Sunday, August 8, 2021

Three Bean Salad

Serving of Three Bean Salad
Retro Salad Still Popular at Potlucks

Recipe by Robin

Childhood memories are slippery. What one person remembers about someone else can be 180 degrees different from what a sibling or cousin remembers. Yet certain people’s distinctions are indisputable. For example, my Auntie Vel was universally known as our family’s best cook. She was most creative and nuanced, plus knew how to throw one helluva party. Three bean salad was one of her summer staples. Nobody else’s recipe came close to the perfect sweet-sour flavor of her dressing and combination of soft beans and crunchy veggies. But this recipe is darn close. “When are we going to have that again?” asked my husband when I said I was blogging it.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Berry Whipped Cream Cake

Berry Whipped Cream Cake
Recipe adapted from Angela’s

About 25 years ago, my friend Angela surprised me with a gorgeous strawberry whipped cream cake on my birthday, toting it all the way down to a beach party no less. She said the recipe was so simple that her 9 year old son could make it all by himself. The very first time he made it he was so excited that he ran to show it to Mom. But sadly he slipped on a rug, lost his balance, and the top layer of cake, cream, and fruit all slid off onto the floor. Poor kid! Fair warning: put the cake where you want it before you assemble it. Let the cake settle for an hour or so after frosting. The layers will stabilize as the cake slowly absorbs liquid from the cream. Or, if you must, move it verrrrry carefully.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Vegan Cream of Celery Soup

Bowl of Vegan Cream of Celery soup
Soup for Springtime, or Anytime

Recipe by Robin

It’s early June but it’s been pretty chilly for Santa Cruz. I’m NOT complaining! In fact, the cool spring gives me hope for a cool summer. Year-round soup days—YES! Recently we received 2 large bunches of celery in our food share. Celery is a basic ingredient that adds subtle flavor base to soups, stews, and casseroles. Cooked on its own its flavor is neither shy nor overpowering. Combined with a couple potatoes and homemade cashew cream, it becomes a satisfying first course, light lunch with crackers or toast, or late night snack. Also good chilled.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Vegan Cashew Cream

Bowl of Cashew Cream
Recipe by Robin

I love dairy products, but they don’t always love me. After replacing cow’s milk with almond and oat milk, I’m taking it to the next level. This cashew cream recipe will substitute for sour cream in most recipes. It’s thick and noticeably sour, yet also a bit sweet. I’m using it to create nondairy cream of celery soup. Try a dollop in any pureed soup. Or thin it out with a little olive or other oils and/or water as a base for dips. It’s extremely easy to make, versatile, and vegan.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Toasted Brown Rice and Carrot Pilaf

Casserole dish of Toasted Rice and Carrot Pilaf
Recipe Inspired by PPFA Cookbook

Receiving 4 lbs. of carrots in 2 weeks inspired me to peruse The Carrot Cookbook, a mini volume published to raise funds for Planned Parenthood Santa Cruz about 3 generations ago. I combined their idea of a layered, rose-scented white rice-carrot casserole with my latest experiment: toasted brown rice. The result tastes sweet and toasty, with toothsome contrast in textures. Toasting the brown rice reduces its cooking time, lightens its texture, and adds flavor.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Stir-Fried Kohlrabi and Peppers

Closeup of Stir Fried Kohlrabi
Recipe Adapted from Bergy

When I started Seasonal Eating in 2011, I contacted Bergy, food photography pioneer at for advice on kohlrabi. Back in 2001, no one considered food photography as art or craft. But at age 70+, Bergy inspired a new movement with her photographs of homestyle foods she cooked herself. Her food photo styling has become the industry standard, both in in print and online. Plus, her recipes rock! This kohlrabi recipe is no longer at, and is worth revisiting and republishing.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Colcannon with Bacon

Colcannon with Canadian Bacon Slices
Serve with Bacon, Ham, Canadian Bacon or Sausage

Recipe by Robin

Colcannon! I’ve never made it and wasn’t planning on it. But our weekly food shares have delivered cabbage and potatoes for weeks. I’m not keeping up cooking-wise. Plus, St. Paddy’s day is right around the corner. I’m usually way to busy to coordinate an Irish treat on this holiday, but colcannon can be as simple as the two main ingredients plus butter and a few scallions. Proportions are forgiving, depending on quantities on hand. And yes! It’s perfect comfort food for chilly winter into spring weather!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sista Chrissa’s Vegetarian Chili

Recipe Adapted from BUNWC*

My sister claims not to cook, but don’t believe it. While raising her kids a generation or so ago, she made amazing meals every night. Everything that she makes is scrumptious. Including this amazing veggie chili recipe with its surprise ingredients: cashews, raisins, and red wine vinegar. The latter two impart a sweet-sour flair to the usual beans, tomatoes, and savories. The second surprise is allspice, most often tasted in apple pie. It’s counterintuitive to combine it with chili powder and cumin, and you might just have to try it to believe the delectable results.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Cherney’s Chili (Vegan)

Recipe adapted from R. Cherney

Way back when, I migrated from New England to California, with my worldly possessions and camping gear stuffed into an old Pinto station wagon. Along the way I stayed with a friend of a friend, a grad student at Champaign Urbana. He lived in a communal house and whipped up the most marvelous vegan chili for dinner, not that I knew anything about chili then. Many years and pots of chili later, I can say that what really sets R. Cherney’s recipe apart from the usual crowd is a goodly dose of red wine, enhancing both flavor and aroma.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

Steamed Persimmon Pudding Decorated with California Holly
California Holly = Live Oak + Rose Hips

Recipe from Old Surrey, England

A few years ago I met a delightful woman at a winter solstice party. We both had studied art under the same professors at University, and both loved collecting historical recipes. Plus she had concocted my favorite dish of entire potluck using an old time recipe. As I raved over it, she insisted on sending me the details. Alas, I’ve lost touch with her over the years and have forgotten her name, but not her face. This year, for the first time, I made her traditional persimmon pudding recipe from Surrey, a charming rural county southeast of London.