Enjoy your holiday, but don’t forget to look around

I wouldn’t leave you high and dry for Thanksgiving Day without pointing you to a few trusted recipes.

First up, the sweet potato-and-apple dish that brought me back to the sweet potato fold: You can find it here.

Nor would I leave you without a peek at our Italian family’s stuffing recipe, which you’ll find here.

And, in case you’d like to be reassured that even seasoned cooks can make kitchen blunders, check out the tale of my 2014 turkey here.

I do hope you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, whether it’s a Continue reading

Happy Pre-Thankgiving!

impossible pies

Besides bagels, cream cheese and salmon, we served Impossible Ham ‘N’ Swiss Pie (left) and Impossible Green Chile-Cheese pie at our Pre-Thanksgiving. Photo by Laura Groch

We just finished a casual but fun family gathering. What? When Thanksgiving is just around the corner?

Well, yes, because family and friends are often heading to other in-laws’ or other friends’ homes to share this holiday and/or Christmas. So our branch comes together sometimes before Christmas, or in this case, before Thanksgiving, for a get-together.

I’ve heard other folks have christened this idea as “Faux-” or “Fake- Continue reading

When life gives you portobellos and peppers, sauté them

portobello mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes

Portobello mushrooms are great in a stir-fry fajita-style with peppers, onions and tomatoes. Photo by Laura Groch

Necessity is the mother of invention, and sometimes bargains can be the parents of creativity. Especially in the kitchen.

I snagged a package of three portobello mushroom caps for 99 cents in the marked-down produce section of my supermarket recently. I knew portobellos were expensive, so this was truly a deal. But if you can’t figure out what to do with your deal, it’s money down the drain.

I also picked up a bag of three bell peppers for 99 cents. Hmmm. I had Continue reading

Let’s get mushy, pumpkin lovers

pumpkin mush

Pumpkin Mush is homey and hearty, and you won’t bump into it coming and going. I added some dried cranberries to this version. (Photo by Laura Groch)

We’re not even into November, and already people are professing to be sick of pumpkin. The ever-lovin’ merchandisers of the world are putting it into everything but deodorant and detergent (and can those be far behind?). Pumpkin breads, cakes, cookies, pies, risottos, soups, coffees, pancakes — no wonder we’re sated with this squash.

At the risk of adding to the pumpkin parade, I’ve got a recipe that you probably Continue reading

Thanks, Agatha: Another food word that’s new to me

In the category of “food words I’ve never heard of,” I have another entry: chota peg.

Yes, I’ve been reading British mystery novels again, Agatha Christie’s “N or M?” to be exact, and came across it here:

“… you go abroad and buy and sell in the British Empire and come back bronzed and full of clichés, talking about the natives and calling for Chota Pegs and all that sort of thing.”

Continue reading

Kale, lemons and lima beans at the festival

Rafael Castillejo and Javier Reyes of Reality Changers volunteered at the lima bean festival, serving Mary Dralle's Lemony Lima Poppyseed Cake. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Rafael Castillejo and Javier Reyes of Reality Changers volunteered at the lima bean festival, serving Mary Dralle’s Lemony Lima Poppyseed Cake. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Me with Jean Bruns of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, who was supervising the Encinitas Lima Bean Cookoff and Faire. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Me with Jean Bruns of the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. (Photo by Greg Groch)

Kale, lemons and of course, lima beans were the dominant flavors Saturday at the Encinitas Lima Bean Cookoff and Faire, put on by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum off Quail Gardens Drive.

I helped with the judging, sampling everything lima-beanish from Mini Sweet Pepper Poppers to Hawaiian Lima BBQ Beans to Lima-Kale Gratin and Cinnabean Rolls. (Winning recipes in an upcoming post.)

It was a lot of fun, with some very nice people who enjoyed the afternoon, the Continue reading

It’s all about those beans, ’bout those beans — and Restaurant Week, too

Lima Bean Festival

Cooking instructor Mary “Cooking With Klibs” Dralle was among those exhibiting bean ideas at the 2014 Lima Bean Festival at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Some very local goings-on in this post, starting with:

— Encinitas’ San Dieguito Heritage Museum, which is hosting its 7th annual Lima Bean Festival from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. I’m helping judge the entries in the cooking contest, which is always a fun part of the festivities. But it’s not all about the beans, though — there are other attractions, including a plant sale, silent auction, kids games and tours of the historical Teten House. Come on by and taste-test (from 12:30-2:30 p.m.) the different concoctions dreamed up by area chefs, amateurs and Continue reading