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

ROSEMARY STRAWBERRY LEMONADE

1 cup water
Leaves from two rosemary sprigs
2 large strawberries, hulled
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon agave syrup (or more, to taste)
Ice cubes
Rosemary sprig, for garnish (optional)

 


 

Blend the water with the rosemary leaves and strawberries until smooth. Pass through a strainer. Discard the solids. Stir in the lemon juice and agave syrup. Pour into the serving glass over lots of ice cubes. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Serves 1

 

 

FRUIT SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized cubes
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons pistachios or walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tablespoon honey (optional)
A dash of cinnamon

 


 

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle with extra pomegranate molasses. Chill if you wish.

Serve for snack, on top of cereal or as a side salad.

 
Serves 2

CHILLED CRANBERRY SOUP

2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cups milk or half and half
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
¼ cup orange or apple juice
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 


 

Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor for 2 minutes or until very smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve a couple of times.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

 

Serves 4

cranberry soup

GRAPEFRUIT LAYER CAKE

You can cut the ingredients for both the cake and the frosting in half to make a one-layer instead of a two-layer cake. If you’re not a fan of grapefruit, feel free to substitute oranges.

 


For two cakes

2 medium firm grapefruits

8 eggs

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2/3 cup canola oil

3/4 cup grapefruit juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups unrefined brown sugar

1 1/2 cups coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

For the frosting

2 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese, at room temperature

Half the grated grapefruit zest (reserved from the beginning of the recipe)

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon agave syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line them with parchment paper.

Grate the zest of one grapefruit. Divide it in two (one half for the cake, the other for the frosting). Save both grapefruits for later segmenting.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, butter, oil, grapefruit juice, half the grapefruit zest, vanilla and sugar until well combined. Whisk the coconut flour, salt and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat again.

Divide the batter equally among the two prepared pans. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean, 35 minutes. Let cool then unmold.

Prepare the frosting by whisking all the ingredients for the frosting in an electric mixer until smooth.

Fill and frost the cake. Refrigerate the cake 20 to 30 minutes to let the frosting set.

To segment the grapefruits, cut off the top and bottom to give a stable base, trim the skin and pith and cut out the segments onto a plate using a paring knife. Arrange the grapefruit segments on top of the cake.
Serves 16

WARM GRAPEFRUIT TEA

This grapefruit tea is very tasty with warming vanilla and pepper flavors. Some people use warm grapefruit tea for detox and weight loss but the taste alone is sufficient to make it.

 

1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice

1 inch vanilla bean, split and scraped*

5 peppercorns

Honey, to taste (optional)

 


 

Place all the ingredients except the honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Discard the vanilla and peppercorns. Taste and sweeten with honey, if you wish. Serve warm.

*Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape its seeds with a paring knife. Add both the bean and the seeds to the juice.

 

Makes 1 cup

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.

VANILLA MELON BUTTER

 

2 large ripe cantaloupes

¼ cup water

1.5 cups turbinado sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Juice of 1 lemon


Cut the melons in half and remove the seeds and strings. Scoop out the flesh in small pieces.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the melon pieces and cook them over high heat for 10 minutes.Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

Place the pureed melon back in the pot. Add the vanilla bean (seeds and pod) and lemon juice. Bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat and simmer the puree until reduced to a third of its original volume and appears darker and thicker, about 2h30 min.

Remove from the heat. Let cool. Transfer into clean jars with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate.

Consume within 4 weeks.

Makes about 2 cups.

BAKED STUFFED APPLES

4 Gala, or other baking variety, apples
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter, divided in four
1 cup apple juice or cider


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Core the apples, making a hole about an inch wide, removing all seeds and leaving the bottom intact.

Combine the dates, raisins and walnuts with the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Stuff each apple with the fruit and nut mixture and mound some on top. Place a quarter of the butter on each apple.

Place the apples and the apple juice in a rimmed baking pan pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Discard the foil. Baste the apples with the pan juices and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream or whip cream.

Serves 4

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