SPICED & HERBED GOAT CHEESE

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

5 ounces fresh goat cheese

Crackers or bread

 


 
Place the black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, and thyme on a large plate. Stir with a spoon until well mixed. Spread into a thin layer.

Shape the goat cheese into a log. Roll the log in the spice-herb mix until the cheese is completely covered.

Wrap the goat cheese tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with crackers or bread and fresh fruit. The cheese is also delicious drizzled with a little honey.
 
Serves 4 to 6

CHOCOLATE TAHINI CRACKERS

1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup tahini, stirred
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour

 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter, tahini and salt. Add the agave and eggs and whisk agin until well combined. Incorporate the cocoa powder and stir some more. Finally work in the whole wheat flour and form a homogeneous ball of dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a thin layer, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into small circles using a cookie cutter and poke holes in each cracker with a bamboo skewer or fork.

Place the crackers on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2-inch apart. Bake until hard, about 17 minutes.
 
Makes 30

WHOLE WHEAT OLIVE CRACKERS

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoons chopped black olives or tapenade
 


 

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

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (first four). Add the beaten egg, olive oil, water and chopped olives. Work the mixture into a dough ball. Add a little more water if the dough feels too dry. Knead for a few minutes.

Using a rolling pin, spread the dough a little over 1/8-inch thin on a lightly floured surface. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut the crackers into desired shape.

Transfer the crackers to the prepared cookie sheet and bake them until crispy, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

 
Makes 50 crackers

MINTED MASHED PEAS

20 mint leaves
2 tablespoons heavy cream
12 ounces cooked peas
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

 


 
Process all the ingredients in a food processor into a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature as a side or dip.

Serves 4

COUSCOUS WITH CARAMELIZED FRUIT

This is a delicious sweet couscous that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or even as dessert.
For the cooked fruit
1 small yellow onion, cut into thin strips
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ras el hanout (I used this one–you can make or buy it)

For the couscous
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ras el hanout
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2/3 cup instant whole grain couscous

 


 

Fill the pot of a steamer about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place the onion, apples and pineapple in the steamer basket over the boiling water. Cover and steam until soft but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and honey to a sizzle until they’re a beautiful golden caramel color. Stir in ras el hanout. Add the steamed onion, apples and pineapple. Toss to coat with the glaze and cook for 2 minutes until lightly caramelized.

Bring water, oil, honey, salt, ras el hanout, cinnamon and garlic powder to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Plate the couscous onto four dessert/appetizer plates. Top with the glazed onion and fruit. Disperse pomegranate arils on top.

Enjoy it warm.

Serves 4

 

CHILLED RHUBARB-PEAR SOUP

¾ pound rhubarb, chopped (about 4 cups chopped rhubarb)
4 cups water
4 sprigs fresh mint
¼ cup turbinado sugar
2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped

 


 
Place the rhubarb, water, mint, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid. Cook until the rhubarb is very soft, 8 minutes. Add the pears and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the mint.
 
Transfer to a blender and process into a soup. Let cool then refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Serve cold.
 
Serves 4

GOROGONZOLA AND PECAN STUFFED DATES

12 Medjool dates, pitted
4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese
2 ounces whipped cream cheese
¼ cup chopped pecans
8 basil leaves, chopped

 


 

Delicately clean the dates with a damp paper towel. In a medium bowl, combine the Gorgonzola, whipped cream cheese, pecans and basil leaves. Stuff each date with about a tablespoon of the mixture.

Enjoy as an appetizer, mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Delicious!

Makes 12

LABNEH RECIPE

Labneh is Middle Eastern strained yogurt cheese. You can make it by simply straining yogurt overnight to rid it of whey and turn it into a thick, creamy spread or dip. You can strain it longer to make thicker fresh cheese that’s firm enough to shape into balls, patties or logs and dredge in herbs, nuts and spices of all kinds.

 


 

Line a sieve or colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a bowl.

Stir some sea salt into Greek-style yogurt (1/4 teaspoon per cup, or to taste). Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined sieve or colander. Gather up the sides of the cheesecloth, twist tightly and tie with string.

Place in the refrigerator 12 to 24 hours. The longer it strains the firmer it will get.

Drizzle it with olive oil and sumac, sprinkle it with zaatar or top it with fresh fruit and honey. Delicious any way you serve it.

ORANGE SALAD WITH RED ONIONS & OLIVES

4 navel oranges

½ small red onion, very thinly sliced

½ cup pitted green or black olives

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Sea salt, to taste

½ tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

 


 

Remove the peel and pith from the oranges and slice them into ¼-inch rounds. Arrange them on a shallow plate. Disperse the onion slices and olives on top of the oranges.

 

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice,  garlic, cumin, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle the olive oil, whisking constantly.  Spoon the dressing evenly over the oranges. Sprinkle the salad with chopped cilantro.

Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

 

Serves 4

Moroccan Orange Salad with Red Onions and Olives

CUCUMBER, RADISH & APRICOT SALAD

3 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon distilled wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 ounces feta cheese

 


 

Combine the cucumbers, red bell pepper, radishes, and apricots in a large mixing bowl.

 

In a smaller bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, yogurt, salt and pepper until well blended. Drizzle over the salad.

Add the thyme. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad and toss. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

 

Serves 4

cucumber radish salad

1 2 3