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arugula, pear, hazelnut and blue cheese salad

One day it's Christmas 🎄 cookies for lunch and the next day it's a fruity nutty salad, must be January.  My house, after Christmas, feels decluttered and cleaner but colder without my holiday decorations.  I know that's what the fireplace is for but you have to admit that a roaring fire in a living room filled with Christmas decorations makes everything feel cozier.  January is a month to catch up with good friends, organize, diet and eat salads, the tastier the better.  A tasty salad 🥗  for lunch helps to take the sting away from an empty cookie jar. Our dear friends from Portland sent us a box of delicious pears 🍐  I peeled a few, didn't really need to do that, and then sliced them for my salad.  The slices of pears are hidden under the greens that I piled up on top.  A sprinkle of hazelnuts, blue cheese and dried cranberries over the mounded pears and greens are just waiting to be mixed together in each bite. I drizzled a very good extra virgin olive oil and balsa
Recent posts

alfajores de tarragon and chives

 well here we are again Christmas 🎄 and covid. This time with a side of alfajores on a fish plate.  Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or cookies?  As long as the flour, butter, eggs, vanilla and sugar keep flowing- I will be baking Christmas cookies, might even slide over the December 25 cutoff and into January this year. We moved in October.  After a week long getaway to Bandon Dunes, Oregon.  We came back to a new one level, slightly smaller inside and outside new to us home in our same town of Novato.  I think we have electricity gremlins though.  I'm ready to invite my electrician to Christmas dinner since he's here every week.  The latest problem a doorbell chime that almost melted down after continuous buzzing for a day, he's looking for a short in our wiring-don't like the sound of that.  He found it and fixed it, hoorah. We have a ton of unpacked boxes in our new big white garage.  My husband Scott ordered a backyard studio shed for his home office and on

heirloom tomato risotto

Summer = Heirloom tomato + Sweet basil +White wine.  This tasty equation adds up for me.  Heirloom tomato risotto is always better made with and accompanied by Chardonnay.  We love tomatoes 🍅  I try to keep a large footed serving plate piled high with heirlooms in my kitchen at all times.  My goal is to create a steady stream of sliced or diced summer tomatoes coming out of the kitchen with no end in sight.  So, when I found a recipe for risotto using a generous amount of cut up tomatoes as well as sliced tomatoes, I added + ...make a tomato risotto to my above equation.  I made a few changes to a NYT recipe so here is my adapted recipe. Ingredients and Recipe for Heirloom Tomato Risotto   Makes 4 servings Extra virgin olive oil 1 large yellow onion, diced Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1&1/2 cups arborio rice Pinch of red pepper flakes 2 garlic cloves 1/2 cup white wine 2 cups cored and then diced heirloom tomatoes 4 cups vegetable broth  For Serving Parmesan

new to me shrimp cakes with dill and scallions

  I just now finished reading about a little girl who decided to wear a mask to school in Tennessee and her teacher who told her to remove it because she was having trouble hearing her speak.  Talk about lack of freedom.  Yes, the freedom to protect yourself in public from a deadly disease by opting to wear a mask. How long will the children be able to stay in school?  How soon will the Covid start circulating?  We are all ready to move on but Covid isn't finished with us.   So now I'm thinking shrimp cakes and where have you been all my life?  I've enjoyed crab cakes over the years; one of my favorite meals- served with veggies and a salad.  Now I have discovered shrimp 🍤 cakes and I'm loving this new to me recipe, a perfect substitute for out of season crab 🦀  Ingredients and Recipe for New to Me Shrimp Cakes with Dill and Scallions Makes 6 shrimp cakes 3/4 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/2 cup panko  1/3 cup diced red bell pepper 1/4 cup finely minced fres

potato salad with homemade tartar sauce, mustard and fresh dill

  further explorations into the zen of making potato salad  I never know where my love of mustard and dill will take me but playing together in a potato salad is a nice selection on the road of top ten hits headed to mealtime.  It's summertime and that's a time for potato salads and homemade pickles but showing up together in a salad -now we are talking about good stuff.  Dijon mustard and fresh dill in a creamy tartar sauce combined with warm lemony virgin olive oil coated  red potatoes cut with the likes of fragrant pickle brine, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar -waking up all those acidic taste zones.  I'm happy with my potato salad concoction and will serve it with just about anything we grill these days, like tonight's butcher made chicken and beef kabobs- yes bring on a bowl of potato salad straight from the fridge-all the work is done ahead in the morning while the house is still cool.  I may have to slice up a cold watermelon, throw together a grilled corn ar

braised romano beans with heirloom tomatoes and purple leaf sweet basil

  Romano beans braised in heirloom tomato sauce, shallots and garlic make an easy summer side dish -excellent served with grilled fish and potato purée.  I know because that's what we had for dinner last Saturday night.  I happily used purple basil from my own herb pots that are now watered with leftover shower water.  We have many more months of drought ahead of us in California and apparently mask wearing when in public, no not in the car. I appreciate our farmers markets more than ever, thank you farmers for romano beans and heirloom tomatoes and also myself for the fresh purple basil. Such a treat to find fresh romano green beans at the farmers market; they hold up to a fairly long, about 20 minute braise and become tender in the tomato broth from the heirloom tomatoes.  🍅 This is one of those simple good veg recipes. Ingredients and Recipe for Romano Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes and Purple Leaf Sweet Basil Serves 2-4 1 pound fresh romano beans, washed and trimmed 2 tablespoon

no-bake blueberry cheesecake bars~a perfect summer dessert

  It's not a secret that blueberries and cheesecake in any form, even no-bake, go wonderfully together for a summer dessert. I'm going to make this dessert again tomorrow using blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries on top, just to change things up for the holiday weekend.  My refrigerator is packed with food and just now we decided to drive out to the coast, Point Reyes area, for lunch.  Of course my husband wants seafood when I have beef and chicken in our fridge, such is life in our Bay Area suburban bubble. Just a quick note on this recipe from the NYT, I love using Bellwether Farms Basket Ricotta made in Petaluma, maybe we will wave to them on our drive out to the coast.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of ricotta so you have some leftover to use in pasta or wherever your creative mind takes you, it's wonderful delicious stuff. ps, I like sweet desserts so when a recipe calls for the possibility to increase sugar -nine times out of ten I increase that sugar to mak