"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'
Liz and her handsome son Mannie
When you were a child, did your mom make your older brother or sister take you along when they went to play with their friends? Or maybe you were the one with the permanent tag-a-long? Although I always loved it, (I mean how cool is it playing with your older sister and her friends?!) my sister did not! That is until she became friends with this girl Tina. You see, Tina had a younger sister my age. So not only could I come along, but I would have a wonderful playmate to have fun with instead of tagging along with the big girls. It was a win-win situation! Lizzy was so much fun! We would play for hours on end, running through my parents woods, feeding the chickens, and doing all things little girls do best. She was a wonderful friend and encompassed quite a lot of my childhood memories. As we grew up, we drifted apart; different schools= different friends. It was a bummer, but something that happens so easily when you are a kid.
Move ahead something like 17 years and there is this new thing called "social networking" ok, ok facebook... and guess who I reconnect with?! My sweet, wonderful, childhood friend Liz! It was so great looking at her life now and seeing the amazing things she is doing with herself. She is married to a devoted man, Pat and has the most handsome son, Mannie. And just as I remember my Lizzy being, all smiles, bubbly, and full of life- she is that and more now as an adult! It makes my heart full of joy knowing she is doing so well. She is right in the midst of launching a national magazine, Felicity. It is all about happiness, and it is SO Liz. Keep an eye on this girl- She is going places.
So for today's segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends I am proud and honored to share with you my blissfully happy friend, Elizabeth Malone.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Ethnic food: Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, etc. I love fresh herbs, spices and flavor!
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Meat! I avoid eating anything that comes from a being with a face or a mom.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
I can’t pick just one! My favorite local restaurants are Falafel Café, Saffron Patch, Mint Café, Organic Energy, Aladdin’s and Tommy’s. I am excited to try Flaming Ice Cube on Public Square. I’ve heard wonderful things about their first location near Boardman.
Music and food go together so beautifully. If you were hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
I have a cooking playlist of Ingrid Michaleson, Maxwell, Alecia Keys, Melanie Fiona, Robin Thicke, Norah Jones, James Blunt, Will Young, Yael Naim, and Mike Posner. Once we sit down to eat, I like to turn off the music and fully enjoy my company.
What would you chose as your last meal here on earth?
For my last meal I wouldn’t be concerned with what I ate, as long as I shared it with the people that I love.
What are you currently reading?
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
What is my favorite kitchen gadget?
It’s a close tie between my Vitamix and Twin Health Marathon Living Juice Extractor.
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Simple creations. I’ll experiment with delicious combinations of vegetables or fruits based on whatever I have in the garden or refrigerator. Then I’ll cook a grain and legume that tastes good with it. I rarely make the same things over and over. I try to keep a wide variety of foods in my diet. Recently, I tossed homegrown tomatoes with red onion, basil, capers, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. I ate it alongside quinoa (or farro, brown rice, couscous, etc.) and cannellini beans seasoned with fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil. When I was little, I never liked the food on my plate to touch. Now when I cook, I still like to make sure all the ingredients compliment one another.
What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?
My favorite thing about Cleveland is the people! We know how to work hard for what we want, overcome obstacles, enjoy moderation because of our inherent extremes (in weather, wealth, sports teams…), we stick together when we need to, and people from Cleveland remember their roots!!
What is your favorite childhood meal and do you cook it still today?
I had so many favorite childhood meals! I used to eat dinner twice, once at my best friend Jenny Iacobacci’s house and again with my family. Mrs. Iacobacci and my mom were the most amazing cooks! My mom wrote the first extensive menu that turned Alfonso’s Pizza into a restaurant. She later opened two of her own restaurants: Moondog’s Diner and Evelyn’s at Lakeside. My dad also contributed to my appreciation of fine food by introducing me to imported Italian food stores, and he always included his kids when he dined at the best restaurants.
I also remember when I came to your house as a child, your parents introduced me to gardening and pickled dilly beans! I have wanted more ever since!
As a teenager, I practically lived with best friends from Greek and Arabic families. I was blessed to become part of their families, and I was constantly surrounded by mouthwatering food! I still have a circle of culinary moms that I learn from, and I adapt their recipes to fit my vegan lifestyle.
My favorite is a Greek recipe called Yemistes. Or as I called it, “yummy stuff”.
Yemistes "Yummy Stuff"
6 big, ripe tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup rice
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup fresh dill
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup raisins or currants (optional)
1 large can of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees.)
Slice tops off tomatoes and save. Discard any slimy seeds. Scoop out pulp, chop and set aside. Place tomato shells in large casserole. Sprinkle insides of tomato shells with sugar. Sautee onions in ½ cup olive oil until soft. Add chopped tomato pulp, pine nuts, rice, dill, parsley and currants. Add ¼ cup olive oil and mix well. Sautee about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill tomatoes with mixture.
In separate bowl, combine large can of tomato sauce with ¼ c olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour half of the tomato sauce over the tomatoes. Place tomato tops on top of the stuffed tomatoes. Cover with remaining sauce. Bake for 50 minutes or until rice is cooked, basting occasionally.
Goes well with…
Romanian Eggplant Dip
1 shallot, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons of Follow Your Heart Vegenaise (a healthier substitution for mayo)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Grill whole eggplant, turning regularly until entire skin becomes charred and blistered. Allow to cool. Carefully peel off the charred skin and discard. Place eggplant in food processor or chop by hand into pulp. Mix pulp with shallot, vegenaise, olive oil. Season to taste and mix well. If you like it creamier, add more vegenaise or less if you like more eggplant flavor (like in baba ghanoush). Chill overnight. Serve with fresh pita, carrots, thin rice crackers or as a sandwich spread.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
Wow, that’s hard! I know there are more, but the first three that come to mind are: Pay It Forward, Goodwill Hunting, and The Life of David Gale.
What was your happiest moment in life?
I appreciate everything in my life, but the happiest moments are the ones when I feel like the layers between heaven and earth get a little bit thinner, and I experience the synchronicity in my life that confirms I’m headed in the right direction.
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Whole Foods, Heinen’s, Athen’s Pasteries & Imported Foods, Urban Herbs, Aladdin’s Baking Company, the Westside Market and my local farmers’ markets in Geauga County.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I used to live above a French bakery in Vail, and I could eat an entire loaf of fresh bread when my roommate brought it home. Good bread is probably my biggest weakness because once I start, I can’t stop eating it until it’s gone!
Can you tell me what you are most proud of?
I am most proud of my husband, Pat. He is truly the best person I know. He doesn’t profess to be spiritual or religious, but he lives by example. Pat has taught me more about life, compassion, and love than anyone else I know.
Do you have any culinary resolutions you would like to complete this year?
My culinary resolution is to keep a journal of my recipes because I seldom remember how to make the same thing twice!
One word That best describes you is: Positive