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Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin | My Halal Kitchen

CLOSED: Michael Natkin and the Herbivoracious Cookbook Giveaway

Several months ago I attended the Eat Write Retreat event for food writers and bloggers, which took place in Washington, D.C. It was a weekend filled with discussions and a chance to meet some very interesting people in the food industry.  Cookbook author Michael Natkin was one of those people. He talked about the process of writing Herbivoracious, an incredibly vibrant cookbook full of interesting and ethnically-diverse vegetarian recipes that are simple to make but uniquely set apart from any other vegetarian cookbook I’d seen before.

I read the book cover to cover and became so inspired to cook more vegetarian meals than ever before. I also knew that I had a ton of questions about how Michael came to write this book since I found his recipes to be globally-inspired and have several that feature super healthy recipes from Middle Eastern cuisine

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Mexican Black Bean & Corn Soup

If you can imagine having soup in the summer time, this Mexican Black Bean & Corn Soup is one that doesn’t heat up the kitchen, uses up fresh summer produce and has a wonderful kick to it.  It also freezes well, which is wonderful for any pre-Ramadan cooking you’ll be doing (which I hope you are, or planning to!)

Mexican Black Bean and Corn Soup | My Halal Kitchen

The ingredients you’ll need are quite simple and you may have most of them already.

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Grilled Eggplant and Pepper Salad

Summer food is equivalent to grilling, right? Well, in the intense heat we’re feeling here in the Midwest I’m not sure everyone is so excited about firing up the grills all the time. I mean, it’s really hot- even in the evenings I’ve seen temps at 98° F. That said, with all the amazing summer produce to be found at farmers markets and in our own gardens, there still needs to be a way to use up your favorite summer veggies even if it means staying indoors and NOT turning on the oven.
grilled eggplant and pepper salad

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Icelandic Haddock in Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce

Unless you have an amazing Asian store nearby that sells fresh ingredients from the East, it’s pretty hard to find things like lemongrass, real coconut and interesting chili peppers to cook with, unfortunate because when combined they make for such an exotic and flavorful combination like what’s been prepared for us in one of the latest simmer sauces by Saffron Road that I’m going to show you how to use.

Icelandic Haddock in Lemongrass Basil Simmer Sauce

I happen to have several Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese grocers in the great city of Chicago that spoil me whenever I’m craving something exotic (to me) to cook, but even then it can be time consuming and somewhat costly to drag myself out and grab all the ingredients I don’t normally have on hand.

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Sauteed Spinach and Zucchini | My Halal Kitchen

Sautéed Spinach, Baby Zucchini and Mushrooms

The season in between spring and summer is the time to make the best use of delicious veggies- spinach, baby zucchini, fingerling potatoes, and white button mushrooms. Fortunately for us, they all go so well together in flavor profiles, too. Try this saute recipe over rice or pasta. We even had the leftovers stuffed in pita halves with melted cheese. Ah-mazing…

veggies sauteeing in butter and olive oil

Sautéed in butter and olive oil

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Oven-Baked French Fries

Have you heard about our Ramadan Shape-Up program with Fit Muslimah, Azizah Magazine and My Halal Kitchen where Mubarakah Ibrahim will share tips on getting physically in shape while Tayyiba Taylor shares spiritual food for thought?  As part of the online program, we’ll be providing tips on easing into eating healthier in preparationf or the holy month of fasting, all in the hopes that these tips become habits that will last through Ramadan and beyond.

homemade baked fries | My Halal Kitchen

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Saffron Road’s New Line of Vegeterian Entrees

You may have already heard about Saffron Road’s new vegetarian entrees, which are making quite a buzz on places like Facebook and Twitter. Vegetarians, vegans and those who are gluten-free are raving about the flavors and quality of these products, and I couldn’t agree more.

These Manchurian Dumplings photographed above were soft, saucy and had a nice kick of spice to them. The ginger tasted so fresh that it came as a really nice surprise- how often do you find that in a frozen entree? This is done right. (It’s also suitable for vegans).

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Penne Pasta with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves | My Halal Kitchen

Pink Pasta: Penne with Swiss Chard and Beet Leaves

I didn’t intentionally set out to make pink pasta; it just happened as a result of my love affair with seasonal produce like swiss chard and beets, both of which were plentiful at the farmers market last weekend where I organized a Culinary Tour of the Green City Market here in Chicago.

And then it occured to me that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are all exposed to the pink ribbons that indicate a fight against this disease, so I found it fitting that my pasta turned out pink as a result of the beet leaf juices that smother the pasta once it’s cooked and added in.  One person on our Facebook page even made reference to the fact that her girls would love it because it was girly.

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French Beans with Garlic, Cumin and Toasted Sesame

French green beans are one of my favorite side dishes. They’re light, go well with most foods and make me feel content that I’m getting a healthy vegetable on my plate. I usually make them Italian style with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil, but this time I opted to satisfy my craving for something Asian.

I had some lovely fresh garlic, sesame seeds that were already toasted, ground cumin, and plenty of good toasted sesame oil.  Other than the beans, this is all you really need to make the dish. I think a bit of fresh ginger would be nice, too.

It’s a super-quick side dish to any meal and perfect for late weeknights when you’re in the mood to smell wonderful scents coming from you kitchen. It’s good relaxation cooking.

Here’s what you’ll need to get there:

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