Friday, October 31, 2008


When I moved to the Bay area, one of the big differences I noted is the emphasis on Hallowe'en. Here, whole giant stores open up in October and everyone really gets into the Hallowe'en spirit (pardon the pun) in a way I had not seen before.

From the first Hallowe'en in our house, we began 12 years (so far) of delightful Hallowe'ens, first with the little kids on our stree
t and, now that they are pretty much grown up, with children from the greater community. The costumes for the most part are not hand made, as they were when I was a kid, but they are charming.

Each year, we are visited by fairy princesses (pronounced "faiwy pw
incess" by the wearers), FBI G-men, goblins and ghouls, bumblebees, cows, devils, kittens, lady bugs, vampires, vamps and, memorably one year, a whole family of superheros from Dad (Superman) to Mom (Wonderwoman) to the caped and tighted kids including a baby in a stroller and even the family Labrador retriever, who had his own cape and S for Superdog on his chest.

Usually My Beloved will dress up a little, too, and why not? He's sort of a big kid, himself. We love Hallowe'en.

So, when I saw these in the store, how could I resist? Ya gotta love Peeps, even when you know they are bad for you and that they will survive Armageddon and be dug up, unchanged
eons into the future, by archeologists studying our culture.

Happy Hallowe'en!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Waldorf with a Twist

We had some nice Fuji apples in the fridge but not enough for a pie or a tart, so instead I had the idea to make apple salad. I didn't want a heavy, honest-to-the-recipe Waldorf salad but I did want some sweet and savory crunch.

I diced the apples, some celery and fennel, mixed that all together with some raisins.

All that sweetness needed something to keep it from being cloying, so I added a full lemon's worth of juice and the zest from half the lemon to a very little mayo and stirred them together. Also added a handful of walnut pieces for the nutty bitterness, two green onions, sliced, and a lot of fresh thyme from the garden to slide it over to the savory side. Toss and tumble.

All in all, we were pleased with this twist on the Waldorf.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Da Kine Hawaiian Snack

Pretty soon, My Beloved and I are headed to Hawaii to visit our ohana (family) there - we can't wait!

Apparently, the Hawaii contingent is excited, too, because last week
in the mail we got drawings from the children, welcoming notes from the parents and this package of da kine snacks from Hawaii.

I remember Li Hing Mui from my childhood in Hawaii but this is a new wrinkle on that old game. Japanese pretzel-type snacks with Chinese flavorings and a Hawaiian poi pounder on the label - nothing could say "Hawaii" to me more except maybe getting the "shaka" greeting from a friend.

Can't wait to have a malasada from one of those beach trucks, to enjoy mahimahi fresh from my brother's fishing catch, to taste pineapple still warm from the field, to eat Maui onions as a local delicacy and to drink a cup of Lion brand coffee as we walk down Kailua beach at sunrise.

Hawaii no ka oi!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Early Bird

You wouldn't know it now as the weather took a quick turn to the autumn yesterday, but here in NOCA, as my Navy brother calls it, we were having summery weather although it's nearly Hallowe'en. I'm not complaining, mind you - I was enjoying the warmth and sunshine!

On the other hand, roast chicken seems like something I'd rather not do when the afternoon temperature hovers around 85 or even 90 with scant breeze - too hot for the oven. So, I decided to plank a whole chicken early in the morning before the heat built and serve it cold for dinner.

After washing the bird, I stuffed it with a halved lemon, trussed it so it wouldn't hang out over the plank and positioned it on my widest untreated cedar shingle with the dark meat toward the thin end of the plank so it would get more heat than the white meat. I put in lots of charcoal, as the bird needs to cook for almost an hour at about 300 degrees (our Weber grill has a built-in thermometer). When the coals were well started, I dropped the plank onto the grill and closed the cover.

Look how beautifully it turned out! It was moist with perfectly done dark and white meat, a deeply smoky flavor right down to the bone and a just a sneak of lemon curling through the smoke. This early bird is a great solution to hot weather meals.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Autumn in a Cup

Even though the weather here still says summer, I've been hankering after fall foods like squash so when I saw a handy, cantaloupe-sized kabocha squash at the market last week, it all but leaped into my cart.

This morning seemed like a good day to make soup, while it was still cool, and it made the perfect lunch, sweet and savory and salty all at once, thanks to the onions, garlic, thyme, apples and pancetta I added to the roasted squash. It couldn't have been easier to make and it went down very easily, too.

This is a low-stress soup - I roasted my squash one day and, when fun intervened, wrapped the two halves in plastic and refrigerated them until I got the urge to make soup again. No need to do it all at once, if you don't want to. Also, the amounts are very approximate - don't worry if you don't have exactly the right amount of this or that.

I didn't follow any particular recipe, just did what seemed natural and it turned out great.
So, if you are wishing for fall, or just fall foods, give this one a try.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Pancetta and Thyme

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 healthy sprigs of fresh thyme
3 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced (mine was wafer-thin!)
2 tsp. olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 small kabocha squash
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut in rough chunks (I used 3 gala and 1 unknown variety from my neighbor)

Cut the kabocha in half with a large knife and roast it, cut side down, in a 350 degree oven until it pierces easily with a knife, about 40-50 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.

While the squash is roasting, coarsely chop the thin pancetta and fry it
on medium heat in the bottom of a large kettle until it is pale golden - mine was so thin, it started to smoke before it got as golden as bacon does, so watch it carefully. Remove the now-crispy pancetta with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and add the olive oil to the pan (if you think you have enough pancetta drippings, you can omit the oil).

Still over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and thyme, stirring until you smell the thyme over the other two, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, the squash flesh and the apples and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the apples squash easily with the back of a spoon. Don't add salt - the pancetta is very salty and will season the soup all you need.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. I learned the hard way not to fill the blender more than halfway and to have the lid on securely before blending - otherwise, you get hot soup sprayed all over your kitchen. I'm still finding bits here and there. *Sigh*

Pour into bowls, garnish with crispy pancetta bits and a tiny sprig of thyme.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lady Apple Magic

To me, there is something magical about being able to share ideas, chuckles, emotions and recipes halfway around the world with friends you've never met. Having been born well before the Computer Age, it still seems mildly miraculous, as long-distance phone calling or color television must have seemed to my great grandmother.

Morgan in Australia, for heaven's sake, read my post about making applesauce and suggested that my own diminutive apples might be crab apples, something she and her mother have used to make jelly when she was a girl. So, I clambered down the steep hill behind my house on the other side of the globe in California and picked all the little apples, hoping to make jelly from their recipe despite never having attempted jelly before.

The jelly making itself is somewhat magical, too. You just wash the little apples, barely cover them with water, bring them to a boil and simmer them until the apples are soft. Pour through a colander to catch the now-tired apples and into a large measuring bowl so you know how much juice you have, then through a double layer of muslin (I used culinary cheesecloth) to clarify the juice. Add a cup of sugar for each cup of apple water and stir to dissolve completely.

Raise again to the boil and keep boiling until the resulting syrup reduces dramatically and reaches the setting point, in my case about 30-45 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so. Skim off any unattractive foam, pour carefully down the sides of warm, sterilized jars to keep bubbles from forming and seal immediately. You'll know when the setting point is reached in three ways: first, the whole kitchen will suddenly smell apple-y; second, the syrup, when spooned onto a cold saucer, will gel after a few seconds of cooling; and third, what was clear liquid at the start will magically take on a pink-to-red color depending on the color of the apples you used. Mine were about half and half green and red, so I got this lovely goldy-pink color - Morgan tells me that she and her Mum's was rich ruby red, like the magical Ruby Slippers in a story about a land called Oz.

So, call me fanciful if you will but I think this whole process of reaching around the world for cherished family recipes is a mystical, magical delight.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kinda, Sorta Cassoulet

I hope my French readers (if there are any) will forgive me for this less-than-traditional bean stew that I'm daring to call cassoulet; I'm inclined to go with what I have at home rather than make another market run for ingredients.

I did a riff on this recipe. Mine does have beans and three kinds of meats, so it qualifies in a way.
I subbed Navy beans rather than Great Northern and cooked them in chicken stock rather than beef. I cut up leftover lamb roast, chicken apple sausage and the last four of the Reverend Dr. Biggles' smoked pork ribs, and even buried the bones in the casserole to lend their flavor to the dish. Peeled, chopped tomatoes went in and, as I didn't have any cloves on hand, I substituted a little allspice. Other than that, I followed the recipe. I know, I know, not very faithful to the original but, man, was it ever good!

The lamb added richness to the sausage and the pork and bones gave it all just a hint of the smoke Biggles so lovingly added. Even the beans were tasty, not just there to add bulk. I served it with a crisp green salad and French bread to soak up the scary-delicious juices.

Best of all, it made enough for two or three days so I can kick back, pour myself a soda and read trashy novels for the next two days.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Applesauce, Take Two

Just as I was making applesauce from my generous neighbors' tree, My Beloved's niece Molly wrote a Bon Appetit article about a dessert that has always been my favorite, apple turnovers, and she mentioned that she likes her filling "soft and homey, on the applesauce end of the texture spectrum. I like a filling that, when you take a bite, tries to sneak out and slide down your chin."


I simply had to try making apple turnovers with my applesauce - it's chunky anyway. I had played around with Dufour puff pastry once before with good results and happened to have it in the freezer so I decided to risk the turnovers.

They were amazingly easy to make, especially so since I already had the filling. I had not added quite enough apple cider for liquid when I made my first batch of applesauce, but it was perfect for the turnovers as it didn't run - just sat there obediently in the middle of the pastry. If you have runaway applesauce, you can follow Molly's directions (did I mention that she's our family celebrity and we are ever so proud of her? We drop her name at any and all foodie gatherings) and enjoy your apples in a second, more sumptuous, way.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Four Beans a Day

After grousing all summer about the low productivity of my admittedly small and relatively untended veggie garden, I'm beginning to see that it's actually a sort of tortoise-and-hare story out there. Slow and steady wins the race.

In this case, the race is to our plates.

We get about four green beans a day from the plants I put in early this summer, one or two beans per bush. By the end of the week, we have accumulated enough beans of various sizes to make a reasonable serving for the two of us. This has been going on for months and months and, given that the plants are shaded by taller things, rarely fertilized and hardly watered, I think that's pretty darn good.

The leaves are beginning to take on a tired air now, yellowing and curling like arthritic hands - I don't expect we'll have very many more days of bean production. But, that's what I said two months ago and we are still in greenie beanie heaven once or twice a week. What more could we ask?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yes, I can can!

I feel a bit like the Little Engine That Could. All day as I peeled the apples and prepared them for saucing, my mantra was, "I think I can, I think I can."

Here is my first attempt, the result of peeling a boatload of apples, cooking them down and ladling them into jars. It turns out that my home canning skills have not deserted me even though I haven't used them in donkey's years. All six jars sealed on the first try - hooray!

The Joy of Cooking recipe adds nothing to the apples but sugar, some lemon juice and water, plus spices if you like cinnamon in your sauce. Instead, I use unfiltered apple cider as the liquid in which I cook the apples - it enhances the apple flavor and adds just enough sweetness that sugar is not necessary. My neighbor's apples are a rather tart, astringent variety so they could have used a bit of sugar, but we will enjoy these slightly tart jars nevertheless, and I have about as many more apples to process so I can sweeten the next batch a bit more.

Have to be careful not to get cocky with the next batch. I think I could.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Can I?

I used to "can" when I lived in western New York - almost everyone did. My horse friend Julie made the most heavenly peach jam and put it up in decorative jars. Fellow student Joan put up a wonderful purple jelly made from the scented violets that grew in her flower beds. Future intellectual property attorney Marianne made the best strawberry jam.

In summer, I'd make quarts and quarts of tomato juice for First Husband, who loved fresh juice, and bottle it for use all winter. In autumn, I'd make applesauce and put it up in jars to give as Thanksgiving gifts to friends and for us to enjoy with pork roasts or on waffles. Western New York is a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables in the summer and early fall.

When I moved to California, however, my full-time job put a cramp in my canning style. Something about a nine-hour day with an hour commute on either end damped down my enthusiasm for kitchen projects back then.

Now that I'm retired, I want to try applesauce again. I bought the jars, scrounged the apples from my neighbor's tree, and sharpened my paring knife. I re-read the home canning directions on the box of jars and the recipe for applesauce in the Joy of Cooking. I've got two big pots, plenty of kitchen towels, paper towels and a great big ladle. I think I'm ready, but it has been a long time since I did this.

Can I?


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Daily Chuckle

I got this image off one of my favorite blogs, an often-hilarious compilation of stories from the legal world in which I used to toil called "Lowering the Bar."

Kevin Underhill finds the weirdest, funniest, far-out stories in the legal news and posts them with his own trenchant comments. I can't tell which is funnier, the stories he collects or his own comments.

Visit "Lowering the Bar" for an explanation of this picture, as well as a fair and even-handed photo of Senator Obama looking equally silly.


Saturday, October 18, 2008


Couldn't resist.

The beans are today's harvest from my garden, and the big orange nose, too. I cheated a little and added eyes of organic cherry tomatoes from the grocery store. They are all going to be my lunch, I think.

Am I a cannnibal if I eat a person made from veggies?


Friday, October 17, 2008

Recycling in Seattle

One of the most interesting facets of the wedding weekend in Seattle was noting how our hostess handles recycling. Almost nothing ends up in the trash compacter or the garbage disposer - most of their waste goes to the garden or to the crows.

Cricket is an avid gardener - her roses, mixed English-style borders and glorious dahlias are all testament to her passion for her garden. Little by little, she is uprooting her grass and adding new beds of flowers and veggies - there is hardly any lawn left. Loving the garden as she does, you know she has an active composting system. All green leftovers and egg shells end up in the compost pile, which she turns vigorously on a regular basis.

Meat scraps and miscellaneous other stuff, however, find their way into a more unique form of recycling. Having raised a baby crow and released it to the wild, Cricket started feeding the young bird out the back door until it was well established. It began bringing its friends and pretty soon Cricket earned a reputation as the "Crow Lady" in the neighborhood. The crows recognize her now and as many as eight or ten at a time will come to the garden when she is there - they even tag along as she walks her dog. You'd be amazed at the variety of foods they will happily consume. Needless to say, they are shiny, healthy, plump crows.

The wedding dinner was held at Daniel's Broiler, locally famous for its filet mignon; most of us at the table chose that option. It was too much to finish so I took some home and, the next day, discovered that the chef included his card, something I've never seen before, in the doggie box. I managed to recycle all of these particular leftovers myself - neither the compost heap nor the crows got any, and only the cardboard box and the foil went into the trash compacter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Seattle Sprouts

I just returned from a marvelous wedding weekend in Seattle with old and dear friends, plus a few new ones I made while I was there. Catching up, retelling old stories and helping with the wedding preparations made me feel like part of the family. Meeting the delightful groom and his Mum (she flew in from their home in New Zealand) added to my roster of delightful new friends. Seattle put on her finest clothes for us - despite her reputation for rain, we had four out of five sunny days and the only rain fell after sunset, which doesn't really count. The fall colors of red, orange and yellow were just starting to tint the trees and the air was crisp. Personally, I suspect that rep is a myth invented by the locals to keep us Californians from moving up there.

In any case, the bride was lovely, the groom was handsome, the wedding dinner was delicious, the cake was sumptuous and everyone had a fine time. After the wedding was over and the newlyweds were off taking some time for themselves, our hostess cooked us a lovely meal, most notably this recipe for Brussels sprouts. She can't remember where she found it but she has doctored it up, anyway, so it is her own now. If you have reluctant Brussels sprouts eaters at your house, take note - this may just be the recipe that finally wins them over.

Slice one pound of fresh Brussels sprouts thinly
(no need to peel them laboriously first; just remove any brown ends of the stems before slicing). Crisp about half a pound of bacon lardons and drain them on paper towels. Slice a smallish white onion and halve the slices. Have olive oil, 1/4 cup of chicken stock and about 1/4 cup of real maple syrup ready to hand; this is a stir-fry recipe so it goes fast once you start.

Pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom and sides of a wok or other wide pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onions and stir-fry for a very few minutes. Add the sliced sprouts and continue stirring and frying until the sprouts turn bright green, add the chicken broth and maple syrup, constantly stirring until the sprouts are crisp-tender but still brightly green, perhaps 2-4 minutes. When the sprouts are nearly finished, add the bacon bits and stir them in. Serve immediately.

The onions add a depth of flavor, the syrup a little sweetness and the bacon a salty smokiness to the sprouts, whose nuttiness is retained as they are not cooked long enough to develop their cabbage-y side. Our hostess claims this dish is great eaten cold the next day, too, but
we ate every scrap of this huge wok full of sprouts so there were none left to sample the following day. Make more than you think you can eat if you want leftovers.

Enjoy with memories of a terrific wedding weekend!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Peaches for Apples

I'm sure you've heard the old adage, "What goes around, comes around." A simple statement of profound truth.

Weeks ago, during the rich rush of peach season, when we were threatened with overwhelm by an avalanche of ripe peaches, I picked a whole big bag of them and walked along our little street, knocking on doors and giving away peaches. If the neighbors were home, they got to choose their peaches. If they weren't home, they came back to a bag of peaches hanging on their doorknob. There's more than one way to redistribute a glut of peaches.

This week, I got the urge to make applesauce. I enjoy making applesauce - it's undemanding, always tasty and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see my jars of golden sauce waiting for the fall and winter's pork roasts or waffles or whatever. I do have an apple tree, too, but it produces what I'd kindly call "lady apples," tiny apples perfect for a Leprechaun's lunch but not much good for making a batch of applesauce.

My neighbor at the end of the street has a real apple tree, one that produces nice red apples big enough to fill your palm, and then some. I noted on my morning rambles that some of their apples lay on their pretty patch of grass for days and days; they are a small family. They remembered my peaches and were happy to offer apples in return. So, I get apples because I gave peaches and they will get applesauce because they gave apples and we all get happy neighborly feelings. Another old adage, "It's a win-win situation."

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A la Recherche du Yaourt Perdu

For my sophomore year in high school, I was dropped into a French boarding school while the rest of the family led a peripatetic life following the fleet around the Mediterranean. I felt pretty hard done by at first, but as I made friends, learned some shaky schoolgirl French and got a taste of the food (even in a boarding school, it seems the French are incapable of cooking lousy food), I settled in and started to have fun.

One of the pleasures that I learned there and that stays with me today is so simple, it hardly seems worth posting about - plain yogurt with granulated sugar.

In France, the yogurt came in charming little clear glass jars, like miniature milk bottles for those of you who remember recyclable glass bottles delivered to the back door by our childhood folk hero, the Milkman. The French students taught me to lift the little cardboard stopper and fill the small space between the top of the yogurt and the top of the jar with granulated sugar and to mix it carefully in. Regular granulated sugar is best for this, not the superfine kind.

The result is sweet and tart, smooth and crunchy all at the same time, a dairy treat that sends me back with a single taste, like M. Proust, to my youth. All at once, I am 15 again, plotting how to sneak cigarettes without being caught by the redoubtable headmistress, Mme. Blay.


Monday, October 13, 2008


Did you know?

I didn't.

Just found them in a store this past weekend.

Scary. Very Scary.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cutesy Caprese

It's Sunset magazine's idea, again, and a good one because even after the big tomatoes are finished for the season, often one still has producing cherry tomato plants.

You can toss them in a bowl with the small fresh mozzarella ciliegini and basil leaves, or you can thread them like this onto skewers and splash them with vinaigrette.

I fell for the presentation but the taste whisked me back into summer, a bonus!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spudless Hash

Leftover lunch. The RoastHaus' leftover corned beef diced, sauteed with a little chopped onion and scrambled with a couple of eggs and a sprinkling of dill weed. Nothin' fancy, and sometimes that's the best.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Holy Smoke!

I'm not a religious person, but I've just had a religious experience.

Ribs from the Reverend Dr. Biggles.

When his crazy neighbors rejected his offer of leftover ribs, this dear man called me so I raced over to his house to pick them up right now! My mother didn't raise any fools.

Open the foil covering - the first sniff wafts up like the song of angels. The first bite sends your taste buds heavenward. Porky, meaty, smoky and lightly salty, these are the same ribs he brought to the Food Bloggers' Picnic and they are divine. The man is bucking for sainthood, both as a great Dad and as a godlike chef of smoky meats.

My Beloved and I had a heavenly summer dinner in the soft evening light. We are not religious people, but we said our own version of Grace.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Major Meat

Bay area carnivores, take note.

This is the "petite" portion of corned beef served to me by the paradoxically Mexican chefs at the perfectly named RoastHaus restaurant in Terra Linda, a neighborhood in San Rafael, Marin County.

This place specializes in roasts. The day we were there, the offerings were roast beef (and, yes, you can get it rare), corned beef, real turkey (not turkey "loaf," whatever that is), pastrami and, I think, pork roast. You can have a sandwich or a platter - both are made up while you wait and you can take out or eat at this clean-but-unimaginative restaurant.

Nothing fancy but far better than the other food offered in that little strip mall. Too much to finish, but they had boxes already set out for taking home the rest - this must be a common request because you don't even have to ask for the boxes.

Many years ago, my older brother brought his four children, three of them teenagers, to visit me. In a single meal, they ate two entire legs of lamb and were looking around for more. If they come again, I'm ready - I'll just take them to the RoastHaus and stand back.


Monday, October 6, 2008


Okay, here's the recipe:

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion leftover from making stuffed tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic that have been in the crisper drawer too long, minced
4 chicken apple sausages leftover from making stuffed zucchini, pinched out of their casings to make meatballs
10 mushrooms in desperate need of eating, not yet slimy but well on the way
1 handfull of ripe olives, pitted
1 medium can tomato sauce
1 medium can chopped tomatoes
3 medium-sized zucchinis from the garden, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 generous shaking of dried basil, oregano and thyme
1 blop of leftover tabouli with lots of parsley (or just fresh chopped parsley)
2 cups of leftover red wine that wasn't maybe your favorite but is still great for cooking - not rotgut!
2 portions of linguine noodles, cooked to package directions
1 generous grating of Parmesan cheese

I'll bet you already know what to do but, just in case:

Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a large pot until nicely goldy-soft. Add the sausage in small dabs and cook with the rest until it's nicely browned. Add the rest (except noodles and Parmesan) and simmer together, covered, until it becomes richly brownish-red and scents the whole house with a come-hither invitation (in our house, that takes about 2 hours). Boil the pasta in salted water, drain. Ladle a little sauce in the bottom of your pasta bowl, add some pasta, top with more sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Dig in.

Makes enough for 6 or 8 portions, depending on appetite which equals 2 or 3 days around here. Uses up 2/3 of the stuff in the fridge that might otherwise have gone to waste.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Blessings of Orangette

There are reasons why I read Orangette regularly and await each week's new post with anticipation. That girl can write!

She makes even simple dishes sound like a piece of heaven and often gives the reader insight into her life while writing about what she's cooking this week. She gives me inspiration to try dishes I might never otherwise attempt. I find that if Molly says they are good, they are really, really good!

An example is these roasted tomatoes stuffed with rice, about which she blogged last week. I've tried stuffed peppers, zucchinis and mushrooms but I had never tried stuffing tomatoes, except fresh ones filled with shrimp salad or the like. The dish was so simple that I actually had all the ingredients (except the fresh basil, which I borrowed from a neighbor) on hand so I followed Molly's stern orders and tried them out.

These are killer tomatoes. Absolutely rich tasting, despite the simple ingredients. The tomato shells relax and turn a little sloppy in the oven but they retain their beautiful colors. I used three different kinds of heirloom tomatoes and all were lovely, just perfect beside whatever else you're serving, or terrific on their own. Molly's recipe, which she borrowed from the Wednesday Chef (I love that about the interweb - trading recipes with friends you've never met) asks for fine bread crumbs but I went for coarse ones just to be contrary, and either would be fine.

The last few blessings of really ripe tomatoes are upon us - make the most of yours by preparing them this way!

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Twee Tweezers

The last time I visited Kamei, the Asian restaurant supply store we all love, I found, on their copious wall of every conceivable gadget, a packet containing two of these nifty little tweezers, each about four inches long. I'm using them to pull the bones out of salmon before cooking. They are precise and easier to use than the needle nose pliers I kept fishing out of my toolbox previously.

Simplicity itself, inexpensive, and perfect for the task. I love gadgets like that. And they don't even take up much room in my gadget drawer.

Kamei, you're the best!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blogger Feast

When the bloggers' picnic was over and the last guest had gone, My Beloved and I put our feet up and just recalled all the fun and enjoyed a well-earned rest. The cooking had all been done by the bloggers but the housework that preceded the party was monumental - things kinda got away from me since retirement!

Anyway, much later, we started to feel peckish so I went back to the kitchen to prepare plates of goodies left over from the picnic. Look what a feast we had after the feast!

Tabouli from a Lebanese family recipe of NamasteNancy's, redolent with parsley and wrapped in a grape leaf. Fresh tomato salad from Greg and April's garden and foccacia from the secret San Francisco bakery they have found. Country pate' with crankers thanks to Cookiecrumb and Cranky. A slice of our own Tarte Flambee. Fresh fruit salad with sweetened yogurt from Moonbear. You can sell my clothes; I died and went to heaven.

Dr. Biggles' killer salt ribs were all gone, sadly, and ditto with Kudzu's chocolate chip cookies - I coulda enjoyed one or two dozen more of each of those! And, maybe a spoonful of Dagny's seafood salad. Luckily, we still have some gorgeous fruit to from the cornucopia of ripe fruits that Anna brought - we'll enjoy that all week!

Thanks to all who came laden with lovely dishes and a party attitude!