restaurant: Emily’s Lebanese Deli

Last week the taster went on a quest for any restaurants in our area that had been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Subsequently, we have a list of about 15 restaurants that are “must-visits.” Which really is fine with me, because they are generally all places that should be visited – local icons and n0-fuss food. One down, 14 to go.

Emily’s Deli has the charm of a family restaurant and it was evident that much of the cliental were regulars – 4 year olds greeting that waitstaff; couples who don’t need menus. In the 15 minutes we were there (6:00 pm on Friday) the restaurant went from two tables taken and us wondering if this place was any good to a packed restaurant. Let me mention that they serve no alcohol – I always think this says a lot about a restaurant – you know it has to be good for people to go and not drink on a Friday night. ;)

During the wait for the food I inquisitively asked a number of questions to the girl behind the counter – finding out that Emily had passed away a few years back, but her daughter was in the back cooking and she was Emily’s granddaughter, which I should have known, they looked almost identical. Also during the wait I kept seeing salads go out to the tables with what looked like a creamy, gloppy mess of dressing on each one. To be honest it didn’t even look appetizing, but they sold it by the quart so I started wondering if there was something more to this dressing. A few questions later, I had about 3 tablespoons of it to “try” and the list of ingredients. Much to my surprise, and as Emily’s granddaughter told us, everyone’s surprise, there was no dairy in this dressing. Straight garlic, mint, lemon and salt whipped together in a high-speed blender to make a creamy, flavorful dressing with the familiar bite of garlic. I’ll be trying this out in the magic bullet, we will see if it can live up to its infomercial claims.

Spinach Pie: this was ok, I tend to like my spinach with a savory side and this had more of a nutmeg flavor

Lamb Kebab: lamb, zucchini and onion – so flavorful, would get this everytime

Vegetable Kebab: zucchini, onion and tomato – in a quest for some veggies, delicious with the garlic dressing

Garlic Dressing, Tabouli, Baba Ganoush

home-made pizza

I have two very different memories of pizza as a child. One being in New York City and having the traditional, thin-as-cracker crust pizza to only have it ruined with green olives. As much as my brother and I tried to pick off every last olive, the flavor remained. That wretched olive flavor. If my tastebuds could have only matured enough to enjoy that pizza, I’m sure it was epic.

The other memory is of frozen Jack’s pizza, cooked on many Saturday nights when my parents would go out for the evening. With the exception of a few nibbles from my mother before they left, brother and I would finish off the entire pizza before going to watch TV we weren’t allowed to watch when my parents were home.

Today, I have my pizza favorites; Punch, Black Sheep, and who am I kidding, I still love frozen pizza. But it is safe to say that as with most foods, home-made reigns supreme. They also say that about Iron Chefs.

The subtly sweet whole-wheat crust (from Clean Eating Magazine) makes for a wholesome base to veggies and of course, some cheese.

Home-made Pizza

  • 1 recipe whole wheat crust (from Clean Eating)
  • 1 can muir glen pizza sauce
  • 4 oz local forest mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • olives for me, sausage for taster

Follow directions for crust. Top with sauce, veggies, cheese and toppings of choice. Bake for about 15-20 minutes and try not to eat the whole thing.

in my cupboard: kashi heart to heart

I don’t eat cereal for breakfast. Ever. It just doesn’t work for me – it leaves me hungry about 10 minutes after eating it and I cannot be hungry before my morning commute has even started! Now this is not to say that I don’t enjoy cereal – I actually love it and lately I’ve been buying Kashi’s Heart to Heart cereal. I just don’t have it for breakfast.

I prefer my cereal at night as a snack/dessert and some hearts with almond milk are my current obsession. It isn’t overly sweet, but sweet enough to feel like dessert! Since I do treat it as a dessert I don’t mind the sugar content, but it is a pet-peeve of mine that so many cereals (even natural and organic ones) have so much sugar in them! Is it really necessary?

Question: Are you able to eat cereal in the morning without being hungry right after you eat?

white bean & rainbow chard soup

Thankfully for the bulk section at my co-op, my love-affair with white beans is not yet over. And having not made nearly enough soups this Winter, the ever-classic combo of white beans and greens needed to make an appearance. And appearance it made. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon; making soup and baking bread, complete with the company of my favorite.

White Bean & Rainbow Chard Soup

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Heat olive oil in large pan. When hot add onions, shallot and garlic. Add white beans, vegetable broth and 2 cups water to pan, let simmer for about an hour, adding more liquid if needed. Stir in chard and let wilt for about 10 minutes before serving.

What is your go-to Winter soup?