Sonoma Mission Inn Apple Oatcakes

This inventive low-fat recipe (the liquid is water) comes from the Sonoma Mission Inn spa restaurant, where I had them for breakfast paired with chicken apple sausage. I am glad I asked for the recipe, for I have never seen it anywhere.

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Rice Cooker Tamales

Tamales are the epitome of Mexican food and one of the classic tastes of the Hispanic kitchen. Tamales are “mother” food or comfort food, Latin style. The dough is made from masa harina or “masa flour,” the ground corn that has been soaked in lime, then dried for storage, to make the corn kernel softer and more digestible than regular cornmeal. It is the corn flour used to make tortillas and tamales have that wonderful strong corn flavor that is so characteristic in Mexican cuisine.

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The Baker: Hominy Tortillas

Any serious cook or baker eventually tackles making homemade tortillas. I was lucky as one of the staff in my bakery was from Mexico and was happy to show me how to make them. But even she had problems when the dough wasn’t just right.

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My Favorite Buckwheat Crêpes

I adapted my first buckwheat crêpes from this old Chez Panisse recipe that uses beer for the liquid; they are delightfully light-flavored despite the addition of the often intensely musky buckwheat. This recipe, good for sweet or savory versions, utilizes lots of eggs and flavorful flat beer in the batter.

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Julia’s Aromatic Basmati Rice

Adding whole spices to rice while it is cooking is common in the warm pungent cuisine of India. The whole spices add a gentle scent and subtle flavor to the rice, especially apparent in the rice close to the spices. It is so addictive and yummy, while not being too spicy hot or different that kids won’t eat it.

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Buying Produce by the Seasons

Food that tastes good and looks appealing will never be out of style and choosing seasonal produce is one of the essential ingredients that make it so.

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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.

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Vegetarian Paella

paella

Paella in about 30 minutes? Sure! Paella, a composed dry rice dish very similar to Creole Jambalaya and Mexican Arroz con Pollo, is usually a bit of an extravagance both ingredient and time-wise. Americans have taken the Spanish signature dish and adapted it enthusiastically into a fast, satisfying vegetarian one-dish weeknight meal. Here I use quick-cooking brown rice in place of using the white rice.

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Very Veggie Vegetarian

I grew up with the meatless Friday–mac and cheese, filet of flounder, pancakes. I now consider that the practice run for becoming a vegetarian in the 1970s. Those were the days when granola had just been invented for Woodstock, and The Vegetarian Epicure and Moosewood cookbooks had not burst onto the scene yet to help the home cook with some new options. Being a vegetarian meant plenty of meatless spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, lasagne, omelets, cheese sandwiches, and lentil soup, a staple in France (and often brought to French class for a collective meal in French conversation with food), in the struggle to adapt familiar dishes to a new lifestyle.

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Country Gourmet’s Whole Wheat Pancakes

Country Gourmet is one of my local hometown restaurants and place to get really great homemade-like food. I was one of their first customers when they opened over 25 years ago. Some of the original staff is still there, which is always a good sign for a restaurant. So I was thrilled to see this recipe for whole wheat pancakes run in the newspaper, from all the way down in southern California. Good pancakes have a state wide following.

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