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Showing posts from July, 2020

spice rubbed skirt steak with grilled corn black bean salsa

spice rubbed skirt steak with grilled corn black bean salsa We grill a few nights a week in the summer and spice rubbed skirt steak is one of our favorites.  Simple dinners rule at my house, especially when it's hot and I don't want to spend a lot of time in my kitchen. The grilled corn black bean salsa can be partially made ahead, just stir in the grilled corn right before serving.  The skirt steak can be brought out of the fridge a few hours before serving and rubbed with spices about half an hour before grilling.  I used Williams Sonoma Steakhouse Rub on the steak, it's a good slightly spicy rub.  Now I can focus on my corn black bean salsa, this is a quick and delicious dinner, highly recommend by yours truly.  recipe for spice rubbed skirt steak with grilled corn black bean salsa serves 2-3 steak 1&1/2 pounds skirt steak Purchased or homemade spicy rub Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Salsa 2 ears of corn, grilled and kernels cut from cob 1/2 cup

French strawberry cream cake

Gracie, my 10 year old granddaughter  and I have been wanting to make a strawberry cake with whipped cream for such a long time, we made it happen this week.  I found what I think is a do-able recipe for a French style cake with strawberries and a cream filling to make at home with basic baking ingredients including fresh strawberries which are still in season.  We baked a butter cake for the base, then we cleaned, trimmed and sliced the strawberries together. We used a springform pan for the cake; the cake was trimmed and put back into the pan with a parchment collar to support the berries and cream topping.  Then we whipped up a cream cheese, sugar and heavy cream mixture that we piped around and into the strawberries that we layered around the sides and into the center of the cake.  We put aside a few sliced strawberries to decorate the top before serving.  The cake has to be refrigerated over night for the cream filling to firm up so it can be sliced cleanly.  We both enjoyed our

chicken vegetable curry

chicken vegetable curry curry powder, coconut oil, yellow onion  garlic, jalapeño, ginger chicken, potatoes, green beans, carrots, red pepper, peas, coconut milk,  cilantro served with basmati rice Happiness is a warm comforting bowl of chicken vegetable curry for dinner.  I love cooking the curry powder, onions, garlic, jalapeño and ginger in melted hot organic virgin coconut oil. I've baked with coconut oil several times  but recently have starting using it more to replace cooking with butter or olive oil. I like rubbing coconut oil on my hands when I'm cooking, especially now in the time of covid when we're washing our hands all day long.  I bloomed my sweet curry powder, spice house blend, in the coconut oil and then added onions, garlic, jalapeño and ginger to give the curry a flavorful base before adding two bone-in trimmed chicken breasts plus broth to simmer in the pot of aromatics.  While the chicken cooks I prepared all the veggies, which are added after the chick

avocado toast on polenta bread with bacon, cucumbers and tomatoes

Our very favorite brunch kind of breakfast at home is avocado toast and lately I've been adding everything but the kitchen sink to my avocado toast creations. Today we enjoyed perfectly ripe Avocado spread on polenta bread toasts; piled high with bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, parsley and parmesan cheese. Also, we like a generous Squeeze of lime juice, sprinkles of citrus Champagne vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for the tomato, cucumber, red onion relish. I like to top everything off with a wave of finely chopped fresh parsley, gratings of parmesan cheese, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Do you think avocado toast needs a written recipe? I don't.

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage

Orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil from The Awaiting Table Fresh Orecchiette Drying on Parchment  I went to Puglia in October with an adventurous group of fellow food and wine lovers. I took a week long class on Italian food and wine of the region at The Awaiting Table, learned how to make homemade orecchiette in a castle and never looked back. I've been making Orecchiette Weekly for about 9 months now and I'm getting pretty good at it.  We love this classic pasta with the broccoli rabe and sausage.  I made it last night on a Thursday but generally it's a weekend dinner served with a solid Italian red wine. Our local butcher makes delicious spicy Italian chicken sausages so that's what I use, the broccoli rabe and the best Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) are always at the market.  We also have good extra virgin olive oil, fresh Italian parsley and organic durum wheat semolina for the orecchiette.  So, what am I supposed to


Gougères We affectionately refer to this traditional French pastry/party snack as cheesy puffs. Our friend Gerard Rottiers formerly from Sonoma but really from France never left home for a party without a tray of gougères to share with his friends and no matter how many times I make Gougères I always think of him when I sprinkle that last little bit of grated Gruyère on top of my puffs before baking. I also can't chill bubbles without remembering all the fun times we shared before he and his wife, Amy moved back to France. So, we're still here in Nor Cal without our friends, Gerard and Amy but we still have our delicious cheesy puffs to serve with bubbles whenever we get homesick for French friends. Recipe for Gougères  makes two baking sheets of puffs, about 24 Preheat the oven to 400F line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour 4 large eggs, a

lemon madeleines

Lemon Madeleines with a Lemon Glaze My ten year old granddaughter Gracie loves Madeleines and every dessert baked with lemons.  So, we made a date to do some quarantine baking and she chose to make lemon glazed Madeleines for our project.  We found a recipe that we wanted to try but we didn't have the right size Madeleine pan so we improvised using 2 Swedish tart pans for the batter we couldn't fit into our pan.  The Swedish French Madeleines turned out to be our favorites and the good news was that we didn't have any problem turning out the delicate little cakes from our tart pans, as well as our heavily buttered Madeleine pan. Lucky me I had about 6 small Meyer lemons that made just enough juice for the glaze and zest for the Madeleines.  Not so lucky me I sent Gracie home with all the lemon Mads and now as I write I have no Mads to nibble.  Sad. Madeleines are a French pastry classic that I've made several times but today I'm not going to share the recipe I'

fromages de chèvre mariné

Marinated Goat Cheese Marinating goat cheese at home is an easy project, all you need is a glass jar, olive oil, goat cheese, herbs and a few spices. The marinated goat cheese is especially delicious when broiled until melty and served on warm toasts in a salad, which is what I made with this batch of fromages de chèvre mariné.   Traditionally small firm goat cheeses are used in this recipe but I had a log of fresh chèvre from Laura Chenel which is more on the soft side of goat cheeses.  I used a string to cut 4 rounds out of an 8 ounce original log of goat cheese.  I gently but firmly pressed the rounds into flatter shapes before stacking them in the jars and pouring in the olive oil marinade.  The leftover marinade  can be used to brush the toasts and make the balsamic salad dressing for the salades.  As you use the cheeses more can be added to the marinade. I'm throwing in a few French words to drive my spell check crazy, a fun activity during our months of quarantine. Here are

banana date pecan bread

My landscaper and his wife went to Palm Springs last weekend and came back with a 5 pound box of Medjool dates all for me. Of course I've been sharing the wealth with friends and family but now I'm getting down to the business of baking with Medjool dates, which is a pretty cool thing to do. I have quite a few recipes I enjoy that use dates but I always like to try new recipes, especially for baking. It's no secret with my family that I like to use ripe bananas for homemade banana bread, especially for my grandkids. I found a recipe that I doubled to make three loaves of banana bread adding Medjool dates in an interesting and delicious way, I'm sharing this recipe today. Like most people, we love desserts around the Christmas holidays and a few years ago I started making a Scrumptious date cake with a toffee sauce from a Sur La Table cooking class I took in San Francisco.  That cake recipe will eventually make its way on to the pages of my new blog, Tarragon and C

grilled sea scallops with thai lime jalapeño carrot sauce

This is one of my easy go to recipes for sea scallops and when the stars align at the market, beautiful plump sea scallops, fresh bright butter lettuce, Jalapeños and carrots, then it's game on. Originally I made this recipe using a pink salt block to cook the scallops, but over time I wore it out and eventually it broke in half. I should order another one or two, another one for cold things like salads, because salt blocks are a healthy fun unique way to prepare meals. If you have a salt block then by all means use it for this recipe, just omit the sea salt as your block will do the seasoning for you. Now, being without a salt block, I use my small grill pan which is perfect for small batch grilling as I do these days for my husband and myself. Well now I'm glad I got all that off my chest, now here is my recipe. Grilled Sea Scallops with Thai Lime Jalapeño Carrot Sauce serves 2-3 1& 1/4 pounds wild sea scallops, about 16 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra limes fo

caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and capers

Caprese salad is one of our favorite summer salads. I can't think of a better way to show off sliced heirloom tomatoes then to coat them with extra virgin basil infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped sweet basil, capers, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Try to find the best fresh Mozzarella to slice on top and you're done, voila! you're having a delicious salad tonight.  I make caprese salad in the Summer all the time, almost every time I bring home heirloom tomatoes. I'm not a picky eater but caprese salad has to be made with the best ripe tomatoes, if you don't have good tomatoes then don't make this salad, just saying.  I also grow sweet basil in my garden, which is easy to do in the warm summer months.  If you have a small garden plot I encourage you to plant a few of your favorite herbs, definitely can't go wrong with fresh basil. Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Capers serves 2-3 2 large Heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1-2 large ba

strawberry macadamia coconut date raw bars

I've been making breakfast smoothies for a few months now with really good ripe sweet strawberries and in the back of my mind I keep thinking now is the time to make a strawberry pie or something delicious with strawberries for dessert one night.  Enter these quick to make using a food processor for the date crust part- no bake strawberry macadamia coconut date bars. The best thing, besides they taste great are the 'quick and no bake parts'. Such a great healthy way to make a dessert creation using strawberries during their sweet summer season. These bars should be cut and served right after making. Strawberry Macadamia Coconut Date Bars makes an 8" square pan of 16-20 bars spray baking pan lightly with a non stick baking spray 16 ounces strawberries, sliced 9 ounces whole dates, pit dates 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped, plus extra for sprinkling on top 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, plus extra for sprinkling on top 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 2 teaspoons ho

quinoa salad with zucchini, pistachios, mint and feta

Quinoa tossed with any kind of vegetable, nut, herbs or cheese makes a simple satisfying lunch. The very first time I tasted steamed quinoa was in a green salad with shredded carrots, sliced toasted almonds and an Asian style dressing, I was hooked on it's nutty flavor and from that day I have always included a bag of quinoa in my pantry. Quinoa, which is a grain, cooks much like rice, except it takes less time. It needs to be fluffed with a fork after it's steamed and then can easily be added to a salad. Ingredients for Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, pistachios, Mint and Feta s erves 3-4 1&1/2 cups water 1 cup quinoa 2 zucchini, thinly sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced and chopped 3 scallions, white parts minced  1/3 cup raw pistachios  1 small lime,  juiced extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup minced parsley and mint, plus extra for sprinkling on top of salad 1/2 cup Bulgarian feta, plus extra for sprinkling on top of salad 3-4 cups arugula Sea salt and freshly groun

parmesan panko crusted chicken

Just like I said to my butcher, 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts please and even though I didn't know it at the time, that was the beginning of this chicken recipe.  I brought my brown paper wrapped package of chicken home, carefully opened it up, pulled out the 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, put them on a cutting board and proceeded to pound the life out of them with a heavy metal mallet.  That is the start of a simple process for a delicious meal of parmesan panko crusted chicken with a side of baby kale salad dressed in a vinaigrette. I like to dip my chicken cutlets in egg followed by a mixture of panko and parmesan.  Sometimes I bake breaded chicken cutlets but to get that beautiful colored crust they should be pan fried until crispy. I used baby kale for my salad but arugula or spinach are also very good with chicken cutlets. Ingredients for Parmesan Panko Crusted Chicken serves 2-3 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, evenly pounded  2 eggs 1&1/2 cups panko 1/2

stir fry rice with peppers and prawns

Peppers and prawns sounded so good together and then there was that leftover basmati rice from last night's poké dinner, begging for a chance to participate in tonight's dinner. If rice could speak, what would it say? Give me one more chance in a bowl guys.  I would never hold a good rice back, so come on in the water's fine. I added a cucumber relish made with cilantro, scallions, chives, rice vinegar, lime juice, sea salt and pepper, which added a pickled crunch to the dish.  All ingredients in for a successful dinner. Ingredients for stir fry rice with peppers and prawns  serves 2-3 3/4 pound prawns 1/2 red pepper, chopped 1/2 yellow pepper. chopped 1 small Jalapeño, deseeded and minced 1 medium shallot, diced Garlic clove smashed 2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1&1/2 cups leftover rice at room temperature  Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil   For the cucumber relish

provençal vegetable soup with basil pesto

I made this veg soup drizzled with basil pesto for dinner last night and today I had a bowl for lunch with grated parmesan cheese. This is a versatile soup and it stands on it's own for a meal. I like to serve up a bowl with a slice of sourdough, a spoonful of basil pesto, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or a swirl of extra virgin olive oil. The additions are all good taking this simple veg soup to another level or levels, depending on how you adorn your bowl.  I have a recipe to share but feel free to use the vegetables of your choice, like corn, I love corn but forgot to pick it up at the market. Oh well, bring on the fresh baby spinach leaves, it works just like that.  Ingredients for Provençal vegetable soup makes enough for 6 1 large yellow onion, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 bay leaves 2 sprigs fresh thyme 4 carrots, peeled and sli

shoyu ahi poke with wonton crisps

Dinner is served and tonight it's made with chunks of the freshest raw tuna  mixed with a shimmering glaze of soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions and sea salt.  Don't forget the fried wonton wrappers and basmati rice on the side.   Oh yum, that works and if you want to make spicy poke, definitely add sriracha sauce. Now for the wonton crisps, I bought egg roll wraps, cut in half on diagonal and deep fried in peanut oil. I only had basmati rice on hand so I steamed a cup in my small size rice cooker.  My husband was so happy when he saw the pile of crispy wontons on the counter next to the stove.  I had to find something for him to use as a dip for the golden fried triangles before he lost his mind.  This was a good simple dinner just like this but a nice ripe avocado cut into chunks with be a fantastic accompaniment, just saying. 

steak potato pepper hash

Leftovers in the form of grilled steak and roasted new potatoes are repurposed for a Monday afternoon family meal, maybe an even better one than  the original one on Saturday night? I think using leftovers can be fun as you peruse the fridge or pantry, like a treasure hunt to find and use up more ingredients as creative additions to your dish.  I had peppers, a ripe avocado, fresh herbs and a bowl of ripe tomatoes on my counter to choose from and of course I chose all of them to go with my steak potato hash. I forgot to sprinkle my herbs on my hash in my first photo so I had to sprinkle and reshoot, as the first photos looked slightly naked without  herbs. Ingredients for Steak Potato Pepper Hash Makes enough for 3-4 people 1 yellow onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 jalapeño, deseeded and minced 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup cubed leftover grilled steak 1 & 1/2 cup cubed leftover roast new potatoes 4 eggs Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons finely chopped p

blue cheese apple walnut quiche

I've made this basic quiche recipe with several different ingredients and varieties of blue cheese, but finally settled on using Point Reyes blue cheese, because it's good and local, always a plus. The original recipe is in my favorite cookbook, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan but I've done a fair amount of tinkering to it over the years, so here is my recipe below.  Ingredients for Blue Cheese Apple Walnut Quiche serves 6 1 9" tart shell partially baked 1 medium shallot, finely chopped 1 teaspoon aged sherry vinegar Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 apple peeled, cored and chopped in small pieces, I used fuji or Gala 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, chopped 4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled 5 ounces plain non fat thick yogurt  2 tablespoons whole milk 2 eggs   Preheat the oven to 400F Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat and add the shallots.  Add salt and black pepper to lightly  season the shallots, cook for a few mi

carrot jalapeño soup with basil pesto

We made a road trip to play golf a few weeks ago to the Oregon coast at Bandon Dunes, it's beautiful. This was our fourth trip to play golf in the past several years at Bandon. We cancelled our trip to Ireland this summer and don't know when we will make it back over there to play golf at some of our favorite courses in the world. I'm not complaining, yes its disappointing to cancel all your vacations but I have this new food blog and I can drive back up to Oregon and play golf there again soon, so there's that. We played the new course at Bandon called Sheep Ranch and it was incredible just like the other courses. I can't even say which one is my favorite because in their own ways they are all equally challenging and ruggedly beautiful, in that Oregon coast kind of way. Which brings me to this carrot Jalapeño soup recipe that I enjoyed at the Pacific Grill at Bandon Dunes. They would not give me the recipe, of course I asked. But, then I went googling and t

spicy chicken and rice noodle soup

Spicy Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup We like this style of slightly spicy chicken noodle soup and I make this recipe or a version of it fairly often. Now that we have to worry about getting sick from Covid 19 when we dine out, it's great to have recipes to prepare a variety of international fare for dinner. So, here is my version of Viet noodle soup, this time made with A Taste of Thai noodles from my local market.   Makes 4 servings Ingredients for Spicy Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup 1 star anise 2 teaspoons coriander seeds  1 teaspoon four peppercorn blend Stems from one bunch of cilantro  1 tablespoon of vegetable oil 1 yellow onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1" piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced 1 Jalapeño, sliced, seeds removed and minced 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts 4 cups chicken broth 1 can unsweetened coconut milk 2 tablespoons fish sauce 5 ounces rice noodles Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Minced cilantro and mint, for sprinkli

coconut pecan pie bar cookies

This bar cookie recipe starts with a layer of shortbread made with butter, brown sugar and flour, I like that, we're off to a great start. The next layer, equally good, starts with brown sugar that is whipped up with toasted pecans, shredded coconut, vanilla, eggs, and a small amount of flour. All good but I think my bars are kind of fall-ish for the fourth of July weekend. I admit that the easy version of pecan pie aspect of this bar cookie recipe attracted me, along with the total lack of interest in something like a flag cake made with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream, not that I would turn something like that down. But, don't worry, I have a traditional fourth of July watermelon in the fridge for later this weekend. Fall will be here before you know it and now you have a great coconut pecan pie bar cookie recipe to bake and share with your social bubble. Ingredients for Coconut Pecan Pie Bar Cookies for the shortbread 1 stick unsalted butter, soft and cut i