Grated Chocolate Torte, Mousse-filled, w/Ground Almonds

Call this “Great Chocolate Torte” for short! Originally, the recipe called for a bar of chocolate, hand-grated. For convenience, chocolate chips may be substituted, “grated” by chopping in a small electric coffee/spice grinder.

This is a flour-free recipe, using toasted bread crumbs and almond meal instead, combined for a great texture. With an easy mousse of Chocolate Cream filling, topped with confectioner’s sugar and chocolate curls, it’s an elegant dessert. Serves 12 or so.

Grateful-Table-Grated-Chocolate-TorteINGREDIENTS

Several slices wheat bread (yielding 2/3 c. dry crumbs)
1 c. raw almonds, ground (or 1 1/2 c. almond meal)
2/3 c. chocolate chips (or 4 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate bar)
1/2 c. additional chocolate chips (or 3 oz. bittersweet or other bar chocolate), for chocolate curls
1 c. butter (plus 1 rounded TBS. for chocolate curls)
1 c. sugar
6 eggs, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. whipping cream
2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

PREPARATION

1. The dry bread crumbs can be prepared a day early. Process into crumbs: > 3-4 slices wheat bread

2. Spread crumbs on cookie sheet and dry overnight in oven (preheated, then turned off). Or let dry in a 300 degree oven for 10-20 minutes (stirring once or twice), until dried.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cheesecake (spring form) pan.

4. If processing whole almonds into a meal, 1 c. will yield about 1 1/2 c. Set aside 1 1/2 c. almond meal, or process the raw nuts into a fairly fine meal. In blender or food processor, start with: > 1 c. whole almonds (unless 1 1/2 c. almond meal is available)

5. If using a bar of chocolate, hand-grate the 4-oz. bar. If using chocolate chips, grate in a food processor, blender, or electric coffee/spice grinder, until chopped medium-coarse: > 2/3 c. chocolate chips

6. In mixing bowl, beat together: > 1 c. butter > 1 c. sugar

7. Add yolks and continue beating until light and creamy: > 6 yolks > 1 tsp. vanilla

8. Whip until stiff but not dry: > 6 egg whites

9. Mix dry ingredients together: > 2/3 c. dry bread crumbs > the almond meal > the grated chocolate

10. Into the bowl of creamed butter, sugar, and egg yolks, fold in until blended: > The dry ingredients > The whipped egg whites

11. Pour into buttered, floured 9-inch cheesecake pan and bake at 375 degrees 35-40 minutes.

12. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

13. Refrigerate several hours to cool and set completely, then cut through torte to create two layers. It may be slightly moist inside; set the bottom half (cut side up) on cake plate, spreading with Chocolate Cream filling. Add top layer and dust with confectioner’s sugar (best done by shaking it on with a sifter or strainer). Decorate with chocolate curls.

CHOCOLATE CREAM FILLING, PREPARATION

1. To prepare chocolate filling, mix well (or sift) to remove lumps: > 2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar > 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2. Whip until light: > 1 c. whipping cream

3. Fold in: > the confectioner’s sugar/cocoa blend

CHOCOLATE CURLS, PREPARATION*

1. Microwave 30-60 seconds until melted; mix until smooth: > 1 rounded TBS. butter > 1/2 c. chocolate chips (or 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, or your favorite)

2. Mix the melted mixture together until smooth. Spread as thinly as possible into a rectangle on a cookie sheet (about 12-inch x 16-inch).

3. Set in freezer 10 or more minutes, until almost hard. If fingerprint remains, it’s probably still too soft. When just cool enough, take metal spatula and scrape across the chocolate rectangle, like a snow plow would across a street of snow. Chocolate will curl up as it is scraped up off the cookie sheet. If still too warm, chill some more. If it’s gotten too cold, set in warm oven a few moments.

4. Let chocolate curls chill again, to be firm enough to arrange on the cake.

* Pioneer Woman has a great picture tutorial of the chocolate-curling process, here. I tweaked the recipe because I didn’t want to use shortening. Butter (or coconut oil, for that matter) substitute just fine! Also, I prefer to use chocolate chips, because they’re usually cheaper than something like “Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares”.

Cheesecake, New York Style, w/ Strawberry Sauce & Chocolate

There are a lot of cheesecake recipes out there, and many variations on the theme. Add pumpkin at Thanksgiving, cranberries at Christmas, or any variety of toppings. This New York Style Cheesecake can be made the traditional way, without the chocolate. But a bit of chocolate swirled into the recipe before baking can satisfy most chocoholics. Serves 12 or so.

Grateful-Table-Cheesecake-ChocolateINGREDIENTS

1 1/2 c. almonds or pecans
8 stone-ground wheat thins (or other)
1 TBS. sugar
2 1/2 TBS. butter, melted
3/4 c. cream
2 tsp. vanilla
3 TBS. lemon juice
1 lb. 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4c. sour cream
1 c. + 1 TBS. sugar
4 room-temperature eggs
For Chocolate Version: 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
For Chocolate Version: scant 1/2 c. cream
For Topping: 16 oz. bag frozen strawberries
For Topping: 2 TBS. sugar

PREPARATION

1. To make crust, chop fine in a food processor (or hand-chop): > 1 1/2 c. almonds or pecans

2. Crush in a plastic bag to make crumbs (a rolling pin works well): > 8 stone-ground wheat thins

3. Add to the processor, mixing: > The chopped nuts > The crushed cracker crumbs > 1 TBS. sugar > 2 1/2 TBS. butter, melted

4. Butter 9-inch cheesecake pan, pressing above mix in pan and up sides. Bake 6 minutes at 350 degrees, then cool.

5. Make filling, blending in a mixer: > 3/4 c. cream > 2 tsp. vanilla > 3 TBS. lemon juice > 1 lb. 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

6. Add, stirring just till mixed: > 3/4 c. sour cream

7. On low-speed, slowly add: > 1 c. + 1 TBS. sugar

8. Last, blend in one at a time: > 4 room-temperature eggs

9. Pour in cooled pie crust.

10. Continue with instructions below, for Chocolate Cheesecake, or bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Leave in turned-off oven 30 minutes with the door ajar. Remove, cool to room-temperature. Remove from pan and refrigerate.

OPTIONAL

(For Chocolate New York Style Cheesecake)

1. Microwave 1-2 minutes until melted: > 1 1/2 c. chocolate > scant 1/2 c. cream

2. Gently spoon the chocolate in a spiral-design, on top of the cheesecake batter. To get the swirl-effect, take a knife, pulling in gently across the top of the cake, starting at the center and going towards the edges.

3. Follow instructions above for baking the cheesecake.

STRAWBERRY SAUCE

To serve with strawberry sauce, puree in blender and serve with the cheesecake: > 1 lb. bag frozen strawberries, thawed > 2 TBS. sugar

1000 Island: Spiced Up Tomato Paste for Several Occasions

Find the recipe for this here: “New Deli Style Thousand Island Mix

 

I’m quite a fan of Thousand Island dressing, but I’m spoiled now. I don’t think store-bought will ever do again. Instead, we’ve got a homemade dressing at the cafe that’s sweetened with honey and not loaded with artificial ingredients.

Grateful-Table-Spices-1000-IslandI watched a friend of mine, years ago, make “1000 Island” out of catsup and mayonnaise. Not ideal. But we came up a better alternative at The New Deli: a zippy, seasoned tomato paste that serves as a base for various things. It can be added to soups, to get an instantly-seasoned broth, or it can be used to make Sweet N’ Sour dressing (just add some honey, olive oil, red wine vinegar). It can also be mixed into mayonnaise (homemade or a fave brand), to make Thousand Island.

Another cool thing about it: it’s already loaded with herbs and spices, so I can mix it in with ground meat, a few eggs, etc., and make a real quick meatloaf that’s still quite well seasoned. Very cool!

I had been checking out a favorite website (Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s site), and noticed she had a 1000 Island dressing recipe posted there as well. (It can be found on this page .) I’ve posted mine under “Free Recipes” (here), but it’s basically just a simple mix of tomato paste, honey, red wine vinegar, and various spices.

If you don’t want to bother making up a batch, just stop by the deli and get the dressing on a Reuben. Or on a Turkey Muenster Melt. Or in a tossed salad…

Or make your own- it’s delicious!

PS Here’s a quick Worchester

 

Thousand Island: Natural Ingredients & Seasoning Spice It Up

At The New Deli, we discovered that a great time saver was to make a big batch of a spice mix, with a tomato paste base. The salt and vinegar in the mix make it keep well in the refrigerator, for months on end. We add the base spice mix to other foods, to make stuff like 1000 Island Dressing, Oriental Sweet and Sour dressing, in meatloaf, and in soups. We use a 7 lb. can at the deli, but even if you make a much smaller batch, it’s bound to save you time. Makes about 3 c.

Grateful-Table-Spices-1000-IslandINGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. tomato paste (two 8-oz. cans)
  • 4 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic granules
  • Scant Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons minced jalapeños, canned
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Mayonnaise as needed, for dressing

PREPARATION

Blend all eight ingredients and keep mixture refrigerated, in glass mason jar, for two months or so.

To make 1000 Island dressing, just add some to mayonnaise, until it’s the right color.

Chocolate Truffle Cake, Non-Alcohol Version (No Kahlua)

This extra-rich, decadently chocolate cake is also a quick and easy recipe, with a minimum of ingredients. The original recipe called for Kahlua liqueur (see recipe here), but this version saves money; just use a homemade blend of espresso and maple syrup. The original recipe called for a cup of espresso and a 1/4 c. Kahlua; because the Kahlua’s sweet, when I left that out I added in some maple syrup.

Throw the ingredients together, bake, and enjoy a dense torte akin to mousse or pudding, with no fuss. Serves 15 or so; can easily be reduced by half to serve a smaller crowd.

Grateful-Table-Chocolate-Truffle-CakeINGREDIENTS

1 lb. chocolate chips
1 lb. butter
2 c. sugar
2/3 c. espresso (or strong coffee) (Decaf, if desired)
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. water
8 eggs
1 c. pecans, chopped
Optional: Whipped cream, berries, or raspberry sauce

PREPARATION

1. Bake in unbuttered pan, lined with aluminum foil (heavy duty works best). Use a large, 10-inch pan, or 2 smaller pans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Microwave in large ceramic bowl, 2-3 minutes, until melted: > 1 lb. chocolate chips > 1 lb. butter

3. Stir the chocolate/butter mix until smooth. Add the following, stir, and microwave 2 min. more: > 2 c. sugar > 2/3 c. espresso (or strong coffee) > 1/3 c. maple syrup > 1/4 c. water

4. Stir in, one at a time: > 8 eggs

5. Pour into the foil-lined pan; sprinkle with: > 1 c. pecans, chopped

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 65 min. for a 10″ pan, or 30-40 min. for 2 smaller pans.

7. Let cool completely (for easiest handling). Transfer to cake plate, cut away foil, leaving a round of foil under the cake. (If completely chilled first, this foil can be removed, otherwise it can be tricky.)

8. Serve with whipped cream or berries. A raspberry sauce can also be drizzled onto the plates before serving.

Chocolate Truffle Cake w/Kahlua: Easy Torte

This torte a minimum of ingredients–a super easy recipe. There’s not even gluten in it, for those looking for gluten-free. It is traditionally made with Kahlua; for a non-alcohol version, see this page.

If the 10″ pan is not available, smaller sizes can be used; just cook the cake longer. It won’t set up as traditional cakes set up (don’t bother sticking a toothpick in). But it will seem fairly “set” when giggled. Let it cool completely before serving. Serves 15 or so; can easily be reduced by half to serve a smaller crowd.

Eggs, Butter, Chocolate, Coffee: Easy Chocolate Torte

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. chocolate chips
1 lb. butter
2 c. sugar
1 c. espresso (or strong coffee)(Decaf, if desired)
1/4 c. Kahlua
8 eggs
1 c. pecans, chopped
Optional: Whipped cream, berries, or raspberry sauce

PREPARATION

1. Bake in unbuttered pan, lined with aluminum foil (heavy duty works best). Use a large, 10″ pan, or 2 smaller pans. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Microwave in large ceramic bowl, 2-3 minutes, until melted: > 1 lb. chocolate chips > 1 lb. butter

3. Stir the chocolate/butter mix until smooth. Add the following, stir, and microwave 2 min. more: > 2 c. sugar > 1 c. espresso (or strong coffee)

4. Stir in, one at a time: > 8 eggs

5. Pour into the foil-lined pan; sprinkle with: > 1 c. pecans, chopped

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 65 min. for a 10″ pan, or 30-40 min. for 2 smaller pans.

7.Let cool completely (for easiest handling). Transfer to cake plate, cut away foil, leaving a round of foil under the cake. (If completely chilled first, this foil can be removed, otherwise it can be tricky.)

8. Serve with whipped cream or berries. A raspberry sauce can also be drizzled onto the plates before serving.

Baba Rum Cake: With or Without the Rum, still Awesome

This is a memorable holiday cake in our family. If you’re not big on rum, skip the alcohol, using other flavorings. Serves 12.

Grateful-Table-Baba-Rum-CakeINGREDIENTS

8 eggs total (divided)
5 c. sugar, divided (two 1/2 c. + 4 c. sugar)
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. butter
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
8 egg whites
4 c. water
1 c. rum (or substitute 4 tsp. almond, lemon, or orange extract, plus scant 1 c. water)

PREPARATION

1. Beat until fluffy: > 8 egg yolks > 1/2 c. sugar > 2 tsp. vanilla

2. Microwave 40 seconds (until melted): > 2/3 c. butter

3. Set aside mixture of: > 2 c. flour > 1/2 tsp. salt > 2 tsp. baking powder

4. Whip until almost stiff: > 8 egg whites

5. Add slowly to beaten egg whites, while whipping: > 1/2 c. sugar

6. Fold the above ingredients together, incorporating the flour into the whipped egg yolk mix alternately with the melted butter, folding the egg whites in last of all. Bake in a buttered bundt pan at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

7. Begin syrup right away, stirring occasionally, boiling the following in a saucepan until it reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer: > 4 c. sugar > 4 c. water

8. When syrup is to temperature, remove and add: > 1 c. rum (or substitute 4 tsp. almond, lemon, or orange extract, plus scant 1 c. water)

9. Leaving cake in pan, pour hot syrup over cake immediately. Let cake soak 2 hours, then turn out onto plate.

Curried Carrot Soup w/Coconut Milk and Potatoes- Gluten-free!

This easy gluten-free soup uses coconut cream and curry powder. A non-dairy soup, perfect for vegans. A garnish of parsley adds contrast; grilled carrots add texture. Makes 6 servings or so.

Grateful-Table-Curried-Carrot-SoupINGREDIENTS

2 lb. carrots, peeled, sliced into discs
2 lb. potatoes, peeled, cubed
1/4 c. coconut cream (or 1/2 c. coconut milk)
2 TBS. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Optional: cilantro or parsley for garnish

PREPARATION

1. Prepare and cook the carrots and potatoes as for Curried Carrot Soup; cook carrots first, for 20 minutes or so: > 2 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into discs > boiling water to cover

2. Set 2 c. or so of the cooked carrots aside for garnishing. To the remaining cooked carrots in the pot, add and cook until potatoes are tender: > 2 lb. potatoes, peeled, cubed

3. Once potatoes are cooked, process the soup just until the potatoes are smooth (over-processing will develop the potato’s gluten, making a “sticky” soup). Blend the following into the pureed potato/carrot mix: > 1/4 c. coconut cream > 2 TBS. curry powder > 1 1/2 tsp. salt

4. Reheat the soup to serve; garnish with: > Reserved cooked, sliced carrots, browned in hot skillet > cilantro or parsley, if desired

Spaghetti and Meatballs: Authentic Italian Seasoning

Homemade spaghetti and meatballs are quite a crowd pleaser! The homemade sauce for this is made easier by adding tomato paste last; less stirring is required while the sauce reduces. And the meatballs have that sausage-like flavor, without the extra fat and additives that pork sausage typically has. Another convenience: the browned meatballs are put in the oven for 20 minutes to finish cooking. Less minding of the pan, and the meatballs don’t fall apart as some tend to do. Make a full batch of this large recipe and freeze half if necessary; frozen meatballs covered in sauce keep well for 2 or more months. Serves 8 or so.

Grateful-Table-Spaghetti-and-MeatballsMeatball

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. dry Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp. dry sage
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. oatmeal
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan
  • 1/4 c. fresh, chopped parsley

Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 c. (2 lb.) fine-chopped onion
  • 8-10 garlic cloves (1/4 c.), minced
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. red wine (or 1/2 c. red wine vinegar)
  • 3 lb. carrots
  • 8 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2- 28 oz. cans chunk tomatoes (almost 2 quarts)
  • 1/2 TBS. salt
  • 1/2 TBS. pepper
  • 2 TBS. dry basil
  • 2 lb. dry spaghetti (or less if making some of the meatballs and sauce for the freezer)

PREPARATION

1. For the tomato sauce, saute’ in a med. skillet with lid on: > 6 c. (2 lb.) fine-chopped onion > 8-10 garlic cloves (1/4 c.), minced > 1/4 c. olive oil

2. Stir occasionally, over med. high heat. Turn burner down as the onions soften, and remove lid. Next add to the onion skillet: > 1 c. red wine (or 1/2 c. red wine vinegar)

3. Meanwhile, steam (or pressure-cook) carrots until tender, in just a half-inch or so of water: > 3 lb. carrots, chopped coarse

4. Turn the burner up again to let the liquid boil off some, stirring occasionally. Last of all, add the mixture to a large bowl or pot, mixing in the remaining ingredients: > 8 oz. can tomato paste > 2- 28 oz. cans chunk tomatoes (almost 2 quarts) > 1/2 TBS. salt > 1/2 TBS. pepper > 2 TBS. dry basil

5. For meatballs, mix all the meatball ingredients together: > 2 lb. ground beef > 2 TBS. minced garlic > 2 tsp. dry Italian herbs > 1 tsp. dry sage > 1 tsp. black pepper > 2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted and crushed > Dash nutmeg > 1 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/3 c. oatmeal > 3 eggs > 1/2 c. parmesan > 1/4 c. fresh, chopped parsley

6. Ideally, scoop meatballs w/cookie scoop (or hand-roll). Brown batches of meatballs in large iron skillet. Remove to cookie sheet when browned, continuing with process. When finished browning, bake meatballs in 300 degree oven for 20 minutes to cook thoroughly. Add meatballs to tomato sauce, serve w/cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese. To freeze some of it, store in plastic pint containers (or freezer bags), covered with the tomato sauce.

Pork Loin Roast w/ Apple Sage Corn Bread Stuffing- Elegant!

This pork recipe offers an elegant entrée for special occasions. “Butterflying” the pork loin roast makes it a large, thinner rectangle. It’s then pounded with a meat hammer to further tenderize the meat. The surface is spread with a corn bread stuffing mixture, and cooked at higher oven heat for 10 minutes, then at a quite low temperature for the remainder.

Use the Corn Bread with Apple and Sage recipe for the stuffing (a delicious accompaniment to a meal in its own right). A 3-4 lb. pork loin should serve 6-8.

Grateful-Table-Pork-Loin-w-Apple-Sage-StuffingINGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock (or water)
  • 4 c. crumbled Cornbread With Apple Sage (about half a recipe)
  • 3-4 lb. boneless pork loin
  • 2 TBS. fresh, chopped sage (or 1 TBS. dry)

PREPARATION

1. Follow the recipe for Corn Bread with Apple and Sage. Set the corn bread aside.

2. To a bowl, add: > 2 eggs > 1/4 c. chicken stock (or water) > 4 c. crumbled Apple Sage Cornbread (about half a recipe)

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the pork loin. Use: > 3-4 lb. boneless pork loin

4. To butterfly the meat, lay it fat-side down, and make a cut down the long, middle part. Do not cut all the way through! Cut a third of the meat open, as if “unfolding” a three-fold menu, creating a new layer of meat as it opens. Make another cut through the other third of the meat, opening it as if “unfolding” a menu, by cutting through the layer of meat. The goal is to make a somewhat round pork loin into a larger rectangle of meat that’s about an inch or so in thickness. Once it is of rectangular shape, pound with a meat hammer to further even out the thickness (which tenderizes the meat as well).

5. Season the meat; spread lightly with: > 2 TBS. fresh, chopped sage (or 1 TBS. dry)

6. Spread the corn bread stuffing on next, to about an inch from the edges. Roll it up like a jelly-roll, and tie the roast with kitchen string, every 2 inches or so.

7. Cook the roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes only, then at 250 degrees for 50 minutes or so, until internal temperature reads 140-150 degrees with a meat thermometer.
Let the roast rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes or so. Remove any clunky droppings from the pan; deglaze the pan, adding some chicken stock, if available, to help loosen the flavors stuck to the pan. Remove the twine from the pork; slice 1/2 inches thick, and serve with the “au jus” (drippings from the pan).