Light and Easy Summer Pasta with Zucchini

Zucchini Pasta

I love making simple tasty pasta dishes, especially now that it’s summer. This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t post it. But seeing as The New York Times prides itself on publishing the simplest pasta dishes, I decided, why shouldn’t I!

What I love about this is the the “liquidy” part of the sauce is basically the pasta water, which makes the whole process so very easy. And don’t leave out the lemon – it gives it that fresh zing that’s perfect for summer meals, elevating this dish from hum-drum to yum-yum.



500g (1 lb) pasta (you can use whatever you like, from spaghetti to penne to any pasta shape you enjoy)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large zucchinis quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly

1 medium-large onion cut in quarters and thinly sliced

At least 10 cloves of garlic peeled and thinly sliced (don’t crush – slicing makes them so much tastier and the garlic won’t burn either.)

Juice of half a medium-sized lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste (leave out if you want to serve as a vegan or Parev dish)

How to do it

  1. Boil your pasta in lots of salted water
  2. In a large pan, add the olive oil, and over medium-high heat, saute the zucchini and onions for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to saute until the zucchini and onions start to brown a little (don’t let it burn).
  3. When your vegetables are a nice brown color, add about half a cup of the pasta water to the pan and the lemon juice. Stir and allow the vegetables to simmer a little. If you feel like there isn’t enough liquid (there should be liquid covering the full bottom of the pan to no more than half a centimeter (less than a quarter of an inch). Don’t add too much liquid. As soon as you see the pasta water has taken on some of the color of the vegetables (no more than 2-3 minutes of simmering) turn the heat off.
  4. Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce immediately.
  5. Serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

Serves about 4


My new favorite salmon

Citrus Infused Salmon

The real trick to cooking a perfect salmon fillet is not drying it out. It’s so easy to go down the wrong path and end up with a piece of salmon that will stick in your throat. This is why I love this method of cooking salmon. While it uses a fair amount of oil, it doesn’t come out oily and really just uses use oil to keep the flesh moist and delicious. The advantage is that you can make this ahead of time, and serve it one or two days later, and the fish will still be delicious and moist. The citrus flavor is beautifully infused into the flesh for a wonderful zingy taste nuance. The best part is that this will take you about 5 minutes to prepare for cooking, and not more than 25 minutes to cook. So it’s great for when you need to throw together a meal in a hurry.
This is now up there as my favorite fish to cook.



1 large salmon fillet (whole side) cut in two equal pieces

½ cup olive oil (you can add more to taste)

One large lemon thinly sliced, seeds removed

One orange thinly sliced, seeds removed (if you can get a blood orange, even better)

2-3 sprigs of rosemary

Ground salt and pepper

How to do it

  1. Heat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF)
  2. Cover a baking tray with foil and drizzle some of the oil over the bottom
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the fish and lay each piece on the tray, skin side down
  4. Place the citrus slices over the top of each piece of salmon, covering as much of the surface area as possible. Place the rosemary sprigs on top of the fish
  5. Drizzle some of the oil over each piece of salmon and pour the rest around the edges of the fish. You should have a puddle of oil around each piece of salmon of about 4-3mm. (This doesn’t make the fish oily)
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. To check the fish, take a fork and carefully ease it between the segments of the flesh in the thickest part. If the fish is mostly cooked but just a little translucent deep in the middle, remove the fish from the oven. It will continue to cook a little more on the hot tray.
  7. Serve room at temperature leaving the citrus and rosemary as decoration.

This keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge 1-2 hours before serving.

A Miracle Bar for Pesach

When you hear the words gluten free, vegan, parev, raw and kosher for Pesach to describe one dessert, your first thought is likely – must be tasteless. Well, have I got a pre-Pesach surprise for you! I’m calling these “Miracle Bars” because while they are all of the above, they are also miraculously and inexplicably very very delicious, even though they lack just about everything that usually goes into making a sweet treat taste good.

These 3-layer raw bars (no baking required) are made from cashews, almonds, coconut, dates, peanut butter, dark chocolate, among other ingredients. And they’re not too unhealthy either.

A pretty essential piece of equipment for this recipe is an excellent food processor. When I tested this recipe the first time, I used my Magimix, and the first two layers of these bars were a breeze to blend together. When I made them again for Pesach, using a cheapie food processor that is part of my KFP kit, there was a lot of cursing (from me), some wheezing and smoke (from the food processor), and a quick switch to a very small but stronger food blitzer that also almost cracked under the pressure. So do as I say, don’t do as I do and you will impress your guests and family this Pesach!


Base Layer
1 cup raw cashews
½ cup shredded coconut
2½ tablespoons finely ground almonds
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons silan (date honey) or regular honey

Second layer
12 large dates pitted and cut into 4 (Medjool dates are the best)
¼ cup silan (date honey) or regular honey
1/3 cup peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Third Layer 
100g (3½ oz) dark chocolate melted over a double boiler

How to do it

1. Place all the ingredients for the base layer in your food processor process until well combined and until the cashew are quite fine. If you feel it’s too crumbly, add a little more honey. But don’t overdo it because the mixture comes together well when you press it down. (Wash the food processor bowl and blade)

2. Line a 15x20cm (8×6 inch) baking pan with baking paper and press the cashew mixture firmly and evenly into the pan (wet your hands to make this easier). Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes at least.

3. Place all the ingredients for the second layer in the food processor and blend till completely smooth. Remove the pan from the freezer and spread the date layer evenly over the base. Return the pan to the freezer and leave it there until it’s completely frozen.

4. Cut the bars into even-sized pieces to your own taste. They are quite sweet, so I keep them quite small. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (you can just use a very small pot inside a larger pot with boiler water at the bottom – do not allow the smaller pot to touch the water and do not allow any water to splash into the chocolate or it will be ruined).

5. Pick up each bar from the bottom, holding onto the nutty base, and dip just the surface of the date layer into the chocolate. This way you will see all 3 layers clearly from the side. Place them on a piece of baking paper laid out on the countertop, and allow the chocolate to harden.

6. Put them on a flat tray or baking dish on a piece of baking paper, and freeze in one layer. When they are completely frozen,  transfer them to an airtight container to store. You can then layer them with baking paper between the layers.

Keep them frozen until you serve them. They soften very quickly. You can keep them in the freezer for a few weeks.

Problematic Cookies

Pistachio, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

There’s a huge problem with these cookies…you won’t be able to stop eating them! Other than that, they’re perfect. What a combination of flavors!

Credit for this recipe goes to my cousin Anne in San Diego who is a voracious baker. I am only just starting to delve into a list of recipes she recently sent me. This one’s definitely a keeper. I’m going to make another batch today. I can’t wait to try the rest of her recipes. Thank you, Anne!

The combination of white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries is a winner. The cookies are dense and hearty. This recipe makes about 30 cookies, so I recommend you double it before you regret it!



175g (7 oz) butter

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of 1 orange, finely grated

1¾ cups flour

¼ cup corn flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped with a knife – do not put them into a blender.

150g (6 oz) white chocolate chips – I used larger, high quality white chocolate chips, which you can get in any specialty food store or baking shop. They are great!

How to do it

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until pale brown and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest until well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Add the cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate chips and mix slowly till just combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F) and line baking sheets with baking paper.
  5. Scoop about a tablespoon of dough onto the sheet, with about 5 cm (2”) between them.  Flatten the balls to about 1.5cm (0.6”) thick. Make sure cookie sheets are completely cold before reusing or additional batches will spread.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they’re starting to color around the edges. Cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Pop in the freezer when you are done. This will make them less crumbly when you serve them. They can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.


A Most Yummy Vegan Carrot Cake

vegan carrot cake

With no diary and no eggs, baking vegan can be a challenge. Here’s a recipe that you’ll want to bake over and over.

One of my closest friends is a vegan and when she came over for dinner a few weeks ago, I wanted to make sure she was also treated well at dessert time. This cake is so moist, tasty (and healthy) that we all piled into it and enjoyed it – vegan or not. I barely had any left to photograph!

The raisins are what keep the cake extremely moist, and give it an almost Christmas cake feeling. I haven’t tried it, but I suppose that if you soak the raisins in brandy instead of water, you would really inject that festive season flavor into this cake. (Let me know) This is a nice dense cake and works well in the winter when you don’t mind that extra padding at the end of a hearty meal.

I made this with a luscious lemon glaze, but you can just as easily serve it without. Just make sure you don’t overbake it.



1½ cups finely grated carrot

½ cup maple syrup

¾ cup non-dairy almond milk

1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil or other oil

1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1½ cups whole grain spelt flour or whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and drained

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Lemon Glaze Ingredients

½ cup Tofutti cream cheese

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Icing sugar to reach a thick pouring consistency (about 1 cup)

How to do it

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a small loaf pan (20cm x11cm x 6cm) with baking paper and spray with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the carrot, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and lemon zest.

3. Add the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until just combined. Fold in the raisins and chopped walnuts – do not overmix.

4. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. For the glaze, mix the Tofutti cream cheese and the lemon juice in a small bowl till combined well. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth, and a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake by pouring it across teh top and letting it pour over the sides.

Serves 10.

Looking good – Thai Beef Curry

My one son wanted to take food to the army for the week, as he always does. He’s not a fan of army food. I told him to please take the meat balls from Shabbat because I wanted to keep the beef curry so I could take a picture of it for my blog. My daughter quickly piped up, “But the beef looks like crap now!”. True, it had been made the day before and had spent the night in the fridge, so didn’t look as pristine as it had when it was fresh out of the slow cooker. But still, I wanted to share this wonderful recipe on my blog, and that meant taking a picture. So I took this as a challenge and got to work. Instead of my usual quick snap with my SmartPhone, I made a little bit of an effort, hauled out the big guns, my Canon EOS 760D, and set out to prove my daughter wrong.

I hope you enjoy the result. I promise to do better with my photography in the future, as long as my family doesn’t eat everything before I have a chance to make it pretty for a photo shoot.

But back to the food. That’s why we’re here after all. This is a simple and delicious slow cooked beef curry that relies on a red Thai curry paste that can be bought pretty much everywhere these days. If I can find it in my little supermarket in the boonies of Israel (seriously, I shop in a supermarket that is surrounded by orchards), then anyone can find it. If you don’t have a slow cooker, a couple of hours on low on the stove will also do the trick. But my slow cooker is one of my favorite appliances and I highly recommend buying one if you don’t have one yet. They’re very inexpensive and turn the toughest cut of meat into a tender delicious feast.



2 kg stewing beef cut into chunks

2 tablespoons oil

2 medium sized onions chopped

4 tablespoons red Thai curry paste

4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

800 ml (28 oz / 2 cans) coconut cream

400 ml (14 oz) chicken stock

4 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

Juice of 1 lime or lemon

1 can baby corn cobs sliced thickly

200g (7 oz) mangetout/sugar snap peas topped, tailed and cut into bite sized pieces

2 carrots finely julienned

1 bunch asparagus cut into bite sized pieces (optional)

2 large red peppers thinly sliced

Coriander leaves roughly chopped to garnish

How to do it

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or skillet and fry the onion over medium heat for a few minutes till it starts softening. Add the curry paste and ginger and stir for a minute or so. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, stock, sugar and lime leaves and bring to the boil, stirring.
  2. Lightly grease the slow cooker pot and add the beef pieces. Pour the sauce over the beef, cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours, until the beef is very soft.
  3. After 8-9 hours, add the vegetables, mix through, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked. (Don’t overcook the mangetout. They should be very crunchy.) Add the lime/lemon juice once it’s all cooked. Serve hot.
  4. If you don’t have a slow cooker, after Step 1, add the beef to a large pot, cover with the sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, and simmer covered for about 1½-2 hours or until the beef is very soft, then add the carrots, peppers asparagus and corn, mix through and cook for another 20 minutes. When they are just soft, add the mangetout, mix through and turn off the heat. Add the lime/lemon juice.
  5. Garnish with roughly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with white rice. Serves about 8.


Creamy Pumpkin Risotto for a Rainy Day

I love pumpkin. I’m sure I am repeating myself. But I just love the texture, the subtle taste and the delightfully bright color. It’s the perfect vegetable to brighten up those dreary winter days. Whenever I see those lovely big chunks of pumpkin on the shelf of my green grocer, I cannot resist. I grab one and look for ways to use it at home. Here’s a very comforting way to turn pumpkin into a delicious dairy side dish or main dish for vegetarians.

Risotto is such a wonderful comfort food. It’s not as daunting as all those cooking shows would have you believe. You don’t have to stand over the pot every second and stir, but it does require a little more loving attention than a regular pot of rice. And the result is just yummy. My second vegetable is zucchini because I have people in my house who hate mushrooms, but you can substitute mushrooms instead if you’re a fan. And please don’t scimp on the parmesan cheese – it makes the dish.



3 teaspoons + 4 teaspoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium-sized onion finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1-2 cups diced pumpkin (the pieces should be quite small – about 1½ cm / ½ an inch

1 medium-sized zucchini diced or about 8-10 white mushrooms diced (or both if you want)

1½ cups arborio (risotto) rice

4-5 cups hot stock (parev chicken or vegetable)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½-¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

How to do it

  1. In a medium sized pot (preferably non-stick but not essential) melt the 3 teaspoons butter and olive oil. Add the onion and fry on medium heat until soft (not brown). Add the garlic and stir together for about a minute (do not let it burn).
  2. Add the rice and stir it into the onion and garlic until the rice is well coated in the oil. Stir in the pumpkin and the zucchini / mushrooms. Mix well.
  3. Increase the heat to high and add 1 cup of the stock and stir the mixture well until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium heat and allow the liquid to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Then add another cup of liquid, and stir it in, stirring now and again. When that is absorbed, add some more liquid, and repeat this process until the rice is just cooked (don’t overcook the rice, so add smaller amounts of liquid each time after the 2nd cup, and keep tasting). Make sure that not all the liquid cooks away – a good risotto should be just slightly runny and not stodgy. This should take about 15 minutes.
    Note – you don’t have to use all the stock once you see that your rice is cooked and the consistency is right.
  4. Add the extra 4 teaspoons butter and stir well till it’s melted.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the salt and freshly ground pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese, and stir well through the mixture. Serve immediately.

Serves about 6 as a side dish

The Joys of Cape Curry

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where local curry dishes were as common in my house as chicken soup (maybe even more). Barely a week went by without us eating curried chicken or fish. We always had Cape Malay-style curry, made with curry spices and tomatoes, with chutney, coconut and sliced bananas on the side. To some it may sound exotic, to us it was just a regular Wednesday night meal.

Over the years, I’ve loved tasting and cooking various types of curries from all parts of Asia. But when winter comes, and comfort food is a must, this is the curry I always make for my family. It takes me back to Cape Town and to the flavors of the Cape.

This recipe takes a little more effort because I always pan fry the chicken pieces before baking them, and par-boil the potatoes. These extra steps are all very worthwhile. If not, I would not subject you to them. My kids are always in awe of how the potatoes come out, so I wouldn’t take any short cuts there.

For this dish I use pre-mixed curry powder. Happily, I can buy South African curry powder in Israel, but you can also use other regular curry powder mixes. If you want to make your own, I’ve added that option.



1 chicken cut into 10 pieces plus an extra 3 thighs, legs and 6 extra wings.

1 cup flour season with salt, pepper and garlic powder

Oil for frying

4-6 large potatoes peeled and cut into about 6-8 pieces each

2 large onions chopped in large pieces

2 red peppers sliced

4 large very ripe tomatoes (peeled – optional)

400g (14oz) tomato paste

3 tablespoons curry paste*

1 red chili pepper finely chopped (use half if you don’t want it too hot)

1 tablespoon chicken soup powder

About 2-3 cups boiling water

How to do it

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet (I have 2 going at once to save time). Roll each chicken piece in the flour and brown each piece in the oil on all sides, and place at the bottom of a large sprayed roasting pan. Do not discard the oil from the chicken and don’t discard the remaining flour.
  2. Par boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water, bringing to the boil for about 10 minutes or until a potato just starts to yield to a fork. Drain and add them to the chicken.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF)
  4. In the pan with the chicken oil, fry the onions and peppers over medium high heat until soft (not browned). Add the chili and stir for a minute or so. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan and let them simmer for a few minutes until they start melting.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, and add the tomato paste, curry powder or spices  and the chicken soup powder and stir until a thick paste forms.
  6. Add about 4-5 tablespoons of the remaining flour, and stir together. Add the boiling water slowly, stirring until the paste turns into thick but runny sauce (don’t make it too water but make sure it is running enough to coat all the chicken pieces and form a nice sauce.) Pour over the dish.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the oven down to 180ºC (350ºF) and bake for another 20 minutes and remove the white meat. Sturn the chicken pieves over and gently turn the potatoes over as well so they cook evenly. Continue baking the dark meat pieces until the meat starts coming away from the bone of the leg.
  8. Serve with white or brown rice. Serves about 10.

*To make your own curry spice, combine 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons fennel, ground (or 4 teaspoons whole fennel seeds), 1½ teaspoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, finely chopped, 1 teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground, 15 cardamom pods (whole pods), ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon garam masala. Mash all the spices together in a pestle and mortar.


Simplest Oven Veggies

Thanksgiving is sneaking up on us. With so many dishes to prepare, it’s always good to have an easy side dish that requires minimal effort and ingredients. This one fits the bill. It’s a 4 veggie oven baked vegetable dish with a flavor boost from none other than a bit of onion soup powder. I’m not a huge proponent of adding fake flavoring, so look for a powder without too many nasty preservatives. Don’t leave it out though because it gives nice flavor.

Originally I used to have potatoes in this dish, with the cauliflower, zucchini and carrots, but recently I entertained friends who don’t eat carbs, and I tried fennel instead of potato. What a huge difference. Not only does this substitute make the dish lighter, it also adds a great boost of flavor. I will not go back to potatoes for this one.

Here’s another tip: If you don’t yet have an oil sprayer, go out and buy one (look for one that doesn’t need pumping). They are a great way to get all the vegetables coated in oil without making the dish very oily. And you’ll use it for so many other dishes too.

The main thing here is patience – don’t under cook the veggies or they will lack flavor – let them get nice and browned to bring out all their natural sweetness.



1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, rinsed, dried and cut into bite- sized florettes

4 medium sized zucchinis, sliced lengthways and then sliced into fat slices (about 1-2cm / half an inch)

4 medium-sized carrots peeled and sliced in thick slices

1 large fennel bulb with the top and bottom cut off and cut into about 12 pieces.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Ground kosher salt

2 tablespoons onion soup powder

How to do it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
  2. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into a medium-sized baking dish, or line an oven tray with baking paper and drizzle the oil onto the paper and spread it evenly on the bottom. Throw all the vegetables into the dish.
  3. Sprinkle the onions soup powder over the top and toss the vegetables around a little. If not all the veggies are lightly coated in oil, spray some extra oil over them. Grinks some salt over the top.
  4. Bake for 1-1.5 hours, stirring everying half an hour or so, until the veggies are nice and golden brown, and all cooked through.

Serve hot. Serves about 6 as a side dish.

Curried Quinoa Ahead of Autumn

When my kids were little, we were members of a swimming pool at a nearby moshav. It would always amuse me when, on September 1, in anticipation of a barely noticable drop in temperature following our very hot Augusts, the pool would discernably empty out during this still pretty sweltering month. The reason, people would tell me, was that it just wasn’t very hot any more. This 3 or so degree difference put everyone into a fall state of mind, while we would enjoy the virtual privacy of the swimming pool.

A couple of weeks, when I threw together a rustic curried quinoa dish to feed my vegan relatives, I reminded myself of those premature celebrators of the end of summer. Even though the mercury is still way up there, I gathered a bunch of autumn veggies, and put together a tummy warming curried quinoa dish. It was one of those ” this is what I’ve got in the fridge” moments, that worked out really well.

The advantages of this dish is that it’s vegan and can work well as a main dish if you’re not going for animal proteins. It also takes about 20 minutes to prepare. And now that I’ve added it to my reportoire, I will definiely be making this again as the temperatures (eventually) drop towards winter.



1 cup of quinoa cooked according to the directions on the package

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 medium sized carrots finely diced

1 large onion finely diced

1 medium sized zucchini diced

About 2 cups of pumpkin diced

2-3 medium sized very ripe tomatoes peeled and diced

About 1 tablespoon of medium strength curry powder (or to taste)

2-3 tablespoons of chutney or 2 teaspoons brown sugar (use chutney if you have it)

Salt and pepper

How to do it

  1. Cook the quinoa in a small pot
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, dice all the vegetables. In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the carrots, and stir for about a minute or two, Then add the onions and saute for another few minutes until the carrots just start getting soft. Then add the zucchini and the pumpkin and saute until they are both cooked.
  3. Add the tomatoes and the curry powder and cook until the tomatoes just start breaking down (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Add the chutney or brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix through.
  5. Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables and mix through thoroughly.

Serve hot. Serves 4 as a main dish and 6-8 as a side dish