4 cups mixed lettuce greens
¼ cup (60mL) pomegranate seeds*
2 ounces (56g) soft goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup (125mL) boiling water
6 Bigelow Pomegranate Pizzazz® Herb Tea Bags
1/3 cup (80mL) red wine vinegar
1/3 cup (80mL) olive oil
2 teaspoons (30mL) grated shallots
1 teaspoon (5mL) sugar - to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1Make this vinaigrette by infusing water with 6 Bigelow Pomegranate Pizzazz® Herb Tea Bags for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags. Combine vinegar, olive oil and shallots together. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
2Arrange a cup of mixed greens on 4 individual plates, garnish with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, drizzle with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
3*If pomegranate seeds are not available substitute sun-dried cranberries
A galette is a sort of rustic French tart that can be sweet or savory (and is surprisingly easy to make). This dessert is simple and delicious and is the perfect treat for a cozy winter dinner. The combination of pear and cranberry is absolutely wonderful. To get the best flavor, make sure that your pear is firm to the touch, but ripe. Also, I apologize for the picture – it doesn’t do justice to this delicious dessert.
Cranberry Pear Galette
1 prepared pie crust
2/4 cup toasted pecans
3 cups cranberries (fresh or thawed, if frozen)
1 medium pear, peeled and finely diced
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of 1 clementine orange (about 2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons vegan margarine
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Roll the prepared pie crust into a 9″ glass pie plate or a tart pan. The pie crust will extend over the edge.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pecans, cranberries, pear, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and clementine juice. Spoon mixture into the pie crust and gently fold edges of the crust over the fruit mixture. Gently dot the vegan margarine over the filling.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.
The Bolshevik revolution is the backdrop for Enchantments, the latest novel by Kathryn Harrison. It is one of the most unique historical novels I have read recently. My knowledge of Tsar Nikolay and Tsarina Alexandra was fairly limited, but this book doesn’t play that up beyond the fact that their son, Prince Alyosha, has hemophilia. The political landscape is beautifully woven in and doesn’t threaten the story line which focuses primarily on Rasputin’s daughter Masha who is sent to live with the royal family after the passing of her father.
It is assumed (and hoped) that Masha has inherited some of her father’s healing powers and will be able to make a difference in the life of the young prince. Although she is not able to physically heal him, they develop a deep bond that allows the two of them to survive the day-to-day destruction of the Russian empire. I don’t want to be misleading – it is a tragic story as anyone who knows history can imagine – but the dialogue and the stories which Masha tells to the young prince, about her father and her own hopes and dreams, are captivating and filled with optimism despite the impending doom. Harrison has done a beautiful job of putting Masha in the spotlight and she is a believable and beautiful character who is wise beyond her years, yet still inexperienced in the ways of life. I had no idea that Rasputin had a daughter, yet after reading the book, I read Harrison’s Acknowledgements and was surprised to discover that not only did Rasputin have a daughter, but she had a career as a lion tamer which brought her to the United States. This extension of the details in the story intrigued me and I feel thrilled to now have some sense of who Masha truly might have been. I recommend this book for those of you who enjoy history, but appreciate a bit of creative license.
I was thrilled to find The Inspired Vegan – a cookbook that has unique and creative recipes by Bryant Terry. He blends fresh vegetables and new flavors with traditional southern recipes and great stories. This is more than a cookbook – it has great soundtrack and book ideas as well as stories behind what inspired Terry to develop these recipes. Feeling particularly inspired, I modified his version of Roasted Winter Vegetable Jambalaya to make it a quicker dinner. It was really tasty and a quicker version of Terry’s original.
Quick Veggie Jambalaya
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 box quick cook long grain wild rice (I used a box of Uncle Ben’s and didn’t use the seasoning packet)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup canned roasted tomatoes in juice
1 cup peeled and diced (1/4″) carrots
1 cup peeled and diced (1/4″) sweet potatoes
1 cup peeled and diced (1/4″) yellow potatoes (I used Yukon Golds)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Combine the onion, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Saute, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the broth and the tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add the chopped vegetables, and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and pepper to taste.
As a vegetarian, I am always looking for ways to make delicious, satisfying meals without spending tons of time in the kitchen. When I discovered Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule, I was smitten immediately. While the recipes revolve around fruits and vegetables, the book is anything but bland. It has beautiful pictures by Paulette Philpot and is truly a story book celebrating the vivid colors and vibrant flavors of produce. Arranged by color and featuring a tale or brief history of each fruit or vegetable, it makes cooking and reading delightful. One of the easiest recipes to make (and one of many tasty options) is the Radicchio Salad with Tahini Lemon Drizzle. It is amazingly easy and perfect for spring! Feel free to add feta cheese, pine nuts or Kalamata olives to make it even more Mediterranean.
Radicchio Salad with Tahini Lemon Drizzle
1/2 small head radicchio, cored and chopped
1 head butter lettuce, cored and chopped
1/2 unpeeled English cucumber, cut into half moons
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of one medium lemon
1 garlic clove, minced (I used crushed garlic paste and this works even better)
1/2 teaspoon honey
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Toss the chopped radicchio and lettuce in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Scatter the avocado, tomatoes and cucumber on top.
In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
Prior to reading Francesca Segal’s, my knowledge of Jewish culture was limited to Adam Sandler songs and Seinfeld reruns and my connection to Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence was linked to a college class. Segal, however, manages to make her modern version of this classic completely welcoming, just like the Jewish families she writes of, and provides an endearing education to the Jewish culture of North West London.
Adam Newman is a young successful lawyer, engaged to Rachel Gibson who he has been dating since high school. The two have grown together and Adam, whose own father passed away when Adam was eight, has been lovingly accepted in Rachel’s family, especially her father who treats him as a son. As the wedding date approaches, however, Adam begins to question the union, especially when Rachel’s supermodel cousin, Ellie, re-enters the picture.
Ellie is everything that Rachel is not – worldly, carefree and fiercely independent and forces Adam to question his isolated existence in North West London with its shabbat rituals and Jewish traditions. He recognizes that Rachel is an ideal Jewish wife and is what he grew to expect as a member of such a close-knit community, but fears that life with her might further enmesh him into the only only world which he knows.
The story is enticing and is filled with voice. Adam is undeniably human and his confusion is easily understood, yet I found myself relating to Rachel as well. Segal has written a captivating story with lively characters and Jewish traditions, crafting a wonderful contemporary version of Wharton’s classic. The Innocents, which arrives in bookstores in June, is an engaging read even for those who are not familiar with the original The Age of Innocence or Jewish culture. Segal warmly introduces readers to both.