PEAR CHOCOLATE ALMOND TORTE

3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup muscovado sugar
3 eggs, preferably at room temp.
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond meal
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 medium Bosc pears, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch slices

For the glaze
2 tablespoons warm honey


Butter an 8-inch non-stick tart pan. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl in the microwave for 1 ½ minutes, at 30-second intervals.

Briskly whisk in the sugar, eggs and almond extract.

Combine the almond meal and baking powder, and whisk them into the mixture until you obtain a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Fan out the pear slices on top.

Bake until set, for 20 minutes. Brush the pears with the warm honey glaze.

Let cool.

Serves 6

Pear chocolate amandine

BAKED QUINOA WITH CHARD & FETA

1 cup red quinoa (or another color)
2 cups water
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped Swiss chard
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa or other hot sauce, optional
1 teaspoon baking powder
Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 x 8-inch pan.

Place the cooked quinoa with the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake the quinoa until set and somewhat crispy on the surface, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool a bit before cutting.

Serves 6

RED LENTIL SOUP

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups red lentils
1 cup tomato puree
5 cups vegetable broth
4 bay leaves


In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the red onion until translucent 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the lentils, tomato puree, vegetable broth and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook over gentle heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4

MOROCCAN HARIRA SOUP

3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup butter
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 cups canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
2 celery sticks
3 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth

2 eggs, beaten
1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving


Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, and 1/2 cup of water in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the salt, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and turmeric powder and cook until fragrant 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour the blended vegetables into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the garbanzo beans, lentils, and celery sticks. Cover with water and vegetable broth. Simmer covered, 55 to 65 minutes.

Remove the celery sticks and discard. Incorporate the beaten eggs, stirring constantly to cook and shred the eggs, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves 4 to 6

STUFFED EGGPLANT ROLLS

1 large eggplant
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
5 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temp.
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 roasted red bell pepper, minced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Minced basil and finely chopped walnuts, for garnish (optional)


Cut off both ends of the eggplant and slice it thinly lengthwise. You should be able to obtain 10 to 12 slices, about 1/8-inch thick.

Brush the eggplant slices generously with olive oil on both sides. (Don’t skimp on oil or they won’t cook through.) Season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat a griddle pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Grill the eggplant slices until charred, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (I used a Panini press. It did the job nicely and cooked both sides at the same time.) Set aside to cool a bit.

Combine the goat cheese, garlic, roasted pepper and walnuts in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if you wish, and mix with a spoon.

To fill the eggplant slices, place about a tablespoon of the goat cheese mixture on the wider end of the eggplant and roll.

Garnish with minced basil and finely chopped walnuts, if you wish. Serve at room temperature with crusty bread.

Makes 10 to 12 rolls.

Eggplant Rolls with Goat Cheese & Roasted Peppers.

SAVORY MOROCCAN CHICKPEA FLAN

This quiche-y chickpea dish is known as Karane in Morocco and mostly popular in the northern regions.

1 cup chickpea flour
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¾ cups water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons hot sauce —I used Sriracha

Ground cumin and chili powder, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt and garlic powder. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking energetically until you obtain a very smooth, soupy batter.

Transfer the batter to an 8×8-inch pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the flan is set. It is OK if the surface feels a bit soft and mushy; that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Sprinkle generously with ground cumin and chili powder. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

SIMPLE LENTIL STEW

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups green lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 cups vegetable stock
5 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


Heat the olive oil and tomato paste in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the celery and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, stock, water, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot with a lid and cook until the lentils are tender, about 50 minutes.

Serve the stew warm. Top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt, some olive oil and minced celery leaves, if you wish.

Serves 4

BAKED OATMEAL

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sliced almonds, optional


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8×8 cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Toss in the raspberries and chopped apple.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract.

Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture and lightly fold to moisten the oats. Transfer into the prepared pan. Scatter the sliced almonds on top, if using.

Bake until the surface is golden and the oatmeal looks almost as set as a cake, 30 minutes. Let it cool a little.

*If you don’t like coconut, use 1 1/3 cups oats instead of the suggested 1 cup oats and 1/3 cup coconut.

Serves 4 to 6

EASY BAKED ZUCCHINI

2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ cup picante salsa
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer or slightly overlapped in a large shallow baking pan.

Stir the rest of the ingredients except the cheese in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly on top the zucchini.

Bake 15 minutes or until the zucchini is wilted and sticky from the dried up sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and allow the cheese to melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Take out of the oven and serve warm.

Serves 4

COCONUT CREAM TRIFLE

Macaroon layer
4 large coconut macaroons

Custard
1 ¼ cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or potato starch – kosher)
½ teaspoon coconut extract

Yogurt
1 ¼ cups Greek-style yogurt (I prefer Fage)
2 ½ tablespoons agave syrup
¼ teaspoon coconut extract

Topping
2 tablespoons freshly toasted shredded coconut


Chop the macaroons into ½-inch cubes. Set aside.

Heat the milk in a saucepan, but do not boil it. Place the yolks, potato starch (or cornstarch) and agave syrup in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until smooth. Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture and continue whisking until well combined. Place back in the pan over very low heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens into custard. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut extract. Let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir the yogurt, agave syrup and coconut extract until combined.

Assemble the trifles by dividing the chopped macaroons among four small dessert cups. Add a layer of custard. Finish with a layer of yogurt. Top with toasted coconut.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating.

Serves 3 to 4