Mediterranean-Style Quinoa


This is my first experiment with Quinoa. It was really tasty and I am definitely going to use this power grain again. I used the rice cooker method and used the 2 to 1 ratio, two cups water or broth to one cup quinoa. I also added 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and quinoa before turning the rice cooker on.
The finished product above was really easy. This is for one serving.
Use one cup of cooked Quinoa, one tablespoon of Christine’s Greek salad vinaigrette ( and add any of the following ingredients: Sun dried tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, green or red bell pepper, artichokes, chickpeas, red onion, pitted Greek olives, pine nuts, and feta cheese. Toss and Enjoy a guiltless meal or side dish.

If you have any questions contact me at



Cooking Quinoa

Since deciding to give up wheat, I have been hoarding Quinoa for a few weeks and this week it’s time. I found a great article on how to make Quinoa in the rice cooker and I can’t wait.  I’ll post how I incorporated this power grain into a gourmet dish.  If you have always wanted to make Quinoa and only eaten it from the cold buffet bar at  Whole Foods, check out this site:



Christine’s Greek Salad and Dressing

Last night we had an unexpected visit from friends we hadn’t seen for a few years, and it was a lazy Saturday night for us. I decided to whip up a Greek salad for dinner, and finally, after many times having made this dressing, I’m sharing it with the world. I hope you like it as much as my family does.
Kali Orexi (Greek equivalent to Bon appetit in French)

Salad Ingredients:

2 heads of romaine lettuce
3 cups of vine ripe tomatoes, cut in quarters (see photo)
1 red onion, diced
1 english cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, core and seeds removed, and diced
1/2 cup of Greek pitted olives (optional)
Feta Cheese (use block and crumble into fine pieces)

The Dressing (Makes 1 cup of dressing):
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of fine red wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
3 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried mint
1 teaspoon of Cavenders Greek Seasoning (optional)

Combine all the dressing ingredients and place in food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender. For this recipe and for all dressings, I use the immersion blender, specifically the Cuisinart Smartstick 200W hand blender. Please see the picture of what the dressing should look like. I used about half the dressing for the amount of salad above, and poured the dressing over the ingredients and then topped with feta cheese before serving.

Tomatoes on the Vine

Greek Dressing

Christine’s Greek Salad

Safely Home

This is my first post in about a month so I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things.  We are officially back on American soil for awhile, and I couldn’t be happier because all my 110 volt kitchen gadgets won’t need a transformer anymore!  There are many things on the horizon for this site, but first things first, it is time to get posting again. Please spread the word about Gourmet Anise and if you have any requests or comments on a recipe you would like to see or on one that has been posted, please feel free to email me. Thank you to all my readers for continuing to follow the site. Have a wonderful week! -Christine

Sunday Morning French Toast

Happy Sunday everyone!
I traveled to France and was finally was able to buy Brioche. It seemed impossible to find this type of bread in this area of Germany, but maybe it’s because we are only 20 minutes from the French border. I have been promising my son French toast for weeks, and not the frozen French toast sticks from the freezer. 🙂
So, if you haven’t tried it already, you must try this recipe:


Healthy Baklava Bites…REALLY!

So my friend Kristin had shared a recipe for Healthy Cookie Dough Balls, and it inspired me to make a Lebanese version. After experimenting and substituting some ingredients, I’m pleased to find my go to recipe for Baklava when I’m on a diet and it’s SUPER EASY! I topped them with walnuts, but you can roll them in crushed pistachios or walnuts when you are done as an alternative. Also, if you don’t have Agave Nectar, you could substitute honey. I was told that Costco is carrying the nectar as well as almost any natural foods market. See Note below regarding Orange Blossom Water, the key ingredient in Lebanese Baklava.
Share this with all your friends and family who love the classic Middle Eastern and Greek dessert, Baklava and want a Gluten Free version without the Phyllo dough.

Makes about 20 balls

Healthy Baklava Bites

2 cups of old fashioned oats
6 tablespoons of Agave Nectar (use less or more for desired sweetness)
1 cup of pistachios
1 cup of walnuts
3 teaspoons of Orange Blossom Water (see Note)

Place nuts in Food Processor first and pulse until all nuts are chopped finely. You can use a pestle and mortar if needed. Add oats and pulse for about 5 seconds until mixture resembles a coarse sand mixture. Add nectar and orange blossom water and mix for about 5 seconds until mixture resembles a thinner than normal cookie dough. Form into balls and either top with walnuts or roll into crushed pistachios and drizzle honey or more nectar over when serving. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes, but it is not needed.

Note: Orange Blossom Water can be found at any Middle Eastern Grocery.

French Onion Soup TODAY and Pho

Finally, I will be making this French Onion Soup recipe from Julia Childs cookbook. This moving process has really set me back, but I bought my onions and am ready to go. I got sidetracked yesterday with making Vietnamese pho. I have to make the Pho one more time before posting on Gourmet Anise. I’ll write more later. Happy Tuesday!


French Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese

Happy Thursday Everyone! It’s time to plan my Friday meal and I’ve always wanted to try the classic French Onion Soup. It is my husband’s favorite and I know it will be a hit.  With all the cooking that I do, one would think I would have tackled this recipe, but no.  The last time I had this soup of complete French bliss was in Paris, and it’s kind of hard to top that, but here I go.  It was a toss up between Ina Garten’s recipe for French Onion Soup or Julia Child’s version.  Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking, no brainer right? Ok, Julia wins, and I’ll write about how my soup turned out over the weekend. I’m pretty sure Julia never used a CrockPot, but this mother of two is going to have to.  Add a big trans-atlantic move on the way, and I just don’t have the time to sit over a pot for a few hours.  The upside? Getting all my groceries here in Europe, especially the Gruyere cheese. Ahh, the joys of living in Europe.  Julia, don’t fail me now.  -Christine

Agave What??

Yesterday I took my son to an Easter egg hunt at a friend’s house, and my friend Kristin made this amazing healthy dessert. She mentioned it is on Pinterest so I looked it up and finally found the original recipe on It is basically “Healthy Cookie Dough”. “Does that even exist” you might ask. Um, yes it does or something close to it. I wouldn’t devour too much of these because they are still packed with calories, but consider them a healthy alternative to it’s vixen cousin, the sinful chocolate chip cooke dough ball. These balls are made with chocolate chips, oats, vanilla extract (please don’t use imitation vanilla), walnuts, and agave nectar. I had to research exactly what Agave Nectar is to fully understand this mystery ingredient. Here is a brief summary about it (

“While agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) is best recognized as the plant from which tequila
is made, it has also been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in food.
The nectar made from the plant is known in Mexico as aguamiel, or ‘honey water’.”

Here is the cookie dough recipe taken from
It is must try!!! You won’t regret it!
Raw cookie dough bites


2/3 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup raw walnuts
2/3 cup raw oat flakes (see note below)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
Add the agave nectar and vanilla and process to combine.
Next, add the cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and pulse just to combine.
Roll the cookie dough into balls (about 1 tbsp each) and place them on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the freezer for about an hour to firm up. Store balls in a tightly covered container in the freezer.

A special thanks to my friend, Kristin, for introducing these to me. They were AMAZING!!! 🙂