Monday, December 20, 2010

Vegetarian Moussaka

In the Mediterranean there are endless versions of moussaka, but the basic principle is layered vegetables alternating with layers of minced meat, tomato sauce and bechamel sauce. Typically the vegetables, be it potatoes or eggplants, are fried and then layered accordingly.
Saute onions for tomato sauce

This light and and dairy moussaka is not only vegetarian, but not as heavy and fattening as the classic Greek moussaka. I used eggplants for this casserole and instead of breading and frying it, I brushed it lightly with olive oil and then broiled it. I personally do not like fried eggplants,  because it tends to be a greasy with a pool of oil at the bottom of the dish.

To create the substance of meat in this vegetarian moussaka, I used feta cheese and cottage cheese which gives a rich and filling texture to the layers of eggplants.
Salt eggplant, pat dry, and then gill in broiler

In the summer time, serve this dish straight from the oven dish with a fresh leafy salad for a satisfying meal on those long summer evenings. In cooler months, try serving it with homemade potato wedges cooked with chilli flakes and olive oil for a filling plate of comfort food.

Serves 8


1 large eggplants, unpeeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
olive oil, for basting
Cheese Filling
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cottage cheese
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup Gluten Free cereal, crushed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
5 tomatoes, diced
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2–3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt, scant
1/2 teaspoon pepper

  1. Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and let stand ½ hour. Set your oven to broil. Pat dry with a paper towel, baste with olive oil on both sides. You can use a brush to baste. Lightly salt the eggplants and place on tray for the oven. Grill on both sides until golden, about 7 minutes on each side. Make sure the eggplants do not burn.
  2. To prepare filling: mix together cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, feta cheese, beaten egg, gluten free cereal, garlic, and parsley. 
  3. To prepare tomato sauce: sauté sliced onion in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients for sauce and bring to boil. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until tomatoes have emulsified.
  4. Put a layer of eggplant slices in a greased casserole dish. Place a tablespoonful of filling on each slice and cover with a second slice. Pour tomato sauce over eggplant slices. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 20 minutes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Broccoli and White Bean Salad with Chutney Dressing (Gluten Free)

A wholesome salad that is perfect as a starter or a light lunch. I love crunchy foods.... something about it is just satiating. This salad is just that, with the crispiness of the fresh broccoli and the crunchiness of the almonds. Pack that with smooth creamy white beans and the sweet spicy chutney and you will find yourself on a flying carpet to the Taj Mahal.

Serves 8

1 broccoli head, cut into florets
2/3 cup plain non fat yoghurt
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans *
1/3 cup slivered almonds
8 large lettuce leaves (for garnish)

* If you don't have a can of cannellini beans soak 3/4 cup of dried beans in a large bowl of cold water overnight.  Drain.  Place the beans in a large sauce pan of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain.  Return the beans to the pan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil again. Cook until the beans are tender, 1-2 hours.
  1. Place a steamer tray in a saucepan, pour about 2 inches of water into the pan, and bring to boil over medium high heat. Place the broccoli in the steamer tray, cover the pan and cook until barely fork tender (about 5 minutes). Transfer the broccoli to a colander, rinse with cold water and stop the cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, place the yoghurt in a small bowl and whisk in the chutney and curry powder. Set aside.
  3. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse. Pay them dry with a paper towel. Transfer the broccoli to a large bowl and add the beans and almonds. Pour in the yoghurt dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt.
To serve:
Line 8 salad bowls with a large lettuce leaf and mound the broccoli salad on top.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever (Gluten Free)

This is not one of those multi layered frosted cakes... I don't have the patience to make a day of baking a cake. I know that when it comes to chocolate cake, many people would disagree with that since most of the fun in baking a chocolate cake is tasting and licking away the batter and frosting. That would send me into a serious sugar high. No, this cake is not a whole day affair, but the taste is like it came from a gourmet patisserie.

This chocolate cake, is a moist, chocolaty no fuss cake that is soft, fluffy and GLUTEN FREE. You could also make it vegan with an egg replacer, but I did use two eggs for this cake. You will have to refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes before baking to improve its texture.

When baked, you can store this cake in the fridge, as it keeps well, however I like to warm it up before I eat into it again. As a cold cake it takes on more of a truffle texture, warming it up brings it back to a moist and bouncy cake.

Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Basic Chocolate Cake recipe.


1 cup brown rice flour
         1 cup sorghum flour
         1/2 cup coconut flour 
3/4 cup non-alkaline cocoa powder (I use Trader Joes)
1 tablespoon baking powder (look for non-aluminum type)
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup barely melted vegan butter (Earth's Balance)
1 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk, room temperature
4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped
  1. Grease an 8x8 square cake pan.
  2. Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup until it looks like caramel.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and then the coconut milk. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined. 
  4. Add the chocolate and stir until everything comes together and is no longer dusty looking - avoid over-mixing.
  5. Refrigerate batter for up to 30 minutes, but no longer than 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 325F degrees with a rack in the middle. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes. 
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
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