Posted by: acooksca | 12/16/2014

Date and Walnut Ice Cream

Date and Walnut Ice Cream

Date and Walnut Ice Cream

Richly flavored with dates and toasted walnuts, this always seems like a winter dessert to me. An easy-to-make egg custard provides the velvety base and yogurt lightens the texture making a complex and adult ice cream.

Start this recipe earlier in the day to give the custard enough time to cool completely before freezing in an ice cream maker. Read More…

Advertisements
Posted by: acooksca | 11/17/2014

Kelseyville…It’s All About Pears

Giant Pear draws celebrants down Main Street

Giant Pear draws celebrants down Main Street

“It’s a nice ride to Kelseyville from here. And they are having the Pear Festival today!” We are in Lake County to bike along rural lanes of fields and orchards near Clear Lake. It is a quiet, late September Saturday and we don’t anticipate being overwhelmed by a local fruit festival. But hey, I like pears, so why not head that way? The road passes weathered rustic barns and sunny hillside wineries on the slopes of Mount Konocti. Cresting a small hill we look down at the classic small-town Main Street of Kelseyville…absolutely packed with people at the Pear Festival. Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 11/17/2014

Sautéed Pear Halves

Pear with Kale, Hazelnuts and Curry Oil

Pear with Kale, Hazelnuts and Curry Oil

This simple method of gently caramelizing halved pears until they soften into fans is both simple to prepare and delightfully versatile. Use them on a side dish of kale with hazelnuts and curry oil (as in the photo), atop salad greens with a bacon vinaigrette, as an accompaniment to turkey paillards with a vermouth butter sauce or as a textural contrast to goat cheese bruschetta. Or as Pear Belle Helene with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 09/17/2014

Dublin’s Irish Whiskey Tour

Bowe's Pub, Dublin

Bowe’s Pub, Dublin

There may be more pubs in Dublin, Ireland than bicycles in Amsterdam. Looking for help on where best to sample small batch Irish whiskeys we stopped by James Fox Co., merchant of whiskey, wine and cigars. “There is a fellow, Michael Lawlor is the name, and here’s his flyer.” Michael’s Irish Whiskey Tours promised to visit 4 historic pubs, sample 4 of his favorite whiskeys and answer all our questions about what makes Irish whiskey unique. Best of all a tour started in 15 minutes at a classic pub one block away. Read More…

Quincy barn with painted barn quilt

Quincy barn with painted barn quilt

In northeastern California, where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges meet, lies a lovely region of the state, Plumas County. Rugged river canyons and dense, soaring forests provide an exquisite backdrop to Highway 89 as it wanders through meadowed valleys and gold-rush era mining towns. Cutting across the heart of the county is the Feather River National Scenic Byway 70. It follows historic Beckwourth Trail, established in 1851 by the African American Explorer James Pierson Beckwourth to lead miners from Reno to Oroville. The drive in late summer is under a brilliant sky and there is the soothing smell of sun-warmed pines.

Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 08/22/2014

Maple Apple Tarts

Maple Apple Tart

Maple Apple Tart

These rustic tarts are simpler and quicker to make than they look. Unpeeled apples are sliced very thinly on a slicer (I use a $15 hand held adjustable blade slicer bought at a Korean market). Poaching the apple slices briefly in maple syrup keeps them light and juicy. The poaching syrup in later reduced with a dash of brandy and butter for an intense glaze.

1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from a 17 ¾ oz. package) thawed
½ cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ pound (3 large) Gala or Fuji apples, left whole and unpeeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon brandy or rum

Place an oven rack in lower one third of oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 07/28/2014

Reno’s River Walk

Reno River Walk

Reno River Walk

I am sitting at the bar of Campo Restaurant on the newly renovated River Walk in Reno. A skillet of sautéed Shishito peppers is set before me. “Excuse me, but what are those?” ask Kim and Andrea, two young women sitting next to me. I hand them some peppers to taste. Behind them a chalk board displays names of local producers that supply Campo’s contemporary farm-to-table kitchen. Kim tells me that Campo is one of a half dozen market-inspired independent restaurants and craft bars that opened in Reno the last few years within blocks of the river. An uptick in tech and outdoor sports industries is fueling the market, the latest reversal of Reno’s fortunes.

Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 07/28/2014

Sautéed Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers

The Japanese pepper known as Shishito is small and finger-ling sized, slender, and thin-walled. They are generally sweet with one in about every ten spicy, but not mouth burning. Although they turn from green to red upon ripening, they are mostly harvested green throughout the summer months.

Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 06/01/2014

Driving Maui’s Lush Northwest Edge

Kahakuloa Head on Northern Maui

Kahakuloa Head on Northern Maui

Pacific trade winds accompanied ancient Polynesians, 19th century whaling ships and, in 1940, the first Pan Am Flying Boats to the mid-ocean destination of the Hawaiian Islands. These same moisture-laden northeasterly trades give Hawaii’s windward slopes the tropical lushness we envision. As beautiful as the “wet” sides of the islands are, visitors seek more reliably sunny conditions for tanning and swimming and they crowd the coasts of the “dry” sides. Read More…

Posted by: acooksca | 06/01/2014

Warm Mango and Green Bean Salad

Warm Mango Green Bean Salad

Warm Mango Green Bean Salad

In the Hawaiian Islands you are never far from a perfectly ripe mango.  Not so here on the mainland.  Choose a mango with skin more yellow and red than green. When ripe the flesh gives a little with a slight squeeze. If you are not sure if it is ripe enough, place it in a brown paper bag in a sunny spot for a day.

Yields four small salads

Read More…

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories