Stirring up passion for apple butter

When I was a kid, I had all the cool chores. I got to shell the peas, gathered to the brim of a bottomless five-gallon paint bucket. I got to guard the rows of cabbages with a swatter, set to strike down any moths fluttering along. I got to lie down on my belly in . . . → Read More: Stirring up passion for apple butter

Popcorn and a Movie: Peering into a perfect movie

When the mainstream recollects master director Alfred Hitchock’s films, “Psycho” (1960) is usually at the forefront of the mass mind. It’s a great movie, but not his best, reinforced in popular culture by its high place on best-horror-film lists, that oft-brought-up shower scene and a stop on the Universal Studios movie tour.

But when I . . . → Read More: Popcorn and a Movie: Peering into a perfect movie

Bread of the Month: Taking zucchini bread to chocolatey heights

Someone always has too much zucchini. Thankfully. Because if you have a food-loving, gardening circle of people populating your world, you can benefit from this abundance. This summer, I have been graced with others’ extra tomatoes, peaches, yellow squash, golden cherry plums and zucchini, and have not wasted a morsel.

Zucchini is so very versatile, . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Taking zucchini bread to chocolatey heights

Getting corny with a late-summer soup

Whenever I cut fresh corn off the cob (or get anywhere near corn-on-the-cob, actually), I think about my Grandpa Merwin. Toothless, he was undaunted by such propositions as sinking teeth into cobbed corn. When a platter of steaming ears was presented, he simply whipped out his pocket knife, clicked the blade open and began slicing . . . → Read More: Getting corny with a late-summer soup

Finding my fun in ‘Dolly’s Doughnut’

“If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.” — Carrie Fisher

Sometimes, after a crap-ass year, you just need to have some fun.

That is not a terribly positive beginning (was it the term “crap-ass”?), and I apologize. But I speak the truth in my feeling. Despite this being . . . → Read More: Finding my fun in ‘Dolly’s Doughnut’

Bread of the Month: Topping a sourdough waffle

Ever since I discovered my birthday coincided with National Waffle Day (on Aug. 24, 1869, the first U.S. Patent for the waffle iron was issued), the breakfast treat has been more on my radar.

It has almost always been my first choice on the menu at restaurants that served waffles for breakfast, likely because it . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Topping a sourdough waffle

Bread of the Month: Basking in a morning glory muffin

My mom’s got a thing against muffins. She won’t make them. She won’t eat them. This stems from a traumatic period in her childhood, where her obligations as a member of 4-H pushed her to the brink after years of being chained to an oven, churning out muffin after muffin.

It’s not the taste . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Basking in a morning glory muffin

Bread of the Month: Crumbling new life into old cornbread

The first time I made “bread salad” or panzanella, as it’s commonly called, the recipe had me soaking cubes of very stale, sturdy bread in water, wringing those cubes out and mixing them with tomatoes, onions, cucumber, basil and vinaigrette for what turned out to actually be a very delicious experience.

This old-world method of . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Crumbling new life into old cornbread

Gathering a bouquet of floral flavors

If something has a flower flavor, I’m on it….like a bee. Recently I was exposed to some delightful imported Italian sodas flavored with, of all things, elderflower! I could not resist. It was a beautiful taste, slightly peachy and as soon as my little fingers could do their walking, I was looking for this . . . → Read More: Gathering a bouquet of floral flavors

Bread of the Month: Gobbling a strawberry cobbler

Sometimes, it’s good to see red. Strawberry red, that is. Spring months usher in that beautiful ruby across California fields and farmers market tables. This year, with all the rain, the berries are big, beautiful and bodacious, and you make room in your life/schedule/oven/fridge for any and all ways to use them.

A couple of . . . → Read More: Bread of the Month: Gobbling a strawberry cobbler