Lemon Caper sauce is quite popular; the original recipe (from Martha Stewart) was designed to season rare beef. At The New Deli, the beef is sliced very thin; with added sauce and some horseradish butter, it makes a great sandwich. For appetizers, it can be served on baguette slices. The sauce is also good with fish, and some people like it as a salad dressing.
So just what are capers? They are a little bud off of a bush that grows in the Mediterranean. They get pickled, and lend a unique flavor to recipes. The other unusual ingredient in the Lemon Caper Sauce is the cornichons; a fancy French name for tiny, gherkin-sized pickles. But they’re sour, not sweet. And being so tiny, they mince well and retain a good texture; larger pickles might get rubbery. They add just a bit of crunch and tang; perfect in this sauce. Serves 7-8.
1/2 c. cornichons
1 c. olive oil
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. capers
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 green onions (about 1/4 c.), chopped
1. Ahead of time, make the “Lemon Caper Concentrate”. To do that, process the cornichons, or mince finely by hand: > 1/2 c. cornichons
2. Add the minced cornichons to a quart jar. Also add: > 1 c. olive oil > 1/4 c. Dijon mustard > 1/4 c. capers
3. Store the concentrate in refrigerator up to three months.
4. On serving day, add a half cup or so of the concentrate to a serving bowl. To serve, stir in last: > 1 tsp. fresh garlic, chopped > 1/4 c. lemon juice > 2 green onions (about 1/4 c.), chopped
The use of whole grain “oat flour” in this recipe means: gluten-free, and no processed white flour! Regular oatmeal flakes are processed in a food processor or blender; toasting some of the other ingredients before-hand results in a perfectly crunchy cookie. Some refer to these as “Bird-seed Cookies”, though one should get their “birdseed” millet from a good, old-fashioned health food store.
Any extra of these cookies store well in the freezer, for a month or so. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen.
• 1 2/3 c. plus 3 c. oatmeal
• 1 c. millet
• 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
• 2 c. chopped walnuts
• 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
• 1 c. butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 c. raisins
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• Optional: 1 c. chocolate chips
1. Toast 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden: > 1 2/3 c. Oatmeal > 1 c. Millet > 1/2 c. sunflower seeds > 2 c. chopped walnuts
2. Beat in a mixer until light: > 1 1/2 c. brown sugar > 1 c. butter > 1 tsp. vanilla > 2 eggs
3/ Add the following dry ingredients to a big bowl and mix: > 3 c. oatmeal, processed into flour in processor or blender > 1/2 c. raisins > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1 tsp. salt
4. Add remaining ingredients to the big bowl also, mixing again: > Toasted ingredients, cooled off > Creamed ingredients > Optional: 1 c. chocolate chips
5. Scoop 1oz.-size scoops onto parchment sheets (or lightly-oiled cookie sheets), 12 per sheet, flattening before baking at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Loosen from sheet while still warm, as they tend to stick otherwise.
Chili can be a fun dish for a crowd, as guests can add their own favorite toppings (cheese, chopped jalapenos, cilantro and such). This recipe includes directions for making chili powder, as many store-bought mixes contain MSG and other questionable additives.
One might even leave the meat and cheese out of this recipe, to make it vegan. It’s still full of flavor! Serves 10-12.
1 lb. dry kidney beans
2 lb. lean ground beef
Olive oil for grilling veggies
Approx. 4 c. chopped onion (2 lg.)
3 chopped green peppers (sub Anaheim or Poblano for variety)
2 (26 oz.) cans tomato pieces
2 TBS. Worchestershire Sauce
2 tsp. salt
3 TBS. chili powder
2 c. of water (more as needed)
Optional: 8 oz. grated cheddar cheese
Optional: Sour cream, cilantro, chopped jalapenos or raw onion, etc.
1. In a medium-large pot, bring to boil: > Half-pot of water
2. Add, and then simmer until tender, 1 hour or more: > 1 lb. dry kidney beans
3. When beans are done, drain off cooking water. Put beans back in pot.
4. Saute’ in iron pan: > 2 lb. lean ground beef
5. Drain fat off if necessary; add to cooked beans in pot. In same pan, sauté: > Approx. 4 c. chopped onion > 4 or so chopped green peppers > 1/4 c. olive oil
6. Into the pot of beans and meat, add the grilled veggies, plus the following: > 2 (26 oz.) cans tomato pieces > 2 tsp. salt > 3 TBS. chili powder* > 2 TBS. Worchestershire Sauce > more water as needed (to right consistency)
7. Simmer all ingredients 1 hour or so. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and condiments, as desired.
*For homemade chili powder: Mix in a bowl and store in small jar: > 1/4 c. paprika > 1/4 c. garlic granules > 1/4 c. cumin powder > 1 TBS. cayenne
Rich with raw cacao nibs, this nourishing snack satisfies the chocoholic seeking health. The coconut oil (or cream) used in this is also rich in MCTs (medium-chain-triglycerides), which are a great fuel for the brain.
Use virgin coconut oil or other fine products from specialty and health food stores: “coconut cream concentrate”, “coconut spread” or “coconut manna” are great products which contain much of the “meat” of the coconut, pureed into a smooth paste that is incredibly flavorful. (Canned coconut cream will not be firm enough.)
Refrigerate this confection, and personalize as desired, adding more or less of the ingredients, according to personal tastes. The lack of eggs or dairy makes this snack perfect for vegans too! Makes one loaf (20 or so thin slices).
1 c. virgin coconut oil or alternative (mentioned above)
1 c. dates, pitted (Medjool if available)
1 c. macadamia (or substitute pecans or walnuts)
1 c. cacao nibs
1 c. raisins (or substitute dried cranberries or other favorite dried fruit)
Optional: 1 c. pumpkin seeds
1. Melt the coconut oil (or other), setting the jar in a pot of simmering water (with a rag at the bottom of the pot to keep the jar from breaking). An alternate method: Set in oven with just the pilot light on, for several hours. Use: > 1 c. virgin coconut oil
2. In a loaf pan, add the following, mixing somewhat: > Dates > Nuts > Cacao nibs > Dried Fruits, etc.
3. Pour the melted coconut oil over the loaf of ingredients, mixing well. Press the mixture down and chill until firm.
4. Run hot water over the loaf pan (held upside-down) to get the coconut bark back out, and slice it up. Individual slices can be wrapped in plastic wrap; handy to grab in a hurry! A perfect between-meal snack.
The perfect meal for staying healthy on-the-go: A Hawaiian style smoothie with no processed juice. Add extra protein if preferred, for a “protein shake”, but this already has protein from the cashews. With the nuts and the coconut cream (or virgin coconut oil), this can be a “meal replacement drink” full of healthy oils and “good fat”. (Yes, there are good fats!)
Freeze bananas ahead of time, and this smoothie comes together quickly. Note that room temperature banana can develop a different texture from blending, but frozen bananas whirl up with a texture like ice cream. Delicious!
For a smoother texture, soak the dates and cashews a day ahead, covered with cold water and stored in the refrigerator. Contains no dairy, but it’s still nice and creamy- a vegan delight!
1-2 c. frozen banana pieces
1/3 c. “cashew milk”, or one handful raw cashews (soaked a day ahead, or not)
small handful dates, pitted (soaked a day ahead, or not)
1-2 TBS. or so of coconut cream (more if using coconut milk)*
cold water as needed, for blending
1. Ahead of time, prepare a bunch of bananas. Peel the bananas, slice through them, and lay them out on a tray that’s covered with an inside-out zip-loc bag (or other thick plastic bag). (Note: Plastic wrap is thin and might break apart and stick to the frozen bananas.)
2. Let the bananas freeze solid. Store them for weeks in the zip-loc bag, using as needed.
3. This step is not necessary, but for smoothest smoothie, soak raw cashews and dates in water; refrigerate overnight.
4. Blend all of the above until smooth in a blender.
* If using virgin olive oil, perhaps mix it with some boiling water first. It’s very solid, which can make it challenging to work with.
What am I bringing to the 4th of July potluck? I suppose I better bring this- I know its the hostess’s favorite! Oh yay- it will even provide “resistant starch”, a prebiotic that helps us to have a healthy gut. (Healthy gut, happy life, isn’t that how the saying goes?!) (For the scientist in you, cooking and cooling starches like potatoes and rice reduces the carb load, reduces glucose response, and improves insulin sensitivity, all with a healthy dose of prebiotics. Mark’s Daily Apple goes into more detail.)
This Hawaiian recipe is a tropical combination of flavors and textures. Rice salads and pilafs are great for large gatherings; and for the vegans in the crowd. This dish can be served at room temperature– convenient! Serve 8 or so.
3 c. water
2 c. white rice*
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/3 c. sweetened dried mango (or substitute sweetened dried pineapple)
1/4 c. Macadamia nuts, raw
1/4 c. Italian Parsley
1/4 c. cilantro
2 TBS. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sweetened coconut (optional)
1. A day ahead (or earlier in the day), cook the rice, so it has time to cool. Bring to boil: > 3 c. water
2. Add to boiling water, stirring once, then let simmer, unstirred, for 20 minutes or so: > 2 c. white rice*
3. Remove rice from heat. Stir into rice: > 1/4 c. coconut oil
4. Leave lid on; refrigerate rice until chilled.
5. Prep the following ingredients, so the whole dish can be tossed together at serving time. Chop the following: > 1/3 c. sweetened dried mango (or substitute sweetened dried pineapple) > 1/4 c. Macadamia nuts, raw > 1/4 c. Italian Parsley > 1/4 c. cilantro
6. Close to serving time, add: > All the chopped ingredients (nuts, fruit, herbs) > 2 TBS. frozen pineapple juice concentrate > 1/2 tsp. salt
7. Turn the mixed ingredients out into a serving bowl. Garnish with: > 1/3 c. sweetened coconut, toasted (broil for 2-3 minutes, or bake 10 minutes or so, watching carefully)
8. Serve dish at room temperature.
*Substitute brown rice for white rice if desired; just use 4 c. water to the 2 c. rice, and increase cooking time to 40 minutes
One might add different flavorings, or tint the fondant. Some recipes call for corn syrup and salt, which doesn’t seem necessary. (Using salted butter adds sufficient flavor.)
This particular cake was “Baba Rum” (alcohol-free version, recipe here). It was cut into layers which were spread with strawberry puree and whipped chocolate cream. When making a taller, layered cake, whatever cake recipe is used should be heavy enough to withstand the weight of the fondant. Red velvet might be another option.
This recipe makes enough for a 9″ round two-layer cake.
1 (10 oz.) package marshmallows
Scant 3 TBS. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: Coloring or other flavorings
1 1/3 lb. confectioners’ sugar (5 c. or more)
3 TBS. butter, room temperature
1. A day ahead, microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 30-60 seconds, until marshmallows start melting: > 1 (10-oz) bag marshmallows
2. Add water and vanilla extract, stirring until smooth: > scant 3 TBS. hot water > 1 tsp. vanilla > Optional: Coloring or other flavorings
3. Butter a mixing bowl, a dough-hook (or beaters), and a large square of plastic wrap. Also butter hands, for easier cleanup! Use: > 3 TBS. butter
4. If there’s extra butter, it can be added into the fondant after the confectioner’s sugar is mixed in. Add much of the confectioner’s sugar to a mixing bowl, adding melted marshmallow mix on top. Mix on low until blended. (Or, mix everything by hand, greasing hands extra well before mixing/kneading the ingredients together.) Start with: > about 3/4 lb. of the confectioner’s sugar
5. Slowly add: > Remaining 1-2 c. confectioner’s sugar (using about 1 1/3 lb. total)
7. The dough will be very stiff. Mix and knead until pliable (5 minutes or so). Turn fondant out onto the buttered plastic wrap. Pat it flat, into the necessary shape (round or rectangular). Wrap fondant in more buttered wrap and let sit out overnight to rest. (The fondant can be made days earlier; it keeps several weeks).
8. To use, roll out on a flat surface, buttering the rolling pin and the countertop (or plastic wrap) as needed. Roll it out large enough to drape over the shape of the cake; edges can be cut off afterward.
9. Frost the cake with a simple frosting first (a mix of butter, confectioner’s sugar, and a splash of cream will work). The fondant will stick better, and edges get more smoothed out, with an extra layer of frosting.
10. Make shapes with leftover fondant, adding to the main fondant layer, if desired.
These chocolate truffles can be a welcome afternoon treat that keeps the metabolism going, or a healthy dessert to satisfy chocolate cravings. I’ve tried making them with both coconut oil, and red palm oil. The latter is a unique, stronger flavor that might best be recommended only to the “hard-core”.
Coconut palm sugar can be left out of the mix, but it will add extra sweetness and texture. It is much like brown sugar, but is metabolized slowly (being low on the glycemic index). The recipe can be adjusted according to personal taste.
Makes 20 or so truffles (1/2 oz. ea.)
1/3 c. coconut oil (or red palm oil), melted in warm oven (or double boiler)
Mix the melted oil with honey until smooth. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder, palm sugar, and toasted nuts. Refrigerate until almost firm (an hour or so); roll into small balls. Add to bowl of palm sugar (or cocoa powder), if desired, to coat outside.
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.
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
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”.