Rhubarb and Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia seeds and coconut make a perfect combination for a pudding. The fresh rhubarb we found at the Green City Market inspired this not too sweet dessert.

Very easy to make. Simply plan ahead as it needs resting time.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 7oz unsweetened organic creamed coconut “Let’s do…Organics”
  • 3 stalks rhubarb
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Zest of 1/2 organic lemon
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Pinch of salt


Wash and trim the rhubarb stalks so there’s no green leaves. Discard the leaves it any. Cut the stalks in small even sized pieces. 


Cut the vanilla bean in half, and split each half so you can scrape the seeds. 


Place the rhubarb, honey and half a vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan on low heat and cover for about 10 minutes. 


Meanwhile place the creamed coconut in a large bowl. 


Add the hot water and the other half of the vanilla bean.


Whisk thoroughly to combine. 


Add the coconut flakes, salt and chia seeds. Mix well, cover and refrigerate about one hour or so.


Uncover the saucepan with the rhubarb and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover and continue to cook on low heat for another ten minutes. 


Transfer to a bowl, add the lemon zest, mix well, cover and refrigerate. 


Remove the bowls from the refrigerator when the chia seeds have set in the coconut mixture. 


Fill small jars by alternating chia/coconut preparation with the cooled rhubarb/honey/lemon mixture.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later tasting. 

Note: the longer you refrigerate the pudding, the  more set it will become. 

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Quince, Honey and Thyme Tart

Quince is a very hard and tart fruit in its raw state, which softens and becomes a delicious treat when cooked and sweetened.  When growing up in the French countryside, we commonly used to make quince jelly and quince paste with this fruit high in pectin. After cooking for a long time, the flesh of the fruit turns a beautiful deep pink color, which is most appealing and appetizing. 

 ​The honey caramilizes the quinces, and the thyme imparts a savory taste balancing the flavors. The longer the baking process, the more beautiful golden vermillion they turn. 

  Ingredients

  • 800 g/1 lb 12 oz quince
  • 60 g/ 2 oz French butter
  • 90 g/ 3 oz raw honey (Mild flavor like acacia)
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 4 cloves
  • A few sprigs thyme

For the crust:

  • 150 g/ 5 1/4 oz all purpose organic in bleached flour
  • 70 g/ 2.5 oz French butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 375F. 

  Start by making the crust. Place the flour, salt and cold butter, cut in small pieces, in a bowl. 
  Using one hand only, gently and briskly mix the butter and flour to coat each piece. Then, press the flour-coated pieces of butter between your fingertips to ‘crumble’ the mixture.   Continue until the mixture resembles a sandy texture.  Then add just enough cold water to form a non sticky ball. 
  Place the dough on wax paper, wrap it and refrigerate it.  Meanwhile, cut the quinces in half, then quarters. Do not peel the quinces at this time as it would be a very difficult task. It is easier to peel them after cooking them.   Cut each quarter in halves to makes eighths. Quince oxidize extremely quickly by contact with air.Place them in a wide-bottom pot, barely cover with cold water, and add the cinnamon stick and cloves.     Bring to a boils and simmer about 30 minutes, until the quinces are tender. Meanwhile, place generous pieces of butter  on the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish as well as around the sides.   Pour the honey over the butter to cover the bottom of the pie dish.   Spread the thyme leaves over the butter and honey. Reserve a couple sprigs of thyme for presentation.   Take the quince out of the boiling liquid into a colander using a skimmer/slotted spoon. Reserve the liquid for another use, such as quince jelly.   Cut out the seedy core.   Peel the quince pieces. By now the skin should come off relatively easily.   Arrange the quince slices in a circle following the shape of the dish.   Take the dought out of the refrigerator and place it on a floured surface.  Using a French rod-style rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle barely larger than the tart dish.   Roll the crust onto the rolling pin to easily transfer it from the surface to the tart dish. 

  Roll out the crust onto the quinces.   Tuck the edges between the quince slices and the buttered edges of the tart dish. 
  Bake for about 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and let the tart sit on the rack in the oven for another 15 minutes with the oven door slightly open.   The crust should be lightely golden and crisp to the touch.   Run the blade of a knife around the edges to unstick the caramelized tart from the baking dish. Turn the tart over onto a serving platter.  You might have to carefully rearrange or straighten some of the quince slices. Finish by adding a few leaves of fresh thyme. Serve and enjoy!

Rhubarb and Asparagus Tart

This country style tart was inspired by seeing the display of freshly picked rhubarb and purple asparagus next to each other at the farmer’s stall of the Green City Market.  

 The combination of rhubarb and asparagus is enhanced by the refreshing and fragrant tastes of lemon, thyme and cardamom with a bit of honey to sweeten the tartness of the rhubarb.

The olive oil crust, gluten free, includes lemon zest to echoe the fresh balance of flavors of the filling.  

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 pinch sea salt
  • Zest of 1 organic lemon

For the filling:

  • 250 g/9 oz fresh rhubarb
  • 250 g/9 oz purple asparagus
  • 1 lemon zest and juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp gluten free flour
  • 5 g/ 1/4 oz thyme
  • 1 pinch salt

  Preheat oven 375F 

  Start by washing the asparagus and cut the tips at an angle.  If some of the tips are larger than others, cut them in half, lengthwise. Reserve.   Cut the remaining stalks of the asparagus in small pieces.   Wash the rhubarb and cut thick slices similar in size to the asparagus. There is no need to peel the rhubarb. Be sure to discard the green leafy parts as it is toxic.   Place rhubarb and asparagus in a bowl.   Remove the thyme leaves from the stems. Discard the stems. Reserve the leaves.   When making a gluten free crust, personally I like to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour. Here I’ll use it for the filling as well.   Add the thyme leaves, honey, salt, ground cardamom, GF flour and olive oil to the bowl.  Zest the organic lemon with a micro plane and add to the mixture.   Add the lemon juice and toss. Set aside for the flavors to infuse.   Prepare a well with the gluten free flour and add salt and lemon zest.   Then add the olive oil and hot water.   Using one hand, slowly incorporate the flour and liquid mixture.   The final crust will be crumbly.   Form it into a flattened ball.   Using s pastry rolling pin, start to roll out the dough, rolling back and forth to elongate the crust.   Using a pastry scraper, lift the crust from the surface and turn it 1/4 turn.   Continue to roll out the dough, turning it 1/4 turn as soon as it is elongated into an oval, until you have a round shape that is large enough to fit the tart dish Bottom and sides.   Line the tart dish with the crust. The nature of the gluten free crust is to break into pieces. Simply patch it back together as it is very forgiving.   Place the rhubarb-asparagus mixture on the crust.   Arange the asparagus tips on top. And place in the oven, lowering the temperature to 350F. Bake for 45 minutes.   When the tart is baked, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle some fleur de sel. Wait a few minutes before cutting.  Enjoy!

Smoked Mackerel Tartine

Tartine is a French classic basically designating a slice of bread topped with something spread-maybe more commonly known as an ‘open-face sandwich’. Perfect for a brunch, a picnic or as appetizers cut up in bite-size pieces.

Historically sweet Tartines were a typical breakfast fare in France, topped with French butter and honey or homemade jam. They defined French children breakfasts for ages.

Nowadays savory Tartines have become increasingly popular: they are appetizing, simple, fun and ever changing depending on the ingredients at hand.

Here I am using a combination of flavors including the smokiness of the mackerel, the nutty taste of hazelnuts, sweetness of honey and the tart zing of passion fruit.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 slices of dense multigrain bread from your local bakery
  • 12 oz smoked mackerel
  • 7 oz soft goat cheese
  • 4 small golden beets
  • 1/2 passion fruit
  • 1/2 bunch of watercress
  • A handful raw hazelnuts
  • Micro greens 
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Drizzles of hazelnut oil
  • Fleur de sel

Start by mixing the honey and goat cheese until fully combined. Spread a thick layer of honey goat cheese on each slice of bread. Wash the watercress, remove the stems, and place the leaves on top of the goat cheese mixture. Press them down so they stick to the cheese layer. Drizzle a little hazelnut oil and sprinkle some fleur de sel. Peel and thinly slice the golden beets. Arrange a layer on top of the watercress and drizzle a little additional hazelnut oil and fleur de sel. Cut a small filet of smoked mackerel and remove the skin. Place on top of the beets. Arrange some micro greens on the surface. Chop some hazelnuts. Cut the passion fruit in half to reveal its golden flesh and seeds. Finish with a few pieces of hazelnuts and drops of passion fruit pulp/seeds. Enjoy!

Homemade Granola

As much as I grew up starting the day with a bowl of Chocolate Chaud and Tartines of French bread (not toasted) with butter and lavender honey or homemade jams, I love my American breakfast: granola.20140523-154704-56824770.jpgI particularly enjoy making it because I only include the ingredients I want, and none of the ones I do not want, such as considerable amounts of sugar and oil which are present in most store bought, packaged or bulk, granola. I typically make it with gluten free oats, gluten free old fashioned rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill, but you can use regular rolled oats if gluten is not an issue for you.  Just be sure they are not instant or quick cooking oats. Finally, I serve mine with almond milk.  Be sure to select the unflavored, original kind that is unsweetened. Whenever ingredients include ‘natural flavor’ or ‘natural flavoring’, often to impart a vanilla flavor, that is synonymous of ‘castoreum’ (animal product), which is not one I want to be putting in my body.

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 dates
  • 12 dried figs
  • 8 prunes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

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Start by chopping the almonds and walnuts or pecans into smaller bites.20140523-160954-58194907.jpgCombine the oats, almonds, walnuts or pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.

20140523-160955-58195263.jpgThe blackstrap molasses, honey, cinnamon and vanilla quantities are given as a guide.  Please adjust to your preference.
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Add the honey, blackstrap molasses, vanilla and cinnamon to the oat, nut and seed mixture.
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Mix thoroughly until well combined and not lumps remain.
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Spread on two cookie sheets so that the layer is not too thick, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
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Spread the sesame seeds and dried coconut on separate cookie sheets and bake the sesame seeds in the 350F oven for 3 to 4 minutes.
After the granola has been in the oven for 10 minutes, lower the oven to 225F, toss the granola on the cookie sheets and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Repeat tossing the granola every 10 minutes 4 or 5 times until the granola has reach your desired golden brown color.
Meanwhile, place the coconut in the 225F oven for 5 minutes, and toss every 5 minutes for a total of 15 minutes.
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Personally I like the sesame seeds and coconut lightly golden. You can keep baking them darker to exude a more intense flavor.
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You can use a bit more, or less ground flax seeds and chia seeds depending on your preference.
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Slice the dried figs, dates and prunes into small pieces.
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When the granola has baked to your desired golden color, set the cookie sheets on a cooling rack or trivet.
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Spread the dried fruits over the granola.
20140523-175903-64743858.jpgAdd the chia and ground flax seeds and mix to combine thoroughly.
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Place in a glass jar with a top and keep in a dark dry place (kitchen cupboard or pantry).
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Enjoy!

Cardamon Honey Chocolate Mousse

An old fashion dessert that remains a favorite of all ages across cultures. It is fluffy, tasty and a perfect ending to a dinner in any season. Best served in individual ramequins or cocottes, chocolate mousse can be prepare a day ahead and, as such, perfectly suited for entertaining.
20130718-153311.jpg The flavor of the mousse depends on the type of chocolate. Personally, I enjoy particularly dark chocolate and used 99% in this recipe. I understand that not a lot of taste buds are accustomed to this flavor, and using 70-85% is probably more along the lines of what most of you will truly enjoy. Either way, be sure to use a high quality chocolate Callebaut, Valrhona, Guittard, Sharffen Berger.

20130716-213701.jpgIngredients:
140g or 5 oz dark chocolate
60g or 2oz butter (I rarely use butter, and I like to use a high quality French butter when I do. It has a lower water content than butter typically found in the U.S. and a smoother, tastier finish)
3 eggs plus two egg whites
1/4 cup honey (up to 3/8 cup if you like it sweeter)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cardamon (can be omitted, or more added if you like a stronger cardamon flavor)
Pinch of salt

20130716-213738.jpgChop chocolate to ensure even melting.

20130716-213813.jpgMelt chocolate and butter ‘au bain marie’, which is basically over a water bath in a double boiler, by placing the pot containing the chocolate and butter over a pot of water on the stove, set at medium low heat. I like using a chopstick to mix melting chocolate.

20130716-213852.jpgOnce the chocolate and butter are completely melted, remove the heat source and add honey and cardamon. Mix well and let cool.

20130716-213935.jpgSeparate egg yolks of the 3 eggs. Add the additional two egg whites in a mixing bowl for a total of 5. Adding the extra egg whites makes the mousse extra light and fluffy.

20130716-214011.jpgOnce the chocolate mixture is cool enough so it won’t cook the egg yolks, add each egg yolk one at a time, immediately whisking vigorously to ensure they mix well without cooking from the heat of the melted chocolate.

20130716-214058.jpgWhisk egg whites with a pinch of salt and a little. vanilla till firm peaks form. For those who enjoy a sweeter tasting mousse, you might add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the egg whites while whisking.

20130716-214146.jpgAdd 1/4 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture.

20130716-214230.jpgWhisk together to fully homogenize.

20130716-214339.jpgPour this mixture over the remaining fluffy egg whites and carefully fold them together with a curved rubber spatula.

20130716-214519.jpgContinue folding until fully incorporated but do not over mix, otherwise you’ll loose the lightness of the air in the egg whites.
20130718-153348.jpgPour in individual serving dishes, preferably with a cover to refrigerate.
20130718-153437.jpg Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours to allow the mousse to set. You’ll obtain best results and consistency if you prepare them a day ahead so they sit overnight.

20130716-215157.jpgEnjoy!