Oven Roasted Broccolini and Asparagus (or any vegetable!)

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I LOVE roasting vegetables - ALL vegetables! I find that quick roasting them at a high temperature brings out their flavour like no other cooking method. I used to grill my veggies on my barbecue - but no more. My preferred method is to now roast them at 425°-450° Fahrenheit in the oven on parchment-lined professional-quality heavy-duty baking sheets. I brush the parchment paper with good quality extra-virgin olive oil, brush the tops of the veggies with some olive oil, and depending on the vegetable, will vary the seasoning. I always use sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I LOVE Penzey's spices: They have a fabulous Tuscan Sunset (salt -free) spice that's great on vegetables, chicken, fish. Their Singapore Seasoning (salt-free) is absolutely fabulous on squash and sweet potatoes. I feel like I could be a p.r. rep for Penzey's at times! If you don't have a Penzey's store near you, you can order online. What's lovely about these veggies, is that you can cook them ahead and serve them at room temperature. They are also great cold the next day in a salad. Sometimes, I'm tempted to eat all of the broccoli at one time! If you make parsnips, make LOTS - they shrink down and go QUICKLY! And if you make beets, use rubber gloves, peel them and then cut them.

Middle-Eastern Scented Vegetable Stew

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In the middle of a New England snow storm that was threatening to shut down New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New England for up to three days, I was craving something warm, comforting and sustaining - that wasn't going to take all day to cook. I've been trying to eat healthier as well. So I look for ways to pack those vegetables into my meals: green smoothies loaded with vegetables (and very little fruit so as not to up the glycemic index), turkey meat-loaf "muffins" stuffed with shredded broccoli, carrots and zucchini, "zoodles" - zucchini noodles made with a nifty gadget called a "spiralizer." Anyway, last Monday, I developed this delicious and hearty vegetable stew. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the grape tomatoes is key to adding lots of full-bodied, rich flavour to the stew. It's well worth the time and effort. The Middle Eastern spices waft through the house as it cooks. And you can make it as "hot and spicy" or mild as you like.

Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak

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It's been an unusually cold winter with this "polar vortex". I wanted to make a delicious Friday night Shabbat dinner that would be warm and comforting. One of my friends highly recommended this unique sounding chicken dish from the highly touted new cookbook by Yotam Ottlenghi and Sami Tamimi, called Jerusalem (published by Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA). JerusalemFirst a word about the cookbook: Jerusalem is a beautiful and lovely foray into the world of Middle Eastern cooking. Ottolenghi and Tamimi are Jewish Israeli and Arab Israeli chefs who co-own a restaurant in London, England. They use ingredients that are fragrant, wholesome, fresh, and soooo delicious. This chicken dish came out looking exactly like the photo in their cookbook and was a huge hit! Perfect for a cold winter night! I also recommend Ottolenghi's earlier published cookbook, Plenty (vegetables of all kinds). It makes me want to stay in the kitchen and cook for days. Who wants to join me!?!

Roasted Beet and Cilantro Gazpacho

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Summer on the north shore of Long Island is divine! Every day, the Long Island Sound provides breath-taking views, no matter if the weather is sunny or cloudy, rainy or blistering hot. The Long Island farm-stands and CSAs (Community Supported Agricultural collective) are overflowing with the most gorgeous bounty of fresh, Long-Island grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers. CSAs are now popping up across North America. What makes them so special is not only do they allow us to "eat locally," but they also allow us to reconnect with the land, they enable us to try new produce that we not have purchased otherwise, they help create community by introducing us to those around us. Perhaps one of the most important features of the CSA is that often, many CSAs contribute their extra produce to soup kitchens and shelters, providing fresh sustenance to those who usually rely on canned vegetables and fruits. This past Shabbat (Saturday), one of my congregants brought some of her extra CSA produce to our Torah study group. I was the lucky recipient of some beautiful beets: golden yellow beets, candy-cane red-and-white striped beets and ruby-red beets. I had seen some recipes for a beet and cilantro gazpacho, but wanted to try my own version of it. I love a cold soup on a hot summer's day. I think you'll find this version perfect for a summer lunch, brunch, or a light fish/chicken dinner.

Marinated Kale and Mango Salad

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One of my friends was having a serious health issue and he was not permitted to eat any leafy green vegetables with the exception of kale. So, I found a  kale salad recipe, changed it around to suit my taste and made it when he and some others came for dinner. This salad is a huge hit! Everyone loves it. The trick is to make it several hours in advance. This allows the kale to "marinate" and soften. It takes away that "earthy"/"grassy" taste that some might not like. It is refreshing and healthy and pairs well with a rich meal. It also saves well for the next day. My preference is to buy the pre-washed, pre-torn kale. But you can also buy regular kale, wash it and de-rib it (you don't want the tough, fibrous ribs). Enjoy!

Susie Fishbein’s Tri-Color Matzah Balls

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Susie Fishbein creates dishes that are both delicious and beautiful to look at! These matzah balls are gorgeous, easy to make and you can make them ahead of time, store them in the fridge until you are ready to heat them and serve them in your soup. They make an unusual and special presentation for Pesach (Passover). If you are gluten-free, use gluten-free matzah-ball mix.