Favorite Recipes from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Ecovillage Restaurant

Smoothies, vegetable barley soup, cheese and herb salad dressing, chick-pea spread, honey carob cake, and minty cream cheese frosting.
By Kathy Zserai
July/August 1984
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Vegetarian recipes for natural home cooking.

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Up until last summer, the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Ecovillage wasn't equipped with a facility suitable for food preparation. In seasons past, we hired outside caterers to provide our visitors with quality meals and snacks. Some of these services worked out well. Others did not. Seeking a more reliable and permanent solution (one in keeping with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS philosophy) to our culinary quandary we decided that if you want to do something right, you just have to do it yourself. The outcome: Last year the MOTHER EARTH NEWS restaurant opened at the Ecovillage ... to rave reviews, we're pleased to say from visitors and staff alike.

We cooks at the eatery not only provided folks with delicious vegetarian (and semi veterinarian) dishes but also taught show-how's on natural food related topics. We frequently became pupils, too, benefiting from the vast pool of experiences and suggestions so generously shared by our guests. The exchange of recipes and ideas between staff and visitors—not to mention the resulting tasty dishes—enriched us all.

For instance, two of the young visitors who left us with some very fond memories were Ben Stuki and Casey Fenyo. Ben, who hails from Mauk, Georgia, was a bright and competent kitchen helper. Casey was quite good at prepping vegetables (it's amazing how hard someone will work in exchange for a few carob brownies), but could disappear without a trace at the mention of dishwashing.

For those readers who didn't get a chance to visit us this past year (or for those of you who did stop by but forgot to write down the formulas for your favorite dishes), here are a few of our favorite recipes. Of course, we hope you'll come see us in person this season at the Ecovillage Restaurant and sample our delicacies firsthand. In the meantime, perhaps this popularly acclaimed menu will tide you over. Here's to good eating!


1 cup of fruit juice (apple, orange, papaya, or whatever you prefer)
6 ice cubes
1 banana (or a peach, a nectarine, or a handful of strawberries)
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla  

Blend the juice and ice in a blender until the cubes are liquefied. After adding the fruit, vanilla, and honey, continue processing until the mixture is smooth. This should yield approximately 2 cups of sweet, delicious fruit shake. (This recipe is from Eco-Chef Linda Doyle, who also contributed the favorite bread in The Benefits of Whole Grain Food.)

Cheese and Herb Salad Dressing 

1 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon of basil  

Combine all the ingredients (using milk or buttermilk as a thinner, if needed) ahead of time and refrigerate so the flavors have a chance to blend. Then pour the dressing over your favorite salad at mealtime.

Vegetable Barley Soup 

1 onion
1 tablespoon of oil
3 cups of water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup of barley
3 carrots, sliced
1 bunch of broccoli, cut in pieces
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/4 teaspoon of coriander
1/4 teaspoon of dill
1 teaspoon of Spike seasoning sea salt to taste
pinch of parsley, chopped
pinch of mint, chopped  

First, sauté the onion in oil, add the water (or stock) and barley, and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the barley is almost done (approximately 20 minutes). Add the vegetables and spices and continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender. (NOTE: You can use almost any vegetables you want in this soup. Here at the Ecovillage restaurant we just add whatever goodies our gardens are yielding at the time.) Add the fresh parsley and mint just before serving. This pot should give you about 8 to 10 steaming bowlfuls.

Chick-Pea Spread (for Sandwiches or Dip) 

3/4 cup of chick-peas (garbanzo beans), cooked
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon of basil
6 to 8 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of tahini
1/2 to 1 cup of water or bean liquid  

Combine everything but the water (or bean liquid) in a blender and process until smooth. Then gradually add the liquid until the mixture reaches the desired consistency for dipping or spreading. (NOTE: Here at the Ecovillage we serve this special spread on bread with a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of tomato, and a topping of our "super sprouts:" a combination of clover, alfalfa, and fenugreek.)

Honey Carob Cake

2/3 cup of butter
1 1/4 cups of honey
1/3 cup of carob powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk  

Cream the butter first and then gradually blend in the honey. Next, add the carob powder and mix well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla and finally add the dry ingredients—a little at a time, mixing in some milk with each addition—and beat till smooth. Now, pour the batter into greased 8-inch round cake pans and bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes (or until a toothpick poked into the middles comes out clean). When done, turn the steaming layers onto a rack to cool. And while you wait, prepare the following frosting to top off your cake:

Minty Cream Cheese Frosting 

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of juice (orange, we're told, is tastiest) or milk
1 teaspoon of mint extract  

Mix all the ingredients together and beat till smooth and fluffy (NOTE: If you're a carob-lover, try adding a tablespoon of carob powder to the above ingredients.) When your cake has cooled, ice it with this tasty topping and sit back to enjoy all the compliments you'll undoubtedly get from your satisfied family and friends!

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