India is a massive country full of wealth, poverty, endless colors, spicy aromas, marvelous architecture, and beautiful people. I had already visited several areas in southern India, but I felt a deep urge to return to the majestic country to see a few of the places I had not yet experienced. This time I would be traveling alone with the intention of cooking in private homes, eating the food of different classes of people, and seeing the palatial buildings of ancient emperors.
While Russia may not have been on the top of my list for travel destinations, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit the world’s largest country after spending two weeks in Scandinavia with my husband and friends, Mitch and Shannon. Although the process of obtaining the travel visa to enter Russia was time-consuming, and at times a bit frustrating, it was completely worth it.
It began with a visit to a Cuban restaurant in Miami years ago when I experienced authentic Cuban cuisine and the warm, welcoming hospitality of the Cuban culture. Such was the impact of that visit, I knew that I must go learn more about the food and people of Cuba. So, I grabbed my go-with-the-flow fellow traveler (and good personal friend), Cindy, to experience our own Cuban adventure.
Steak and chimichurri is a famous combination in Argentina! Chimichurri is a mixture of herbs, olive oil and aromatics that just works perfectly with a grilled steak. This recipe uses steak on skewers to serve as appetizers or over a green salad. Of course, you could also grill whole steaks to serve as a main course. If there’s leftover sauce, add some more olive oil and dress a lettuce salad for a blast of great flavor.
Tikka is an Indian dish of meat marinated in spices. This is the recipe I’ve been using for years as a base to my Tikka Masala. The yogurt and spices in the marinade make the chicken so tender, and it’s a perfect appetizer served with the yogurt dip or topped on a green salad.
You don’t have to wait until a party to make a delicious dip that everyone is going to love. This is a healthy dip that goes well with raw vegetables, or chips…depending on how healthy you really want to be.
In India, yellow lentils are called Toor Dal. They make a delicious soup that is packed with protein. In this recipe I add my yellow pepper herb sauce to the cooked lentils for a delicious soup that is healthy and tasty. It’s also cost-effective, which makes it a great dish for a crowd.
This is a great soup to make any time of year. I prefer to use dark chickpeas (kala chana) for this soup, but you can even substitute 3 cans of garbanzo (chickpeas) in this recipe to save time.
Pozole is a delicious and hearty stew made from dried hominy. It is traditionally made with meat, but I like this vegetarian version even better. I also prefer the green sauce made from fresh green chiles. It’s the perfect comfort food on a chilly day!
If I’ve made a favorite recipe among my peers this year it would be this salad! I had a similar version in a high-end restaurant in Tel Aviv, and I could not wait to make my own version.
I first ate this salad in Morocco, but then had a similar version in Israel, which is an example of how similar these two cuisines are. The worst part of making this salad is segmenting the oranges without any pith, but the result is so beautiful.
I love making this salad in the fall when pears are in season. It’s also a beautiful salad to serve on a holiday buffet table. You can really add any fruits and nuts you want, but try this version first and see how well you like it.
Shakshuka is a stew of tomatoes and other vegetables with eggs cooked gently so the runny yolks can be soaked up with crusty bread. This dish is made in many variations around the world. In Israel it’s called shakshuka, and in Spain it’s called pipernade.
Here is my favorite sauce in my recipe collection. It’s delicious in many different dishes, but I actually eat it as a dip with tortilla chips. Look for my recipes using this yellow pepper herb sauce, including eggs benedict, soup, feta dip, and sauce to dress up fish and any other grilled meat. It’s really heavenly.
Traditionally, Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato stew, but I like to make this green version using herbs and Swiss chard. If green tomatoes were in season, they would be delicious is this version too. Make this for breakfast or brunch, and serve it with crusty bread to scoop up all the yolky goodness.
Galettes are one of my favorite things to make! They’re like a pie without the pan, and you eat it like pizza. This one is a savory gallette that is perfect as a vegetarian meal or as a side dish with dinner. It’s also good for brunch! The vegetable peeler makes beautiful “ribbons” from the squash that are light and airy on the pie, and the fresh herbs added at the end give it the perfect earthy flavor.
My favorite way to prepare carrots is by roasting them in a hot oven until they’re nearly browned. In this recipe the honey and molasses drizzle kicks up the flavors, and sweetens the carrots just perfectly. Not only is this a delicious side dish for the holidays or any time of year, it’s also really beautiful!
On one of my trips to Israel I learned to make filfel chuma, a hot sauce of Libyan Jewish cuisine. It has so many uses for cooking! I make a batch of it and store it in a jar in my refrigerator. You can spoon it into soups, sauces, over grilled meats and vegetables.
This is my most popular cookie recipe, and I’ve used it to make a lot of people happy. Sometimes I make them big, and often I make small bite-sized cookies for larger events. Either way, this is how you win friends and put smiles on their faces!
To make perfect cookies, I’ve got three tips: First, cream the butter and sugar really really well. Second, after adding the dry ingredients just stir to combine; don’t overmix. Lastly, use a cookie scoop to make the cookies uniform in size. These cookies freeze really well….if you actually have any leftovers.
You have to start these cookies a day before you want to make them, but they’re worth the wait! They’re also worth all the zesting you have to do with the citrus fruits (you can make a juice smoothie with the actual fruit juice).
I had a version of this dish at The Boulders Resort and Spa in Carefree, Arizona. That’s when I realized you can eat eggs benedict in a healthy way that is delicious! There are so many variations….the options are endless!
Here’s a really easy and healthy breakfast that originated in Switzerland. It’s raw oats mixed with grains and spices, then soaked overnight in the fridge. There’s no cooking, and when you eat it the next morning with some nuts, fruit, or maple syrup you’ll be so happy because there was hardly any work at all, and it is so good!
These tartlets are a great breakfast to impress your guests. You can caramelize the onions a couple days before you want to bake them, and store in the refrigerator. You can also cut the puff pastry and lay out on a baking tray, covered with plastic wrap to store in the fridge until the next morning when you bake and assemble the tarts.