Category Archives: Recipes

Pesto: Make from Scratch, Freeze Portions- So Fresh!

I was sorting through old food pics and found this colorful one of pesto. Seemed apt to post the recipe, if only to enjoy all the bright colors of summer in the picture- before summer fades!

Pesto- Add Spinach, Garlic, Pine Nuts, ParmesanTake advantage of fresh basil in its prime in late summer. To keep it at its greenest, process it first with the olive oil and spinach; the oil seems to protect the leaves from oxidizing and darkening. The acids in the garlic, nuts and parmesan can darken the basil, so add those last. Another tip: pesto seems to stay greener when the leaves are processed at room temperature. In our many years of making pesto at The New Deli, we’ve found that the leaves don’t seem to like to get too cold in the fridge, only to heat up when processed…

Some recipes suggest blanching, to retaining pesto’s ideal green color; experiments at the deli have not proven that technique to be superior. Plus– this recipe’s easier!

Frozen portions of the pesto will keep for months. For an easy meal, add pesto and grilled veggies to pasta (tortellini is especially tasty). Or add to pizza, drizzle in soups, or use for a Pesto Torta appetizer . Makes approx. 2 lbs. (4 c.).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.)
  • 4 c. fresh spinach
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 c. pine nuts

PREPARATION

1. Process the following: > 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.) > 3 to 4 c. fresh spinach > 3/4 c. olive oil

2. Add and process again with: > 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled (or 1/4 c. minced)

3. To the above, add and process: > 1 c. pine nuts > 2 c. parmesan

4. The pesto can be stored in the freezer, added to a zip-lock bag and flattened out; this makes it easy to break off a chunk of it as needed. Or, it will keep a week or so in the refrigerator; add a thin layer of oil on top (or press some plastic wrap against the surface), as exposure to air will darken it.

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Carmalizing Sugar (for Walnuts, Caramel Sauce, Etc.)

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One more episode of “From the Land to the Table” (above)- it’s a local show running on Pinole TV. Some friends helped put this together; a fun project, even if I’ve been too busy to continue producing more…

All you need for some excellent caramel sauce is a bit of sugar and some cream. It’s that easy! Or, for caramelized walnuts, just “melt” (caramelize) the sugar first in an iron skillet; add the walnuts, then turn out onto a sheet to let cool. Add to your favorite salads- yum!Homemade Caramel Sauce

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Homemade: Chicken Stock AND Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Above is Episode Two of “From the Land to the Table”. Yes, you can still catch reruns on local Pinole TV. Whoot! This video shows how easy it is to make Raspberry Vinaigrette from scratch. Maybe you want to strain the seeds out, to use the yummy pulp in a dessert? Just save the seeds- soak ‘em in white vinegar for a tasty salad dressing (add a bit o’ honey, salt, olive oil- yum). You can also just use mashed raspberries, brewed a week or so in vinegar, to make a VERY flavorful infused vinegar.

Oh, and I show how to make chicken stock from scratch. No need to buy cans or boxes of this stuff when you can make your own out of bones you might have even thrown away. It’s good not to waste any part of the chicken, especially when you’re using a quality, free-range chicken.Steep Raspberries in White Vinegar- Great Dressing

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Vegetarian Black Bean Enchiladas w/Mexican-style Red Sauce

YouTube Preview ImageOld friends helped record the above episode of “From the Land to the Table”, shown on local TV back in 2007. (Apparently, they’re still playing re-runs!). Ah, secrets for making vegetarian Black Bean Chili! or enchiladas…

The beauty of this recipe is: It’s ideal for bulk cooking. It will cook up well in a big batch; just  scoop 1/2 c. portions onto plastic wrap and freeze for future meals. It starts out thick; for Chili, just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. The filling is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas.

Skip using chicken stock or adding cheese, to make this a vegan entree. Still full of flavor! Serves 6-8.

Grateful-Table-Vegetarian-Black-Bean-EnchiladasINGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. oregano
  • 2 TBS. whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute tomato juice for liquid)
  • 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

Black Bean Filling

PREPARATION

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

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash some with potato masher. Set aside. In iron skillet, sauté the following on med. heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3 to 4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > 3 to 4 TBS. olive oil

3. Cover onions with a lid at first, so they “sweat” and cook down quicker. Stir occasionally, turning heat down as necessary. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. dry basil > 1/4 c. oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

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

Red Sauce

PREPARATION

Make this completely vegetarian by omitting the chicken stock. It will still have plenty of flavor.

1. Mix dry ingredients together: > 1/3 c. flour > 1 TBS. paprika > 1-2 TBS. Chile Powder > 1 tsp. salt

2. Add and mix in well: > 1/3 c. oil

3. Then add: > 1 1/3 pt. hot chicken stock or water (optional—substitute canned tomato juice)

4. Bring mixture to a boil, boil 2 minutes, turn off heat.

Black Bean Enchiladas

PREPARATION

1. Sear in hot skillet in a bit of olive oil: > 10 corn tortillas (or more or less)

2. Lay out on board and fill with 1/4 c. Black Bean Chile Mix. Roll up, place in 13x 9 inch pan. Pour Red Sauce over, add 3/4 lb. or so cheddar cheese (grated or sliced in strips). Bake at 375 degrees, 20 minutes or so, until bubbly and golden on top. Top with sour cream or guacamole if desired, or cilantro garnish.

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Baba Ghanoush: Lo-Carb Paleo, Mideast Dip w/Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant Dip- Paleo Style, Low -CarbWe have fun chowing down on this dish at parties- ah, a dip that’s not loaded with chemicals and bad fats! It’s even naturally low-carb and paleo. Not everyone’s savvy to what it is, and some may even be afraid (“I don’t think I like eggplant”). But with the way the eggplant’s roasted, then mixed with plentiful garlic, lemon, and sesame (butter or even sesame oil), it’s got a great, silky texture. Yum!

Sometimes we feel a bit silly about the name. (Say that fast, three times.) The word means “Father who spoils”… you can tell it’s been affectionately named, right? One Jewish tradition is to drizzle a bit of pomegranate juice on top, or garnish with pomegranate seeds; other recipes might add a bit of yogurt.

This Mideastern recipe also includes tahini, a nut butter made from sesame seeds. In East Asian cultures, the tahini is often made from unhulled, brown sesame seeds, which are most nutritious, with extra minerals and fiber. The seeds can be ground to a paste with a small electric coffee/spice grinder.

More typical is a ground paste of hulled white sesame seeds, which is a bit smoother than its unrefined cousin, often found at specialty stores (or here, on Amazon). An other alternative to tahini, for those with limited resources: Toasted sesame oil, found in the Asian section of many grocery stores.

The standard Globe eggplant takes longer to cook through; Italian and Japanese eggplants will cook more quickly. The eggplant is broiled or pan-roasted (or grilled) until the skin is quite charred, which yields a soft, silky “meat” inside- the basis of this spread. Serves 6 as a side dish; serves 10-15 as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. eggplant (one large eggplant, or up to 6 skinny ones)
  • Zest of half lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 TBS.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic (about 3 big cloves)
  • 1/4 c. Tahini (see notes above, or substitute 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnishing)
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 6 or so Pitas, or crackers or other bread, for dipping
  • Optional: 1/4 c. black or Greek olives
  • Optional: Pomegranate juice, for drizzling on afterwards, or fresh pomegranate seeds

PREPARATION

1. Use a charcoal grill if available, or roast the eggplant in a dry skillet on highest heat. Use: > 1 lb. eggplant, whole

2. Let the eggplant cook on a hot charcoal grill, or in an iron pan. Turn every 7 minutes or so, as needed, until the skin is charred on each side, and the eggplant feels soft. This will probably take 30-60 minutes, depending on heat and the size of the eggplants. Covering the pan will help it to cook through.

3. Let the eggplant cool enough to handle. Peel the skin and discard. Hand-chop the eggplant, or use a food processor (or blender), processing until smooth. Add: > 1 tsp. grated lemon peel > 1 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/2 tsp. garlic cloves (3 big cloves) > 1/4 c. Tahini (or 2 TBS. toasted sesame oil) > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil

4. To serve, turn mixture out into shallow serving bowl, drizzle more olive oil on top, and garnish with chopped parsley. Other garnishing options: top with olives, pine nuts, or pomegranate seeds, or drizzle pomegranate juice on top, or even yogurt. Serve at room temperature, with toasted pita triangles, crackers, or other breads.

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Whey Protein Fruity Mix- Use Quality Ingred. w/Home-Made Mix

 

Fruity Whey Protein Powder Mix

I talked about a basic Protein Powder Mix I make in this article. Below is another real simple recipe you can work off of, to make a top-quality, fruit-flavored protein mix that contains no cheap fillers, but only the highest-quality, organic products. Opt out of certain herbs and/or super-fruit powders, according to your individual needs and preferences. (And pocket-book, haha!)

I don’t add every ingredient to every batch of “Fruity Protein Mix”, but use some variation of this every time. For a change-of-pace, I also mix up a “Vanilla” blend, using a basic whey powder/acacia senegal/psyllium seed powder mix, plus some of this super-pure, organic Vanilla Bean Powder, which does NOT contain dextrose and other junk (like many dry flavorings do).

Use the following as a basic guideline, but feel free to just add your favorites!

INGREDIENTS

PREPARATION

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large, large bowl. Store in glass jar in cupboard. Use 2-3 scoops in a smoothie, to add tons of nutrients!

2. To make an easy smoothie that’s low-sugar (and pretty Paleo!), use: > 2-3 (1-oz.) scoops “Fruity Protein Powder” Mix > Half banana > small handful organic, frozen berries of choice > 2 Brazil nuts (or other fave) > 1 TBS. coconut butter > water (or kefir or kombucha)

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs, Deviled Eggs, and Easy Peeling

My friend asked me to post my secret for perfect hard-boiled eggs, so I thought I’d share how we do that at The New Deli. We’ve learned a thing or two in thirty-plus years in the business- we boil about fifteen dozen eggs a week. So take it from us!

Easy-Peel Eggs for Deviled Eggs, Etc.

It is quite common to put eggs into a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. (Then, eggs are removed from the heat to sit for 10 minutes. After that, the hot water is poured off and the pot’s refilled with cold water to cool them.)

The above method might work all right, but it’s not fool-proof. A fellow co-worker tried that method last week, and said peeling them was torture. I think the reason’s because the eggs take longer to get up to a boil if you start with cold water, and the eggs closest to the burner get too hot (becoming overcooked and rubbery).

Instead, at the deli, we bring a separate pot of water to a boil first. We pour the boiling water over a pot of eggs… see the full method below.

If you’re thinking of doing some Fourth of July deviled eggs, you can let the eggs sit in a mix of food-coloring and water for two hours, to color the outsides in a festive, patriotic way! Also, there’s this recipe for “No Mayo Deviled Eggs”, using avocado and such.

Oh, and for Easter, the egg coloring companies aren’t joking when they tell you to use cooled-off eggs. I tried using very freshly boiled, slightly warm eggs one year, thinking it would help the colors to stick better, but they don’t!

Deviled Eggs (& Hard-Boiled Eggs)

We often make a tray of deviled eggs for church events, so some of the ladies wondered how to do that. Deviled eggs are easiest to make right after cooking the eggs; the yolks mash up best while slightly warm, making creamy eggs. Makes 24 eggs.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 eggs, boiled
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS. sweet relish
  • 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)
  • For garnishing: Paprika and parsley
  • Optional: Capers (for garnish)

PREPARATION

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour over another pot filled with: > 12 eggs

 2. Bring pot of eggs and boiling water back up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low for 4 minutes.

3. Turn burner off; let eggs finish cooking as they sit it the hot water for 20 more minutes. (They can sit up to an hour).

4. Pour off the hot water, toss the pot of eggs around so that shells will crack. Fill pot with cold water, and peel eggs under water.

5. Cut each egg in half by scoring around the egg, not cutting through the yolk. This way, the two halves of egg whites can be turned to separate them, and the yolk can pop out whole.

6. To make filling, mash yolks (best done before chilling). Use potato masher if available (or a fork), then add remaining ingredients to taste: > 1/2 c. mayonnaise > 2 TBS. sweet relish > 2 tsp. mustard (hot and spicy is nice)

4. Put deviled egg yolk mixture into zip-lock (or other) bag. Cut tip off and pipe filling into whites. Sprinkle w/ paprika, garnish w/dill. Optional: Add a sprinkling of capers.

 

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Veggie Tray w/ Ranch Dip

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ADD COLOR TO THE BUFFET TABLE

The Veggie Tray with Ranch Dressing is a healthy recipe to serve at parties. The homemade Ranch Dressing below improves on the grocery store version, flavorful and chemical-free. Salad dressing recipes made from scratch are bound to be healthier than store-bought.

For extra color, hollow out a red cabbage to serve the dip in. The leftover cabbage can be sliced up and mixed with any leftover Ranch Dip for a great side dish the next day. The Ranch Dressing recipe makes enough to serve a large crowd, with plenty of veggies on the side. Or use it in salads; it will keep weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 1 quart, serves 35-45.

Red Peppers, Carrot, Broccoli, plus Ranch Dip in Cabbage Bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 pt. sour cream
  • 1 TBS. dill weed
  • 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs
  • 1/2 TBS. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBS. VegeSal (found at health food stores)
  • 2 TBS. sugar
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • Green leaf lettuce (to line veggie tray)
  • 2 lb. or so carrots (approx. 6 large)
  • 1 lb. or so broccoli crowns
  • 1-2 cucumbers
  • 1 lb. or so red peppers (approx. 3 large)
  • 1 red cabbage for holding the dressing

PREPARATION

1. Mix the following in a bowl: > 2 c. mayonnaise > 1 pt. sour cream > 1 TBS. dill weed > 1 TBS. rubbed Italian herbs > 1/2 TBS. black pepper > 1 1/2 TBS. “VegeSal” (found at health food stores) > 2 TBS. sugar > 1/4 c. lemon juice

2. To assemble veggie tray, line a platter with some green-leaf lettuce (or ornamental kale). Set the hollowed-out cabbage in the center, filling with the dip just before serving, if transporting the tray. Arrange the following veggies on the platter. The broccoli looks especially appetizing added last, nestled around the edge of the cabbage-dip-bowl.

Use the following:

> Carrots: Peel, slice, and add to a jar, with a splash of white vinegar and salt. Shake thoroughly, drain. You can prep the carrots the day before, draining the vinegar mix off and refrigerating until ready to assemble. This process really brings out the color, avoiding the “dry look”.

> Broccoli: Rub the tops in a bit of olive oil. Again, this brings out the color, tastes great, and is easier than blanching them. Also, they won’t have that dry look. (Steam as mentioned for Green Beans below, if desired.)

> Green Beans/Asparagus/Etc.: Get a big (preferably iron) pan very hot. Add prepped veggies and steam quickly by adding a splash of water and a lid. Broccoli and asparagus will only take a minute or two like this, then cool off quickly by spreading on a cookie sheet and refrigerating. Their color will be bright and the flavor will be fresh.

> Cucumbers: Score lengthwise with tines of a fork; cut into 1/4″ thick slices.

> Red peppers and any other favorite veggies: Cut into strips, to add color to the tray.

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Lavender Orange Shortbread (w/Virgin Olive Oil)- Tea Party!

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Here’s a streamlined shortbread recipe, unique and full of flavor. Change it up by using toasted fennel seeds in place of the lavender flowers, or dip half the cookie into melted chocolate…

Makes almost 2 dozen cookies.

Grateful-Table-Lavender-Orange-Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c.), room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, as desired (especially if using unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 c. virgin olive oil (“blood orange-infused”, if you have it)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. orange extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers*
  • zest of one orange (blood orange if available)

PREPARATION

1. Beat the first five ingredients until light and creamy: > 1 stick butter > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1/4 c. virgin olive oil > 1/4 c. sugar > 1/2 tsp. orange extract

2. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, stirring together until just blended: > 2 c. flour > 1 TBS. dried lavender flowers* > zest of one orange

3. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 6” log or square-shaped cylinder; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or more. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap and cut each log into 1/4″ to 1/3” thick slices. Place on baking sheet, bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes or so. Let cool, serve with coffee or tea!

* Make your own “dried lavender flowers” by removing blossoms from some fresh lavender. Set on paper towel and microwave on lowest power setting, for a few minutes, until dry. Or, wrap string around a lavender bouquet, hanging upside-down for a few days to air-dry, removing dried blossoms afterward.

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Tomato Tart: Skip Mayo, Make w/Real Ingredients!

I had an exceptional tomato tart at a friend’s house. It was such a treat. I suspected it had mayo in it- when my friend told me it was a Paula Deen recipe, I knew I was right! But I wanted to make something like it for a tea party in the garden. I skipped the mayo. They were really good!

Make these tomato tarts using olive oil, cream, and egg in place of the mayonnaise that’s often used. For simplicity, Parmesan is handy- it’s already grated! But other cheeses could be substituted. Makes 24 tartlets, for 8-12 servings.

Tomato Tartlets w/No Mayo!INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 2/3 cold butter, sliced into pieces
  • 2-3 TBS. cold water
  • 1 pt. pear cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. Parmesan
  • 1/4 c.  olive oil
  • 1/4 c. cream
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 egg

PREPARATION

1. For dough, process the following in a food processor just until crumbly: > 1 1/2 c. flour > 2/3 c. cold butter, sliced into pieces

2. With motor running, quickly add, mixing just until blended: > 2-3 TBS. cold water

3. Let tartlet dough “rest” in refrigerator for an hour or so for easier handling, then press into tart pans.

4. After pressing into tart pans, freeze for up to a week if necessary. Or just refrigerate 20 minutes or so, before baking. Bake empty shells at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (Frozen shells may take a bit longer.) Let cool.

5. Put a dab of Dijon mustard in bottom of each baked crust. Use: > Scant 1 TBS. Dijon

6. Slice a small bit off top and bottom of pear cherry tomatoes (so they’ll lay in tart shell); cut each tomato in half. Add one piece of the tomato to each tart shell. Use: > 12 pear cherry tomatoes

7. Mix together until smooth: > 1 c. Parmesan > 1/4 c.  olive oil > 1/4 c. cream > scant 1 tsp. salt > 1 egg

8. Add a dollop of the egg mix on top of the tomatoes in each shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden. When cool enough to handle, remove from tart pans and serve warm or room temperature.

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