Sunday, September 25, 2016


I was thinking about what to make for lunches this week.  I had my mind set on making pureed squash soup with carrots, apple and ginger.  But I came across a recipe that someone had posted on Instagram with a link to the blog site simple veganistic.  The recipe looked very interesting and it was made to resemble a balela salad sold at Trader Joe's.  I didn't have all of the ingredients listed on the blog including fresh mint or a spice called sumac.  I decided to improvise and added more vegetables, used less beans, used less olive oil and added cumin.  It is a wonderful salad and thanks to simple veganistic for figuring out the salad that Trader Joe's sells.  Maybe next week I will make squash soup.  I plan to add this bean salad to a bed of chopped lettuce to have for lunches this week.  This bean salad should keep for four or five days in the fridge but I think it will be consumed much quicker than that. 


1 can (540 ml) of chick peas
1 can (540 ml) of black beans 
2 mini cucumbers, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 coloured pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic. minced
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste


Mix the beans and vegetables in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate small bowl, mix the lemon juice, oil, garlic and cumin.  Add to the salad.  Season with salt and pepper.  Makes about 6 one cup servings. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Several years ago I made a tomato pate using small cherry tomatoes.  I used it as an appetizer and made enough that I would be taking it to friends' homes when invited over for a meal.  I had been thinking about making this pate again as the recent tomato haul from the garden was pretty good.  There are lots of tomatoes to use and to just freeze them doesn't help me as there are still frozen tomatoes in the freezer from last summer.  Recently a friend posted a recipe on facebook for tomato jam that she had just made.  She thought it was great.  This recipe is a bit different than the one I made several years ago.  I thought I would try it as variety is always good.  The original recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of sugar but I thought that would be too much so I decreased the quantity.  I also used only 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes instead of a full teaspoon.  I don't always seed tomatoes when using in recipes but I did seed these and it does make a difference especially as the tomatoes are cooked down and you don't want to a concentration of tomato seeds.  For the tomato pate recipe that I made several years ago, the cherry tomatoes were not seeded (that would have been a futile exercise seeding small cherry tomatoes) and I found it to a very dense seedy pate.

What do you use tomato jam for?  Tomato jam can be used in place of ketchup, on a cracker with cheese, as an ingredient in salad dressing, in a grilled cheese sandwich or used as the sauce in a pizza.

To cook the jam, I used a Staub cast iron cooking pot.  Le Creuset or other heavy cooking pots would also work to cook this jam for several hours and not worry about it sticking to the bottom of the pot.  The jam is very good and the red pepper flakes add enough zip to make it more of a bolder taste.

Jam starting to cook for the next few hours.


1/3  cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
10 cups of ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded, coarsely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Add the sugar, vinegar and water to a 6 quart heavy duty cooking pot.  Heat to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about five minutes.  Stir occasionally as you want the liquid mixture to be a bit syrupy.  Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt.  Heat to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 2 to 2.5 hours until the tomato jam has thickened.  Stir occasionally especially as it thickens.  Season with more salt if required and let cool.  Place into small jars and either keep in the fridge or freeze.  If left in the fridge it should last for several weeks.  Makes about 3 cups.

Adapted from

Saturday, September 10, 2016


In a recent post, I provided a recipe for an eggplant, zucchini and tomato bake.  This recipe also uses eggplant, zucchini and tomato but it is prepared differently and includes leftover mashed potatoes.  I like this recipe as the bottom layer of mashed potatoes acts as crust and also soaks up the juices from the vegetables.  I used a large pan for this casserole and took leftovers for lunches for several days.  Leftover casserole was a good change from soup for lunches.  

Layer of mashed potatoes as the base.

Next layer is eggplant.

Zucchini is layered over the eggplant.

Sliced tomatoes over the zucchini.

Cheese including fresh mozzarella was added during the baking.  Vegetable casserole ready for eating.

leftover mashed potatoes, about 3 medium to large mashed potatoes
1 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium size zucchini, thinly sliced
1 can of sliced mushrooms or 6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red or sweet onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
cheese for topping - cheddar, fresh mozzarella or feta

oil for greasing casserole dish


Grease a large pan, 9 X 11 or 9 X 13.  Place a base layer of mashed potatoes and spread evenly across the pan.  Add the next layer of eggplant followed by the zucchini.  Distribute the onion and mushrooms across the pan and then add the tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Place the pan in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  Halfway through the baking, pull the pan out of the oven and add the shredded or sliced cheese based on personal preference.  Return the pan to the oven to finish baking.  Serves 8.