Thursday, October 28, 2004


Hachiya Persimmon Cake

I worked at a restaurant in San Francisco (that shall remain unnamed since the only nice thing I can say about the place is that the food was outstanding.) and we served an incredible persimmon and apple salad. Other than as an ingredient in cookies, I had never had a persimmon before then. They are a terrific fall fruit, with a delicious spicy flavor. If you like mangos, you’ll like persimmons. The most important thing to remember is that there are two varieties, but both need to be peeled before being eaten. Hachiya is acorn-shaped and outrageously astringent until it's super soft. (The skin should be transparent and the fruit absolute mush before you try eating it.) This is what you would use to bake with. Try it over rice pudding that has been flavored with candied ginger. Fuyu persimmons are smaller, flatter, nonastringent and can be eaten while still firm. It has the same bright orange color as the hachiya, but it is squatter and rounder, and does not have the hachiya's distinctive point. Use fuyus sliced super thin in a salad with roasted onion and apple cider vinaigrette Yum. Maybe I'll post that recipe tomorrow, but for now, try this, it's super tasty.

4 to 6 very ripe, hachiya persimmons, yielding 1 1/4 cup pureed pulp
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each fresh nutmeg and ground cloves
3/4 cup butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350F.

Puree persimmon pulp until smooth.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

In an large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and combine well. Add the persimmon puree. Add half the flour and just combine. Add the buttermilk and persimmon puree and just combine. Add the remaining flour and stir until it just comes together, then stir in the orange zest.

Spoon into a 9 inch cake pan that has been greased with butter. Bake for 40 minutes, or more until knife comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a platter to cool completely.

Before serving, dust lightly with powdered sugar.

This is also great served with a crème anglaise sauce or whipped cream with rum.
Bristol Farms meat departments sharpen knives for customers at no charge.

golf clubs are made of Persimmon tree wood.

On October 28th, 1919 Congress passed the Volstead Act providing for enforcement

of the Eighteenth Amendment also known as Prohibition.
It was a huge failure and was repealed in 1933.

On October 28th 1846 - Auguste Escoffier (‘King of Chefs and Chef of Kings’)
the Father of modern French cuisine was born.



Persimmons Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Boston Baked Beans

Red Sox Complete Sweep, Win World Series For First Time In 86 Years!!!!

In their honor, here is a recipe for Boston Baked Beans. Boston Creme Pie is just too complicated to expect anyone to make. Not that I would expect you to make this either, but I had to do SOMETHING in their honor. Yipee for the Red Sox!

2 pounds white pea beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium size onion, copped fine
2 teaspoons dry mustard
4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup HOT coffee

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Soak the beans overnight in water.

The next day, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Rinse the beans and cover with fresh water and parboil for 10 minutes.

Pour the beans into a strainer and allow to drain. Rinse with cold water.

In a large pot sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat until translucent. Return the beans to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.

Bake, uncovered for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep adding water as necessary to keep the beans moist.

Serves 8 to 10.


Saturday, October 23, 2004


Spice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

OK kiddies, let's just clear one thing up. Here in the United States chances are you have never eaten or purchased a yam. What we buy are sweet potatoes. A true yam is a large starchy root that's native to Africa and Asia. They can weigh up to 100 pounds and are rarely available in the United States. OK, now that we all know THAT...let's talk about this recipe. It is easy and straightforward, tastes and smells delicious and is the perfect fall food. Yum.

4 sweet potatoes, cut in half
1 stick butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
White Pepper

2 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch each of: dried rosemary, fennel, coriander, peppercorns, cinnamon, pepper flakes (If you have a spice grinder, grind the spices together to a fine powder. If not, just make sure they are crushed as well as you can.)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar and lemon juice. When the sugar is melted, stir in the salt, pepper and spices. Then pour over sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Toss well. And arrange cut side up. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes or until tender.

Serves 8.

Martha Stewart has a group she's teaching
cooking to in prison. She is trying to figure
out innovative ways to do microwave cooking,
which is all the prisoners have access to.

She should visit the Friedmans website!

Friday, October 15, 2004


Cranberry-Orange Scones

When I was a girl, we sometimes spent Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncles' beach house on the eastern tip of Long Island. It really is the perfect place to spend the holiday. One of the best parts (and there were many) was the cranberry bog that was behind their house. My brother and cousin and I would go and gather the crimson berries and later help to make the sweet and tart sauce. It was a really wonderful time. It took me years to realize cranberries can be eaten all year long (and they freeze so well!) I started making these scones on days like today...

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon baking powder
large pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 large egg
4 tablespoons milk, buttermilk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Butter a foil lined cookie sheet.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add the chilled butter. Rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Gently stir in the cranberries.

In another bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, juice, and egg. Using a fork, gradually add to the flour mixture.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead until smooth. Roll or pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into eight wedges.

Place the scones 1 inch apart on your baking sheet. Brush with the milk (and top with extra sugar, or if you have it a sprinkle with a few packets of that "Sugar In The Raw.")

Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, until slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Makes eight

This weekend if you are, for some reason,
heading to New Jersey, why not check this out

Chatsworth Cranberry Festival
October 16-17
Chatsworth, New Jersey

In 2001 approximately 558 million
pounds of cranberries were produced
in the United States. Canada produced
approximately 50 million additional pounds.
(Source: The Cranberry Institute)

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Crepes With Chicken, Pears and Herbs de Provence

Did you know Trader Joes sells really decent pre-made crepes? I love crepes in their many guises. One thing people don't do very often is use them for a savory dish such as this. I like to use Poire William for this instead of wine, Herbs de Provence (a mixture of dried herbs that includes lavender.) and a lot of fresh pepper. With pears in season, yet the weather (here at least) still warm, this is a perfect dish.

4 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large firm pears, peeled, seeded and chopped into a medium dice
¼ cup white wine or Pear William
½ cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 heaping teaspoon herbs de Provence
4 large crepes
Black pepper, 4 sprigs of lavender (0r any fresh herb)

Optional Garnish: Blanched green onions

In a sauté pan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and sauté a few moments before adding the pear. When the chicken is ready, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Allow the chicken to cool a minute or two and then dice.

With the pear still in the pan, turn the heat to high and add the wine (or Pear William) and stock and reduce by 1/2. Reduce the heat and add the herbs and cream. Stir to combine. When the cream starts to bubble, remove the pan from the heat. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt. Add the chicken back to the sauce.

Using a slotted spoon, divide the chicken between the crêpes, roll like a burrito. Pour the remaining sauce on the plates and place the crepe on top. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and a sprig of lavender.

Alternatively, you can make the crepes into small bundles and tie off with the blanched green onions. Harder to do, but a great presentation. Plus, you can change the pears to apples, include some diced shallot or fennel and maybe add some canellini beans to the plate before adding the sauce.


Oh wow, how much do I want the
Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America

Elmer Doolin was so inspired by his frito pie lunch one day
in San Antonio TX. that he paid the cook $100 for the recipe.
He experimented with mass producing the base of the dish
and started what became Frito-Lay in 1932.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Fattoush - Lebanese Salad

We eat a lot of basil and oregano in this county, but in other countries (or regions) they eat different herbs and spices (Can you imagine? Are you shocked by this information?). For instance in the Middle East (mostly Turkey and Syria I would say) Sumac (the C is not pronounced) is a popular spice, used the way we use salt and pepper or even lemon juice or vinegar. It has a sour taste that became popular prior to the introduction of citrus to the area. You may have come across it sometime in a salad such as this, but never known what it was you were tasting. It is available online from Penzeys. When mixed with sesame seeds, salt and thyme it becomes Za'atar. (Which is tasty sprinkled over plain yogurt and used as a dip!)

4 pita bread rounds,
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
½ cup kalamata olives, without pits, chopped
1 head of romaine lettuce leaves, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
1 Persian cucumber, peeled, chopped (Persian cucumbers have very few seeds. If you can’t get them, just remove the seeds of the cucumber you do use)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoons toasted seasame seeds
1 teaspoons ground sumac
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400F.

Lightly brush the pita with some of the olive oil, cut into medium-small pieces and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Mix tomatoes, olives, lettuce, parsley, mint, green onions, cucumber, red bell pepper and toasted pita bread in large bowl.

Whisk the oil, lemon juice, garlic clove and sumac in small bowl to blend. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

As with all bread salads, this does not hold well.

Serves four generously

Additions: Red Onion, Feta Cheese, Hot Peppers or Grilled Chicken, Lamb or Shrimp

The average American consumes about 50 to 60 pounds of bread per year.

7 percent of all Americans eat at McDonald's each day.

In 2002, total meat consumption (red meat, poultry, and fish)
amounted to 200 pounds per person,
23 pounds above the level in 1970. Americans consumed, on average,
18 pounds less red meat (mostly less beef) than in 1970, 37 pounds

more poultry, and 4 pounds more fish. (Source, USDA)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Whole Pumpkins Stuffed With Wild Rice

Have you seen those little sugar pumpkins for sale at the market? Yum. They are inexpensive (it being autumn now...can you feel it in the air) and (what do I always say?) simple to prepare! Try this and enjoy!

5 small sugar pumpkins
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chicken stock
4 cups cooked brown and wild rice
4 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chiffonade
½ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Four of the pumpkins should treated as normal…remove the top and the seeds, cut the stringy stuff (very technical term there, beware) from the top and make sure it fits back on as a lid.

The fifth pumpkin should be peeled, deseeded and chopped into small pieces.

Heat the oil and the butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the onion then garlic and sauté until translucent. Add the pumpkin and stock and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to the rest of the ingredients.

Loosely fill the pumpkins with the filling and replace the lids. Place the pumpkins in a large roasting pan and add 1 cup of water to the pan, (should come up about ½ inch). Roast in the oven until the pumpkins can be pierced with a knife. Should take about 1 hour.

When cooked, remove the roasting pan carefully from the oven, and take out the pumpkins. Allow to cool for a few minutes then serve.

Serves four as a main course.

Additions: Chopped roast chicken, toasted pecans, cranberries, minced rosemary. You can also just forgo the presentation and mix all that up for a casserole.

Pumpkins are fruit that originated in Central America.
In the United States 97% of the pumpkins grown are used for Halloween decorations.
The "pumpkin capital" of the world is Morton, Illinois, home of the Libby corporation.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Portuguese Custard

Well kids, I catered a party for 25 this week, that had a theme (Cheese. How much do you love THAT?) and with my awesome assistant Lisa, we made some super tasty food. Smoked Chicken, Brie and Mango Quesedilla's With Tropical Fruit Salsa, Individual Servings of Pasta with Bayonne Ham, Fresh Herbs and Cheese Sauce with Toasted Panko Topping; Bluefin Crab, Water Spinach and Parmesan Dip; Marinated Roasted Chile Salad with Queso Fresco and Nacho Napoleons. As a special treat, we had this as the dessert. Try it, and enjoy!

Portuguese Custards

2 T. cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 cup sweetened finely shredded coconut
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract or Malibu rum

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Adjust the rack to middle position. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the milk, stir to dissolve. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the eggs and sugar together. One by one, add the cornstarch mixture, remaining milk, coconut, melted butter and lemon extract, stirring well after each addition.

Ladle the custard into the paper cups, filling to 1/4 inch from the top. (Make sure to stir frequently to keep the coconut well distributed.)

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the coconut is nicely toasted.

Cool before serving.

Makes ten.

Swiss steak isn't Swiss, Russian dressing isn't Russian, English muffins aren't English,
and Chop Suey is not Chinese; they're all American, and French fries are really Belgian.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Lamb Tagine with Apricots

One of my all time favorite ingredients has to be lemon, and one of the most intriguing ways of adding that flavor is with preserved lemons, a north African pickle. You can buy preserved lemons online from one of my favorite websites Kalustyans or you can make them yourself. It takes about five minutes. I will include more recipes that use preserved lemon in the future, but for now, try this tagine, it is SO simple, and heavenly. A tagine, by the way, is a typical Moroccan earthenware cooking vessel, that is also the name of the dish prepared in it. Enjoy!

2 pounds diced lamb, trimmed of most of its fat
1 tsp each: pepper, ground cumin, cinnamon, coriander and ginger

pinch of tumeric or saffron
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups beef stock

2 large brown onions, peeled and sliced
2 large carrots, peels and chopped into large pieces
1 can chick peas, drained

1 preserved lemon, chopped
10 dried apricots, halved
10 prunes, halved (optional)

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil

Cilantro, mint and toasted almonds for garnish

Put the lamb into a bowl. Add the onions, pepper, ground cumin, cinnamon, coriander ginger saffron and salt. Stir to coat the meat well. Cover and leave to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 F

Heat a large, heavy frying pan. Add the lamb in batches and brown evenly. Transfer to a heavy casserole along with the rest of the ingredients, seal the lid with foil, and cook for 2 ½ hours.

Serve over steamed couscous with mint, cilantro and almonds as garnish

Serves six

* * *


8 lemons
1/2 cup kosher salt
Fresh lemon juice

Scrub the lemons well. Cut into quarters from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, taking care to leave the 4 pieces joined at the stem end.

Sprinkle the insides of the lemon with some of the salt.

Place 1 tablespoon of salt on the bottom of a 1-quart jar and loosely pack in the lemons, layering with salt as you go. Add extra lemon juice almost to the top of the jar. Seal the jar and let the lemons sit at room temperature for 1 month, turning the jar upside down periodically to distribute the salt and juices.

To use the lemons, remove from the brine and discard the pulp. Wash the peel before using. Some white crystals will form on the top of the lemons in the jar, which is normal. They can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to 1 year.

Adapted from Joanne Weir "Weir Cooking in the City"
Supperclub is a restaurant/art gallery/space to check out if you are looking for something TOTALLY out there, and are going to (or already are in) Holland!
Read more about it here,9950,1299998,00.html
or visit them online at

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad

So now that fall is upon us (sort of) and apples are in season, you might like to try this light, crisp salad. If you have a mandolin slicer it makes the preparation a snap. If you don't, just try to slice the apple and fennel as thin as possible.

¼ cup apple juice

4 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 large apple thinly sliced (I use Granny Smith)
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped (optional)

2 cups watercress
1/4 cup toasted walnuts

In a large bowl, whisk together the first the first four ingredients to blend; adding salt as needed. Toss with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

Ideas for additions/substitutions: Crumbled bacon, blue cheese, pecans, pinch of curry powder, arugula, mandarin orange segments, green onion or a splash of calvados.

Looking for something to do this weekend?
Why not check out the Old World Village Oktoberfest

in Huntington Beach,
now through October 30th.

Visit for more information, or click here if you are going to Germany!

Monday, October 04, 2004


Cucumber, Chile and Lime

I know I haven't been writing too much about the classes I teach lately, mostly because a lot of the time the (awesome) people I teach want the same recipes (who knew certain things would be so popular!) as everyone else. Last night, my class was great, yet another fantastic couple who had a beautiful kitchen and were very eager to learn. It just gets me so excited when people who don't cook, want to get in there and try. Of course, cooking your own food is always healthier and always a better alternative to fast food. Speaking of which, I watched the movie Super Size Me this weekend, and really encourage all of you to see it.

This is my favorite snack, maybe you'll like it too!

1 large cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced into spears
1 large mango, sliced into spears
juice of one large lime
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt

Sprinkle the lime, cayenne and salt over the cucumber and mango spears and enjoy.

(Jicama is a traditional addition to this snack.)

On Sept. 22, Interstate Bakeries the company that makes Wonder Bread and Hostess
products filed for bankruptcy -- leaving the future of Twinkies, Fruit Pies and Ho Hos in doubt.

A science teacher in Blue Hills, Maine, has kept a Twinkie on top of his blackboard for more
than 30 years, and told the Associated Press last month, "It's rather brittle, but if you dusted
it off, it's probably still edible. It never spoiled."

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