Latest Recipes

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

Golden Milk AM Blend (w/ Power Herbs)

Like a lot of health-foodies, I got into making my own golden milk. I also created a blend for the morning, which includes matcha green tea, gelatin, and some serious power herbs. (The benefits of these herbs are impressive, as a quick word-search will prove!)

This recipe is not the one you stir together in the evening, in some “relaxing” ritual. (I don’t have time for that myself!) No, this is a quick, handy version, to get optimal nourishment in minimal time, Perfect for those of us who need to stay healthy and keep up with a tight, rigorous routine.

Golden Milk Mix for easy drinks, healthEvery morning, I whirl up a hot drink for husband Tom and I in the blender. I use a scant 1-oz. scoop of this Golden Milk AM blend, plus about 2 TBS. “bullet-proof coco-nut milk” (or coconut cream or oil), for two drinks. I fresh-grate some black pepper on top, since it works synergistically with the turmeric.

Oh, I also add a raw egg (yes, I sometimes feel like Rocky Balboa). But it’s delicious!

You can leave some of these items out. Or you could do like me and invest in these bulk herbs. After researching their benefits, I invested, and have been glad I did!

 This particular recipe yields almost a quart of concentrated blend, and will make about 40 drinks.

INGREDIENTS

Mix the dry ingredients in a quart jar, shaking until mixed. Use: > 1/3 turmeric powder > 3 1/2 TBS. matcha green tea > 1/2 c. gelatin > 2 TBS. Eleuthrero Ginsing > 2 1/2 TBS. maca powder > 2 1/2 tsp. Fo-ti

For 2 drinks, process until frothy in blender: > scant 2 TBS. Golden Mix AM > 2 TBS. “bullet-proof nut milk” (or coconut cream/oil) > 1-2 c. boiling water

Grate fresh black pepper on top and serve.

White Chocolate Cake w/ Strawberries

My mom subscribed to Sunset and Bon Appetit magazines for years (back in the seventies and eighties), and was inspired to make fancy cakes like this, found among the pages. I made the cake again, some fifteen or more years ago, for our oldest son’s birthday. I guess it made quite an impression–he recently asked if I could make it again. I had to do some serious file-digging to turn it up, but I found it. We really enjoyed this birthday cake!

White Cake with Poppy Seeds, White Chocolate, StrawberriesI originally made this cake with cake flour. Well, I don’t make too many cakes, so the next time I went to use it, ew–it had bugs in it! So…I’m much happier with the alternative: using less regular flour and adding a bit of cornstarch. That brings the protein level to that of cake flour, and makes quite a light cake in the process.

Serves 12 or so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. sugar (.96 lb.)
  • 1 c. butter (.50 lb.)
  • 1 TBS. lemon peel
  • 4 large eggs
  • Scant 2 TBS. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. room-temperature buttermilk
  • 2 TBS. poppy seeds

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c. sugar (.37 lb.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 c. cream, whipped
  • 2 pt. fresh strawberries
  • Optional: White chocolate curls or leaves*

Use 10″ spring form pan; line the bottom with a circle of buttered wax paper.

Mix and set aside: > 2 1/2 c. flour > 1/3 c. corn starch > 2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/2 tsp. salt

In stand mixer, beat until light: > 2 c. sugar > 1 c. butter

Add one at a time: > 4 large eggs

Also add: > scant 2 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add alternately: > dry ingredients > 1 c. room-temp. buttermilk > 2 TBS. poppy seeds

Bake 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees, until toothpick comes out clean.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

The sugar-lemon-egg mixture can be done pretty quickly in the microwave, or use a double-boiler. First, heat sugar and lemon juice until bubbly: > 3/4 c. sugar (.37 lb.) > 3 TBS. lemon juice

In a separate bowl, beat well: > 2 eggs

Pour the hot sugar-lemon mix into the beaten eggs, stirring well.

Microwave about three times, at about 11 seconds per time, stirring well afterward, until mixture thickens. Or, stir constantly while heating gently in a double boiler until thickened.

When eggs have thickened the mix, add: > 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Stir until chocolate’s incorporated, then let cool.

Fold cooled mixture into the following: > 3 c. cream, whipped

Cut cake into 3 layers, using buttercream and strawberry halves between layers. Optional—garnish with: > White chocolate curls or leaves, plus any additional strawberries

* If cake flour is on hand, use 3 c. cake flour, sifted (.75 lb.), omitting the all-purpose flour and the corn starch

* For chocolate leaves, microwave a half cup or more of chocolate for a minute or so, until melted when stirred. Then, paint the undersides of lemon leaves with the chocolate; refrigerate on wax paper until firm. Gently peel leaf away from chocolate.

Tres Leches Cake w/ Coconut

My husband says a cake can use a fancy name, to distinguish it from any average cake. Of course, a good recipe helps too!

Tres Leches Cake with Coconut- no leftover syrupThere are a lot of recipes for this type of cake, but I wanted one that wouldn’t leave me with pools of leftover Tres-Leches liquid. Yes, we managed to gag down the extra liquid the first time, when I had to leave some of the mix out to avoid an over-soggy cake. (We had some especially-good coffees.) But I didn’t want to make a habit of that!

I discovered I could sub coconut manna (found on Amazon here), for the evaporated milk–the cake had just the right consistency. (But I’ve also included directions for using the traditional ingredients too, sans coconut.)

I made this cake yesterday for a going-away party for two of our New Deli staff. I topped it with chocolate leaves, writing on it, “So sorry you have to leave”. That was fun!

Serves 12 or so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 can sweetened, condensed milk
  • 1 c. + 1 c. cream
  • 1/2 c. coconut manna (ie “spread”, “manna”, “concentrate”, “butter”)*
  • Optional: 14-oz. can evaporated milk to sub for coconut manna
  • 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • Optional: maraschino cherries

Beat to soft peaks: > 4 egg whites

Add slowly, beating until stiff: > 1 1/2 c. sugar

Lower speed and mix egg yolks in one at a time, plus the vanilla: > 4 egg yolks > 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together: > 1 1/2 c. flour > 1 TBS. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. salt

Slowly add the dry ingredient mix to the whipped egg mix, alternately with the milk: > 1/2 c. whole milk

Bake in buttered, floured 13×9″ (or 2- 9″rounds), at 350 for 30 minutes

Prepare the “three-milk mix”, stirring until smooth: > 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk > 1 c. cream > 1/2 c. melted coconut manna* (see directions below to sub evaporated milk for the coconut milk

Pour the mixture over the cake after it has cooled a few minutes. For that, poke holes in the cake with fork tines, and pour the three-milk mix over it. Loosen edges of cake as needed, for mix to flow everywhere.

Let cake soak for hours or overnight.

To frost, whip cream with the sugar until light. (For a layer cake, use double these amounts). Whip: > 1 c. cream > 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar > 1 tsp. vanilla

Sorry you have to LEAVE (chocolate leaves decorate going away cake)Frost cake with whipped cream frosting. Traditionally, maraschino cherries might garnish the top, or festive, colored sprinkles. I’ve used candied citrus peel—also very good!

Chocolate Leaves worked well to decorate our going-away cake!

* Or sub 12-oz. can evaporated milk (the traditional ingredient), boiling the evaporated milk and cream down to about a third (1 1/3 c. volume or so)