HJC’s Stir-fried Tempeh Fajitas (main course)
HJC’s Sprouted Penne with Fennel and Pine Nuts (main course)
HJC’s Probiotic Israeli Salad (main course salad or first course salad)
HJC’s Dilled String Bean Salad (side salad)
HJC’s Quick Gluten-Free Macaroon Cake (treat!)
I used to get a bit peeved by the proliferation of elaborate restaurant menus and parve food glamour shots in the frum glossies around this time of year. Rosh Chodesh Av, the nine day period which includes the fast of Tisha B’av, is a time of mourning, after all. Somehow, feasting out or feasting at home seem inappropriate to me.
On reflection, in the last year or so, I decided I’d been wrong. If indulging in creative and delicious parve or dairy meals help people connect with our spiritual birthright who might not otherwise, then that’s a good thing. Also, it is important to have appealing alternatives if you have children who might otherwise dwell forever in chicken, burger, and pizza fairyland.
With temperatures soaring, I’ve decided to keep the recipes in this post light and child-friendly, with very little cooking or preparation time.
Before you start making salads and other dishes containing plenty of vegetables, it is helpful to get the updated on insect infestations. I own many books on the topic, and have taken a couple of classes on insects in food, and but I must say that this newish book is really my favorite. It’s got great illustrations, a brief but potent explanation of why we avoid eating insects and other creepy-crawlies, and easy-to-follow directions.
HJC’s Stir-fried Tempeh Fajitas (Parve or Dairy)
Tempeh fajitas have been around forever. I know I ate them in the early 1990s. But many kosher cooks have never had this child-friendly meal. Usually the filling is grilled, but stir-frying is easier than heating and cleaning up the grill or broiler.
2 four oz packages any flavor tempeh (Lightlife brand is pasturized, which kills the enzymes, but it is still digestible, kosher, high in protein, and delicious), cut into 1/2 inch thick strips, approximately 3 inches long
1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
Juice of one lime (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, ground coriander, ancho chile powder (optional)
1 very large onion, cut in half and sliced into 1/3 inch wide strips
2 bell peppers, one red, one green (other colors are fine), sliced into 1/2 inch wide strips
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into thin rounds, optional
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
extra virgin olive oil
4-6 sprouted whole wheat tortillas (you can use sprouted corn tortillas, in which case you’ll need 6-8)
1 cups ripe, diced tomatoes or 1 cup salsa (you can make your own with one cup tomatoes, 1 small diced onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced, 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro, salt to taste)
2 ripe avocadoes, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional (hard to find quality cheese that are kosher)
1 cup soured cream or yogurt, optional (I’d use homemade organic yogurt over lesser quality kosher soured cream any day)
Marinate tempeh strips in shoyu, lime and spices for 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Meanwhile, stir fry veggies over medium-high heat in 1 tablespoon coconut oil until browned. Set aside and keep warm. Drain tempeh, reserving liquid, and pat lightly dry with paper towel. Stir fry in 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat until slightly crispy. If oil is absorbed before done, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and/or reserved marinade. Heat tortillas in 300 degree oven for 3-5 minutes. Stuff with tempeh, veggies, and serve open-faced. Allow everyone to choose their additional fillings. Roll and eat.
Serves 4 adults, 6-8 family members including children and 2 adults.
HJC’s Sprouted Penne with Fennel and Pine Nuts (Parve or Dairy)
It’s easy for children to get used to super-sweet jarred sauces. This uses naturally sweet ingredients like fennel, raisins, and basil to appease them.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium bulbs fennel, cleaned, checked for insects, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves or more garlic, crushed
1/4 cup raisins, soaked, drained, checked for insects
2 cups pureed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine (or water with a dash of good quality wine vinegar)
unrefined sea salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
8-10 fresh basil leaves, cleaned, checked
1 box sprouted penne
Saute onion in olive oil until nearly translucent, add fennel, and saute for 2 minutes more. Add pine nuts and garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add raisins, tomatoes, and wine, lower heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
Stir in basil leaves into sauce, cut into chiffonade. Pour over pasta and serve.
Optional: Top with parmesan cheese, sometimes authentic kosher parmigiano reggiano is available.
HJC’s Probiotic Israeli Salad (Parve or Dairy)
4 Persian cucumbers, preferably organic or 1 1/2 English cucumbers, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch dice
4 very ripe plum tomatoes, organic is best, or 2 ripe, medium beefsteak tomatoes or salad tomatoes, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 bell pepper, your favorite color, cleaned and diced
1 bunch parsley, cleaned and checked for insects, roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro OR dill, cleaned and checked for insects, roughly chopped
1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, ground coriander
diced fresh jalapeno or zchug, to taste (I add this at the table since many don’t seem to like hot foods. I can’t figure this out.)
1 cup lacto-fermented saurkraut, either homemade or a brand like Bubbies
2 tablespoons saurkraut juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2-4 lemons depending on how juicy they are)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
To Serve, optional
Real sheep-milk feta cheese
Mix salad ingredients in large bowl stirring lightly. Pour on dressing ingredients and stir lightly again. Let sit at room temperature, covered for 30 minutes and serve with optional tahina, avocado, yogurt or feta cheese. May be refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 hours.
Serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a main course salad.
HJC’s Dilled String Bean Salad (Parve)
1 1/2 pounds organic string beans or baby string beans, cleaned and cut into thirds if large, or left whole if small
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons organic, extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons raw apples cider vinegar
2 tablespoon wine vinegar
juice of one lemon (optional)
Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt
Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Bring half inch of pure water to boil in medium saute pan. Add beans, cover and let steam-simmer for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge into ice water. After 2 minutes, drain in colander and shake to remove most of the water.
In medium bowl, add dressing ingredients. Add beans in batches, stirring to coat. Let marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour, better overnight.
Generously serves 4-8 as a side dish.
HJC’s Quick Gluten-Free Macaroon Cake (Parve)
Craving baked goods? Although in the summer even those of us who eat cakes, cookies, and so on generally don’t want them (the hot weather tempers this craving), if you spend a lot of time in air conditioning, you may very well crave winter-type foods.
This cake is not our usual fare as you may be able to tell from the xantham gum, large amount of sucanat, and so on. This is only “healthy” by virtue of it being less unhealthy than the typical gluten-free cake. But I keep getting requests for gluten-free baked good recipes so I’ve developed a few for readers and Shabbos guests.
1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour (you can substitute brown rice flour)
1/2 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (many people are allergic to this binder, some substitute guar gum or locust bean gum; in any case, I’ve made this without it and the texture suffers, but is bearable)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs (from the farm)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons organic almond extract
1 cup sucanat
2/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds, preferably sprouted
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened coconut shreds
1 teaspoon organic almond extract
1-2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup sucanat or 1/4 cup white sugar (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, I did. You can even add more sugar if you’ve got a sweet tooth. My friend Bayla makes this with sugar.)
1 egg white, optional (for a more chewy topping)
Preheat oven to 350. Oil a 9 x 9 cake pan and line with parchment paper. Place dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well. In another bowl whisk eggs well, and add extracts and Sucanat. Mix until Sucanat is nearly dissolved and add oil. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients, mix until blended and spoon into pan. Cover with macaroon topping, recipe follows.
In a food processor pulse almonds until roughly chopped. Stir in coconut shreds, almond extract, coconut oil and sugar. If using egg, whisk egg until very foamy, and add to nut mixture. Spoon evenly onto top of cake and place in middle rack of oven. Bake for 50 minutes or 1 hour, until topping is vaguely golden and tester inserted in cake comes out clean.
Serves 8 to 10.
More recipe links for the nine days (most of the recipes on HJC are appropriate):