Fresh Tomato Sauce with Saffron and White Wine

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup (approximately) white wine
1/8 teaspoon saffron
8 leaves fresh basil, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons warm water, and set aside

1. In a large saucepan, heated over a medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Sautee for 20-30 seconds, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
2. When the tomatoes have simmered, add the wine and saffron (with the water the saffron has been soaking in). Simmer for 15 mins to 1 hour, depending on how much time you have.
3. Add the basil, and simmer for no more than 5-10 minutes.
4. Adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta

Makes approximately 4 servings


1-2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup basil leaves, washed and dried

1/3 cup pine nuts (or other nuts)

1 cup parmesan cheese

3/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

  1. In a food processor, process the garlic until it’s minced.
  2. Add the basil, pine nuts, and parmesan, and pulse chop until is roughtly chopped..
  3. Slowly add the olive oil until combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If the pesto is bitter, add (any or all):

  • sun dried tomatoes
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • anchovies (or anchovy paste)
  • roasted peppers

The Taste!!!

The Taste of Amherst is this weekend, until Sunday June 19.  Come by to see me doing a food demo at noon on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday’s demo will be pesto, featuring the basil of the Swartz Family Farm in Amherst.  On Sunday, I’ll be making a fresh tomato sauce, as a preview of next month’s beginning of tomato season.  See you there!

Flourless Chocolate Cake!!!!!


Yes, I have a new gluten and nut-free chocolate cake that’s terrific.  It’s easy to make, and has an almost fudgy texture.  I found the recipe online, and had to mess around with it around a bit.  My biggest change was to add some orange extract to it.  The orange/chocolate combo is a family favorite, going back to that great Israeli liquor, Sabra.  As a side note, the Sabra bottle is so cool that when you pour the first few glasses, it makes a “glug glug” sound. Like this cake, it’s a crowd pleaser.

A word about the orange and vanilla extracts.  If you are making this cake for someone who is gluten-free, then make sure the extracts are also gluten-free.  Not all of them are.  My favorite source for extracts and spices (especially vanilla and cinnamon!) is Penzey’s.  And yes, their extracts are gluten-free.  If the quality alone isn’t enough to get you to Penzey’s, then hopefully the gluten-free thing will help you along.

The cake itself is easy to make: there are just three steps, with no special techniques needed.  The first step is to melt the chocolate and butter.  The next step is to mix this combo together with the remaining ingredients.  Then you bake it.  Okay, there’s a fourth step: make the chocolate glaze, then spread it over the cake. Okay, that’s technically five steps.  But they’re not difficult steps.

So, rush out, buy the ingredients, and make the cake,  It’s perfect for your friends and family.  As a bonus, it’s so good, you’ll never know it’s gluten free.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, with a Chocolate Glaze

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

2 sticks, plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

1 1/4 cups sugar

6 eggs

½ teaspoon gluten-free orange extract (optional)

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too.

  1. Melt two-thirds (8 ounces) of the chocolate and 2 sticks of the butter.  Whisk together when melted. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl (if you’re using an electric stand-mixer, use that bowl).
  2. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the orange extract and mix.  Then add the sifted cocoa and combine until just blended.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done  If you use a cake tester, it won’t come out dry, like a flour cake. Remove from the oven.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely.

The Chocolate Glaze

  1. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk together when melted.
  2. Remove from heat, and stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. When cake has cooled, pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon,  spread the glaze glaze along the top and sides of the cake.

Chill the cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice