Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recipe Exchange

This morning I got an email inviting me to be part of a recipe exchange. How fun! It is always great to have on hand someone else's sure-fire, "works every time" recipe. It is also nice to have new taste twists for what you may already have in your recipe favorites. This The Red White and Food post is for the tasty fun of the recipe exchange!

Remember last week when I told you my mom was excited over a twist on the classic green bean casserole? Well, here is her new and improved version, a recipe she exchanged with me. I love the meatiness of portabello mushroom. Really nice and chewy. I would take this one step further, however, and look at a DIY version of the canned soup and use fresh green beans, but look how delish this is in the pix...

Better Than The Original Green Bean Casserole

1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup organic milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 (9-ounce) packages frozen cut green beans, thawed or fresh, blanched
6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
3 to 4 medium red onions
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute mushroom caps until soft in 2 batches with olive oil to coat pan. Set aside. Mix soup, milk, sour cream and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Stir in beans.. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot.

While the casserole is baking, slice onions and saute in a little olive oil, on medium heat, until soft.  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Turn heat to low and continue heating until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove bean casserole from oven. Arrange onions on a cookie sheet and broil on high 4 to 5 minutes, or until crispy. Scoop casserole evenly into heated mushroom caps. Sprinkle crispy onions on top and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun and Games...a Free for All

I thought it would be fun to play a game today. It is Cyber Monday after all and we do have a new little store here on Our Green Table. It is stocked full of the non-toxic skin and haircare I have been raving about. Finally, I can share them!

Before the game begins, the first thing I had to do was fix the link. The easiest one is at the bottom of this post. It will give you a chance to look over the products and create a shopping list. Remember to email me,  if you want free shipping! Sure, put on your party hat...this is going to be fun!

The second thing I had to do was establish a prize!!! My feeling is that anyone who plays is a winner because we are dealing in toxin-free goodies here. How can you lose? You can't. It's a free for all!!

But, one lucky person will win more. May the best one win...

From those of you who order through me today and tomorrow only, you will get free shipping (really helpful...the yummy new shampoo and conditioner are heavy) and I will put your name in the "hat" and draw one name out tomorrow night. For those of you who ordered over the weekend, you are already in! The winner will receive a free product valued up to $20. Fun!! Free shipping. Free goodies. Kid, grandkid and pet friendly, too!

And, here's what else, there will be...

no more parabens, phthalates, PEG’s, SLS, triclosan, nitrosamines, 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde or other nasty chemicals going into our bodies, down our drains, into the environment, and into our food supplies!  Win, win, win and win!!

I am so fired up. I started off today having fun. I added in a scoop of leftover Tangerine Cranberry Sauce to my favorite shake and it was sooo good. Pretty too, kind of a burnt orange color instead of the bright carrot. Drank it down without taking a pix first. Yummy. What a fun day. Hope you have fun, too, and win! I am going to go now and wash my hair...LOVE that new shampoo and conditioner!

Here is thequick link:
Email me to order with free shipping.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cher-ing a Mane Event

I know, I know. It's the weekend...leftovers and football. And, articles about Cher. For a now understood reason, I have been drawn all week to a lot of stories about her. She was my teenage hair role model. Love her. Oh, how I wanted locks like hers. If you have seen my Halloween picture...

Anyway, something really exciting happened Wednesday night and I couldn't put it on my normal personal care "Women and Wednesdays" post until the official announcement was made. But I can sure post it today and while trying not to have this blog become too commercial, this is big.

Really, really important. I can't wait until next Wednesday.

I have been very worried about the toxic sludge that drips down people's warm backs, gets into their scalp, eyes and ears when they wash their hair. Most people wash their hair daily. "Use daily" should not create a health hazard and most hair products are off the chart, toxin-full and spell trouble. I have been looking for many months for better, safer, toxin-free haircare.

I now able to offer non-toxic shampoo and conditioner for men, women and children through my blog. YAY!! Now, that's a mane event! We are head to toe here! The products are rich in aloe vera, pomegranate, apricots and orange instead of harmful chemicals. Lovely.

You can order by clicking here: and going to "Products", then to "Shop". However, email me directly,
and I can order for you and give all those who order through me, free shipping until November 30th.

Either way, let's clean up! Happy weekend!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunny Friday...It's Gravy

I am not into Black Friday.The day after Thanksgiving used to be the day we had our family Thanksgiving and so I have never gotten into the madness of rushing out to go shopping. Nor do I even think about Christmas decorations. I hold fast to the "one holiday at a time" theory and don't let one overstep the other. Today is still the "day after" ...Thanksgiving gravy.

Speaking of gravy, I can count on one hand the times I have ever made it. Max almost 50  years of cooking and two of those times it has been Chocolate Gravy that I made in a cooking class. But for yesterday's dinner, I felt the urge and had some wonderful looking mushrooms just waiting.

And, the mushrooms will help me answer another question some of you asked, why I referred to my great-grandmother as "Aunty" Co. In a word: mushrooms.

Aunty Co was my "real" great aunt. Her sister, Stella, was my "real" great-grandmother. She and Papa Barnett lived on a lovely, seaside farm near Virginia Beach, Virginia. One afternoon Stella took a ride out to gather some goodies for dinner. Her horse came back. She didn't. Sampling her treasures, she ate a wild mushroom and died of mushroom poisoning.

Per the custom of the times, the 1890's, as the unwed sister, Aunty Co was called upon to become my great-grandfather's next wife and mom to the three little ones-Gram Jean and her two brothers. However, adventuress that she was, she was in India when her sister died, hot off the trail she had blazed living in Hawaii, Japan, China and other places.

I have the letter she wrote back to my great-grandfather, accepting his proposal. She mourns not only her sister but what she knows is the loss of her footloose, fancy-free existence. She tells him she "is making my way home to you and the dear children." What she forgot to tell him was "when". On her way home, she traveled the rest of the world and many months later, settled and settled well into her new role. She was a corker.

Here are some pictures of my first veggie Thanksgiving, starting with a peek inside the Stuffed Pumpkin ( see November 22 post)...and then, it's on to the Safely Wild Mushroom Gravy recipe. 

I am really getting into tarts. This is my Pumpkin Tart.
It was a dreary day here and so I kept things bright, casual and playful.

Stewed Lima Beans, Spiced Beans, Corn Pudding, Tangerine Cranberry Sauce, Stuffed Pumpkin, Rio Rancho Dressing with Safely Wild Mushroom Gravy

Safely Wild Mushroom Gravy (I may be tweaking this. Son Christian called this morning and said he made a fab vegetarian gravy yesterday...I will try to get his recipe!)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake, baby bellas and chanterelles)
1/3 cup brown rice flour (Oddly enough I had some...not a lump anywhere. I am sure any flour would work.)
1/4 cup shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1-1/2 cups water, veggie broth or wine combo
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic. Add mushrooms and saute until softened, browned a little and having "sweat" out their liquid. Add flour to make a roux and brown flour mix for a few minutes. Stir in soy sauce, liquids of choice and herbs. Simmer until thickened, thinning with a little extra liquid if gravy gets too thick. Makes about 2 cups.

Now, tomorrow, I will have some hair-raising shopping news!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday. I love it for many reasons and wish this tranquil, reflective, beautiful span from Halloween through Thanksgiving would last longer.

Thanksgiving has such a quiet, strong, soulful presence. No hoopla. I thought you would love to see the decorations my mom has out today. Made from naturally dyed cornhusks, they are exquisite in their detail and made by hand with lots of love from a woman who was a very quiet, strong and soulful presence in my childhood, Betty Snanigan. Everything she made, whether a corn husk decoration or her mouth-watering Cinnamon Twists, had a lovely, natural "hand" to it. I am also sharing a few favorite pictures from fall,most taken on or near Shelter Island.

May peace and the love of life, family and community nourish you and yours today.

                       This gorgeous shot is from Darby and Justin.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talking over recipes

Yesterday, I talked over recipes with my girls. First, I got lots of persimmon questions and so I am channeling my great grandmother, Aunty Co, to answer these...ha! Yes, persimmons can go either a sweet delight or a bitter pill to swallow. There are a two kinds I like...I don't know which I ate as a kid. I was 12 when Aunty Co died at the age of 94.  "Hachiya" is the pear shaped one and "Fuyu" is the flatter shaped one. Both must be fully ripe in order to be sweet and delicious. If not eaten as raw as a fruit, they are great mashed into a puree, made festive with lots of cinnamon and turned into a pudding. A picture of the fuyu was in yesterday's post. Here is a pix of the hachiya...

Mom and I have talked lots...not only is it the day before Thanksgiving but in our world, it is the day after Dancing with the Stars. She has watched every season and most of the time, I have watched along with her and we share woohoo's and rants every week. This season I should have recorded some of her phone messages. They are hysterical. Not this: "Hi Pensy...This is Mom. What did you think?"  But this: "Oh, she needs to stop whining!" click or this: "What a crock!" click.

Recipe-wise, she found a fresh veggie variation for the traditional green bean casserole. Neither one of us have that recipe in our holiday mix and so it is curious that she has a "new" version that has her so excited. She is going to let me know the taste verdict...looks yummy in the picture.

Sweet daughter, fabulous cook Lissa and I have talked gingerbread. I have scads of gingerbread recipes and two favorites. I usually make one of them to go along with our favorite pumpkin pie. Yesterday, it boiled down to, "You know, Momma, I want the one where you forgot the sugar one year." Obviously, a really good recipe that can't be wrecked, sweetened or not!

Here is our Corn Pudding recipe which came from Country Living magazine decades ago. When at home, I do use canned or frozen corn. When in Shelter Island, I use fresh, guaranteed-to-be-still-sweet corn...yes, some farm stands still have it!

1 17-ounce can creamed corn
1 17-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits

Preheat oven to 350 and generously butter a 1 quart casserole. In a large bowl, combine corn, eggs and milk. Add sugar, flour and salt and stir until well mixed. Pour into casserole and dot with butter. Bake about 1 hour. Serves 6-8.

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it is good hot, room temperature or cold. Cooks choice. Christian and Resh, I think you two have the honors making the corn dish this year. It will be delish! oxxoxo 

And so, although we are not going to be together, we are together. Kisses for all my cooks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Thanksgiving always reminds me of my paternal grandparents, Papa Dick and Grandma Jean. That was the holiday we spent with them.

After much ado, we piled in the car and drove from Cleveland (early days) and later from Pittsburgh. In the real early days, we would stop over at my great-grandmother's, Aunty Co's, apartment near Central Park. She was an eccentric creature, world-traveled by the time she was in her early thirties and delightfully full of it. Her apartment had wonderful, exotic treasures including a gilded birdcage that had a little canary look alike in it that when wound up, chirped and chortled its glee. She also had persimmons waiting for us, always perfectly ripe and sweet. It is really an art to get those fruits just right. And, of course, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was a must. So much fun. I still love watching it.

From the city, we trekked over to Shelter Island where a simple feast awaited us. Gram Jean was an excellent cook, straight up about foods and flavors. Local all the way....turkey, oysters and clams, corn and potatoes, lima beans.

I have two favorite food memories about Thanksgiving. One is the drumstick. Both Papa Dick and I got one and winked at each other with every bite as if we were the only two folks in the room. Made my day. The second memory is of Papa Dick and Gram Jean's fruitcake. No flour- just fruits, nuts and rum...lots of it. They made a light and a dark version that my parents sliced paper-thin for me so I wouldn't get too much of an alcohol-laden jolt. is sad that fruitcake has such a bad name. Theirs was amazing.

But the most favorite memory of all is of them, just them.

And so, this The Red White and Food post is for grandparents everywhere, at the table or in the heart. It really doesn't matter whether you share a meal from scratch, from catalogues or from a menu or whether you share it the day of or days later. It matters that you are there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cinderella, Cinderella

It is always a plus to live in a neighborhood full of nice people. I love my neighbors. But what is really fabulous is living in a neighborhood full of nice people and fabulous cooks. It seems like everyone on our street can work it and cook it. And oh, how I love to taste it. Forget borrowing the unnecessary cup of sugar. Here is what one talented neighborhood duo "whipped" up in their kitchen while listening to NPR. Ambrosia!

Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin

1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound bacon*
1 Cinderella pumpkin
1 tablespoon soft butter
Salt, to taste
8 ounces gruyere, coarsely grated
1/2 pound creme fraiche (or 1 cup heavy cream)
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Fresh thyme leaves, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Tear bread into small pieces, place on jellyroll pan and sprinkle with minced garlic. Heat in oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dried.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into dice and fry until crisp. Remove from grease with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towel-lined tray.After bread is toasted, remove and turn oven up to 400 degrees.

With a sturdy knife, cut a cover off the pumpkin about 4 inches in diameter. Hold the knife at an angle while cutting. Scoop out the seeds and strings and either set aside to roast later or throw away (into your compost heap, of course.)

Butter the inside of the pumpkin and the underside of the lid with the softened butter. Season the inside of the pumpkin with salt. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (An alternative is to place the pumpkin in a pot or tureen in case it collapses.) Inside the pumpkin, layer bread, bacon, cheese, creme fraiche or cream and sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Repeat until pumpkin is full. Replace top on pumpkin and place in oven.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the pumpkin begins to soften on the outside and the filling begins to bubble. Turn tray once or twice during cooking.

Lower heat to 350 degrees and cook 1/2 hour more, until the pumpkin is tender but still holds its shape. If it's getting too brown, cover it loosely with foil. The pumpkin may be kept warm in a 200-degree oven for 1/2 hour. It does, however, stay hot for a very long time.

To serve, remove cover and dip into the pumpkin with a long-handled spoon, scraping the flesh off the pumpkin's bottom and sides for each serving. Serves 10 as a side-dish.

*I would omit bacon or use a meat-free substitute...some are actually quite good.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recipe for Love: Online Dating by the Numbers

For those 6 minutes and 35 seconds, especially minutes 2:00 through 4:00, OGT was spellbound, held deliciously captive by ABC'S Nightline.

The call came in about 10:55 p.m. our time. It was Shashi, "Did you see it?!! Did you see it?!! Oh, it was wonderful!" Christian had given the heads up earlier in the day that the piece would probably air last night and it an earlier time slot on the East Coast and in a delayed one here.

When Shashi called, I honestly expected to sit rapt in hopes of seeing a hand, a fleeting glimpse of Christian at work. The whole crew at OK Cupid is wonderful and so my cheers were ready. Although it is kinda weird writing about this, that is what blogs are for...little daily diaries of thoughts and discoveries, some very personal. While this is not a new discovery, I have heard my mom say it again and again, "Once a mom, always a mom" and I have to say, those 6 minutes and 35 seconds were just fabulous and filled with a special joy. Love you, sweetie! xoxoxoxox Momma

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Official!'s your girl...

The "papers" came in the mail yesterday. Our adoption of "Daphne" was matched by a benevolent donor, Ady Gil, and so we let our "cheerful and loving" Daphne pick out one of her BFF's to join Ady's flock. Two birds are definitely better than one. You go, girls!!!

In honor of creating this new tradition of adopting a turkey, I wanted to give a tip of the fork to an old one and share a favorite recipe I make every Thanksgiving. Were Daphne a guest at our table, I believe she would gobble it up! According to her papers, she loves cranberries.

The apples in the picture are a sweet treat indeed and a great addition to this recipe. They are Razor heirloom variety that is my favorite apple ever. My sweet mom sent me a box of them last week. Perfume-y, sweet, crunchy and juicy...apples to the max. Use whatever apple is your favorite in this recipe. While most of the time, I serve this crunch as a "side", it also makes a wonderful dessert or breakfast.

Apple Cranberry Crunch

3 cups chopped apples (I don't peel them)
2 cups cranberries, washed
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat. Gluten-free AP flour will work, too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Mix apples, cranberries and sugar and place in ungreased pan. Mix remaining ingredients and crumble on top of fruit. Press down lightly and bake, uncovered, in a 325 oven for 40-45 minutes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Corn Liquor

Who knew there were so many recipes mixing up alcohol and fall candies? Not being a very frequent mixed drink drinker, I guess I have missed out on this whole group of recipes until now.

I did a post after Halloween on using leftover (ha!) chocolate bars in a lusciously lethal Mudslide (Good to the Last Drop, November 4, 2010). Then I found this recipe and just chuckled. Last time I checked, martinis were savory...potent sips enhanced with onions, olives or a "twist". Apparently, they also have a many-storied sweet side.

I love candy corn and "fall mix", for the colors and fun shapes. After a very few sweet handfuls, most of the bag just sits looking cute in the jar until next year. This recipe looks temptingly fun, sweet and juicy....nice for today's Thirsty Thursday post. It might be quite the thing to both empty out the candy jar a little and sweetened up your guests before Thanksgiving dinner.

Autumn Mix Martini  

For the infused vodka:
1/4 cup candy corn or Autumn Mix
1 ½ cups vodka

For the cordials:
2 ounces orange liqueur
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
1 large egg white
Candy corn or Autumn Mix for garnish
Orange or white rim sugar

To infuse the vodka: Combine the candy corn or Autumn Mix and vodka in an airtight container; set aside to infuse for at least 3 hours, then strain.

Making the cordials: Add 4 ounces of the infused vodka, the orange liqueur, lemon juice, vanilla and egg white to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into 4 chilled martini glasses, rimmed with decorating sugar. Garnish with extra candies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brazilian Wipe-out

I have curly hair with a mind and weather channel of its own. Having read a couple of books about hair, I understand that sometimes curly hair ends up on the wrong head and is a constant, annoying "bug". It is never neat and orderly. Every day, every change in the weather brings a new look. If chaos, disorder and a lack of control bother you, it is probable that curly hair and its strong-willed unruliness will, too. At least that was  what one book theorized. Makes sense to me. What does bug me though is while curly hair has my OK to rule my world, I just wish it would shine. Most curly hair doesn't.

Sometimes when my hair is mishandled, even by professionals, it is a frizz ball and even duller. Once or twice I succumbed to the "Penny, let's blow it out straight and see what it looks like! It will be soooo shiny!" tease. Shiny but not at all for me. And so, I can understand some of the temptation of the Brazilian Blowout....manageable, orderly, shiny hair.

Before you bite into the temptation, better know the poisons lurking and what one savvy state is doing to protect its ladies' shining glory. Let's wipe this product off the map! Thanks, California, for leading the charge!

Why do we devote every Wednesday to personal care? Because the food that comes in through your largest organ, your skin and scalp, can be a constant day in and day out diet of hazardous chemicals...and there are some very risky ones out there. This defeats the goal of total wellness. Your skin eats more than your mouth. For those of you who want to reduce your exposure to toxins from your skincare, email me. I have some great specials going on!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Domino Effect: The Scoop on the Goop

I stumbled upon this article over the weekend and sank. Oh, goodness. I had no idea things were this bad in Commercial Pizzaville. What a dark, gooey mess. The link to this article is at the end of this post. While long, it is worth every word and minute of your time. It takes apart mass-marketed, commercial pizza from the crust through the pepperoni. If you are lucky enough to have a small, hands-on, really homemade pizza parlor in your neighborhood, go now and order up its veggie special. This The Red White and Food post is for truly hand-crafted pizza everywhere.

I felt like trying my hand at truly homemade pizza tonight and thank heavens I had someone to turn to for Rx. Dr. Neal Barnard has several yummy sounding pizza recipes in his cookbook. I am firing up the oven and having this for dinner. Now, this is pizza...Want a slice?

Eggplant, Artichoke, Red Pepper and Black Olive Pizza

2 cups chopped eggplant
1 cup tomato sauce
pinch of crushed red pepper
pinch of sugar or agave nectar
1 recipe for pizza dough (preferably whole wheat)
1 cup tightly packed, coarsely chopped spinach
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
quartered artichoke many as you like
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup favorite black olives
fresh basil to garnish

In a skillet, bring 2 tablespoons of veggie broth or water to a boil and add in eggplant. Cook about 3 minutes or until water evaporates. (You may also saute eggplant in a little olive oil). Add tomato sauce, crushed red pepper and sugar. Simmer for about 7 minutes. Cool.
Place pizza dough in pan and cover with eggplant sauce. Top with spinach, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, onion and black olives. Bake at 500 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Here is the scoop on the goop:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shaking it up

With fall in full swing, I thought I needed to shake up my morning smoothie a little. Spruce it up. Have it fall in line with the season. Now I wonder if I will ever go back. Love this!! Here is my newest creation and like several of my food pix, my photo does not do the deliciousness justice! Packed with lots of my favorite foods and favorite orange-y colors, it is a wonderful Meatless Monday meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Autumn Shake

3 ice cubes
4-8 ounces carrot juice (or more depending on how thick you like your shake)
1 teaspoon or more freshly grated ginger
a good shake or two of ground cinnamon
1 large or 2 small kale stalks with leaves removed...a good handful of leaves
1/2 frozen banana
5-6 cubes of frozen mango
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1-2 scoops protein powder (need a recommendation? email me!)

Mix in a blender and serve. I didn't even wait for a straw or for the camera to focus. Add more cinnamon or ginger if you like. And the kale? Do it. It is an essential no matter what the season. You won't even taste it! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chock full

Even though it is still warm here (are we over summer yet, Mother Nature?), I have had the soup pot out for weeks. I love soups and stews, especially ones that are a little complex. Bubbly, richly textured and aromatic layers of all kinds of veggies, whole grains, legumes and spices are my favorites.

This recipe is one I make when the kids are home, when I am going to a potluck, the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas or when I want to have a couple of dinners and lunches on hand. It is a playful recipe that you add more fun twists to as you make it again and again.  It is also a recipe chock full of healthful spices...eight as a matter of fact...that play well together and play well with two herbs, parsley and cilantro. As an ensemble cast of legumes, whole grains, veggies and spices, this stew is nutritionally an award winner, a hard to top meal in a pot.

For a really festive and flavorful menu, I would serve Syrian Roasted Red Pepper Dip (November 1, 2010 post) as a starter, the stew along with a leafy green salad dressed with a citrus or ginger vinaigrette and for dessert, this apple tart I'm working on! Enjoy! There are some tips below but here is the first one. This recipe is long, but easy!! Don't be hesitant to make it.

Moroccan Lentil Stew

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
8 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable stock (I use low sodium)
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped 
3 teaspoons coarse salt
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 can "fire roasted" tomatoes with juice (Muir Glen is a nice brand for these)
1 cup yellow lentils, rinsed (I use red lentils as well...whichever one I have on hand) 
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 2-3 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 ounces orzo (I use whole wheat orzo)
1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add cinnamon stick and heat for a few minutes. Remove and set aside. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, stock, and water, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.

Mash garlic, finely chopped cilantro, and salt into a paste*. Add this garlic paste, celery, tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste, lemon juice, and spices, including saved cinnamon, stick to pot. Simmer until lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

Add pasta and dates, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Stir in coarsely chopped cilantro and parsley. Garnish with parsley leaves, and serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6-8

*I will be talking more about salt "pastes" in an upcoming Salt Workshop. Stay tuned.


1. I prefer dried chickpeas to canned hands down but do feel free to used canned if you find them easier. Be sure to rinse well. If using canned, simmer about 10 minutes instead of 45.

2. I prefer yellow or red lentil for this dish, not green.

3. Feel free to use fresh tomatoes, 3-4 will do it

4. I prefer to dry roast all spices and grind as need. If you are not familiar with how to do this and missed my spice class (!), use ground spices that you buy in small quantities from a reliable spice market. is a good online source. You can also use fresh ginger in place of dried, using the 3:1 ratio of fresh to dried.

5. Use whole wheat orzo or brown rice versus regular for more nutritional value

6. Try using coconut oil for the oil and serving with orange slices instread of lemon

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today is Veteran's Day and Our Green Table offers a heartfelt salute of deep gratitude to all who serve or have served our country. We have gotten so much because of our Veterans and they deserve much better from us than this once a year recognition.

Interesting enough, a hearty salutation, "salut" is a popular toast and means "to your health". This is also "Thirsty Thursday" on OGT and so raise a glass today to our Veterans or better yet, thank one in person and wish him or her "salut" . Then, as a grateful citizen, see what you can do to help make their great health happen and fight for them as hard as they fought for us..

Here is an all-American fall beverage just perfect for your toast.

Spicy Mulled Cider

2 quarts fresh apple cider
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches each)
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange, peeled in continuous spiral if possible
1 ounce per serving of rum, brandy, or Calvados (optional)

Spiced Butter (optional):

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine the apple cider, light brown sugar, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and orange zest in a large pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Strain the spices from the mixture and discard. Return the cider to pan and keep warm. The cider is ready to be served as is. If spiking it up, pour 1 ounce of the preferred liquor into each serving mug and fill with the hot cider.

If you want to doll up the cider even more with the spiced butter, cream the butter and dark brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the spices and continue beating 1 minute more. Float a heaping teaspoon of the butter on top of each serving of hot cider. Store any leftover butter in the refrigerator. Serves 8.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I guess I am a Double "D"...

Because I am now finishing up my second month of ratcheted-up Vitamin D "therapy". I wrote about being mildly deficient this summer and why it is so important to have normal Vitamin D levels. If you have not had your Vitamin D levels checked, now is the time. With the end of Daylight Savings Time and the sun's strength is going elsewhere, many of you may be preparing for a long winter's nap indoors. Please do yourself a sunny favor and have that test done. It is really important for you to know your numbers and health stats!

And in case you really want to transport yourself back to sunnier times, look to brightening up your breakfast toast with a spread of coconut oil. Those of you who attended Spices 101 on Monday know that I am a big fan of extra virgin coconut oil. My favorite brand is Nutiva. Opening the jar up is like opening your beach hut window to let the fragrant tropical air waft through your kitchen. Whatever brand of coconut oil you like should also have that fresh, coconutty smell. Spread a little on your toast, pop some pineapple and mango into your morning shake, brew up a cup of fresh ginger tea and welcome some sunshine into your day! Dark winter days? Bring 'em on!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One Big Heart Creates a Ripple

Shortly after I adopted "Daphne" last Tuesday in honor of our children, I got this terrific email from The Farm Sanctuary. For every turkey adopted until November 25th, there is a benevolent sponsor who will match each adoption. For $30, you can save two turkeys. Here is the link,

This The Red White and Food post is a tribute to the power of one person, Ady Gil, stepping up to the plate, literally, to create a ripple effect of compassion. Here is the email I got from The Farm Sanctuary...

No sooner had we e-mailed you on Monday than Farm Sanctuary received some exciting news! We were contacted by Ady Gil, a generous supporter of Farm Sanctuary and our Adopt-A-Turkey Project.

Ady is very concerned about the suffering of turkeys this holiday season and wants to join with Farm Sanctuary supporters in saving as many of these birds as we possibly can. So he has offered to sponsor an additional turkey for every one adopted by friends like you by November 25, Thanksgiving Day!  Each of your sponsorships will be matched with another adoption. You’ll receive a special adoption certificate in your name with a color photo of and fun facts about your adopted turkey. Best of all, you’ll get the warm holiday feeling that comes with knowing that you’re supporting the care of the rescued turkeys and other animals at Farm Sanctuary, and helping us advocate for farm animals everywhere.

Thank you, Ady.

Monday, November 8, 2010

With a little help from...

All the talk about India this past weekend and the fact that it is Divali brought back a flood of great memories. Jeepers...has it really been 4 years??? I loved it there. Seeing pictures the Taj Mahal (overwhelmingly beautiful...the first full sight of it moved me to tears), Gandhi's ashram and museum, and the merriment of the school children dancing really put me in the mood for tonight's cooking workshop on spices. I learned most of what I know from that trip and from cooking tips my "sister" Usha (son's mother-in-law) has shared. I am excited to share all I know with the folks at Eggshells, tonight. One of the recipes I am making I will post here on Friday. Thank you, Usha, for teaching me so much and Happy Divali to all my Indian friends and family xoxoxo

So I don't spill the spice before tonight's class, I am shifting my thoughts to herbs and a promise I made a couple of weeks ago to share both my brother Rick's chimichurri sauce and a little about seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat. It is high in protein and has a really nice texture. That it is made by a company with "soy" in its name is unfortunate. There is no soy in seitan.

Ordinarily I shy away from "fake" anything but I ordered this appetizer in a favorite restaurant in New York and flipped for it. This is one of my all-time favorite plant-based delights. I even bought some to eat on the plane going home.

When I got home and first made it myself and went to the store to pick up the ingredients, no joke, the clerk at Whole Foods asked me, "Are you alright?" I had never seen seitan "as is" before and I guess my face was a sight. At first glance, seitan is not all that pretty or appetizing. Now I am used to it and opt for the "can't judge a book by its cover" adage. I am so excited that it is also available in my neighborhood grocery store now, too! Don't wait for Meatless Monday to try it!

Chimichurri sauce is delightful, fresh and garlic-y and adds a wonderful zing. Rick's recipe uses white wine. I have made it before with fresh orange juice. Either way, it's a winner.

 Seitan Kabobs with Chimichurri Sauce

1 package seitan cubes
wooden skewers
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Blend lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, parsley and cilantro until smooth in a blender or food processor. Use as a marinade for seitan. Marinate at least for one hour or overnight.

Next day, thread seitan cubes onto a wooden stick and broil or grill until browned, about 5-7 minutes a side. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce drizzled over top. Serves 2 amply.

Rick's Chimichurri Sauce

1 bunch parsley
4 garlic cloves
"little" olive oil
"little" lemon juice
"splash" of white wine
Black pepper

Mix all in a blender until the consistency of heavy cream. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice or wine until it has the "zing" you want.