Friday, December 31, 2010

To end ... to begin

Closing a decade
Our evolution continues…..
A hoppin’ New Year

Black Bean and Posole Stew – yields approx. 8 servings
12-ounces dried posole
2-cups dried black beans
2-large onions – chopped
3-garlic cloves –chopped
2-Anaheim peppers – seeds discard; chopped
2-poblano peppers – seeds discarded; chopped
1-jalapeno chili – diced
3-medium carrots – peeled and chopped
3-celery stalks – chopped
1-tablespoon achiote paste
1-tablespoon smoked paprika
28-ounce canned tomato
1/4-cup Italian parsley – roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In separate bowls soak the posole and black beans in three times their volume of water for 8 to 10 hours. Drain the posole and black beans, and cook two different pots covered with 6-cups of water for an hours.

Drain the posole and black beans, reserving three cups of the black bean cooking water.

Heat an 8 to 10 quart pot over a medium heat, and add the onions. Cook the onions, cooking until the onions have started to brown. Then mix in the garlic, peppers, chili, carrot and celery. Continue cooking until the carrots and celery start to soften. Then stir in the achiote paste and smoked paprika. Cook for a minute.

Into the pot add the cooked posole, black beans, canned tomato and 3-cups reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, and then return the heat to low. Simmer the stew for 2-hours, covered.

Season with salt and pepper and mix in the Italian parsley. Cook for a half-hour longer.

Serve with lime and diced avocado if desired.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And to all,,,,,,,

T’is the season to live in wonder and hopefully experience the grounding effect of loving and being loved. It is a time when the hope of a child with their wish list sends us scrambling and the over-indulgence of family members can send you to the brink. However, for me in those wide eyes lives the anticipation of a moment – an un-jaded yearning of dreams to be fulfilled.

I don’t want to ever lose that innocent belief that all things are possible, and it is part magic part paternal elfing that makes it happen. Every spring when the first verdant tips of asparagus pierce the newly re-awakened earth I re-chant the mantra, I do believe, I do believe. The custodial guardianship of the earth by the many farmers I have come to know allows me to have faith in the amazing.

I am all-thumbs when it comes to bringing the corners of wrapping paper to a point to seal in a gift. Following the mysterious and wondrous arrival of winter’s first blood orange; spring’s alien-like fiddleheads; summer’s luscious everything, and autumn’s tough-skins within me speaks the understanding of a judicious dusting of a spice or a rough chop of an herb as an instinctual flourish for nature’s gifts.

So, may the time of year when the land is at its stillest not lose sight of the gifts that are bound to come as we frolic in the joy of now.

Roasted Cauliflower with Zatar and Lemon – yields 6 servings
3-tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion – sliced into strips
5 large garlic cloves – peeled and cut in half
2 heads cauliflower (approx. 1-1/2 pounds)
Zest of one lemon
1 scallions – sliced
2-tablespoon zatar spice mix
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4-cup lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into florettes, and toss with the oil, onion and garlic, lemon zest, zatar, salt and pepper.

Lay cauliflower mixture onto a baking tray, and place in the oven. Cook the cauliflower for 30 minutes. Toss with lemon and serve warm.

Zatar Spice
1-tablespoon ground cumin seed
2-tablespoons sesame seeds
1-tablespoon dried mint
2-teaspoons dried thyme rubbed
1-teaspoon dried oregano rubbed
2-teaspoons sumac
1/2-teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Love and Comfort

Baby it's cold outside….and the urge for comfort has come on strong. It is not just enough to slip my feet into a pair of cashmere socks or welcoming the off-timed hiss of the radiator. No, I also need the radiant heat that will emanate from a long cooking stew or batch of baking cookies as I remember from my mother’s kitchen.

The cold weather elicits some of the strongest memories from my childhood. I am not sure why for I am not one who loves this weather, and have always professed to not being that sophisticated I only need one season – summer. And, my mother could be found in the kitchen at all times of the year preparing dishes of love. But I find myself in a climate that keeps me indoors for a few months at a time.

I have vivid images of my mom sitting at the kitchen table with a five-pound bag of usually walnuts or pecans to one side a kitchen towel in front of her and a large glass jar to her other side. In her hand, a hammer whose red handle was nicked by years her of tapping on the shells of nuts. She would bake and cook with walnuts, pecans, almonds, and pistachio nuts strewn freely into her foods – there was no concept of “nut issues” in our house. That was until my brother-in-law entered our family. Not only did he not use salad dressing he did not eat nuts. This was a shock for all of us, and hoped we could find the reason my sister was smitten. His rejection of my mother’s love of nuts was eventually forgiven and we came to recognize a life is still full even without embracing these tree born gifts. My mother never stopped freeing nuts from their natural casings into the bell jar that would be their wanting room. One family dinner there was placed on the dinner table the expected excess of desserts, a favorite of each family member, and a new platter – a nut free platter.

My mother passed this year and I was able to rescue that red hammer from oblivion and now it rests in my kitchen, and will never know a nail. Along with the old nut chopper whose wooden disk is so smooth and velvety due to decades of crushing blows. The manual labor employed is not as easy as a purchased cellophane bag of shelled nuts or as quick as a pulse in the food processor, but then I would not find comfort in those actions.

Sandwiched Cookies – yields approx. 2-dozen
8-ounces unsalted butter
3/4-cup brown sugar
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
2-cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8-teaspoon salt
1/2-cup chopped pecans
1/2-cup chopped blanched almonds
7-ounces guava paste
2-ounces white chocolate – chopped

Whip together the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one into the butter mixture to combine – the butter will look slightly curdled. Mix in the vanilla.

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt together to thoroughly combined. Then stir the flour mixture into the butter. Then stir in the chopped nuts.

Divide the dough in half. Roll each in wax paper into about a 12-inch log. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1-hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 375-degrees.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slice logs into 24 rounds that are about 1/4-inch thick each.

Place a bit of the white chocolate on the bottom of one slice then some guava paste. Place some white chocolate on top of the guava. Cover with a slice of the cookie dough. Continue in this fashion with the remaining dough.

Place on a parchment lined cookie tray giving the cookies about an inch spacing.

Bake in the oven for 12 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Calling up Thanks

Gatherings nourish ...
... comfort for the body and soul
Attended by all

Roasted Beets and Fennel with Mint – yields 6 servings

2 pounds beets
2-fennel bulbs – thinly sliced
1/4-cup mint leaves – roughly chopped
1/2-cup white wine vinegar
1-teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the beets to remove any excess dirt and then place them on a baking tray. Wrap the tray with aluminum foil and cook the beets in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes to fork tender. Let the beets cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then rub off their skin. Slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds.

In a wide mouth jar place two stems with a sprinkle of mint down and place in half the beets and fennel. Then place another sprinkling of mint and the remaining beets and fennel and salt. Top with the remaining mint and pour over the vinegar. If the vinegar does not completely cover the beets top with some extra vinegar. Secure with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days before serving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Setting Table

We are a nation queued-up on the starting line of the holiday season. This coming Thursday kicks off that 6-week period when most of us will host the largest number of guests at a single time. The easiest part of having company seems to be cleaning the house. But the menu and its management are where so many of us get in trouble. The hardest thing to teach people is food and time management.

The first thing I think is making a menu plan then the shopping list at least one week in advance. In putting together a menu it is advisable to consider that 2/3’s of the dishes be presentable at room temperature or cold. This automatically gives at least 24-hours to prep those items. The remaining 1/3 should involve both stovetop and oven in order to avoid a major bottleneck at that crucial 30-hour prior to calling them to the table.

At a minimum of a week before I am baking and freezing all possible items – breads, cake bases, pie crusts, cookies – this allows me an easy counter defrost on most of those dishes. I love making turnovers, both savory and sweet, for I can bake them off and then freeze them. A quick re-warm in the oven and I am in business.

The most important thing to remember it is not worth stressing out and you got to keep a sense a humor about it– if it is not fun then it should not be done.

So, start rinsing out all the wine glasses and looking for the your platters and enjoy.

Potatoes with Almond Sauce – yields 6 servings

1-1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

Bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook the potatoes until fork tender, and then drain. Peel the potatoes, if desired, while they are still warm, and then allow them to cool. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds and arrange them a plate in a slightly overlapping fashion.

Drizzle with the almond sauce, and garnish with paprika.

Almond Sauce – yields approx. 3 cups
1/4-cup sherry vinegar
1/2-cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup blanched almonds
1 garlic clove - peeled
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1-teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Italian Parsley leaves
1 yellow pepper – seeds and inner membrane removed
1/8-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender place all ingredients, and process to smooth. Use some water to thin out the sauce as necessary.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a ready pot

The full arrival of autumn, the layering, the twisting of a scarf, the gloves shoved in your pockets has had me planning a stew. I know it has been more than a half of a year since I took my large casserole pot from the shelf, and allowed it to sit defusing heat rather than collecting dust. So, right into the sink it went in anticipation of something slow, and warm.

I have many soups, stews and braises in my bag of tricks but what was I really in the mood for. I have been thinking of my Mom lately, and I kept thinking of the cabbage, potato and pork stew she would make. I always loved the combination of potato and cabbage after they sent some considerable time in the pot. The pork was always overcooked because she would use a boneless chop, which I would have advised should be replace with a shoulder or loin cut. But that was never a matter for me for thankfully copious moisture naturally contained within the bulging head help to offset any dissatisfaction with her meat choice.

Walking through my Saturday market answered my question as to what stew make, and simultaneously let me send time with my Mom. Cabbages abounded, as did potatoes, however, being her son I needed to twist it somewhat. My local game farmer produces the must addictive smoked pheasant sausage that I know was finding its way into the first simmering pot of the season.

Cabbage and Potato Stew – yields 6 to 8 servings
1-large head cabbage
3-tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds smoked sausage – cut into 1-inch rounds
1-pound Cippolini onions – peeled and quartered
1/2-pound parsnip – peeled and julienne
8-garlic cloves – roughly chopped
1/2-teaspoon cumin seed
1-teaspoon caraway seed
1/8-teaspoon ground mace
1-1/2 pounds potato – cut into 1-inch chunks
1-tablespoon fresh thyme leaves – roughly chopped
1/2-cup red wine vinegar
2-teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core. Then cut each quarter into thick slices, about 1 to 2 inches thick. Hold to the side.

Heat a 10-quart casserole pan over a high heat. Add one-tablespoon of the olive oil, and the sausage. Brown the sausage and then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining two-tablespoon of oil and the onions. Brown the onions and then mix in the parsnip and garlic as well the browned sausage. Cooking for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, caraway and mace. Stir in the spices. Then mix the potatoes, and pour over the vinegar. Put the cut cabbage over the vegetables, and distribute the salt over the cabbage.

Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for an hour. Season with black pepper and salt if needed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Time to nest

Leaves turning…..falling
The love of another… welcomed
A warming hearth ….shared

Creamed Celery Root and Potato Soup - yields approx.5-qurts.
2-pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1-1/2 pounds celery root – peeled and chopped
2 large onions (approximately 2-pounds)
2 heads of garlic
2-tablespoons sage leaves
1/2-cup raw cashew nuts
3-quarts chicken stock
1-tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the potatoes well to remove any dirt and debris. Then slice the potatoes thinly and place them in at least a 6-quart soup pot along with the celery root.

Peel and roughly chop the onions, and peel the garlic. Place them in the pot along with the potatoes, celery root and cashews. Pour over chicken stock, and sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the flame to a simmer.

Cook the soup for 1 hour. Puree the soup, and then return to the pot. Simmer the soup for an additional 15 minutes, and correct the seasoning.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

tough skins

As the night for ghouls and goblins approaches carved orange squashes sit guarding the entrance to many a festivity. Unlike a Christmas tree ornaments these decorations are undertaken annually only to be discarded once their rooting craved teeth have shriveled up. I can only hope that the seeds got harvested and toasted as a great snack.

Personally, I have no desire to crave these hard-skins and waste the potential of its meat. Unless, I am making a soup it is rare that I will be able to utilize the entire presentation of autumn’s giants. I will carefully cleave the pumpkin is half remove its seeds, and then break the pumpkin down into smaller more manageable pieces that I will then peel. Whatever excess pumpkin I find myself with gets frozen. It is best if you can freeze them on a tray in a single layer, and then transfer into a freezer bag. Come later in the year I will defrost them for pies, custards and breads, or thrown them directly in stews and soups to thaw and cook. I am not opposed to canned pumpkin but why bother when I was get more than I need.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Orange Chutney
2-cups (or 15-ounce canned) pumpkin puree
1-cup canola oil
2/3-cup warm water
1-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2-teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2-teaspoon ground ginger
1/2-teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2-cup almond meal

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degrees.

Grease and flour two 7x3-inch bread pans.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, fennel seed and almond meal.

Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin/egg mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared bread pans, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool for 10 minutes before releasing from the pan.

Orange Chutney
1/4-cup sugar
1/4-cup honey
1/4-cup fresh lemon juice (from approx 1 lemon)
1/2-sliced dried apricots
1/4-teaspoon salt
5 oranges – peeled, seeds discarded and cut into chunks

Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, apricots and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Then mix in the orange chunks a simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Yesterday, sleeveless
Surviving a transition
Time for a warm bow

Pumpkin Soup – yields approx. 4 quarts
7-pound pumpkin
2-large onions – diced
6-carrots – peeled and diced
1 jalapeno pepper - diced
1/2-pound parsnip – peeled and diced
2-tablespoon olive oil
1-teaspoon fresh thyme leaves - chopped
2-teaspoons fresh sage leaves – chopped
2-teaspoons orange zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the seeds to the side.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.

Peel the pumpkin, and cut the meat of the pumpkin into 1-inch pieces. Spread the cut pumpkin on a baking tray, and place in the oven. Cook the pumpkin for 15 minutes to lightly brown.

Transfer the pumpkin to an eight-quart soup pot, along with the onion, carrots, jalapeno and parsnip. Cook with four-quarts of water. Bring to the boil, and them reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot, and cook the soup for an hour.

After an hour puree the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Return to the pot, and season with salt and pepper.

While the soup is simmering free the pumpkin seeds from the fibrous meat it clings to. Wash the seeds clean. Spread the seeds onto a baking tray, and dry in the oven for five minutes.

Heat an eight-inch sauté pan over a medium heat, and add the olive oil and pumpkin seeds. Cook the pumpkin seeds until golden brown. Remove from the heat, and immediately toss in the thyme, sage, orange zest, salt and pepper.

Serve the soup garnished with the seasoned pumpkin seeds and a dollop of crème fraiche or a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Back in the 90’s we were fat phobic. Resulting in the new millennium’s 180-degree turn and the rise of the Two Fat Ladies signaled the repeal of the lipid’s prohibition. Over the past ten years I have had overwrought workings of anything bacon from bacon brittle to pork belly truffles. Denial of anything will result in a zealot’s crusade once unshackled.

Lately, it is sugar. That quick, rush of calories that most of us take in too much of. It is interesting to me that we are addicted to two of the elements in contained in are first meal – milk. I will confess to enjoying a bowl of ice cream, a slab of white cake with rose scented creambutter or white chocolate bark studded with dried cherries. I will even a drink Coca-Cola, but only when it is the holiday of Passover and I find the one sweetened with cane sugar, which fulfills the Jewish dietary restrictions of that 8-day period.

My position with sweet that I like it – but it is more important that I get my sweetening from sugar-in-th-raw, local, unprocessed honey, agave and fruits. I am firm in my rejection of corn syrup, or corn sugar whatever they plan to call it. I did not need it my loaf of bread or in cans of tomatoes or salad dressing. It is a likely element in almost every prepared product put out of the market. It requires us to read every food label and once you do it will be shocking how often you come across the addictive. I am okay that the professional association that markets corn syrup thinks it is okay for little Johnny to consume this unnaturally occurring sweeter – I do not. Nature in her wonder gives us sweet notes throughout every season, and I for one find these sweet notes more than satisfactory. Give me foods that I can easily recognize and trace to their origins without needing a science food degree. We may possess the intellectual ability to isolate chemical compounds, but I fear our metabolic system is still attached to our origin of development and ability to derive nutrition and energy from naturally available food sources.

So, perhaps this time instead of a radical rejection we should take a cleanse and reset our palates then start afresh by going back to the old, tried the true – the natural.

Cucumber Soup - yields approx. 4-cups
2-1/2 pounds cucumber
2-inch piece of ginger - peeled and diced
1/4-cup fresh lemon juice
2-tablespoons mint leaves
1/8-teaspoon black pepper
1/4-teaspoon salt
3/4-cup iced water
Peel the cucumbers, and then cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seed pocket, and roughly chopped the cucumbers.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Chill and serve cold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What to do?

I am so darn depressed. After last month’s umpteen million egg recall and finishing Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer I am no longer comfortable eating anywhere but my home. I can at least control and garner some knowledge of the foods I use to feed myself, and the ones I love. Then there is the phone call suggesting a rendezvous for dinner given that I live in New York City, and this is part and parcel of our social dance. Panic is now settling in as I do a quick assessment – are these friends who care about the foods they put in their bodies; is the political impact of industrialized food production a conscience concern of theirs. Of course, then there is the consideration of the financial burden that is taken on by caring.

Why have we made it so difficult for us to secure edibles that are not overly manipulated; that cause us to worry about hidden contaminants, or just lose touch the basic joy that food and community should bring?

Now, I fully understand the turn of the corner when economy of scale took hold, and the promise that antibiotics would allow animals to survive an infection and just as its human owner would. As with our own lives things have clearly gotten way out of control, and it is time we seek to rein in the large, international food producers. For me, that means using the most powerful weapon I have – what and where I purchase. Fortunately, I am still able to derive about 90% of what I am eating from my farmer’s market, but come winter when my vegetable farmers are resting, and my local meat sources get more difficult to find I am doubly committed to finding sources for my table -- perhaps it is time to find a CSA that supplies meat.

I will most likely freeze more corn nibblets than last year and spend a Sunday shelling various beans to squirrel away, and continue to give thanks for a hot, sunny summer and the five one-gallon-sized freezer bags bulging with almost every conceivable tomato waiting.

While I actively work to protect my small little word I hope that the day we decide to re-structure our food industry is not to far into the future. How much longer do we suffer these now to common recalls and horrendous food production practices? I dream of a future where the country is divide into agri-zones allowing areas to feed itself permitting economy of scale to still be satisfied, but not ever allowing a farmer or rancher to become such a behemoth that they can cause an outbreak from coast to coast.

Braised Short Ribs – yields 6
5 pounds short ribs – trimmed of excess fat
1/4-cup all-purpose flour
2-teaspoons canola oil
2 large onions – diced
4 ribs celery – diced
2 small carrots - diced
3-inch piece fresh ginger – peeled and diced
1/4-cup diced dried dates
1/4-cup cup fresh thyme leaves – chopped
Large pinch of saffron
4 whole black cardamom pods
1-bottle red wine
1/2-cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dust the short ribs with the flour.

In a 12-quart over a high heat, and add the oil. Brown the ribs in two batches. Remove the browned ribs, and pour off any oil that pooled in the bottom of the pot.

Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pot, and cook until lightly browned. Then add the ginger, dates, and the browned short ribs. Mix to combine.

Add the thyme, saffron, cardamom and pour over the wine. Bring the wine to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid, and simmer for three to three and half hours. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, and cook uncovered for an additional half hour.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

a market in a new land

A farmer’s market offers a universal experience for me-- smiles and enthusiasm radiates from vendors to the shoppers from freshly dug potato to canvas bags brimming over. For me there is no more fulfilling day then a jaunt through a market on a mission of discovery. Late summer in the northern hemisphere is bringing tomatoes, ears of corn, blueberries, and peppers galore all to feed the insatiable hunger of a growing worldwide army of locavores. Here in Tokyo baby ginger and lotus root are popping up everywhere but the also found was black fermented garlic bulbs, sesame oil extracted to order and a new variety of plum the was a cross between a green gage and elephant heart, all most exciting. It is great to see the vertically stacked denizens of a densely packed city grabbing their re-useable bags and desire; starting their day squeezing through aisles flanked by stalks displaying local initiative and subsequent bounty. Root vegetables crusted with dried earth, artisinal breads and muffins, hand-thrown crockery perfectly askew all vie for our attention and love.

As so many times before for me when I have been traveling, I am confronted with my usual dilemma – desire out weighing the practical. I am not home so buying more than can be eaten raw or nibbled on the spot must be stored in my warehouse of memory for a future use. But this time I may just be a very temporary cog in this urban wheel, but I went with the absolute intention of buying and I did. Arriving back home at my friend’s house with corn, red okra, tomatoes, Japanese leeks, peppery green sprouts and of course, the garlic and bottle of black sesame oil. Dinner was going to be my pleasure.

It is our collective pleasure to enjoy a meal with good friends, family and even strangers. Though what is also evident is that we, as a people, respond to the fruits of the earth intrinsically understanding the language of good food.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A seasoned has peaked
Oh, the bounty coming forth
Look at that --- what to choose

Grilled Eggplant and Whipped Feta Torta - serves 6
3-medium sized eggplant – peeled and cut into 1/2” rounds
1/2-pound Yukon gold potato
2 garlic cloves - crushed to a pasted
1/4-cup garlic chives
2 lemons - zest and juice
1/2-cup olive oil
1-pound Greek feta
Salt and pepper to taste

On a very hot grill cook the eggplant rounds to mark them nicely, and then transfer them to a baking tray. Brush the rounds with olive oil and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven until tender. This prevents the eggplants from getting too charred on the grill. Let the eggplants cool to room temperature.

Peel the potatoes and cook in boiling water until fork tender about 15 to 20 minutes. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and place in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes to evaporate off any excess moisture. Mash the potatoes to smooth and set aside.

Place the garlic, chives, lemon, zest, olive oil, feta, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until creamy. Mix the feta and potatoes together, by hand, to thoroughly incorporate. Correct seasoning.

To assemble place a slice of eggplant on a plate and place a heaping tablespoon of the feta mixture on top. Then place another eggplant on top of the feta cheese mixture, and
another heaping tablespoon of the feta cheese mixture. Place a third eggplant on top of this one. Serve with a dollop of multi-herb pesto.

Multi-Herb Pesto - yields approx. 3 cups
1 cup tightly packed watercress leaves
1 cup tightly packed Italian parsley leaves
1 cup tightly packed fino basil leaves
1/4 cup tightly packed thyme leaves
1/4 cup tightly packed oregano leaves
1/2 cup macadamia nuts - chopped (or blanched almonds or pine nuts)
4 to 5 garlic cloves - roughly chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
3/4-cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash the herbs and dry. When plucking the leaves from their stems make sure you do not use any of the thicker woody stem as it will not blend up well. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until still fairly coarse.