YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Judith’s Eggplant Caponata

We went to a dinner party last week and ate the most elegant dinner, courtesy of my wonderful friend Judith, who mixes a mean martini, makes magic with shallots, has a good knife, and knows how to use it. I highly recommend you give some thought to adding this eggplant caponata to your upcoming holiday celebrations. It’s quite spectacular.

2 large/3 small-med eggplants (with smallest end seam you can find); diced, salted, patted dry
1 cup pitted briny green olives, chopped
1⁄4 cup capers
4 celery stalks in 1/2-inch slices
2 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large onion, coarsely diced
ad lib with more fresh vegetables from the garden, e.g., 1-2 cups each peppers and zucchini
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced in chiffonade
3 cloves garlic, minced
3⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4-6 Tbsp. olive oil

Prepare all the vegetables as above. Salt the eggplant cubes liberally and leave for 30-60 minutes on the counter on a cutting board or cookie sheet. Rinse, dry well with paper towel.

Toss liberally with olive oil and salt. Spread out vegetables in a single layer on 1-2 cookie sheets, making sure that they have breathing room. None should be touching.

Bake 35-40 minutes at 375F until  brown and caramelized. Remove from oven.

Whisk together tomato paste and red wine vinegar in a large bowl until smooth. Add garlic, olives, capers, pine nuts, and basil. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the warm, roasted veggies into the bowl and toss well. Serves a small crowd.

Late Summer Moments

As the summer has been winding into fall, these past few weeks have been filled with many moments of the exceptional-yet-ordinary variety. These were moments of crystalline clarity, when nothing existed except for what was right there on the table, the food, the people talking and listening, the glass, cloth, pottery, and metal. The air sparkled faintly with a transcendent sense of space that was minute and endless at the same time, inconsequential and all-encompassing at once. And I loved it. Consumed in and by it, I loved it. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red September Soup

I am trying to keep to a new plan, which is to make a crockpot full of soup every Sunday. My hope is that it lasts far into the week, providing warm lunches or dinners to anyone in need, until it’s all gone. I started the first week with a green French lentil soup, but last week I decided to go red — red beans, red lentils, red tomatoes, red paprika.  Continue reading

Try This: Earn Your Grain

Nobody likes to think that they aren’t eating a nourishing diet. It kinda feels bad to think that you might be letting yourself down. If challenged, people tend to say that they’re eating pretty well, and that they think they’re making pretty good choices. Completely understandable. Continue reading


Here is a recipe for something really wonderful and different — miso pickles! Believe it or not, we actually had every single ingredient in our kitchen! Leftover mirin from a recipe my daughter made a month ago, miso in the refrigerator always (it never goes bad!), a little sake from who knows when, and the garlic, salt and veggies as usual. So have at it! And please let me know how it turns out. Continue reading

An Object Mindset

A very special gift for you this week — an articulate and insightful blog post from my young friend, Amital Haas (Princeton ’21), who spent much of this summer learning about health and wellness. Enjoy —

Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Gazpacho, Gazpacho, Gazpacho!

If your counter looks anything like mine, there is only one thing to do! Tomatoes are best stored and eaten warm, so you’ll probably be starting with tomatoes at room temperature. Make this early enough in the day that it has time to cool thoroughly. It will be worth it, especially on these hot, humid, late summer days. Continue reading

Building Blocks

Nutrients are like building blocks.

Fat molecules are composed of fatty acids, three per molecule, and usually different. So even olive oil, which is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, is not composed ONLY of monounsaturated fatty acids. There are some saturated ones, and some polyunsaturated ones. But they’re mostly monounsaturated. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: The Simplest of Salads

Here’s what I made for lunch a couple of days ago. Its success is built on simplicity. My strategy remains similar, week in and week out. Nevertheless, it is never quite the same, and always delicious. Thank you to Alice Waters for teaching me to eat simply. This salad makes one single serving, but is infinitely flexible if you’d like to invite a friend or an army to your table to share a meal. Continue reading

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Rainbow Beet Salad

Beets are one of my favorite foods. Whether purple, yellow, orange, or pink-and-white, these babies are phytonutrient heaven. Some people are partial to the smaller-sized beets, considering these the sweetest but, no matter what size you like, you’ll want to make sure to get ones with firm, dark green leaves on top. Beet greens are absolutely the best! When I buy beets, I cut the green tops off right away so I can slice them into short lengths, rinse them well, and saute them quickly in olive oil. They usually get eaten fast.  Continue reading