Lemon Basil Orzo with Goat Cheese and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

The delicate flavors in this easy pasta salad were a hit with our German friends, but left something spicier to be desired with our resident Indian (Swamy’s two cents: “It’s no Bachelor Boys, I’ll tell you that”)

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 cups of uncooked orzo pasta (250 g)
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g goat cheese
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 75 g sunflower seeds


  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to package directions
  2. Dry roast the sunflower seeds (toast the seeds in a pan on the stovetop, no butter/oil needed)
  3. Stir all ingredients together

Italian Breadsticks

Here is a tasty and simple recipe for breadsticks that go well with soup or a simple bruschetta. The prep time was about 30 minutes, inactive time was 45 minutes, and baking time was 15 minutes, for a total time of 1.5 hours.

Yield: 8 breadsticks



  • 2 and 1/8 cups of flour (2 cups + 2 tbsp)
  • warm water separated as 2/3 cup and 2 tbsp
  • 1 and 1/8 tsp yeast (half of a package of yeast)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning mix
  • 2 tsp garlic salt


  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of Italian seasoning mix
  • shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Add 2 tbsp of warm water to the yeast in a large bowl. Mix it well, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate container, mix the flour, sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt together.
  3. Once the yeast is ready, add the dry mixture, the remaining water, and the olive oil to it.
  4. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in this bowl, until it is slightly sticky.
  5. Flour a flat surface and transport the dough there. Knead it by hand until it is very smooth, about 3 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough into a log at approximately 1 inch thickness.
  7. Bisect the log until you have 8 pieces.
  8. Set the dough aside to rest under a towel in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  10. Lightly oil the bottom of a cooking pan or a cookie sheet.
  11. Place the bread sticks in the pan, and brush them with olive oil.
  12. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning mix and the shredded cheese (if using it).
  13. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Asian Cabbage Wraps

Omnomnom… hearty tempeh and mushroom filling in a piece of crunchy cabbage with some spicy peanut sauce to the side… sign me up!

This makes about 4-5 servings.


  • Peanut sauce
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp sriracha
  • Filling
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 10-15 shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, trumpet mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, take your pick. Or you can have a boring portabella mushroom cap… Dice the mushrooms.
    • 1 bell pepper, diced (organic!)
    • 2 tsp minced ginger
    • 2 tbsp chili sauce (try chili bean sauce or Guilin chili sauce)
    • 1 can of water chestnuts (8 oz), diced
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 1 package of tempeh (8 oz)
  • Wraps
    • 1 head of green cabbage, or red cabbage, or lettuce
    • 3 large carrots cut into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler or mandolin slicer)
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. Blend all the ingredients for the peanut sauce together in a blender or food mixer. Mix well!
  2. Heat some oil in a large skillet and add the tempeh to it.
  3. After it turns a little brown, add the onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms to it. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and chili sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve with the filling in the cabbage leaf, and add carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds to your liking. Drizzle the peanut sauce over it, and enjoy!

Tomato and Bell Pepper Bruschetta


  • 1 loaf of french bread, sliced and toasted
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Cook the peppers in the oil until they are soft. Add the tomatoes.
  2. Add the sugar and capers. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the fresh basil, and take the pan off of the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve to the side of the bread, or spoon some on each piece of toast. Up to you!

Asian Potatoes and Creamy Wasabi Cabbage Salad

I bought a 10 pound bag of potatoes. Now I have to eat potatoes. This is the first time I tried this recipe, and I sort of blended four different recipes and tossed in some of my own ideas.




  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground sichuan peppers
  • 1/4 tsp lapsang souchong tea spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 russet potatoes, wedged
  • 1 king mushroom, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Potato glaze:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • dash of lime juice

Cabbage salad:

  • sliced green cabbage
  • sliced carrots
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • green onion
  • radishes
  • brown rice
  • parsley (or some other fresh herb – parsley is what I had in the fridge)

Wasabi salad dressing:

  • 1 tsp wasabi
  • 1-2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • a dash of lapsang souchong tea spice blend



  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Peel the potatoes and wedge them. My wedges were a little larger than bite size.
  3. Combine onion, potato, and leeks in a large glass casserole dish. Toss with the sesame oil and spice blend.
  4. Bake the potatoes for about 25 minutes. Then pour half of the glaze on the potatoes and add the sliced king mushrooms. Mushrooms cook really quickly, while potatoes cook really slowly, so it’s best to add mushrooms at the end.
  5. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  6. Pour the remaining glaze over the potatoes and serve.

Potato Glaze:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Optional: Slice up some of these vietnamese peppers and let them sit in the glaze until you’re ready to pour over the potatoes:


Herby Garlic and Olive Oil Focaccia

Foccacia bread is probably the easiest bread to make. It’s great for beginners or lazy bakers because you really don’t have to do much to get something tasty.


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (2.5 tsp)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour


  • cookie sheet
  • 2 large bowls
  • warm towl
  • measuring cups/spoons
  • spatula
  • saucepan


    1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, herbs, and pepper in a saucepan. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. Don’t let the oil smoke or the garlic brown.


    1. Separately in a large bowl, combine the honey, yeast and water. Stir. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.


    1. Add 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil to the yeast bowl. Stir. Let it rest for another 5 minutes.


    1. Add the last of the flour and the salt. Mix it well.
    2. Knead the dough until it’s smooth.


    1. Transfer the dough ball to another bowl, cover with a warm towel, and let it sit for an hour.
    2. After an hour, preheat the oven to 450F.
    3. Oil the cookie sheet with about 2 tbsp of the oil mixture.
    4. Press the dough into the cookie sheet with your fingers, evenly spreading it out (about 1 in thick).


    1. Dimple the dough with your fingers.
    2. Drizzle the last of the olive oil on the top of the dough.


    1. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until it’s golden.