This is the Italian version of ratatouille and at least as good when made properly. This can be made and stored in the fridge for several days and just gets better with time. This is my version which brings rave reviews every time I serve it.

[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

  • 1 medium eggplant (approximately ¾ lb.)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1-15 ounce can small diced tomatoes (well drained of juice)
  • 1 Tbs capers
  • 1-2 Tbs vinager
  • ¼- ½ cup green olives stuffed with pimento
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  1. Peel and cube the eggplant into approximately a ½ inch dice. Fry in olive oil over high heat stirring often until brown and cooked. Set aside.   
  2. Cut the celery into small dice and cook with a little water in microwave until cooked but still quite crunchy. Don’t overcook. The crunchy texture is very important. Set aside.
  3. Chop onion into small cubes (about ¼ inch) and fry in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Set aside
  4. Chop olives so that the pieces are of similar size to the celery and eggplant.
  5. If you have the time, fry the drained tomatoes in a little olive oil until all the remaining liquid is gone and they are just beginning to brown.
  6. Mix all the cooked vegetables together and add the tomato, the sugar and the vinegar. Cook together for 5 minutes until everything is blended.
  7. Remove from heat and add capers and olives.
  8. Add salt to taste and check for seasoning. You may want it a little more sweet or sour. But the tastes really meld together after the caponata sits for at least a day. I keep it at room temperature for a few hours and then refrigerate. Check the next day and adjust the seasoning.
Serve caponata as an appetizer with thin slices of bagette or as a side salad to a summer meal.






 Let me count the reasons why:


1.   It's available all year long and keeps for weeks in the fridge so it’s always on hand

2.   There are many varieties:   Asian (napa), green, red and many more

3.   Every variety is delicious raw or cooked

4.   It tastes good with no additional fancy preparations

5.   Every country has their own special version of cabbage salad

6.   You can ferment it for sauerkraut, or kimchi

7.   You can stuff it with its big enveloping leaves

8.   It’s terrific shredded and fried as a side dish for tofu, pork, duck, chicken and fish

9.   You can cook it long and slow with chicken and bacon or with apples and vinegar if you have red cabbage

10.               And…its cheap.


     11.     And healthy. 


Here are some of my favorite recipes for cabbage salads. Two are from previous blogs and all but the first are vegetarian:







Vietnamese Chicken Salad

(Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish)



Special note:  You need to taste and adjust this salad before serving.  Some like it spicier, some like it sweeter or saltier and some like it with more sour flavor from the limes.  Don't add salt at first since the fish sauce is salty.  Remember that adding the peanuts (and you need lots) adds to the flavor so when you taste it, try it with the peanuts and basil and mint. 


For salad:


·         1 ½ -2-pound  green cabbage, shredded, but not too finely:  I don't use the mandoline

·         2  carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips

·         ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion


Optional:   ¼ cup dried shrimp from Asian market boiled for 5 minutes in water and then drained and chopped.  It adds a very fishy shrimp flavor that is very authentic but not to everyone's taste.

For dressing :

·         1/3 cup Asian fish sauce  (Nuoc Mam)

·         2 teaspoons  cup brown sugar

·         1 teaspoon (or to taste)  Thai or Vietnamese chili garlic sauce

·         2 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger

·         1 tablespoon  garlic clove, finely chopped

·         ¼ cup fresh lime juice from 2-3 limes

·         1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger


·         For  topping:

·         2/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

·         1/2 cup packed torn basil leaves

·         1/2 cup packed torn mint (optional)

·         ½  cup bean sprouts

·         ½ -1 cup  leftover boned  shredded, cooked chicken (optional)



1.    Combine salad ingredients


2.    Make dressing by combining ingredients by hand or in a blender


3.    Toss salad: Mix dressing with cabbage and carrots and shrimp


4.    Assemble salad: .Arrange chicken and bean sprouts over tossed salad and sprinkle with peanuts, basil, and mint. Serve at room temperature or chilled. You can pass around extra peanuts and lime juice for people to add to their salads.









Lebanese Cabbage Salad (Salatet Malfoof)


This is a simple cabbage salad that tastes fresh and delicious.  It comes together very quickly and stays fresh for a few days.  I learned how to make it from my friend Cindy.  Her Lebanese mother, Gladys Payne makes it frequently and they’ve never seen it in the United States.  This is the healthy version of coleslaw.  The flavors meld together so that it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s in it.  But it is very simple:  lemon, garlic, spearmint and a little oil.  Cindy’s mother adds the tomato which isn’t authentic but really kicks it up both visually, texturally and taste wise.


1 small cabbage (about 2 ½ pounds), thinly shredded ( I use a mandolin which works great)

1 TBS salt

2 TBS lemon

6 garlic cloves, pressed or mashed

1 TBS dried mint (fresh mint will give it an entirely different taste)

1 cup petite diced tomatoes drained of juice

1 TBS olive oil



1.       Combine cabbage and salt in a bowl and massage the salt into the cabbage.  Let it sit for 20-30  minutes and drain off any liquid.  Taste for saltiness.  If it’s too salty, rinse it with fresh water until it is the desired saltiness. 

2.      Add the rest of the ingredients and taste.  If you like more mint or lemon, adjust the quantities.  The garlic and mint flavors will be more pronounced after the flavors have a chance to meld.

3.      Refrigerate for an hour.  This salad will keep for a few days refrigerated.






(adapted from KASHI™ recipe)

  I’ve  made this salad many times with great reviews from family and friends. This is my  simplified  version still made with Kashi™ Whole Grain Pilaf which comes in a box and can be found at Greenstar.  For some reason Wegmans stopped carrying Kashi 7 grain pilaf even though it's a terrific product and extremely healthy. The box holds three packets each with about a cup of pilaf.  It’s a chewy flavorful blend of whole grain oats, brown rice, rye, hard red wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds.  In case you don’t know what Triticale is, (and I didn’t) the Kashi folks explain that it is “a natural cross between durum wheat and rye with higher protein than both.  A ½ cup serving contains 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.





Indonesian Pilaf (from a previous fingerlakesfeasting post)

Created by Kashi™  and  Adapted by Celia Clement



For original recipe go to:



  • 1 packets of Kashi™ 7 Whole Grain Pilaf
  • 1 cup whole roasted peanuts
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4  teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 3 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup organic red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mirin or other sweetener such as honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes (I omit this but add it if you like it spicy)


  1. Cook Kashi Pilaf. Each packet  holds 1 cup. Boil two cups water and then add the pilaf along with the cumin and coriander and salt .  Cover and cook about 25 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the carrots for the last 10 minutes of the pilaf cooking time.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped cabbage, scallions, currants, cilantro,  and peanuts with cooked Pilaf mixture,  and mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger root, and vinegar, whisk together, add to pilaf mixture, stir well and taste to adjust the seasoning. Enjoy.
  4. This is best made ahead of time to let the flavors harmonize.  





 MARINATED VEGETABLE SALAD (courtesy of Anita Devine)
(From a previous post on fingerlakesfeasting)
1 head romaine lettuce, finely chopped (I use less romaine and more red cabbage)
¼ head red cabbage, finely sliced (I use less romaine and more red cabbage)
¼ head red cabbage, finely sliced
1 block marinate tofu (I use tofu kan), chopped
1 cup dry roasted organic peanuts, skin on
1 small jar marinated artichokes, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
½ cup sprouts ( I used mix sprouts)
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. ume vinegar
1 Tbs shoyu (or regular soy sauce)
Juice of one orange
1 Tbs. rice syrup
1 ½ Tbs. mustard (I use whole grain Dijon)
  1. Mix together dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Place sliced red cabbage in a bowl, mix with ¼ tsp sea salt, place a place over it and weigh it down for one hour to extract some of the liquid. (I skip this step)
  3. Mix together all the vegetables, tofu, and peanuts and toss with dressing.

Note:  Taste for seasoning.  I usually adjust with more ume vinager and more soy sauce.


















[recipe difficulty=”easy”]


Preheat oven to 350°


  1. Chocolate graham cracker crumbs:  the boxes have 3 separate packages of 8 double crackers.  I use one package of 8 and another 5 double crackers.  Put them in food processor and grind into fine crumbs.  Then add:
  2. 1 stick butter and another 3 TBS. that has been melted in microwave. Blend in food processor until mixed.
  3. Butter a 10 inch removable rim tart pan and push the crumbs into the tart pan first around the rim and then the bottom so that it is spread evenly and packed down well.
  4. Bake 8 minutes, remove from oven and carefully push crust back into shape using a small spatula or your fingers.



1-8 oz. package cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat variety)

½ cup sour cream (I use the lite variety)

½ cup sugar

 2-3.5 oz. bars of chocolate 70% cocoa (I use Lindt Excellence)

1-50 ml. bottle Godiva chocolate Liquor (the little darkest bottles you see when you check out)

1 large egg


  1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in a food processor until well blended.
  2. Break the bars into largish pieces and then melt.  The easiest way I’ve found to do this is by setting the microwave for 1 minute and then swishing your bowl around so that the pieces are distributed in the melted chocolate.  Then microwave for another 30 seconds and let sit a minute.  You want the last few pieces to melt after the chocolate has been removed from the microwave.  Don’t melt the whole thing in the microwave or you risk burning the chocolate.
  3. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and blend together.
  4. Add Godiva Liquor and blend.
  5. Add egg and blend using a spatula to scrape down the sides.
  6. Pour into tart shell and bake 25-30 minutes.  You want the sides to begin cracking but the center to be slightly moist and dipped down.

Cool the tart.  It can be refrigerated and brought to room temperature to serve the following day.  I like to garnish it with raspberries.  Or you can garnish with whipped cream.  This pie is VERY rich and can serve 10-12 people easily.












Raspberry Almond Thumbprints




Preheat oven to 350 degrees



1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter

2/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon almond estract

2 cups flour

Raspberry jam



½ cup confectioner sugar

¾ teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon milk


1.  In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar

2.  Add almond extract and mix

3.  Add flour and mix quickly

4.  Form about 36 balls and place them on a baking sheet

5.  Make a thumb print in each ball and fill with a little raspberry jam

6.  Bake 14-18 minutes  and  cool

7.  Mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cookies.




Michal’s Chocolate Brandy Snowballs


3 eggs

½ cup sugar

350 Grams dark chocolate (I use 3 bars of Lindt 70%) 

50 grams butter ½ stick

45 ml brandy (3 Tab

1 tsp Nescafe or espresso powder

¾ cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup finely chopped almonds (.3 pounds) I chop them in a food processor

Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar



1.     Beat eggs and sugar for 5 minutes in a mixer.

2.     Melt chocolate and butter carefully in the microwave.  I don’t melt the chocolate completely because it is too easy to burn.  Instead I melt it almost all the way and stir it to melt the last little bit of chocolate.

3.     Add coffee and brandy

4.     Fold chocolate mixture into eggs

5.     Add dry ingredients and mix quickly

6.     Fold in almonds

7.     Refrigerate 3-4 hours or for several days

8.     Make snowballs by rolling into 1-2 inch balls, dipping into granulated sugar and then into powdered sugar so that each is completely covered.

9.     Bake in preheated 360 ? oven for 8 minutes.  Do not overcook.








Chewy Ginger Cookies recipe


If you love ginger, then I guarantee, you’ll love these cookies.  They are made with three kinds of ginger:  fresh grated, dry powdered and candied ginger.  This cookie packs a punch and you can have it thin and crispy or thick and a little more cakey.  It depends on whether you use the batter right away when it’s really soft or chill it for a while so that it’s much easier to handle.  Chilling it results in a puffier cookie that holds its shape better. 


I didn’t have the robust blackstrap molasses and used the regular, less strong original molasses with fine results. For the recipe, just click on the CHEWY GINGER COOKIES TITLE.









I followed this recipe exactly except for a change that simplified the preparation.  The first step instructs one to puree the peanut butter and pecans in a blender and then add to the rest of the ingredients.  I just added the peanut butter straight to the mixer and saved the clean up of the food processor.  I chopped the pecans ahead of time in a "chop-chop" which works great for this.  It's one of these gadgets where you pull a string that rotates a blade in a small container.  It works well for small quantities of onion, or fresh herbs or nuts.  I also used it to chop the crystalized ginger in the previous recipe.  










 I found an amazing blueberry muffin recipe online from allrecipes which needed only a few minor adjustments.  I added lemon peel and vanilla and replaced milk with buttermilk .  I also made 9 muffins with this batch.


This recipe also works great for cake.  I make it in a 9 inch square cake pan.


Blueberry Muffins, ADAPTED from




1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk

Grated rind from one organic lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.


Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough butter milk to fill the cup and add the lemon and vanilla. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Divide filling between 9 muffin cups, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.


To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.


'Tis apple season and we are lucky enough to have such a great selection in Ithaca.  Over the past few weeks we've had so much fun with apples.  We've had two cider pressing parties.  We started having these parties when the kids were young and we'd invite families of their friends.

 I'd make 4 or 5 different soups and serve them with bread and everyone would bring an appetizer or dessert.  This year was a scaled down version since the kids are grown up and I can't get them all home at the same time.  Here is my son Jeffrey with his friend Seth enjoying themselves.

We usually rent a press from the Cayuga Nature Center.  We go to King Town Orchards to buy bulk second hand apples.  Everyone takes a hand at cranking the apples and everyone leaves with a half gallon of freshly pressed cider.  We get a variety of apples and sometimes throw in some pears and this is guaranteed to be the best cider around.






Other great things to do with apples:  Dried apples.  I invested in a $20 apple corer, peeler and slicer and we already had a dehydrator.  Making a batch of apples using the Back To Basics apple corer/slicer  takes only a few minutes, once you get the hang of it.  It's an amazingly simple and efficient design and it works.

 Don't add anything to the apples.  They get incredibly sweet once they're dry and it takes about 12 hours.  If you don't want to waste the scraps (peels and ends of the apples) you can make applesauce with them.  I just throw everything (minus the cores) into my crock pot and let them cook down.  After putting them through a food mill I taste for seasoning and may add sugar,honey or cinnamon.  

This last batch of applesauce I used to make my spiced applesauce muffins.










Yesterday I made the apple garlic chutney recipe I posted a while back and we started eating it right away even though it's better after a couple of weeks.  I used dried mango, golden raisins, dried apricots and apples. 



The following recipe was passed out a few years ago by Jackie Sherwin of Black Diamond Farm.  I adapted the original recipe which was from the cookbook: An Apple Harvest-Recipes and Orchard Lore, by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva




4-5 tart apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped
1 cup golden raisins
6-7 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
2 tsp. grated and peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
In a non-reactive pot (not aluminum or iron) combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring often.  Add more vinegar if necessary to prevent burning.  Cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are softened and the mixture is thickened.  Taste and add more salt, sugar or vinegar if necessary. To give it a nice kick I add a teaspoon of grated ginger and a clove of pressed garlic after I turn off the heat and stir it in.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Spoon into sterile jars and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for several days and up to two weeks to allow flavors to mellow.  This chutney can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 months.



Makes 16-18 muffins
  • 1 ¼ cups applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½  cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½  teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup raisins or chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2.  Prepare muffin pans (16-18 muffins) with cupcake foils
  3. In a large bowl, Beat eggs first and then  add the applesauce, sugar, oil, and milk; beat well.
  4.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and mix in cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and salt. Add to the applesauce mixture but don't overstir.
  5. Add vanilla and fold in the pecans and raisins.
  6. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.









[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Bars


What a great combination:  raspberries and chocolate.  This is an easy recipe combining two great recipes:  a chocolate oatmeal bar and a raspberry oatmeal bar recipe.  My guests found it a little reminiscent of sacher torte but much easier to make. 



Bottom layer:

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup softened butter (1 stick)

1 large egg

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract or coconut extract

¾ cup instant oatmeal

½ cup chocolate chips


1/2 cup raspberry jam




½ cup brown sugar

1/4-1/2  cup softened butter (1/2-1 stick)

¾ cup flour

¾ cup instant oatmeal


1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.      In a food processor cream together sugar and butter and beat  in egg. 

3.      Add flour and baking powder and pulse until blended.  Do not over mix.

4.      Add the extract and oatmeal and pulse a few times until mixed but do not over mix.

5.      Stir in chocolate chips.

6.      Press into a 9 X 9 inch nonstick pan that has been spread with oil or butter.

7.      Spread the jam evenly over the dough.


8.      In the food processor cream together the butter  and sugar and add the flour pulsing a few times until incorporated. Do not overmix. 

9.      Add the oatmeal and mix quickly.

10.  Crumble the topping evenly over the raspberry and press down.

11.  Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until beginning to brown.

12.  Let cool completely.  These are even better the next day.  Cut them into small squares or rectangles.  These are very rich cookies.










Inspired by Alice Water's (CHEZ PANISSE) interview on Fresh Air last week, I decided to select the most beautiful and sweetest local fruit I could find and offer it to my dinner guests just like this.

 The peaches were from the Ithaca Farmer's Market, the plums were from Black Diamond Farm which has a booth at the IFM, and the little yellow plums in the back, under the grapes were from Indian Creek Orchards.  The green grapes, bursts of total flavor and sweetness and the Chestnut Crab apples were also from Black Diamond Farm. The raspberries were from our garden picked a few hours beforehand at their peak of ripeness.  I couldn't resist adding the perfectly ripe figs even though they were interlopers to the local platter.

Served as is with homemade plum ice-cream and this was a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.  The next day I made a peach/raspberry pie with the leftover very ripe fruit.  But it really is a shame to cook fruit when it is so fresh and perfect as were these fruits.


Thanks to my friend Doug Hexler who hosted the party and took this beautiful picture.












 This is a terrific way to serve blueberries.  I tried this recipe back in April of 2006 when I t was first published.  I marked it “fantastic” and have made it several times since then with great success.  I have adapted this recipe from the original in several ways.  It’s  hard to this mess up.  I would also make this recipe using frozen blueberries.


It’s not elegant looking but wait until you taste it.  The lemon, almond paste and blueberries are a match made in heaven.



Lemon  Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Bon Appétit  | April 2006

Blueberry topping

·         1/3- 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

·         1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

·         1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Lemon-almond butter cake

·         3/4 cup cake flour

·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder

·         4 ounces almond paste (scant 1/2 cup), broken into small pieces .  Make sure this is (SOLO) almond PASTE.

·         1/2 cup sugar

·         3 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel

·         1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

·         3 large eggs, room temperature

·         1 tsp. vanilla




For blueberry topping:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in microwave and put in 9-inch-square cake pan with 2-inch-high sides (preferably nonstick) and add brown sugar. Place cake pan over low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar melt and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Using pot holders, remove pan from heat; cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over.

For lemon-almond butter cake:
Sift flour and  baking powder into medium bowl. Combine almond paste, sugar, and lemon peel in bowl of food processor. Mix until almond paste is broken into very small pieces, about 1 minute. Add melted mixing until mixture is smooth and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping sides of bowl after each addition then add vanilla. Add flour mixture and pulse a few times just until batter is smooth. Spoon batter in dollops over blueberries in pan; spread evenly with offset spatula to smooth.

Bake cake until deep golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 1 minute. Run small knife around cake to loosen. Place large platter atop pan. Using oven mitts or potholders and using both hands, hold platter and cake pan firmly together and invert; shake gently, allowing cake to settle on platter. Cool at least 20 minutes.

Garnish cake with lemon slices and lemon peel curls, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature with additional blueberries and whipped cream or ice-cream.