BUCKWHEAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

2/3 cup canola oil

8 oz unsweetened apple sauce

3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

 


 

Place the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate with canola oil in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. Whisk into the melted chocolate mixture. Sift in the rest of the ingredients. Whisk well to obtain a smooth batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer comes out clean, 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
 
Serves 8

ISPAHAN CAKE ROLL

This is my simpler, lighter take on Pierre Herme’s signature rose, raspberry and lychee yule log known as bûche Ispahan.
 
For the génoise (cake)
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling
8 ounces mascarpone
5 ounces fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
1 (15-ounce) can lychees in light syrup (or pears in syrup)

For the syrup

Syrup from the can of lychees (or pears)
1 teaspoon rose water
 


 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 8×10 pan with parchment paper.

Beat the sugar with the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl until frothy. Gently whisk in the flour. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the egg yolk, sugar and flour mixture. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the mascarpone, raspberries, sugar, and rose water in the bowl of a food processor and reduce to a purée. Set aside.

When the cake is cooked, unmold it onto a damp towel, remove the parchment paper and roll the cake immediately with the towel. Let it cool that way, about 20 minutes. Place the lychees (or pears) on a cutting board and dice them. Pour the syrup into a small saucepan, add the rose water and heat it over low heat for about 5 minutes. Unroll the cake and remove the towel. Brush the cake lightly with the syrup, spread half of the raspberry mascarpone inside the cake and top with diced lychees (or pears). Gently roll the cake, cover it with raspberry ricotta and cut off the ends. Garnish with raspberries and refrigerate for an hour before serving.
 
Serves 6 to 8

SAUTEED ZUCCHINI RIBBONS WITH FETA DRESSING

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, ribboned
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Dressing
3 ounces feta cheese
1 garlic clove
4 mint leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 


 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the zucchini ribbons until tender and golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Prepare the sauce by processing all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor. If the mixture is too thick add water, one tablespoon at a time, and process again until creamy.

Place the zucchini ribbons in a bowl. Add the feta dressing and toss well. Serve at room temperature with your favorite entree.

Serves 4

 

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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

FLAXSEED BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
2/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup turbinado sugar
2 cups golden flax seed meal
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg whites
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

 


 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce, canola oil, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.

In a separate bowl, stir the flaxseed meal, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder until combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in the other bowl.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until you obtain stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter until mixed. Fold the blueberries into the batter.

Divide the batter among the twelve cups. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
 

Makes 12 muffins.

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

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