Thursday, June 25, 2020


You can make your own sourdough starter anytime of the year, but if you make it in the summer, the fresh air will give your sourdough the flavor of your part of the world. San Francisco sourdough is so unique because of the marine air. 
Make your starter about 5 days before you make the bread. When you take out a cup of sourdough, replace it with equal parts of water and flour and let sit on your counter, covered with cheesecloth, for a couple of days before refrigerating. I have been feeding and using the same starter for years. You can also buy an established starter online, but it is very rewarding to make your own. 

Sourdough Starter
1 small bunch washed red grapes (about 12-15)
4 peels of an organic apple
Double layer of cheese cloth
Kitchen string
2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups lukewarm water

Place the bunch of grapes and apple peels in the cheesecloth and tie up with string.
Lightly smash with a mallet or large spoon to release their juices.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and water and place in a large glass jar. 
Add the grapes and apple peels and cover with a a layer of cheesecloth, to keep out any debris.
Set aside, near an open window for two to five days. 
Remove the cheesecloth bundle and lightly squeeze the grapes and apple peels, to release their juices.

1 ½ cups lukewarm water, divided                                  
1 T dry yeast 
1 T honey
1 cup sourdough starter, room temperature 
2 T extra-light olive oil
2 T melted unsalted butter                      
4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 T sea salt
3 T chopped fresh rosemary
Grated zest of one large lemon
Warm water to brush on loaves before baking

Pour ½ cup of the water into the bowl of an electric mixer, add yeast and honey.
Swirl to combine and let proof for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the mixture should be bubbly and the volume should slightly increase. If this doesn't happen, your yeast may be old. 
Attach the bowl to the mixer and add a dough hook.
Add the sourdough starter, oil and butter.
Gradually add the flour, alternating with the rest of the water and salt. 
Finally, mix in the rosemary and lemon.
Mix at medium speed for about 5 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute or so.
Form dough into a smooth ball and place into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours.

Punch dough down and form into a round ball or oblong shape.
Place dough onto a pizza stone that has been sprinkled with cornmeal or on a baking sheet and let rise another 45 minutes.

Place a small oven-proof pan of boiling water in oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Just before baking make diagonal slashes on the top of the loaf with a wet serrated knife and brush with warm water.

Bake for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake an additional 15 minutes, until golden. 

Transfer bread with a large spatula to a rack to cool.



Sunday, June 21, 2020


I made this for my husband last night for a Father's Day Eve dinner because we are going to my sister's tonight for Father's Day dinner.  I have a wonderful little herb garden and I picked the oregano, Italian parsley, and basil for this recipe.  He said this was his absolute favorite shell fish pot!
There was enough left over for lunch today.

24 Littleneck clams
18 sea scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T avocado oil
1 T unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ to 1 t red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 T fresh oregano leaves
4 basil leaves, torn
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Crusty bread

Place clams in a bowl of cold water for no more than 30 minutes.
Dry scallops with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. 
Meanwhile, heat oil and butter over medium heat in a large heavy pot, fitted with a lid.
Add half of the scallops to pot and brown on both sides.  Remove to a dish and brown the rest of the scallops.  Add them to the dish with the rest of the scallops.
Add the shallot to the pot and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute another minute.
Add the wine and bring to a simmer.
Drain the clams and add to the wine in the pot.
Cover with a lid and let simmer for 6 minutes, until clams open.
Add the shrimp, cover and simmer another 2 minutes.
Add the scallops, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and parsley.
Cover and simmer another minute.

Dish into 4 warm bowls and serve with warm crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 4

Saturday, June 13, 2020


My husband and I love Cuban comfort food.  This is my version of Cuban-Style Arroz Con Pollo.  Serve with hot sauce and crusty bread.

Sazon Completa
3 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
1 T dried oregano
2 t sea salt
2 t ground black pepper
2 t ground cumin
2 t paprika
1 t ground turmeric

Place ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.

4 to 5 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces, breasts cut in half (I save wings in the freezer for chicken broth)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Sazon Completa (Cuban Complete Seasoning)
2 T avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 qt chicken broth
2 T tomato paste
1 bay leaf

½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup pimento-stuffed green olives, cut in half (optional)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Sliced roasted red bell peppers, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish

In a large bowl, add the flour and 2 T of the Sazon Completa. 
Mix well, then toss the chicken pieces in the flour mixture to completely coat.

Heat a large Dutch oven or paella pan over medium heat.
Add the oil and butter and brown the chicken pieces, in batches, until brown on all sides.
Remove chicken and set aside on a baking sheet.
Add the onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.  
Sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the rice, white wine, the rest of the Sazon Completa and cook for a minute or two.
Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, and bay leaf.
Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.
Before serving, add the frozen peas, olives, and green onions.  
Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Before serving, garnish with the roasted peppers and cilantro.

Serves 4

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


My family always loved this recipe for Sloppy Joes. My kids would get so excited knowing we were having Sloppy Joes for dinner. They thought it was so much fun to eat a sloppy hamburger type sandwich. My husband and I like hot sauce on top of ours. You can also make these into sliders, which is a little less messy to eat.

1 T avocado oil
2 lbs lean ground beef
½ yellow onion, finely diced
1 small green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 T tomato paste
2 T brown sugar
1 T chile powder
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T dry mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t paprika
1 t sea salt
½ t black pepper

Hamburger or Kaiser buns, lightly buttered and toasted on a griddle.
Hot sauce

In a very large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and swirl around in the pan.
Add the ground beef and brown, while breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  

Add onion and cook another 5 minutes.  
Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. 

Reduced the heat to medium and add the rest of the ingredients.  
Stir to combine, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Using an ice cream scoop, pile onto buns.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce and a green salad or you can top with coleslaw.

Serves 6

Sunday, May 31, 2020


I made this the other evening to accompany our coconut shrimp.  You can made the sauce in the morning, refrigerate and heat it up in the skillet after the noodles are finished cooking.

½ lb linguini, spaghetti, or Chinese noodles
½ cup smooth peanut butter
3 T soy sauce
1 T grated ginger
Juice of ½ lime
1 T oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1 T sesame oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T avocado oil
1 T unsalted butter
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
¼ cup peanuts, crushed or chopped, for garnish
Diced cilantro, for garnish

Cook noodles in boiling salted water, saving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy, ginger, lime juice, oyster sauce, garlic, and sesame oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté
the scallions for 1 minute. 
Add the sauce, pasta, and some of the pasta water.
Toss to completely coat.  Add more pasta water, if needed.
Garnish with sesame seeds, peanuts, and cilantro.

Serve 2

Saturday, May 30, 2020


One of my favorite shrimp dishes, and I have many favorite shrimp dishes, is coconut shrimp.  Make the Mango Dipping Sauce up to a day before.  Bread the shrimp in the morning and place on a platter and refrigerate until ready to fry.

Mango Dipping Sauce
2 T mayonnaise
1 mango cut into cubes
Juice of ½ lime
2 t Sriracha
1 t honey
¼ t sea salt
Pinch of curry powder

Coconut Shrimp
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 T water
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup panko bread crumbs
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
Avocado or peanut oil, for frying

Lime wedges, for serving
Cilantro, for garnish

Dipping Sauce
Add the mayonnaise, mango, lime juice, Sriracha, honey, salt, and curry powder to a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

In one bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
In another bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons water.
In a third bowl, combine the shredded coconut and panko.

Bread the shrimp by dipping them into the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Dip them into the egg wash and finally into the coconut mixture; making sure to coat completely.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry the shrimp in two batches until golden brown and crispy, approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the second batch.

Arrange on a platter and serve with the Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce.
Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Corn pudding is such a Southern food staple anytime of the year.  If you want to save time, use frozen corn that has been thawed and drained in a fine mesh strainer.  If you want this to be very mild, leave out the peppers and Pepper Jack cheese (use Monterey plain cheese).  For a little heat, add one or two of these options.

2 T all-purpose flour
1 T corn flour
1 T granulated sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
3 cups corn kernels
2 T unsalted butter, melted
Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 green onions, finely diced
1 t chopped fresh oregano
½ cup shredded Monterey Pepper Jack cheese
½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh oregano, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, corn flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk in the eggs and half-and-half or milk.
Stir in the corn, melted butter, peppers, green onions, oregano, and cheeses.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Garnish with oregano before serving.

Serves 6