Sunday, November 14, 2021

British Sausage Rolls

Sizzlin' Goodness

Recipe by Robin and Bruce

One thing I’ll say for the Pandemic, it’s given us virtual ways to show up and do just about anything. Still, 18 months into it, the Black Hat Virtual Tea Party, created by my friend Rox, was a new one on me. Participants each brewed favorite teas and made or otherwise obtained some favorite tea-friendly foods. Menu-wise, the second thing that came into my mind (after scones) was the delicious sausage rolls we’d bought in early morning from London street vendors. Warm, juicy, and fragrant, the delicate puff pastry surrounding hearty sausages sustained us till mid afternoon. So, I thought, why not serve mini sausage rolls as a savory component for tea?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Cranberry Orange Mini Scones

Plate of Cranberry Orange Scones
Recipe by Robin

You say teatime, I say scones. Tea with scones is the perfect pick-me-up combination: slightly sweet, lightly fruity, and caffeinated. Both festive and easy to make, scones can be created in endless varieties. You can freeze them either before or after baking, and they taste perfect after a short time in the oven. I’ve blogged Classic Currant Scones and Chocolate Chip Orange Scones. For our recent Virtual Tea I wanted smaller scones to match the scale of the other foods, plus a richer flavor. So I made cream scones using heavy cream and egg, and divided the dough into 16 scones instead of 8. More scones, more treats for later.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

How to (Virtual) Tea

Tea tray with goodies
by Robin

The Black Hat Tea must go on, even during Pandemic times! Created by my friend Rox and scheduled in mid-October, it’s our annual way of getting together with friends for tea, traditional noshes, and celebration before the holiday commitments start pulling us in separate directions. Previously hosted in tearooms owned by friends Cindy and Danny, with a gap during 2020, in 2021 Rox scheduled a Zoom tea. Of course, this meant guests were responsible for their own tea and goodies. I can do this, if I work methodically, I hope. Challenge accepted!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Mixed Pepper Casserole

Slice of Mixed Pepper Casserole
Recipe inspired by Moosewood

Late summer begins the parade of peppers at northern California farmers’ markets. All colors and shapes abound, specific types varying with the weather and farmers’ locations and whims. I love the rich variety of flavor and spiciness. Peppers originated in the Amazon basin, with wild varieties dating back about 18 million years. All wild species are super-hot. Farmers have cultivated 50,000 varieties over the past 5000 years, each with its own color, flavor profile, and level of capsaicin. Thatsa lotta peppers! Choose as many as you like for this dish: the more varieties, the more flavor.

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.