Spiced Cauliflower Couscous

At first glance, this dish appears to be couscous or an ancient grain such as quinoa. Guess again! It’s cauliflower, which makes it completely gluten-free and an especially great choice for vegan cooks and those following a Paleo diet.  Toasting the coarsely ground cauliflower in the pan gives it a nice flavor and texture, combined with some dried spices, fresh herbs, savory nuts, chewy dried fruit and lemon.  Serve it over a bed of greens and if you’re an omnivore, top it with a piece of seared chicken or fish to cover all of your food groups if your heart desires. 


6 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower)

¼ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp coriander

1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/3 cup dried fruit like raisins, currants or cranberries

zest of 1 lemon

2 TB lemon juice, more to taste

2-3 TB minced leafy herbs, like cilantro, parsley and/or mint

½ tsp salt, more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper, more to taste



 Chop the cauliflower florets into bite size pieces.  Transfer into a food processor in batches, and pulse until the pieces are finely chopped and resemble couscous, but be careful not to over process.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high.  Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and stir for 1 minute to release flavor.  Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, and letting some of the cauliflower brown.   Set aside to cool, or transfer to a tray to cool even faster. 

 In a bowl, mix the “couscous” with the remaining ingredients: almonds, raisins, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced leafy herbs, salt and pepper.  Taste, and add more lemon, salt or pepper to reach desired flavor. 

Makes approximately 4 cups, and serves 4-6.


To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 325°.  Spread seeds on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. (Can be done in advance and stored in an airtight container)


White Bean, Kale and Sausage Stew

As our days are now officially shorter and the cooler weather is settling in, it's the perfect time to introduce a weekly soup or stew into your dinner rotation.   Beans, kale and sausage are a classic trio in Mediterranean fare, and make a super healthy, well rounded meal.  This recipe calls for turkey sausage, which is lower in fat, but you can splurge with sweet italian or spicy sausage if your heart desires!  Canned beans are perfectly fine, but can be a bit soft, so if you have the time, try starting with dried beans for a more firm texture.   Here, the main ingredients are pulled together with a hint of tomato and the earthy flavors from fresh thyme and rosemary.  The finishing touches of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano cheese bring balance and added mouth feel to make a very satisfying dish!


4 TB olive oil, divided

½ pound turkey sausage, meat removed from casings and rough chopped

1 TB tomato paste

2 medium carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups vegetable stock (preferably no salt) or water

2 cups cooked white beans (try Great Northern, Cannellini or Navy)

½ - 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste (depends on salt content of stock)

2 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

1 bay leaf

pinch of red pepper flakes

4 cups chopped kale, stems removed and thinly sliced into ribbons

For serving: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmigiano cheese


Heat 2 TB olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Wipe out pot, add 2 TB olive oil, and when hot, add the tomato paste, carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.   Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of stock or water, and let the liquid reduce by half, scraping up the tiny sucs that are stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon.  Then add the remaining stock or water, beans, salt, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and red pepper flakes, if using.  Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Then add the kale and sausage to the pot, stir and let simmer for about 5 minutes until the kale wilts and the stew is completely heated through.   Taste and adjust seasoning.

Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and grated Parmigiano cheese, if desired.   Makes 8 cups.

Serves 4-6


In a pinch, use precooked sausage - just slice into ½ inch pieces and cook according to recipe.

To deglaze means to add liquid, such as stock or wine, to a pan to loosen and dissolve the little brown bits (called sucs) that are stuck to the bottom. The flavorful mixture produced by deglazing (called fond) can then be used to build flavor for a sauce, soup or stew. 

Ridiculously Delicious Ratatouille


1⁄4 cup cup olive oil, plus 2 TB, divided
1 cup onion, diced 2 tsp minced garlic 1 cup medium eggplant, skin on, diced
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced 1 cup yellow squash, diced 1 1⁄2 cups tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
2 TB thinly sliced fresh basil leaves 1 TB fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried 1 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt 1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1⁄4 cup olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggplant and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Then add the red peppers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and an additional tablespoon of olive oil, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring to combine.
Finally, add the basil, thyme, and salt and pepper, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the mixture is cooked through and well combined. Stir well, taste and add more salt and pepper to bring out the flavors. Can be served either hot or at room temperature.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to three days. 

Serves 6. 

Italian Plum Cake

From “A Platter of Figs” by David Tanis
Notes by Jennifer Rossano

1 cup unblanched almonds
½ cup sugar, plus about ¼ cup for topping
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and sliced thickly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan.  Put the almonds and the ½ cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir in the melted butter.  Add the egg mixture to the almond mixture and whisk for a minute or two until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top in a circular pattern.  Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums. 
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden and a pairing knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
The cake is best served within a few hours of baking.

- You can substitute a cup of almond flour for the whole almonds. Mix with the sugar in a bowl, and proceed according to above directions.
- Baking might take more than an hour to achieve a golden top and desired doneness.
- Italian plums are in season toward the end of the summer and early fall.

Roasted Tomatoes and Shallots

When you are over flowing with tomatoes, roasting is a quick and easy technique to extend your enjoyment of summer’s finest fruit. The natural sugars in the tomatoes and shallots release as they cook down, resulting in a slightly sweet and more intense flavor. Use this savory side to perk up your morning omelet, add a schmear to your sandwich, or place atop a piece of fish. Fresh herbs will add the most vibrancy to this dish, but you can substitute dried herbs. As a general rule of thumb, substitute 1 teaspoon dried for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.


2 pounds tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped (about 4 cups)
2-3 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 TB fresh herbs, minced (tarragon, oregano, thyme, rosemary)


Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large baking tray with foil.
Mix the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread out evenly on the baking tray, and cook for about 30-35 minutes, until most of the juices have evaporated and the shallots are soft and slightly brown.
Remove tray from the oven, sprinkle with the minced herbs, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to three days. 

Makes about 2 cups.

Salsa Fresca

Salsa fresca, also referred to as pico de gallo, is traditionally a mix of fresh tomatoes, onions, spicy peppers, salt and lime. Great with tortilla chips or crackers, it makes for an equally tasty condiment with grilled meats and fish. This recipe calls to remove the spiciest part of the jalapeno pepper, the seeds and membranes, so that the end result is extremely flavorful without stinging the palette with intense heat. If you want bold heat, you can use the entire pepper.


2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1⁄2 cups)
1⁄4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 scallion, whites and green parts, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
1 jalapeno jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced (1 1⁄2 -2 TB) 1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1⁄2 lime, juiced (about 1 1⁄2 -2 TB)
2 TB olive oil
3⁄4 tsp kosher salt


Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and add more salt or lime juice to balance the flavor according to your preference.

Makes about 2 cups.

Slaw with Green Goddess Dressing

Mixing all of the ingredients together in a blender creates a creamy texture, and the jalapeño, cilantro, scallions and lime give this slaw a nice zing. Use Napa or Savoy cabbage, which have soft, crinkly leaves that are more tender and flavorful than your typical green cabbage.   

1 cup scallions, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
zest of one lime
2 TB lime juice
3 TB canola or grape seed oil
1 tsp honey
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup cilantro leaves, plus 2 TB more for garnish
3 cups finely shredded cabbage, preferably Napa or Savoy
½ red pepper, seeded and sliced very thin
½ medium red onion, sliced very thin
1 large carrot, julienned 

Combine the scallions, jalapeño pepper, lime zest, lime juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until combined. Dressing will be thick and creamy looking. Add ¼ cup cilantro and pulse a few times until combined.  If desired, add a few drops of water to thin out the dressing. Place the cabbage, red pepper, red onion and carrot in a bowl, add the dressing and toss. Sprinkle remaining 2 TB cilantro leaves on top and serve.

Serves 4-6. 

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh leafy herbs of choice: basil, cilantro and/or mint (optional)
3 TB fresh oregano, rough chopped (or 3 tsp dried)
3 TB chopped garlic
3 TB chopped shallots
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
¾ tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 pounds skirt steak

Place all of the ingredients (except the steak!) in a bowl of a food processor or a blender.  Pulse until well combined, but do not puree.  The sauce should be course and assertive in flavor.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.  Remove a few spoonfuls of the sauce and set aside for serving when steak is done cooking.

Cut the skirt steak into smaller pieces, about 4 inches in length, making note to cut thinner pieces from thicker ones, as the thicker pieces may need more cooking time. Place the steak in a shallow bowl or dish and pour the remaining sauce over, making sure to coat the meat well. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. 

30 minutes before you are ready to grill, take the steak out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.    Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak and season lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high (between 400-450 degrees).   When the grill is hot, cook the steak, about 3 minutes per side for medium rare.   For more well done temperature, leave on the grill for an additional minute or two per side. 

Place cooked steak on a cutting board or plate, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.

Serve with remaining sauce and a hearty slice of grilled bread to soak up the sauce and juices.

Serves 6-8.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 pint strawberries, cleaned, stemmed and sliced (around 2 ½ cups)
4 TB sugar, divided
2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
6 TB unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces (do in advance)
1 ¼ cup heavy cream, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Gently crush about a quarter of the berries with a fork to release their flavor, and place in a small bowl with the remaining berries and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Mix and set aside to allow flavor to develop.

2. Preheat oven to 450°

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the softened butter and mix together with your hands, until it butter and flour combine into a crumbly mixture.   Then add 2/3 cup cream, and mix to a soft dough.  

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for about 1 minute until just combined.  With your hands, flatten dough make a disc about ½ inch thick.   Do not overwork the dough. Cut into rounds using a 3 inch biscuit or cookie cutter.

5. Butter a baking tray, and transfer biscuits to the tray, and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown. 

6. Remove from the oven, let cool. Meanwhile, beat the remaining 2/3 cup cream and ½ tsp. vanilla extract until it is thick. 

7. To assemble: slice biscuits in half. Place a bottom half on a plate. Top with a spoonful of berries, and some whipped cream.  Cover with top half, and a small spoon of cream and a few more berries, if desired. Do not assemble until ready to serve. 

Serves 4.  


Extra shortcakes may be frozen. Warmed in an oven before using. 

You may wish to purchase a 3 or 3 ½ inch round cookie or biscuit cutter for this recipe.