Pecan Pear Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing: Upscale Waldorf

The Poppy Seed dressing below can be simply mixed up in a bowl, hand-whisking the other ingredients into the olive oil- no blender clean-up! Using the stirring method is convenient, especially when making a smaller batch of the dressing.

Grateful-Table-Pecan-Pear-Salad-w-Poppy-Seed-Dressing-Waldorf-StyleBosc pears have a firm, crunchy texture, although other pears or apples, or even dried fruits can substitute in a pinch. Vary the salad by leaving out the blue cheese or replacing with crumbled goat cheese. Serves 8-10  (with extra dressing).

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. prepared Dijon, or similar mustard
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 2 bags of mixed baby greens
  • 2 or 3 thin-sliced pears, dipped in lemon (or sub apples)
  • 2/3 c. pecans, toasted (or raw)
  • (Optional) 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

PREPARATION

1. For dressing, heat 30 seconds in microwave, until sugar dissolves when stirred: > 3/4 c. sugar > 1/3 c. white vinegar

2. Use a blender (or immersion blender) to mix dressing, or hand whisk in a bowl. Mix well with the dissolved sugar/vinegar mix: > 2 tsp. prepared Dijon, or similar mustard > 1 scant tsp. salt

3. Last, blend in: > 1 c. olive oil > 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds

4. This will make enough dressing for two big salads. Use about half of the dressing over the following, reserving the rest for another salad: > 2 bags of mixed baby greens > 2 or 3 thin-sliced pears, dipped in lemon > 2/3 c. pecans, toasted if desired > (Optional) 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Black Bean Chili: Easy Vegetarian Soup

Make extra of this to store in the freezer for quick last-minute meals; healthy, nourishing, economical, and tasty. Freeze portions in plastic wrap, and microwave later for soup or burritos. Add tortillas, perhaps avocados, cheese, and tomato, for a simple dinner.

(See notes below for a variation, using Pinto beans.)

Grateful-Table-Black-Bean-ChiliMany recipes call for canned black beans, but it’s easy to start them from scratch. Dry beans are most economical too, and organic beans are often available at health food stores. This recipe starts out thick; just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Leave off any dairy products to make it vegan, or top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. This mix is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas. Serves 7-8.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • Olive oil for sautéing onions
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. dry oregano
  • 2 TBS. cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Optional: Grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro

PREPARATION

1. Bring to a boil, then simmer 1-2 hours, until tender: > 1 lb. black beans > approx. 2 qt. boiling water

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash, leaving some beans whole. A potato masher or immersion blender works, or put on an oven mitt, cover that with a clean plastic bag, and mash the drained beans by hand. Set aside. In iron skillet, saute’ the following on medium heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > olive oil (about 3 TBS.)

3. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. each, dry basil > 1/4 c. each, dry oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

4. Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sauteed onions and garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. each, salt and paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

5. For Chili, add water to achieve desired thickness, sprinkling w/ grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, or use as is in burritos, etc.

VARIATION

For variety, substitute pinto beans (or other favorite) for black beans. Substitute 2 TBS. chili powder for the oregano, basil, cumin seed, cayenne and paprika. A delicious side dish (like healthy-style refried beans), or a comforting, nourishing soup (just add water).

Butternut Squash Soup: Easy, healthy soup recipe tastes rich!

A food processor or immersion blender works well to make this a smooth, creamy soup; the blend of spices is reminiscent of pumpkin pie (only healthier). Omit the extra water to serve this as a side dish. You can also omit the cream for a lower-cholesterol version. Adjust the recipe depending on the size of the squashes. If it makes extra, it does freeze well, making another great meal addition at a later date.

The spice mix is handy to make extra of; add to various dishes for quick seasoning. Add to rice or other stir fries, as well as using in this soup.

Serves 6 or so, depending on size of squashes.

Pumpkin Soup garnished w/ cranberries and orange zest

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 to 3 med. lg. butternut squashes, halved
  • 2-3 apples, peeled and cored (or substitute frozen apple juice later in recipe)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cream (optional)
  • Optional, in place of fresh apples: 1/4 c. frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. “Spice Blend”
  • Dried cranberries for garnish
  • Parsley for garnish

Spice Blend INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 TBS. curry
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 1/2 TBS. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 TBS. nutmeg

PREPARATION

1. Place whole squashes on heavy aluminum foil in roasting pan. Wrap the fresh, peeled, cored apples separately in aluminum foil, as they can be removed sooner from oven. Bake until quite tender, approx. 1 hour or more, at 375 degrees: > 2 to 3 med. lg. butternut squashes > 2-3 apples, peeled and cored (or substitute frozen apple juice later in recipe)

2. Take out of oven; set in bowl to cool, adding 1/2 c. or so of water and covering. The water will steam the squash some, helping to loosen the skin. Let cool until workable; remove seeds and skin. Process until smooth in a processor, or use an immersion blender. Add the following and blend again: > 1/3 c. olive oil > 1/2 c. cream (optional) > (optional: 1/4 c. frozen apple juice concentrate in place of apples) > 1 to 2 TBS. “Spice Blend”(see below)

3. Thin the mix out with enough hot water or chicken stock to make it of soup-like consistency. Reheat soup to serve; overheating for a longer time darkens the color somewhat. Garnish with the following: > Chopped parsley > chopped dried cranberries

4. To make a spice blend that can be handy for future batches of soup, mix the following together and store in a jar: > 1 1/2 TBS. curry >1 TBS. cinnamon > 1/2 tsp. cayenne > 1 1/2 TBS. salt (or to taste) > 1 tsp. cloves > 1/2 TBS. nutmeg

Barley Mushroom Soup: Whole Food, Easy, Vegetarian

This vegan recipe has a meaty, hearty texture, especially when “hulled barley” (found in health food stores) is used; “pearled” barley is a more processed version of this grain and will cook more quickly. Barley has two outer layers; for “hulled barley”, the outer layer has been removed, but it is considered “whole grain barley”, as it still has the inner hull on it.

A simple recipe; makes 6-8 servings.

Grateful-Table-Barley-Mushroom-SoupINGREDIENTS

  • 1 c. barley (not pearled but whole grain, hulled, if possible)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 qt. water
  • 1/2 lb. (or more) mushrooms
  • 1 TBS. fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1 TBS. fresh, chopped garlic
  • 28 oz. can tomatoes
  • 2 TBS. fresh, chopped parsley
  • Optional: Jack or Cheddar cheese

PREPARATION

1. Bring to a boil, then let simmer 1 hour or so, until tender: > 1 c. hulled barley* > 2 bay leaves > 1-2 qt. boiling water

2. Grill in some olive oil: > 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

3. To cooked barley, add: > Grilled mushrooms > 1 TBS. fresh, chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried) > 1 TBS. fresh, chopped garlic > 28 oz. can tomatoes > 2 TBS. fresh, chopped parsley > more water if needed, for right consistency

4. Ready to eat! Add some cubed Jack or Cheddar cheese just before serving, if desired.

* For pearled barley, half the cooking time

Fruit Kabobs w/ Pineapple Coconut Dip: Brighten Buffet Table

This tropical-style, healthy recipe is naturally sweetened and flavored with frozen pineapple juice concentrate and coconut cream. It can be served with bagel pieces or crackers, but fruit kabobs are especially colorful. Dip can be made a few days early. Serves 10-20.

Grateful-Table-Fruit-Kabobs-w-DipPineapple Coconut Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 TBS. coconut cream (or virgin coconut oil, to taste)
  • 1/4 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • Optional: 1/2 c. coconut flakes

PREPARATION

In mixing bowl, add the following and whip until light: > 2-4 TBS. coconut cream (or virgin coconut oil, which will need to be melted first) > 1/4 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate (or substitute 4 oz. dried, sweetened, chopped pineapple) > 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)

Put in a bowl to serve the dip. If desired, top with: > 1/2 c. coconut, toasted until golden in toaster oven

Fruit Kabob

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole, fresh pineapple
  • 1-2 pints strawberries
  • 2 large mangoes (or melon or other favorite fruits).
  • 15-20 bamboo skewers

PREPARATION

To arrange the kabobs, one can use the top part of the pineapple to stick the kabobs into. A half a melon (inside scooped out) can also work. Place the pineapple top (or melon) on a platter.

For the kabobs, use: > 15-20 bamboo skewers

Prepare fruits for skewering. A mixture of pineapple, mango, and strawberries are of good texture, and don’t turn brown, but other fruits can also be used. Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces: > Fresh pineapple > 1-2 pints Strawberries > 2 or so mangoes

Make kabobs, serve with the dip, and enjoy!

Italian Dressing Recipe for Awesome Green Salads

At The New Deli, we save time by processing a big batch of the garlic, salt, and herbs; then we freeze portions, which can quickly be mixed into olive oil and vinegar for an easy, fresh batch of the dressing. We love it on a Greek Salad; it’s good on most any other salad too.

The family is always especially happy when I make our home salads with this dressing. They’re spoiled- just plain oil and vinegar doesn’t quite cut it!

Greek Salad w/ Kalamata olives, Feta, Italian DressingThis classic dressing is also good in other green salads- add blue cheese, tomato, grilled chicken strips, and hard-boiled egg, for a “Cobb”. Or keep it simple, using the dressing on Romaine lettuce with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts, or to dress a vegan salad.

An easy method: The dressing keeps well made as a concentrate; the garlic stays extra fresh. Just mix the first five ingredients into a paste, freezing portions for a later date. The paste mixes easily into oil and vinegar, and a “fresh” batch can be enjoyed.

This recipe stays fresh a month or so in the refrigerator (longer as a frozen concentrate). Makes 1 quart.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic (5-6 cloves)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 TBS. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 c. olive oil

PREPARATION

1. Process the following with an immersion blender (or in a food processor): > 2 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic (5-6 cloves) > 2 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon > 2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano > 1 1/2 TBS. dried basil > 2 tsp. salt

2. Measure the following in a quart-size bottle or jar. If using a processor, pour the oil and vinegar back into processed ingredients in a slow, steady stream, with motor running, until blended well. One can also just whisk the mixture slowly into the chopped garlic/herb mixture by hand, or whisk everything together with an immersion blender. Use: > 1 c. red wine vinegar > 2 1/2 c. olive oil

Potato Swiss Soup, Creamy, w/ Swiss & Blue Cheese

This recipe is adapted from an excellent fondue recipe, but as a soup it might get served more. Quite popular at The New Deli! Serves 6-8.

Grateful-Table-Potato-Swiss-Soup-CreamyINGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 lb. potatoes (about 6 med.)
  • 2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 oz. (about 1 c. grated) Swiss cheese, room temperature
  • 2 TBS. blue cheese
  • 1/2 c. cream (or substitute milk)
  • 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS. white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (fresh-grated if possible)
  • Fresh, chopped parsley (or other fresh herb) for garnish

PREPARATION

1. In a medium pot, simmer in water just to cover: > Approx. 2 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed

2. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, simmer until translucent, stirring some: > 2 c. chopped onion > 1 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic > 1/3 c. olive oil

3. When onions are soft, mix in, stirring until smooth: > 1/3 c. flour > 1 1/2 tsp. salt

4. Slowly add to flour mix, add, mix until smooth: > Hot broth from cooked potatoes

5. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes.

Add, stirring until melted: > 5 oz. (approx. 1 c. grated) Swiss cheese > 2 TBS. blue cheese

6. Last, add the cheese mixture back into potato pot, along with: > 1/2 c. cream (or substitute milk) > 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard > 1 TBS. white vinegar > 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (fresh-grated if possible)

7. Serve hot, garnished with a touch of fresh, chopped parsley (or other herb).

Split Pea Soup: Easy Low-fat Vegetarian Style

Leave out the traditional ham hock for this vegan soup. It is low fat but satisfying, even without any added fat. Serves 8.

INGREDIENTSGrateful-Table-Split-Pea-Soup-Vegetarian

  • 7 c. water
  • 1 lb. split green peas
  • 4 c. (1 lb. or so) carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp. “Vege-sal” or “Herbemare” (found at health food stores) (or substitute 2 tsp. regular salt)
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

PREPARATION

1. In medium pot, bring to a boil: > 7 c. boiling water > 1 lb. split green peas

2. Once it’s been brought up to a boil again, turn heat down, letting split peas simmer while prepping the veggies. Prepare: > 4 c. (1 lb. or so) carrots, peeled and sliced > 1 1/2 c. chopped celery > 2-3 bay leaves

3. Add veggies and bay leaf to the pot; turn heat up, and bring soup to almost to a boil again (10-20 minutes). Then simmer soup an hour or so on low heat, until peas have “dissolved” and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally to keep peas from sticking to bottom of pot.

4. When soup’s almost done, add: > 4 tsp. “Vege-sal” (or substitute 2 tsp. regular salt) > 1 tsp. ground black pepper

5. Soup is ready to serve. Reserve some for a quick meal later on; it keeps several months in the freezer, or a week or so in refrigerator.

Belgian Endive Appetizer: Make Buffet Table Beautiful, Tasty

A light and refreshing, yet elegant appetizer, this makes about 35-40 pieces (one large platter), to serve 20 or so.

Blue Cheese spread on endive leaves, in flower shape

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz. cream cheese (half package)
  • 4 oz. Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola
  • 1 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • Approx. 12 oz. Belgian endive (approx. 5 small endives)
  • Honey (for drizzling on last)
  • 1-2 clusters grapes, for garnishing

PREPARATION

1. Let cheeses sit out to get to room temperature. Add to mixer and beat on high for several minutes until smooth: > 4 oz. cream cheese (half package) > 4 oz. Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola

2. Meanwhile, prepare pecans. In hot skillet, stir until sugar’s melted and nuts are golden, stirring constantly: > 1 c. pecans, chopped > 1/4 c. sugar > 1 tsp. chili powder > 1/4 c. butter

3. Turn the caramelized nuts out onto wax paper, spreading to avoid clumping. Let cool.

4. Prepare the endive. Use: > Approx. 12 oz. endive (about 5 small)

5. Cut the ends off endives and separate leaves. Spread each leaf with the cream cheese/ blue cheese mix, arranging on platter in circular pattern, starting at the outside edge, working inwards. Garnish the leaves with: > The caramelized pecans

6. Warm the honey slightly if it’s too thick; top off the leaves with a light drizzle of: > Honey (preferably in a squeezable bear)

7. The sweetness of the nuts and honey counters the slight bitterness of the endive perfectly. Garnish center of platter with: > 1-2 clusters of red grapes, washed and cut into smaller clumps

Wild Rice Salad: Easy Pilaf, Gluten-free Side Dish

This gluten-free, vegan recipe keeps for days; make extra for meals later in the week. It freezes well too. Carrot adds color, walnuts add crunch. Great for crowds- serve easy pilaf warm or room temperature, no fuss. Serves 10 or more.

Brown Rice Salad w/ Wild Rice, Walnuts, Carrot, Herbs

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. wild rice
  • 3-4 bay leaf
  • 1-2 carrots3 c. water
  • 2 c. brown rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • Hearty splash of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Vege-sal (a salt/herb blend found in health food stores)
  • 1 1/2 c. walnuts (toast if desired)
  • 1/3 c. frozen orange concentrate
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme

PREPARATION

1. Cook the rice ahead of time, even a day earlier. In pot with a lid, bring to boil: > 3 1/2 c. water

2. Add the following the pot, to precook the wild rice: > 1 c. wild rice > 3-4 bay leaf > 1-2 carrots, peeled, left whole to cook until tender

3. Let simmer 1 hr. or so. After pre-cooking, remove carrot, let it cool, then dice. Set aside.

4. Add to wild rice in pot, bringing to boil: > 4 c. water

5. Add rice and, then simmer with a lid on for 15 min. more: > 2 c. brown rice

6. Grill in pan until tender: > 1 small onion, diced > 2 stalks celery, chopped > the pre-cooked, diced carrot > hearty splash of olive oil

7. To the pot of cooked rice, add: > The grilled celery, onion, carrot > 2 1/2 tsp. Vege-sal > 1/2 tsp. thyme > 1 1/2 c. toasted walnuts > 1/3 c. frozen orange concentrate

8. Serve at room temperature, or warm up in over before serving.