All posts by Alan Zox

The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Reuben sandwiches have always been a favorite of mine, especially during the season of St. Patrick’s Day when cabbage and pastrami are easily found in grocery stores. Meatless alternatives have become an option many enjoy. Consider cooking your Reuben with fish caught in the chilly waters off Massachusetts and New York such as striped bass, flounder, tuna, cod, haddock, halibut, or  crab caught a bit further South. I love Soft Shell crab but cod is more accessible in the waters of the  Northeast and Alaska, flown in frozen. All seafood should give a briny scent of the sea as they … Continue reading The Extraordinary Seafood Reuben Sandwich

Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

Visiting family in Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day shocked me when I saw the Chicago River, which winds along Wacker Drive, to be as green as a four leaf clover. Other cities across America celebrate the holiday with the color green as well. Parades, hats, banners and clothing of all types are green as the Emerald Isle in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day. Joining friends at local pubs on this special day is a time to enjoy a beer and a sandwich that are also bright green. I am generally OK with these menu choices but find myself less enchanted … Continue reading Green Is The Color Of St. Patrick’s Day

The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

Virtually everyone likes chicken soup, especially with egg noodles, matzo balls or elbow macaroni. It’s nice and warm and filling during the colder months of the year while it satisfies our taste buds even during the spring and summertlme. Chicken soup is also said to be a healing dish that soothes our aches and pains, and clears our stuffy nose during cold season and the flu. Some even swear that this “Jewish penicillin” raises our resistance and our immune system to illness of all kinds. All I can say for sure is that it’s certainly delicious in all its many … Continue reading The Best Crockpot Chicken Soup—Jewish Penicillin

It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

Every four years we celebrate Leap Year, the 29th of February. While this day amazingly has been around since 45 BC, many of us think of it as a recent event. In fact, it’s an ancient invention that was added to the calendar to keep it in line with the seasons of the year. Still, many Americans in the 1930s associated Leap Year with a made-up event called Sadie Hawkins Day. Created by the cartoonist Al Capp, the day celebrated where women and girls could marry their favorite partner by catching them in an annual race held in the small … Continue reading It’s Leap Year Again, The Season For Gumbo Soup

A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

Dumplings go by different names depending on their country of  origin. In China they are called jiaozis; in Japan, shumai or gyoza; in the United States, wontons or pot stickers; Latinos call them empanadas, pierogies are Polish; kreplach are Jewish; and raviol are Italian. All of these dumplings are readily available in the United States or you can make your own. The rules are open-ended. The stuffing is dependent on one’s culture and the creativity of the chef. Eating them is extraordinary, and preparing them is almost more enjoyable. In New York City, Chinatown dumplings are special. We discovered our … Continue reading A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

 It’s fun to think about warm weather when March comes around even if we can’t travel to Florida or the Islands. Sunshine makes me think of warm seas and briny chowder. I can almost feel the sand beneath my feet while eating the delicious Spiny lobster that is found in waters throughout the Caribbean and surrounding Florida and Australia. Contrary to popular belief these beauties are not closely related to the Maine lobster. Yet they are similar in appearance in that they have a hard bony shell and tails that are wonderful to eat. But it’s easy to tell them … Continue reading The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Serves 8 (Adapted from Rosalie Murphy’s The Quick Adobe Cookbook Dell Publishing, 1988) 1 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup milk 2 cup flour 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 tsp baking soda 2 eggs, beaten 4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/2 cup hot water Frosting 8 oz cream cheese 2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate 1/8 cup milk 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1 cup pecan halves Directions for Cake 1 Preheat oven 350 F 2 Mix sour cream, 1 1/2 cup sugar and milk in a large bowl 3 Sift in flour, salt, baking soda 4 … Continue reading Creole Mexican Chocolate Cake

Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Monsanto foods just laid off another 1000 employees in addition to the 2600 jobs cut last Fall– a cut of 16% of it’s overall workforce.  This is a direct by-product  of the loss in revenue Monsanto has felt from  consumers who have increasingly rejected food grown by genetic modification engineering of an Organism (GMO’s),  while  choosing the benefits of a natural, organic diet. European countries  in response to the opposition many have felt from environmentalists,  farmers and political activists, have restricted or outlawed GMO cultivation all together. And these restrictions are being instituted by many other countries and food companies … Continue reading Food News: Food Giant Monsanto Lays off 16% as Organic Food Sales Increase

Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Campbell Soup Company has just announced it will become one of the  major food companies to adopt food labels that will disclose  genetically modified ingredients.  This is in direct contrast with the company’s prior stance to fight GMO labeling efforts across the country. As Denise Morrison CEO, put it: “We will withdraw from any coalition that doesn’t suport mandatory labeling.” However, this decision does not mean that Campbells is no longer using GMO ingredients.  Rather they are no longer fighting the labeling process ifself. The public will know what products they make that have GMO ingredients  and those that don’t. … Continue reading Food News: Campbell Soup Pressured to Remove some GMO Ingredients

Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Pot au Feu is a French pot roast made in a savory style with vegetables, cold water, and condiments. It’s a dish to remember. It takes a while to finish cooking although a slow cooker saves time and trouble. It’s easy to make and quite different than so called “American pot roast” which browns the roast and braises in red wine and chicken stock. The American sweet and sour version is also one of my favorites. This can be done by merely adding 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp brown sugar, plus dried fruit. This version is wonderfully different and refreshing. Be … Continue reading Sweet & Sour Pot au Feu for Winter

Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

In a recent article published in the NYTimes, Thursday, February 4, 2016,  reporter Rachel Felder tells us that juicing is too extreme for many of us. Ms Felder reports that for the last few weeks, Vivienne Zhao, an investment banker who lives and works in Manhattan, has spent each Monday on a cleanse, consuming over a week’s time liquid based meals.   Her menu includes: pinto and black beans cooked with tomatoes, spinach and bok choy; garlicky carrots, mixed  onions and alkaline water; and pureed pumpkin with cardamon and Saigon cinnamon.  She came to this soup cleanse– known as “souping”– after … Continue reading Food News: For Some, Soup is the New Juice

Savory Souffle for Winter

Soufflé’s are normally thought of as French desserts made with chocolate or cheese that rise like the sun from our heavenly oven. But in fact these special delights can be “savory” in nature as well. The method used to make either sweet or savory soufflés is simple when we follow a set of uncompromising rules that will satisfy the most demanding critic at our table. But before we list the guiding principals let’s consider why the soufflé is worth the trouble. First off, they are just so good to eat, albeit rich, but delicious too. And when any food is … Continue reading Savory Souffle for Winter

Thanksgiving Sides Can Make A Meal – Traditional & Otherwise

A traditional Thanksgiving spreadThanksgiving is around the corner. Some love it. Others such as vegetarians bemoan “the turkey thing” every holiday season. Sides offer more choices and potentially more flavor. Normally, sides include turkey gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn bread, a vegetable of some unknown vintage, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Last year the focus of attention in our family was to fry a turkey and roast another in the oven as well as a backup, along with the traditional sides. All attendees enjoyed the meal. This year I thought it would be fun to create a variety of other … Continue reading Thanksgiving Sides Can Make A Meal – Traditional & Otherwise

Imagine An Amazing Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Vegetarian eating is becoming more and more popular these days— even for Thanksgiving.   Eating this way in many cases is less expensive and can be extraordinarily delicious too. It’s also good for the environment as Mark Bittman nicely elaborates in his book The Food Matters that eating fewer animals is healthier for all of us. Personally, I am still a meat eater. But I eat less meat as I get older, especially less meat fed with antibiotics and I feel better in the process. Still giving up turkey on a national holiday is not easy to do, especially when we … Continue reading Imagine An Amazing Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Food News: Genetically Modified Salmon Approved by FDA

    Last week Federal regulators approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption. This is the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American Supermarkets and dinner plates. This decision has been discussed and debated for over five years.  It was first proposed in the 1990’s.  The approval has been opposed by environmental and consumer groups because of the argument that the safety studies are inadequate.  The Center for Food Safety and other organizations say they plan to file a law suit  to stop the decision from being implemented. The Food and Drug Administration decision as currently … Continue reading Food News: Genetically Modified Salmon Approved by FDA

Combatting Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

A number of readers have asked for me to post this article on breast cancer nutrition. Here you go…  You can also read my food column weekly at Click on Columns on the menu bar.  Eating Well To Combat Breast Cancer By Chef Alan Zox – October 20, 2015 Breast cancer is one of those diseases that more and more Americans experience either as a patient or a family member or friend of someone who has contracted the disease. But while the disease is frightening in many profound ways, it is not necessarily deadly nor undefeatable. The five-year observed … Continue reading Combatting Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

Food News: Popularity of Organically Grown Food is Exploding

Eating organic is no longer a fringe behavior. As Christina Sarich points out in Vitality newspaper’s Sept issue, 2015, consumer demand for organic food has sky rocketed with annual double digit growth. In 2012 more htan $28.4 million was spent on organic food. And this year, 2015, organic food sales will reach $35 billion, as reported by Nutrition Business Journal.  And this growth seems to be just the beginning. See my blog  this week on “Combating Breast Cancer through Nutrition.” As Cancer grows in our meat dependent society, the percentage of consumers who  recognize the value of organically  grown plant … Continue reading Food News: Popularity of Organically Grown Food is Exploding

Delicious Indian Curry With Tofu And Fava Beans

  Indian curry tofu My first Indian friend, Vivian, was my department chairman at the university. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a joyfulness about eating Indian food, especially food from southern India. His wife, Mary, was Irish and from Chicago, but Vivian’s family taught her to cook for her husband, which she did with a relish and apparent pleasure. She and Vivian enjoyed inviting me for dinner, which was no less a treat for me. I had never really known Indian food except for an Indian fast food cafe near my home that was very mediocre. … Continue reading Delicious Indian Curry With Tofu And Fava Beans

Try Another Delicious Southwestern Recipe — Corn and Poblano Souffle

        Soufflé of Poblanos & Corn Serves 2-4 INGREDIENTS 1 tbsp unsalted butter, for rubbing Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for coating Salt 4 ears of corn, shucked 2 roasted poblano chiles 1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch strips 1 cup milk Freshly ground pepper 3 large egg yolks 2 cups shredded Finlandia cheese (6 ounces) 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme 6 large egg whites Directions 1- Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish and coat it with the Parmesan. 2- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add … Continue reading Try Another Delicious Southwestern Recipe — Corn and Poblano Souffle

Food News: Corn Souffle for a Summer Party

Souffle for desserts or things savory are divine. Corn season is here and it’s time to join the two – corn off the cob and souffle method. It’s an elegant combination you will love making. And it doesn’t need  to rise too high. Recently I made a few with roasted poblano chiles– really, really delicious. Corn is no less decadent and wonderful.  Check out my article next week for a simple recipe.

Vegetable and Fruit Gazpacho Soup for Summer

Gazpacho Soup is a wonderful option for summer time relief. Cold and delicious and healthy too. Try it with your favorite vegetables and fruits as well. My cooking students loved  a recent version we made  with seedless watermelon,  plum tomatoes, jalapenos and cucumbers. Puree this combination and add a dash or two of hot sauce, rice wine vinegar. and freshly ground black pepper. Different and  flavorful too.

Amazing Lip Smacking Cooking Class with Palestinian & Israeli Cuisine

    Monday of this week I held another participatory cooking class drawn from the wonderfully popular new cookbook, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolinghui and Sami Tamimi.   We had fun and made great food that we ate and critiqued afterward. I always begin my classes with an Appetizer. Usually I make a soup  that reflects the nature of the cuisine. Course 1, Lentil Soup,  was the soup du jour with ginger, garlic, scallions, cardamon, coriander, cinnamon, chicken stock,  plum tomatoes. and 1 tsp sea salt with fresh ground pepper. Big hit! Then we moved into teams and prepared 4 courses:  Course … Continue reading Amazing Lip Smacking Cooking Class with Palestinian & Israeli Cuisine

Eating Well Regardless of Age

When eating is a burden as opposed to a pleasure, it becomes painful to return home at the end of the day to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal. While some of us see this as a wonderful and creative opportunity,  others see the opposite. They turn to fast food, frozen pizza, high sodium meals, or take out. Managing one’s hunger and feeding the kids are burdens to overcome quickly. Sometimes cheese and crackers, pretzels and soda, or a quick and filling burrito become the simple way to fill one’s stomach. Achieving flavor for many becomes less a goal than a … Continue reading Eating Well Regardless of Age