Healthy & Beautiful, Recipe Box

Recipe Box: Three Course Dinner Party


This past week, I threw a three-course, gluten-free dinner party for some friends.  Below are my recipes:

Course 1: Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraiche and Parmesan Rosemary Cookies


Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraiche

Serves: 8



  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 large poblano—cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 5 medium zucchini (2 1/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • One 6-ounce bunch cilantro, stemmed and coarsely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup crème fraîche


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leek and poblano and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chicken broth and Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the zucchini is very tender and no longer bright green, about 15 minutes. Discard the Parmesan rind and add the chopped cilantro.
  2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the crème fraiche and reheat gently if necessary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish the soup with cilantro leaves and serve.

Parmesean Rosemary Cookies

Makes: 2 1/2 dozen


  • 3 tablespoons sugar (I use Truvia Baking Blend – 4 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups Bob’s Redmill all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten


  1. In a bowl, rub the sugar with the rosemary until moist and aromatic. In a food processor, combine the rosemary sugar with the flour, cheese and salt and pulse until the mix is coarse.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg yolks and pulse until large clumps of dough form.
  2. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead gently until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each piece into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until very firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.


The rolled-out frozen cookie dough can be wrapped in plastic and kept frozen for 2 weeks. The baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


The cookies are going to be highly crumbly – handle with care!


Course 2: Grilled Chicken Breasts With Lemon and Thyme, and Roasted Vegetables

Grilled Chicken Breasts With Lemon and Thyme

Serves: 4


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, each cut in half


  1. Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a shallow dish, combine the lemon juice with the thyme, red-pepper flakes, garlic, oil, salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken with the mixture.
  2. Grill the chicken breasts over moderately high heat or broil them for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn and cook until the chicken is just done, about 10 minutes longer.

NOTE: You may also use a skillet – slow cook with the lid on for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Roasted Vegetables

Serves: 4


  • Red pepper – chopped
  • Sweet onion – chopped
  • Squash – chopped
  • Zucchini – chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat broiler
  2. Mix chopped vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  3. Place on a baking sheet
  4. Broil about 5-6 minutes

Course 3: Goat Cheesecakes with Rosemary and Wildflower Honey and Warm Chocolate Cakes with Apricot and Cognac Sauce


Goat Cheesecakes with Rosemary and Wildflower Honey

Serves: 8



  • 8 ounces gluten-free gingersnaps, crushed (I use Mi-del)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • One 11-ounce log of fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/4 c. + 1/8 c. Truvia Baking blend)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • Wildflower honey, for serving


  1. MAKE THE CRUSTPreheat the oven to 350 degrees; and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray eight 4-inch shallow ramekins with olive oil spray.  Set on the baking sheet.
  2. MAKE THE CRUSTIn a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps to fine crumbs. Add the butter and process until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs into the ramekins in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 12 minutes, until fragrant. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLINGIn a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar at medium speed until creamy, 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and yolks, one at a time, until smooth, then beat in the cornstarch and rosemary.
  4. Pour the filling into the ramekins and bake for 25 minutes, until just set. Let cool, then refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour.
  5. To serve, unmold the cheese cakes onto dessert plates and drizzle with honey.


Warm Chocolate Cakes With Apricot and Cognac Sauce

Serves: 4


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use 1 1/2 tsp. Truvia Baking blend)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; and spray 6 muffin tins with olive oil cooking spray. In a medium heatproof glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the chocolate chips with the butter, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the chocolate mixture cool slightly. Whisk in the whole eggs and the egg yolks.
  2. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes, until set around the edges and soft in the center. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the apricot jam with the Cognac until smooth.
  4. Invert the cakes onto plates. Spoon the apricot-Cognac sauce around the cakes and serve.

Give me your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s