Archive for 2016

Duck Liver Pâté

I was served this fabulous appetizer pâté de foie de canard at a cooking class with local chef Scottie McKinney decades ago at the newly opened Hotel Meridien in downtown San Francisco. We sat in the corner of the empty dining room for the demonstrations. Never having been much interested in eating pâté, I flipped for this one.

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The Rice Cooker: Steam Me A Pud

I started making steamed puddings in my restaurant days. Barbara Hiken brought in a recipe from one of the waitresses for persimmon pudding and we made it that day. And never made another recipe since it was so darn good. But you have to wait for the persimmon season to get the puree to make it since persimmons are a fruit that is not canned or frozen commercially.

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English Pudding with Cranberries and Walnuts and English Custard Sauce

This is one of my favorite steamed puddings and it couldn’t be easier. The cranberry and molasses combination is a great flavor. This is an Americanized version of the very traditional, very beloved English pudding called Spotted Dick, which originally…

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Steamed Persimmon Pudding with Brandy Sauce

The apple of the Orient is our orange globe of fall to harken the holidays here in California.  The neighborhoods are dotted with trees outfitted with the fetching pointed ovals.  I can beg a few because most trees are so…

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Slow Cooker: Braised Quail on Toast

I met my first quail at dinner in the Chez Panisse restaurant back in the 1970s. When the diminutive whole braised game bird was set in front of me, little legs splayed all to heaven in my direction, I commented: “Well, aren’t these indecent little birds!” Quail are a real gourmet treat. They are easy to cook at home for a special dinner.

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Holiday Baking: Hungarian Poppy Seed Roll

Christmas is not considered complete without special occasion baking and Hungarian poppy seed roll is the premier of the genre. Recipes for Hungarian rolls with a poppy seed-raisin filling are known as Mákos es Dios Kalacs (known in village slang as a Beigli). Every home has it’s own recipe for these rolls and they are a favorite sweet bread.

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Holiday Baking: Christmas Butter Cookies



Butter cookies are good for company, for Christmas Eve, after mass, after dinner.  They are a gloriously simple rolled cookie. And this recipe is the one perfect recipe to have in your stash of Christmas cookies for giving and sharing,…

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Chez Dining Room: The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony Banquet

The first week in December, the recipients of this year’s Noble Prizes journey to Scandinavia for the award ceremonies, pick up their checks, and then celebrate afterwards with the ne plus ultra of state dinners attended by royalty, Parliamentarians, government officials, and invited guests.

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Chocolate Cake of the Month: Little Ricky’s Sachertorte

a beautiful box designed for shipping and easy carry on
Invented by Austrian Franz Sacher, a boy working in the royal kitchen on a day when the pastry chef was absent and a special dessert was needed in the palace,…

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Lou’s Raspberry Amaretto Bombe

The art of frozen desserts has fascinated bakers for a multitude of centuries. Reliable refrigeration made this type of dessert, first created for royalty, a delight of the masses. The bombe, a sophisticated-looking classic French dessert, is composed of two layers: a sorbet, then an ice cream mixture, in a pretty mold. What is great is that a simple bowl, which will be turned upside down, looks incredible, so no special mold is needed. There are so many excellent commercial ice creams and sorbets on the market today that the connoisseur doesn’t have to rely on the laborious task of making it at home anymore. Not only do they look fantastic all smooth and round, but what a lovely surprise everybody gets when you cut it open to reveal layer upon layer of different ice cream. This version is a favorite, a creation of my friend Lou Pappas in her book, Sorbets and Ice Cream (Chronicle Books, 2005). A bombe can conveniently wait up to a week in the freezer before serving. Serve in wedges Nobel style, with Champagne.

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