CHEWY GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

2 cups brown rice flour

¼ cup corn or tapioca starch

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup  turbinado sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 


 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the brown rice flour, corn starch, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, and pour over the flour mixture. Combine well and mix in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until the dough is firm.

Drop small balls of dough the size of a tablespoon or two on the cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Bake them until golden but still soft in the center, 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Makes about 20 cookies

DATE PASTE RECIPE

Date paste is used as a filling in many Moroccan and Mediterranean pastries. It is also great for making date bars and truffles. It is sold in Middle Eastern stores and online but can be made at home, easily and quickly.

 

1 cup chopped dates

 


 

Two ways to make date paste

In the microwave

Place 1 cup chopped, pitted dates in a bowl. Add 2/3 cup water. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes. Remove the bowl carefully from the microwave as it will be very hot. Drain the dates. Discard the liquid. Place the dates on a cutting board and press with a fork or potato ricer to mash them into a paste.

In the steamer

Steam 1 cup chopped, pitted dates in a steaming basket over a pot of boiling water or in an electric steamer until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dates to a cutting board and press with a fork or potato ricer to mash them into a paste.

Note: Date paste from steamed dates is stickier and darker than the one obtained from microwaved dates.

 

Yields about 1/2 cup date paste.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT ICE CREAM

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey (or 6 tbsps sugar)

2 cups heavy cream

4 egg yolks

7 ounces Nutella


Bring the chocolate, cocoa, honey and cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to melt the ingredients and combine them into a homogenous mixture. Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly add the cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly and energetically. Let the mixture cool gently, about 5 minutes. Whisk in Nutella.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in a lidded container until set.

 

Serves 6

 

Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

HARISSA

Add harissa to stews, marinades and salad dressings. A little bit goes a long way in spicing up a dish. For a quick sauce, mix a few teaspoons into yogurt or mayonnaise.

1 (12 –oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, or two home-roasted peppers, peeled
6 fresh red chili peppers, stems and seeds removed
5 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/16 teaspoon smoked paprika


Process the roasted peppers, chili peppers, garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a food processor until smooth. Add the salt, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika and pulse again a few times to combine. Transfer to a jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Close the jar tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 6 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups

BAKED CHEBBAKIA

Chebakia is a Moroccan dessert with an intricate design typically served during Ramadan. This is a baked version of the fried original.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (preferably unhulled) sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon anise seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unrefined brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
¼ cup orange blossom water
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 oz honey


Toast the sesame and anise in a medium skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 5 minutes. Grind them in a food processor into a powder.

Transfer the ground sesame and anise to a mixing bowl. Add the turmeric, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, baking powder and flour. Whisk to combine.

Crumble the saffron threads into the orange blossom water and let steep for a few minutes. Add to the dry mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients except the honey. Gather the dough and lightly knead it for a minute or two. Shape it into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a butter knife or a fluted pastry wheel cut the dough into rectangles about 2.5×3 inches. Cut 4 lines lengthwise on each rectangle without getting to the edge. The cuts should stop about ¼-inch from the edges. Fold the rectangles lengthwise the way you would a paper fan (by alternating forward and backward folding motions). Pinch the ends together and push them in slightly. This should fan out the strips. If necessary, manually separate the strips to fan out the cookie some more. (Alternatively, you can cut the dough into strips, stack them up and pinch the ends.) Place on the prepared pan. Gather the scraps and repeat until you’ve used up all the dough.

Bake the chebbakia until crispy and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Five minutes before the chebbakia is cooked, warm up the honey in a medium pot over low heat. As soon as you take the chebakias out of the oven, place them in the warm honey for about 10 minutes, turning them once. ( I keep the stove turned on at very low heat to keep the honey warm and runny.)Using a slotted spoon, transfer the soaked chebbakias to a plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Allow to cool before enjoying. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 20 cookies.

chebbakia

SAFFRON RICE

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup parboiled long grain rice
1/4 cup golden raisins, rinsed
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds


Add the saffron to 1/2 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the grated onion and olive oil in a medium pot and saute until fragrant and golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 1/4 cups of broth or water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the rice and saffron infusion. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and cook the rice until tender, 25 minutes. Stir in the raisins and almonds. Serve warm.

Serves 4

SPINACH & BEAN SOUP

¼ cup olive oil
3 leeks, minced (white part only)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed*
1 bunch spinach, stemmed and chopped


Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and leeks and sauté, stirring occasionally until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the carrots. Season with ground coriander, turmeric, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth. Cover with a lid and cook 20 minutes.

Add the beans and spinach. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve right away.

* If using home-cooked beans, you need about 1.5 cups.

Serves 4

CRANBERRY BEAN DIP

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 cups home cooked beans)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ cup cranberry sauce *


In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely minced.

Add the cannellini beans, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil. Purée until you obtain a smooth paste.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the cranberry sauce and stir until the dip becomes pink. Serve at room temperature or chilled with pita, flatbread, chips or crudités.


* Basic Cranberry Sauce

Yields ½ cup

1 cup fresh cranberries

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons honey

¼ teaspoon grated orange zest

To make the cranberry sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally and pressing the cranberries down, until you obtain a thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

APPLE, POTATO & EGG SALAD

5 small Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes

2 large Golden Delicious apples; peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized cubes

1/4 cup sliced cornichons

1/2 cup canned corn kernels, rinsed and drained

3 eggs, hard-boiled, yolks and whites separated and chopped

3/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Place the cubed potatoes in a pot and cover with salted water. Cook over medium high heat until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a colander and let drain and cool a few minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the apples, pickles, corn and chopped egg whites.

In a small bowl, stir the egg yolks with the mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4

YUCCA CHEESE BREAD

1 1/4 cups tapioca starch/flour

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon unrefined brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a muffin tin.

Blend all the ingredients in an electric blender until you obtain a smooth, homogeneous batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin filling each cup about halfway.

Bake until golden and puffy, 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Eat warm. Reheat leftover breads before eating.

Makes 8

Adapted from different sources, mainly Simplyrecipes.com.

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