AAA Healthy Dessert to the Rescue

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 08:44 Written by Flax Wednesday, 27 July 2011 08:38


Healthy Dessert to the Rescue

Let’s be honest, healthy and dessert are oxymorons.  There are no really good desserts that are truly healthy.  On the other hand, sometimes all we need is a little taste of something sweet at the end of a meal in order to feel completely satisfied.  This is especially true after eating a heavy meat meal.  While those rich, creamy, and sugary desserts always look attractive, many of us often regret that short moment of pleasure.  I recommend trying a lighter dessert which also has wonderful health benefits.

The AAA in the title stands for Apple Agar-Agar.   Agar-Agar, also known as kanten,  is a gelatine made from seaweed.  Besides having all  of the wonderful health benefits of seaweed, it is also an excellent kosher gelatine option.  More and more badatz products in Israel that use gelatine are switching to seaweed gelatine.  Seaweed gelatine  is also preferable to animal gelatine  from a culinary point of view as unlike beef or fish gelatine it doesn’t melt at room temperature.

All seaweeds are known to be high in vitamins and minerals.  They are especially high in  iodine, calcium, and iron.  Some seaweeds have up to ten times more calcium than milk and up to twenty-five times more iron than beef.  All sea vegetables (a fancier way of saying seaweed) help to lower cholesterol, are beneficial to the thyroid, and they help to detoxify the body.  Seaweed is so healthy and it makes me feel so alive that I have made it a habit to eat  five to fifteen grams of seaweed every single day.  Not everyone however likes the taste of seaweed (that was an understatement) and they avoid eating it.  Since agar-agar is tasteless, odorless, and  invisible when cooked, no-one has to actually know what it is that they eating.

However, my favorite feature of agar-agar is that it helps to promotes digestion and weight loss.  Yes, that is correct, a dessert that will actually help you to lose weight!  So, now you can eat your dessert and enjoy it too.


  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 5 tablespoons agar-agar flakes
  • 1 tablespoons rice malt (a healthy sweetener)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 golden apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

Bring the apple cider, agar flakes, rice malt, and spices to a boil over a medium flame while stirring frequently.  Simmer for three minutes .  Add the apple pieces and simmer for two minutes more.  Remove the cinnamon stick and pour into individual molds.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate for one hour.

Serves 6-8.  Serve chilled

Note:  The correct amount of agar-agar to use fluctuates in accordance to the acidity of the dish.  To check if you are using the correct amount of agar-agar, remove one tablespoon of the mixture and pour onto a flat surface.  After five minutes you will be able to see if it holds.


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Grilled Pepper Salad

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 10:41 Written by Flax Wednesday, 13 July 2011 02:32

This Moroccan appetizer is one of our favorite dishes.  It is a versatile dish and can be  served alone or combined with other dishes.   In the photo, I use it to decorate and flavor  Acorn Squash Flowers.    When I prepare it for Shabbat, I always make extra so that we can eat it all week long.  It can last refrigerated for up to a week.

The tricky part of this dish is to get the peppers perfectly cooked.  The idea is to char them, so that the skin is black but without burning the peppers completely.  The better cooked they are, the easier it will be to peel them.


  • 1 kilo red peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Atlantic grey sea salt

Grill the peppers until the skin is black on all sides.  Remove from the grill and place immediately in a sealed container or inside a closed paper bag.  Wait until the peppers cool off and then remove the top and the seeds and slide off the skin.  When the peppers are well charred the skin will slide off easily.

Cut the peppers into thin slices and mix together with the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate in a closed container until serving.

Note:  Do not wash the grilled peppers as they will absorb the water, if neccessary, use a paper towel to wipe off the seeds.

Serves 6-8


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Acorn Squash Flowers

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 10:42 Written by Flax Wednesday, 13 July 2011 10:59

Hunger is not always from the stomach.  Having a beautifully presented dish can sometimes satisfy a much deeper hunger inside us.  This idea is corresponds to how the French conceive food and to their (maddening) ability to remain thin.  Small portions, beautifully presented.

Beautiful doesn’t always mean complicated.  This dish is gorgeous and simple.  I happened to have grilled peppers on hand when I made it-so I used that in the center, chopped tomatoes would work just as well.


  • 1 acorn squash
  • olive oil

Slice the squash into pieces 1 cm. thick (1/2″).  Brush with olive oil and grill on a low setting for 10 minutes.  Before they begin to brown, flip them over, brush with olive oil, and grill the other side for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the grill and allow to cool.

To serve:

  • 6-8 slices of bread
  • 6 tbsp grilled peppers or chopped tomatoes
  • tapenade or a similar spread

Use a cookie cutter to cut the bread into roundels.  Spread with the tapenade.  Place the squash flowers on top of the bread and fill the center with the grilled peppers or chopped tomatoes.  Arrange on a serving platter or on individual plates.

Hint:  Use the discarded bread to make homemade croutons or breadcrumbs.

Serves 6-8


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