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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lisa’s Tacos

This is a recipe that Lisa got from Girl Scouts or something when she was in elementary school.  She made it several times for us.  Now I am going to make it with her daughter.

1 pound ground beef                                             Sauce:
½ onion, chopped                               1 16 oz cans stewed tomatoes
2 t. chile powder                                 1½ tsp crushed oregano
1 clove garlic, minced                         1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 C tortilla chips, lightly crushed       ½ tsp salt
2 C shredded cheese                           ¼ tsp pepper
2 C shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook beef and onion with seasonings until brown.  Drain fat. 

Place crushed chips in a glass pie plate or small casserole dish.  Cover with beef, then cheese. 

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with shredded lettuce and sauce.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lisa’s Amaretto Cranberry Sauce

Lisa has made this cranberry sauce for the holidays for several years now.  The addition of the amaretto takes cranberry sauce to a higher level.  Enjoy this for Thanksgiving.  Besides serving it with turkey or other holiday meats, it is good on toast or biscuits, or over ice cream.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup Amaretto
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

optional: zest and juice from one lemon

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat to boiling.  Add cranberries and cook for about 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add marmalade and optional lemon zest and juice. 

Cool completely and add amaretto and almonds.

Pour into glass jars and chill.  Keeps in refrigerator for months.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fresh Tomato & Cucumber Salad

It was prime tomato season and I was asked to bring a salad.  My aunt used to make a simple but delicious salad in the summertime, with tomatoes picked from her garden.  This was reminiscent of those salads.  Unfortunately, the tomatoes are on the bottom and can't be seen. Get creative and adjust to your liking.

2-3 large farmers' market tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1-2 cucumbers, scored, slice about 1/4-1/2" thick
1/2 small red onion, halved and sliced very thinly
1/2 cup pitted olives, black or kalamata
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

2+ tablespoons olive oil
1+ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Layer tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions in a shallow bowl. Drizzle olive oil, and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables.  Sprinkle with the olives and cheese.  Garnish with basil leaves.

Eileen's Split Pea Soup with Ham

I had a split pea soup recipe that I loved.  But when I went to look for it, I couldn't find it.  It was similar to this, as I recall.  This worked out just fine.  I prefer ones that are not blended, especially with carrots, as they seem to have an unusual color and an odd flavor.  

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ lb. chopped ham, (Smithfield package)
1 lb. split peas, sorted and rinsed
6-8 cups water/ low-sodium chicken broth*
3 carrots, sliced about 1/8-1/4” thick

Heat olive oil and sauté onion until softened.  Add ham and brown slightly.  Add the drained peas and the chicken broth/water.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes, then add the carrots.  Cook until the carrots and peas are tender, about 15-20 minutes more.  Season as necessary, but ham will add some saltiness.

*chicken broth gives it a richer flavor.  Use at least partial chicken broth.  Add more water if it is too thick.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Panzanella-- Bread Salad, top with grilled fish

Over the years, I've seen recipes for Panzanella, but I couldn't quite figure out the flavor and whether it would really work.  Then we had some in a restaurant topped with grilled wild salmon.  (Find out about sustainable seafood here. )  Delicious!  So I went on a hunt for a similar recipe.  It is especially good in warm weather, either alone or topped with some protein.  Start this one several hours before your meal so the ingredients can soak in the dressing.  To get even more veggies, layer this on a bed of salad greens of your choice.  Add in your favorite salad goodies or omit something if you don't have it.

4 cups sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped# 

2 medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped#
1 small sweet pepper (any color), seeded, deribbed and chopped
1 medium-sized red onion, finely sliced

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives (or your favorite olives), chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges for garnish, optional**

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons capers

Optional: piece of grilled fish

Make the dressing by beating together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash the drained capers; add to the oil/vinegar mixture.

Put dressing in a large bowl, then add the cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, onion, olives, parsley, and basil. Toss gently, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, add bread cubes and toss again.

Garnish with hard-cooked egg wedges, if using. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

*Preheat oven to 350 or dry in a skillet on the stove if you don't want to heat up the kitchen.  Trim bread of tough bottom and end crusts.  Cut loaf into ½-3/4” cubes.  Spread on ungreased baking sheet and toast for 8-12 minutes, moving them around with a spatula so they dry evenly.  (This step can also be done with 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter or olive oil tossed with the bread cubes.  It should not toast, just dry out and get crunchy.  Remove from oven and cool.  Store in an airtight container if made before hand.

**If using other protein such as grilled meat or fish, skip the eggs. 

Note: # In this recipe, it is important to seed the cucumbers and tomatoes before adding to the dressing, as you want this salad to be as dry as possible. The dressing -- rather than any liquid from the vegetables -- should provide the moisture. ** with adaptations from KAF book, and other recipes.

Seafood watch: Seafood Watch consumer-guides

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Berry Dutch Babies

I first found A Feast for the Eyes when I was looking for other uses for the olallieberries I had just picked in Watsonville, probably about 15 pounds worth.  Some was made into jam, but the rest was frozen to be used throughout the year.  Debby, who lives somewhere in this area, has her own bushes, so she has some great recipes for them.  This is one of them.  A great breakfast treat!

  • 2 C olallieberries (substitute berries of your choice) 
  • sugar to sweeten berries, as needed
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup milk (I used soymilk)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450F and place rack in center of oven.

For the berries: Taste the berries for tartness. Add sugar, to taste, until the level of sweetness that you desire is achieved.  Allow the berries to sweeten while preparing the batter.

In a blender, process together eggs, milk, flour and vanilla until smooth.  Or use a bowl and whisk.

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Spread the berries, in the pan, and allow to cook for 1 minute or two, and remove from heat.

Evenly pour the batter over the berries, and bake for 15 minutes or until mixture puffs up and turns golden brown around edges.

Remove from oven and cut into wedges. Sprinkle with lemon juice or serve with maple syrup.

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution