Friday, January 31, 2014

Persimmon Pudding (Bread) with Lemon Sauce

Dala Horse with Persimmon Pudding with Lemon Sauce
Celebrating Year of the Wood Horse with Pudding

Recipe from "Orange County Fair Centennial Cookbook" and Dave Wilson Nursery

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Let’s welcome the Chinese Year of the Wood Horse. According to Bay Area astrologer and feng shui consultant Susan Levitt, we can expect fast victories, unexpected adventure, surprising romance, and success in travel off-the-beaten path this year.  Since China produces almost 75% of the persimmons in the world—and because I still have a goodly amount from my friend and super-realtor Bill, I’m celebrating the new year with an award-winning persimmon pudding recipe from the 1920s, topped with in-season lemon sauce from a longtime California-based fruit grower.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Slow Cooked Chicken Two Ways

Tortilla loaded with chicken, cabbage, avocado, sour cream, etc.
DIY Taco in the Works

Recipes for Tacos and Chicken with Pasta

Slow cookers. Gotta love a device that cooks dinner for you. It’s even better when it cooks two dinners at once, and they’re both comfort foods. With my friend Jenn’s help, a couple years back I multiplexed my slow cooking with a Turkey Chili and Soup idea. Tacos (Jenn’s original idea) and chicken with pasta are this year’s double dinners. Like the super-simple originals, just a few ingredients go into the slow cooker, and other dinner preparation is minimal. This leaves plenty of time for other fun activities on cold winter nights.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hot Asian Slaw AKA Crack Slaw

Bowl of Hot Asian Slaw
Delicious and Nutritious

Recipe by Robin

The words “Crack Slaw” conjure up two vivid images in my mind, neither of which is appetizing. The term officially refers to the street drug crack and its addictive qualities, doubtlessly coined by someone who’s never seen the dark, vacant look in an addict’s eyes.  I’d like to reinvent this slaw as something sexy, something that we can choose to eat rather than mindlessly wolfing down, with a name that we can utter to our grandma or pastor without having to elaborate. Wouldn’t you really rather eat a Hot Asian Slaw?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chunky Gingered Pumpkin Soup

Bowl of soup garnished with chives and dollop of yogurt
Pumpkin Soup with a Difference

Recipe by Robin

There are tons of recipes for smooth and creamy pumpkin soups, and my husband is bored by all of them. “What could you put in there to make some texture?” he asks. Interestingly enough, pumpkin naturally has a stringy texture, which most recipes puree into submission. When cut into chunks the strings make an agreeable bumpiness, not unlike chunks of spuds in potato salad. Add some ginger and turmeric, and voila, a unique pumpkin soup with an earthy heartiness that even a hefty he-man can love.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pennsylvania Dutch German Hot Potato Salad

Plate of potato salad
Hot And Hearty Fare

Recipe adapted from Midwest Gardeners Cookbook

Back in the day, my longtime deceased aunties were cooks at a Pennsylvania convent. They liked making tasty foods on a budget. When the Mother Superior (nun in charge) declared that God had sent them, one quickly replied, “He didn’t have to work very hard to get us here.” Luckily, that Mother Superior could appreciate my aunt’s sense of humor, and good food. A favorite in the convent, and at home, was "German Potato Salad," made with vinegar and bacon and served hot.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Currant Scones or Fat Rascals

Plate with currant scone and condiments
Classic Scone with Jam & Clotted Cream

Recipe adapted from The Secret Garden Cookbook

As of January 6, the holiday season is concluded and we enter a more quiet and contemplative time of year. Looking back on the joy of the holidays and the blessings we’ve received during 2013 helps us pre-pave the way for a happy 2014. No need to remember what’s less than pleasant; it’s a brand new year now. Even tiny successes make rewarding recollections—like how I learned a secret to making scones on Christmas morning.