Sunday, July 8, 2018

Green Pea Hummus

Freshly Made Green Pea Hummus with Carrots

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light


Meanwhile, back in the bean fields, May’s eat-‘em-whole pea pods have matured. No longer edible “in toto,” only the peas inside the pods are nosh-able. Removing the pods takes time and effort. It's rewarding work, producing peas with infinitely more flavor and texture than their frozen counterparts. Fresh English peas improve any recipe, like this one, that calls for frozen peas. Preparation couldn’t be simpler: blanch the peas, throw ingredients into the food processor and spin. Scoop into a bowl and top with olive oil and ground sumac.*

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Snap Peas with Ginger and Citrus

Closeup of Snap Peas with Lemon and Ginger
Simply Delicious: Peas with Lemon and Ginger

Recipe adapted from Eat Greens


At last, the spring veggies have sprung! Local Farmers’ Markets are starting to pop up, and the weather is dry and balmy. Springtime veggies like chard, kale, spinach, cauliflower, broccolini, and tiny new carrots are on the menu, as well as winter relics like beets, oranges, and lemons. Plus the quintessential springtime veg: peas. Snap peas, also known as Chinese pea pods, are young peas that are small and tender enough to eat pod and all. Get ‘em now, because as the peas mature, the pods toughen and can’t be eaten.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Asian Slaw

Bowl of Asian Salad with Chopsticks
Colorful and Healthful

Recipe by Robin


A craving for a slaw that would be a perfect foil for parchment baked salmon engulfed me. Especially since I had 1½  lbs. of salmon in the freezer, caught and flash-frozen by my work colleague’s kids in Alaska last season. One does not want such a generous and delicious gift to go to waste. I got a little carried away (inspiration knows no seasons), and included cilantro, which is decidedly not in season, though readily available in the market. A better choice would have been parsley, currently growing in my garden, or simply skipping the little green addition. The cabbage, carrots, green onions, sesame seeds, and exotic dressing will carry the dish with little reduction, unless you happen to be crazy about cilantro as I am.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Parchment Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Closeup of Parchment Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill

Recipe by Robin


At last, fresh dill is available in the market again. Not that it’s exactly in season here in Santa Cruz in April. However, its annual reappearance on shelves inspired a way to use the fresh frozen Alaskan salmon that my  colleague’s kids caught and gifted to me last season. This recipe requires little prep time, minimal ingredients, and just a little finesse with the parchment. Key to its success are very fresh (or flash frozen and thawed) wild salmon and a bunch of fresh dill. Simple is good.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cheese Soufflé

Cheese Souffle Just Baked, Cut into 6 wedges
Six Sumptuous Slices

Recipe adapted from Simplicity from a Monastery Kitchen


Cheese! Does anyone in the USA not love it? I recently read that Americans consume most of their cheese on pizza. Yet a soufflé is a more effective and delicious cheese vehicle, delivering straight-on cheesey flavor with no distracting dough or veggies. Eggs lend a velvety texture to the dish, while adding protein to the mix. And despite looking complicated, soufflés are quite straightforward to make if you remember three things: Be patient making the roux; keep stirring and use low heat. Cool the roux before adding the egg yolks to it. And beat the egg whites thoroughly before folding them in. Voila! Cheese soufflé!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fresh Mint Tea

Recipe by Robin


Here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, semi-wild mint pops up with the first winter rains. Planted in some nearby herb garden years ago, it has spread by runners to form a thick mat of leafy stems throughout our back yard. As delicate as the leaves seem, they don’t mind the cold at all. Some sturdy spearmint variety, these leaves are famously stirred into mint juleps and muddled into mojitos. But in winter they make a refreshing and warming tea that soothes body and spirit.
The super-easy recipe is uplifting and thirst-quenching, whether you are sick or well, by yourself or with a friend.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Dauphin Easy Apple Soufflé

Try it with Cream, or Not

Recipe adapted from Simplicity from a Monastery Kitchen


I’m on an apple roll this season. After spiced poached apples, old school apple cake, and pear crisp with apples substituted for pears, I’m taking it to the next level with a more esoteric recipe. From an upstate New York monastery, it's Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Loutourette's Dauphin Easy Apple Soufflé. Dauphin was the dynastic title  of the French heirs apparent during the 14th-19th centuries. It also translates to dolphin. What exactly Dauphin has to do with the apple soufflé remains a monastic mystery.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Old School Apple Cake

slice of apple cake on plate
Apple Cake for All!

Recipe from Sunset Light & Healthy


It’s officially the holiday season. Let there be cake! I’ve tried many cakes in the quest to recreate my Gram’s Apple Cake, with a notable divergence into Amen Farms Apple Cake, a delicious go-to recipe. Old school apple cake differs from my past posts in that it contains raisins and nuts. I call it a 70’s recipe because it’s from Sunset Light & Healthy cookbook—and what’s considered healthy these days is different from when the book was published. This recipe is low fat and free of saturated fats. It is not low carb, low sugar, gluten free, dairy free or egg free. It tastes perfect without frosting, though you could sprinkle it with powdered sugar and cinnamon, or decorate it with edible poinsettias, roses, or glitter stars for holiday festivities.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Apples Poached with Spices

Option #1: Serve Chilled with Mint Leaves

Recipe from Unidentified Clipping


Between Halloween candy overindulgence and Thanksgiving pie decadence is a peaceful season where simple autumn desserts give our bodies a break as well as a lift.  While raw persimmons, pears, and pomegranates conveniently fill the everyday dessert bill, baked or poached apples provide more elegant treats for special occasions. And with very little fuss—10 minutes of prep and less than an hour of cooking time. Plus, an aromatic apple and spice smell issues forth from the kitchen, imbuing the entire household with an iconic fragrance of autumn.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Melinda’s Pear Crisp

Bowl of Fresh Pear Crisp
Pear Pizazz

Recipe adapted from Sunset Light & Healthy


If you’ve got to work for a living, finding a job with people that you enjoy makes it easier. I lucked out at my job with Melinda, who is not only smart, energetic, and forever making me laugh, but also loves food and cooking. When her pear trees were in full fruit, she brought in a pan of pear crisp one morning, still warm from the oven. She said the recipe was reasonably healthy, and that she’d reduced the sugar. Unlike most crisps, it’s flavored with vanilla and nutmeg, not cinnamon. Originally “oatie peach crumble,” her tweaked recipe compliments pears perfectly.