Sauerkraut and tomato soup — in your cake? A little food fun for April Fools’ Day

sauerkraut, potato chips, tomato soup

Sauerkraut, potato chips and tomato soup can put a little harmless April Fools’ Day fun on your dessert table. Photo by Laura Groch

As April Fools’ Day approaches, we’ll see plenty of ideas from clever, creative sorts for cakes, cookies and other foods transformed into things they are not, the better to turn the tables on folks. Such as cakes turned into what looks like, oh, scrambled eggs or hamburgers, or cookies turned into carrots, and the like.

Such “Fooler Foods” bring to mind some of our efforts at the now-defunct Times Advocate newspaper, precursor to the also-now-defunct North County Times.

Our Food Department was me, whichever feature reporter was free at the time, Continue reading

Welsh cakes, physalis, banoffee and more food notes from overseas

Welsh cakes in packaging

Welsh cakes in their native habitat. A UK grocery store, that is. Unprepossessing in appearance, they turned out to be surprisingly good. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Ah, St. Patrick gets all the love in March, but there’s another UK saint who deserves remembering, and that’s St. David. His feast day is March 1 (oops), and among other things, he’s known for urging his flock to “do ye the little things in life.” Not a bad sentiment.

I’m bringing up the Welsh saint as a (shameless) segue into talking about Welsh cakes, about which I’ll have more in a moment. This is my wordy way of returning to sharing observations about our (fairly) recent Scottish/English Continue reading

Thanks, Grandma: Rediscovered zucchini recipe brightens meatless menu

zucchini casserole bread

Zucchini Casserole Bread is something different for a meatless meal. Serve with soup and/or salad. (Photos by Laura Groch)

When life gives you a bag of surplus zucchini, here’s a vegetarian dish to help you make use of them. It’s a nice option for those observing Meatless Fridays for Lent and/or Meatless Mondays or Meatless Every- and Anydays. (It’s also worth bookmarking for when the zucchini days of summer arrive.)

I rediscovered this dish recently while rummaging through my cookbooks for something a little different. (And yes, I had extra zucchini to use.) Grandma Teresa Continue reading

The Buttery and the Crowdie

spinach-filled buttery, crowdie

The “buttery” (or at least part of it) containing “Crowdie” served at the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.                                     Photo by Laura Groch

 

 

Jack in the Box’s recent ads for their new “buttery” burger reminded me that I haven’t written anything about our Scottish adventure, and the tale of “The Buttery and the Crowdie.”

We took a wonderful trip to Scotland last September: Edinburgh, Inverness and Orkney, the last of which is very far north and off the mainland (Orkney encompasses several islands full of WWII history and ancient monoliths). The scenery and history were magnificent; the people were so friendly; and the food, Continue reading

Words of love on Valentine’s Day. Oh, and cake

Hershey's Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake

Easy-to-prepare Hershey’s Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake (shown here with peanut-butter frosting) is a delicious treat for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Best wishes to everyone for a sweet Valentine’s Day — which doesn’t have to be as commercial as all the advertising that’s been surrounding us for the past two weeks. Kisses, hugs, small kindnesses and heartfelt words will have a longer-lasting impact than candy, flowers or jewelry. (Not that I’m knocking candy, flowers or jewelry.)

But telling and showing the people you care for that you do care for them doesn’t Continue reading

Beans for da Bowl? 2 hearty recipes that will also help take the chill off

marcy jiminez, mackenzie williams, lima bean festival, brownies

People come up with some amazing ideas using beans at the annual Lima Bean Festival. Marcy Jimenez and Mackenzie Willkins created brownies. (Want more bean ideas? Contact the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.) (Photo by Laura Groch)

Gray day in SoCal today, so in solidarity with our East Coast br-r-r-ethren, I think some warming foods are in order. Here are a couple of winners from the 2014 Lima Bean festival, held in September at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. For the past several years, I’ve been honored to help with the judging (yes, I work cheap) of this boisterous, fun event.

Both recipes are hearty enough for chilly weather, and both would make fine additions to your Super Bowl table (you are planning more than chips and dip, right?).

BTW, if you’ve never visited the museum, or attended the festival, I can Continue reading

A chili without tomato totality (just in time for the Super Bowl)

tomatoes

I love tomatoes, but the totality of tomato in most chilis is too much for me. Here’s a chili recipe that tones down the tomato factor. (Photo copyright Laura Groch 2015)

Super Bowl season brings up visions of other ‘super’ bowls — hearty soups, stews, chilis and gumbos that can be left in a slow cooker for dishing out at halftime and beyond.

I’m not a fan in general of most chilis, finding them way too-tomatoey, which tends to knock out most of the other flavors. But hey, that’s me. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys chili with plenty of tomatoes.

What to do to keep us both happy? Well, I recently adapted a recipe that makes Continue reading