Moroccan Kebabs with Chermoula Sauce

Moroccan Kebabs with Chermoula Sauce by Tara Teaspoonby Tara Bench
Tara Teaspoon

This is your new party-table centerpiece. Colorful and tasty skewers arranged around a dipping sauce is easy to make happen and creates a stunning platter. And the chermoula sauce (pronounced like the singer “Cher” then “moola,” like money) is expressive and lemony. The sauce is based on a Moroccan and Tunisian relish with a strong herb and spice situation. I keep the skewers of meat and veggies small so they can be bite-sized for a gathering, but you can make them more robust if you’d like to serve this recipe as a meal.

Kebabs

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips that are
  • 2 inches long and 1⁄2 inch thick
  • 2 yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 (14.4-ounce) bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 45 (6-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes
  • 1 recipe Chermoula Sauce (see below), prepared
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together turmeric and pepper with 1⁄4 cup warm water. Let sit 3 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon.
  2. Season chicken strips with 1 teaspoon salt and add to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate to marinate 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss peppers, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Thread chicken on half of the skewers and vegetables on the other half, adding several slices of zucchini to each skewer. Discard chicken marinade.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill skewers, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes total. Remove the vegetables from the grill as soon as they are done; they will cook faster than the chicken.
  5. Serve on a platter with the chermoula sauce for drizzling and dipping.

Chermoula Sauce

this spiced herb sauce is used on fish, meat, chicken, and vegetables and has a heady and unique flavor.

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 1⁄2 cup packed mint leaves
  1. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and crush in a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a pan.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine crushed seeds, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse to finely chop garlic. Add cilantro, parsley, and mint and blend until herbs are well combined. Store sauce in refrigerator until ready to use, up to 3 days.

Mandarin and Prosciutto Crostini

Mandarin and Prosciutto Crostini by Tara Teaspoonby Tata Bench
Tara Teaspoon

This is my essential appetizer. Toasted Crostini topped with a little slice of salty Prosciutto and some tangy Mandarin and Shallot Chutney. I’ve been known to make a full meal of these little bites. Double the caramelized shallot and mandarin portion of this recipe and keep the extra in the fridge. It works beautifully on top of chicken or a roast ham sandwich—or even for your next batch of crostini bites.

Chutney

  • 2 cups sliced shallots, sliced root to tip
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 cup fresh mandarin or clementine segments, roughly chopped
  • 1 recipe Crostini (below), prepared
  • 14 slices prosciutto
  • Toasted hazelnuts, crushed Fresh thyme
  1. In a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the shallots and salt in olive oil, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf, and coriander seeds and let simmer until vinegar is reduced and almost gone, 10 to 12 minutes more. Stir in the mandarin seg- ments. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Top crostini with a half piece of prosciutto and a spoonful of the mandarin chutney. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and thyme leaves.

Crostini

  • 1 baguette, sliced 1⁄4-inch thick
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Heat oven to 375oF. Brush slices of bread lightly with olive oil on both sides. Lay slices flat on rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle with some salt.
  2. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until lightly golden and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Store crostinis in a zip-top bag for up to 3 days.

Looks Delicious. Whenever I caramelize onions or shallots, I slice them from their root to the tip. Slicing them crosswise into rings or half-moons causes them to cook into long, stringy worms. The root-to-tip method allows the shallot or onion to hold its shape, looks better, and is easier to eat.

Mad Mocha Marbled Mousse Pie

Mad Mocha Marbled Mousse Pie by Laura Theodoreby Laura Theodore
Jazzy Vegetarian

This pie is gorgeous to look at, delicious to eat and a delight to serve! Your family and guests will think you slaved for hours creating the “fancy” marbled effect, but it’s actually super easy to do! You will please chocolate and coffee lovers alike with this impressive sweet indulgence!

CRUST

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat pan
  • 11 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut

FILLING

  • 1 block (14 to 15 ounces) extra-firm regular tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons vegan cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold, strong brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan dark chocolate chips (55% to 70% cacao)
  • 1/2  cup unsweetened or sweetened nondairy milk

Generously coat a 9-inch round pie pan with olive oil. Put all of the crust ingredients in a high-performance blending appliance and process into a dough, stopping the machine and scraping the bowl several times. The dough will be very sticky. Transfer the dough to the oiled pan and press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan (see note). Put the pie pan in the freezer for 6 to 8 minutes, and then transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, put the tofu, sugar and coffee into a blender and process until very smooth. Transfer 1/3 cup of the tofu/coffee mixture to a small bowl and reserve. Add the chocolate chips to the top of the remaining tofu mixture (that is still in the blender container).

Put the nondairy milk into a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Immediately pour the simmering nondairy milk over the chocolate chip mixture and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until it becomes completely smooth. Pour the chocolate filling into the chilled crust (it will mound up slightly, above the crust). Immediately drop 5 to 6 spoonfuls of the reserved tofu/coffee mixture onto the top of the pie. Then, using a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife, gently swirl the tofu/coffee mixture into the top of the pie in a pleasing, marbleized pattern. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight), until completely set. Slice and serve!

Chef’s Notes: If you are cooking gluten free, make certain to purchase certified gluten-free tofu, available in most supermarkets.

If desired, create a decorative edge to the crust. Using the tines of a fork, press gently down around the entire outer edge of the crust to form evenly spaced lines.

“Hungry Guy” Burgers

Hungry Guy Burgers by Laura Theodoreby Laura Theodore
Jazzy Vegetarian

  • 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 heaping tablespoons prepared salsa, plus more as needed (see note)
  • 3 slices vegan whole-grain or gluten-free bread, torn into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free, old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper. Put the black beans and salsa in a medium-sized bowl and mash using a potato masher or large fork until well combined. Put the bread chunks and cumin in a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Add the bread crumbs to the black bean mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the rolled oats and mix to combine. If the mixture seems dry, stir in another heaping tablespoon of salsa and mix to combine.

Scoop up a generous 1/2 cup of the black bean mixture and put it on the prepared pan. Form it into a burger, shaping it with clean hands, and then flatten it slightly. Continue in this manner until you have formed a total of 6 burgers (see note). Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the burgers and bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden.

Chef’s Notes:
You may use mild, medium or hot salsa in this recipe.

Once formed, the burgers may be covered and refrigerated for 2 to 6 hours before cooking. Add 5 to 7 minutes to the baking time.

Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauceby Tess Masters
The Blender Girl

Blend, freeze, slice, and scarf. That’s how easy this cake is! Once you have your cashews soaked (essential for a righteously creamy consistency), this decadent dessert takes less than 15 minutes to put together. It looks and tastes just like dairy-drenched cheesecake, but my family and friends tell me they crave this more than the conventional kind. Add the lemon and poppy seeds for an awesome twist and a drizzle of strawberry sauce to up the indulgence.

Makes 10 Slices

Crust

1 cup (160g) raw whole almonds
1 cup (170g) firmly packed chopped pitted dates, plus more as needed

Filling

¾ cup (180ml) coconut oil (in liquid form)
½ cup (120ml) full-fat canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
½ cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice
½ cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
3 cups (420g) raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Pinch of natural salt
Coconut Cream, to serve (optional)

Optional Boosters

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more to taste and garnish
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Sweet Strawberry Sauce, to serve

To make the crust, grease a 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25cm) springform pan with coconut oil.

Process the almonds and dates in a food processor until the mixture is well combined and clumps together. Form the mixture into a ball; if it doesn’t hold together, you may need to add a bit more chopped date and process again. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

To make the filling, throw all of the ingredients into your blender in the order listed, including the lemon zest booster, and blend for about 1 minute, until rich and creamy. To achieve the smoothest filling, stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides of the container. Add the poppy seed booster once the filling is completely blended, and then blast for just a few seconds to combine. Pour the filling into the crust. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and freeze the cheesecake for 6 to 8 hours, until solidified.

To serve, transfer the pan from the freezer to the fridge and defrost for about 30 minutes. Gently release and remove the sides of the springform pan, and then cut the cheesecake into 10 even slices with a very sharp knife. Keeping the slices together on the springform pan bottom, return the cheesecake to the fridge to continue defrosting for another 30 minutes before serving. Serve the slices plain or drizzle each one with 2 tablespoons of the Sweet Strawberry Sauce booster and top with a dollop of the Coconut Cream. Pass remaining strawberry sauce and coconut cream at the table.

Note: Because of the coconut oil, this filling will melt if left out at room temperature.

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 10 servings)

calories 594 kcal | fat 45.2 g | saturated fat 20.2 g | sodium 38 mg | carbs 44.8 g | fiber 5 g | sugars 28 g | protein 11.8 g | calcium 91.8 mg | iron 4 mg

Sweet Strawberry Sauce

This quick, easy sauce is like a little black dress. It complements almost any dessert without upstaging it, fits into any menu, and never goes out of style. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Enjoy it over ice cream, cakes, or pies. Try it drizzled over this Classic Cheesecake. Depending on the quality of your berries and your preference, tweak the lemon juice to taste. With well-ripened fruit, I reduce the dates to a third of a cup. But a half cup typically hits the sweet spot. For a sensational sauce, boost with the Grand Marnier, ginger, and vanilla.

Makes 2 Cups (480ML)

¼ cup (60ml) raw coconut water or filtered water
½ cup (85g) firmly packed pitted dates, soaked
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
Pinch of natural salt

Optional Boosters

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Throw everything into your blender, including any of the boosters, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth. Tweak the dates, lemon juice, and ginger to taste. This sauce will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 16 servings)

calories 20 kcal | fat 0.1 g | saturated fat 0 g | sodium 18.6 mg | carbs 5.5 g | fiber 0.7 g | sugars 4.5 g | protein 0.2 g | calcium 6.6 mg | iron 0.1 mg

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography Copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

Sustenance Stew

Sustenance Stewby Tess Masters
The Blender Girl

I’m a sucker for stew, and this one is seriously delicious and so quick and easy. The combination of rich, creamy almond butter, sautéed sweet potatoes, and spices will make you mmmm your delight at every bite. This hearty dish, loaded with protein (the optional greens and seeds add even more), is an alkalizing, immune-boosting, chlorophyll-rich crusader.

Serves 5 to 6

Cauliflower Eice

2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste

Stew

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
Natural salt
3 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
2 (14.5-ounce/411g) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups (570g) peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
3 cups (210g) chopped broccoli florets
4 cups (120g) Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
1/3 cup (43g) roasted almond butter
½ cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
½ cup (80g) sliced raw almonds

optional boosters

¼ cup (35g) shelled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds (black or white)
¼ cup (10g) pea greens

To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined.

Transfer the “rice” to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the “rice” begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended. Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sautéed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender. Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.

To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the “rice.” Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.

Nutritional Facts (per serving, based on 6 servings)

calories 126 kcal | fat 9.6 g | saturated fat 1.4 g | sodium 324.8 mg | carbs 8.8 g | fiber 2.8 g | sugars 4 g | protein 3.6 g | calcium 68.6 mg | iron 1.8 mg

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography Copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

The Ugly Gentleman aka “Steve”

2oz Rittenhouse Rye
.5oz Amaro Abano
3 Tblsp Turbonado
2 DAB (Dash Angostura Bitters)
2 drops sesame oil

Instructions: Burn maple wood with propane torch and cover with rocks glass so the smoke is trapped. Stir all ingredients into mixing glass. Keep rocks glass upside down while hand-cut ice is placed in the glass. Keep bottom covered while turning it over and pour cocktail into the glass. Smoke should rise out. No garnish. Drink.

Little Drummer Boy

Bartender: Dan Tapia
Courtesy of DineLBC

1.5 oz Pecan Infused Rye Whiskey (instructions below)
4-6 oz California Clementine-infusion, piping hot (instructions below)
1 Tb Cinnamon/Nutmeg Compound Butter (instructions below)Little Drummer Boy Cocktail by Dan Tapia
salt to taste

Pour whiskey into mug. Ladle clementine infusion on top. While mug is still steaming hot from infusion, add one tablespoon of compound butter to the top. Toddy should be hot enough to melt the butter to form a delicious layer on top, and the spices will diffuse into toddy as well as remain on the butter layer. Throw a pinch of salt on top of you like the butter to come out a little more, don’t if you like the spices to dominate.

Pecan Infused Rye Whiskey
For rapid infusion, take a 1L cream whipper and add 750 ml of rye. Fill to top with pecans, allowing enough space in the whipper for the gas cartridge, about a cup’s worth. Charge whipper and give a little shake. With whipper standing upright, release the gas as rapidly as possible (the rapid change in pressure is what creates most of the infused flavor). Whiskey may also shoot out, so put a jar or bottle over the business end of the whipper.

Clementine Infusion
Cut 8 clementines in half, and squeeze juice into 1.5 L of water. Add the rinds into the water as well and bring to a boil. This is probably the hardest to do behind a bar, but I imagine a clementine squeezed into a French press with some hot tea water should do the trick nicely.

Compound Butter
Here’s where the magic happens! Soften 500 g  sweet cream butter to where it can easily be whipped in a mixer. Add 300 g light brown sugar (dark brown works well too, it’s all about taste. If you like it a little more on the molasses side, use dark. Have fun, this is boozeplay), 20 g ground cinnamon, and 10 g ground nutmeg. This can be easily scaled, and kept in a deli container for quite some time.

 

Jack-O-Lantern Cocktail at Pechanga

Jack O Lantern Cocktail from Pechanga Casino and Resort6 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Triple Sec
1.25 oz Blavod Black Vodka

Combine orange juice and triple sec over ice in a cocktail shaker.

Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Float Vodka on top of orange juice and garnish with an orange slice and a whole black olive.

*Black vodka is and tastes exactly the same as clear vodka. The black is created by the vodka manufacturer by adding catechu extract from the acacia tree. The extract acts as a natural food coloring.

Chef Marlene’s Chili Original Temptation Hearty Southern Style Chili Recipe

Southwest Syle Chili Recipe by Marlene Moore of Temptation Food Court at Pechanga Casino ResortIngredients:
5 pounds ground beef
4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans with liquid
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ cup oil
1 arbol chili pepper (roasted & crushed)
1 California Anaheim chili pepper (roasted & crushed)

Sprinkle of: dark chili powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, ground black pepper and cumin

Salt to taste

Directions:
Place the oil in a skillet until hot, and sauté the garlic, onions, green & red bell pepper 
Place the beef in the skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown
Place the tomato puree, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Season with paprika, oregano and the Roaster chili Heat & salt to taste. (If you like it spicier you can add more roasted chili heat…)
Cover and slow cook for 8 hours on Low.

Garnish: Optional 

  1. Pico De Gallo
  2. Mixed Cheese
  3. Diced Green Onions
  4. Sour Cream
  5. Fried Fresh Japanese Chili on top
  6. With a dash of Roaster Chili Heat