went to bed.

Day 61/240: Roasted Beets and Cheela

This was not my finest meal, but it did teach me some interesting things.

First let's talk about the cheela. This is an Indian pancake made with gram (chickpea flour) and seasoned with some turmeric, garam masala, cayenne, etc. and mixed with about an equal amount of water. Then I added some shredded turnip and finely diced onion, mixed it well and spooned it into a skillet on medium high heat.

There were some problems. I was chintzy with the water and made the batter too thick. I added way too much vegetables (by volume). Last, but not least, medium high, on my stove is too hot.

I ended up with cheela that were too thick; crisp and brown on the outside and runny and underdone on the inside. I can correct these  and I'll try again next week. If it works better I'll post a formal recipe.

About the beets ... (TMI alert)

I have had a significant UTI in the not so distant past. It was, therefore, disconcerting and a bit frightening when I started producing bright red urine. It took me several minutes to remember the beets that I had sliced and roasted as an accompaniment the the pancakes. I headed for the computer and soon had my mind relieved ... but then reading further I realized that beets were also high in oxalic acid and I have a history of kidney stones.

It looks to me as if the pretty red root is going to have to join rhubarb and spinach in my "Forbidden Food File".

Day 60/240: Hummus Roll-ups with Skhug Yarok

I made a supply of hummus today. A pound of cooked chickpeas formed the base to which I added 2 Tbs of tahini, about 1/4 cup olive oil, a tsp of ground cumin, a dash of cayenne, and four minced cloves of garlic. This should last me a couple of days.

Then, for the very first time I made Skhug Yarok. This is the hot green sauce that you get at traditional felafel stands. The last time I had some was in Israel many years ago. Someone reminded me of the sauce and some searching got me a couple of excellent recipes which I tweaked very slightly.

DAMN that stuff is good. It is going to be my new "go to" condiment, and the recipe is dead simple, it's just a pesto that substitutes green chilis for the cheese.

Skhug Yarok

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 6-8 hot green peppers (choose them to your own capsaicin tolerance)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsps cumin seed
  • 2 tsps coriander seed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 2 tsps cardamom seed
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • EV olive oil


  1. Wash the cilantro and let it drip dry while you ... 
  2. Clean and seed the peppers. 
  3. Toast coriander, cardamom, and cumin seed.
  4. Grind all seeds in a suribachi or mortar.
  5. Mince garlic.
  6. Put everything into a food processor.
  7. Process to a paste adding a small amount of olive oil until your preferred consistency is reached.
Supposedly this will keep nicely in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks but, in reality, I think it'll be used-up long before that time.

I purchased some tomato-basil flatbreads and spread the hummus down the middle of one, added some avocado slices, a little tomato, and a beautiful green stripe of Skhug Yarok.

Bliss, my friends ... just bliss.

Day 59/240: Dinner out

Having dinner out is turning into a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be. Our favorite local restaurant has very few choices that exclude animal products. When we went out to dinner on

Wednesday, I ended up having an interesting but lackluster "hummus" made with edamame. It was an interesting idea, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if my expectations hadn't been set by the name. The edamame ground up with the chickpeas gave it the consistency of one of those particulate coleslaw recipes so favored by clam shacks in New England. It was good and surprising, but the part that was good was not surprising, and the part that was surprising wasn't all that good.

For the other part of dinner I had vegetable spring rolls: rice wrappers filled with asparagus, basil, mint, cucumbers, carrots, rice noodles and cilantro pesto, chilled and served with peanut dipping sauce. These were very good but they will get a little wearing with repetition.

I guess the entire dinner was flavored with bitter tears as I realized that I had just eaten two of the three choices available that would fit my diet.

Day 58/240: Repetition

Tuesday night I had a simple stir-fry over rice. It was nothing exceptional, just a good meal.


I have been so lazy about updating. I'm sorry! Tonight, therefore, will be for catching up.

Dec 5, 2011

Oh, and BTW

I've lost another two pounds over the last week. If this rate continues, I might look less like Santa and more like Oliver Sacks by next July.

Oliver Sacks

Day 57/240: Seitanic Salad Sandwich

I cooked up a small batch of seitan tonight. The gluten was mixed with curry powder and stock. I tried something new, though. Instead of simmering the seitan in a flavored liquid, instead I steamed it with plain water.

I was really pleased with how it turned out. It was nowhere near as juicy (soggy) as the simmered stuff. I put about half of the batch into the fridge for a future meal, and chopped up the rest into a fairly small dice. I mixed it with diced celery and diced onions and held the mass together with a tofu mayonnaise.

Two slices of whole grain toast and some additional celery sticks completed the meal. All in all a very successful experiment.

Day 56/240: Roasted Veggies and Rice

Roasted vegetables are getting to be my fallback position. They're tasty, satisfying, easy, and will take many different flavors well.

Tonight's batch was simply half inch slices of white potato, Small white onion halves, and carrot sticks all glazed with honey, green cardamom, and cayenne.  I served it over rice cooked in stock with turmeric.

Dec 4, 2011

Day 55/240: Worm Salad

No, of course it's not real worms. I was having so much fun with my rotary cutter that I decided to make a salad with it.

Essentially, I just took a zucchini, a carrot, and an onion and put them through the slicer, then mixed in a vinaigrette style dressing jazzed up a bit with a couple of teaspoons of cilantro chutney and a dried chili.

It's easy to do. Just cut a cylinder of the vegetable, hold the machine with one hand and turn the crank with the other. Then HEY PRESTO!

The carrot works the same way.

I just added the dressing and mixed it all together and added some whole grain toast spread with a mixture of crunchy peanut butter and Hoisin sauce.


Next time I'll need to remember to shorten the cylinders. The strands were about 4-5 feet long and just a tad unwieldy.

Dec 1, 2011

Sweet Potato Latkes with Roasted Onions and Hummus

This was my dinner tonight.

  • 6 small white onions
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs flax meal
  • 1 Tbs hot stock
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • Olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • 4 Tbs leftover hummus
  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. Peel the onions, cut off the ends and slice them in half across the grain.
  3. Crush and mince the garlic.
  4. Mix the stock with the flax meal.
  5. Peel and grate the potato.
  6. Put the potato in a bowl and add the garlic, flour, flax and lemon juice. 
  7. Mix well. (Add more stock if it doesn't hold together well.)
  8. Oil a roasting pan.
  9. Form the potato mixture into 4-6 patties and place on the pan.
  10. Put the onion halves in the gaps.
  11. Mist all the vegetables with an olive oil spray.
  12. Dust the potato patties with chili powder.
  13. Bake for app 20 minutes.
  14. Broil for app 2-3 minutes to get a slight char (optional).
  15. Pile hummus in middle of plate and arrange cooked items artistically around it.
I dabbed hummus on each bite of the latkes as I ate them. Delicious!

I should note that my sweet potatoes were not grated. I was given a spiral slicer as a gift, and used it to make this dish. The strands of sweet potato were two to three feet long.

Day 54/240: Lamacun

This is what I had for dinner last night.


  • 4 small pitas
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup TVP
  • 1/4 cup dried mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 dried chili
  • olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat the stock to a simmer.
  3. Dry roast the cumin and coriander in a skillet.
  4. Grind them fine in a mortar or suribachi.
  5. Mix the dry TVP, mushrooms, cumin, and coriander in a bowl.
  6. Add the stock and mix well.
  7. Grind the chili to powder.
  8. Add the chili. tomato paste and a glug or two of olive oil to the TVP.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Coat a roasting pan with olive oil.
  11. Spread the TVP mixture on each of pitas (don't bother to split them) getting it as close to the edge as possible.
  12. Put the pitas in the pan.
  13. Put the pan in the oven on the middle rack.
  14. Bake for about 7-10 minutes.
  15. Move the pan to the upper rack.
  16. Bake until the outer edge of the crust starts to brown.
  17. Let cool for a few minutes.
  18. Serve.

A glass of unsweetened lemon water is good with this. If you have lettuce, celery sticks, or zucchini sticks, you can fold them into a lamacun and have a nicely balanced meal.