These individually-sized tarts are dense and rich. They really showcase the chocolate so use the best chocolate you can find. My chocolate of choice is Askinosie’s 70% chocolate from beans sourced in Ecuador.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces each
Approximately 1/3 cup cold water

1 cup heavy cream
Scant 1/2 cup whole milk
9 ounces great-quality bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs

You will also need:
Food processor fitted with standard blade
Plastic wrap
8 6-inch tart pans
Rolling pin
Parchment paper cut into 8 8-inch rounds
Pie weights
Medium saucepan

To make the crust, put the flour and the salt into the bowl of a food processor with a standard blade. Attach the lid and start adding the butter a piece at a time. Pulse about 5 times after each addition. When all butter has been pulsed in, slowly add the water, while pulsing, until the mixture starts to come together.

Gather up the dough and divide it into 8 pieces. Press each piece into a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for about a half hour in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, assemble 8 6-inch tart pans with removable bottoms.

When ready to roll out the dough, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (about 220 degrees C). Remove the disks from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Spread some flour onto the countertop. Using a rolling pin, roll out each round of dough until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness and is large enough in diameter to fill the tart pan. Move the dough to the tart pan, press into the bottom and sides, and remove any excess dough by running a knife over the edge.

Line each crust with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment and pie weights and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the tart shells are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (about 165 degrees C).

Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture starts to simmer, remove it from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, sugar, and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes while the chocolate melts. Whisk to blend well.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl until well-blended. Add them to the chocolate mixture and stir to mix well.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shells and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, until the filling is set and the surface is glossy. Cool before serving.

Serves 8.

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This dish features the classic combination of lamb and mint, but with a twist. Instead of using mint jelly, make this fresh mint pesto to use as a condiment. It works perfectly and will quickly become one of your favorites.

1/2 cup fresh spearmint leaves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, de-stemmed
1 small clove garlic, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil

8 lamb chops, trimmed
Coarse grey sea salt
Cracked pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

2 cups fresh spearmint leaves
1/3 cup toasted almonds
1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup parmigiana reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
Cracked pepper

You will also need:
Small mixing bowl
Oven-safe skillet (I typically use an enameled cast iron pan.)
Aluminum foil
Food processor fitted with standard blade

To make the rub, finely chop 1/2 cup mint leaves, the rosemary, and 1 small clove of garlic. Mix well. Add enough olive oil to make a paste.

Rub the lamb chops with the paste. Cover and refrigerate them for at least 4 hours. (Overnight is fine.)

About 15 minutes before cooking, remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rub each lamb chop generously with coarse grey sea salt and with freshly-ground pepper. Place a heavy oven-safe skillet onto the stovetop and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Get the pan really hot and sear the lamb chops on each side until lightly browned. Move the pan to the oven and finish cooking there, about 6-8 more minutes.

Remove the chops from the oven and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining 2 cups of mint leaves, the almonds, the garlic, and the cheese in the bowl of the food processor. Process for 1 minute to chop and combine all ingredients. Pour the olive oil through the top until the mixture comes together and is glossy. Add sea salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve the lamb chops with the pesto on top.

Serves 4.

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This recipe makes delicious use of those gorgeous eggplants and squashes that are in abundance in the summer markets. The dish also freezes well so you can have a great taste of summer during other seasons, too.

2 medium eggplants (Chinese or Japanese preferred)
2 medium zucchinis (or yellow squash)
Fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 large can (28 ounces) whole or chopped tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)
Freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmigiana reggiano cheese, finely grated
1 Tablespoon finely-chopped fresh parsley

You will also need:
Large cooling rack
Skillet (I use a 10” cast iron pan)
Medium saucepan
Baking dish (I use an 8”x12” oval-shaped copper pan, but a 9”x9” square baking dish or a 10” round baking dish should work fine, too.)

Wash and dry the vegetables. Slice them lengthwise into thin slices, no more than 1/4” thick. Place the slices on a cooling rack and salt them on each side. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the saucepan. Add the smashed garlic cloves. Saute for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Break up any large tomato pieces with a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.

Rinse the eggplant and zucchini slices and pat them dry. Dredge them lightly with flour.

Generously coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil. Fry the eggplant and zucchini slices in shifts until browned on both sides and cooked all the way through. (You may need to add a little more olive oil to the pan for each batch.) Drain on paper towels. Season each with salt and pepper.

Now you are ready to assemble. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Place a layer of the cooked eggplant slices on top. Spread another thin layer of sauce on top. Add a layer of zucchini, followed by the mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of eggplant. Spoon the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle the parmigiana reggiano cheese on top of that. Scatter the parsley on top.

Now you are ready to bake. (Or, at this point, you could cover the dish tightly and either refrigerate it or freeze it for later.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 180 degrees Celsius). Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and brown.

If refrigerating, remove the dish from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before baking. If freezing, take out the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator.

Serve with a side salad and some crusty bread.

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This bread is super moist and rich – and full of fruits and nuts.  These loaves make great holiday gifts.

This recipe was adapted from David Leibovitz’s Persimmon Bread recipe.

3 1/2 cupzs gluten-free flour (I use equal parts of almond flour, white rice flour and brown rice flour).
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar (I use muscovado).
2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter (unsalted)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whiskey (use your favorite).
2 cups pureed Hachiya persimmon (Use persimmons that have reached water balloon-consistency).
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup EACH toasted walnuts and toasted pecans
1 cup dried cherries (I soak mine for several hours or overnight in whiskey, but this is optional).
1 cup raisins or other dried fruits

You will also need:
2 large loaf pans or six small ones (Mine measure 5-3/4″ by 3-1/4″ by 2-1/4″).
1 Tablespoon melted butter and pastry brush (for preparing the pan)
Parchment paper
2 large mixing bowls
Large spoon
Cooling rack

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Brush the bottom and sides of the loaf pans with butter.   Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper.

Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, melted butter (cooled to room temperature) and eggs with a whisk.  Add the whiskey, the persimmon puree and the vanilla.  Mix well.  Add to the dry ingredients in the first bowl.  Whisk to mix well.

Fold in the crystallized ginger, the walnuts, pecans, cherries and raisins.

Divide the batter evenly among the baking pans.  If using the large loaf pans, bake for about an hour until the center is firm to the touch.  If using the small loaf pans, bake for about 35 minutes until the center is firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the rim to loosen each loaf.  Let cool for about 15 minutes.  Turn out the loaves and remove the parchment from the bottom.  Let cool completely (top side up) on a wire rack.

Wrap well in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

Makes 2 large loaves or six small ones.

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