I needed a fast recipe for a quick birthday cake. I needed a small recipe, cuz we didn’t all want to get fat. I’d just read how good hazelnuts are for you (Mark’s Daily Apple, article on Nuts About Nuts). I had a Trader Joe’s bag of roasted hazelnuts on hand, and some chocolate chips, butter, and eggs. So I made THIS!
We used to make this salad at The New Deli; we would deliver it throughout the Bay Area to various health food stores. Back then, hardly anyone in Pinole had heard of Tabbouleh; it wasn’t as popular on home turf. It’s popular in our house though- goes great with lamb. And, if you want gluten-free, just substitute quinoa for the bulgar
This whole-grain side dish is quite refreshing. Add more or less of various ingredients to suit personal tastes. Increase the recipe for larger crowds! Serves 4-6.
1 1/4 c. Bulgar wheat, or Quinoa (for gluten-free)
1 c. boiling water
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. chopped spearmint
2-3 single green onions, chopped fine
1/4 c. olive oil (virgin, if available)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. lemon juice
1. Pour boiling water over Bulgar in a bowl; let it sit until cooled (20 minutes or so): > 1 1/4 c. Bulgar* (or see quinoa directions, bottom of page) > 1 c. boiling water
2. Prep the veggies: Peel cucumber, cut it in half the long way, running finger down the middle to remove seeds. Use organic cucumber if available (as they are on the Dirty Dozen list otherwise!). Cut tomatoes in quarters, removing seeds/pulp (reserve for a sauce or soup?). Chop the herbs and dice the green onion. Use: > 1 small cucumber > 2 tomatoes > 1/4 c. parsley > 1/4 c. spearmint > 2-3 green onions
3. Add the prepped, chopped ingredients to the soaked, cooled bulgar. Toss with: > 1/4 c. olive oil
4. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, toss again: > 1/4 c. lemon juice > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/4 tsp. pepper
5. Serve with grilled meats or vegetarian main dishes.
Variation: You can use coconut milk for all or part of the liquid, bringing it to a boil before adding the Bulgar. Alter the flavors by omitting the olive oil, spearmint, tomato, and cucumber. Add lime, if available, and some chopped almonds. If you have organically-grown roses, use a few petals, slivered, on top for garnish. Crumbled feta can also be a welcome addition.
* Quinoa Directions:To go gluten-free, sub quinoa; add 2 1/4 c. boiling water to 1 1/4 c. quinoa. Simmer for 12 minutes or so, until it has absorbed water. Let cool, then proceed with recipe.
This is a simple blend of ingredients, but an exquisite soup- the sum is greater than the parts! Use organic peppers if possible, although a good smoked paprika can substitute, and will remove the time-consuming step of peeling the roasted peppers. Serves 20 or so at The New Deli (but you can make a smaller batch for the home crew).
1. Roast peppers ahead of time if possible; this makes it easier to pull this soup together! To roast, get an iron skillet smoking hot, adding peppers (and a lid, if available). Roast each side for about 5-6 minutes, rolling peppers over about four times, to get all sides blackened some. When done, set aside peppers to cool until easy enough to handle. Roast: > 2-3 red peppers
2. Peel peppers after they’re cool. Remove outer blackened skin as well as seeds. Reserve juices as well, as it’s very flavorful. Set aside. (Skip Steps 1 and 2 if substituting paprika.)
3. Peel sweet potatoes, chop into big cubes, and add boiling water to cover. Simmer until tender. Use: > 3 lg. sweet potatoes
4. Caramelize onions in medium pan. It’s best if they’re crowded some, so they juice up a bit. As the onion juices slowly simmer away, the sugars in the juice caramelize, giving the onions a wonderful sweet flavor. Use: > 3 lb. thick-sliced onion > splash of olive oil for sautéing.
5. In soup pot, use immersion blender to puree the cooked sweet potatoes, the caramelized onions, and the peeled red peppers. (Or use food processor, or blender.) Blend in: > 1/3 c. olive oil
6. To pot of soup, also add: > Any extra liquid from roasting peppers > 2 tsp. dried ginger > 1 TBS. grated ginger > 1 TBS. salt > fresh-grated black pepper > more liquid (or stock) if necessary, to get to right consistency.
7. To garnish, you can infuse some olive oil with paprika to make a bright orange oil, for drizzling. If preferred, make Pistachio Pesto by processing the following: > 1 c. pistachios > 1/2 c. olive oil > 1/4 tsp. salt
These brownies have become quite popular at The New Deli. A few folks were hoping to get the recipe too. It is in my first cookbook, From the Land of Milk and Honey. But I thought I’d share it below too!
Aren’t mint and chocolate a perfect combination?! You’ll never have to buy peppermint patties again. And this is a fairly simple recipe. Melting the butter for the mint layer is the key; when it firms up, it’s just like candy. If my schedule is tight, I might make these several days early; after cutting them into squares, they can be frozen until serving. Serves 10-15.
1 stick (plus 1 stick) butter
1 TBS. water
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. EACH salt and baking soda
1 c. flour
1 TBS. cream
1-2 drops green food coloring
1 tsp. mint extract
2 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
5 sq. unsweetened chocolate
1. Microwave 1-2 min. in ceramic bowl: > 1 stick butter > 1 TBS. water > 3/4 c. sugar
2. Add, mixing in until melted: > 1 1/3 c. chocolate chips
3. Next, add the chocolate mix to the following in mixer bowl: > 1 tsp. vanilla > 1/4 tsp. EACH salt & baking soda > 1 c. flour > 2 eggs
4. Mix all the above in mixer, 3-5 min. on high. Pour into 9 x 13″ pan, lined with foil for easy cleanup. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Let cool completely in refrigerator, then turn out of pan, pulling foil off bottom. Put back in pan, spreading the following on when brownies have cooled (several hours).
Mint Filling: PREPARATION
1. Microwave 1 minute in glass bowl, or melt in pan: > 1 stick butter
2. Add to bowl: > 1 TBS. cream > 1 drops green food coloring > 2 drops yellow food coloring > 2 tsp. mint extract
3. Mix the above well, then add: > 2 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
4. Mix again; this will be a thick mixture. Spread/pat onto cooled brownies and chill for a few minutes while preparing topping.
Chocolate Topping: PREPARATION
1. Microwave 1-2 minutes in glass bowl, or melt carefully on low heat (or in double broiler) on stove: > 5 sq. unsweetened chocolate> 1/2 c. chocolate chips
2.Drizzle melted chocolate on top of mint layer. Spread evenly over top with spatula. This will be easier if the mint layer hasn’t chilled for too long (otherwise, the melted chocolate cools before it can all be spread). Chill 15 minutes or until chocolate layer is firm, then cut into bars. Store in freezer if desired.
We got to craving a new soup at The New Deli, and came up with this. Wowzers- we LOVE it! We have a good, creamy goat cheese on hand to drizzle on it, though you could sub yogurt or sour cream.
This is a light soup with a wonderful blend of flavors. Makes 2 quarts or so of soup (12 servings); it will freeze well too.
1 lg. onion, quartered
4 carrots, in chunks
1 oz. (2 TBS.) minced garlic
1 TBS. fennel seed
3 pts. (6 c.) canned tomato
1 lb. tomato paste (or one 8-oz. can and one 12-oz. can)
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 TBS. fresh chopped rosemary
1 TBS. fresh chopped thyme
2-4 oz. goat cheese for 6 servings
1. In pressure cooker, cook until tender in enough boiling water to cover: > 1 lg. onion, quartered > 4 carrots, in chunks > 1 oz. (2 TBS.) minced garlic
2. In hot skillet or in toaster oven, toast until golden: > 1 TBS. fennel seed
3. Grind toasted fennel seed in small electric spice/coffee blender or hand-crush with mortar and pestle.
4. Add the fennel to the cooked veggies along with: > 3 pts. (6 c.) canned tomato
5. Process the veggies, fennel seed, and tomato pieces until smooth. Add: > 1 lb. tomato paste (or one 8-oz. can and one 12-oz. can) > 1 tsp. salt > 1/3 c. olive oil > 1 TBS. fresh chopped rosemary > 1 TBS. fresh chopped thyme
6. Heat the mixture to serve, or reserve some for the freezer, for future meals. For a tasty garnish, use a few ounces of creamy-style goat cheese; mix it with a bit of warm water to correct consistency, and drizzle on top of soup before serving. Use: > 2-4 oz. goat cheese for 6 servings (or sub yogurt or sour cream)
Below is an index to what’s found in my ebook, “Soup’s On, Made From Scratch”. These recipes can be found here at the website too, but if you want everything in one handy book, then order a copy! You can view ebooks on your computer, phone, Kindle, or tablet… pretty handy 🙂
Artichoke Garden Soup: Easiest soup ever?! I use Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes- they have a better texture than canned ones. (You can use fresh ones, if you have the time…) From there, you just add some steamed zucchini, some garlic, whirl it up in the blender with some chicken stock or cream.
Asparagus Soup with Tarragon and Goat Cheese: Cook up some asparagus (saving tips for garnish). A simple roux pulls this soup together.
Barley Mushroom Soup: A whole-grain, simple recipe; the tomato, rosemary, and garlic blend perfectly.
Black Bean Chili: A hearty vegetarian soup; a protein-rich, flavorful, simple recipe. It’s an extra thick mix (that you add water to to serve), so it freezes real well into portioned “blobs”. Makes such an easy last-minute dinner!
Borscht: A great way to use beets, in a healthy version of a Russian classic. Containing potatoes, carrot, and cabbage too, and some toasted caraway seed for authentic flavor.
Broccoli Potato Soup: An extra healthy soup recipe. Potatoes thicken it, so it doesn’t need flour (yay, gluten-free!). The broccoli is cooked in water; use that broth to cook the potatoes. Then, the broccoli gets processed (with immersion blender or food processor); the potatoes get processed in next. They don’t go in at the same time, since a little over-processing will turn those potatoes to glue!
Butternut Squash Soup: Using a simple method of cooking squash; pureed with apple juice and a simple spice mix for a quick, delicious, creamy soup, that’s still healthy!
Carrot Soup w/Dill: A gluten-free recipe flavored with caraway seed. A bit of cooked red quinoa adds the perfect garnish.
Carrot Soup, Curried: A gluten-free, flavorful soup using pureed carrot, potato, and coconut milk.
Cauliflower Soup: With garbanzo beans making it buttery, creamy. Roasting the cauliflower brings out its flavor, and toasted coriander seasons it perfectly.
Celery Leek Soup: With potatoes thickening this soup (no flour), it’s gluten-free. Celery seeds add a lot of celery flavor. Delicious!
Chicken Stock: Simple, but good. You don’t really have to put anything else in the pot, except some chicken bones (yumm, “bone broth”!). When using the stock in soups, other veggies, herbs and spices can be added then.
Chili, Traditional Style: Cook your own kidney beans! Much better texture than canned, plus you save money. And it’s a smaller carbon foot-print, since it’s easier to ship dry beans to your home, than to ship them to a processing plant that cooks them, plumps them full of water, and eventually gets them to a store…
Chipotle Potato Soup: There’s an easy way to make a “Chipotle Drizzle” (using dried chipotles, virgin olive oil, and a little boiling water and salt). Other canned chipotle products have a lot of cheap ingredients, and just a little chipotle in ’em. Just get the dried peppers!
Cream of Chestnut Soup: This is a classy soup. It takes awhile to shuck chestnuts, but there is a method that makes it a little easier. A labor of love, but worth it.
Cream of Corn Soup w/Cashews and Cilantro: What an easy recipe. Cashews can get presoaked, but because they’re already a softer nut, they’ll blend up into a nice “cream”. Add frozen corn (thawed), cayenne, and some cilantro for garnish. This is a good gluten-free, vegan soup.
French Onion Soup: A classic recipe, using saved up, frozen meat drippings and stock for rich flavor, plus a unique “roux” using some red wine vinegar instead of the usual Vermouth. Tastes at least as good, and it’s more economical.
Golden Pepper Soup: It’s nice to take advantage of produce when it’s cheap and plentiful. to use at a later date in things like this soup. Roasting peppers is a way to preserve them, and it is really quite easy. At The New Deli, we used to do them under the broiler, but found that a piping hot iron pan was even easier. We add the peppers, put a lid on it (yes, we have an awesome, heavy iron lid, which I recommend). Then we turn them every six minutes or so until charred/blackish on all sides. From there, we can make stuff like this soup. Or save the roasted, peeled peppers in the freezer- they freeze perfectly.
Green Chili Cheese Soup: So easy- mostly just some potatoes, with some canned tomato pieces added. As mentioned in the above paragraph, green chilis are easy to roast at home (or “cheat” and use canned). A little toasted cumin seed and cilantro add extra flavor.
Lentil Soup: The New Deli’s “hippie-style” soup, from our vegetarian days. Lots of soups can be vegetarian, but of course the ones with legumes in them will offer more protein. A dash of liquid smoke and some chili powder make this a pretty exciting soup.
Mushroom Soup, Creamy Style: You can make this the traditional French way, by cooking down some pureed mushrooms until they are fairly dry. The French then even dehydrate them more, then grind them even finer. This is how a very hearty mushroom flavor is achieved without just having a pile o’ mushrooms in the bowl. My favorite way to make this soup now is to just buy some Porcini mushroom powder on Amazon, because… well, the other way is fairly labor intensive. The porcini powder is so worth it. And then, making this soup becomes a total breeze!
Potato Cheddar Soup: This soup is made with an economical (but good quality) cheddar, even though it tastes like it was made with a fancy smoked cheddar. How’s that? Just add a touch of liquid smoke- a perfect combination with the creamy potatoes…
Potato Swiss Soup: Using Swiss and blue cheese, plus Dijon mustard, nutmeg- a New Deli favorite
Red Lentil Soup: Popular for its quick-cooking, as well as its flavor; the sweet potatoes and curried spices add nutrition and an ethnic twist
Seafood Gumbo: Maybe part of the secret is in using shrimp with heads on (lil’ feelers and all). The heads made a great stock! This is a classic recipe, Cajun-style, made by heating and stirring the roux until dark and rich.
Split Pea Soup: a low-fat, vegetarian version of the classic.
Sweet Potato Autumn Veggie Soup: Cauliflower pairs up nicely with sweet potato, for a Paleo-style soup.
Thai Curried Rice Soup: It’s tricky for that Japanese eggplant to keep it’s color, but there’s a healthier way to do that, without deep-frying. Adding green curry paste makes it exciting, although regular ginger can sub for the “galangal”, and lemon zest might do in place of lemon grass. Still good!
Tomato Basil Soup, using a unique blend of lemon, orange, and bay leaf, mellowed out with the addition of cooked carrot
Tomato Soup with Dill: Creamy tomato soup with more seasoning; toasted fennel seed adds a nice touch.
Vegetable Rice Soup: Using a simple tomato paste/spice mix for a base (AKA “Thousand Island Mix“), just add veggies and rice, for a quick, easy soup.
White Bean Tomato Soup: Cook up some white beans from scratch- they don’t take much more than an hour. Add some canned tomato, some fresh rosemary and garlic. Oh, some kale goes nicely in this too!
Wild Rice Winter Squash Soup: Sometimes I need an excuse to cook up some wild rice- it’s so fragrant! For those with allergies, wild rice is of a completely different family than other grasses, so it’s usually a safe food in that respect. Good stuff.
“WAY-BACK WEDNESDAY”: We used to make this recipe thirty-some years ago, when “The New Deli” was just a small wholesale sandwich business operating out of our home kitchen. We enjoyed many an end piece of this bread (as did our then-toddler son); we wrapped up buttered slices to ship out to health food stores in the Bay Area, under the name “Foods for Thought”. We were just a couple of hippies at the time, with a little “grass-roots”, home-style food business.
Three years into that, we realized we should become legit. And so The New Deli was birthed!
We used to grind our own whole wheat flour to make goodies like this for our fledgling food business, back in the eighties. I loved that we were giving people a fresh-ground flour, complete with nutrients (vitamin E, etc.), that hadn’t gone rancid sitting on some store shelf.
When the flour grinder finally busted, I learned that I could sub a good organic unbleached flour for the whole wheat flour. Using a small electric coffee/spice grinder, I could add fresh-ground flax seed, and we could still get those good essential oils in the mix. With a bit of bran added as well, it seemed we had the next-best-thing to fresh-ground flour!
This recipe was always popular, putting ripe bananas to good use. Ripe bananas can even store in the refrigerator for up to a week, until one is ready to make this recipe. Makes 2 8″ loaves.
1 3/4 c. walnuts
1 c. brown sugar or palm sugar
Slightly rounded 2 TBS. molasses
2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (3/4 lb.)*
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about 4-5 ripe bananas; over a lb. to start)
Optional: 2 TBS. flax seed, ground into meal in small coffee/spice grinder
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or oil 8″ bread pan.
2. Toast in oven 8-10 minutes until golden: > 1 3/4 c. walnuts
3. Into a mixer bowl, blend together: > 1 c. brown sugar > slightly rounded 2 TBS. molasses > 2 1/4 c. fresh-ground wheat flour > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. baking soda > optional: 2 TBS. flax seed, ground into meal in small coffee/spice grinder
4. Set the above mix aside. In separate bowl, use a potato masher to “puree” the banana, or process lightly in blender until medium-smooth: > 1 1/2 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about 4-5 ripe bananas; over a pound to start)
5. Stir into the mashed banana: > 2 eggs
6. To the bowl of banana and egg, add and mix in gently (not over-mixing): > The sugar/flour mixture > The toasted walnuts
7. Pour batter into pan, bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean. Let rest 20 minutes or so before removing from pan and serving.
* Fresh-ground flour is preferred, as whole wheat flour will otherwise go rancid in less than a week. But use these amounts to sub for the 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour, if necessary: > 1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour > 1/3 c. wheat bran > 2 TBS. flax seed, ground into meal in small coffee/spice grinder
Even my skeptical son enjoyed these. He and his cousin are highly suspect of my “healthy” treats, since they’re so unlike typical sweets. But he gave these a thumbs-up!
These make a healthy treat for those of us not eating the usual desserts- a great chocolate fix with a healthy dose of coconut oil (to stimulate metabolism and nourish the brain and such). For those with a sweeter sweet tooth, a hearty sprinkling of palm sugar on top of the chocolate after dipping will help “sweeten the deal”.
At one point in my experiments, I tried using palm sugar in the blended strawberry mixture. Big mistake. There was some kind of reaction, and the mixture turned an unappetizing brown color. Don’t try that!
Makes about 12 half-ounce truffles; extras will hold up well in the freezer.
STRAWBERRY PUREE INGREDIENTS
6 oz. frozen strawberries (half a 12-oz. bag, making about 2/3 c. puree)
2 TBS. melted butter
1/2 c. coconut “spread” (ie. “manna”, “butter”), melted
1 TBS. honey
CHOCOLATE DIP INGREDIENTS (Enough for a double batch)
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 TBS. honey
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1. Let frozen strawberries thaw, then puree. Use: > 6 oz. frozen, thawed strawberries (or fresh)
2. To the strawberry puree, add: > 1/2 c. coconut “spread” (ie. “manna”, “butter”), melted > 1 TBS. honey
3. Let mixture firm up, then form into half-ounce-sized balls. Set aside on wax paper in freezer until solid.
4. Prepare “chocolate” for dipping. Gently melt coconut oil and butter in pan: > 1/4 c. butter > 1/4 c. coconut oil
5. Stir in: > 2 TBS. honey > 1/3 c. cocoa powder
6. Let chocolate mix sit out 20-40 minutes to thicken up some. Stir well, then dip strawberry balls into chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with palm sugar as you go (while chocolate’s still warm), if a sweeter truffle is desired. There will be left-over chocolate (enough to make another batch). We like this, as it makes a wonderful addition to our smoothies and such.
7. Store in refrigerator, or for several months in the freezer.
Use the mushrooms in place of hamburger patties, for a “meaty” vegetarian alternative at dinner. Or let the mushrooms cool off a bit, slicing into strips. Toss a simple salad of greens, olive oil, vinegar, and salt (or your favorite dressing), dish up onto salad plates, topping with the mushroom strips. What a salad!
4 Portabella Mushrooms
1/2 c. or so olive oil
1 TBS. chopped fresh garlic
1/2 lb. mozzarella, provolone, or Jack cheese, sliced
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Get enough Portabella mushrooms for the number of people you’re serving. Typically, it’s one burger-sized mushroom per person, or just a half mushroom per person for a salad. Remove stem and drizzle olive oil on the inside; rub more olive oil onto the outside. For four burgers, use: > 4 Portabella Mushrooms > about 1/2 c. or so olive oil
2. Next, spread some chopped garlic around the inside of the mushroom. Use: > 1 TBS. chopped fresh garlic
3. Add: > 1/2 lb. mozzarella, provolone, or Jack cheese, sliced (or grated)
4. Top with: > 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
5. Bake the cheese-mushrooms at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or so, until cheese is lightly golden. Serve on toasted hamburger buns, with all the fixings, if desired, or atop a salad.
6. If you’re short on time, you can speed things along using the microwave. Microwave the cheese-mushrooms (about 1-2 minutes per mushroom), then broil just a few minutes, until cheese is golden and mushrooms are soft.
It’s great to involve kids in cookie-baking projects, but attention can wane. This particular recipe is perfect for those with a limited time/attention spans, of all ages! A special rolling pin is required, which will emboss a design on the cookie. But the dough is easy to make- just a few ingredients. Other recipes may contain extra ingredients, but this simple recipe seems to work perfectly.
Although this festive cookie takes little effort, some waiting is involved. The dough refrigerates for several hours, and the cut-out cookies need to air dry on parchment for at least half a day before baking. This gives them their texture- perfect for dipping in tea and such. Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.
1 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. anise seed
Optional: 1/2 tsp. anise extract, if desired
1. Cream: > 2 eggs > 1 c. sugar
2. Stir in, until very stiff: > 2 1/4 c. flour > 1 tsp. anise seed > 1/2 tsp. anise extract, if desired
3. Place on plastic wrap, patting out into a rectangle shape, for easier rolling later. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or more.
4. Roll or pat out on floured board, into a piece (or two) that are about the width of the rolling pin. Roll out with a “springerle cookie rolling pin”, pressing down firmly to emboss. Cut into squares, let dry at least 10 hours on parchment paper.
5. Before baking, use a spatula to lift the cookies from the parchment (so they stick less). Bake on the parchment at 325 degrees, 12-15 minutes. They shouldn’t brown, although the edges can get slightly golden. Let cool on racks; store for 1-2 weeks (these actually keep quite well).