Sunday, December 20, 2020

Steamed Persimmon Pudding

Steamed Persimmon Pudding Decorated with California Holly
California Holly = Live Oak + Rose Hips

Recipe from Old Surrey, England

A few years ago I met a delightful woman at a winter solstice party. We both had studied art under the same professors at University, and both loved collecting historical recipes. Plus she had concocted my favorite dish of entire potluck using an old time recipe. As I raved over it, she insisted on sending me the details. Alas, I’ve lost touch with her over the years and have forgotten her name, but not her face. This year, for the first time, I made her traditional persimmon pudding recipe from Surrey, a charming rural county southeast of London.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Foil Wrapped Herbed Tiny Potatoes

Recipe by Robin

A couple of decades ago when I first starting cooking dinners with my not-quite-husband-yet, I frequently prepared small potatoes dotted with fresh herbs and garlic, wrapped in foil and roasted. I had forgotten all about this till I received a homegrown Yuletide herb mix from my neighbor Jennifer, the same week I got small yellow potatoes in my food share. Instant memory jog! Bonus: their easy prep doesn’t interfere with more complicated holiday cooking.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Deep Dish Turkey Pot Pie

Serving of Golden Brown Turkey Pot Pie
Post-Thanksgiving Comfort Food

Recipe by Robin

Seriously now, is there anyone who doesn’t like pot pies? When my friend Raven shared photos of her post-Thanksgiving turkey pot pies, I knew I had to give the concept a whirl with our leftover 12-pounder for 2. I eliminated the bottom crust to maximize the savory filling, and use more leftover turkey. To simplify further, I employed TJ’s all butter puff pastry rather than making my own. Any good crust will do, since it’s mostly about the filling.This batch o’ filling makes 2 round pies, which can be frozen. Since my freezer is packed, I made one giant pie in a 9” x 11” baking pan, the dimensions of my premade puff pastry.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Scalloped Summer Squash Casserole

side view of scalloped summer squash
Layers of Gorgeous Squash

Recipe by Robin

Several years and one house ago I mentioned to my gardening neighbor Dana that I love summer squash. Lo and behold, a few weeks later my front steps were covered with bags. When I looked inside I couldn’t believe the number of crooknecks, zucchini, different colored/sized pattypans, and yellow-green squashes. So I made up this casserole to cook down the huge quantities, especially the flying saucer-shaped pattypans, which didn’t look pleasing on their own no matter how I’d cut them.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

pasta with heirloom tomato sauce and Parmesan
Recipe by Robin 

Heirloom tomatoes! Those oddly shaped, strangely colored, and remarkably hefty hunks of flavor! They’re all over the farmers’ markets in September, maybe even in your garden. Though delicious on their own, they also add old-fashioned flavor to homemade pasta sauce. Cook up some sauce today and freeze it for the winter. You’ll love the fresh summery aroma and taste come January.

Sunday, August 30, 2020


sharmoula scooped up on a bread round
Served as Dip = Sharmoula

Recipe by A. and Robin

I messed up. When trying to recreate my cousin A.’s delicious sharmoula, a traditional Libyan salad, memory didn’t quite serve. I got the ingredients right. I cut them right. I adjusted the proportions to maximize deliciousness. I made an acceptable substitution of green onions for red. I made it with love like A. said to. BUT, “Wait, you put the bread IN the salad?” asked A. when I sent a photo. I’d forgotten that the bread goes on the side, to serve like a dip. Still, my salad saved my days-old bread quite tastily.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Mom’s Potato Salad

Bowl of potato salad

Recipe by Mom

It’s been more years than I’ll admit since I helped my mom make potato salad. And yet, I’ve never made it at all since I left home decades ago—until now. The secret of Mom’s potato salad is that the potatoes themselves are highly flavored. This eliminates the need to flavor-compensate with seasonings like mustard, dill seed, and pickle relish.  The potatoes themselves are the stars of the salad, complimented by a large quantity of eggs, a variety of finely chopped crunchy veggies, and of course mayo.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Blueberry Cobbler

bowl of blueberry cobbler a la mode

Recipe by Robin

Fruit cobbler recipes vary quite a bit. Fruits can be single or combined, spiced or not. The fruit layer’s liquidity can be adjusted with cornstarch or flour. Biscuit dough can be loose and fluffy, or firm enough to cut into shapes for a more formal look. Reveling in our short California blueberry season, I chose an ultra-lightly spiced all-blueberry fruit layer. I then topped the blueberries with a medium-density biscuit layer smoothed out by a buttermilk brushing before baking. Resulting in a soft-textured topped blueberry-centric cobbler that plays well with or without ice cream.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Don’s Pecan Crusted Trout

Plated Pecan Crusted Trout with Cucumber Pickles

Recipe from Old Clipping

Just because we’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean that food has to be basic or boring. This newspaper recipe from who-knows-when features fancy restaurant-like flavors, yet is relatively easy to prepare. Just buzz up the breadcrumbs and pecans with rosemary in the food processor, coat the fish fillets, and fry it up. The hardest part is finding room for 3 plates of coating layers, plus a large platter to accommodate the fillets so they sit flat without disturbing one another once they’re coated.

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.