Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad

Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad

Fresh, light and perfectly summery! A great side salad for grilled main dishes this summer, this orzo salad has it all. It has the delicious texture of orzo, the creaminess of Gruyere cheese and the freshness of mint and lemon balm. I had fun coming up with this recipe and I hope that you enjoy it very soon with out cookout in your backyard. 

It all started when my lovely neighbor brought a package of this amazing gluten free orzo made from corn which has such a pretty yellow color to it. I knew I had to create an amazing salad with that ingredient and came up with this one. Enjoy it today! 

I'll be serving it this week for my customers. 

Gluten Free Lemon Balm and Mint Orzo Salad: 

About 6 small servings

1 1/2 cups gluten free orzo (dry) 

2+ tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon (juice and zest of) 

1 cup+ spinach, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm, finely chopped

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, cut into small cubes

1/3 cup sliced black olives

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook the orzo in the boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the orzo, let cool for 2-3 minutes and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

2. You may serve this salad at room temperature or chilled. You can make it 1 day in advance and store it in the refrigerator. 



Danish Strawberry Cinnamon Pudding


Oh how I love strawberries! "But, it's fall!" you say. No matter! Pull out those frozen strawberries you tucked away from when you went to the you-pick farm this summer. Didn't make it to the farm? No worries, pick up some yummy frozen strawberries in the freezer section at the store. 

This makes a quick, elegant and very impressive dessert that you can make ahead for guests. You can put it in small ramekins, pretty wine glasses, martini glasses, dessert bowls, or you may choose to chill the mixture in one large bowl and serve it into individual bowls. 

Another amazing thing about this delicious dessert is that it only has only 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar per serving! That is awesome! Ideally we should only consume 6-9 teaspoons or fewer per day, so this makes a great dessert to enjoy! 

Danish Strawberry Cinnamon Pudding: 

Adapted from the book: The Cooking of Scandinavia by Dale Brown.

Makes 4-6 servings depending on the size of the dessert cups.

Frozen Strawberries, thawed (about 3 cups- will make 2 1/3 cups pureed berries. I would recommend having extra strawberries on hand to add in until you have the desired 2 1/3 cups of strawberry puree) 

2 tablespoons organic sugar

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

1/4 cup cold water

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optional: Serve with whipping cream or coconut milk poured over. 

1. Thoroughly thaw the strawberries. Then, place the thawed berries into a food processor or blender and blend them until they form a puree. Measure out the puree until you have 2 1/3 cups. 

2. Mix the arrowroot starch together with the cold water in a small bowl. Set aside near the stove. 

3. Place the berry puree and 2 tablespoons sugar along with the ground cinnamon into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. This will take a few minutes. Then, add in the arrowroot starch/water mixture. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer, not a boil. Take off the heat. 

4. Pour into a serving bowl or into individual bowls or glasses. Chill for 2 hours before serving. 












Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue & Coffee Syrup


Delicious Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue! 

This month of September my brother's birthday is coming up & last year I made this yummy dessert for him. My brother has never been a fan of cake. As a kid at birthday parties he would eat the strips of frosting and leave the cake for me! It became apparent that he preferred ice cream, gelled desserts and puddings for his birthday desserts. 

This is not a dairy free dessert. It is gluten free however. :) I hope you will experiment on this and see if coconut milk would work in this pudding and I have a feeling that it would. This is quite a treat and a very decadent dessert to enjoy on a special occasion! 

    Mixing up the dark chocolate coffee pudding mixture! 


Mixing up the dark chocolate coffee pudding mixture! 


My brother also really loves coffee. We as a family love very strong coffee, especially my dad. I think it comes from our Swedish and Norwegian background. I always make really strong coffee and really don't know how else to make it. Back in college when I worked every weekend at a laundromat, I used to make coffee for the customers. Nobody drank my coffee except for myself and one family that always came in on Saturdays to do their laundry. They really appreciated the coffee. 

So, this pudding has: 

dark chocolate- check

strong coffee- check

a contrast of creamy/marshmallow meringue- check

A perfect birthday dessert! 

I also added  a dash of Maldon salt. It adds a nice dimension of flavor to the pudding. You may also choose to sprinkle the salt on top of the pudding instead. You can also serve it with the extra coffee syrup to add even more pizzazz! 

Dark Chocolate Coffee Puddings with Vanilla Bean Meringue & Coffee Syrup

Makes 8 puddings served in martini glasses


1 1/2 cups strong coffee (I actually used strong decaf coffee since it was an evening event)

1 cup organic sugar

1 cup whole milk (try substituting full fat coconut milk to make this dessert dairy free) 

3/4 cup heavy cream (you can add more coconut milk here) 

4 large egg yolks

1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used dark chocolate chips, finely chopped- 60% cacao) 

1 teaspoon Maldon salt

1 tablespoon softened butter (vegan margarine) 


3 large egg whites

1/2 cup organic sugar

pinch cream of tartar

seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean

1. In a small saucepan, mix together the coffee and the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-high heat until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup. This takes around 18 minutes or so. 

2. In another small saucepan, bring the whole milk and heavy cream to a boil. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with a large whisk. Gradually beat in the hot cream/milk mixture while whisking. Add the chopped chocolate, Maldon salt and the butter. Let the mixture stand for 2 minutes to combine. Then, stir until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coffee syrup. Mix well to combine. 

3. Divide the mixture between 8 martini glasses or your dessert container of choice. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight. 

4. Meringue: In the large bowl of a stand mixer, place the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove. Whisk the mixture constantly for 3-5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Once it is dissolved, move the bowl to the stand mixer. Let the mixture cool slightly before beating it into a meringue. Place the whisk attachment onto the stand mixer and beat the egg white mixture at medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until glossy peaks form. Beat in the seeds from the vanilla bean. 

5. Place the meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the meringue onto each pudding. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue on top of each pudding. 

Enjoy this special dessert! These may be made in the morning or the night before your party and placed in the refrigerator before serving. 

If this post made you crave coffee and chocolate, pass it on to a friend who loves those too! 



Honey Cinnamon Apple Butter Crumble Topped Mini Tarts

Honey Cinnamon Apple Butter Crumble Topped Mini Tarts

The first apples have appeared and I am so in love! As luck would have it, my parents had the foresight to plant an amazing fruit orchard near their home in Redland, Oregon many years ago. Now, it is a mature orchard which yields a lot of apples, pears and plums every year. I feel so fortunate to share in the bounty. 

Every year in July or August the Transparent apple tree is the first to produce ripe apples. These apples are fairly tart and make great applesauce. They are very small, bright yellow apples that need to be cooked quickly. They are good to eat as well, but a bit too tart for most- except for me! I love tart apples, lemons, anything with a tart-kick! 

These tarts are so cute, so pretty and also so delicious!!! I invite you to discover how amazing these tarts are by trying this recipe for yourself. 

You may also just make the apple butter for spreading on muffins & more, or make the crumble for topping your fruit in the morning. All three parts of this recipe may be used for other purposes, but all in all, it is simply delicious! 

Enjoy!! These are made with honey and coconut sugar. There is only a tiny bit of organic granulated sugar in the tart dough. 

Honey Cinnamon Apple Butter Crumble Topped Mini Tarts: 

Recipe makes 12 mini tarts

Apple Butter: 

4 cups applesauce- unsweetened (tart/homemade/organic is best)

1/2 cup raw honey

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients and cook and stir over low heat until thoroughly combined. You may add more honey if desired. I cooked this mixture for a little over an hour to really cook it down. It will be thick enough on its own to be the tart filling. 

Tart Dough: 

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour blend (see recipe below) or use a gluten free flour blend (I like Bob's Red Mill or Namaste all purpose gf flour mix) 

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons coconut oil (heaping tablespoons) 

1 large egg

2 teaspoons lemon juice

Ice water

Mix together the brown rice flour blend (or use a packaged gluten free flour mix), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum and salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Add in the 6 tablespoons coconut oil and process until the mixture is a coarse meal. 

In a separate bowl with a small wire whisk or fork, whisk together the egg and lemon juice. 

Slowly pour the egg-lemon juice mixture into the food processor and pulse. Add small amounts of ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is moist and clumps together. 

Gather the dough into a ball and flatten out into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Then, roll out between plastic wrap or parchment paper. Cut out circles with a 3" or so circle cutter and place in a tart pan. Push down each circle to form a tart shell with your fingers. You will have 12 tart shells. Put the tart shells into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes before baking. 

Brown Rice Flour Blend: 

6 cups brown rice flour

2 cups arrowroot starch (or potato flour) 

1 cup tapioca flour

Mix together in a bowl with a wire whisk. You will have extra for another baking project later. 


Crumble Topping: 

1/2 cup gluten free flour mix

1/2 cup gluten free oats

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Mix together this mixture in a bowl. Store in the refrigerator until needed for topping the tarts. You will have a little extra left for topping your yogurt or fruit. 


Tart Assembly: 

Heat the oven to 350F. 

1. Fill each tart shell with 2-3 tablespoons of the apple butter- fill them well. 

2. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top of each tart. 

3. Bake the tarts for 15-20 minutes or until the tarts and crumble topping is golden brown. 

Let cool slightly and enjoy! These make a delicious accompaniment to tea!