Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sautéed Cauliflower

Golden Brown Sauteed Cauliflower
No Longer the Great White Veggie

Recipe by Alice Waters

Cauliflower, the other white vegetable. Lacking the comfort value of potatoes, and not particularly exciting, I think of it as a sort of albino broccoli. But leave it to Alice Waters, seasonal chef and founder of the legendary Chez Panisse to come up with a cauliflower dish that’s not only colored delicately golden, but that’s easy, quick, and requires minimal ingredients. In her cookbook The Art of Simple Food, Ms. Waters makes a simple sauté sound positively sexy: “Sautéing is an exciting cooking experience. All your senses are engaged with the high heat, the loud sizzle of the pan, the active stirring and tossing, and the delightful smells of browning food…” Now who wouldn’t want to experience all that in the kitchen, especially if only three ingredients were needed?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade

Two Glasses of Strawberry Lemonade with Mint Sprigs
Welcome to Summer

Recipe by William

At first glance, my cousin William and I don’t have much in common. He’s a young man with a daughter, and I’m his mom’s age and have never had kids. He’s a career military man, and I work in higher education building websites. He lives down Kentucky way, soon to be on duty in Germany, and I’m in California near the coast. He’s got a couple of dogs and I have goldfish. So what do we talk about? Family, food, and home. We’re both happily married (his wife is a Robin too) and like hanging out at home. Like me, William likes to experiment in the kitchen and make up new recipes. This recipe is his creation, and it’s perfect to celebrate the start of summer today in the northern hemisphere. The longest day of the year calls for some seasonal refreshment!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chocolate Mousse Surprise

Mousses in martini glasses with strawberries
Mousse "Martinis" with Strawberries

Recipe by Sheryl Crow & Chuck White

What would you do for money? Would you stick with a job for 15 years despite minimal pay increases? Would you be okay if after 15 years management downsized you into a windowless, and airless office because a telecommuting manager wanted a bigger office with windows? Would you agree, after 15 years of keeping track of your own time, to check in with your boss every time you entered or left the office for your requisite breaks and your bathroom time? Would you believe management when they told you that these changes were for “teamwork?” After 15 years of “outstanding” evaluations as an independent creative professional serving a large group, would you believe that you need to be watched more carefully for your own good? Would you give up your telecommute privileges so that you could sit in a small, dark office every day? Sigh. Neither would I. Goodbye, day job.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June Veggies & Recipes

Bunch of Red Roses on Vine
Roses Going Crazy

June is Bustin’ Out All Over

As Oscar Hammerstein II hints, June can be a very intense month. Weddings, graduations, Father’sDay…plus the mad race most gardeners with day jobs are running to get plants in and watered. End of fiscal year means wrap-up of finances for some businesses, and some people, like myself, are being downsized as a result. Some years it seems like the additional daylight makes everyone and everything crazier, maybe I’m just projecting? In any case, I’m giving myself as much of a break as I can with my menus. Here are some tips for simplifying menus during stressful times:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Top 10 Herbs to Grow in Pots

Closeup of Full on Basi Plant in Pot
Sweet Basil: Everyone's Favorite Garden Herb

Suggestions by Robin

Back in the days when I lived in the not-so-great part of Santa Cruz, before the city added street lights to discourage nefarious trades of all kinds, my landlord inhibited my attempts to have a garden by sudden yard activities. One time I came home the yard was shorn into a badminton court. Another time, horse poop was scattered all over everything. Another time the deck was ripped up, along with the jade plants I’d started growing next to it. Being a compulsive gardener and purchaser of seedlings, I began growing just about any plants that came my way in pots. Herbs, whether annual or perennial, are most practical. Not only do they add spark and finesse to meals, a line of herbs in same-size pots adds charm and elegance to even the most Spartan-looking landscapes. Here are 10 of my favorite pot-friendly herbs.