When I first moved to Southern California in 1977 I felt guilty. How would we deserve the beauty of springtime if we hadn’t endured the long hard winters of snow shoveling and difficult driving that I grew up with in Vermont? I don’t worry about winter-guilt anymore because I’ve seen what winter weather can do in California! If we don’t get rains, we have drought. If we do get rains, we have flooding. But after the rains, we have those crisp, clear days when a big bowl of soup topped with sliced Fuerte avocados is well deserved! This week I made Chicken Tortilla Soup — perfect for avocado slices–and today the sun is shining so I took a walk outside. Continue Reading →
It’s that time of year when Fuerte avocados are perfectly ripe and full of flavor. Pear-shaped with a thinner skin than Hass avocados, Fuertes have a unique nutty flavor, and if you have enjoyed a Fuerte avocado you are nodding your head right now. Continue Reading →
I’m sharing my latest activities in the kitchen today: Potluck Beans with Maple and Beer! We’re invited to a holiday get-together with family and friends tomorrow, and I needed a side dish to go with barbecue tritip sandwiches. During the holiday season I don’t have much time, so I used a recipe that calls for canned Cannellini beans (white kidney beans). This recipe couldn’t be easier!
I was inspired by a recipe in Rick Rodgers’ The Big Book of Sides, a cookbook that I reviewed when it was first published. I keep going back to this book when I need something special to go with a meal. The recipe in the book makes 10-12 servings, and I needed to make a lot more for the party. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and the beans are crazy good!
Make a pot of these beans for a holiday potluck or a summer barbecue!
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup ketchup
½ cup dijon mustard
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 bottles dark beer ( I used Red Bridge Gluten-Free Sorghum Beer)
Ten 15-ounce cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup ham bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, until the bacon is almost crisp. Using a slotten spoon, move the cooked bacon to a paper towel and leave the bacon fat in the pan.
Over medium heat, cook the onions in the remaining bacon fat until they are golden brown.
Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, and beer and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the the beans, bacon, and ham.
Cover the Dutch oven and bake for one hour.
Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
If you aren't serving the beans immediately, cool the beans and refrigerate overnight. Stir in 1 cup of water and reheat covered in 350 degree oven, stirring occasionally.
Last weekend was the annual Meals On Wheels benefit concert. As a member of the Coastal Communities Concert Band since 1998, I look forward to this event every year. Our band has been helping to raise funds to support the important work of Meals On Wheels for 22 years. Here are a few photos from the 2016 Holiday Concert at the Carlsbad Community Church, in Carlsbad, Ca.!
As a music director and teacher, I start preparing for holiday performances months in advance. It’s a little strange to be working on Christmas music in the heat of August and September, but it’s so rewarding when we have our music prepared in time to inspire our families and friends during the holiday season. I’m especially glad to have time in December to spend in the kitchen between concerts and church events.
What are you cooking up for the holidays? I’d love to know about your family specialties or new recipes you are trying out!
When the weather cools off in November, I’m ready to start eating turkey and stuffing. Anyone else get that craving for Thanksgiving goodies early? Try my Cheaters’ Thanksgiving Casserole! Here’s an easy 0ne-pot meal that you can do in a slow cooker or in a covered dish in the oven, or even on top of the stove. All the flavors of Thanksgiving are here for a comforting supper, or a party with friends – and it’s budget-friendly too!
Today I’m sharing an easy, refreshing salad that is perfect for a weekday meal or as part of your Thanksgiving feast! The colors are festive, and the sweet nutty flavor of the greens pairs beautifully with crunchy apple and walnuts in this fresh fall salad. Optional gorgonzola is a creamy accent for blue cheese lovers.
After visiting the California Endive Farm last summer, I’m using Belgian endive Continue Reading →