Eating Healthier & Making Vegetarian Chili

We’re trying to eat healthier and take advantage of the new offerings at the farmer’s market.  This week I returned to an old recipe and started fooling around with it, making it better, I think.  I used the first fresh corn I had seen in a while as well as beautiful orange carrots from one of the farmer’s stands.  Our mushroom guy brings so many varieties of mushrooms, but baby bella work well here and can be found in the grocery store, too. Look on the recipe page to find out how to make it.

Chinese Hot & Sour the Easy Way

If it weren’t for lingering in the soup aisle and accidentally picking up the wrong box, I probably wouldn’t have had such an easy dinner tonight.  I purchased a box of Swanson’s Chinese Hot & Sour broth — and simply followed the directions for the soup on the box.  It has just the right amount of bite to it.  Instead of using shiitake mushrooms, which I didn’t have on hand, I substituted dried porcini mushrooms that I soaked for 15 minutes in water and then drained and added to the broth.  You’ll also need canned bamboo shoots, a boneless pork chop, some firm tofu, if you like it, a green onion and an egg.  The broth is infused with soy sauce, cayenne, ginger, garlic and more.  You have got to try it.  It’s near the Swanson chicken broth which is also full of flavor. I’m not getting anything out of highlighting this brand, but I can tell you that it really is good!

Remembering Weinstein’s, the Oakland deli

Learning to make matzo balls is not that difficult. But learning to make them so that they are light, fluffy and irresistible is another matter altogether.  When I was eight or nine my grandma Esther owned a deli in Pittsburgh where she taught me her technique.  You can read more about it in my article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.




Meatless-In-Seattle Matzo Ball Soup

With so many Passover Seders including foodies who are vegetarian, I recently developed a broth that is a good substitute for chicken soup, and I added the matzo balls to it. This recipe, also on the next page, is one I  just shared it with our cousin who will be going “Meatless in Seattle” this year with her daughter and son-in-law who are vegetarians.  It’s a hearty broth and it works perfectly for either vegetarians or non-vegetarians. Yum.

Deli Reflections and Matzo Ball Soup

It still brings back memories of Weinstein’s -the deli my grandparents owned when I was growing up in Pittsburgh, when I go into a place where corned beef, bagels and lox, and pickles and sauerkraut are some of the main features.  That’s what happened on a recent Sunday morning. We went to Parkway Deli, stood in line for about 10 -15 minutes, but when we were seated, we kvelled at the many deli selections.  I wanted to order something “different” and decided on the white fish salad platter.  I was not disappointed.  It arrived as a mound of white fish lightly held together with mayonnaise on top of some fresh lettuce leave, three of four good red tomato slices, a couple of red onion slices, accompanied by a toasted sesame seed bagel with a side of cream cheese. Ooh la la.  Sooo good.

But being in the place returned me to my youth – and maybe that was the best part.  When I was about eight years old, I learned to make matzo balls in the cavernous restaurant kitchen my grandparents owned and operated.  The secret to light and fluffy matzo balls is to keep your chicken broth boiling while you quickly and carefully release a the egg shaped matzo ball mush into the soup and cook it for fifteen minutes. The recipe for easy chicken soup and matzo balls is on the recipe page.