This rice salad reminds me of fall– the flavors seem warm and comforting!
In the old days (yes, I’ve been cooking a long time), we had to get raw hazelnuts in bulk, with the skins on. That meant roasting them and then rolling them in a towel to get the bitter skins off. A tedious job. Or, my mom had another method, adding baking soda to some boiling water and soaking them in that. How much easier now, that I can just pick some up, already toasted and ready to use, at Trader Joe’s!
This is a hearty side dish that goes well with roasted chicken around the holidays. Prepare much of it ahead of time, mixing it all together just before serving. Serves 9.
2 c. boiling water
2 c. cracked wheat or bulgar (found at health food stores)
1 c. hazelnuts
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. fresh parsley
1/2 c. almond oil (or Virgin olive oil)
2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate (or substitute freshly-juiced, and reduced)
Zest from 1 orange (or 2 drops orange extract)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 TBS. salt
Prepare the cracked wheat the morning or the night before serving, letting cool in the refrigerator with the lid on, without stirring. Add the following to a large bowl: > 2 c. boiling water > 2 c. cracked wheat or bulgar (found at health food stores)
Cover and let sit 10 minutes before refrigerating. Next, toast the following nuts at 400° for 10 minutes or so, until golden. Rub off skins inside a clean towel afterward (they don’t all slip off; some skin will probably remain): > 1 c. hazelnuts
Chop nuts coarsely, by hand or in food processor, after they cool. (Already toasted, chopped hazelnuts are convenient. If available, skip the above steps.)
Set aside nuts, then process coarsely in food processor (or chop by hand): > 1/2 c. raisins > 1/2 c. fresh parsley
All the above, and the dressing below, can be prepared ahead of time. To serve, mix all the above with a mixture of the following: > 1/2 c. almond oil (or Virgin olive oil) > 2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate (or substitute fresh squeezed orange juice, boiled some to reduce) > Zest from 1 orange (or 2 drops orange extract) > Juice of 1 lemon > 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped > 1/2 TBS. salt
It isn’t surprising that this ice cream tastes awesome. After all, how can you go wrong with sugar, cream, milk, and fresh peaches?! Take it to the next level with organic peaches… so good.
I tried a few different sources for good organic peaches, since I just can’t seem to grow ’em in the Bay Area (not in my yard, anyway…). Nope, the ones in the farm box I received at my doorstep were not ideal. And Trader Joe’s weren’t so hot either. Of all places, Safeway had ’em. They must’ve been picked at just the right time- they were so fragrant and delicious.
I had some extra, and we added them to this recipe. I figured it was just a bit healthier since we were adding organic peaches to the mix. And we used organic cream and milk. A treat!
2 c. milk
3/4 c. sugar
2 1/3 c. approx. mashed, peeled peaches (about 4 or 5)
2 c. cream
1/8 tsp. salt
Microwave 4 minutes, or heat in pan: > 2 c. milk > 3/4 c. sugar
In separate bowl, stir well: > 1 egg
Stir hot milk mix into eggs, stirring well. Microwave 30 seconds, stir, repeat (or reheat in pan just until cooked, but not boiling).
Add to the above: > 2 1/3 c. approx. mashed, peeled peaches (about 4 or 5) > 2 c. cream > 1/8 tsp. salt
Some folks think there’s something magical about our Italian dressing at the deli. Well, it’s true that food can often taste better when someone else makes it. But still, why is that homemade New Deli Italian dressing so dang good?!
I think part of it is that the garlic and herbs are mixed together with the salt first. The garlic absorbs some of the salt, and the saltiness dissipates into the dressing. The salt seems to be a vehicle to carry the flavors along.
Sounds kind of mystical! But, try it. If not in the Italian dressing recipe, try on a small scale with fresh mozzarella. So delicious!
Costco carries an imported fresh buffalo milk mozzarella that’s deluxe. Or, regular fresh mozzarella will do! Serves 6-8 or so, as a side salad.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh cracked pepper
several fresh basil leaves (or sub other green herbs)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. fresh mozzarella
6 oz. spring greens
3 tomatoes, wedged
Marinate the garlic in salt, letting it steep for at least five minutes. Use: > 2 cloves garlic, minced > 1/2 tsp. salt
After steeping, add: > 1/3 c. olive oil > parsley > fresh cracked pepper > 1 lb. fresh mozzarella
To serve, put a handful of spring greens on salad plates, top with the marinated mozzarella and tomato wedges.
Rice-cooker, step aside. There is more than one way to skin a cat (ew- sorry, PITA). What I mean is, there’s more than one way to cook rice!
Paella is a Spanish rice dish, typically made in a “paella pan”. (My iron skillet works just fine.) I add a bit of turmeric to this too- it’s got many benefits, including being anti inflammatory. Plus, when turmeric is coupled with black pepper, its healthy effects are squared to the tenth power! (Or something like that…)
Coax flavor out of a pinch of saffron threads by steeping it first (like a tea infusion). Also, use leftovers, if desired, in place of seafood in this dish. Makes around 6 servings.
Pinch of saffron (about 18 threads)
1 lb. uncooked sausage
1/2 c. onion
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 TBS. paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary (or to taste)
1 c. tomato pieces (or sub red pepper)
1 1/2 c. rice (short grain or Aborio)
3 c. boiling water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. green peas (or 1 TBS. parsley, for color)
1 lb. scallops, shrimp, or other favorite
Steep saffron in boiling water in small bowl; set aside. Use: > pinch saffron (about 18 threads) > 1/4 c. boiling water
Cut raw sausage into pieces and grill in iron skillet, setting aside when browned. Use: > 1 lb. uncooked sausage (of choice)
Cook the onion and olive oil in an iron skillet over medium heat until tender. Use: > 1/2 c. onion > 1/4 c. olive oil
Add to onions, heating until fragrant, stirring well: > 1/2 TBS. paprika > 1 tsp. oregano > 1/2 tsp. turmeric > 1/2 tsp. black pepper > 2 cloves garlic > 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary (or to taste)
Add the tomatoes to the onion/seasoning mix and heat, stirring occasionally, until liquids are reduced and tomatoes caramelize some. Use: > 1 15-oz. can tomato pieces (or sub red peppers, diced)
Add the rice and stir well. Use: > 1 1/2 c. white rice (short grain or Aborio)
Add hot water, cover pan with foil, and simmer for 20 minutes. No need to stir, but shake the pan a bit, so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Use: > 3 c. boiling water
Add to the pan last, burying the raw seafood under the rice, so it’ll cook. Also add the saffron water. Simmer without stirring for another 8 minutes or so, until rice is al dente. Use: > 1 lb. scallops or shrimp > the saffron water
After 8 minutes or so, stir in the salt, and add green peas for color (or some fresh-chopped parsley). Also add the reserved, cooked sausage. Use: > 1 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/2 c. green peas (or 1 TBS. parsley, for color) > reserved, cooked sausage
Let rice finish cooking, until fluffy and moist. When done, turn heat up for half a minute or so, to lightly toast the bottom layer of rice. Serve with a side of lemon wedges.
A favorite family memory has been enjoying a giant apple pancake at The Original Pancake House in Birmingham, Michigan (after standing in the very long line).
My sister was trying to duplicate this years ago, before the internet. More recently, I’ve scoured the web and tried countless variations, finally concluding that this particular recipe comes pretty close to the pancake house recipe. Whew! I wasn’t sure how many more of these we could eat! (We really suffer for our art, ha…)
A popover-type batter rises up as it bakes in the caramelizing apples. And it can be convenient to serve for company, since the batter can be prepared ahead of time.
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (fresh-grated is nice)
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk, room temperature
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1. Make batter the night before, if possible. (Or let it rest at least 10 minutes.) For the batter, whisk milk into the flour and salt in a bowl (small lumps are OK). Use: > 3/4 c. flour > 1/2 tsp. nutmeg > 1/2 tsp. salt > 3/4 c. milk
2. Add eggs one at a time: > 4 eggs
3. Refrigerate the batter overnight, or let rest (up to several hours) at room temperature.
4. The cinnamon and sugar can also be mixed together ahead of time. Use: > 2 tsp. cinnamon > 2/3 c. sugar
5. To prepare the pancake, bring batter out of refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
6. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Use: > 3 c. sliced, tart apples
7. Turn iron skillet* on medium high heat and add to the pan: > 1/3 c. butter > 3 c. sliced, tart apples > the cinnamon/sugar mix
8. Stir the butter, apples, and cinnamon sugar for 2-3 minutes, until apples have softened some and the mixture is bubbling.
9. Pour the pancake batter on top of the apple mixture.
10. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until lightly browned.
11. To serve, turn upside-down onto plate; sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
*If skillet isn’t available, use a Pyrex pan and heat the butter/apple/sugar mix in the oven for 10 minutes.
When I was a newlywed, we didn’t just eat Sunday dinners at Tom’s folks’ house. We lived there! So we ate dinner with them most every night. I got to hone my cooking skills on the family, since most evenings, no one else was too keen on preparing anything. I had bookmarked all the Betty Crocker recipes I was planning to try, and most of the meals I made were well-received.
But my in-laws were classic meat-and-potato folks. So the first time I made an ethnic dish with raisins and green olives, Tom’s dad looked pretty alarmed. He was very polite, but I knew I had gone beyond his threshold for culinary adventure.
I’ll admit, Betty Crocker’s version of “ethnic” didn’t seem totally authentic. Years later, I’ve discovered a Moroccan recipe we really enjoy. It’s exotic. It’s different. It’s delicious!
Enjoy the savory/sweet flavor combination of green olives, lemon peel, and raisins, with extra texture from the toasted, slivered almonds.
1 free-range chicken
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 bay leaves
2 TBS. fresh rosemary
2 TBS. olive oil
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. green olives, pitted
1/3 c. slivered, toasted almonds
Fresh parsley for garnish
2 TBS. fresh mint, chopped
A day ahead (or several hours earlier), prepare chicken by cutting whole fryer into pieces (or use 5 lbs. or so drumsticks, thighs, etc.). It helps to cut chicken breast pieces in half, as they will cook better that way.
Use potato peeler to get the peel off the lemons. Set aside several lemon peels to use later for garnish.
Prepare marinade. Add the following to a dish, to marinate chicken in: > Peel from 2 lemons (reserve some though) > juice of 2 lemons > 1 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. cinnamon > 4 bay leaves > 2 TBS. fresh rosemary > 2 TBS. olive oil
Coat the chicken pieces with the mixture and let marinate in refrigerator overnight, or at least several hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange marinated pieces of chicken in large pan for baking. Bake until done, about 25-35 minutes.
Set baked chicken aside to rest; deglaze pan by adding liquid: > 1/4 c. red wine or water
Add raisins and olives to pan, stirring on medium heat until heated through.
To serve, spoon pan juices over chicken, garnish with the chopped almonds, parsley, and mint.
This easy recipe can be multiplied, and can be used for meats too. The marinated mushrooms are delicious as is, or add to the grill for a real treat. We’ve been making batches of these mushrooms at the deli, for a pre-rush snack. So savory, so delicious…
1 lb. mushrooms
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh chopped garlic
1 tsp. crushed Italian herbs (or other favorite)
2 TBS. soy sauce
2 TBS. balsamic vinegar
Clean mushrooms, then add to plastic bag (or jar) with the oil, garlic, and herbs.
Use enough oil to coat the mushrooms. Let mushrooms sit 10 minutes or so to absorb the oil. Last, add the soy sauce and vinegar. Eat raw/marinated, or add to the grill.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is on our naughty list. At The New Deli, we started making this version of BBQ sauce, made with tomato paste. Ketchup can be a handy base, but it also contains HFCS. We love this recipe! Makes 2 quarts.
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. chili blend or powder
1 TBS. salt
1 3/4 c. white vinegar
12 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 Tbs. “Liquid Smoke”
1 c. water (or thin as desired)
Sauté the following until soft in skillet: > 1/2 c. olive oil > 2 c. chopped onion > 3 cloves chopped garlic
When above is very soft, add the following, boiling 20 to 30 minutes: > 2 c. brown sugar > 1 c. Worcestershire sauce > 1/4 c. chili blend or powder > 3 c. white vinegar
To boiled mixture, stir in the following: > 12 oz. can tomato paste > 1/2 Tbs. “Liquid Smoke”
If I’m going to make homemade sourdough bread using freshly ground whole wheat flour, I definitely need a system. Otherwise, I won’t have time for this! Below is the streamlined recipe I use every few days (when we’re getting low on our daily bread).
I ventured into breadmaking a few years back, when I finally acquired a VitaMix blender. It could grind wheat berries into flour! Considering that the vitamin E (and other nutrients) in wheat can go rancid so quickly, it just never seemed worth it to make bread. That is, until I finally had access to fresh-ground flour.
The other reason I hadn’t bothered with bread-making was that it didn’t seem particularly healthy. (You know, “Wheat Belly”!) But a friend had told me how she’d heard that some celiac-sufferers could actually enjoy bread again, as long as it was sour-dough fermented. Guess it makes it easier to digest. That sold me on the idea.
A few years later, I’ve learned something else too. Hand-kneading seems to produce the best bread. I thought I could save time at one point, and I began using the dough hook and my KitchenAid to knead the bread. It did not turn out as good! I researched and found that the style of kneading does affect the bread. The molecules in hand-kneaded bread are actually shaped differently in that process, while the machine-kneaded molecules are more stretched out. Not that the reason matters that much… just know that there doesn’t seem to be a short-cut to excellent whole wheat bread, without hand-kneading it.
I’ve also discovered that kneading bread on a wooden board (as directed in most recipes) makes for messy cleanup. Kneading the dough on a Formica counter top was an improvement, as the dough didn’t stick as much. I didn’t have to add as much extra flour to keep it from sticking to the counter, so the bread was moister.
But then I found the best method! I started kneading the bread in an 8-cup glass measuring cup, set on a towel (so it didn’t move around too much), in the sink. It was at a good height for throwing some hearty dough punches. So, it was easier clean-up, and I got a good work-out too.
Oh, one other thing I found out: Hard Red Winter Wheat (or hard red spring wheat) seems the best. I tried Hard White Wheat berries for a season, but the bread didn’t seem as good. After researching, I discovered- no wonder. White wheat might have a milder flavor, but it doesn’t have as much gluten. So the bread doesn’t rise quite as well. So- why not use the red wheat?! It does have an excellent flavor too, when fresh-ground. (Perhaps because it isn’t rancid!)
I still add a bit of “ancient grains” now and then- “Einkorn” is nice for variety. It won’t rise quite as well as the Red wheat though.
Experiment with any or all of the additions (raisins, caraway seeds, millet, palm sugar, walnuts and such). Adding extras will dictate a larger bread pan though—a cast iron skillet works well in that case. Makes one loaf (without additions), about 2 1/2 lb.
1 1/2 c. warm, filtered water (non-chlorinated is best for the yeasts)
2 c. wheat berries, frozen (or 3 c. whole wheat flour) (about .88 lb.)
1 c. more of wheat berries, frozen (or about 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour) (about .35 lb.)
1 TBS. salt
Optional: 1 c. raisins, 1/2 c. millet, 1/3 c. sunflower seeds, 1 TBS. caraway seeds, cinnamon, 1 c. walnuts, and/or 1/4 c. palm sugar or honey
In a medium bowl (or kitchen-aid bowl), add: > 1 scant quart of sourdough starter (about 3 1/2 c.)
Into the empty jar of sourdough starter, add water, shaking well. Then add that water to the sourdough starter in mixing bowl, mixing well: > 1 1/2 c. warm water (around 105 degrees is fine, or warm to the touch)
Grind flour in a VitaMix, KitchenAid (with attachment), or other mill. Use frozen wheat berries to keep the flour from getting too warm from grinding. Start with: > 2 c. frozen wheat berries (or 3 c. whole wheat flour)
Stir flour vigorously into the bowl of starter and water mixture, until smooth. Pour a scant quart of the mixture back into the sourdough starter jar, to refrigerate until next time.
To the remaining mixture in the bowl, add more flour, plus any optional grains or seeds. (The extra fermenting makes millet and seeds more digestible.). Use: > 1 scant c. more of frozen wheat berries, ground into flour (or use 1 1/2 or so whole wheat flour) > optional- millet, sunflower seeds, caraway seeds
Stir some of second batch of flour in, leaving some out if it’s too thick.The dough won’t be totally stiff, but it shouldn’t be so moist that it sticks to the hands, either. I usually gently hand-knead the second batch of flour in, until it’s mixed in.
Cover the dough bowl with a damp towel or with oiled plastic wrap. Let dough rise until doubled. This will take 4-6 hours in a cool kitchen, or quicker in a warm place.
After dough’s doubled in size, add salt and knead for 9 minutes or so. Optional items can be added, but will make a larger loaf (which will need a larger pan!).
Use coconut oil (or butter) to oil a loaf pan or skillet. Shape the dough into a loaf, rolling it in some organic corn flour or other favorite, to coat the outside. Set in well-oiled pan.
Let rise another few hours, until doubled again. Bake in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes per loaf (or in skillet). For larger loaves, when goodies like raisins, millet and such have been added, let bake 40-50 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool on a rack.
Maybe we’re getting used to the drill: More Omega 3 fats, grass-fed meat, wild-caught salmon, free-range chicken, organic produce, etc. Less bread, less processed, less sugar, etc.
But still… Sometimes I just need chocolate! And I need it now. If I have some special chocolate in the house, it disappears pretty fast. Too fast. I may even eat more of it than I should. And then it’s gone. And then I don’t have a chocolate fix to run to!
The recipe below has actually cured me of needing store-bought chocolate. It does satisfy my cravings, and I don’t overeat it!
I’m not saying I don’t overeat it because it isn’t good. I think that all the nutritious supplements in this mix can satisfy cravings in a healthy way. The body gets nutrients it needs!
You can customize your recipe- it does not require “yucca powder”, “astragalus”, or whatever you’re in the mood to add. But it’s easier to incorporate such foods into our diet if they’re in something we might routinely want to fix for ourselves. (If you’re wondering what’s so great about these natural herb powders, look ’em up at “Jen’s Shop“- I mention what they’re good for there.)
Oh, and if you’re shooting for even less carbs, you can sub VitaFiber for at least half of the honey. Also, if you want something like a protein bar with gelatin instead of whey protein, see the asterisk, bottom of page.