Rustic Herb and Olive Bread with Reishi {Gluten-Free}

Rustic Olive Herb Bread with Reishi

There is really nothing quite like a slice of a fresh baked rustic bread slathered with butter, just by itself or as an accompaniment to so many different meals. And rustic breads usually have the added appeals of being easy to make and almost foolproof too.

This rustic bread is just as easy to make and needs very little hands-on time — hardly any kneading is required and certainly no need for a stand mixer — with just a short resting period in between mixing and baking. Added to this simplicity are herbs and olives for extra flavor. It's an all-purpose bread to which you can add any assortment of herbs that please your fancy instead of the ones I've suggested in the recipe below, or you could add chopped sun-dried tomatoes or nuts instead of or in addition to the olives. Whatever you add, the result is an attractive round loaf with a crusty browned exterior, a dense, pleasantly moist and delicious interior, and that unique aroma that only freshly baked bread can effuse that simultaneously stimulates the appetite and calms the mind. The reward is much more than worth the small effort needed to make it.

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Indian-Style Egg-Free Masala French Toast


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian-Style Egg-Free Masala French Toast

North Americans have become increasingly acquainted with the virtues of chickpea flour over the past several years, and with good reasons ranging from health to its extraordinary versatility. Made from finely milled dried chickpeas — or roasted black chickpeas in the case of Indian "besan" — the flour has fewer carbohydrates but more protein than regular wheat flour. Like wheat flour, chickpea flour can be used for baking, frying or thickening. It's also an option for those with gluten sensitivity or intolerance.

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North African Chickpea Soup (Lablabi)

Tunisian Chickpea Soup

I've always been fascinated by the tantalizing and robust flavors that are so distinctive of Mediterranean cuisines. There is a vibrancy about so many of the dishes that are native to this considerable expanse of land with varying traditions and characteristics. As a vegetarian, I also find there is a wealth of dishes that are perfectly suited to a vegetarian diet, and ones that are easily adapted to suit such preferences.

This Tunisian chickpea soup, known as Lablabi, is one such example, and as I enjoy soups no matter the time of year — and certainly chickpeas, which are one of my favorite legumes — I thought that I would share this easy-to-prepare soup here. Lablabi is commonly served over small chunks of stale crusty bread, and always with plenty of toppings, notably harissa. Traditionally served for breakfast, in addition to other toppings, a poached or soft cooked egg is added to the hot soup so that the soft yolk bleeds into the the broth. The egg is not necessary at all, unless you so please, and it's enjoyable anytime of the day.

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Staple Corner: Homemade Harissa Recipe

Homemade Harissa

Harissa is a classic dried red chili based sauce in North African cooking, and it is often what gives the regional vegetable dishes, soups and stews their distinct fieriness. It's also used as a spicy hot condiment to dress eggs, couscous and flatbreads or to whisk into salad dressings. But harissa is more than just heat, despite the large number of chilies that go into it. Harissa has a unique flavor all of its own from garlic, cumin and caraway seeds, and sometimes tomatoes as well.

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