I have some very fond bread memories from childhood. My sister and I could hardly wait for this bread to be ready to cut. We would immediately hack a chunk off as soon as it came out of the oven, much to mom’s dismay. Well, we couldn’t wait! True, it didn’t cut very easily our way, but taste-testing probably encouraged the two of us to continue our work in the kitchen.
The original 60’s version of this seemed more complicated, IMO. The cottage cheese was warmed to that perfect temperature for yeast, then the yeast got proofed, etc.
Now that I’m too into sourdough bread, I wanted to adapt this to use with my starter. It worked!
Makes one loaf, about 2 lb.
1 c. cottage cheese
1 c. sourdough starter
2 TBS honey
1 TBS. dry onion
1 TBS. butter, soft
2 tsp. dill seed
Optional- 2 tsp. dill weed
2 1/4 -3 c. whole wheat flour, divided
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
In medium large bowl, mix together: > 1 c. sourdough starter > 1 c. cottage cheese > 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour > 1 egg > 2 TBS. honey > 1 TBS. dry onion > 1 TBS. butter, soft > 2 tsp. dill seed > optional- 2 tsp. dill weed
Let the above ingredients rise in a warm place until double, about 4 hours.
Stir in the following, adding enough flour so dough isn’t too sticky to handle. Dough will still be somewhat moist though. Use: > About 3/4 c. whole wheat flour > 1/4 tsp. baking soda > 1 tsp. salt
Knead dough about three minutes, until mixed well. Put in buttered 1 1/2-2 qt. casserole dish. Let rise until double again (another hour or two), then bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes Brush top w/ butter and salt when done, if desired.
I know by faith that God is good, but sometimes, He really makes it clear. He showed me a lot this past month.
It started on a Thursday afternoon–my sister called to say my mom was in the hospital. It could be serious, or not. I might want to fly back, or not. Seeking godly counsel and praying about it, I realized by Friday that I needed to fly back to Michigan. (Thank you Lord, for the words of my friend, which encouraged me to go!) I let my sis know I’d be on Friday’s midnight flight, and was scheduled to arrive Saturday morning.
I had hours to get ready, put my ducks in a row, etc. I asked my Bible study friends to pray for the whole situation, and for travel mercies. Then Tom and I jumped in the car, checking flight reports on the way, since there was nasty winter weather ahead. Flights looked well so far. How nice to get latest updates on my fancy phone. How not-nice to discover as we approached the airport, that my Chicago-to-Flint flight was cancelled. I had now been booked on a flight arriving 24 hours later—Sunday morning. Ug. At that point, I wondered if I should just re-book a flight for later in the month.
But—I had friends in high places, praying for those travel mercies. I was about to fly the friendly skies, but some things go higher than that. Like, the prayers of the saints! I put it in the Lord’s hands, and arrived in Chicago hoping for the best. To not have to spend a whole day there would be wonderful.
I went up to some ticket agents first thing in Chicago, asking if there was any way to get on an earlier flight. Three lovely agents huddled around a computer. They finagled until they got me on a flight leaving within the hour. It flew to my brother’s town of Grand Rapids instead of Flint, but that would work perfectly.
OK, that’s just the beginning of the story. Sorry—no “long-story-short” here. I wanted to establish that it was already a miracle that I ended up right where I was.
For most of the next three days, I was with my folks, sister, brother and his wife, at the hospital. For the next three days, we cheered mom on, seeing her through all she had going on. That was nice. But in hindsight, it appears there was an even bigger reason for being there.
Every night, my dad and I left the hospital for home, to rest up for another day. Each night, I noticed the house had a strange smell. The smell is still a mystery—something like burnt dog food and Pine-Sol. But not really that either.
I didn’t mention it to my dad–I didn’t want to be rude (maybe there had been some kind of doggy-do accident). The next day, I asked my sister and brother if they’d noticed a smell at the folks’ house, but they hadn’t. I finally asked my dad. He said yes, but he thought it was just from him burning some butter a few days before.
Well, by the third morning, I woke up around 5:30 with a killer headache. I heard the blood coursing through the veins in my head. Weirdest headache ever. I started vomiting yellow bile. I thought, “Oh no—I might have the flu!” Then I heard my dad—thought he was doing push-ups in the next room. Nope. From the floor of the bathroom, I could see him walking down the hallway, holding onto the wall, breathing heavily. “Dad, are you OK?” He said he was really dizzy, and had never felt like that before.
OK, maybe we both had the flu. I called my sister to let her know we might not visit mom at the hospital that day. By that time, my dad was almost passed out on the bed, and I was hanging my head out their bedroom patio door, vomiting more yellow bile.
I told my sister, between dry heaves, “I don’t know what’s going on Jean. Maybe we both have the flu. Maybe it’s that smell…” She wasted no time calling 911. Which was good, since things were getting foggy. I didn’t remember her second call back, when I told her I didn’t think we could make it downstairs and get outside…
The ambulance and fire department arrived pretty soon after that, thankfully. They quickly got my dad and me into the ambulance, and hooked us up to oxygen. They thought the dog was dead–she barely had a heartbeat. (They even called animal control to pick her up.)
Turns out, the furnace vent had sprung a leak. There was a 500 ppm carbon monoxide level in the basement where the furnace was. Those levels are life-threatening after three hours. We had a very close call. (The dog too, although she did revive once she got some fresh air.) I asked my dad if he would’ve called my sister, or 911. He realized that no, he would not have. If I hadn’t been there, my sister would’ve eventually gone to the house to find my dad and the dog. Not alive.
Moral of the story: God IS watching over us, and He loves us. He sent me to Michigan to help my dad live. Now my dad can continue to care for our mom, who has dementia. And he can see God’s mercy and love in action, and have hope.
Even though there is evil (sin) in this world (and carbon monoxide), and sin is in us, and the world’s not perfect, God does have a divine plan. He wants us to all know that Jesus died for our sins to give us eternal life, and He’s going to give us a chance to know that. A friend at a funeral last weekend mentioned that he’d observed that God intersects our lives at various points, trying to get that message to us. God can use all things, to get us to notice this. Truth.
I made this dessert for our granddaughter’s second birthday–it was a hit! I can’t always understand what she’s saying, but “Birthday Cake” came out loud and clear. A festive family gathering it was, complete with a rolling-weasel ball that made her giggle in delight (hey, the label says it’s for pets AND children).
A similar dessert, “Pavlova”, has fresh fruits garnishing a meringue crust, with plenty of whipped cream in between. I wanted to use the egg yolks though, so the chocolate mousse gave me a way to work those in. I guess you could also call this “Gluten-free Chocolate Dessert”, since that’s the trend lately. Or maybe, “Healthy Chocolate Pie”, since it uses bittersweet chocolate and not very much sugar at all. Oh, who am I kidding?! I just love meringue, and take any excuse to eat it!
I feel really good about eating this “gluten-free” dessert. Yes, it has a bit of cream, and some sugar too, but still seems to be a light dessert. My friend has often made the lemon curd version of this for our women’s group celebrations—it’s also quite delicious!
Makes one 12” dessert, serving 12
2 1/4 c. sugar, divided
Scant 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
3 c. cream, divided
6 eggs, divided
1 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate pieces (6 ounces)
4 1/2.tsp. vanilla, divided
1 TBS. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1 pint fresh strawberries (or more)
In saucepan, heat sugar, salt, and cream together, stirring for 3-4 minutes until sugar dissolves. (Or, microwave 1-2 minutes): > 1/4 c. sugar > scant 1/4 tsp. salt > 1 c. cream
Beat egg yolks lightly, then stir into hot cream mix. Leave on medium low heat while stirring constantly, until the mix thickens. (Or, microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each heating, just until mixure thickens.) Use: > 6 egg yolks
Stir chocolate and vanilla into heated ingredients: > 1 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate pieces (6 ounces) > 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Refrigerate mixture. Let cool completely (making a day ahead is convenient).
On serving day, prepare meringue crust.
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Using a 12-inch round cake pan, trace a circle onto a piece of parchment paper with a pencil or marker. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet (the traced circle should be visible); set aside.
Place the egg whites and salt in the very clean, dry mixer bowl. Use dry whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the whites begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes. Use: > 6 egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature > scant 1/4 tsp. salt
Increase the speed to high and very slowly add the sugar in a thin, continuous stream. Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow cream, about 3 minutes. Use: > 1 1/2 c. sugar
Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue. Use: > 1 TBS. cornstarch
Drizzle with the vinegar and vanilla and fold them into the meringue with a rubber spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the whites. Use: > 1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar > 1 tsp. vanilla
Using the rubber spatula, pile the meringue into the center of the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Smooth it to the edges of the circle to form a rough, even disk about 1 inch tall. (If the parchment shifts while spreading the meringue, weigh down two opposite corners with small, heavy objects like cans; remove them before baking.)
Bake until the meringue is firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, about 60-70 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the meringue to loosen.
Carefully slide it onto a serving platter or cake stand; set aside.
Finish making the mousse (which gets half of the extra whipped cream added to it). Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Use: > 2 c. cream > 1/2 c. sugar
Set whipped cream aside; add cooled chocolate mousse to bowl and whip until light. Fold in half of the whipped cream. Spread the chocolate mousse onto cooled meringue.
Use the other half of the sweetened, whipped cream to spread on top of the chocolate mousse. On top of that, add strawberries, or some shavings of chocolate. Use: > 1 pint (or more) strawberries
I’ll be hosting a shower for a friend’s vegan daughter this spring. I think I’ll add this recipe to the menu! It does contain cheese and egg, so it’s not vegan. But it is vegetarian, and the bride-to-be has been known to splurge on a few non-vegan items. So hopefully she’ll think this recipe’s worth checking out!
I made this dish back in my hippie days (in the seventies). “Diet for a Small Planet” was on the bestseller list, and vegetarianism was gaining popularity; a far cry from the Paleo trend of late. (Does sharing this recipe mean we have now gone full circle?)
This dish is a great change of pace, vegetarian or not. (My husband thinks I need to make it more often.) Serves 6.
1 1/2 c. whole wheat crumbs
28 oz. can tomatoes, whole
1/2 c. Muenster cheese (or other favorite)
3 TBS. butter
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
Ahead of time, toast (overnight in gas oven with pilot light on, or baked at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or so): > 1 1/2 c. whole wheat crumbs
Also ahead of time, drain: > 28 oz. can tomatoes, whole
Grate: > 1/2 c. Muenster cheese
Melt butter on stove or in microwave: > 3 TBS. butter
To butter in bowl, add the following: > 1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts > 1 1/2 c. chopped celery > 1 medium onion, chopped > 2 eggs, beaten > 1/2 tsp. salt > the toasted bread crumbs > the drained tomatoes > the grated cheese
Mix the above and bake in 8” x 5″ buttered loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Unmold.
Serve warm. Or refrigerate. Slices of the nut loaf can be seared in a dash of olive oil or butter; a great way to serve leftovers.
Our church’s annual Women’s Christmas Dinner was a success- beautiful music, good message, great company. And apparently, “the best mashed potatoes ever” Cool, since my team and I did a lot of mashing to feed two-hundred-plus folks that evening!
This past year, I came up with a new recipe for mashed potatoes, and I’ll do it this way forever now. I cooked the potatoes whole, adding a few inches of boiling water to the pot, essentially steaming them.
Compared to using peeled, cubed potatoes, they took longer to cook this way, but oh. My. They were so good! No flavor lost to a bunch of liquid that usually gets thrown away. Just lots of potato flavor. With some added heavy cream, butter, and seasoning, how could they not be good?!
Serves 12 or so
4 lb. Russet potatoes
1 TBS. fine-chopped rosemary
2 TBS. fresh chopped parsley
1 TBS. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
2 sticks butter
2 c. cream
Hours ahead, or day before, let rosemary and parsley steep in the oil with the salt and pepper. This mellows the flavor of the rosemary a bit. Use: > 1 TBS. fine-chopped rosemary > 2 TBS. fresh chopped parsley > 1 TBS. extra virgin olive oil > 2 tsp. salt > Pepper to taste
Steam whole, unpeeled potatoes in a covered pot or pressure cooker, using 2-3 inches boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender. Check that the water doesn’t evaporate, if using a pot instead of a pressure cooker. Use: > 4 lb. potatoes
Spread potatoes out on cookie sheet, peeling off skins when cool enough to touch.
Return the skinned potatoes to the pot and mash well. Add: > 2 sticks butter > 2 c. cream > the steeped rosemary/salt/pepper/oil mix
Add boiling water if necessary, to get potatoes to right consistency. Heat in oven if necessary, before serving.
Mashed Potatoes for 210
OK, so you probably won’t need these quantities! But this is what we used for all those ladies… About 200 servings
72 lb. potatoes
8 lb. butter
16 lb. cream
½ c. + 2 TBS. Salt
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
Steam whole, unpeeled potatoes in large pressure cooker, using 4 inches or so boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender. Peels slip off easily.
This is a simple-enough dish, perfect for those cooler evenings we’ve been having. I was able to multiply this by a lot, to serve fifty or so, for a small wedding the deli catered at one point. Because- it is simple enough, but is also colorful (appetizing) and delicious (so folks eat it up!).
My mom made this a bit when we were kids. I think she might’ve like the fancy name, which put a smile on dad’s face when he asked, “What’s for dinner?” Or maybe she liked that she’d have to open a bottle of wine and have a sip herself. (Not that she was a whino! But a glass of wine’s good for you, right?!)
Mom typically dredged the chicken in flour before cooking, but the method below makes this dish gluten-free (if you skip the optional pasta). But still delicious!
“Cacciatore” literally means “Hunter”. And while there have been a few hunters in the family, most of my hunting will be in the grocery aisle!
When using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a brine makes it extra tasty, although the traditional method of using the whole chicken (bones and all) will yield a most flavorful dish. What a comfort food! Serves 6-8.
2 lb. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, or one 4-5 lb. whole fryer, cut up
1 TBS. sugar
1 TBS. salt
1 TBS. Italian Herbs
Olive oil (for grilling veggies)
8-12 oz. pasta
1 green pepper
8 oz. mushrooms
28 oz. can tomato pieces (large chunks, drained)
1 c. chicken stock (include cooking juices from cooking the chicken, also)
1 c. red wine
1 small jar (2-3 oz. or so) capers
1/2 TBS. minced, fresh garlic
A day ahead, prepare brine for the chicken by bringing to a boil: > 2 c. water
Turn off heat, add: > 1 TBS. Italian Herbs > 1 TBS. salt > 1 TBS. sugar
Add to mix, refrigerating until completely cooled: > 2 c. cold water
When brine has cooled, add: > 2 lb. boneless chicken thighs, or one cut-up fryer
Refrigerate chicken in the brine overnight.
To prepare dish, pour off brine and bake chicken in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, until done.
Meanwhile, boil until liquid is reduced by about half: > 1 c. chicken stock > 1 c. red wine
Also, prepare the vegetables. In iron skillet, cook until tender: > 2 carrots, peeled, sliced into rounds > 1 onion, diced coarse > a splash of olive oil
For tastiest, sweetest veggies, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan while they cook, which will eventually evaporate, but which will help them to cook in the meantime.
When water’s evaporated and carrot/onions are tender, add to the pan and grill: > 1 green pepper, diced coarse
Add the peppers/carrot/onion to a stewing pot; also add: > 28 oz. canned tomato chunks, drained > any chicken broth accumulated from cooking the chicken > reduced broth > 1/2 TBS. minced, fresh garlic
In the skillet, grill the mushrooms (being careful not to crowd them, as then they steam and don’t brown properly). Grill in batches if necessary: > 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Bring the vegetables up to a boil, simmering until of a sauce-like consistency. Finally, add: > small jar of capers, drained > fresh herbs, if desired (thyme, rosemary, parsley, and oregano are all good choices) > the chicken pieces
Add salt if necessary. Serve over pasta if desired.
You might’ve tasted this cake before- I think the recipes’s been around. Soft, sweet apples inside, but a crunchy crust on top. It’s mostly apples, so I figure it’s practically a health food, right? Sure, ha…
This is an easy recipe that’s so darn good! Give some to friends and family. Or, well, to me—I love it!
Makes one 9″ square cake; serves 4-6
1/4 c. olive oil
1 1/2- 2 c. peeled apple slices
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
Measure into mixing bowl: > 1 egg > 1/4 c. olive oil > 1 1/2 c. apple > 1 c. sugar > 1 c. flour > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. cinnamon > 1 tsp. baking soda
Mix all ingredients until blended. This will be thick, almost a paste. Spread into an oiled 9″ square pan, bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Tom and I have a quick liquid breakfast that usually includes a cup of this, blended with boiling water, hot chocolate style. I like to add a scoop of favorite supplements (like this collagen/turmeric blend). Oh, and a raw egg, which gets the drink slightly thick and frothy. Yum!
You can use your fat of choice, but I use mostly pastured butter in mine, since we also take a shot of every morning, and the butter works synergistically with it for better nutrition.
Perfect for a snack too–this is pretty much a guilt-free health food in my book. It’s like a cheaper version of those pricey, fancy artisan chocolate bars! I add a chunk of this to hot water in the blender, to make a delicious, bittersweet hot cocoa. (Add honey if necessary.)
Makes a bit over a 1-pound loaf
3/4 c. dates, pitted, chopped coarse
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. boiling water
1 2/3 c. raw
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Soak dried fruits in boiling water overnight, or for several hours. Use: > 3/4 c. dates > 1/2 c. raisins > 1/2 c. boiling water
In iron pan (or on foil), toast cacao nibs in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until somewhat darkened and fragrant. Stir some, then turn oven off and let finish toasting for 10 more minutes more. Use: > 1 2/3 c. raw cacao nibs
Process cacao nibs in a Vitamix dry-blender (or similar appliance). Process at highest speed for 1 1/2 minutes, then add and blend until smooth: > 1/2 c. butter > 1/4 c. coconut oil > 1 tsp. vanilla
Add the soaked dried fruits to the blender, processing until mixed. (Some chunks may remain.)
Spread in parchment-lined loaf pan, then refrigerate overnight.
Turn the solid fudge mixture out onto cutting board (run upside-down pan under hot water if necessary). Cut into slices; will last in refrigerator for a month or two.
We were a bit torn about closing Saturdays, but we had done it before. Not at first, when we worked every possible hour to stay afloat. Son Miles was two years old at the time, and his naps were often taken in the back room. He didn’t want to take a nap, but might fall asleep in a box, while fighting the urge.
Fast-forward a few years. The kids were in various school activities on weekends, and the business had become established, so we closed weekends to give us more time with family. As our two sons got older, they began helping at the deli when they could; literally a family business.
By the time the kids were out on their own, plaza rent increased significantly under new ownership. Between that, the dot-com bust and the real estate crisis, Tom and I decided reopening Saturdays may prove helpful.
Thirty-two years in this business, we’re opting to close weekends once more. The biggest loss is of seeing those loyal Saturday fans we’ve known through the years. We’ll miss you too! But we relish the chance to be more involved in other events with family (which has grown) and friends. We still have a great staff (many of whom are pictured here), and hope we can still continue to serve you!
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!
I 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.
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.