Culinary Traveler: Valley of Fruit

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, which happened in a flash last week when I drove south on El Camino Real, passing the land that used to be Olson’s cherry orchards. The aging cherry trees have been pulled out to make way for more shopping centers and apartments, which is also the fate for Brentwood, west of Stockton, where much of our California fruit has been coming from in the last decade.

Read More »

Feeding R.C.

While I was catering, over the decades, I worked for some really wonderful people who owned businesses and needed to have catered affairs as part of their PR. One of these was the now-defunct Sunbird Fine Art Gallery in Los Altos, California, a small but affluent town at the foothills of the Coast Range in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Read More »

Zucchini Madeleines

Madeleines are small oval cakes with a pretty shell-shape rib molded on one side. These are made from a savory muffin batter baked in the traditional rectangular French madeleine plaque pan that bakes eight cakes at one time.

Read More »

Oven-Poached Whole Salmon with Watercress Sauce

photo courtesy martha stewart
For salmon lovers, here is a spectacular special occasion presentation with a bit of ritual attached to it. It will be a welcome main course on a hot evening. I remember my first buffet where a…

Read More »

Old Fashioned Tea Party/Tea Sandwiches-2

Afternoon tea is an English tradition consisting of tea and a light meal eaten between 3pm and 5pm. Little sandwiches, bread and butter, scones and clotted cream and jam or lemon curd, pastries, loose leaf tea and a glass of champagne or fruity punch set the stage for the perfect tea party.

Read More »

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving

Oh is it Thanksgiving again already? A month until Christmas? It was just Fourth of July…where did the year go? So gearing up to the month devoted to eating and gatherings of all type, why not have an easy Thanksgiving feast?

Read More »

The Culinary Traveler: September in the Languedoc

On my first visit to France so long ago in 1977, I was invited to dine in a 200 year old country house of hand-cut stone in a truffle-oak orchard south of Albi. I had just left Paris in August, the month Paris is virtually empty with the natives all abroad or in the country to escape the heat.

Read More »

My Catering Stories: Reflections in a Star of David Part 2

Back up at the house, Crystal headed to the Egyptian room to set up the tables and arrange the chairs and tablecloths. I stood for a moment assessing the space and walked into the living room. There were the muted sounds of people doing setup in other areas of the house. The caterer had arrived and I could hear pounding coming from large granite mortars and pestles; they were making fresh salsa for dinner.

Read More »

My Catering Stories: Reflections on a Star of David

One day in early January I received a telephone call.”Hello, may I speak to Beth please,” came the soft toned voice. “Speaking,” I replied absentmindedly, used to unfamiliar voices inquiring about catering.”This is Mimi Fariña of Bread and Roses calling from Marin County. I am having a small fundraiser at Bill Graham’s house in Mill Valley next month and I was wondering if you, as a bread baker, would be able to do something for us.”

Read More »

Pumpkin Tales and Crock-Steamed Winter Squash

A sure sign that Indian summer is in full bloom is the appearance of the pumpkin patch the local produce stands. Farm Fresh Produce in the South San Francisco Bay Area occupied a stretch of property on the corner of a suburban area, and busy street, that grew corn as high as an elephant’s eye and ruby red oversized tomatoes, big sunflowers with their nodding heads to line the field, and old rose bushes, for as long as I can remember. How delightfully out of place.

Read More »