Here's to good food!

I am finally putting my tried and true family recipes here. Check out my old-time favorites as well as newly discovered ones.

I hope you'll find some recipes here that you enjoy cooking, and those you cook for will find them tasty and satisfying.
Are you looking for something special? Something quick and easy? You'll find it here somewhere.
Check in often to see what's cooking in Monterey!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti

If you are posting from this site, please give appropriate credit and notify me. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Teriyaki Salmon

We try to eat more seafood since it is supposed to be good for us.  We will only eat wild-caught salmon, preferably from Alaska, which has one of the best sustainable fisheries around.
(Seafood Watch Guides)

I usually like to have fish grilled outside, so it doesn't smell up the house.  This recipe from Just One Cookbook is so quick and there are no odors afterwards, a win-win situation.  Also, if you're looking for more Japanese recipes, this is a good site to check.

Seasoning sauce:
1 Tbsp sake or dry sherry
1 Tbsp mirin or (1 more Tbsp sake + 1 tsp sugar)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Japanese soy sauce

Combine the sauce ingredients above and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside.

8-12 oz wild-caught salmon fillets, about 3/4" thick
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sake or dry sherry

1.  Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and finally flour on both sides.

2.  Heat the oil and butter in a skillet until the butter melts.  Add the salmon, skin side down, and fry for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned.

3.  Turn over, add the sake, cover and cook for another 3 minutes until cooked through.  Remove to a plate.

4.  Add the prepared sauce to the pan and heat until it begins to boil.  Add the salmon back to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens.

5.  Serve immediately with the sauce spooned over.  Steamed rice and a green salad go nicely with this.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

 I originally saw this recipe on a blog, but the picture of it was very gooey because the baker had to remove it from the oven too soon.  Being a lover of Southern pralines, this recipe was too good to pass up.  
This is Alice Medrich's recipe. Right now I have three of  her cookbooks checked out from the library.   She is considered by some to be the "Queen of Chocolate."  She was one of the cooks instrumental in raising the bar for the kinds of chocolates we are now able to enjoy here in the US.  Her books have a lot of information in them, besides the great recipes.

  • Brownie:**         
    10 T unsalted butter, melted
    cup + 3 T sugar
    3/4 cup plus 2 T unsweetened cocoa
    t vanilla extract
    1/4 t salt
    eggs (cold) 
    1/2 C all purpose flour
    1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
    1/2 C all purpose flour  
    1/2 t baking soda
    3/4 C packed brown sugar
    1/2 t salt
    2 egg yolks                
    1 t vanilla extract
    2 1/2 C coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
    powdered sugar (optional)

    Melt the butter for the topping NOW so it has time to cool.

    Line a 9 ×13 baking pan, bottom and all four sides with foil or parchment and grease well.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    For the brownie: **  Place very warm melted butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a bowl and stir until smooth.  

    Stir in vanilla and add the eggs one at a time; mix well after each until batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended.

    Add in the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer; then beat vigorously for 40 strokes.  Spread brownie batter into prepared pan and set aside.

    For the topping:  Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix well.  Set aside.  In the scraped-out brownie bowl, combine the melted butter with the brown sugar and salt.  Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla, then flour mixture and finally the nuts.

    Drop spoonfuls on top of the brownie layer; it will spread and cover the brownies during baking.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is completely brown and cracked.  Rotate pan front to back halfway through baking time to ensure even baking.

    Let cool completely on wire rack, then remove by lifting the ends of the foil and removing from pan.  Cut into 24-36 bars.  

    Dust on powdered sugar, if desired.  May be kept in airtight container for 2-3 days.

    ** (Or use 1 pkg brownie mix for 9” square pan)  

Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich, pp. 178-9.
Bittersweet, Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate, by Alice Medrich, p. 98

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mrs. B’s Mexican Corn Bread

This recipe is from the mother of my friend, Jackie.  We've been friends for almost 60 years.  We had it tonight with Moroccan Chickpea Chili.  It was a great combination with a little green salad.  Who doesn't love crusty, melted cheese!  And unlike most cornbreads, this one is moist and has a delicious flavor!

1 c. corn meal
1/2 t. soda 
3/4 C. milk
1/3 C. veg. oil*
1 15 oz. can creamed corn
2 eggs

1 small can of diced green chiles
2 C. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the first six ingredients together. 

Spread half the batter into a greased 9"x9" baking pan. Sprinkle the green chili and half of cheese onto the batter. 

Spread remaining batter on top.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake another 5 minutes.

*If you're feeling like a little decadence, use melted butter or use part melted bacon fat for  the oil.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Deconstructed Wedge Salad

This recipe came from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, p. 61.  (  I had checked her website at various times.  I was looking for books to check out from the digital library on my iPad and this book came up.  I thought, "Why not?"  Well, reading a cookbook on an iPad is not ideal.  You see about half a page at a time, with very small photos.  But I liked the recipes and thought that I would buy the book.  

Well, I bought the book, and it is SO much better than trying to read on the iPad.  There are lots of good recipes that I want to try.  

This salad is on a dinner plate and easily serves 4 to 6.  I ended up cutting it into wedges for ease in serving, but it made for a colorful and inviting salad.

Instead of cutting into wedges, Deb Perelman slices the head of lettuce into 6 big slices and layers them, adding dressing and topping on each before adding the next layer of lettuce.  For me, this is more about the presentation than recipes. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Corn Salad

My neighbor brought over some corn salad soon after they moved in.  Since she doesn't make it from a recipe, she just told me what was in it.  I promptly forgot about it since it was in the middle of winter.  Now that fresh corn is in the stores, I found a version in Susan Branch's Summer Book.  Here is MY version of it.

4 ears of white corn              
1/2 bell pepper chopped, (any or all colors)
1/4 cup diced red onion        
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil                          3-4 tablespoons lime/lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika     1 small garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the corn in the microwave. (See ** below)  After you have de-husked the corn, put into a bowl of cool water, while you chop the remaining ingredients.  Remove the corn when it has cooled, and cut the kernels off the cob.  Prepare dressing by combining ingredients in a jar.

Toss corn with remaining ingredients.  Pour dressing over and refrigerate several hours or until chilled.

**To microwave corn on the cob, check out this video.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Maple Chile Butter to go with Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Maple chile butter with bacon cheddar biscuits
This is a specialty at one of the local restaurants.  They are priced at $3 each now.  For a biscuit!  I wasn't going to try it.  I make biscuits from scratch 6-8 times a year, sometimes more if we have lots of overnight guests.  Or it might be scones, which are basically biscuits with some extra flavorings added and cut into wedges instead of into rounds.  So making biscuits is no big deal for me.

Foodiewife tried the biscuits at the restaurant, and she shared her version of the biscuits and butter. The recipe for the maple chile butter is the clincher.  Tom really liked that.  I cut back on the chile powder so it was not too hot, but the maple butter part is a winner.  I'll be keeping that on hand or making up a batch to serve with biscuits from now on.  It would also be good on toast, pancakes, and waffles.

You can add 3/4-1 cup of grated cheese and 6-8 slices of bacon, fried crispy and chopped, (about 1/2 cup) to your favorite biscuit recipe. (Or use my buttermilk biscuit recipe )  I liked just forming a rectangle and cutting it into squares as Debbie suggested.  Although she said folding instead of kneading makes for a more tender biscuit, I know that you MUST knead the dough in order for the biscuits to rise.  The folding process is more or less like kneading it, so the biscuits did rise.

Maple Chile Butter
1/2 cup butter at room temperature (soften in micro for just a few seconds if necessary)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4-1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder (you could probably try other chile powders)

Put butter in a deep bowl and mix in syrup and powder with mixer until combined.  Refrigerate any leftovers, or freeze for longer storage.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Awesome Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon toast on sourdough

Updated: September 9, 2013
This is another recipe from Debby at A Feast for the Eyes.  This one is a feast for the mouth! Who knew cinnamon toast could taste this good!

Make it on good sourdough, if you can get some, as pictured.

My husband does not usually make much of a comment about what I cook.  He had already had breakfast when I made this cinnamon toast, but he had a slice that was sitting on the stove.  He came in and told me it was good!  That's how good it is!  Give it a try.

Mix up the dry ingredients the night before.  Leave the butter out and mix it into the dry ingredients in the morning.  The soft mixture makes it very easy to spread.

½ cup sugar 
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 stick butter, softened (leave out overnight )
8 slices bread or more (really good on sourdough, sliced about 3/4 inch thick)

Mix together the dry ingredients.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add the softened butter, then spread on the bread rather thickly, all the way to the very edge.  Place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then put under broiler for about 2 minutes until bubbly.  Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.

Put any leftover butter in a jar and keep in the fridge until you want some again.  If you think about it, take it out so it can soften.

original cinnamon toast link

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

This was served to us at cousin Ted's house in Hawaii.  The buttery crust made it so delicious.  It is also very easy to make.

Crust:*  1 ½ C flour  (1 C)*
      1 ½ cubes butter  (1 cube)*

            Cut butter into flour and mix until crumbly.  Roll into a ball and press into a 9x13” pan or baking dish.  (10" pie plate)*  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Cool.

Filling:  2 8-ounce cream cheese  (1 1/2 blocks)
¾ C powdered sugar  (1/2 C)
1 8-ounce Cool Whip  (
1 can Comstock pie filling**

            Whip cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Then mix in Cool Whip until smooth and creamy.  Spoon into pie crust.  Top with pie filling and chill for at least 4 hours.

*I just made this in a 10" pie plate using 1 cup flour and 1 cube butter.  Used 3/4 of the filling recipe, although I think the whole recipe would have fit in fine.  

**Obviously blueberry is the usual, but cherry is tasty, too.