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

PUMPKIN BUTTER

If upon tasting the pumpkin butter, it feels a little bit heavy on spices, don’t worry. The sharpness of the spices will mellow down after the butter sits in the fridge for a day or so. Just be patient with it.

2 (15-ounce) cans pure pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar

 


Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring very frequently, until the mixture is thicker and darker.

Let cool and store in airtight containers. Keep the pumpkin butter refrigerated–it is not safe to can it!

Makes 2 cups

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

pumpkin butter

PEACH YOGURT BRULEE

4 peaches, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon rose water

2 tablespoons water

2 cups Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar, divided
 


 
Place the peaches, cinnamon, and ginger in a saucepan. Add the rose water and water. Simmer until peaches are soft but still firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Layer the peaches on the bottom of 6 ramekins.

Whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, and half of the sugar to obtain a homogenous mixture. Spoon enough yogurt on top of the peaches to fill the ramekins.

Sprinkle the surface of the yogurt with the rest of the sugar and cook under a broiler on high until the sugar is brown and crusty, 7 to 8 minutes.

Let cool then refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
 
Serves 6

SAFFRON RED PEPPER PASTA

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pinches saffron
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 (14-ounce) box of multi-grain spaghetti
4 ounces gruyère, freshly shredded
A handful chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

 


 

Place the red bell peppers and shallots in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, pepper, and saffron. Add the olive oil and sauté over medium heat, 4 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until the red bell peppers are very soft and the liquid reduced to half, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the yogurt. Blend on high in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain.

Add the pasta to the red pepper sauce and mix well. Plate, top with shredded gruyère and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4

DECONSTRUCTED BAKLAVA CUPS

5 phyllo sheets
Cooking spray or melted butter

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachios
1 tablespoon unrefined brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespsoons warm honey
 


 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets into circles the size of your serving glass. Place the circle stacks on the prepared cookie sheet. Spray the top of the phyllo circles with cooking spray or brush them with melted butter. Bake them until golden and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Take out of the oven.

Meanwhile, place the walnuts, pistachios, brown sugar, melted butter, orange blossom water (if using) and pumpkin spice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix and chop the ingredients.

Place half of the nut mixture in a glass, top it with half of the crispy phyllo circles, then the rest of the nut mixture and finally the rest of the phyllo.

Pour the warm honey over your stacked baklava. Enjoy lukewarm or at room temperature.
 
Makes 1 large cup. Serves 2.

CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

small head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
1 ½ cups milk
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
⅛ heaping teaspoon ground nutmeg, or more to taste
3/4 cup grated sharp cheese like Jarlsberg, Parmesan, Swiss or gruyere – divided

 


 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place cauliflower florets on a microwave-safe plate and cover with wet paper towel. Microwave on high for about four minutes, until crisp-tender.

Place the cauliflower in a single layer into an 8×8 inch baking dish.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until it makes a bubbly paste.
Gradually add the milk and stir constantly until the sauce becomes thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and half of the cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the cauliflower florets and sprinkle with remaining cheese

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese sauce is a light golden brown.

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish.

CHIPOTLE SCALLOPED SWEET POTATOES

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chipotle puree
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together the heavy cream and chipotle puree until well combined.

Season the sweet potatoes with salt and pepper. Layer the sweet potatoes in a 6×8–inch baking pan. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons of the chipotle-cream mixture. Repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes and cream mixture to form 3 to 4 layers. Cover with foil paper and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
 
Serves 4 to 6
 
Inspired by Bobby Flay.

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

DUKKAH RICE

Dukkah is an Egyptian blend of toasted spices, seeds, nuts and dried herbs. It is typically mixed with olive oil and served as a dip with bread but it also works well for seasoning various dishes such as this one.

 

1 cup long grain rice

1/2 cup almonds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Sea salt, to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

2 medium carrots, finely grated (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 


 
Cook the rice according to package instructions.

Toast the almonds, sesame seeds, oregano, thyme, cumin, pepper and cardamom in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a coffee grinder, add the sea salt and grind to a powder. Transfer the ground mixture to a large bowl and whisk the olive oil and lemon juice into it.

Add the carrots, if using, parsley and cooked rice. Toss well to flavor the rice with duqqa.

 
Serves 4

GLUTEN-FREE MADELEINES

1/2 cup agave syrup
4 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

 


 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two (12-madeleine) madeleine tins.

Beat the agave syrup with the eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl until frothy.

Sift the brown rice flour, millet flour, salt and baking powder together; whisk them into the liquid mixture.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one a little over halfway. Bake until the edges of the madeleines are browned, about 10 minutes.
 
Makes 24