Sunday, April 19, 2020

Black Forest Shake

Two Beer Glasses Filled with Black Forest Shakes

Recipe by Robin


“Shelter in Place” is better with chocolate, don’t you agree? Before the pandemic, when I was working, I’d perfected some smoothies for my 15 minute lunch break, notably Chocolate and Fruit Smoothies and Green and Pink Drinks. I really don't miss those hurried (lack of) Power Lunches. Given the gift of more time to create and to enjoy meals and snacks, my mind veered from the healthy to the decadent, from the basic to the beautiful. It wandered from an efficient chocolaty beverage to luscious chocolate cake with whipped cream and sweet cherries. While the the Black Forest Shake is high in protein, it sports an unabashedly rich whipped cream and shaved chocolate topping. Just because you can’t build a Black Forest Cake/Shake without ‘em.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Orange Sour Cream Chiffon Cake

Chiffon Cake: Light and Airy

Recipe adapted from Moosewood Cookbook


Sour cream in a chiffon cake is a really not right. But I’m dubbing this recipe a chiffon cake because its fine light texture relies upon separated eggs, like the classic chiffon. Stiffly beaten egg whites folded in lightly just before baking make the magic in a chiffon. Typically oils are used to allow chiffon cakes to rise and be light. But despite this cake’s sour cream and butter, it's light and airy—with added richness from the dairy products.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Carrot, Coriander, and Orange Soup

soup in bowl topped with yogurt
Winter Carrots & Citrus, with Coriander and Yogurt

Recipe from The Green Witch


Before trying this recipe I doubted that 2-3 tablespoons of ground coriander in a soup that serves 4-6 would taste good. That’s throwing half the bottle of coriander into a small pot of soup—isn't that overpowering? Still, I was intrigued, and started with 1 tablespoon. While simmering, the coriander taste mellowed. I gradually added more, up to the 3 tablespoons. Don’t fear the recipe! Spice it slowly if you’re skeptical.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sweet Potato Tangerine Keto Cakes

Seven Sweet Potato Chen Pi Cakes on Serving Plate

Recipe adapted from Chinese Herbal Cookbook


Chen Pi is a key ingredient in this recipe. It’s simply dried tangerine peel, which makes a delicious addition to soups and stews as well as baked goods. Since it’s tangerine season, it’s time to make your annual chen pi supply. Simply cut the peel into small strips and dry it overnight, full instructions on my Making Chen Pi post. Add chen pi directly to soups or teas. To use it in baked goods, like these cakes, cover with boiling water, wait 15 minutes, then drain and chop.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Seared Sea Scallops Au Champagne Gratin

plate of seared scallops au champagne grain
Elegance with Few Ingredients

Recipe by Robin


Back in the days when I first left my birthplace in New England, my parents would ask me what I wanted to eat when I visited from California. My dad’s scallops were always high on my list. He’d pan-fry the scallops, crumble Royal Lunch milk crackers over them after plating, then top off with butter sauce. Since original Royal Lunch crackers have been replaced with an odd and expensive substitute, and fresh scallops aren’t too available here, I’d never tried to duplicate his recipe. Until inspired by some scrumptious-looking sea scallops I saw at Costco recently while shopping for chicken. Seafood night!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Salsa Fresca Nueva

Salsa on top of Roast Chicken, green beans on side

Recipe inspired by Casalegno Farms


Every time I make salsa I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s easy and delicious, and can be varied numerous ways. Though I usually make salsa with lime juice, recently I learned a Casalegno Farms family secret: grandma used apple cider vinegar in her salsa. I was skeptical, but its subtle fruitiness enhances the tomato and pepper flavors without adding extra flavors from the citrus. So it allows me to bump up the Southwest spicing with cumin and cilantro, or whatever else I might have on hand.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Shakshuka for Two

Shakshuka served over spinach with bread
Serve on a Bed of Spinach with Crusty Bread

Recipe by Robin


Shakshuka! A fun word to say, and a delightful dish from North Africa that satisfies at both brunch and supper.  It starts with a thick whole-tomato sauce, chunky with onions and bell pepper, lightly spiced (or not so lightly—your choice) with exotic Middle Eastern flavors. Next, eggs are poached directly in the sauce and topped with green herbs. For extra color and veggie-power, I serve shakshuka on a bed of steamed spinach or julienned steamed zucchini. Traditionally it’s accompanied by hearty homemade white bread for scooping up the yummy sauce.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Southwest Chicken Salad

Southwest Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing
Salad Served

Recipe by Robin


Whenever Southwest chicken salad is on a restaurant menu, I’m likely to order it. Styles vary widely, but typically include salad greens, corn, beans, cheese, and a side of salsa. A chicken breast, hopefully browned and spiced, crowns the creation. Dressings vary from chili lime vinaigrettes to creamy flavored ranches to green goddesses. This first attempt to recreate the salad at home was a great success, largely due to the rich, creamy homemade avocado ranch dressing. Fresh corn-off-the-cob from last night's Farmers' Market leftovers adds more taste appeal, though in a pinch—or in winter—frozen cooked corn will do nicely.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Perfect Compliment to Southwest Salad

Recipe by Robin


Ranch dressing so deliciously compliments all manner of not-so-healthy snacks, from buffalo wings to packaged chips to fried calamari. Remarkably enough, it also works magic with bland, healthful salads. Adding avocado to the ranch bumps up levels of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and Vitamins E, A, and C. Not that ranch dressing will ever be a contender as healthy salad dressing. It’s still more of rich, creamy, subtly herbed treat.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Citrus Mint Iced Tea

Two Glasses of Tea Garnished with Lemon and Mint
Iced Tea for Two

Recipe adapted from The Tea Companion


It’s summer and it’s hot! Temperatures are sizzling throughout the US. Even the weather map looks sunburned, all zones pink to dark red, with no blue, green, or even yellow zones in sight. Pretty much the same story throughout the northern hemisphere. We need to chill out, even as we brainstorm solutions to global warming. A tall glass of orange-lemon, minty tea with a caffeine lift couldn’t hurt. I adapted the recipe from The Tea Companion, a classic guide to different teas from around the world, as well as clear, succinct descriptions of how different teas are grown and processed. The Companion also demonstrates how to make great tea.