Black Beans & Brown Rice

This was my very first Instant Pot meal (made the day the impressively large box arrived at my home) and only my second attempt at making dried beans.  Although it wasn’t amazing, I would definitely call it a success.

Ingredients serves an army as a side

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups dried black beans (no need to soak)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3-4 minced cloves garlic
  • 9 cups of water


  1. Place rice, beans, onion, garlic, water, salt, and bay leaf in the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Set on manual for 28 minutes (be aware that it may take 15 minutes to reach pressure).
  3. Allow natural steam release, at least for 20 minutes, then you can help it along.
  4. I went basic (I was feeding a 2 year old) and just threw cheddar cheese on top, but sour cream, a squirt of lime, and sliced avocado would be a great addition.  You could certainly use this for a soft taco or similar.

Sweet Potato Fries (Baked)

These sweet potato fries are delicious and they are baked.  My one year old thoroughly enjoys them and so do I.  Plus, they’re easy!


  • 24 oz sweet potatoes
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut the potatoes into sticks (like French fries).
  3. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the potato onto a baking sheet.  Try not to overcrowd the pan.  Spread into a single layer.
  5. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 25 minutes.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Freekeh Salad

I haven’t been able to post in ages, but if I don’t post this recipe, I’ll forgot it and I DEFINITELY want to make it again.  This salad is delicious.  It’s complex without be fussy, unusual without being weird.  There are a few steps for a salad, but it really doesn’t take too long and you probably have most of the ingredients at home.  [Note: I substituted balsamic vinegar for the saba.]

Blue Apron recipe, serves 2, (I tripled the amount of Brussels sprouts)

Asparagus, Avocado, Basil Salad

My friend Christina brought this salad to a party last weekend and I begged for the recipe.  It’s just so good!  She made the paleo diet version (no quinoa), but I added the quinoa to make it a bit more substantial (for a light lunch)– either way it’s quite tasty.



  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (or so) pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup quinoa (optional)
  • mint leaves, handful (optional)


  1. Cook the quinoa as per package directions (I like the pasta-type method, pot of boiling water, 15 minutes, drain and done).  Set aside to cool (spread on a baking sheet).
  2. Steam asparagus for 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix together in a large bowl all the ingredients.  Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad-Side

I have been completely remiss with maintaining this blog lately.  I’ve moved (back to the beachy ‘burbs) and although I’ve been cooking, I haven’t been able to justify time typing away when half my wardrobe is still sheltered in cardboard….  But I always forget about great recipes if I don’t etch them into my cyberspace recipe box, so I’m going to try to do a bit of catching up this weekend.  [Psst… I also want to mention that my new kitchen is far superior to my tiny cupboard NYC one, so cooking is even better now! I have my very first pot of splet simmering away at this very moment.]

I adore Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem (hence the multiple recipes I have already posted from this beautifully photographed book), but their terminology is not the same as mine.  This recipe is classified as a salad in Jerusalem and, to be fair, it is a salad.  However it’s not the type of green and leafy dish that conjures salad in my mind, so before you make this (very tasty) dish, think side or starter or some other liberal definition of salad.  One more note, I might have noshed on a good deal of the cauliflower before actually tossing everything together… so, you can always just stop at roasted cauliflower if it’s that type of day.

Ingredients serves 2 – 4

  • 1 head cauliflower broken into small florets
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 celery stalk cut at an angle into 1/4-inch strips
  • 5 Tbsp hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: to make it more salad-esque, add a few handfuls of salad greens like arugula or similar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the chopped cauliflower with 3 Tbsp of oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and some black pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet and roast on the top rack for 25 – 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and parts of it have turned golden brown.
  3. Decrease the oven temperature to 325ºF.  Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and then coarsely chop.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the cauliflower, nuts, and all remaining ingredients including remaining oil.  Stir, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve at room temperature.  It tastes even better the next day.

Cardamom Rice (Indian Style)

imageThis is a ridiculous recipe because it is literally SO EASY that it’s almost silly to write about.  And yet, here I go.  My husband and I love the white rice that accompanies meals at our favorite Indian restaurant and if we were Indian we would have been raised on the secret (and easy) way to prepare this deliciousness.  But, Irish and Jewish, we didn’t know what provided this rice with the extra burst of fragrant flavor, an almost flower-like aromatic among its moist grains…  and now I know 🙂

The key ingredient may be difficult to find at your local grocery store and, unfortunately, there is no substitute.  You need green cardamom seeds or pods.  I checked out all my local markets in a very diverse area of Queens and came up with zilch.  (Indian markets generally carry cardamom seeds).  Ground cardamom does not serve as an adequate substitute.  Cardamom seeds and pods are available for sale over the internet, but I was determined to get my hands on this ingredient locally in New York.  Finally I found two stores that carried them: Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods.  Good luck (but it’s worth the search).

One final note on ingredients: the quality of your rice really makes a difference.  I used the Lundberg brand of California White Basmati Rice (also a Whole Food purchase), but whatever brand you use, buy the best quality Basmati available to you.

Ingredients for 4 – 6 servings

  • 1 cup dry Basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 – 2 tsp cardamom pods or seeds
  • season with salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Bring to a boil uncovered.
  3. Cover with lid, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, leave lid on, and steam for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff with fork and thoroughly enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce

I saw this recipe in Mark Bittman’s column this morning in The New York Times and immediately put it on the menu for tonight.  My husband is not a huge vegetable fan, but he does enjoy both cauliflower and peppers so I knew we had a hit.

Ingredients, serves about 4

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 medium-to-large head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp sherry vinegar


  1. Prep: Fill a large pot 2/3 of the way with water and set to boil.  Adjust rack in oven about 4 inches from heat and turn on broiler.
  2. Put the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning as each side browns, until they have darkened and collapsed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Wrap the peppers in the foil and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove skins, seeds, and stems (Bittman advices doing this under running water).  Set aside.
  3. Heat the oven to 450ºF.
  4. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and submerge the head in the salted, boiling water.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook at least 15 minutes (until you can easily insert a knife in the center).
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet and pat dry.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Roast until nicely browned all over, about 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the roasted red peppers, almonds, garlic, vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a food processor.  Turn the machine on and stream in 1/4 cup of olive oil; puree into a thick paste.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Cut the browned cauliflower into wedges and serve with the romesco sauce.


Healthy Eating Facts

  • Cauliflower is an excellent source of phytonutrients and enzymes that help neutralize toxins damaging to the body’s cells.
  • Cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, and manganese.
  • Red peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, and potassium.
  • By weight, red bell peppers contain three times as much vitamin C as citrus fruit.
  • Bell peppers also contain lycopene which researches believe many help fight certain kinds of cancer.