Flowerless ~ Dairy Free Oat Cookies with Tahini and Nuts

I was craving a cookie which is about a once a year event since usually all sweets, expect dark chocolate, leave me completely cold! Well, anyway, since I do not like things that are very sweet, I had to make my own. And since I don't like butter much either, I came up with this recipe that uses Tahini (sesame butter) instead. I am sure you could use almond butter or any other kind of nut butter in it's place. I used very little sugar; if you want the cookies to be sweeter, increase the amount.



  • 2/3 cup of quick oat
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1.25 teaspoons of almond extract
  • 1/2 tahini
  • 1/4 cup soymilk  or rice dream
  • 1/4 cup nuts of your choice
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In small bowl, mix together the oats and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix tahini, brown sugar, egg and vanilla with by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Lastly mix in nuts and raisins.

Drop the one table spoon of cookie dough per cookie onto the prepared baking sheet.  The cookies will not be perfectly round in shape and perhaps a bit thick.

Bake cookies for about 15 minutes and, check with toothpick to see if they are done and/or remove when edges begin to turn a golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 large cookies.

Swiss Birchermüesli ~ The Ultimate Whole Foods Delight!

Birchermüesli is one of the traditional Swiss foods, loved by old and young alike; we eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner (on a hot day - so good!) or as a snack. It contains all the magic ingredients you want in a healthy food; it is high in protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fiber, phytonutrients, health-promoting bacteria and deliciousness! birchermuesli

Most Americans don't know that this food has a long and somewhat controversial history. Birchermüesli was invented around the turn of the century by physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner (1867-1939), a pioneer of naturopathic medicine and whole foods diet.  By introducing the idea of having a small bowl of rolled oats and raw apples before most meals, Dr. Bircher went against the medical theory of the time that food needed to be thoroughly cooked to be healthy. He also suggested that cereals, fruits and vegetables are a more valuable food than meat.  At that time meat was regarded as the best suited and most valuable food for humans, and vegetables and fruits were considered food of the poor people. Bircher encountered quite a bit of resistance with his new ideas; his professional colleagues did not agree with his points of view, scorned his meatless meals and often walked out of his talks to show their disapproval. But Bircher was not swayed!

Dr. Bircher


He also felt that health care should include more than just medical treatments. In 1897,  Bircher founded a health clinic in Zürich, where he practiced holistic medicine. During their stay at his clinic his patients were served a whole foods diet, took a  daily walk, bathed (hydrotherapy) and sunbathed and made use of the clinic's exercise equipment. Clearly he was way ahead of his time!

There is a little twist to the story; some say that the original Birchermüesli was a Swiss mountain food. The claim goes that Dr. Bircher was hiking in the mountains, stopped off at a mountain hut and was presented with a meal which was quite foreign to him. Maybe he only ate this mixture of raw, grated apple, oat flakes, nuts, lemon juice, yogurt  and milk as a gesture of good manners. But then again, maybe the friendly Alpine woman was able to convince him that this müesli was the magic potion of the mountain  farmers! We will never know. But one thing is for sure; a well made Birchermüesli is the ultimate whole foods delight!



  • 1.5 cups of rolled oats (for a hardy version) or quick oats. I like the rolled oats the best and the original muesli recipe calls for that. If you buy a pre-made muesli mix, make sure it does not contain cereal flakes as this will make for a very mushy muesli!
  • 2 grated apples
  • Fresh berries and/or fresh fuit; I used 3 apricots, cut into chunks and 1/2 basket of strawberries and 1 basket of raspberries.  You can use whatever is in season, including bananas, some even like citrus fruit.
  • 1/4 cup  of nuts, hazelnuts are especially good.
  • 1/4 cup of roughly ground flaxseed
  •  12 oz of plain yogurt

    Birchermuesli prep

  • 1 cup of milk or soymilk or rice dream
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Honey or other sweetener (optional)


  1. Mix oats and milk and let sit for about 5 minutes to soften the oats
  2. Add yogurt and lemon juice and blend well
  3. Add all the other ingredients

Makes 4 portions.

You can also make a larger amount and eat the left overs for the next two days.





Pasta with Zucchini, Dried Tomatoes, Dried Shitake Mushrooms & Herbs

Zucchini squashes are back in season; they come in all shapes, colors and sizes and, when fresh, have a lovely natural sweetness to them.You could make this dish with fresh mushrooms and tomatoes, but I like both the chewiness of the dried ones as well as the sweet flavor of the tomatoes when dried. The fresh herbs round out the flavors nicely and make this a wonderful pasta dish. IMG_0890


  • 2 1/4 cup of zucchini squash, cut into small bite size chunks
  • 1/4 cup dry tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soysauce
  • 1/2 bundle of parsley
  • 2 sprigs of marjoram (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 sprig of oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • Freshly graded parmesan (optional)
  • Pasta (I used brown rice pasta in this dish, but any pasta will be fine)

Serves 4 to 6



  1. Cut dried tomatoes into small chunks, I use my poultry shears to do it; works very well
  2. Boil water and pour over mushrooms and tomatoes (separate containers), cover and let sit for 10 minutes, drain liquid. You can save a bit of the tomato water in case you need extra liquid for the dish, do not use the mushroom water.
  3. Chop all other ingredients
  4. Boil water for pasta, add pasta when ready
  5. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat, add garlic and onion, saute for 3-4 minutes
  6. Add zucchini, saute for 5 minutes
  7. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and herbs - save a tablespoon of parsley for garnish, saute for a couple of minutes
  8. Ad white wine, soysauce, salt and pepper, cover pan and cook over low to medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes, until zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes are done (remember the mushrooms and tomatoes will stay chewy!) Add tomato water if you need more liquid.
  9. Mix with pasta, garnish with remaining parsley and top with grated parmesan.
  10. Serve as main or side dish.

Bon Appetit!

Green Beans the Swiss Way!

Greens beans are just coming into season and what a treat they are when they are so fresh! I put my own twist on this swiss way of cooking them and what a great dish it is! The fresh herbs I use in this dish make it taste wonderful. Summer savory is one of the best herbs for beans, which earns it it's german name: Bean herb. You can use just one of the herbs mentioned and multiply the quantity or use all or some of them. green beans


  • 1 pound of green beans, cut into halves or thirds
  • 1/2 pound of tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/2 bouillon cube (I like Rapunzel, whole foods, berkeley bowl)
  • 2 sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon of marjoram, oregano, thyme, summer savory each. Cut the herbs if you are using fresh ones.
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan
  2. Add onions and garlic, saute for a few minutes
  3. Add green beans and tomatoes, saute for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add water, bouillon and herbs.
  5. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until done.


Ginger ~ Sesame Marinated Tempeh with Leeks & Kale

Tempeh is made from  fermented grains and/or soy. It has been a healthy staple in Indonesia for centuries. Tempeh has a high protein content which makes it a great replacement for meat. Because it is fermented it is easier to digest then tofu or other soy type products. It is  sold as a plain cake of soybeans and grains as well as in pre-marinated form. While the pre-marinated versions are great if you don't have the time for marinating, I like my own versions the best. Tempeh absorbs flavors easily and variety of marinades will work well. Ideally you will be marinating tempeh for a few hours or even over night.


Ingredients Marinated Tempeh


  • 3 table spoons braggs, soy sauce or coconutaminos
  • 1/2 table spoon rice vinegar
  • 1 table spoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 table spoons of minced ginger
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 pack of tempeh, cut into cubes or strips

Mix all the ingredients together, marinated tofu for a few hours or over night.

Marinating the Tempeh


Ingredients Veggie Dish:

  • 1 bunch of kale, destemed and cut
  • 1 large or 2 medium size leeks, cut into very small rounds
  • 1 -2 table spoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 table spoon of toasted sesame seeds


Tempeh and leeks

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add garlic, pepper flakes,  leeks and marinated tempeh, lightly fry on low heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add kale and a tad water if needed and/or cover with lid to prevent burning on.
  3. Saute on low heat until kale and leeks are done.
  4. Season to taste with additional soy sauce or salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds

Serve with Soba noodles or any other item of your choice (does not go well with rice, better with a lighter grain like quinoa).


Meyer Lemon ~ Orange Marmalade

Our meyer lemon tree is producing so profusely that I can't keep up with giving the lemons away! So out come the lemon recipes. Marmalade is first, limoncello and lemon syrup will follow later. Marmalade is generally more time consuming than jam, but once you have made one or the other you will be happy to put in the time because they just taste far better than anything store bought. IMG_0539


Cut peel into small strips

  • Peel of 2 lemons, cut into very fine strips
  • Flesh of 8 lemons, skin and seeds removed
  • Peel of 2 oranges, cut into very fine strips
  • Flesh of 2 oranges, skin and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar (if you use brown sugar the jam will be much darker, the only time I use white sugar is when making lemon or orange products)
  • 3 small jars with lids


Gel test

  1. Mix water, juice, flesh and peel in pot, briefly bring to a boil, cover with lid, simmer for about 20 minutes to soften peel, stir frequently.
  2. Add sugar, bring briefly to boil, stirring to mix in sugar

    Sterilizing the jars in boiling water

  3. Reduce heat just so mixture boils gently, stirring frequently to prevent burning
  4. Skim off any foam that develops
  5. Cook until a teaspoon of mixture dropped on a cold plate gels, 15 to 20 minutes
  6. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling them for 5 minutes in a large pot. They have to be fully immersed in the boiling water!
  7. Remove the jars and lids from the pot with a tongs, place them upside down on a freshly washed towel to let water drain out. Do NOT touch the inside or rim of the jar and lids when putting them right side up to be filled.
  8. Ladle hot marmalade into sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of top.

    Sterilized jars before getting filled

  9. Wipe rims with dampened paper towel, make sure to use a fresh, clean bit of towel for each jar to avoid contamination.
  10. Seal jars with lids.
  11. I learned how to make jam when I was growing up. I was taught that sterilizing the jars before use will suffice with any sweet product and that with vegetables or herb, garlic or onion containing foods further sterilization in a water bath is needed. Here in the US the custom is to do the water bath sterilizing for jams and marmalade as well. If you want to do that, here is how:

Put jars in a water-bath canner or on a rack set in a deep pot. Add enough hot water to cover jars by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Boil jars, covered, 5 minutes and transfer with tongs to a rack. Cool jars completely.

In either case, if the jar is not properly sealed (the seal needs to be hard to break or pop when you open the jar) do NOT eat it the product; it might be spoiled and contain botulism bacteria.

Maroccan Halibut with Preserved Lemon

This fish tagine is by far my favorite way to cook halibut. The fish is marinated in a chermoula, a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking, which gives it an excellent flavor. The preserved lemons give the dish an unusual and delightfully different taste. hal maroc plate2


  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil


Combine garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, saffron, salt and cilantro in pestal and pound with a mortar until pasty and well mixed. Add lemon juice and oil. Cover fish with the marinade and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours.

Main Dish:

  • 2 pounds fresh halibut, skin remove, cut into large chunks
  • 4 carrots finely chopped

    Cooking the fish.

  • 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 large can/jar of tomatoes with juice, cut into large chunks
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a heavy casserole dish such as a LeCreuset pot.
  2. Stir in onions and carrots and saute until soft.
  3. Add the preserved lemon and tomatoes with liquid. Cook on low flame for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add wine. Briefly bring liquid to a boil, cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add fish, cover well with veggies and liquid (add small amount water if needed)
  6. Cook gently until fish is done, 6-8 minutes.
  7. Season to taste

Serve with couscous and veggies.

Serves 4 people

Bon Appetit!



Delicious & Simple Spring Greens: Purple Curly Kale

This is my favorite, simple way to make greens of any type. Mix different ones together, such as mustard, kale, bok choi, nettles, dandelions and chard, or go for a single green. I used this delicious baby purple curly kale that I found on the market this week. This type of kale has little yellow flowers which makes the dish not just taste, but also look great ! IMG_0781



  • 1 bunch of greens, leaves cut into 1/2-inch slices; stems of soft greens cut into 1/4-inch lengths, de-stem kale (to though)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh, finely chopped ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, bragg's amino liquid or coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to tasteIMG_0777


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add  red pepper, garlic, and ginger; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in greens and vinegar; sauté for 3 minutes.
  4. Add wine and soy sauce; cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. You may have to add a bit of water to prevent the greens from burning on. You can also cover them with a lid, but make sure to first bring the liquid to a light boil for a minute or two after you add the wine so the alcohol can evaporate, otherwise the dish will have an overwhelming and unpleasant wine flavor.

Serves 2


Bon Appetit!


"Quinotto" with Shrimp & Peas

I grew up with and love risotto. However, I am not often in the mood for white arborio rice or the arduous task of making a good risotto. Wanting an easier and whole grain version I came up with "Quinotto" - risotto made from quinoa. This particular recipe is a nice spring version as it includes peas which are now in season. IMG_0741


  • 3/4 - 1 pound of medium shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • 1 1/2 cups of quinoa
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock or bouillon
  • 1 cup of fresh peas or 1 cup of frozen peas, defrosted
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft.
  2. Add quinoa and garlic, cook, stirring for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add white wine, cook on low heat for 5 minutes
  4. Add stock, cover pot and simmer for about 15 minutes
  5. When the quinoa is almost but not quite done, add the shrimp and peas. Make sure to add more stock if necessary. Add lemon zest. Cook for about 4 minutes until the shrimp are done and peas are bright green.
  6. Remove from heat and add parmesan and another small ladle of hot stock if needed.

Serves 4

On this occasion I served the dish with steamed asparagus and shitake mushrooms sauteed in white wine.

If you want the dish to have more of a seafood flavor you can do the following (not necessary and a bit more time consuming):

Rinse the shrimp shells after removing them from the shrimp, combine them with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, skim off foam,  simmer partly covered for 30 minutes on medium to low heat. Strain and add to the chicken/vegetable stock.


Oat & Blue Corn Flour Muffins with Pine Nuts ~ Gluten Free

These gluten-free at & blue corn flour muffins are fantastic and it takes hardly any time to make them. I use the same basic recipe and vary it by using different ingredients. This mix is great both with savory foods, cheese for instance, or for breakfast with jam.


For 6 mini muffins:

  • 3/4 cup gluten free oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup blue corn flour
  • 1 eggIMG_0751
  • 1 1/4 tea spoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of soymilk, milk, rice dream, whatever you like
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Small handful of pine nuts



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Safe a few pine nuts to decorate the top of the muffins.
  3. Grease muffin tin ( I use a fantastic cast iron tin = non-stick and no toxins!).
  4. Fill mixture into tin.
  5. Sprinkle with pine nuts
  6. Put into preheated oven, bake for about 25 minutes, stick a tooth pick into the muffin, if it comes out clean they are done.
  7. Cool slightly before removing from tin.


Watercress Salad with Kohlrabi, Asparagus, Radish, Olives & Sunflower Seeds

Here is another of my favorite, spring produce inspired salads. If you have never tried Kohlrabi, this is a great way to do it. Growing up with this vegetable from the cabbage family, I have to say I think it tastes much better raw then cooked. The cooked version is quite boring and therefor often served with a bechamel sauce to give it some zing. Raw, Kohlrabi taste slightly sweet, almost like a blend of an apple and a cabbage. The sweetness of the Kohlrabi makes for a nice contrast with the peppery taste of the Watercress. IMG_0759



  • 4 small kohlrabi: cut into small chunks
  • 1 bundle of watercress (approx. 3/4 -1 cup): remove stems and wash
  • 1 cup of asparagus, cut into small chunks
  • 10 radishes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seedsIMG_0755


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 table spoon of meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of meyer lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste



Mix all the ingredients


  1. Blanch asparagus: drop into boiling water for 2-3 minutes; drain, rinse with very cold water
  2. Toast sunflower seeds in non-stick pan without oil over low heat for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add all ingredients to dressing and enjoy!

Asparagus & Kale Frittata

Try this easy to make, spring-inspired vegetable frittata for dinner or lunch with a salad or for a special Sunday breakfast!IMG_0727 You will need a oven-safe pan, such as a cast-iron skillet, to make this dish.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup of asparagus finely cut (see pic)IMG_0724
  • 1 cup of kale finely cut
  • 1/2 red onion finely cut
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce, Bragg's amino liquid, or coconut aminos
  • Dash of tabasco or hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves only (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon of olive oil


  1. Heat broiler
  2. Heat olive oil in cast-iron skillet and cook onion and garlic until tender over medium heat, about 5 minutes
  3. Add kale, asparagus, soy sauce, thyme, tabasco, and cook until tender, over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add very small amount of water  and cover with lid if necessary to avoid burning.
  4. In a bowl whisk eggs with 1/2 tsp of salt and pour into skillet wit vegetables.
  5. Cook until sides are beginning to set, about 2-3 minutes
  6. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until just set in the middle and lightly golden and puffed on the top, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve with Salsa (optional, but I think it tastes fantastic that way!) Enjoy!



Kale Salad with Snap Peas, Shaved Fennel & Carrot and Toasted Walnuts

Snap peas just arrived at my local farmer's market. Fennel is in season and the kale and carrots are still very good. Adding them together was the inspiration for this recipe. A tasty meyer lemon vinaigrette ties the whole thing together very nicely. Enjoy with something like the nice savory, gluten-free buckwheat ~ oat ~pumpkin muffin seen in this image. (Recipe for muffin to follow soon).IMG_0707


Shaving fennel


  • 1 bunch of kale, very finely cut
  • 2 small carrots (choose the fresh ones with the greens on them), shaved
  • 1 small fennel, shaved
  • 1/2 cup of snap peas cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts, toasted

Use a swiss potato peeler (by Kuhn-Rikon) to shave fennel and carrots; available at Sur La Table for under $5.00. This is a fabulous tool that you will use over and over again. Works great to peep pumpkins too! See image.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

    Toasting Walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 table spoon of meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of meyer lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk well.

    Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

  2. Toast walnuts in a non-stick pan (preferably cast iron), do not use oil, just slowly warm over low heat and stir to avoid burning them.
  3. Add salad ingredients, mix well, enjoy!

Serves 4, makes for a nice lunch salad, almost too much for a side dinner salad.


Easter Eggs Made by Mother Nature (and me)

Beautiful Easter Eggs Made With All Natural Materials


Growing up in Switzerland I learned how to make these beautiful eggs with Mother Nature's imprint. All you need is patience, dexterity and an hour or two. Make them with your school age children, be prepared for some real beauties, some failures (it takes a bit of practice to get them right) and some eggs that will only have a faint, almost etherial imprint on them.


  • Yellow and red onion skins (keep them separate)
  • White eggs
  • Twine
  • Leaves and grasses from your garden


  1. Put red skins in one pot with water, yellow ones in another, bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes. The red skins will make darker eggs, the yellow skins lighter ones.
  2. Place eggs on a soft surface, put leaf on it (I found that using a bit of egg white helps the leaves stick. Firm leaves do better than soft ones, ivy and fern works really well.
  3. Place leaves close together and carefully wrap them onto the egg with twine. You want to wrap them tightly so the leaves don't come off when IMG_0634you boil the eggs. This it the part that takes patience and dexterity. Don't despair, you will get the hang of it!
  4. Gently place the wrapped eggs into the pot, bring to a boil and boil for 5-10 minutes.IMG_0627


Once the eggs are done, you simply remove the twine and leaves. Your masterpieces are finished!

Note: I decided to experiment with another color option, thinking that red beets would stain the eggs pink. Much to my surprise the eggs did not take on any color! The I decided to add turmeric to my yellow onion skins and that ended up giving them a vey nice hue.

I hope you enjoy this "eggsperiments"...send in pics if you make them!IMG_0642

Flour-less Chocolate Cake

This flour-less chocolate cake makes for the perfect dessert for Passover. The recipe is from La Bete Noir.IMG_0623 You will need a large roasting pan and a 10-inch diameter spring form.



  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 18 oz of bittersweet (not unsweetened) or 54% dark chocolate
  • 6 large eggs
  • Almond meal (optional)


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz of bittersweet (not unsweetened) or 71% chocolate

Makes 16 servings


Readied Pan


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Butter 10 inch diameter spring form pan and add almond meal (will make it easier to get cake out of form, I added that option)

    Mixing  Chocolate and Butter

  3. Line bottom of pan with parchment round, butter parchment
  4. Wrap 3 layers of heavy duty foil OUTSIDE of pan, brining foil to top of rim.
  5. Combine 1 cup of water an sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, simmer 5 minutes, remove from heat.
  6. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat.
  7. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  8. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate, cool slightly.

    Ron Hard at Work

  9. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  11. Place cake pan into large roasting pan. Add enough hot water roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of cake pan.

    Pan in the Oven

  12. Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes.
  13. Remove from water bath, transfer to rack, cool completely in pan. (We put ours into the fridge)


  1. Over medium heat bring whipping cream to simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.

    Cake with Ganache

  2. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour over top of cake still in pan.
  4. Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over to of cake.
  5. Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set, about 2 hours.
  6. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. ENJOY!

Pictures of the cut masterpiece will follow tomorrow!

Try Something New: Parmesan Baked Fennel

While not very well known here, Fennel is a very popular vegetable in all of Europe. Growing up we had a version of  this dish, but because it was a bit bland and boring and changed some of the ingredients and voila!, this this very tasty version was born. The preparation of this dish takes hardly any time, but the baking does.


  • Fennel (2 per person if it is a large side dish, 1 if it is a small side dish)
  • Parmesan, freshly graded
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Nutmeg, ground
  • Aluminum foil or baking dish cover



  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Cut the greenery, stalks and any bruised parts off and cut fennel lengthwise in half

    fennel with parmesan and red pepper flakes

  3. Sprinkle each with about 1 tablespoon of parmesan
  4. Sprinkle some of the fennels with red pepper flakes, the others with grated nutmeg
  5. Place on baking sheet or pan and put in the oven
  6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, check periodically to make sure that the tops are not browning too much.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil or baking dish cover after about 25 -30 minutes to avoid further browning of tops. Bake for 10 - 15 more minutes until soft when poked with a knife.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Note: the outermost layer of the fennel might be a bit though. I don't mind it and eat it all, but some people choose to remove that part and eat only the inside.



Golden Beet Salad with Arugula, Pear, Fig & Hazelnuts

Overall I am not a big fan of fruit, especially dried fruit, in a salad. Not because it doesn't taste great, but because nowadays many restaurants serve salads that really belong on the dessert menu, and  not on the " I am eating something healthy" list. So much said, this is a great salad for special occasions, such as a Sunday meal or a dinner party.


  1. 1 Bartlett pear, chopped
  2. 1 large or 2 small size golden beats
  3. 3 oz - approx. 1/2 bag of arugula lettuce
  4. 6 figs, cut into small pieces
  5. 1 handful of hazelnuts, cut into halves
  6. 1.5 Tablespoons Olive oil
  7. 1 Tablespoon of regular balsamic vinegar
  8. 1 Tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar
  9. Salt and pepper to taste




  • Heat water in a medium size pan, add whole, cleaned beets, bring to a boil and cook for 30-40 minutes until soft. You still want to get a bit of resistance when you stick a knife into the beet.
  • Put into colander in sink when done and under cold running water, just using your hands, peel the skin off the beet (works great!)
  • Cut into slices, place into bowl and sprinkle evenly with white balsamic vinegar. Cover and put in fridge to cool. Adding the vinegar to beets while they are still warm makes them absorb it and gets rid of the slightly "earthy" taste that beets can have and that some people don't like.
  • Cut hazelnuts into halves and roast in a non-stick pan - preferably cast iron - on low until slightly browned. The best way to roast nuts and seeds is to just put them into the warm pan, stir them frequently and let them roast for 3-7 minutes (depending on what nuts/seeds) DO NOT USE OIL. Nuts and seeds contain enough of there own oil to roast perfectly without added oil.
  • Cut figs into small pieces, pear into slightly larger chunks
  • Mix arugula, beets, figs, pears and hazelnuts. Add oil and vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Easy & Delicious: Berry~Walnut~Buckwheat Pancakes

Pancake ing This is one of my favorite Sunday breakfasts!

I am a big fan of buckwheat; it tastes delicious and contains chiro-inositol which helps with blood sugar regulation/control.

Bette's Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix is by far my favorite. Of course you could put together your own mix, but I doubt that it would taste any better then what Bette has put together for us! You can find her mix at her Ocean View diner in Berkeley, at the Berkeley Bowl and other fine grocery stores. You can also order the mix online at: http://bettesdiner.com/Pancake-and-Waffle-Mixes/c/BettesDiner@PancakeMixes


I like adding walnuts and berries, frozen or fresh, depending on whether they are in season. Because I don't drink milk, I use rice dream. Anything in the "milk" family will do.

Mixing the ingredients


  • 1 Cup of pancake mix
  • 1 cups of "milk"
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of berries of your choice

Makes 10-12 4 inch pancakes



  1. Defrost berries over night or in microwave, discharge liquid
  2. More time consuming version: separate egg and beat egg white to form soft peaks
  3. In large bowl, beat egg yolks, mix with milk, blend in pancake mix, add berries and walnuts. Fold in egg white.
  4. Less time consuming, pancakes will be slightly less fluffy: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, egg and milk first.


  5. Heat oil in non-stick pan (preferably cast iron)
  6. Add one scoop of pancake mix, cook at medium temperature for 2-3 minutes. When bubbles cover surface of pancake turn and cook on other side, cook for 2-3 more until minutes until bottoms are browned.

    Bon Appetit!

  7. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired and enjoy!


Note: The recipe on the pancake mix asks for butter to be added. I always make them without it and they taste great.

Sunday Meal: Frank's Kilauea Ginger Fish

Frank's Special Ginger Fish We were introduced to this great recipe by our friend Frank in Kauai a few years ago. He used ahi on that occasion. We have since made it many times using ahi or halibut. The ginger and tomato make for a wonderful, sweet and complex flavor!

Use fresh tomatoes when available

Because this meal takes time to prepare and because it is extra special, I consider it a "Sunday Meal".


  • 3 red or sweet onions, chopped
  • 3 large Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons Ginger, chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Fish of choice, about 4 oz per person
  • White wine, 1/4 to 1/2 cup, to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, garlic & ginger


  1. Chop onions, garlic & ginger
  2. Saute in large pan until soft and translucent
  3. Add tomatoes and wine, saute on low flame with cover for approximately 1 hour
  4. Add fish, cover fish with tomatoes and onions, cover with lid  and cook on low flame until fish is done; until fish is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Add tomatoes & wine



Serve with veggies and quinoa or any other of your favorite food!

Bon Appetit!


Moroccan Lentils & Carrots with Turmeric & Cilantro

This is a wonderful dish that the brings flavors of Morocco to your dinner table!


Dry Lentils

  • 2-3 table spoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 table spoon honey (optional)
  • 1 cup of dry black beluga lentils
  • 4 medium size carrots, cut into rectangular pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely cut
  • Lemon wedges

    Soaked Lentils


  1. Put dry lentils in a bowl and cover with water IN THE MORNING.
  2. EVENING: Heat oil in a heavy casserole pan, add onion, garlic, sauté until soft
  3. Add all the spices and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  4. Drain the soaked lentils, add to pot together with carrots, add just enough water to cover lentils and carrots, cover with a lid.

    Saute Onions, Garlic and all the Spices


  5. Cook gently for about 15-20 minutes and add water as needed.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with lemon wedges: squeeze lemon juice on dish just before eating it. Serve with your favorite veggies and rice or whole grain couscous.

Bon Appetite!

Add Carrots and Lentils to the Pot