Mince Garlic, Not Words | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:16

072414fGarlic is one of the oldest crops grown worldwide and long considered to be a giver of health.

Today, California harvests more than 150,000 tons of the fragrant bulbs each year, making it the main garlic-producing state in the country.

A big part of that harvest comes from the South Bay city of Gilroy, which will celebrate its self-proclaimed status as the “Garlic Capital of the World” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the 36th Annual Garlic Festival (visit gilroygarlicfestival.com/).

When you cook with garlic, you don’t have to purchase sliced or minced garlic in a jar. Using fresh garlic really is worth the couple of extra minutes of prep time. The flavor of fresh garlic is superior to the stuff that comes pre-chopped.

Buy firm heads (bulbs) of garlic that are heavy for their size with large cloves so that peeling them is not a painstaking chore.

To prepare garlic for cooking, first break it up into cloves. You’ll generally get 10 to 20 from a head.

To peel, slightly crush the clove with the flat side of a knife. The skins slip right off.

Depending on the recipe, the peeled garlic cloves can be used whole, minced, or crushed. You can also thinly slice garlic if your recipe calls for sliced versus minced garlic.

One raw garlic clove, finely minced or pressed releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves.

Garlic, slowly roasted in the oven, loses its sharp bite and turns remarkably soft and mellow.


12 to 16 heads fresh garlic
Olive oil to cover
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh
thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercorns

Cut tips off garlic heads and peel off the outer papery skin. Arrange the head, root side down, in a pan large enough to hold them, fitting them snugly side-by-side.

Pour oil over garlic and scatter the herbs into the oil Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 300°F for 30 minutes.

Take the foil off, baste the heads and replace the foil. Lower the temperature to 275°F and bake 30 minutes more, testing for doneness by piercing with a thin knife. Roast garlic should be soft but not falling apart. Remove pan from oven; take off foil.

With tongs, take heads out of oil and put in a bowl or pan to cool. Strain off the oil (reserve for sautéing meat and vegetables).

Gently squeeze out the roasted cloves of garlic and reserve for later. Use them for seasoning casseroles or just as a tasty spread for French bread.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Spread on hot corn on the cob or dab on any cooked vegetables. Yields 8 servings.


1 pound boiling potatoes, scrubbed
6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
1⁄4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 380°F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.

Slice potatoes thinly. Arrange a layer of potatoes, garlic slices, Parmesan and slices of butter.

Repeat using the rest of the ingredients (other than the milk), saving some of the cheese and the butter.

Heat the milk and pour over top of the potatoes. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese and butter.

Bake for 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender and top has turned golden brown. Makes 4 servings.


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped, juice reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 bouillon cube (optional)
1 pound uncooked penne
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place olive oil and garlic cloves in a medium sauté pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is soft and a light golden-brown. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add the tomatoes and their juices, salt and pepper and the bouillon cube. Cook until a sauce forms.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and place in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss well. Serve with grated cheese on the side. Serves 4.


1 cup white Zinfandel wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black, or to taste
4 (8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.

Stir the white Zinfandel wine, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl.

Place the mahi mahi fillets in the bowl and turn to coat with the wine mixture; allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Remove the fillets from the marinade, shaking off any excess moisture from the fish. Discard the marinade.

Grill the fillets on the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Yields 4 servings.

Passion for Peaches | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 15:23

071714fWith their irresistible aroma, tempting colors and sweet flavor, there’s nothing like juicy, tender peaches for the best homemade summer desserts.

Of course, peaches are great to eat out of hand if you don’t mind the juice dribbling down your chin and arms. But in desserts, peaches are spectacular.


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mace or grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
Pie dough for double-crust 8- or 9-inch pie

Mix sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add peaches, lemon juice and mace, the toss well to combine.

Roll out 1/2 chilled pie dough into circle about 12 inches in diameter, then roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pan, letting about 1-1/2 inches of dough hang over the outer edge.

Pile peach filling onto dough. Put bits of butter over fruit, Roll out remaining dough and drape over pie, trimming away excess dough, but leaving enough to tuck under the top of the pan edge. Crimp edges with your fingers and cut several vents in the top.

Bake 10 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake until juices bubble and crust is lightly browned. Yields 6 to 8 servings.


2 pounds of peaches, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons minced candied ginger
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix peaches, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the flour and the ginger in a large frying pan. Heat, stirring, until juices start to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a 9-inch square glass casserole 2 inches deep. Set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together. Add butter and mix with a pastry knife until a granular texture, about the size of small peas, is formed. Add buttermilk and mix only long enough to incorporate the liquid. Overmixing will toughen the pastry. Turn onto a flour board and  gently press out to the shape of your casserole or baking pan. Lift carefully onto the sliced peaches and bake for 20-25 minutes until a golden brown color on top.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Nut Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In mixer, beat together sugar and shortening until creamy. Blend in buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peaches.

Pour batter into greased 11-by- 7-inch baking dish.

In small bowl, combine nut topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, cut and serve.


4 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1-1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups heavy cream
Fresh peach slices for garnish

Purée peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Combine the purée, sugar and gelatin in a medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 20 minutes.

Add orange juice, almond extract, nutmeg and orange zest to the peach mixture; stir well. Whisk in sour cream.

Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold peach mixture into cream. Spoon into dessert glasses or 2-quart souffle dish. Refrigerate several hours. Serve garnished with fresh peach slices. Serves 8 to 10.


1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Peach Filling:
6cups California peaches (4-6), peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together all topping ingredients except almonds in a small bowl with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Stir together all filling ingredient in a medium bowl and transfer to an 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Crumble topping over the peach mixture and sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 30 minutes or until peach mixture is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown. Makes 8 Servings.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 16 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Fold in the peaches. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Yields 16 muffins.


Enjoy a Quick Dip on a Summer Evening | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2014 14:32

071014fWarm summer evenings call for lighter munching, especially when the family gathers in front of the TV to watch the Giants or A’s. So instead of the usual fat-laden chips and crackers, try fresh veggies with your favorite dips. To reduce calories even more, make the dips with low-fat cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 (16-ounce) cans refried beans
Half of a 1-ounce package of taco seasoning mix
5 drops Tabasco
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix in the refried beans, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce, parsley, green onions, half of the Cheddar cheese and half of the Monterey Jack cheese.

Transfer the mixture to an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned. Yields 7 cups of dip.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saute pan over medium heat add oil, heat and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.


1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, cooled and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste

In medium bowl, with mixer, blend sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chopped onion and green pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Crumble bacon into small pieces and add to mixture. Add chopped tomato and stir well. Yields 3 cups.


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
6-1/2 ounces chopped clams, canned, juice drained and reserved
4-1/2 tablespoons reserved clam juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix for a few seconds.

Add sour cream and mix well, until no chunks remain. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and mix well again.

Add clam juice and Worcestershire sauce, and mix slowly to avoid splashing, until fully incorporating. Dip will be on the thin side.

Add salt and black pepper, and mix well. Add clams and mix just to combine.

Store in a container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Dip will thicken in refrigerator. Yields 8 cups of dip.


1 pound tomatillos (husks removed), washed and quartered
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed), coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

In a food processor, combine tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro with lime juice. Pulse until finely chopped; season with salt. Yields 2-1/2 cups of salsa.


3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.

Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.


1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  sour cream
1 tablespoon minced scallion Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, and scallion. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Serve with carrot sticks or other vegetables. Yields 2 servings.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup horseradish sauce
4 crisply-fried slices of bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish sauce, mixing until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill.


1 pound Kraft Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained

Combine ingredients in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minute or until Velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 minutes.


A Classic 4th of July Picnic | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 July 2014 15:43

070314fGathering with family and friends for the 4th of July has always been one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

So roll out your tablecloth, and start off with some simple but tasty appetizers made ahead of time. For main dishes, prepare American classics such as mouthwatering chicken and light summertime salads that are tasty and easy to transport. And, of course, no picnic would be complete without serving nostalgic apple pie.


1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
Chopped fresh parsley or chopped nuts

Blend cheeses, mustard, onion and garlic in medium bowl with mixer at medium speed. Divide mixture in half; form into 2 (8-inch) logs. Roll logs in parsley or nuts. Wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Slice and serve as a topper or spread on crackers. Makes 1-3/4 cups.


Safflower oil, for grill
1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
4 large hamburger buns
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
4 lettuce leaves (green-leaf, Boston, romaine, etc.)

Preheat grill to medium-high; brush grates with oil.

Gently form beef into four 1-inch-thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Make an indentation in the top of each patty. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill burgers 3 minutes. Flip, top with cheese, and grill 4 minutes for medium-rare. Toast buns face-down on grill until just lightly charred, about 30 seconds. Spread them with mayonnaise.

Place burgers in buns with tomato, onion, and lettuce. Yields 4 burgers.


1/2 cup Grey Poupon yellow mustard
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 pound fresh boneless chicken breasts

Mix mustard, brown sugar, oil and vinegar. Divide mixture in half.

Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place chicken breasts on the grill, and baste with half of the mustard glaze. Cook until internal juices run clear and meat thermometer in thickest part of the chicken reads 170°F. Serve with remaining glaze. Makes 4 servings. Refrigerate leftovers immediately.


2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small green or red cabbage, shredded (about 6 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Blend mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar in large bowl. Add cabbage, carrots and parsley; toss to coat well. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Serves 8.


Peel husks back, but do not remove. Using your fingers, remove silk from corn and pull husks back up around corn. In a large pan, cover corn (husks on) with cold water. Soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, shaking corn to remove excess water. Cover corn as much as possible with husks. If necessary, tie the tips of the husks together with wet kitchen string.

Grill corn (with husks) on an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals about 25 minutes or until tender, turning several times. Carefully remove the husks and strings.

Meanwhile, melt some margarine or butter with a little lemon juice, and thyme. Brush mixture over the corn before serving.


6 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 onions, peeled, chopped
3 (28-ounce) cans Boston-style baked beans
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard

Over medium-high heat, stir fry bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1-1/2 tablespoons fat in pan.

Add onions to pan and stir often until they begin to brown and stick to bottom of pan, 7 to 9 minutes. Add beans and their liquid, catsup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and cooked bacon; mix well. Pour into a shallow 3-quart casserole.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F  oven until beans are bubbling in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 10 servings.


6 hard-cooked eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: paprika

Use large eggs that are at least a week old ( fresh eggs are difficult to peel). Place eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and add cold water to cover them by an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes. Cold eggs take slightly longer.

Plunge the eggs into iced water and cool until just warm. Tap the eggs all over against a hard surface and remove shells and inner membrane, beginning with the large end, by rolling the egg between the palms of your hands.

After peeling, slice the eggs in half lengthwise with a sharp knife that has been dipped in water and carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact.

Lightly mash the yolks with the mayonnaise that has been combined with the sugar, mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper. Heap the mixture into the whites with a spoon and refrigerate. Garnish with paprika just before servings. Yields 6 servings.

Deviled eggs may be prepared the night before, but they should be removed from the refrigerator a half hour before serving.


Nutritious Kale Finally Getting its Due | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 13:38

062614fVersatile kale is becoming one of the most popular of greens these days, and for good reason.

Bursting with nutrients, its heartiness makes it a satisfying green in soups, stews, salads and baked casseroles. Kale contains beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, fiber, iron and calcium.

Choose kale with firm, deep-green leaves, avoiding any that are wilted or have yellow spots. Keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. Though it seems like a sturdy vegetable, kale will quickly wilt and turn bitter.

Consider using kale as a stand-in for spinach in dishes, or try out some of these recipes.


1-1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.

Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar. Yields 4 servings.


3-1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar

Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425°F for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.

Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.


2 slices of bacon
1-1/4 cups thinly sliced onion $
1 (1-pound) bag chopped kale
1/3 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon; cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add kale, and cook 5 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently.

Add cider and vinegar; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apple, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon. Serves 6.


1 teaspoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 pound kale, coarse stems removed, leaves sliced or torn into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it. Spray it with a little nonstick cooking spray if needed.

Add the mushrooms and sprinkle on the salt. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the moisture has released and the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add the kale and pepper, and use tongs to sauté for about 10 more minutes. Add splashes of water if the pan seems dry. The kale should be tender and cooked down pretty well. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.


1/2 pound dried white pea beans
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 pound beef soup bones
1 quart water
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
2 bunches kale, rinsed, dried and chopped
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 quart hot water, as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak beans in twice their volume of water for 8 hours or overnight.

In a large pot, place drained beans, chorizo, soup bones and 1 quart water (or more as needed to cover).

Cook over medium heat until beans are just beginning to be tender, 1 hour.

Stir in cabbage, kale, potatoes and enough hot water to cover. Cook until potatoes are tender, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Yields 10 servings.


Summer is Just Around the Corner | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:29

061914fSummer starts on Saturday – a season that always seems to end before it really gets started.

For most of us, it means vacation trips, spending more time outdoors and meals on the lighter side.


1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash salt
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
3 small carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Place 3 tablespoons marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add vegetables; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.

Transfer vegetables to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat 8-12 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.

Place vegetables on a large serving plate. Drizzle with remaining marinade. Yields 6 servings.

If you don’t have a grilling grid, use a disposable foil pan. Poke holes in the bottom with a meat fork to allow liquid to drain.


3 bacon strips, chopped
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and chopped
12 fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, mustard, pepper and salt. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, oranges, strawberries, cucumber, onion and carrot. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and bacon. Serve immediately. Yields 8 servings.


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch salt
Pinch ground black pepper
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese (regular or Pepper-Jack), cut into 10 slices

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and onion. Cook 15 minutes or until chicken is browned and just about done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken on cookie sheet and top each breast with 1 to 2 slices of tomato and 2 to 3 slices of cheese.

Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese melts. Remove from oven, add 2 to 3 slices of avocado on top of each breast, and serve immediately. Serves 4.


4 large flour or corn tortillas
4 ounces Jalapeño Cream Cheese (recipe follows)
8 ounces Romaine lettuce, shredded
8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 ounces red onions, diced
16 ounces smoked turkey, julienned
8 ounces avocado spread (such as guacamole)
Jalapeño Cream Cheese:
1-1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lay tortillas out flat and spread with cream cheese. Sprinkle lettuce, tomatoes, and onions in the center of each and place the turkey all over. Top with avocado spread. Roll burrito style, making sure the ends are tucked in. Slice in half on the bias and serve.

For the Jalapeño Cream Cheese: Mix the jalapeñoes into the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.


1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 head lettuce, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Prepare spread: mash diced avocado, mayonnaise, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl with a fork until well blended.

Assemble wraps: spread tortillas with a layer of avocado spread. Place diced tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, lettuce, and Mozzarella cheese slices onto each wrap, leaving about 2 inches of space at the bottom. Fold bottoms up. Roll tortillas over vegetables firmly to enclose fillings. Makes 8 wraps.


For Dad on Sunday, a Few of his Favorite Things | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:03

061214fThe first Father’s Day was observed 104 years ago in Spokane, Washington. The idea quickly spread in towns and cities across the country, but it wasn’t until President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation in 1966 that the third Sunday of June was officially designated as Father’s Day.

Now, 48 years later, it has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who have taken over that role, including stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends.

Your Dad probably doesn’t need another tie, so why not treat him to a favorite meal.


1 well-trimmed beef rib roast (2 to 4 ribs), small end, back bone removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon mixed black and white
peppercorns or black peppercorns, cracked
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine rub ingredients in small bowl; press evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast.

Place roast, fat-side up, in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 350°F oven 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours for medium rare; 2-3/4 to 3 hours for medium doneness.

Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium doneness. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.) Carve roast into slices. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


8 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled, whole
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions or snipped chives

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in large saucepan. Add potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain.

Cook potatoes and garlic over medium-low heat 1 minute to evaporate excess moisture, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mash potatoes and garlic with electric hand mixer or manual potato masher until smooth.

Add 1/2 cup cream, butter, horseradish, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper; stir until blended. Add additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary for desired consistency. Stir in green onions.

Makes 8 (3/4-cup) servings.


2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Cabernet
1 pound package spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

In large, heavy stockpot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.

Stir well and barely bring to a boil. Stir in red wine. Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn!

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Spoon sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 10.


1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract. Reserve the remaining coconut to top the pie.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Top with whipped topping and with the reserved coconut.


Turning Potato Salad into Something Special | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2014 12:56

060514fPotato salad is a summertime favorite, whether it is served at a picnic or for a Sunday night supper.

Of course, making potato salad is not an exact science. You can make it the way you’ve always made it, which would probably be the way your mom or dad made it. But if you want to tweak tradition, consider some variations.


6 eggs
10 red potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Place the eggs into a saucepan in a single layer and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water; cool the eggs under cold running water in the sink. Peel and chop the cooled eggs.

Place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold. Peel and cube once cold.

Stir together the mayonnaise, ranch dressing, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and celery seed in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, potatoes, onion, and olives; stir until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Yields 12 servings.


1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided use
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste
3 pounds small, red-skinned potatoes, quartered
12 Romaine lettuce leaves
8 bacon slices, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 hard-boiled egg, grated

Whisk oil, vinegar, shallots, parsley, 1 tablespoon chives, mustard, honey and lemon peel in large bowl until well blended. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; add warm potatoes to dressing and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

Arrange lettuce around edge of platter; mound potato salad in center. Sprinkle with bacon, blue cheese, egg and remaining 1/4 cup of chives. Serves 8.


1 (1-ounce) package ranch dressing mix
2 cups mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped green onion
1 pound bacon slices
5 pounds unpeeled red potatoes

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add whole potatoes, and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and chop into 1 inch cubes. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.

In a small bowl, stir together the ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise and green onion. Cover, and refrigerate for about 2 hours to blend flavors.

Wrap bacon in paper towels and place on a plate. Cook in the microwave until crisp, about 15 minutes depending on the power of your microwave. Cool.

Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the bowl of potatoes. Crumble bacon into the bowl, and stir to distribute. Serves 16.


1-1/2 pounds red potatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup diced sweet pickle
1(4-ounce) jar pimientos, drained, dried on paper towels and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
Dash of sugar
Dash of saltd

Place cut potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook until pieces are easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Strain and set aside. When cool to the touch, peel and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In large bowl, mix together cooled potatoes, celery, green bell pepper, onion, eggs, sweet pickle and pimientos.

To make dressing: In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, sugar and salt. Add to potato mixture, toss gently but thoroughly. Cover and chill before serving.

Yields 6 to 8 servings.


4 to 5 Russet potatoes
3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt

Scrub potatoes thoroughly. Steam until tender. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients. Set aside. Cut potatoes into chunks (don’t remove skin). Pour sauce over potatoes so they are thoroughly coated. Serves 6.

Tips for a Better Potato Salad

• Use waxy potatoes: reds, yellows, Yukon Gold and fingerlings hold their shape better than russets when tossed with the dressing.

• Whether cooking potatoes whole or in quarters, make sure they are all about the same size so they cook evenly.

• Put them in cold water, turn heat to medium high, bring them to a boil slowly; cook till fork tender, but firm.

• Watch potatoes carefully on the stove; they often cook more quickly than recipes say. Overcooked, they will fall apart whether peeled or not.


The Festive Cherry | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:47

052914fSince way back in 1909, San Leandro has celebrated the beginning of the cherry harvest in what was then a town full of orchards.

While you’d have to drive around a little to find a cherry tree anywhere in the East Bay these days, we aren’t about to turn our back on the exquisite fruit that gave San Leandro the nickname, Cherry City.

After taking a few years off, the Cherry Festival returns to San Leandro’s downtown this Saturday, bigger and better than ever. And there are plenty of cherries around for the big celebration.

The life of a picked cherry is short, so use them within a day or two of purchase—they don’t ripen after being picked.


4 cups pitted and halved Bing cherries
2-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
1 (1-3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

Combine cherries, sugar, corn syrup and lemon juice. Let stand 30 minutes; stir occasionally. Combine water and pectin; bring to boil and boil hard 1 minute. Pour over cherry mixture; stir about 3 minutes. Pour into clean containers; cover with tight-fitting lids. Let stand at room temperature until cool. Freeze. Thaw and serve over ice cream, yogurt or pudding.


1 quart fresh cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
For the Crepes:
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
1 egg
1 cup milk
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350°F.

Wash cherries and remove pits. Place in saucepan with sugar, water and salt. Cover; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-8 minutes. Blend cornstarch with water; add to cherries and cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is clear. Keep warm.

For the Crepes: Beat baking mix, egg and milk with rotary beater until smooth.

Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into hot lightly greased 6- or 7-inch skillet. Rotate pan until batter covers bottom. Bake until bubbles appear. Gently loosen edge; turn and bake other side. Makes about 12.

Spoon warm cherry mixture onto crepes and roll or fold. Place crepes seam side down on oven proof platter. Bake about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.


1/4 honeydew melon, seeds and skin removed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup minced fresh mint plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons light honey
1-1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
Lemon juice
Juice of 2 limes

Put the cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and minced fresh mint in a bowl and turn several times.

Put the honey into a small bowl with the lemon juice and stir until the honey dissolves, a minute or two. Pour this over the melons and turn several times. Add the cherries, turning them in as well. Pour the lime juice over all, garnish with mint sprigs and serve. Serves 6.


1/4 cup chicken stock
8 cups very thinly sliced red onions (about 2 large)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups pitted cherries
Freshly-ground black pepper

Bring stock to a boil in large pot and reduce by half over medium-high heat. Add onions, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until very soft, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 30 minutes. Add vinegar and cherries and cook until carmelized, 45 minutes to an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes a good accompaniment to grilled meats.


1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 pound Bing cherries, rinsed and pitted
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cherry extract
1/4 cup brandy
3 cups vanilla ice cream

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a wide saucepan. Stir in the water and orange juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until thickened. Stir in the cherries and orange zest, return to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. While the cherries are cooking, spoon the ice cream into serving bowls.

Remove the cherries from the heat, and stir in the cherry extract. Pour in the brandy, and ignite with a long lighter. Gently shake the pan until the blue flame has extinguished itself.

Spoon the cherries over the bowls of ice cream. Serves 6.


1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1 cup sugar, plus extra
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 12-muffin tin or line with muffin papers.

With electric mixer, cream butter with 1 cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then egg. Sift 2 cups flour with baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture in batches, alternating with milk. Fold in cherries, lemon zest and pecans. Batter will be thick. Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup half-way. Sprinkle tops with a little sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool.


’Cue Tips | Print |  E-mail
Monday, 26 May 2014 15:14

052214fThe long Memorial Day weekend reignites our annual love affair with barbecue season.

Never mind that you put away the grill last fall without properly cleaning it. And you might as well

brush aside those reports about carcinogens in grilled foods. It’s the unofficial start of summer and grill we must!

If you’re new to the grill, or if you just want some brush-up advice, here are some pointers.

Always grill foods on a clean, oiled rack. Preheat the barbecue with the rack in place. Once the rack is very hot, use a metal brush to scrape the rack clean. Then wipe off the rack with an old towel dipped in cooking oil.

Always place foods to be grilled on a hot rack.

Direct and indirect cooking are the two ways to grill food properly. The direct method, similar to broiling, means the food is cooked directly over the heat source. For even cooking, food should be turned, with tongs, once halfway through the grilling time.

The indirect, covered method is similar to roasting, but with the added benefits of that grilled texture, flavor and appearance.

Always cook burgers to 160°F, turning occasionally with a spatula, but no pressing!

For steaks, cook to 145°F for medium rare, 160°F for medium doneness; for chicken, 180°F.


2 pounds boneless beef chuck shoulder steaks or top round steaks, cut 1-inch thick
Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3tablespoons packed brown sugar
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In a small saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for brushing on steaks while grilling; cover and refrigerate. Cool remaining sauce for marinade.

Place beef steaks and marinade in plastic bag; turn to coat. Close bag securely; marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Place beef on hot grid over medium ash-covered coals. Grill chuck shoulder steaks 14 to 19 minutes (top round steaks 14 to 18 minutes) for medium-rare to medium done-ness, turning once. Brush both sides of steaks with reserved sauce during last 5 to 6 minutes of grilling.

Trim fat from steaks; carve meat into thin slices. Makes six servings.


5 to 6 pounds assorted frying chicken pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
Barbecue Sauce

Prepare grill for indirect cooking and position grilling rack 4 to 6 inches from heat.

Run chicken pieces with oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. For the initial browning, place the chicken pieces, skin-side-down, directly over the hot coals (you will move them later for indirect cooking). Turn frequently for about 10 minutes until browned on both sides. Have a spray bottle of water at hand to douse flare-ups.

Move chicken to another part of the grill so the pieces are no longer directly over the fire (although they may overlap slightly).

Cover the grill, with vents open halfway, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn and cook, covered, 5 minutes more. Brush generously with sauce, cover, cook a final 5 minutes. Pass the remaining sauce around the table.


4 pork rib chops, about 1-1/4 inches thick each
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 olive oil
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Marinade: In a medium bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Place the chops in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the chops from the bag and discard the marinade.

Sear the chops over direct high heat (500°F) for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through searing time. (The best way to gauge the temperature is to set an oven thermometer on the grate.) Continue grilling over Indirect Medium heat until the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4


1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
Steak seasoning or Worcestershire sauce
2 avocados
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 jar roasted red peppers
6 large onion rolls

Mix together ground beef, minced onion and pressed garlic. Pat into patties and sprinkle with steak seasoning.

Grill to your liking, turning several times to lock in juices. Place hamburger patties on an onion roll and top with red onion, lots of roasted red peppers, and avocado slices. Makes 6 burgers.


Time for Sumptuous Salmon | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 15 May 2014 13:46

051514fCalifornia’s wild salmon season opened a couple of weeks ago which is very good news for lovers of this most prized fish.

With fresh salmon, it’s easy to prepare world-class dishes without having to be a world-class chef. No other fish is more versatile and more reliably delicious.

Timing is the essence when it comes to cooking salmon, whether by conventional methods or when grilling. A good rule of thumb is to measure fillets and steaks at their thickest section and cook 10 minutes per inch.

To bake, preheat oven to 450°F, cook 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning halfway through the cooking time.

If cooking in foil, add 5 minutes to the total time.

To grill, lightly brush the grill and fish with oil. For fish that is an inch thick or less, place the grill 2 to 4 inches away from the coals; for thicker pieces, 5 to 6 inches away. Turn at the half-way point and baste frequently.

Fresh salmon should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator within two hours of purchase and cooked within two days of purchase.


1 cup mixed fresh lemon-scented herbs such as lemon thyme,
     lemon sage, lemon verbena leaves, and chervil and chives
2 shallots, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 (6- to 8-ounce) fillets of wild salmon, skin on

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Combine herbs and shallots in a food processor. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Process to a paste, about 30 seconds. Rub paste on all surfaces of salmon except for the skin side.

Place skin-side down on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until fish is translucent in the center. Serves 4.


4 medium leeks, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoon tarragon, finely chopped
Pinch of curry powder
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
4 salmon steaks (2 pounds)
1 bottle dry white wine
Lemon zest for garnish

In a large sauté pan, cook the leeks, water, tarragon and curry powder over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add asparagus and butter and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, place the salmon in a pan large enough to accommodate the steaks comfortably. Add the wine (750 ml.. bottle) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to moderately low, cover and simmer 6 to 7 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through. Remove from heat, remove cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, divide the vegetable mixture between 4 plates. Top with salmon and garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.


2 tablespoons ground paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 salmon fillets, skin and bones removed
1/2 cup butter, melted

In a small bowl, mix paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil and oregano.

Brush salmon fillets on both sides with 1/4 cup butter, and sprinkle evenly with the cayenne pepper mixture. Drizzle one side of each fillet with 1/2 remaining butter.

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, cook salmon, butter side down, until blackened, 2 to 5 minutes.

Turn fillets, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue cooking until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork. Serves 4.


3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
Vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper
8 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

On the side burner, melt the brown sugar, honey and butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Let cool.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Brush salmon with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Coat the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture.

Grill for 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes. Yields 8 servings.


6 thick salmon steaks
6 thick slices fresh tomatoes
3 green onions, sliced
Fresh oregano to taste
4 ounce Sauterne
Salad oil to coat baking dish

Place salmon steaks in oiled Pyrex pan. Place a large tomato slice on each steak. Sprinkle green onions and oregano over salmon. Pour wine over all.

Put foil over pan and poach in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and poach for another 5 or 10 minutes. Yields 6 servings.


For Mom, a Little Something Made with Fresh Strawberries | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 08 May 2014 11:54


For the strawberries:
1-1/2 pounds strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
3 tablespoons sugar
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1--1/2 cups heavy cream
For the whipped cream:
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate while juices develop, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined.

Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch-square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer during shortcake cooking time.

Remove shortcake from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally.

Mix all whipped cream ingredients in the metal bowl with metal beaters about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.

Spoon some of the strawberries with the juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve. Makes 6 servings.


24-30 perfectly ripened strawberries, green caps intact
6 ounces sweet, semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Rinse strawberries, dry thoroughly on paper towels.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave (on full power in 30-second intervals). Regardless of the method used, stir the chocolate as it starts to soften. It shouldn’t get hot or it will be too thin and it will drip off of the strawberries.

Insert a toothpick into the stem end of each strawberry and dip into the chocolate, coating 3/4 of the berry. (Leave the green cap and some of the red berry showing for a more decorative finish.)

Gently set strawberries on waxed paper to dry. If the chocolate becomes too thick to work with, re-heat gently.

After the chocolate hardens, remove the strawberries from the toothpicks. The chocolate-dipped strawberries are best if eaten within 24 hours. Refrigerate for longer storage, but serve at room temperature for greatest flavor.


4 cups strawberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar

In a small bowl, mix sour cream with lemon juice and lemon peel. Serve sour cream mixture and brown sugar as dips one and two alongside strawberries. Serves about 8.


4 ounces fat-reduced cream cheese, softened
1 cup nonfat lemon yogurt
2 cups skim milk
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
1 tablespoon white grape juice or water
1 (10-inch) prepared angel food cake

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt. Add the milk, pudding mix and lemon peel; beat until smooth. In a blender, process 1/2 cup strawberries and grape juice until smooth. Tear cake into 1-inch cubes; place a third in a trifle bowl or 3-quart serving bowl. Top with a third of the pudding mixture and half of the remaining strawberries. Drizzle with half of the strawberry sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining cake and pudding mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


1 pint basket strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3 tablespoons currant jelly (or 2 tablespoons sugar)
8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup light whipped topping
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

In bowl, toss strawberries with jelly (or sugar); cover and set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat cheese, milk, juice and sugar until smooth, fold in whipped topping.

Spoon 2 tablespoons crumbs into each of four 8-to-10-ounce stemmed glasses; top each with about 1/4 cup of the strawberries, 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture, then the remaining crumbs and strawberries, dividing equally.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Makes 4 servings.


Warm a wheel of ripe Brie cheese in 350°F oven until very soft. Gently cut off top of rind; top with sliced fresh strawberries. Sprinkle with sugar and chopped, toasted almonds.




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