Cocoa Nib Fudge, Fruit-Sweetened

Tom and I have a quick liquid breakfast that usually includes a cup of this bittersweet, fudgey stuff, blended with boiling water, hot chocolate style. I like to add a scoop of favorite supplements (like this collagen/turmeric blend). Oh, and a raw egg, which gets the drink slightly thick and frothy. Yum!

You can use your fat of choice, but I use mostly pastured butter in mine, since we also take a shot of cod liver oil every morning, and the butter works synergistically with it for better nutrition.

Cocoa nibs blended with dates, raisins, butter, coconut oilPerfect for a snack too–this is pretty much a guilt-free health food in my book. It’s like a cheaper version of those pricey, fancy artisan chocolate bars! I add a chunk of this to hot water in the blender, to make a delicious, bittersweet hot cocoa. (Add honey if necessary.)

Makes a bit over a 1-pound loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c. dates, pitted, chopped coarse
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 2/3 c. raw cacao nibs
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Soak dried fruits in boiling water overnight, or for several hours. Use: > 3/4 c. dates > 1/2 c. raisins > 1/2 c. boiling water

In iron pan (or on foil), toast cacao nibs in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until somewhat darkened and fragrant. Stir some, then turn oven off and let finish toasting for 10 more minutes more. Use: > 1 2/3 c. raw cacao nibs

Process cacao nibs in a Vitamix dry-blender (or similar appliance). Process at highest speed for 1 1/2 minutes, then add and blend until smooth: > 1/2 c. butter > 1/4 c. coconut oil > 1 tsp. vanilla

Add the soaked dried fruits to the blender, processing until mixed. (Some chunks may remain.)

Spread in parchment-lined loaf pan, then refrigerate overnight.

Turn the solid fudge mixture out onto cutting board (run upside-down pan under hot water if necessary). Cut into slices; will last in refrigerator for a month or two.

Open Weekdays, Closed Weekends

Life growing up in a small businessWe were a bit torn about closing Saturdays, but we had done it before. Not at first, when we worked every possible hour to stay afloat. Son Miles was two years old at the time, and his naps were often taken in the back room. He didn’t want to take a nap, but might fall asleep in a box, while fighting the urge.

New Deli Family BusinessFast-forward a few years. The kids were in various school activities on weekends, and the business had become established, so we closed weekends to give us more time with family. As our two sons got older, they began helping at the deli when they could; literally a family business.

By the time the kids were out on their own, plaza rent increased significantly under new ownership. Between that, the dot-com bust and the real estate crisis, Tom and I decided reopening Saturdays may prove helpful.

New Deli- Great Staff, but Closed WeekendsThirty-two years in this business, we’re opting to close weekends once more. The biggest loss is of seeing those loyal Saturday fans we’ve known through the years. We’ll miss you too! But we relish the chance to be more involved in other events with family (which has grown) and friends. We still have a great staff (many of whom are pictured here), and hope we can still continue to serve you!

Chocolate Poppy Seed Torte- Fancy Dessert!

My great grandpa used to bring us pastries from a Dutch bakery, some with poppy seed paste in them. My mom and I adored these! And thus began our love affair with poppy seeds.

But what’s not to like? Poppy seeds contain omega-3s, plus minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. I suppose getting these nutrients in cake form isn’t for daily consumption, but this nutritional profile may help us rationalize eating it on occasion!

Ground Poppy Seeds Add Richness to Chocolate TorteI imagine this to be a kind of romantic dessert; a few edible flowers go well with it, or perhaps some vanilla ice cream with a sprinkling of poppy seeds.

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 c. poppy seeds
  • 6 egg whites
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 TBS. flour

Melt in double boiler or microwave until melted (30 seconds or so); stir until smooth: > 2/3 c. chocolate chips

Stir into melted chocolate: > 1/3 c. butter > 1 tsp. vanilla

Let chocolate and butter cool some while preparing seeds. Grind in small spice grinder, a smaller amount at a time: > 2/3 c. poppy seeds

Beat until creamy: > 3/4 c. sugar > 1 tsp. vanilla > 6 egg yolks

Add to the whipped mixture, stirring until mixed: > Melted, cooled chocolate > Ground poppy seeds

Stir in: > 2 TBS. flour

Whip until stiff: > 6 egg whites

Fold egg whites into the batter and pour into a buttered, floured 9″ cheesecake pan.

Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees, or until set.

Let cool; serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Persian Rice (AKA “Jeweled Rice”)

I wanted to put pistachios and dried cranberries together in some kind of rice pilaf—so colorful! And I was wondering what else I could do with the precious saffron I had on hand. Turns out that a combination of these and other ingredients is a classic Persian recipe (AKA “Jeweled Rice”).

Rice_Salad_Pilaf_Persian_StyleI took liberties with the original recipe, to make it easier. The traditional method includes specifics for cooking the rice to attain a golden “crust” on the bottom of the pan. For me, it’s enough to put the main ingredients together—it still makes a beautiful dish!

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 15 saffron threads (Iranian is best)
  • 1 orange, organic
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. dried cranberries
  • 1 carrot, julienned in short strips
  • 2 c. basmati rice
  • 4 c. boiling water
  • Seeds from a few cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c. chopped pistachios
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBS. olive oil

Start by soaking the saffron—it’ll bring out more color if it steeps in water for at least an hour. (Or do this step the night before). Use: > 15 saffron threads > 2 TBS. warm water

Peel strips from the orange, with minimal of the bitter white pith; slice into very thin strips. Add to pot: > thin orange peel strips > 1/2 c. sugar > 1/2 c. liquid (use juice of orange, plus water to make up difference)

Bring mixture to boil, stirring. On medium heat, continue stirring as it boils, for about 3-5 minutes, until liquid is reduced and syrupy.

Remove from heat and add: > 1/3 c. dried cranberries

Add soaked saffron plus its liquid to the orange/cranberry mix and set aside.

In medium pot, cook for 12-15 minutes, until done: > carrot > 2 c. basmati rice > seeds from several cardamom pods > 1/2 tsp. cinnamon > 4 c. boiling water

When rice is done, refrigerate to cool completely.

Saute nuts in butter until lightly browned. Use: > 1/2 c. pistachios, chopped > 1/4 c. butter

Set nuts aside.

When rice has cooled, take 1/2 cup of it and mix it with the saffron-water/orange-peel/cranberry mixture. Set aside for garnish.

Mix together: > the cooked, cooled rice > 1 tsp. salt > 2 TBS. olive oil

To serve, mound rice mixture onto a platter, into a cone shape if desired; top with: > the saffron-water/orange-peel/cranberry/rice mixture > the sautéed nuts

This rice is delicious served with roasted chicken that is seasoned with lemon, sage, and foenegreek seeds (ground to a powder).

Poppy Seed Cake

I wanted to make a poppy seed cake for my husband’s birthday, but he hadn’t been too thrilled with the original recipe. Fine. He was right. The first cake was not exceptional. So I pushed myself to create a better dessert. “Poppy Seed Honey Cake” sounded awesome, so at least I had a good name.

Warm honey syrup's poured over poppy seed cake once bakedI searched the web, but didn’t find anyone else who had used honey in a simple syrup to pour on while the cake’s still warm. But that was my plan. In my research, I did find an article about the virtues of not over-heating honey. Supposedly, the flavor is better when the honey isn’t baked into the cake, and it’ll retain more nutrients. Perfect—my plan was to thin the honey in a bit of warm water, then pour it over the baked cake. If it would have even more flavor this way, hurray!

I still let the poppy seeds soak in some scalded milk first; they pop a little this way, which I think improves the texture of this cake. An easy Bundt cake for casual gatherings, picnics, and such. And for my husband’s birthday! It’ll keep well too, as the honey syrup keeps it moist.

Serves 12.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. poppy seeds
  • 1 TBS. lemon juice
  • 6 eggs total (divided)
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. honey

Scald milk in small pot, remove from heat, Add poppy seeds and lemon juice; let stand for an hour or more. Use: > 1 1/2 c. milk > 1 c. poppy seeds > 1 TBS. lemon juice

Beat until light: > 6 egg yolks > 1 c. butter > 1 c. brown sugar

Set aside whipped yolk mixture; whip egg whites until stiff: > 6 egg whites

Measure and mix together: > 2 c. flour > 2 tsp. baking soda > 1/2 tsp. salt

Fold all the above ingredients together. Bake in well-buttered Bundt pan, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

A few minutes before cake is done, mix together: > 1/2 c. boiling water > 1 c. honey

The cake’s done when a tooth inserted comes out clean. Leave cake in Bundt pan, pouring the honey mixture over cake. Let the cake sit in the pan for about an hour, until the liquid’s absorbed.

Remove from pan, inverting onto a plate. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Pasta Salad w/ Honey Mustard Dressing

This pasta salad is made with “Perciatelli”, AKA “ bucatini ”. Sounds fancy, but what is it, right? It looks like a fat spaghetti noodle, but it has a tiny hole in the middle. Kind of like a very skinny straw. This gives it a great “chew”, in my opinion!

Pasta Salad w/ Sweet PotatoesI love this salad. It doesn’t hurt that it also has grilled sweet potatoes in it, cooled off to build up their “resistant starch” (good stuff for our bods). And the grilled zucchini lightens it up some. Add a honey-mustard dressing, made from scratch, and it’s a treat! Perfect for potlucks and parties.

Serves 16 or so as a side

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. perciatelli pasta
  • 3 zucchini (about 1 11/2 lb.)
  • 3 sweet potatoes (about 1 11/2 lb.)
  • One recipe Honey Mustard Dressing (see below)

Add uncooked noodles to boiling, salted water and cook on medium low heat for 11 minutes, or to taste: > 1 lb. perciatelli pasta

Add sweet potatoes to hot iron skillet, adding water almost to cover. Let them steam as the water boils away, for about 5 minutes. Use: > 3 sweet potatoes

Turn sweet potatoes over, adding another splash of water, and cook until tender. As water evaporates, add a drizzle of olive oil. Let cool when finished.

Grill: > 3 zucchini

Let pasta and veggies cool in a big bowl. Toss the cooled ingredients with one recipe Honey Mustard Dressing (about 1 cup).

Garnish the bowl of pasta salad with fresh herbs. And maybe a nasturtium flower!

 

Honey Mustard Dressing

 We make our salad dressings from scratch at the deli, although we’ve never found time to make homemade mayonnaise. We just go through too much! So this dressing’s only made at home, for family and friends. It’s great on greens, and also, for the pasta salad recipe, above.

Makes just over a cup.

  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBS. Dijon mustard (.12)
  • 2 tsp. vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. olive oil (.185)
  • 2 TBS. honey
  • 1/8 tsp. orange extract
  • 1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
  • fresh tarragon and thyme

In small, narrow container, whip the following with immersion blender: > 1 egg > 3 TBS. Dijon mustard > 1 tsp. vinegar > 1/2 tsp. salt

Measure olive oil into a pouring cup, and very slowly, drizzle in a few tablespoons of the oil into the above mix

Once the first oil is emulsified into the mix, slowly add the rest, beating continually until all the oil is absorbed.

Add and blend until ingredients are mixed in.: > 2 TBS. honey > 1/8 tsp. orange extract > 1/8 tsp. liquid smoke > fresh tarragon and thyme > 1 tsp. vinegar

Use for green salads, or as the dressing for pasta salads.

Refrigerated, keeps one month.

Mayonnaise (AKA “Aioli”)

I use extra virgin olive oil and garlic in my mayonnaise (it’s so much healthier than the alternatives), but that means it’s almost “Aioli”. Which sounds so classy. Aioli is an emulsion of garlic and olive oil, sometimes containing egg yolk to help it emulsify.

If the olive oil flavor is too strong, use part coconut oil or refined olive oil, for a milder dressing.

Make mayo w/ olive oil, healthy!I sabotaged my early efforts at making mayonnaise by using an over-sized mixing container. The food processor did work, as long as I was making deli-sized quantities. But for smaller, home-sized quantities, best results come with using an immersion blender and a narrow, tall container.

Note that, unlike the typical preservative-laden mayonnaise, homemade mayonnaise won’t keep as long. At all. Eat it all now! Or a week or two, for optimum freshness and flavor.

Makes almost a quart

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TBS. Dijon mustard
  • 3 egg yolks (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 3/4 c. olive oil, divided
  • 3 TBS. lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Optional: Chopped herbs and black pepper

In a narrow, tall container, mix well with an immersion blender: > 2 TBS. Dijon mustard > 3 egg yolks > 1/4 c. olive oil > 3 cloves garlic > 2 tsp. salt > 2 tsp. white wine vinegar

Add the next round of oil in very slowly, letting it get emulsified into the mix: > 1/2 c. olive oil

As soon as it thickens, add remaining oil in steady stream: > 2 c. olive oil

When thick, stir in just until smooth: > Chopped herbs and black pepper > 3 TBS. lemon juice (or to taste)

Use this special sauce as a veggie or bread dip, or on seafood, in slaws, potato salad, etc.

Keeps one-two weeks.

Root Beer, Healthy Soda Style, Probiotic

I had been pretty disappointed in my earlier attempts at homemade probiotic root beer. I bought all these individual ingredients to make it from scratch, only to realize it would’ve been much easier to just buy natural root beer extract (or even a root beer blend ).

But then I started adding “Ginger Bug” to the second ferment of this “root beer”. I discovered this made a pretty authentic, healthy substitute for the typical root beer soda. And now that I have the root beer ingredients on hand, I can make many batches of this extract, for considerably less cost than buying the store-bought extract. And–the blend can be customized to individual tastes.

Root Beer, Homemade, Healthy, ProbioticI finally have a great root beer soda recipe, even though it took awhile. First off, some folks said, “boil the bark for for a long time”, or “pour more boiling water on the strained bark, to extract more flavor and make a second batch.

Nope–that did not work out well. I discovered that the best flavor comes from simmering the first four ingredients for twenty minutes only. I suspect that other less-desirable elements start coming out when it’s simmered for longer. Personal opinion- just sayin’.

This recipe makes 2-3 cups, enough for two or three batches of 32-oz. brew. The extra can be stored in refrigerator for several months.

EXTRACT INGREDIENTS

“SODA” INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 c. “ginger bug” per bottle of second ferment
  • 1 c. finished root beer extract
  • Scant 3 c. first-ferment kombucha, ready for second ferment

Add to a small pot: > 2 TBS. sarsaparilla root > 1 TBS. sassafras bark> 1/4 tsp. wintergreen leaf > 1 tsp. licorice root > 3 c. boiling water (filtered)

Bring mixture back to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl or other container.

After straining the above mix, caramelize sugar. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the sugar on medium-high heat just until all sugar has dissolved and is golden. Use: > 1/4 c. sugar

After the sugar has caramelized, add more sugar, stirring to dissolve. Use: > 1/4 c. sugar

To the pan of sugars, slowly add back some of the strained liquid. Stir until smooth, reheating to dissolve sugar, if necessary.

Add the strained liquid mixed with the caramelized sugar to a quart jar. Also add: > 1 tsp. molasses > 1 tsp. vanilla extract > 1/2 TBS. lime juice

Shake or stir well until dissolved. This “Root Beer Extract” will make two or three 32-oz. bottles of finished root beer “soda”.

For the second ferment “soda”, use one 32-oz. bottle. Add: > 1/3 c. “Ginger Bug” (see recipe) > 1 c. Root Beer Extract > scant 3 c. first-ferment kombucha (or kefir)

Leave the second-ferment bottle out for a day or two, until well-carbonated, then refrigerate. Refrigerated, it keeps up to a month.

Garden Pasta w/ Orzo, Carrots, Peas, Herbs

This was a popular thirty-some years back, when we first opened the deli. It still goes over well when I bring it to a potluck. One nice feature: it uses ingredients I usually have on hand–carrots and frozen peas. They give it color, and the sunflower seeds and pine nuts add a nice crunch.

Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Carrots, Peas, Pine NutsOrzo is a rice-shaped pasta. Rice could also be substituted for the pasta, making it gluten-free.

Serves 6-8 or so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. orzo
  • Splash olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 c. mayo
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2.tsp. Vege-Sal
  • 1/2 TBS. rubbed, dry Italian herbs
  • pinch cayenne
  • Half bag (12 oz. size) green peas, frozen, thawed
  • 2/3 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 c. pine nuts

Cook: > 8 oz. orzo

Drain and rinse pasta; let cool. Toss cooled pasta with: > splash olive oil

Steam or microwave until tender, then dice when cooled. Use: > 3/4 lb. carrots

In bowl, mix well: > 1/4 c. mayo > 1/2 tsp. pepper > 2 tsp. Vege-Sal > 1/2 TBS. rubbed, dry Italian herbs > pinch cayenne

Mix all ingredients in bowl, adding: > 12 oz. green peas, frozen, thawed > cooked, diced carrots > cooled pasta > 2/3 c. sunflower seeds > 1/3 c. pine nuts

Green Goddess Dip w/ Homemade Mayo

Back in the seventies, my first job was as a busgirl at a fancy restaurant. I filled the Green Goddess dressing crocks hourly during the dinner rush–it was a very popular, signature dressing at “Cooper’s Arms”.

The chefs-in-training got to make the dressing during off hours. Now I realize it would’ve been nice to check out their recipe and compare it to mine. But I would’ve wanted to make my own Paleo-style mayonnaise for the base, so it wouldn’t have been quite the same.

I made a batch of this to bring to the cabin on the family’s annual summer vacation. I guess it was a success–my granddaughter put it on several items. It was a hit!

Green Goddess w/ Homemade MayonnaiseA combination of herbs, garlic, and anchovy, blended with homemade mayonnaise, makes a delicious dip for veggies, bread, or a spread for sandwiches. Add spinach leaves to make a healthy substitute for Spinach Dip!

Makes 3 cups

INGREDIENTS

FOR MAYONNAISE*:

  • 1 TBS. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBS. + 1/4 c. + 1 c. olive oil
  • 2 TBS. lemon juice

GREEN GODDESS MIX:

  • 1 c. green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. favorite herbs (tarragon, thyme, watercress, basil, mint, etc.)
  • 1/2 c. fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 2-oz. can anchovies
  • Optional: 1/2 c. sour cream
  • Optional: Sliced vegetables to dip

To make homemade mayonnaise, mix with an immersion blender, in a small, deep container: > 1 TBS. Dijon mustard > 1 tsp. white wine vinegar > 2 egg yolks > 1 tsp. salt

Add and mix some more: > 2 TBS. olive oil

Very slowly add the next quantity of olive oil: > 1/4 c. olive oil

Then blend in the last of the olive oil more quickly, as it will incorporate more easily: > 1 c. olive oil

Last, blend in: > 2 TBS. lemon juice

Remove mayonnaise to a separate bowl, and use the immersion blender to process the remaining ingredients: > 1 c. green onions, chopped > 1/2 c. favorite herbs (tarragon, thyme, watercress, basil, mint, etc.) > 1/2 c. fresh parsley > 4 cloves fresh garlic > 1 2-oz. can anchovies > 1 TBS. lemon juice

Fold the pureed herb/anchovy mix into the mayonnaise. Optional: Fold the sour cream in as well, if desired.

Serve with sliced vegetables or as dip for bread, or on sandwiches. Keeps one to two weeks.

*Substitute 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise for the homemade mayonnaise, if desired