Pork Tacos

Posted in Pork Tacos on February 28th, 2011 by Lucy

Pork tacos are fun food. They are a casual meal for a crowd, easy to put together, and sure to make everyone feel good. There are countless interpretations of tacos, from the tortilla to the fillings. They have no season, therefore can be made with anything available that works for you. I’ve been making this pork recipe for dozens of years now, and have forgotten where it originated from. Regardless, like most recipes, it is meant to be inspirational by nature, but interpreted by the cook with his own style. I have managed to hit upon the best combination of tortilla, filling and garnishes that work for me. Try some variations that add crunch, softness, heat or coolness that work together for you. read more »

Oh, Oh Orange cake!

Posted in Fresh Orange Cake on February 26th, 2011 by Lucy

 

fresh orange cake recipe

fresh orange cake

This is citrus season. No better time to revive the senses out from under the blankets with a fresh orange cake. It always comes as a surprise to me that in the dead of winter here in the Northwest (25 degrees and snow on the ground as I write this), tangerines, oranges, grapefruits and lemons are ripe in the lower half of the country. What a great sight to see at the market-the warm, sunny colors and flavors we associate with summer. From Meyer lemons to blood oranges, there are plenty of choices and the sweet, tart flavors are so refreshing after living on the richer and heavier comfort foods of winter (ok, so I ran downstairs and made myself a cup of chocolate, you know the recipe, with lots of bittersweet chocolate?). Not only are citrus fruits loaded with vitamin C, but also have more potassium than bananas and are rich in phyto chemicals–the ones that help to fight cancer. (Come to think of it, so does chocolate.)

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An Ode to the Garden gratin

Posted in Dede's Garden Gratin on September 1st, 2010 by Lucy

Everyone needs a sister like mine.

She can do anything. Especially when involving her hands. She knits, sews, quilts, weaves, cooks, bakes, cans, and bottles lovely liqeurs- a mere domestic goddess. She does a lot more than that but that’s not the story.

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LTV Mac n’ Cheese

Posted in Mac 'n cheese on March 14th, 2010 by Lucy

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LTV???

As in… “lick the vessel” CLEAN. Seriously.

Could mac and cheese be that good??? This is the most American of comfort foods. It’s not something I ever order when dining out, nor want to admit I’m even interesting in trying to master.  But, this is a dish for that cozy occasion when just nothing else will do.  Even our founding father, Thomas Jefferson, decided it was worthy of being served in the White House. Young or old, most of us wouldn’t turn down a perfect spoonful. read more »

Liquid gold:drinking Chocolate

Posted in Drinking Chocolate on January 3rd, 2010 by Lucy

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Need I say more?

Liquid gold. Nirvana in a cup. A heavenly gift.

Drinking chocolate is all the rage. It’s front page news. We are not reading about hot chocolate. We are guided by lists of what, where, how, and when we can get a cup of drinking chocolate. Does the movie Chocolat come to mind? Vianne (Juliette Binoche) creates a sensational cup of magic for her customers that seems to heal. Her fellow Parisians have been ordering up drinking chocolate at Angelina’s, Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots for over a century. And now Portland has finally caught on to serving up this special brew. read more »

Sunday morning waffles

Posted in Raised Waffles on December 27th, 2009 by Lucy

yeast_waffles-001Ahhh…Sunday morning. It all starts with the recognition that it is your day. You roll out of bed when you’re ready, no alarm clock to register. Maybe you’ll just lie there a while, let your mind drift over all the possibilities that lie ahead. What luxury. No need to rush. The day belongs to you. Ahhh, maybe just a few more minutes to lie here and …..but wait, what’s that rumble? My body is talking, my stomach is suggesting…oh yes, I’ve got Sunday morning waffles waiting for me downstairs in the kitchen!!! I was so smart and well prepared last night to ensure the glory of this moment! You swing your legs out of bed and voila! Let the morning begin. read more »

A Pie with a Past

Posted in Bittersweet Chocolate Mocha Cream Pie on July 9th, 2009 by Lucy

MY GIRLFRIEND, Miss Mavis Brown, arrived on Thanksgiving day last year with her venerable chocolate pie. She had made it once before and was overwhelmed by how incredibly good it was, but noted that it had a tendency to be a bit “sloppy.” Seeing the look of concern on my face, she quickly followed with… “but I’ll bet it was because I hadn’t let it chill overnight first.”  The pie in her hands was thoughtfully chilled overnight, and just needed it’s topping and chocolate shavings. As the evening rolled by, I found myself at the table in conversation while the desserts were being enjoyed in the kitchen. I noticed that the kitchen was now more crowded than the table. I missed the pie’s debut, making it to the kitchen just in time to see the remnants. What was left was a loose mass of chocolate goo. And nobody seemed to care. I learned much from that pie. First-guests will usually eat anything made from chocolate. Second- it was so tasty, it didn’t matter what it looked like. Third, always read through a recipe before assuming it will work.  read more »

Crazy for coconut!!

Posted in Coconut Macaroons on March 6th, 2009 by Lucy

IS IT ME, or do you too conjure up goofy images when you think of coconuts? Gilligan’s Island? Coconut shell bikini tops? Tropical drinks with straws on the half shell? Coconuts falling from a tree and bouncing off Curly’s head from a Three Stooges skit? Tropical=casual=fun. Although the coconut has a laid back attitude-who is going to take it seriously when you need a mallet and lots of determination just to get at it’s exotic, sweet flesh?!- it does have some amazing nutritional and beneficial properties. It’s value is overlooked in our newly marketed dietary guidelines, but you may want to think twice before assuming it’s not healthy. I poked around a bit just to get reacquainted with what I had learned as a young consumer growing up in Hawaii. read more »

Rat-tat-tafia? Yum!!!

Posted in Carol's Quince Ratafia on February 25th, 2009 by Lucy

I AM SO CRAZY for quince. I may have mentioned that in my last entry which heralded their virtues. I have been devouring all that jam and jelly I had made last year but unfortunately it won’t be long now before it’s all gone. It was the largest batch of anything I had ever made, so much so that I shared quite a bit for Christmas gifts. Luckily, I planned to make the most of the 25 pound box of quince that I had bought at a local farm so along with the jam, jelly and preserves making last fall, I put up some quince vodka, or ‘Ratafia. ‘

To alleviate the disappointment of my dwindling supply of jam, I simply open up the pantry, and am instantly reminded of the pleasures yet to come- long, warm days and cool summer cocktails. Stored in the dark, among the cans and bottles on the bottom shelf, is a large eight quart jar filled with quince ratafia ‘to be.’ It has been sitting in there for three months now with the intention of being there for another five. read more »

Winter Jewels

Posted in Quince jelly and jam on December 30th, 2008 by Lucy

THE ANCIENT QUINCE…..kind of a mystery fruit.  Neither an apple nor a pear, but of the same Rose family. This was the chosen fruit for the symbol of fertility by the ancient Greeks, who dedicated them to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Quince are native to the area between the Caspian and Black Seas, namely Turkey, Iran and Southern Georgia. Their popularity brought them to South America, Australia, New Zealand and the Mediterranean, where they are commonly eaten raw as well as cooked.

In North America, Quince are on the specialty fruit list, with very few trees in production. Unlike apples and pears which are enjoyed right off the tree with their sweetness,  these bright yellow fruit are very hard, acidic and not naturally sweet. Instead, they are turned into marmalade, jam, jelly and preserves. To me, their flavor is similar to a guava, especially when made into jelly. They give off a wonderful perfume when ripe, close to the smell of roses, so keep a few in a bowl to fragrance the room. When cooked, they turn light pink, and their cooking liquid turns to a deep crimson hue.  If you are lucky enough to get your hands on any of them next Fall, I’ll share a few ways to make the most of them. read more »