Sunday, April 21, 2019

rocky road candy recipe from mom's mid-century cookbook




I was home recently visiting with my family in Crescent City, and I love to go through mom's cookbooks.  A couple of the books are so retro-fun, one is the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a ring binder style book that mom received at her wedding shower in 1955!  The other cookbook belonged to my grandmother, Clarice Havemann, The Woman's Home Companion Cookbook---mom said it was her most prized cookbook which she never parted with.  I took a few snaps of cool recipes---one was the Original Caesar Salad which is so similar to the recipe I have used for years (love the retro photography as well!).  Another recipe was for rocky road candy, which happens to be my favorite and could not be easier and perfect for Easter weekend snacking!  I made one modern addition, I sprinkled a few flakes of Maldon sea salt on the top of my rocky road and it was delicious.




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

enjoying the thanksgiving and christmas holidays 2018


I have been getting into the spirit of the holidays more so this year than usual.  There have been alot of changes this year, with Gump's filing bankruptcy--and me taking a new job at Bloomingdale's as a result.  Change is always challenging, but I have been very blessed with having lots of friend get togethers, birthday dinners, lunches and my great book club gang to name a few to make me feel more settled and vowed to myself that I would make every effort to enjoy the time.  I had a lovely, simple Thanksgiving, visiting friends and family all day by phone and text.  I cooked a cute little 9 lb bird that made great lunches for the next 5 days.  I also made an old favorite recipe of mine that I had published in a Neiman Marcus cookbook many years ago, spinach souffle casserole. This is a decadent recipe of cheesy goodness that tastes as good cold as it does right out of the oven.  I topped off the day by starting the all red holiday decorations with a new little tree that I got this year for the entrance way--it sits just right on the chest and has a nice reflection in the mirror.  One more tree to go!
spinach souffle casserole recipe:
4  10oz frozen boxes/bags of chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
(3 cups total)
2 green onions thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ tsp salt (scant)
½ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs, separated
Defrost spinach and place in a colander and drain well---press down with paper towels, till very dry.  Spray a 9x12 glass casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly beat egg yolks till frothy.   Beat egg whites till light peaks form.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except the egg whites.  Fold the egg whites lightly into the mixture---turn into the baking dish and bake approx. 35 minutes till lightly puffed and golden.  Rest before cutting.




Wednesday, July 4, 2018

great birthday trip to la

I never fail to have a wonderful time when I visit Brendan in LA, as you know from former posts of our adventures in food and more!  Brendan had some great things planned . . .we went to The Broad museum in downtown LA, a private collection of modern art not to be missed.  The Broad is a beautiful building right next door to another gorgeous piece of architecture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Philharmonic---designed by Frank Gehry.  After your museum tour, take the tram down the hill to the Grand Central Market for a food court extravaganza!  We opted for old school Chinese--egg foo young!


The adventure continued with a great dinner at Lares Mexican in Santa Monica.  We saw Ocean's Eight while we were there, and it is a fun must see, especially for all the clothes and jewels!  Try breakfast and a sidewalk table at Sweet Butter, stop at Nespresso in BH for a fabulous salmon platter and visit the incredible mall at Westfield Century City, which features 3 stories of Eataly, an all Italian emporium filled with every Italian food and beverage delight you could possibly imagine---try the Roman pizza, known for its distinctive chewy, bubbly crust---we selected the prosciutto with green olives . . . words can't describe.  Brendan is a great griller and we enjoyed ribeyes and filets on grill the last night!





Tuesday, May 8, 2018

delicious homestyle mexican food at casa vallarta in oakland

                                                                          




One of my favorite go to places for lunch is Casa Vallarta at 1910 Park Blvd in Oakland.  This casual family run restaurant delivers homestyle Mexican favorites with delicious salsas, well developed sauces and homemade corn tortillas all at great prices.  Some of my favorites include the pork tamales with beans and rice, the wet burrito smothered in melted jack cheese and served on red and green sauces, chicken tostada salad in a tortilla bowl and the crispy beef tacos to name a few! Stop in and create some favorites for yourself! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

dinner at maybeck's in san francisco


I had a wonderful dinner last night with my dear girlfriends to celebrate my birthday.  My friends really pulled out all the stops--starting with, it was a surprise!  I was to meet Judy downtown at 5:00 and then, see what would happen. We began with a nice glass of wine at the Four Seasons. We then took an Uber and arrived at Maybeck's on Scott Street in the Marina. Inside, my friends had set up the private room with flowers and place cards and candles--it was beautiful!

Wednesday night Maybeck's features Beef Wellington and if that is not fantastic enough, at 7 pm promptly, you are invited into the kitchen where chef Eric Lowe talks about the preparation and makes the first cut into the Wellingtons---they were a thing of beauty!  Back at the table, we started with grilled/smoked artichokes with remoulade and halibut crudo with chili/lemon olive oil.  The Beef Wellington was served with black truffle au jus---creamed spinach was served on the side.  The beef was so tender you could cut it with your fork.  My dear friends continued the surprise with a cake made by SusieCakes on Chestnut Street, with a sweet butter cream frosting just like you remember from childhood and the perfect birthday cake!  Truly a wonderful evening I will never forget!




Sunday, April 16, 2017

hash brown and sausage breakfast frittata



Happy Easter everyone!  I wanted to start the morning with a lovely breakfast frittata that is really an easy one pan meal! Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Layer a 10" cast iron skillet with defrosted shredded or cubed hash browns, saute 1/2 lb reg or hot sausage with 6 sliced baby zucchini and a quarter of a yellow onion, diced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk 6 eggs with a dash of salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Place the sausage mixture on the hash browns, top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.  Pour the egg mixture in and top with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake 26 minutes--rest 5 minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

mod pizza makes it simple and delicious!


I was coming home from Crescent City back to San Francisco on Monday and the new route to SF includes a stopover in Portland.  The lovely woman in the seat next to me lived in Portland, but as we were exiting the plane, instead of heading right to baggage, she said she can't leave the airport till she had pizza---I said "what pizza?' and she said "Mod Pizza!"  Well, I was going to have to try it and am I glad I did--or maybe not, because the closest Mod Pizza to me is in Alameda or Daly City---tough for a quick fix.  Mod Pizza  was started in Seattle in 2008 and now has over 200 locations---what a story, read all about it on their website, modpizza.com. The concept is a simple, small menu done well. Choose from either a 6" or 11" ultra thin crust---add from an array of dozens of toppings all for the same price---baked in minutes in a super hot pizza oven till those lovely crispy bubbles form on the crust, taste, die and go to heaven!  Want sauce like buffalo, barbecue or balsamic drizzled on or on the side--no problem, no extra charge.  Want a breakfast pizza--they have that too!  My choice, the Mad Dog, with pesto base instead of red sauce, pepperoni, sausage and ground beef.  Choice number 2 (yes, I had to test 2) red sauce with pepperoni, hot sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper, red onion and pesto drizzle---amazing.  Oh, and IF you need it, they have salads and shakes as well!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

new year's eve at e & o kitchen and the shelton theater



Brendan came into town for New Year's Eve and as always we had a wonderful time.  We didn't have to go far to have a lovely evening right on Union Square.  We started with dinner at E and O Kitchen and Bar on Sutter Street and if you haven't been, make a plan to go--the atmoshere is casual chic, the food is divine Asian fusion with great cocktails--even housemade ginger ale and they have a great happy hour from 3-6, Mon-Sat.  Really nice, you could order directly off the regular menu on NYE--dinner included ahi tuna tartar, pad thai noodles with gulf white prawns, wood roasted black cod on water spinach and of course a very tender shaking beef with tomatoes, chilis and watercress.  We only had to travel a block to the Shelton Theater for a super hilarious, well priced comedy show called "Cheaper Than Therapy".  This long standing club in the heart of downtown SF has a cool downstairs bar and will definitely remind you of a below street New York bar.