Latest Recipes

Walnut Loaf: Vegetarian Style

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!

Walnuts, Celery, Tomato, Egg, Cheese + Yummy Vegetarian Loaf!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.

Mashed Potatoes w/ Rosemary

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!

Grateful_Table_Mashed_Potatoes_RosemaryThis 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
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • 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.

Chicken Cacciatore- Hunter’s Stew

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!

Easy Chicken Stew, Fancy Name, Chicken Cacciatore“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 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 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
  • Optional: Pasta

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.

Apple Cake, Super-Fast, Tasty Style

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…

Easiest quick apple cakeThis 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 egg
  • 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.

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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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 “”. 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


  • 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 half avocado oil in this mayo (other PUFA/vegetable oils are more inflammatory). I tried using 100% extra virgin olive oil but whoa- the finished product was way too strong (even though I’m such a fan of EVOO).

You can call this “Aioli” if you want- that sounds so classy. Aioli is an emulsion of garlic and olive oil, sometimes containing egg yolk to help it emulsify. That is pretty much what this mayo is. (But with that bit of avo oil in there too.)

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 within the week (or two), for optimum freshness and flavor.

Makes almost a quart


  • 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 (or even a ).

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.


  • 2 TBS.
  • Optional: 1 TBS.
  • 1/4 tsp.
  • 1 tsp. licorice root
  • 3 c. boiling water (filtered)
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. each coriander, anise seed, clove
  • 1/4 c. + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 TBS. lime juice


  • 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.