Eggless banana -ricotta mousse


Simple , dense and creamy , this mousse recieves its creamy texture from fresh rikotta and ripe bananas . It contains a small amout of cream and shredded unsweetened coconut for texture . I like to use fresh grated coconut and dust the dessert with shaved semi sweet chocolate . The original recipe is garnished with chocolate sticks and candied cherries , any way is just great.

Serves 6

La Cucina Italiana

1/2 lb fresh ricotta

2 ripe bananas , peeled

1/3 cup sugar

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup heavy cream , whipped

 GARNISH

4 oz shaved semi sweet chocolate  OR

24 chocolate sticks

6 candied cherries

In a food processor , combine the ricotta with the bananas until perfectly smooth and combined. Turn the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the sugar , coconut , lemon juice and half of the cinnamon .

Gently fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture , being careful not to deflate it . Distribute among 6 dessert cups.

Sprinkle the top of each dish evenly with the remaining ground cinnamon and the shaved chocolate or the chocolate sticks and cherries .

Serve immediately or refridgerate for up to 4 hours.E

Polka Dot Shortbread


These all butter cookies are dressed up with little dots of jam and lemon curd ( omit the lemon curd for an eggless cookie ). The cookies have a great sandy texture from the addition of rice flour , which I love.

Martha Hall Foose

Makes 16 cookie wedges

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup ( 2 sticks ) unsalted butter , cold cut into small pieces

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs seedless raspberry jam

2 tbs lemon curd ( or omit for eggless and increase jam by 2 tbs)

Preheat oven to 325*F

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade , blend flours , sugar and salt . Add butter and vanilla and pulse several times to form a dough . Press dough into an 8 inch tart pan with removable bottom or into a 1/4 inch thick round on to a parchment lined baking sheet . Score the dough to mark 16wedges . Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile fill 2 small piping bags or sandwich bags with the jam and lemon curd.

Remove shortbread gfrom oven . With a wooden dowel or spoon handle , make small divots around the surface of the dough, pressing about half way through the dough. Fill some dots with the jam and lemon curd. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes, or until golden around the edges. Be careful not to let them get too dark; just the edges should begin to brown . Cool in pan on rack .Remove from pan and cut along the scored marks.

Lemon -soy vinaigrette


This winning dressing from Chinois on main , Santa Monica is the perfect combination with the stir fried lamb , however I often make this dressing to dress a mescalun salad and it works great, as well as with grill seafood.

Makes about 3/4 cup

3 tbs rice wine vinegar

2 tbs peanut oil

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice

salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl , whisk all the ingredients together until combined . Cover and refridgerate up to 1 day .

Stir fried lamb with Lemon -soy vinaigrette, Chinois on main


Chinois on Main in Santa Monica has been around for two decades. The  restaurant is owned by the famed chef Wolfgang Puck and serves fusion Asian with California fresh produce . The lemon soy vinaigrette served with this dish makes an excellent salad dressing , so keep it on hand.

Chinois on Main , Santa Monica

6 appetizer servings

4 shallots , minced

1 red jalapeno pepper with seeds , minced

2 green jalapeno peppers with seeds , minced

5 garlic cloves , minced

1 tbs plus  1 tsp peanut oil

1 1/2 lbs lean ground lamb

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus 1/4 cup whole leaves , for garnish

1/4 cup chinese pickled cabbage

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

18 radicchio leaves

1/4 of a small red onion , sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick

1/4 of a small white onion , sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick

Lemon soy vinaigrette

In a medium skillet cook the shallots ,red jalapeno , half of the green jalapenos and garlic in 2 tsp of peanut oil , stirring over low  heat until softened , about 5 minutes .Set aside to cool.

In a bowl , combine the cooled vegetable mixture with the ground lamb and mix throughly . Add the chopped coriander , pickled cabbage , soy sauce , salt and pepper .

In a large skillet , cook the lamb mixture in the remaining 2 tsp peanut oil over high heat , stirring well to break up clumps until browned , about 4 minutes . Drain and set aside .

Place 3 radicchio leaves on each plate and fill with lamb mixture . Combine the red onion , white onion , fresh coriander leaves and the remaing green jalapenos ;sprinkle on top of the lamb . Serve drizzled with a few tablespoons of lemon soy vinagrette ;serve the remaing dressing on the side.

Wild Asian Salad , Chopstix LA


Chopstix in Los Angeles CA serves a great mix of  Asian food fused with good all American ingredients . Here is a salad resplendent with fresh herbs and vegetables coupled with wild rice . This salad is so delicious and wholesome you may feel satisfied with just the one dish.

Chopstix LA

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup slivered , blanched almonds

1 cup wild rice, cooked and cooled

2 cups plus 2 tbs vegetable oil

10 wonton skins , cut into 1/4 inch wide strips

2 oz rice vermicelli , cut with scissors into 3 inch lengths

3 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice

2 tbs light brown sugar

2 tbs fish sauce ( or soy sauce )

1/2 tsp chili sauce

1 tbs minced fresh ginger

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

2 tbs minced fresh basil

2 tbs minced fresh mint

1 lb spinach , stems , stems removed , cut into 1/8 inch strips

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 large red bell pepper -cored , seeded and cut into 1/8 inch strips

1 package ( 3.5 oz ) enoki mushrooms ( optional ) , trimmed and seperated.

Preheat the oven to 350*F . On a baking sheet , bake almonds until lightly golden , about 5 minutes . Set aside.

In a medium saucepan , heat 2 cups of the oil over moderately high heat until shimmering . Scatter the wonton strips over the surface of the oil and cook , stirring frequently , until light golden and crisp , about 4 minutes . Drain on paper towels . Fry the rice noodles one handful at a time till they puff . Drain.

In a medium bowl , combine the  remaining 2 tbs oil , lime juice , brown sugar , fish sauce , chili sauce , ginger , basil and mint.

To serve , combine the almonds , wild rice3 , spinach , bean sprouts , red pepper and mushrooms in a large bowl . Toss the dressing and gently fold in the wontons and rice sticks . Serve immediately.

Roasted Snapper with Tahini Chilli sauce


Here is a fresh and hhealthy approach to Lebanese cooking . The snapper is first roasted with some aromatics and then dressed with a slightly spicy creamy sauce made with Tahini paste , a sesame seed paste so flavorful you will forget its good for you. This makes a great week night supper as it takes about half an hour to prepare.

Two  2 lbs snapper

1 tbs grated fresh ginger

2 tsp ground sweet paprika

2 onions , sliced

1/4 cup water

 TAHINI CHILLI SAUCE

1/2 cup tahini

1 tbs honey

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp  hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375*F . Brush a deep oven proof dish with melted butter or oil. 

Score each side of snapper in a diamond pattern . Rub with ginger and sprinkle with paprika.

Place half the onions in the prepared dish . Add fish and cover with remaining onions . Add water , cover dish and bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

To make tahini  and chilli sauce. Heat ingredients until warmed through .

Remove fish from dish and serve with sauce.