Flourless Almond Torte

2 1/2 C blanched almonds
1 1/2 C sugar
7 eggs
Dash salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Grated peel of 1 lemon
Powdered sugar
Chocolate Coffee Sauce (see following recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Butter a 10 inch spring form pan, then line it with wax paper. Butter the wax paper.

In a food processor, combine the sugar and almonds. Process until almonds are finely ground. Set aside

Separate 4 of the eggs, placing the yolks in a large bowl and reserving the whites. Add the remaining eggs, along with the salt, vanilla, and lemon peel, to the bowl with the yolks and beat to blend well. Gradually beat in the almond mixture. The mixture will become very thick.

In a large bowl of a electric mixer, beat the reserved whites until they are stiff but not dry. Gently fold them into the batter, a third at a time.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the pan and sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar. Serve with Chocolate Coffee Sauce.

Chocolate Coffee Sauce

1 1/4 C milk
1 vanilla bean, split
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB finely ground coffee
2 egg yolks
2 TB sugar

In a saucepan, bring the milk with the vanilla bean to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat.

Transfer 2 TB of the hot milk to a bowl and stir in the cocoa powder and the coffee. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the yolks and the sugar until light. Set aside.

Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the insides into the milk. Discard the bean.

Stir a small amount of the hot milk into the yolk mixture, then stir the yolk mixture, along with the cocoa mixture, into the pan of milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken and coats the back of a metal spoon, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir for 1 minute to cool slightly.

Farro Salad with Blood Oranges and Feta

1 cup soft wheat berries
6 tablespoons Red Onion Vinaigrette (below)
2 blood oranges
3 ounces feta cheese, cut into chunks
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Optional: 1 cup diced fennel, diced radishes, sliced green onions, or diced celery

Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add a sprinkle of salt and the wheat berries. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the wheat berries are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl, combine the warm wheat berries with the vinaigrette. Stir to combine. Cut the blood oranges into segments (supremes) and dice small. Add the orange pieces, feta, parsley, and any additional vegetables to the wheat berries. Toss and serve.

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for one week.

Red Onion Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (from about 3 sprigs)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Heat two teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the onion mixture to a tall-sided container along with the vinegars, extra-virgin olive oil, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, blend in a blender or food processor. Keeps refrigerated for several weeks.

Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes
olive oil
1 c. wild rice
1 c. quinoa
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbls. shredded fresh sage leaves
1 Tbls. shredded fresh oregano leaves
1 lime
2 Tbls. shredded mint
2 green onions, sliced thinly
feta cheese, crumbled, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Spread onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and a little pepper and roast for about 20 minutes.

Cook rice according to package, but use olive oil instead of butter if that is what it calls for. Cook quinoa also in accordance with package. Place finished wild rice and quinoa into a bowl. In the pan you used to cook rice, about 3 Tbls. olive oil and sauté garlic, sage and oregano, just for a minute. Pour over rice and quinoa. Add roasted potatoes, chopped mint and onions, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and mix. Top with feta cheese, optional.