dried tomatoes and garlic in olive oil

Healing Onion Stew

Serves one person.

  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • ½ dl cream (or a vegan alternative)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives (or 1 tsp dried)
  • ½ tsp sage
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • a sigil for healing (optional)

Charge the ingredients and tools and cleanse your workspace as you please.

Chop the onion, garlic, and any fresh herbs and throw them on the pan with some olive oil. 
If you have a sigil, form it out of the ingredients (I recommend drawing it on the pan with oil). To charge it, heat until the onions start to look translucent.
Pour in the cream, add a pinch of salt, and stir clockwise, imagining your healing process. 
The stew is done in 5-10 minutes. .

Serve on bread with some tomato slices or as a side dish.

I made this recipe to combat a cold, but I imagine it can work for other illnesses as well. You could switch out sage and/or thyme for something more specific though.

10

Vegan Chili 

I am so happy to finally share this recipe! 

Ingredients 

1 medium yellow onion, diced 

6 cloves garlic, minced  

1 large red bell pepper, diced 

1 ½ large green bell pepper, diced 

1 large sweet potato, diced 

1 can red kidney beans, rinsed 

1 ¼ cup dry lentils, rinsed 

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes 

2 cups vegetable broth

½ jar of tomato passata 

1 tbsp tomato paste 

Pinch of sugar [to cut the acidity just a little]

Seasoning blend (you will not use all of this unless you want to): 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp kosher pepper, ½ tbsp cumin, ½ tbsp ancho chili powder, 1 tsp New Mexico chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp hot paprika, ½ tsp dried oregano. 

Cilantro for garnish

Toppings of your choice 

Directions 

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. 

Once the oil has come to temperature, add in the garlic, onions, and diced peppers.

Season with the seasoning blend and cook until the onions become translucent. 

Once the onions are translucent, add in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, passata, and sweet potatoes. 

Season as desired. 

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Once boiling, add in the lentils and red kidney beans.

Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow the lentils to cook thoroughly, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes. 

After 20-25 minutes, remove the lid, add in the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate. 

Taste and season according to your preference. 

Add in the pinch of sugar to balance the flavors. 

Let the chili thicken uncovered for a few minutes. 

Serve while hot, garnished with your favorite toppings. 

Enjoy! 

3

Simple Vegan Pizza

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

Sauce:

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. For the dough mix yeast with warm water and let it sit for a few minutes. Add flour and salt and mix with your hands until it firms up. On a floured surface place the dough on the surface and knead until firm. Set aside in a bowl and let dough rise for 1 hour to over night. 
  2. In a large pot heat oil and add herbs and mined garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and remaining spices and cook for 30-45 minutes with the lid on.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Divide dough into two equal parts and roll them out and place them onto a baking pan with parchment paper. Spread the sauce on top of the dough and top with your favorite toppings. Bake for 20 minutes or until dough is crispy and golden brown. 
  4. Cut pizza into equal pieces. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy kick.  Enjoy!
Tomato Sauce

There is nothing that I love more than a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is inexpensive, versatile, and so easy to make. You can literally let it stew for hours unattended while you do your thing. I am known amongst my friends and family as the tomato sauce queen. Here are some of my tips and also some of my favorite recipes. 🍅 

Thick Tomato Sauce 

The only way to make thick tomato sauce is to use canned tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes create a thinner sauce. Trust me. Don’t believe the haters who say that a complex sauce can’t be created in a half hour. They are liars! Thick tomato sauce is great for anything from ravioli to shells. It’s also better for weird pasta shapes (like wheels) than thin pasta, because it coats better. 

1. Pricing. There are different qualities of canned tomatoes, different brands costing anywhere from 89 cents to $6.00. You can taste a slight difference with the tomatoes themselves, but not enough to warrant dropping lots of money. I recommend just going to your local Dollar Store and buying bulk cans of whatever is cheapest. One 12 oz can of tomatoes makes two meals for me.

2. Canned variety. Sometimes I like to buy “fire roasted tomatoes” or “herbed tomatoes” to mix it up. Even with the stronger varieties, any initial taste they have will be mostly covered up by whatever you put in the sauce. Remember: fresh herbs are always better than dried ones! 

3. Building your sauce. If you’re going to put anything that needs cooking in your sauce (NOT meat, but any garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots) cook these in a sauce pan first. Use oil, not butter. Add any dried herbs or spices you want to this initial mix. 

4. Get going. Add your tomato sauce to the pan and get it bubbling. Now is the time to add anything that doesn’t need cooking (olives, capers, anchovies, pickled anything). I like to use brines in my sauces, so I add them at this point. For example, if I’m making a puttanesca sauce, I’ll add my black olives and pour the black olive juice right into my pan. 

5. Taste it. Take a spoonful and taste it. If you don’t like it’s taste, add some more spices. If it’s too acidic, add tomato paste. At this point you can either turn it on low and let it cook for an hour, which creates a very rich and thick sauce. Or, you can cook some meat or veggies and add your fresh herbs. Always ad your fresh herbs in right before you’re about to eat! Otherwise they’ll wilt and you won’t taste their flavor. 

Some easy thick sauces:

  • Puttanesca: From Series of Unfortunate events (and also Italy). Cook garlic and onions first. Don’t let them brown too much, just get them not raw. Add your canned tomatoes, let the sauce sizzle while adding salt and pepper (don’t go crazy on the salt). Add anchovies, black olives, capers, and other pickled things (pickled mushrooms, jalapeños, pearl onions, etc). Pour your black olive juice right into the sauce pan. Let it cook until the sauce has absorbed the olive juice. Top with cheese.
  • Marinara: Brown some garlic and onions in olive oil. Add tomato paste to the pan after the onions and garlic have turned golden, and swirl it around so that it gets toasted. Add your canned tomatoes and any dried herbs you may be using (thyme, parsley, oregano… but be gentle with your oregano pouring). Let reduce if you added the dried herbs, otherwise add fresh herbs and serve immediately. Put this on your pizza or in your lasagna. 
  • Bolognese: Cook your meat first with oil, seasoning with cumin, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Or whatever spice blend you enjoy. Remove the cooked meat, and use the juices as the base for your tomato sauce. Pour your canned tomatoes and mix the sauces. Add chopped carrots or your other favorite vegetables. Cook until the veggies are fork tender, and add your meat back in. Hearty and warming! 

Thin Tomato Sauce 

This type of sauce always reminds me of summertime at my parent’s house when my mom would make her basil tomato sauce (see bellow). A thin sauce doesn’t have to be lighter than a thick sauce, but it definitely interacts with pasta differently and really needs a long pasta or a penne pasta to properly pick it up.

1. Fresh tomatoes. You don’t need to spend your lifesavings on beautiful heirloom tomatoes (in fact I’d urge you to just eat any heirloom tomato you happen upon raw). Any old tomato will do, even ones that are starting to sag and move towards the end of their lives. One fresh tomato makes two meals for me.

2. Cutting tomatoes. Cut the bottom of the tomato off and slice your tomato that way, cutting into the core. This way, no part of your tomato goes unused. For quick cooking, chop the tomato up small. If you have more time, leave large chunks to caramelize. You get a bit more flavor this way, but we don’t all have the luxury of time, so don’t stress about it.

3. Sauce base. With this type of tomato sauce, your base is 90% oil. The tomatoes themselves aren’t heavy enough to carry themselves, so do not skimp on the oil. I recommend cooking garlic and onions and browning them before adding your tomatoes. Allow them to dissolve into the sauce while you do your dishes or whatever. 

4. Acidity. Fresh tomatoes can make for a really acidic sauce. Make sure to cook some veggies or meat to help balance out the flavor. Cook these in a separate pan while your tomatoes are reducing. Remove them, and pour their juices into the sauce. I recommend bacon. 

5. Too much reducing/gloppy sauce. You may have to add water if your sauce becomes too reduced. Don’t worry if you add too much water, just let the sauce reduce to a comfortable consistency. Add your fresh herbs minutes before it’s done. I would skip the spices or dried herbs, their taste is too powerful for this sort of sauce. 

Some easy thin sauce combos: 

  • Hello onion: Caramelize half an onion. Chop it up into thin slices so that it will cook faster. Cook bacon and pour the drippings over the cooking onion. Add your fresh tomatoes and add water to help everything reduce. Be careful adding salt, the pasta will have salt from the bacon juices already. Add the crumbled bacon after you’ve turned the sauce off. 
  • Mom’s basil sauce: Using olive oil and chopped garlic, cook tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add basil when the tomatoes have reduced. 
  • Veggie blast: Brown onions and garlic (or not). After they’ve browned, add your favorite veggies to the sauce. I have a soft spot for squashes so I like to use eggplant and whatever squash we have in our fridge. I encourage you to get creative and to try different things. Add your tomatoes shortly after adding your veggies, because you don’t want the veggies to overcook and becoming mushy. Add spinach or kale after the sauce has reduced, and season heavily with salt and pepper. Seriously, veggies need salt.
6

whole wheat penne pasta (in a cream sauce) with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach

one pot wonder that is magical, flavorful, and delectable.

Ingredients

¾ box whole wheat penne pasta 

1 lb chicken breast, cut into large chunks 

2 tbsp minced garlic 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 jar sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) 

2 cups spinach

½ cup + 2 tbsp cup heavy cream

A little of the starchy cooking water from the pasta

2 tsp cornstarch

Seasoning mix of red chili flakes, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper, dried basil, and parsley 

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)

Directions

In a large pot, boil water (salt it) and cook pasta to package instructions (usually 8 minutes or so until al dente)

In a deep skillet with high sides, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

When the oil comes to temperature, add in the chicken and garlic, season, and cook until the chicken begins to turn light brown.

Once the chicken is partially cooked, add in the sun-dried tomatoes and oil and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the chicken and tomatoes cook for a few minutes

At this point, the pasta should be close to completion. Drain the pasta and reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water

Once the tomatoes have developed a little more color (darkened), add in the spinach and cover with a lid and let it wilt.

Once the spinach has wilted, add in the heavy cream, cornstarch, and cooking water. Let the sauce thicken over the course of a few minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, add in the pasta, stir so that the sauce coats each noodle

Garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh grates Parmigiano Reggiano and serve

Enjoy!

“Taste the Rainbow” Red Sauce

Whether you’re planning to make a pasta, pizza, or casserole; many of them are held together by the life force of a red sauce–exactly like blood as one of our many connective tissues. Jarred sauce certainly could get the job done but variety is the spice of life. This red sauce features a cornucopia of different vegetables; some that aren’t really standard fare. Whether you’re trying to sneak more vegetables into your own diet, or perhaps have little ones, this is an incognito approach. Well–unless you’re my sister, who is the only person I’ve met who doesn’t like red sauce! There have been countless family arguments over this.

There’s nothing’ wrong with a tomato going solo but what’s more awesome than a bowl of pasta? A bowl of pasta that delivers me several more vitamins and minerals completely unannounced to me.

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow, orange, or red), diced
  • ½-1 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp red chili flake
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 oz red wine (optional, could use another liquid)
  • 2, 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1-2 TBSP of table sugar
  • 3 oz baby spinach (optional, but it’s part of the rainbow and you won’t see or notice it)

Directions: Have your vegetables prepared. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, then saute until soft and fragrant. Next, add the carrot and celery and do the same. Give a pinch of salt, stir. Then, add the bell pepper and cook until soft. Add the basil, marjoram, oregano, red chili flake, and another dash of salt. Stir to coat vegetables and allow the spices to heat up. Hit it with the red wine; hopefully, you get that “szzzz” sound. We like that sound! Take the heat down to medium-low and add your crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. If your tomatoes are unsalted, give a generous lashing of salt now. If they’re salted, be modest here. Add black pepper as well. Stir well, then finish off with a bit of table sugar to take down the acidity (but we’re not making tomato candy), then finally add the spinach. Let the contents come up to a low bubble, then turn the heat down to low, and cover with a lid. Allow everything to simmer for at least 30 minutes before taking it off the heat and letting it cool down for a bit. Then, take an immersion blender and smooth everything out. See! No off colors or particles! Secret nutrition! 

Made some pesto pasta for a family lunch yesterday :) My little brother, Andrew has transitioned to a vegan diet thanks to a two-hour speech by @jamesaspey and I still can’t quite believe it haha…I mean this is the boy who used to drink dairy milk out of the bottle!

I don’t quite remember how much I added of everything into the sauce, but it was about 1 cup of thawed frozen peas, 1 ½ cups basil, ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, 3 garlic cloves, a dash of lemon juice and olive oil and salt to taste. Served the pasta up with arugula, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts and nutritional yeast :))

✨instagram✨: @veganzoejessica

6

Roasted Vegetable & Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette 

This salad is so versatile because you can use any roasted vegetables you want. Perfect with and without chicken. Also, it’s vegan/vegetarian/Whole30 compliant without the chicken and goat cheese and just as flavorful.

Ingredients for Salad 

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 

2-3 zucchini, chopped into medium sized cubes 

Seasoning blend for roasting: 3 tbsp kosher salt, 3 tbsp black pepper, 2 tbsp granulated onion & garlic, 1 ½ tbsp dried oregano and rosemary (or fresh if you prefer). 

Extra virgin olive oil 

Grilled chicken (recipe

Salad greens 

Goat cheese for topping, optional 

Ingredients for Dressing 

1 cup extra virgin olive oil 

¼ cup balsamic vinegar 

3 tbsp honey 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 440 degrees Fahrenheit. 

On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the vegetables so that they are in a flat, single layer. 

Sprinkle the seasoning blend over the vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat. 

Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on the textures you prefer). 

Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the dressing. 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and season to taste (the dressing should be sweet and tangy with a strong olive oil flavor) 

Assemble your salad and serve while the vegetables and chicken are still warm.

Enjoy! 

Tex Mex Lentil + Quinoa Stew

Now. This is a very, very close recipe to one I’ve posted before. In fact, it’s just a conversion to vegetarian/vegan. I’m still waffling with making the full switch but it’s always a good time to start trying to convert some of my older recipes while I’m ironing out the other bugs.

  • 1 lb dried lentils (rinsed and cooked to package instruction)
  • 2 cups of quinoa (cooked to the package’s instruction)
  • 2 TBSP of oil, such as olive
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 fresh anaheim chilies, diced (a single green bell pepper could substitute)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers, diced, and with 2 TBSP of adobo sauce
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (low sodium or no salt added)
  • 32 oz carton of vegetable stock (low sodium or no salt added)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (low sodium or no salt added)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • salt, to taste
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • juice of half a very ripe lemon

Directions: Prepare all the vegetables and set them aside. Start cooking your lentils while you’re prepping them, too. In a HUGE stewing pot heat up the cooking oil over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook it until it is soft and fragrant. Stir. Next, add the carrots, bell peppers, anaheim chilies, and chipotles with adobo. And another pinch of salt, stir and cook these until soft and fragrant. Then, add the black pepper, chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. Stir, and let them heat up to release their oils and fragrance.

Hopefully, your lentils are tender by now, so drain them and add them; stir to combine absolutely everything and get it coated very well. Once that’s smelling amazing, add the apple cider vinegar, stir, and let the contents simmer for a minute or two. While it’s simmering, off to the side start cooking your quinoa. It should take about 15 minutes. After that’s all set up, add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and corn. Add a generous amount of your salt, but be mindful of the salt that might be in your liquids. Bring the heat up to high until the contents begin to boil.

Once boiling, bring it back down to low and allow it simmer. Let it simmer until the quinoa in the other pan is done, then add the quinoa, squeeze the lemon, and let the final mixture simmer for about another 15 minutes. This recipe yields 12-14  massive portions.

3

Awesome Vegan Lentil Ragout

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of spaghetti
  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • ½ tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegan Parmesan (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook lentils in a small pot with the vegetable stock until soft. In a separate pot heat salted water for spaghetti. 
  2. Once lentils are cooked heat olive oil in a large pan and fry onions and garlic until fragrant and translucent. Then add lentils and cook for 2 minutes on medium high. 
  3. Add a can of diced tomatoes and fill half of the can with some vegetable stock to get the rest of the sauce out of the can. Add the remaining seasonings and stir to combine. Cook with the lid for 10 minutes on low heat. 
  4. Drain pasta and assemble on a plate. Sprinkle some vegan Parmesan if you like. Enjoy!
6

Roasted Vegetable & Rice Bowl 

Simple meal prep. Eat your veggies.

Ingredients 

2 large sweet potatoes, diced 

1 large zucchini, diced 

2 medium tomatoes from the vine, sliced 

Seasoning blend (you may or may not use all of it) - 2 tbsp of each: kosher salt, black pepper, dried Herbs de Provence, dried basil, granulated onion, and granulated garlic 

Olive oil 

Cooked brown rice 

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Line the tomatoes in a single layer on to the baking sheet, drizzle with olive, and season with seasoning blend. 

In a large bowl, combine zucchini and sweet potatoes and coat in olive oil. Season with seasoning blend and toss to coat. 

Dump the mixture on to the baking sheet and spread into a single layer. 

Roast for 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. 

Assemble bowl and serve while warm.

Enjoy! 

Kale and Sausage Stew

It’s so good. So good–that I feel detached from my body. I’m having an out of body experience over this stew. It’s warm, spicy, and subtly sweet. It really sticks to your ribs and makes you want to take a nice, afternoon nap. Autumn should hurry up.

  • 14oz package Tofurky sausages, ground up in food processor
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large handful of kale leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz merlot + 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 32 oz vegetable stock (low sodium unless you’re that one lucky bastard who can find no salt added)
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • salt, to taste (easy does it if your liquids are salted)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp red chili flake
  • 1 ½  tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions: Start your brown rice well in advance and prepare your vegetables. In a food processor, whiz up the Tofurky (or normal sausage if that’s your style) and set aside. In a large stewing pot, heat up the olive oil over high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the celery and bell pepper and allow them to do the same. Toss in the ground up sausage and sear for about three minutes. Give the tiniest pinch of salt (many of our ingredients are already salted) and stir. Toss in the black pepper, red chili flake, thyme, and stir to coat and let them release their fragrance. Deglaze with the merlot and red wine vinegar, stir, and let the alcohol begin cooking off for a minute of two. It’s now time to add in our liquids. Add the vegetable stock and crushed tomatoes. Wash down the sides of the can with about ½ cup of water and add it in. Throw in that bit of sugar, this helps temper acidity from ingredients like tomatoes. If your liquids are salted, only add a touch of salt (if any). If they are unsalted, salt to taste. Hopefully, your rice is done! Add that in, the sweet potatoes, and the kale. Give it a big stir and place in the bay leaves. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Hope you find them! I never can! Serves 10-12.

Lentil Bolognese 

This is a super comforting meal that you’ll be perfectly happy eating several nights in a row because it’s just–got it. It’s also ridiculously good for you with numerous vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a respectable amount of protein too. It’s easily adaptable to dietary preferences and I think you might not even miss the noodles. Did I mention it’s pretty cheap to make and would freeze well? If you have leftovers!

  • 1 lb dried lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 package “Quorn” Meatless Grounds (or ground up a couple Tofurky Italian sausage links if you’re vegan), thawed
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced 
  • a handful of spinach, chopped
  • 4 oz merlot + 2 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste (preferably no salt added)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • crushed red pepper, up to heat tolerance
  • ½ TBSP dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ dried marjoram

Directions: Prepare your lentils to the package instruction. While that’s happening, prepare all your vegetables setting the zucchini and spinach aside. That comes in later! Oil a LARGE skillet and heat it over high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant and then do the same with the carrot and celery. Now, add some of your salt, black pepper, chili flakes, basil, oregano, and marjoram. Stir to coat and let them warm up and become fragrant. Add the grounds (or whatever meat/meat sub you wanted), another bit of your salt, and cook it through. Deglaze with the wine + wine vinegar. Start adding in the lentils, stirring to mix everything together. Add the tomatoes and eyeball about ½ cup of water inside to rinse down the sides and thin it out a bit. Add the tomato paste and the sugar as well and stir to combine everything. Last, add in the zucchini and spinach from before and stir again. Bring the mixture up to a low boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer for at least 30 minutes; longer if you can, stirring every now and again.

MOROCCAN TUNA RICE SALAD

2 tbsp olive oil ~ 2-3 tsp cumin seeds ~ 2 tsp ground coriander ~ 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped ~ 1 large brown or Spanish onion, peeled, diced into 5 mm cubes ~ ½ tsp dried chilli flakes ~ 425 g tin tuna in oil, drained thoroughly and flaked ~ 1 cup (185 g) cooked jasmine or basmati rice ~ 2-3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced into 1 cm cubes ~ ⅓ cup chopped coriander, including stalks ~ ⅓ cup chopped mint leaves ~ ⅓ cup chopped parsley ~ light soy sauce, to taste

Assemble and enjoy.

Luscious Ass Italian Casserole: This isn’t the prettiest thing I make, but we all need casseroles that use one pan and give us a pretty decent dose of complete nutrition. Not everyone is always in the mood to scheme side dish pairings! Here’s another one-and-done with your vegetables, proteins, complex carbs, and fats! Eat this for a lunch or dinner and you can rest assured that the macros aren’t too lopsided. 

  • 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 8-10 oz of ziti or sedanini pasta (I used “truroots” red lentil pasta)
  • 8 oz of mozzarella cheese or mozzarella substitute (I like Daiya) 
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • half a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 8-10 oz of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, preferably no salt added
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 oz red wine (something acidic could sub)
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 TBSP granulated table sugar

Directions: We’ll be using both the stove top and the oven! Preheat the oven to 350°F. Have the vegetables and noodles prepared ahead of time. Alternatively, quinoa is also really good in this. In a large skillet or “paella” pan, heat up the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Lightly salt + pepper your chicken pieces before allowing it to sear in the pan, cook through and then remove to a place and set aside. Heat up more oil, if necessary. Now, saute the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the red bell pepper and carrot and allow it to do the same. Add a dash of salt, and stir. Add the basil, oregano, marjoram, and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables and allow them to heat through and become fragrant. Add the wine and listen for the sizzle, reduce the stove to medium and add your crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Give a generous lashing of salt and black pepper; then stir. Add the sugar now as well. Put in the mushrooms and zucchini so they can braise. Once it comes to a bubble, lower the heat to medium-low and stir frequently for 5-10 minutes; until all vegetables are tender. Add the chicken back in and the noodles as well. Stir to combine. Let it cook a few more minutes on the stove top so the flavors can marry a little before placing the cheese on top. Then, stick it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Serves 8-10.

The giant watches over Ziti Lake before he destroys it!

Talk About Town:

New to Rabanastre, are ye? If you’re looking for a bite to eat you ought to head to the Muthru Bazaar and pick up some maghmour from one o’ the half dozen stalls what sells it. Tasty stuff, and gets even better the longer it sits. Jus’ don’t ask how long some of it’s been sitting. No, don’t let that turn ye off, there’s no meat in it to spoil, though it’s hearty enough you hardly notice. Lots o’ chickatricepeas, them nice purple eggplants, Rogue Tomatoes… what’s that? Well, I never thought about if a plant fiend counted as meat…

[This recipe is inspired by a Lebanese stew called maghmour. It is made with chickpeas and eggplant with a tomato and onion base. Zucchini is not typically used, but I added it for a little green to match the in-game model for the stew pots you see everywhere in the Muthru Bazaar. I previously correlated Dalmasca with Syria in terms of geography, but this time around I turned to Syria’s next-door-neighbor Lebanon for inspiration. Enjoy it warm or cold, over rice or with a side of pita bread. And it really does taste better the longer it sits!

Real-world equivalents for the ingredients are in brackets (though this time around they should be pretty easy to figure out). Yes, I know chickpeas aren’t called that for any chicken-related reason, but their resemblance to the Ivalice cockatrices/chickatrices was just too fortuitous. Yes, I know “onion” is an actual loot item you can get in XII, but where’s the fun in that? Especially when you can insinuate the people of Ivalice regularly cook and consume the flesh of plantoid fiends. And I’ve always thought the sprouts coming out of the Ivalice (and Vana'diel) mandragoras’ heads looked like mint (or basil), hence “mandragora sprouts” for mint.]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chickatricepeas OR 2 cups canned/precooked chickatricepeas [chickpeas/garbanzo beans]
  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 1 lb zucchini
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup + 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 large Wild Onions [yellow onion], chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 small chili peppers, minced OR 1 tsp dried chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp fresh mandragora sprouts [mint leaves], chopped (1 Tbsp dried)
  • 2 Tbsp Rogue Tomato paste [tomato paste]
  • 2 lb fresh Rogue Tomatoes, peeled and chopped OR 1x 28oz can peeled Rogue Tomato [vine tomatoes]
  • water as needed
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. If using dried chickatricepeas, soak in 3 cups water overnight. Rinse, then add to a medium pot with 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40-60 minutes or until tender. If using canned/precooked, skip this step.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1-inch cubes and sprinkle with salt. Mix together in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat ¼ cup olive oil over med-high heat. Sautee Wild Onions until translucent and golden.
  4. Add garlic, chili, and mandragora sprouts. Cook until garlic is tender and fragrant. Add Rogue Tomato paste and stir into Wild Onion mixture.
  5. If using fresh Rogue Tomato, add and cook, covered, until tomato begins to break down (10-15 minutes) before adding chickatricepeas.
    -
    If using canned, add tomato (including juice), breaking up the tomatoes into large chunks, then add chickatricepeas.
  6. Simmer together, covered, for ~15 min
  7. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan on high heat. Thoroughly dry the eggplant with paper towels, then fry in oil until golden on all sides. Set eggplant aside, heat another 1 Tbsp oil in the pan, then repeat with the zucchini. (Zucchini tends to break down faster than eggplant, so I opted to do them separately)
  8. Add fried eggplant and zucchini to the pot, add salt to taste, and simmer together over medium heat for ~15 min uncovered. Add water as needed to maintain a stew-like consistency.
  9. Serve warm or cold, over rice or with pita bread.
10

La cosa più pericolosa che un siciliano possa proporti prima di andare a dormire è “vieni, mangiamo una fetta di pane”, perchè si incomincia con la fetta di pane con un pò di pomodoro, origano, qualche cappero, una cipolla, poi si passa al battuto di pomodoro secco e oliva, o magari si fanno due cozze con il brodetto e sulla fetta di pane abbrustolita si versa il brodo di cozze con le cozze stesse. O magari si mette sul pane un pò di ricotta da mangiare o con il caffè, o con il cacao o con un pò di miele. Magari aggiungiamo due fette di salame dei Nebrodi con pistacchio, o una bella fetta di rosea mortadella sempre con il pistacchio. Ci beviamo un bicchiere di vino e da li magari mettiamo bollire due spaghetti da fare con il tonno capperi e mollica abbrustolita, o due spaghetti aglio e oglio, un pezzo di salsiccia, due olive sott'olio, qualche pezzo di pecorino o di primo sale, o di canestrino, o peperoni arrosto, ma non c'erano delle altre cozze…..?

The most dangerous thing a Sicilian can propose before going to sleep is “come, eat a slice of bread”, because it begins with slice of bread with a bit of tomato, oregano, some capers, onion, then switch with chopped dried tomatoes and olive oil, or maybe you do two mussels with soup and slice of toasted bread pour the mussel broth with mussels themselves. Or maybe he puts on a bit of bread to eat cottage cheese or coffee, or cocoa, or with a little honey. Maybe we add two slices of salami Nebrodi with pistachio, or a slice of rosy always mortadella with pistachios. We drink a glass of wine and maybe put them to boil some spaghetti to do with tuna and capers toasted breadcrumbs, or two oglio garlic and spaghetti, a piece of sausage, two olives in oil, some piece of pecorino or primo sale , or canestrino, or roasted peppers, but there were no other mussels …..?

Shrimp Patties topped with Mockamole served on a bed of vine ripped tomatoes and baby greens- serves 4 complete IP supper meals (protein+veggies)

INGREDIENTS
For the mockamole
1 c asparagus
1 tomato
¼ c onion
½ tbsp olive oil
squeeze of lime juice
garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper,
sea salt & pepper (to taste)

For the patties
1-pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large egg
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, washed and dried
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
olive oil for the pan

For the salad bed
8 thick slices of vine ripped tomatoes
3-4 handfuls of baby lettuce
Oil & vinegar to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
For the mockamole:
Cut up asparagus & steam it (overcooking slightly) then let cool and add all ingredients in a magic bullet or blender and blend

For the patties:
Add all but about ¾ cup of the shrimp to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Turn it on to pulse it just a bit. Then add the egg and cilantro and blend again until it’s smooth, about 10 seconds. Add this to a mixing bowl and set aside.
Roughly chop the remaining ¾ cup of shrimp into small pieces. Add them to the smooth portion in the mixing bowl, along with the salt, cumin and pepper. Mix just to blend and set aside.
Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Once it’s very hot, us a ½ cup measure to scoop and shape the shrimp mixture into 4 burgers. They will be sticky, but will easily hold together when you place them in the pan. Sauté them just until they’re cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. They should be golden brown.  Strain on paper towel.

Serve patty on a bed with tomato slices and baby lettuce and add about 1 tablespoon or so of the mockamole to the patty.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar to taste.  (These are best when the patties are still warm.)