A Meal out of Three Cookbooks

A great selection of three cookbooks with themes are used to build a wonderful 3-course meal.

The internet is an infinite source for recipes, no one can deny that, but sometimes sitting in your favorite chair and leafing through a cookbook can be really relaxing and gratifying. Cookbooks also have a great knack for gathering a whole bunch of recipes on a specific theme. Today I will give you a brief introduction to such three cookbooks I received recently: Spiralizer, Slow-cooker and Vegetarian Thai.

A Meal out of 3 great Cookbooks

I have savored my time leafing through these cookbooks and testing out some of the recipes lately. I am including the main description of the books, a recipe and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Bon Appetit!


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The No Cook No Bake Cookbook: Tofu Carpese Stacks and Fig Chia Jam

Its a scorching hot and humid summer heatwave, the 7th day in a row, and you just spent your day traveling to and from work in an hot steamy airless packed subway and bus.  There is a respite for a few hours at work, thankfully there is AC there. When you do get home you strip and plop yourself on the couch with your fan on High aimed right at you because you only have AC in the bedroom. After 30 minutes of ‘chillin’ a horrible thought comes to mind: there is NO WAY I am cooking dinner but what am I going to eat? Panic stricken, you remember to reach for the new practical book you just got: The No Cook No Bake Cookbook!

Tofu Carpese Stacks


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Secret Recipe Club: Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Wow we are already in the month of March. And in less then a week we are going into daylight savings time. Does that mean winter is almost over? Another reason to make me smile is that today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

I really enjoyed my pick this month and I have to say I have a lot of respect for her too, she is a very courageous woman. My assigned blog was Biting Life which is written by Miranda. She loves to read, has a great supportive boyfriend and, lucky girl, has her dream job as an editorial assistant at a publishing company (do you take cookbook submissions lol?).

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Miranda’s blog focuses a lot on eating healthy and she used this blog to help her eat well and sucessfully loose weight. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with a disability some time back which pretty much limits her capacity to exercise as it can bring on a lot of pain. She writes extensively on her disability Heel Pad Syndrome and I urge you to go check it out.

The great thing is this does not stop her from living life to the max and enjoying things she loves…like food. I was very tempted by several of her recipes. My first choices were a Beer Caramel Sauce, an Orange Beef and a yummy Vegetable Moo Goo Gai Pan.

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But I went with the Quinoa Vegetable Soup finally because I always say I have to eat more quinoa. It’s one of those things I like but then I forget they exist. Quinoa originated in the Andean Mountain range and the words comes from the native tongue Quechua, kinwa. The Incas considered this crop to be sacred and called it the “mother of all grains”.

And they had good reason to hold it so dear. Quinoa is packed with good stuff such as a high protein content, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, it is gluten free and it is also a source of calcium. In fact 2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations.

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This was a wonderful soup indeed. It is packed with vegetables and quinoa that is a protein source. Vegan meal anyone? Well I actually used chicken broth because that is what I had on hand but the original recipe calls for vegetable broth. I also omitted the celery stalk and replaced it with fenugreek. It was a perfect addition to a meal I made where my guest must eat lacto and gluten free.

OK so one more thing before the recipe. I only saw one mention but Miranda, claims she is more than a little bit obsessed with goats. Funny enough I was introduced to one of the current viral YouTube videos where popular songs are mixed in with goats. Check them out, there are tons. But this one is for you Miranda!


Quinoa Vegetable Soup
Recipe Type: Salads & Soups
Author: adapeted from Miranda Mowbray
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups spinach, frozen
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fennugreek
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and add your garlic, onion, and celery, stirring frequently over medium high heat until the onion is translucent (5 minutes).
  2. Add your vegetable broth, water, and tomatoes. Add your spices and stir. After a few minutes, add your spinach and allow it to wilt. Lastly, add your quinoa, lower your heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving.



Can you guess what this picture is? I had so much fun playing around with Photoshop in my last post, I went all artsy again. This was made from the first picture on top. Cool right? Wanna know how I did it? I’ll tell you in the next post if you do, just let me know in your comments.

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Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Vegetarian or Carnivore Options

I am starting to get more and more in the mood to host little dinner parties. Well occasionally so don’t expect an invite too soon (talking to my friends that read this lol). Recently we were a nice group of 6 at my place. Only problem is I had 2 vegetarians, 1 sustainable-only meat eater and 3 carnivores. What to make for dinner?

Couscous came to mind as a very versatile dish. And I have no problem with serving a vegetarian only meal but I wanted to have the option to serve meat to those who wanted some. I happen to have a pork roast already cooked in the fridge. For fake meat for the vegetarians I found a baked tofu recipe. It was a hit with all.

I have made many different kinds of couscous in life and they are all unique. This ones is up there on my list now with this roasted vegetable twist. Roasted veggies seem to pack extra flavor and the vegetable selection for a couscous is different. The usual carrots and rutabaga were replaced with belle peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

I am already craving this dish again!

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Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Recipe Type: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
  • About 6 cups of veggies chopped into bite sized pieces (such as onions, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, re-hydrated for 30 in hot water and drained
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce can) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1.5 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 C couscous
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place your veggies in a medium bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Salt and pepper.
  3. Place on baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes. (If using cherry tomatoes wait and add them to the baking sheet after about 20 minutes)
  4. Put veggies in a large pan. Add to veggies cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and cayenne; saute 1-2 minutes. Add stock, and next 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice.


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Roasted veggies out of the oven

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Thin slices of pork roast for the carnivores

Ξ Baked Tofu slices Ξ

Slice a block of tofu into 9 slices. Place them on a double layer of paper towels and place another double layer over them. Press firmly with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place a silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet or oil a long, rectangular baking dish. Brush one side of each slice of tofu with a thin layer of sauce and place it on the pan sauce-side down. Spread remaining sauce on the tops and sides of the tofu. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until tofu is firm and just beginning to brown at the corners.

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Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Salad with Ricotta

As I was catching up on my favorite food blogs the other day I felt so awful for Bren who described how she broke her camera during an event. I also got a bad gut feeling. Well exactly one week later I broke my DSLR lens. I could not believe it. In such a stupid and careless way. I was carrying 50 things at once, including the camera, to toss on the couch as I was planning on downloading picture. Well I loss my grip on the camera and it fell. The UV filter was shattered and and the zoom extending part was crooked.

Well it looks like the body is OK and I was able to download my shots. I also had just received 2 payments on Paypal which now became lens shopping funds. Good timing but would have skipped the whole episode. Found one on Ebay and waiting for the mail man to bring my package. This is one of the recipes that I was thankfully able to download, a Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Salad with Ricotta adapted from this blog post.

Have you broken broken a camera lens before or an expensive electronic ‘toy’?

Back to the salad. Have you ever eaten a Jerusalem Artichoke before? I discovered this vegetable about 10 years back and fell in love. At the time it was really hard to find but it is gaining popularity. My mom said she remembers it from her childhood but I guess was forgotten for a few decades.

In case you are wondering, it is not related to the artichoke nor has it a connection with Jerusalem. It is actually part of the sunflower family and when the Italians started immigrating to North America they called it by the Italian name girasole (sunflower in Italian) which somehow turned into Jerusalem.

And how do we explain the artichoke part? The delicate and earthy taste has a faint resemblance to artichokes. Do not judge it for its tubular root look, this is a refined vegetable to the palate. Most recipes ask to peel them but don’t bother. The skin is thin and totally edible. Just give it a good brushing under cold water. This is a great warm salad that can totally substitute as a meal, it is a hardy portion.


Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Walnut Salad with Ricotta

Recipe Type: Salads & Soups
Author: Blandine at www.foodmoods.net
Serves: 2
A lovely earthy warm salad with Jerusalem Artichokes
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • A head of salad or greens of your choice
  • 2/3 cup ricotta
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the artichokes on a baking tray lined with aluminum, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for about 30min until soft and cooked through.
  2. Put the walnuts on a baking tray. Pop in the oven for about 5min until golden. Take out and leave to cool. Chop roughly.
  3. Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the mustard, the vinegar and olive oil. Toss with the artichokes.
  4. When the artichokes are cooked and warm, prepare 2 plates with greens on the bottom. Spoon the artichokes on top and add the walnuts and ricotta on top. Serve straight away.


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SRC Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla

I have the name in hand of the winner of the An Edible Mosaic cookbook contest! Chosen by random.org, the winning number is 37. I hope you enjoy your prize.

Congratulations to Victoria of Flavors of the Sun

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This month I got a great blog called Everyday Mom which is authored by Kim. Like me, Kim began cooking at a very young age after she received her first cookbook.  She does not mention the cookbook, I remember mine was Disney character based but printed in France so it was all metric. Kim and I also share a dangerous bond: a sweet tooth, oh the hips! Kim is quite the baker and she enjoys the help of her 3 little assistants.

Lots of great family recipes here. I ultimately settled on the Black Bean Sweet Potato Quesadilla recipe. I really enjoyed them a lot and the sweet potato really made them unique. I used Havarti cheese.

I am proud to say this post will be part of this week’s Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up #18 over at Gastronomical Sovereignty, a link-up to encourage fresh food production, consumption, activism, and awareness.


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla
Recipe Type: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Kim of Everyday Mom
A great twist on the Quesadilla vegetarian style
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp taco seasoning mix
  • ½ cup salsa
  • Tortillas
  • Monterey cheese, shredded
  1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Place in bowl drizzle with olive oil and add seasoning. Cook on high in microwave for 4 minutes. Mix halfway through cooking.
  2. Drain and rinse beans. In a skillet add a drizzle of olive oil and garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add beans, seasoning mix and salsa cook until warm.
  3. Over a medium heat, in a skillet lightly coated with oil, warm both sides of one tortilla, just until light golden brown. Remove from pan and add second tortilla, again lightly browning both sides. When browning second side add a spoonful of each filling, salsa and a handful of cheese. Top with the first tortilla, cover with a lid that will press the tortilla down. Cook until cheese begins to melt.
  4. Keep warm in 200° oven, while assembling additional quesadillas.
  5. Serve with salsa, avocado or sour cream

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Giveaway: A Sneak Peek at the Edible Mosaic Cookbook Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing

Happy Sunday everyone! I am so very excited today to talk to you about a cookbook that is about to hit the shelves in November 2012. I was very lucky to get an advanced copy by the author, my dear friend and fellow food blogger Faith of the blog An Edible Mosaic. Faith’s cookbook is an absolutely wonderful collection of traditional Middle Eastern dishes. I was so honored to receive a copy of the book because I think the message Faith wants to convey is very close to my blog’s purpose: it is for food lovers, restaurant goers and home cooks who would like to explore a more exotic palate in their plate.

Giveaway: I have a copy of the An Edible Mosaic Cookbook to give away. Check out the end of the post to learn how to enter the draw.

I have been lucky to have made friends over the last 20 years with people from various parts of the Middle East so I have been exposed to classic Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Palestinian and so forth dishes. The cuisine has nothing to do with your local Shish Taouk sandwich shop. Faith did not grow up accustomed to these dishes either, not until she met her now husband Mike who is Middle Eastern. She learned to cook these fabulous dishes during the first 6 months of her marriage in her mother-in-law’s kitchen. Faith brought back this treasure of recipes to North America.

In this cookbook you will find such classics as hummus, kebabs and pistachio drenched sweets. But you will discover a whole plethora of delectable flavors which I hope you will try like tabbouleh, saffron rice, stuffed squash with yogurt sauce, beautiful lamb dishes and scented milk puddings. The recipe I prepared is an unusual choice for me: Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing. I have never been a fan unless it has been cooked and drenched in tomato sauce but made the effort to turn into a now acquired taste. Faith’s husband, Mike, also hates eggplants. His mother always hoped he would one day marry a girl who liked this vegetable. When Faith tasted and fell in love with this recipe she also got her mother-in-law’s blessing. So it just goes to show you never know what can come out of keeping an open mind and trying new foods!


Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing (BATINJAN MEKLEH)
Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes for the eggplant to drain
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 large or 2 small globe eggplants (about 2 lb/900 g)
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, minced
Oil, for shallow frying

  1. Fully or partially peel the eggplant if desired. (To partially peel it, peel one strip off down the length of the vegetable, then leave the next strip in place and peel the next strip off, and so on). Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 mm to 1.25 cm) thick slices (lengthwise or crosswise is fine if you’re using baby eggplant, but if you’re using a large eggplant slice it crosswise).
  2. Sprinkle the salt on both sides of each slice and transfer to a colander; put the colander in the sink and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse the eggplant under cold running water, then gently wring out any excess water and pat dry.
  3. Combine the vinegar, water, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Coat the bottom of a large skillet over moderately high heat with oil. Fry the eggplant in batches (so the pan isn’t overcrowded) until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. (You can add more oil to the pan if necessary.) Transfer the cooked eggplant to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
  5. Serve the eggplant warm or at room temperature, along with the dressing to drizzle on top.

Want to win a copy of this cookbook?

3 ways to enter the contest, each way counts as a separate entry so more chances to win!

– Leave a comment in the post!
Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave separate comment
Tweet: I just entered the Edible Mosaic #cookbook #giveaway with @cethniceatz at http://www.cheapethniceatz.com/?p=8761

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE. You have till November 4th, 2012, 23h59 EST to enter. GOOD LUCK!

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