Monday, January 18, 2010


These have NO added sugar! (though I am sure the dates are quite high in natural sugars.)

8 oz dates (I used Medjool dates)
Zest and juice of 2 lemons (approx. 4 T juice, 2 T zest)
egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 T water)

Remove the pits from the dates and any hard stem parts or stringy inside parts.
In a saucepan, cook the lemon juice with the dates for about 3 - 5 minutes, over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.

Make a recipe for two-crust pie pastry. (see below) Divide dough in two pieces.
Roll each between wax paper.
Cut into 2" circles or squares.
Place 1 tsp of date mixture on half of the squares.
Paint a little egg wash around the edges, place a top piece of pastry on and seal the edges with a fork. Make a little steam hole in the top of each cookie with a toothpick.
Bake on parchment-lined sheet at 350° for 12 - 15 minutes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Velma Cake

This is adapted from a recipe in a Penzey's catalog called "Aunt Velma's Chocolate Cake". I halved the recipe and baked it in a non-stick loaf pan. And added beets.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can baby beets, drained (I used pickled beets, which made the cake tart and great!)
juice and zest of 1 orange (I added a little Boyajian Orange Oil)
1 tsp ground cardamom

Puree the beets in a blender or food processor. Scrape the puree into a glass measuring cup and add enough orange juice to make 1 cup. Heat in microwave for 1 -3 minutes until it starts to bubble. Set aside.

Grease the baking pan with non-stick spray or butter. Dust with 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, then add the vanilla and eggs.
Put the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a sieve or sifter and sift it into the bowl of the butter mixture. Stir until just blended.

Using rubber spatula, spread mixture into the prepared pan, being sure to even out the batter and get it into the corners.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes (if using a Bundt pan or a loaf pan, your cooking time may vary).

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Butter Cream Frosting
1 lb powder sugar, sifted
1/3 - 1/2 cup softened butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 - 5 T milk
Beat together the powder sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add milk 1 T at a time until frosting is of spreading consistency.

Green Onion Coconut Lemon Frittata

1 bunch green onions
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup large flake coconut
1 tsp lemon zest
olive oil

Slice the green onions with scissors, on an angle. Put the white part in one bowl and the green parts in another.

Heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet. Saute the white part of the green onions until softened. Add the coconut and lemon zest and cook briefly until the coconut starts to give off its scent. Then add the remaining green onion slices and cook a few more minutes.

Make sure everything is spread out evenly in the pan, and pour in the eggs (Pour into a spoon so as not to dislodge the onion mixture. Cook over low heat until bottom is set enough to run a spatula under. Then put pan in a 350° oven until the fritata is set.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orange Beef Stew

3 lb beef chuck roast
2 medium onions, diced
2 cups cubed winter squash (I used Hubbard)
2 cups orange juice
2 cups broth (I used Better Than Bouillion paste, chicken flavor, mixed with wtaer)
2 T olive oil
2 T canola oil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1" piece fresh ginger, minced
2 tbs sundried tomatoes (I used the jarred ones from TJs)
one red bell pepper, diced
2 T. TJ's eggplant red pepper spread
1 T. light molasses
zest of one orange
salt & pepper
1 orange, sliced

Cut the meat into 1/2 - 1" cubes. Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl, then place the beef cubes in a plastic bag and add the the spice mixture and toss until the beef cubes are coated. Place the bag in fridge overnight.

In a heavy Dutch oven, brown the beef cubes in the olive oil and canola oil. Don't crowd the pan - do it in batches. Add more oil as needed. Remove the beef cubes to a plate. Then cook the onions in the drippings until soft and browned, then remove to a plate. Brown the squash cubes in the same pan. Add the ginger, thyme, and red bell pepper, and the sundried tomatoes, then add back the beef and onions. Add the orange juice and broth, and the red pepper spread. Bring up to a boil, then turn heat to low and cover and simmer for about 3 hours. Check for seasoning, and add salt, pepper, and red bell pepper flakes to taste. Stir in the molasses and the orange zest. Garnish with a sliced orange.