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Father’s Day breakfast

ricotta pancakes

Yesterday morning, Connor pitched in to help me make a simple Father’s Day breakfast for his dad.

I was already working on an early afternoon dinner for 8, so I didn’t want it to be some big elaborate morning meal. These pancakes are about as light and fluffy as it gets.

Plus, with the two of us working together, it was a breeze to get on the table in less than 20 minutes.

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June 17, 2013   3 Comments

Poached Peaches with Streusel

ripe on the tree

When we left for Hawaii on May 22, the peaches on my tree looked as if they would be ripe any day.

Connor would be coming home on the weekends while we were away and Marissa was home one short weekend for the wedding shower of her college roommate, Paige.

marissa and paige

The wedding is in August and Marissa is a bridesmaid.

I told both the kids and my dad to keep and eye on the peaches and to please please please pick and eat them. I hated the thought of the luscious fruit going to waste.

If not picked, they’d either fall off the tree and rot, or more likely, the bugs would get to them as soon as they ripened. The idea of it made my stomach actually ache.

the perfect peach

When we arrived home on June 3rd, surprisingly there were still peaches on the tree! My dad said that they were always hard as rocks when he checked and I never did remember to ask the kids if they had any.

box of peaches

The little fruit flies, gnats, or whatever those nasty little bugs are, had already been to work on more than 2 dozen of the peaches, but I was able to pick a decent boxful! Joy!

I made a delicious Peachy-Chicken entree one night (coming soon to a post near you) and today I am using the last of the peaches for this dessert.

It’s a partially-make-ahead dish. I’m starting it today and we will be enjoying it on Sunday for Father’s Day.

Of course, I had to make one serving from start to finish so I could photograph and post it for you today.

The things I do and the sacrifices I make for you people!

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June 14, 2013   3 Comments

Cinco de Mayo dessert

I wanted to let you know that there is a new heading in the Complete Recipe Index under the “Holidays” tab – Cinco de Mayo. It was called to my attention yesterday that it was missing. It is there now, with more than 35 dishes listed, the following recipe included.

pinterest chips

I found this creative dessert on Pinterest. Over the years, I’ve made fruit pizza for many parties and cooking classes. You know – the recipe where you make a sugar cookie crust, top that with a frosting and then arrange cut fruit and berries on top.

This is a fun take on that. Instead of sugar cookie crust, we have sugar cookie “tortilla” chips. The frosting is colored to look like guacamole. And the fruit is chopped to imitate salsa.

Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

extract, oil, and emulsion

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for pure lemon oil or lemon bakery emulsion instead of lemon extract. (I didn’t have lemon bakery emulsion, but wanted you to see a bottle of it, hence the almond in its place.)

What is the difference between the three?

An extract is flavoring dissolved in alcohol, while an emulsion is flavoring suspended in water with an emulsifier. Pure essential oils are more pure and clear-tasting and stronger in flavor when placed in a batter than an extract.

Bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while your mixture goes through temperature changes, and they combine more easily with other emulsions (such as butter, sugar, and egg) than extracts do. When extracts hit the heat and the alcohol evaporates, so does a bit of the flavor.

Not that extracts are bad. Extracts are perfect for everyday baking where the flavor is playing a supporting role rather than a starring one. Such as vanilla in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The oils and emulsions are what you want to use when you want that specific flavor to really shine through and to give intense flavors to things like candies, frosting, and fillings.

That’s it for the flavorings lesson today… on the the recipe…

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May 3, 2013   1 Comment

Herb Crêpes Eggs Benedict Florentine

crepe eggs benedict florentine

I admit it, this recipe looks VERY intimidating. It is long. There are many components. It looks complicated. But I PROMISE it is not hard to do. In fact, it is a wonderful special occasion entertaining dish. For a crowd, no less!

How is that possible, you ask?

It is because none of the components are difficult and all but one can be done 1 or 2 days in advance. So in reality, it comes together quickly and seamlessly at the end.

Even the final, last minute component, the Hollandaise sauce, is foolproof. I know, you may be ready to quit reading right now… Hollandaise Sauce – Absolutely Not!

But really it is foolproof! No stove is involved! All you need is a blender. You’re still skeptical? This sauce comes from Chef Tyler Florence. It works perfectly and is easy as can be, I may never make traditional Hollandaise sauce again!

too small

As I was beginning to make the crêpes in my usual crêpe-pan, I decided that they were too small, so I switched to a larger skillet. This was a personal choice, if you don’t have a medium size skillet (about 10-inches across the top) a smaller regular crêpe-pan is fine. Above you can see the two pans I’m talking about, and below the difference in the crêpe sizes.

difference

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April 3, 2013   1 Comment

salting beef

salt

When I have the time, I like to salt my beef and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. If I have even more time (and remember – that’s really the hard part – remembering!) I prefer to salt it overnight.

You may have heard or been taught to not salt beef until just before cooking. That can be true too.  I know, it’s so contradictory and confusing. Instead of trying to explain it myself, I am going to direct you to THIS ARTICLE, which explains the science of it perfectly, and also tells you what NOT to do when salting beef.

This is good information, don’t be lazy, be sure to check it out!

herbs

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March 16, 2013   No Comments

poach, blanch, roast

IMG_6330

I’m using three different cooking methods to make a simple salad. This will infuse as much flavor as possible into each ingredient without adding fat. This is achieved by;

  • Roasting cherry tomatoes
  • Poaching chicken breast
  • Blanching asparagus

As an added bonus, the poaching/blanching broth may be saved and added to soup on another day.

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March 14, 2013   2 Comments

so far away…

Grande Palace

My baby girl, Marissa, is 8,530 miles away from home. She and her boyfriend, Jeff, are in Bangkok, Thailand today and tomorrow. Then they’ll travel to the beaches of Phuket or Patong (I can not remember which) for a week of fun in the sun before heading back to their foggy homes in San Francisco.

beach thailand

I’m very excited for her and wee bit nervous, all at the same time. It’s not as if she hasn’t traveled abroad before. She studied in Paris, France for five months during her sophomore year in college… and she went alone that time.

I guess the difference is that I had been to Paris many times myself before she went, but I’ve never been to Thailand. Heck, I’ve never been to Asia. So, I suppose it’s just a touch of worry of the unknown.

Jeff is wonderful and protective of her, they’re both supremely intelligent people, they’ll be fine!  There, I talked myself into being just fine too! Thanks for listening!

portobello with kale

Let’s get to the recipes for Day 6 of Week One of the “Detox Cuisine” Cleanse. The only new recipe today is another juice for breakfast. Once again, you’ll need a juice extractor to make it.

green lemon ingr

The only change I made to this recipe was to increase the lemon from 1/2 lemon to one whole lemon. As you know, I love lemon, so be sure to taste before doing the same.

Tomorrow, the seventh and final day of Week One, all of the meals are repeats. I’ll be sharing with you the snacks allowed and their respective recipes, along with my thoughts on Week One of the cleanse.

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February 9, 2013   No Comments

technology vs. preserved Meyer lemons

604PM

Along with the candied lemon slices from yesterday, I also put up five large Mason jars of preserved Meyer lemons. You can find the recipe HERE.

450PM

I hadn’t planned on making preserved lemons on this particular day, but since I was “being held captive by my technology” – I decided to make good use of my time.

The problem was with our TiVo. It decided to quit communicating with our router and wireless network. Or maybe it was the router and the wireless network that decided it no longer want to play nice with our TiVo.

Either way, it wasted a full 6 hours of my day.

I’ve always gotten wonderful customer service and tech support from TiVo. My luck may have run out on that.

The tech saga began at 2:20 PM on Martin Luther King Day. I use my computer to log into Tivo Support Online and entered into a chat with a technician named Natalie.  Natalie had me do all sorts of shut downs, unplugging, replugging, and restarting of my TiVo and of my router.

After 20 minutes of it, I realized that I would need to multi-task and take on another project, in-between our communications, to prevent me from going mad.

250PM

So I grabbed a cookie sheet, a cutting board, a knife, a bowl, some paper towels, and a bunch of Meyer lemons. I worked on this while simultaneously working on my technical issues with Natalie.

305PM

At one point, and I’m not making this up, this was our chat:

Natalie: OK Linda, unplug the Ethernet cord from the back of the TiVo box and while it resets, go and get a paperclip.

Linda: OK MacGyver, the cord is unplugged, I’ll go get a paperclip.

Natalie: LOL, “MacGyver,” you are too funny!

Linda: Natalie, I’m back with the paperclip, I assume you want me to unfold it and stick the end into some small hole somewhere.  Might I need some Silly Putty and a shoelace too?

Natalie: Now who’s Ms. MacGyver? No, just the paperclip will do. Yes, unfold it and stick it in the small hole on the bottom of the TiVo wireless adapter, then plug the Ethernet back in and tell me what happens.

Linda: Done and done. Nothing has happened. Are you certain I don’t need a wadded up piece of gum or something to make this damn thing work?!?

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January 29, 2013   5 Comments

candied lemons

Meyer lemon bunch

Nearly all of my Meyer lemon crop has been juiced out.  I saved a few to candy.

chocolate dipped meyer lemon slice

Candied Meyer lemon, as well as regular lemon, slices are lovey as a garnish on dessert plates and delicious when added to salads, either whole or chopped. The slices are a sweet tangy treat on their own or dipped in chocolate.  They would be a lovely hostess gift, packed in a small Mason jar.

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January 28, 2013   1 Comment

lemon pizza?

The idea for this pizza came from the Corkscrew Cafe in Carmel Valley, California.

I’ve never been there. I  have never had their pizza, but as you well know, I have Meyer lemons… so it is this pizza that I made!

Meyer Lemon Pizza

I read the description on the menu, and the plethora of raves about it on Yelp, and I came up with my own Meyer Lemon Pizza.

Are you worried that you may not like this pizza because of the full lemon slices on there? Peel and all! Please don’t be. Meyer lemon peel is thinner and sweeter and it is delicious!

In addition, just yesterday, my friend, Amy (Amy’s Famous Taco Soup) sent me an email with all kinds of amazing information about lemon peels.

Did you know that lemon peels contain as much as 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself? Lemon peels eradicate toxic elements in the body. The peel is an antimicrobial agent that fights against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure, and is an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders. And according to the email Amy sent me, lemon kills cancer cells and is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.

Now, I haven’t done an ounce of research to back up any of the information in that email, it could be “internet truth.”  But if even 1/10th of that is true… well get out there and eat your lemons, peels and all… and start with this pizza!

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January 23, 2013   2 Comments