When readers of my old soup blog asked me for bouktouf, I winced just a little bit. The recipe for this Algerian vegan soup calls for two bunches of cilantro, and I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. It turns out that the bright orange color isn't the only surprising thing about this soup; the addition of a large amount of lemon juice tames the flavor of the cilantro, in a good way, and gives the soup a lovely freshness. Here's the original recipe from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, word for word (because nobody could improve on it). I halved the recipe and ended up with five cups of soup, which I cooked in a Dutch oven.... Read more →


Many years ago, my husband Ted and I joined his sister and her friends for a Thanksgiving meal at a lakeside cottage in the Ontario (Canada) countryside. It was a bit of a potluck, and because we were from out of town, we were assigned celery and carrot sticks as our contribution. At first, I thought it wasn't much to ask of us, but when we arrived, we found that our little plate of celery sticks was the only green thing on the table. All brown --turkey, gravy, potatoes and more potatoes -- and orange (carrots and sweet potatoes), and a small bowl of red cranberry sauce. All the colors of the Fall foliage, replicated on the table top. There wasn't a salad or a... Read more →


You never know who's coming to Thanksgiving dinner, and what food allergies or aversions they might bring along. Vegans, gluten-free, dairy-free -- I've hosted them all, and often at the same meal. The holiday table can be a minefield for the cook! It's great to have a few please-all side dishes on the menu. This cabbage with warm dressing takes minutes to prepare (the cabbage can be shredded ahead of time), and it's free of gluten, dairy, meat, nuts -- free of everything except flavor. Cabbage is undervalued on the holiday table; it's economical, easy to prepare, and adapts well to sweet or savory seasonings. (I just used some cole slaw mix in a Chinese stir-fry last night.) This simple side dish can be prepped... Read more →


All you need to create this versatile white bean and sun-dried tomato dip is a blender or food processor, and some ingredients from the pantry. Use this as a filling for sandwiches or roll-ups, too. Read more →


Great for potlucks or picnics, this black bean salad comes with an Asian twist: a sesame-ginger dressing. Make it a few hours ahead, and serve as a side salad with anything from the grill. Read more →