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Showing posts from August, 2020

chunky blended gazpacho with corn salsa

 Chunky Blended Gazpacho with Corn Salsa I guess you could say we have a thing for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and fresh corn every day- all summer long.  We like watermelon too but we mainly just slice and eat that, no recipe involved. So along comes a chunky blended gazpacho with a corn relish served on top, just what the doctor ordered for an easy summer dinner that uses all our favorite goodies. Recipe and Ingredients for chunky blended gazpacho with corn salsa serves 4 generously  4 large tomatoes, cored and chopped 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, cored and chopped 1/4  large red onion, peeled and sliced 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 1 garlic clove sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, red onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse about 6 times  until mixture begins to get chunky, scrape down the bowl with a spatula.  Pour in the

corn chowder with chipotle

 I love to make comfort food, like soup or chowder and one of my all time favorites is a corn 馃尳  chowder made at the height of the  fresh sweet corn season, nothing like it.  I always add bacon 馃 , onions 馃 , potatoes 馃 , red bell pepper, butter  馃 and cream to my corn chowder but this time I added a spoonful of chipotle paste for a nice spicy note with the sweet corn.  When I think of chowder it's usually about clams or seafood 馃.  I used to make a traditional  striped bass chowder with onions, bacon, potatoes, butter and milk or cream, now that is a bowl of comfort food.  Using emojis reminds me of turning in written papers for school that had assignment requirements like two pages of lined binder paper double spaced, emojis would have been great filler back in the day.  So, what defines a chowder?  If you don't have access to seafood like clams, a chowder can be also be made with ingredients like, chicken, vegetables -like corn, pork, bacon, potatoes, broth, milk and c

chicken fajitas with Padr贸n peppers

  Chicken Fajitas with Padr贸n Peppers Sadly, I used the last of the Padr贸n peppers from Luis and they were still near perfect like the day I brought them home.  Luis gave me so many Padr贸n peppers in a large zipped plastic bag, I thought we would never run out 馃様  I love to cook but like everyone else I love a shortcut for dinner so lately my butcher has been offering ready to grill chicken fajitas and they are so easy to prepare on the grill with a few of the smaller street tacos.  We like the flour tortillas so that's what I used.  I served the fajitas with the Padr贸n peppers, they were good by themselves or inside the tortilla with the chicken.  I'm including a chicken fajitas recipe made from scratch just in case your butcher is not selling quick and easy chicken fajitas. Recipe and Ingredients for Chicken Fajitas with Padr贸n Peppers Serves 2-3 1& 1/4 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast and/or thighs, trimmed and cut in strips 1/2 red, green and yellow bell peppers, cu

pear jam with saffron infused honey and cardamom

  Pear Jam with Saffron Infused Honey and Cardamom The summer after high school I worked sorting Bartlett pears at the Scotts Valley Fruit Exchange in Lake County California.  I thought I would never touch or eat another pear again in my life. But, here I am years years later making pear jam in my kitchen with pears, honey and saffron grown in Lake County.  A few weeks ago My husband and I went to visit friends in Kelseyville at their finca, they generously supplied me with the pears from their orchard-Finca Castelero- for my jam.  I will never forget getting up early in the morning and riding my bike across the valley from my cousin's house to work a long hot day sorting pears.  I remember thinking whoever came up with the idea of creating a cooperative to sort, pack and send pears from family farms, including my cousin's family farm on what is now called Hendricks road, to markets all over the country really had a good idea!  I never looked at pears in the grocery store the s

gazpacho bread salad with spice rubbed grilled skirt steak

Gazpacho Bread Salad with Spice Rubbed Grilled Skirt Steak   Bread salad 馃  is a great way to use up garden tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and day old sourdough bread 馃  I usually make panzanella but I found this recipe that uses gazpacho ingredients with a tomato vinaigrette, so I tried it for dinner last night and we think it's a keeper.  Just for fun I made a basil pesto and gave the gazpacho bread salad a drizzle of pesto before serving it alongside my spice rubbed grilled skirt steak.  Tonight I'm making pasta with the rest of my pesto, kind of like a freebie extra meal that just requires cooking up some dry pasta and most likely making a green salad, using up more of those tomatoes 馃崊 , peppers 馃尪  and cucumbers 馃  The skirt steak is the easiest thing in the world to grill, just a quick spice rub, let it rest for thirty minutes at room temperature, grill over high heat to sear-no more than a few minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the steak.  No turning o

tomato cumin tortilla soup

  Tomato Cumin Tortilla Soup Tomato soup I get that but why cumin?  Because while I was seasoning the soup I grabbed what I thought was oregano to add a few sprinkles but no it was whole cumin seeds, ugh 馃槱  So, we have a few more cumin seeds than we originally wanted.  Oh well, it is what it is. I can't believe I'm the same age as Steve Bannon, he looks horrible and I must look great, lol 馃槀  Back to this soup, it's good as in tasty, easy and fast for dinner.  I crushed salty fried tortilla chips into my soup broth and then blended the entire pot, after which I added cubes of chicken, grilled corn and more salty crushed tortilla chips, also a little minced cilantro with a squirt of lime juice.  On to the recipe. Recipe and Ingredients for Tomato Cumin Tortilla Soup serves 4 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 2-3 Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, or more if desired 1 tablesp

chicken souvlaki skewers with tzatziki sauce and a greek village salad

  Chicken Souvlaki Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce and a Greek Village Salad While actively looking for ways to use up both garden tomatoes and cucumbers, I came across these recipes from my files.  Way back, before Covid, when you could go out for a cooking class, I took a fresh Mediterranean flavors class at Sur La Table in San Francisco.  I've made these recipes several times, they make a fairly simple and tasty summer dinner, just hope that the power doesn't go out with no warning on the hottest night of the year when you're in the middle of putting dinner on the table, like it happened to us last Friday night.  Skewers are better made on the grill and I prefer using metal skewers as you don't have to worry about soaking them, they can also be used again and again.  I also got into my preserved lemons, chopped one up and put it in the chicken marinade, that's optional but a great idea if you have them on hand.  When the heat wave is over and I can turn on my oven, I

grilled rosemary garlic lamb chops with heirloom flageolet beans

  Grilled Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops with Flageolet Heirloom Beans We spent the weekend with our friends, Luis and Christie at their Lake County ranch.  Saturday night for dinner I learned how to marinate and grill double rib lamb chops Luis style on his back patio right next to his pear orchard, beautiful!  Don't spare the garlic, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil when you marinate the lamb chops, Luis likes to finish his chops with a generous pinch of sea salt before serving off the grill with a Spanish-style ratatouille, made with eggplant, onion, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, olive oil and garlic.  He uses the veggies from his huge backyard farm style garden ❤️  For my side dish I used heirloom flageolet Rancho Gordo beans slowly simmered with bay leaves, thyme, onions, carrots and chopped red bell pepper, for a little pop of color.  I love lamb chops with beans. Also, don't forget a glass of red wine 馃嵎 very important in this process.    grilling lamb with garlic, rosemar

quinoa crusted chicken with apple salad

  Testing one two three, are my apples ripe?  I want to harvest before the birds peck holes in the apples and make a mess of things.  I think they're getting close, maybe next week, although with this heat who knows?  The apple trees are fully loaded with the branches pulling down from the weight.  Last year I didn't get one single apple, well ok maybe one single apple but I don't know what went wrong, maybe a rain storm at the wrong time?  This year is a different story and I can't wait to pick apples, 馃崕 馃崗 from my backyard.   This apple salad is creamy with a Greek yogurt mustard herb dressing.  I like varying the flavor by choosing different herbs in the salad dressing.  The quinoa crusted chicken was a lot crispy this time especially since I opted for pan frying.  Because of our heatwave I didn't want to turn on the oven, the chicken is good baked in the oven but not as good as fried, big surprise there.  All in all a good lunch that was enjoyed by both mysel

zucchini, tomato, ricotta, parmesan and basil tarts

  zucchini, tomato, ricotta, parmesan and basil tarts Bright, fresh and lively little zucchini sun gold tomato tarts served with a delicate green salad mix dressed with a light vinaigrette for lunch or dinner for two definitely works for me and surprisingly for my husband too.  I told him, we had steak or whatever last night so now we're having something lighter for dinner, works every time.  Don't be intimidated by making these tart shells, they are so easy-a simple press in technique works just fine here.  I used garden fresh sun gold tomatoes and a delicious basil parmesan infused extra virgin olive oil that I mixed into the ricotta filling and brushed on to the freshly baked tarts before serving. I like these special garden fresh tarts for a picnic lunch too, yum with a flute of bubbles. Recipe and Ingredients for Zucchini, Tomato, Ricotta, Parmesan and Basil Tarts serves 2 12-15 sun gold or cherry tomatoes, sliced into rounds, about 4 from each one 1 small zucchini, sliced

salt block cured cucumber salad with fresh dill, red onions and kalamata olives

  Here we go dinnertime-tonight lets make a salad of garden grown crunchy cucumbers that are quickly  cured on a chilled salt block then served with chopped fresh dill, sliced red onions, kalamata olives, garlic, aged sherry vinegar and basil infused extra virgin olive oil.  We love this salad and I make it for dinner, it goes with everything -all summer long.  If you don't have a salt block that's no problem because something wonderfully salty, like French grey sea salt works just fine. I put the sliced cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle them with salt, give them a good stir and place them on a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.  Then I put the cucumbers back in my bowl and add all the goodies.  If you're using a salt block, let the cucumber slices rest for a minute on the block then flip to the other side and remove to the kitchen towel, replacing with more cucumber slices on your salt block. Recipe for Salt Block Cured Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill, Red

padr贸n peppers from Luis

Here they are ...the Padr贸n peppers grown, harvested, skillet cooked in a swirl of hot oil sprinkled with  sea salt and served by Luis Castelero, a tapas snack not to be missed.  Luis generously gave us a bag of Padr贸n peppers from his garden in Lake County, almost like being in Spain.  This was perfection served on a large  white French plate, don't tell Luis I wrote that.  

goat butter spread with edible flowers from the garden

  A Simply beautiful rectangular slate serving tray lovingly spread with goat butter and sprinkled with edible garden flowers from our friend Christie White.  She and her husband Luis treated us to this with lunch at their Lake County farm.  I'm in heaven as I remember the deliciousness of this appetizer.  Christie uses European style Meyenberg brand goat milk butter softened and artfully spread on this slate, then she sprinkles fresh edible garden flowers and herbs picked from her garden, Martha Stewart don't steal this idea, lol.

mushroom, walnut and sage p芒t茅

  Mushroom, Walnut and Sage P芒t茅 makes 6-8 servings I love this recipe for mushroom p芒t茅 from my friend Jean, who blogs about food, travel and succulents   at lemonsandanchovies.    Here is a wonderful recipe that is delightfully all about mushrooms.  They are cooked, seasoned and blended to perfection.  If you make it, you will love it-  fluffy mushroom clouds  spread on toasts will soon become one of your favorite appetizers.  I brought a terrine of mushroom p芒t茅 to our hosts last weekend, they loved it and asked for the recipe.  Of course, I sent this recipe over immediately and now I'm sharing it here with a few very slight changes. Recipe for Mushroom, Walnut and Sage P芒t茅 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 large shallot, diced 3/4 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped .5 ounce (14 grams) Porcini mushrooms 1 cup boiling water 1/2 cup walnuts 1&1/2  tablespoons minced fresh sage, plus extra sage leaves to decorate the top 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano 1/2 teaspoon sea salt f

artichoke, green olive and caper tapenade

artichoke, green olive and caper tapenade serves 6 We spent last weekend with friends at their country home.  They made dinner at home one night so  I brought a couple of appetizers to share.  My tapenade is easy to make, just spoon the blended artichoke mix into a terrine then pack in an ice chest for a short road trip.  I like to serve it spread on small crisp crackers but toasted sliced baguette works well too.  Save a sprinkle of capers for the top of your tapenade before serving and enjoy. recipe for artichoke, green olive and caper tapenade  serves 6 One 14 ounce jar of artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and cut into quarters 1/3 cup pitted green olives, I like Castelvetrano green olives 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons capers, plus extra for sprinkling on top 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice  2 cloves garlic, minced Aleppo pepper to taste, I use a scant 1/4 teaspoon Sea salt to taste Place the artichokes, olives, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and s