We love to eat, cook, travel, entertain, and drink adult beverages. Join us in our adventures as we do the things we love to do!
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (2)|
It's asparagus season here in Northern California, which means it’s time to pickle! Plus, I just finished off the final jar of asparagus from last year. Five of us gathered together for the task that lay ahead, we find that there’s strength in numbers! We were discussing our grandmothers who we had all helped out in the kitchen when we were young; they did their canning and pickling all by themselves, jars and jars of fruits and vegetables, well into their 70’s and 80’s. They were tough cookies. We find that it's more fun and motivating to pickle together, and doesn't take as long to clean up! Last year we pickled three lugs of asparagus, this year we moved up to four, you can find our asparagus recipe in our pickling blog from last year.
I'm a one click shopper with Amazon, which can be rather dangerous. In preparation for the pickling party, I got a bit carried away with new canning books. It doesn't help that my mother was a librarian, books seem to be in our genes! I ordered a variety to peruse in advance of the big day, and pulled a couple of recipes to use this year... Canning for a New Generation, The Art of Fermentation, Put 'em Up!, Pickled, and Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving.
If you haven't canned before, it's get to do some research in advance. Ball has a great website to get you started, www.freshpreserving.com, or any of the books listed above will give you the details on preparing the jars, lids, and all of the equipment you will need.
This year we planned in advance to make some giardiniera, last year we just threw it together with the vegetables we found in my fridge and freezer, using leftover spices from the asparagus. I also love pickled beets, so I picked up a couple dozen beets to experiment with. My sister and cousin despise beets, say they smell like dirt, it’s one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em vegetables. We also tested out putting asparagus in the jars raw compared to blanching the asparagus in advance, possibly saving us some time. We won't be able to give you the taste results for at least 6 weeks, so stay tuned!
PICKLED BEETS WITH CUMIN AND CLOVES
2 pounds beets
1 cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin seed
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
Prep the beets by boiling or roasting them until nearly tender. Slice into ¼-inch slices (I used a mandolin).
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, and then remove from the heat.
Pack the beets into 3 clean, hot pint jars, arranging them snugly but with enough room for brine to circulate. Divide the cumin seed and cloves among the jars. Pour the hot brine over the beets to cover by ½ inch. Leave ½ inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.
Use the boiling-water method. Process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Recipe came from Put ‘em up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
We adapted this recipe from Paula’s mother's recipe, and a recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. You can use a variety of whatever vegetables your family prefers.
NOTE: The amount of spices listed below go Into EACH quart sized jar:
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon dill seed
2 cloves garlic chopped or more (we used more because we love garlic!)
½ bay leaf
6 whole black peppercorns
Small cauliflower florets
Carrots, cleaned or peeled and cut into ½ inch slices
Tri-color bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
Small Brussel sprouts
Artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Salt
Prepare canner, jars and lids.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt. We chose to put the spice in the jars as we do with the asparagus, because last year we just threw a bunch of vegetables in the extra jars the we had prepped for the asparagus and it turned out great. The Ball recipe calls for a spice bag to go in the brine.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat, cover and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add vegetables and return to a boil. Pack vegetables into hot jars within a generous ½ inch of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover vegetables, leaving ½ headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry, Lauren Devine
Nancy, Merry, Paula, Kim & Wendy, the Pickling Princesses
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
I recently journeyed with my buddy Patty to the Central American country of Costa Rica. We were visiting our friends Diane and Ernie who live in the small town of Grecia, busy in their missionary Bible education work. You may remember the blog from their going away party where we all cooked Costa Rican foods for the occasion, an all-day affair! Costa Rica was quite an adventure, a scenic country surrounded by the sea, a vast biodiversity of flora and fauna (and bugs!), friendly locals, delicious food, and best of all, coffee is one of their main crops. It’s going to take a couple of stories to cover this sojourn, so I’m going to start with our first home cooked meal with our Tica friend Karen.
Patty, Karen & Diane, on our trek to Los Chorros Waterfalls
A native Costa Rican, Karen volunteered to teach us how to make a local favorite, Chifrijo. It is a fried pork dish that you serve in a bowl over rice, beans, and topped with fresh pico. Chifrijo is described as “the king of Tico bar food,” and is served in la ferias (farmers markets), by street vendors, and in sodas (small restaurants, not pop!). We began our escapade with Karen on a hike to the Los Chorros waterfalls near her home, an absolutely gorgeous setting found down a steep and narrow dirt road. We only passed one family on the hike (from Ohio!), it was gorgeous.
Los Chorros Waterfalls @ Grecia Costa Rica
On our way home we stopped at la feria for some fresh ingredients from the local farmers. Diane had already purchased some precooked Chicharrón - but hold your horses, this is not the deep fried pork rind you find in other Latin American countries - in Costa Rica Chicharrón are usually made from pork ribs or similar cuts.
Costa Rican Chicarron, fried at the butcher shop
The size of our party had grown, so we needed more pork (yay!), so we stopped at the butcher shop in the market and picked up some posta de cerdo. I can’t quite figure out what it means when translated, pork something, maybe ribs, but it looked like good, fresh pork shoulder cut into 2” cubes.
La Feria, fruiticultura las delicias!
We sorted through a vast array of local fruits and vegetables, and picked up some chayote, corn, avocado and culantro leaves. Culantro is a cousin to cilantro, an herb indigenous to continental Tropical America and the West Indies. It has long spiny, serrated leaves, and a similar flavor to cilantro, only stronger.
The fruits of Costa Rica
When we got back to the house I stepped into the sous-chef position, helping to chop ingredients for Karen’s chifrijo. I was taking notes and pictures throughout the evening on my iphone as Karen was cooking away on a full stove.
Preparing the chayote for the Guiso
I didn’t have time to measure anything, so the recipes below wouldn’t pass our cookbook editor’s requirements, but basic ingredients and directions are listed! I did find a chifrijo recipe from a Costa Rican mother and son on the Latin Street Food episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, an authentic recipe with correct measurements. Let’s get on with the preparations, Por favor deja comer!
CHIFRIJO (FRIED PORK WITH BEANS)
Posta de cerdo, or pork, 2" cubes
Head of garlic, roughly diced
Add the diced garlic to meat and marinate for ½ hour to 2 hours.
Posta de cerda and Garlic, that means pork!
Fry the pork in a oil until lightly brown. Instead of just salting the meat, you add salt to maybe ½ to 1 cup water to dissolve, and add the salted water to the browned meat, and simmer.
Adding salt water to the fresh chicharron
Cut the Chicharrón into bite size pieces, 3/4" cubes. While the pork is cooking you can make the pico and rice. Beans were cooked in advance, black beans are a staple, but for this meal Diane had shelled and cooked up some fresh frijoles tiernos (large pinto beans) with oregano, garlic, Chicharrón meat and a bit of salt and pepper.
Not your average chicarron! Cubed and ready to serve
To serve the chifrijo, place a scoop of rice in the bottom of a bowl, a layer of beans, cover with chifrijo and top with fresh pico. Tuck some tortilla chips into the side of the bowl and serve with sliced avocado.
Dice the onion and tomato to a small chop, and marinate in lime juice. Add the jalapeno and culantro, salt to taste, and serve
GUISO DE ELOTE CON CHAYOTE (CORN STEW WITH CHAYOTES)
Sweet Pepper, diced
Crema Dulce (whipped cream)
Corn, chayote and crema dulce for guiso
Peel, cut out the inner seed and chop the chayote into 1/2" cubes. Be careful handling chayotes, they can cause an allergic reaction - tingling, numbness, rash and peeling of your hands. The safest bet is to wear plastic gloves. The chayote in Costa Rica didn't seem to have as prickly of skin as we find in America, we cleaned and peeled them under running water and didn't have any problems. Cut the corn off the cob. Sauté diced garlic, onion, pepper, corn, add chayote and saute. Add crema and bring to a boil. Add a bit of water to cover, simmer until chayote is soft, about 15 minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy!
Pura Vida baby! (i.e. plenty of life or this is living!)
In the Kitchen with Karen (sounds like a new Food Network Show to me!)
~ Nancita the hungry Gringita
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 5, 2013 at 11:35 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 21, 2013 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
Upcountry in Amador County
It was a beautiful end of winter day and my long-time friend, Lou Ann, suggested going for a snowshoe. We ate a hearty brunch, headed up Highway 88 to Silver Lake, which is referred to as Upcountry in Amador County. The intention of eating a hearty brunch was so that we could head to the Volcano Union Inn on our way back down the mountain.
The snow conditions on the mountain were perfect. There had been some good snow a few days before. The sun was shining and not a soul was on the lake. I enjoyed the peace, the sunshine, and beauty of the pure white snow. When we decided to head back, I noticed my boot was coming apart. By the time we returned to the car, the boot had ripped apart all the way around!
Of course during the snowshoe we worked up a thirst and an appetite! At the car we had some chilled Rich Mahogany and Ganja Juice Altamont Beer Works brews waiting for us. Some trail mix and apples and the brew curbed our appetite a bit until we could get to the Volcano Union Inn.
A growlette of Altamont Beer Works beer
I have been following Volcano Union Inn on Facebook for quite a while. Every Monday they have a special that is posted on Facebook – this week’s was Shrimp Louie, Salisbury Steak, mushrooms, horseradish mashed potatoes, and Strawberry Cobbler ala mode for $23! I was so pleased to arrive in time for dinner but we wanted to see the menu before ordering. The special was a fantastic deal – but Lou Ann and I saw other items we couldn’t wait to try! The wine and beer selection was diverse – we started with beer. I chose a Raging Bitch IPA--I'd had it in NY and loved it. The dishes we decided upon were a Mushroom Bruschetta, Beet Salad with golden balsamic vinaigrette, Fried Chicken with sides of smoked cheddar macaroni and cheese along with greens. Everything was delicious!!! So delicious we decided to order some Crispy Duck Wings to take home to my husband Troy. Unfortunately, they were sold out. Though we were full, the food had been so delectable that we just had to each order a dessert. I ordered the Meyer Lemon Crème Brulee with thyme shortbread. There were three small shortbreads, so we took one of those to Troy. Lou Ann ordered the Lava Cake with blood orange crème and candied blood orange along with a glass of Andis Barbera – a perfect pairing.
Fried Chicken with smoked mac and cheese
Meyer Lemon Creme Brulee
The service and ambiance was relaxing and comfortable. One of the servers I recognized from the community fundraiser, Chowda Chomp. I so enjoyed the chowder he and his teammate prepared. It was a halibut and salmon chowder – my favorite. They came in second place overall. I mentioned this to him and Lou Ann said she loved chowder, so he brought us out a taste of chowder!
Our clam chowder sample!
Volcano is off the beaten path; a very small, pleasant community. There is a post office, community hall, a general store, a hotel, a B & B, a bakery, a bar, a theater and a few other businesses I am not recalling. My friend, Jacquie Tarchala, has her Kneading Dough Bakery in the Jug and Rose Bakery, Monday through Wednesday. Should you be heading up to Daffodil Hill soon (it opened March 15, 2013) – the bakery would be a great place to visit. I highly recommend it!
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. – JRR Tolkien
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 3, 2013 at 9:35 AM||comments (2)|
One of my favorite shows on the Food Network is Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and now it comes on a few early mornings every week, so we watch it over coffee. A couple of weeks ago one of our favorite Northern California dishes was featured, Cioppino, and the competitor, Phil DiGirolamo, came from one of our favorite seafood restaurants, Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing. And best of all, Phil won the throwndown! So I’ve had Cioppino on my mind for a couple of weeks, and finally decided it was time.
Phil's Fish Market & Eatery in Moss Landing
The story behind Cioppino started in the 1800’s with Portuguese and Italian fishermen, they would use the catch of the day from the docks in San Francisco bay to create a tomato and wine based seafood stew. Typically it would include Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish.
So following that tradition (I’m Portuguese after all!), I used whatever I had available to throw down a Cioppino! I looked up a few different Cioppino recipes, Bobby Flay’s, Giada de Laurentis' and bon appetit, and used the ingredients I had on hand, and the herbs that I preferred. It only takes about 40 minutes, and you’ve got a delicious bowl of seafood stew on your hands (and down your gullet!).
San Francisco Portuguese Cioppino
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (or less, mine turned out almost too hot!)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup white wine
3 8-ounce bottles of clam juice
1 bay leaf
1 pound scallops
1 pound cod, cut to 1” squares, about the size of the scallops
1 pound uncooked large shrimp (I left the shell on for more flavor)
1 pound clams (I cheated and used frozen steamer clams from Trader Joes)
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs, and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and carmelize for a 3 – 5 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes with their juices and mash with a potato masher. Stir in the wine and clam juice, cover and simmer about 30 minutes to blend flavors.
Add the seafood by size, whichever will take longer to cook first. I started with the scallops for five minutes, then tossed in the fish and shrimp for about three more minutes, and the clams were already cooked, so threw them in for the last two minutes just to heat. Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and pepper. And, in the San Francisco tradition, I served it with some sourdough garlic toast.
Portuguese Cioppino and Sourdough Garlic Toast
"Are you ready for a throwdown?!"
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on February 10, 2013 at 2:55 AM||comments (1)|
My daughters Laina and Whitney at a San Jose Sharks Hockey Game
On Saturday my sister Susie and I took my daughters to our annual San Jose Sharks game and I realized that Susie and I have been going to Sharks games for almost 18 years. I attended my first San Jose Sharks hockey game in 1995. I went to the game with my sisters and a busload of Wente Winery employees and their guests. The Sharks had been at the San Jose Arena for about two years and the arena was clean, modern, had gourmet food concessions and plenty of women's restroom facilities (which was really great because you didn't spend half of the sporting event waiting in line to use the restroom). And, because the Sharks play in the Silicon Valley, in those days it was a common sight to see Silicon Valley execs in suit and tie at the game and a few of the high profile CEOs and their possees cheering on the Sharks.
That bus trip to the arena and the game were pretty wild. Beer and wine were flowing in the bus on the way to the game and the partying continued at the game--for everyone but me. I happened to be nearly nine months pregnant when I attended that game. For weeks my husband and I had been trying to agree upon a name for our baby who would soon be making her debut. Finding a name that we would both like was constantly on my mind. That night as I watched the players swirling around on the ice, the name on the back of one player's jersey caught my eye. Whitney. Ray Whitney was playing for the Sharks at the time. I liked that name, Whitney.
On the bus ride back to Livermore my sister Susie asked me if I had considered the name Whitney for the baby. As a matter of fact, I said, I had thought of that name for the baby. When I got home I ran the name by my husband and he liked it too. So, Whitney it was.
Whitney is seventeen years old now. She is very sweet, empathetic, considerate, and likes to attend San Jose Sharks Hockey games. She is polite to people when they ask if she was named after Whitney Houston.
A few months ago I was getting my hair cut and the gray "sparkles" removed when Whitney called and asked me when I was coming home. She said she was cooking something for me and she didn't want it to get cold before I got home. What she made me was a honey cloud pancake. It was like a custard or flan, but also a bit like a soufflé. The honey cloud pancake was really very good. Just like the name, it was like eating a honey cloud. The recipe is below.
The honey cloud pancake
Honey Cloud Pancake - 1 single serving pancake
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1/4 cup of warm milk
1/4 cup flour
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of honey and more for drizzling
1 dash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of butter
Soft fruit, such as sliced strawberries, peaches pears, blue- or blackberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a small 6" oven proof frying pan. In a small bowl whisk one egg white until it is white and peaky. In a medium bowl, mix the whole egg with flour, salt, honey, and vanilla then whisk in the warm milk. Gently fold the whipped egg into the batter with a metal spoon. Melt one tablespoon of butter in the hot pan. Pour the batter in and cook on the stove for a few minutes until the pancake starts to set at the edge. Sprinkle some fruit on top. Place the pan in the hot oven for 7 minutes until puffed up and golden. Drizzle with honey.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on January 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM||comments (1)|
Granny with great-granddaughter Laina
Our grandmother, Ione Holm or "Granny" to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was the inspiration for our cookbook. She was such a poignant person in my life that I would often hope I died before her because I didn't think I could go on living without her. Although she had nine grandchildren, each one of us felt her love as though we were her favorite grandchild. Extended family and friends felt that same love.
She rarely spoke about it to us, but Granny had a hard childhood. Her mother suffered from mental illness and eventually could not care for her four young children. The children had to move to Arkansas to live with an aunt. While living in Arkansas the children went with their aunt to someone else's home for a meal (I don't recall if it was a friend or family member--so I'm referring to that person as "someone else"). This someone else was not happy to have the children at her house and treated them that way. She would not allow them to sit with the others to eat the meal. The uncomfortable and dreadful feeling of being at a home where you were not welcome stayed with Granny for the rest of her life and she made sure that everyone who came to her house always felt welcomed and loved.
Granny would express her love through kind words, hugs, listening, food, and her generosity. Everyone was welcome in her house and at her table. Granny would have Sunday dinner at her house for anyone that wanted to come. I think the average was usually 25 people. I can't imagine cooking for 25 people every Sunday, but this is what Granny lived for. When my cousins, sisters, and I were in our twenties and living on our own, in addition to the Sunday dinners, Granny would cook supper on Thursday nights for anyone who wanted to come. And, ANYONE who happened to stop by her house any day of the week would be treated to lunch, dinner, or cookies with coffee.
Granny lived on the family ranch in the Livermore Hills, which is about a 20 minute drive to the nearest grocery store. In addition to the food she purchased on her weekly trip to town, she kept a well stocked pantry and a freezer stocked with food she preserved or that our grandfather had grown. During the summer she had our grandfather's large vegetable garden as a resource for fresh fruit and vegetables. She was like a magician in the way she could whip up a huge meal with little notice and without the use of a microwave oven to defrost or heat up food.
Granny passed away on February 12, 1998, just 11 days before her 92nd birthday. She passed from this earth in her sleep, in her beloved home overlooking Cedar Mountain with some of her family members nearby enjoying a meal and each other's company. She had lived a long life--her body had given out and her passing was a blessing.
The most important thing Granny left us with was the recipe for the love of friends and family. She also left us with many of her recipes for food. When I make her recipes I can remember the love I felt at her house with our siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Now when my sisters, cousins, and I have gatherings, it is doubtful anyone ever leaves feeling hungry or unwelcomed.
Below is the recipe for Granny's spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti was one of the meals she would serve for Sunday dinner with love.
Granny's great-granddaughter Laina with love all over her face
Granny’s Spaghetti Sauce - Makes about 7 cups of sauce
Granny would make her spaghetti sauce in her pressure cooker. She stewed tomatoes she canned herself. Most of us are afraid of pressure cookers and don’t make the time to can our own tomatoes, so we have adjusted her recipe to work for us.
½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms (or your preference of mushrooms)
1 cup hot water
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil
2 pounds ground beef
2-14.5 oz. cans whole stewed tomatoes
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon crushed oregano
1 bay leaf
In a small bowl, pour the cup of hot water over the dried mushrooms to rehydrate. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, but not brown. In the same skillet, brown the ground beef and drain fat. Stir in the next 6 ingredients. Remove mushrooms from the water and add the water to the sauce. Slice the rehydrated mushrooms into thin slices and add to the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Continue simmering 30 minutes, removing the lid for the last 15 minutes.
Serve over 1 pound of cooked spaghetti noodles.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on January 1, 2013 at 9:25 AM||comments (2)|
I don’t have the opportunity to travel as much as I would like, so the next best thing for me is to step out the door of my office in downtown Livermore, head a couple of blocks in any direction, and pop into the nearest eatery … traveling the globe vicariously through the victuals of our local restaurants! The dining scene has done a 360 since our youth; the only worldly choice growing up was Chinese food at the Yin Yin, owned by the Chin Family (40 something of our family just congregated there last week!). What really reminded me of this change was my latest expedition to Afghanistan by means of the new De Afghanan Kabob House (which unfortunately replaced La Papusa House, where I would venture to El Salvador by means their papusas). I had never eaten Afghani food before, so Rebecca and Ed, two of my foody workmates joined me for lunch, and it was indeed a memorable sojourn. We ordered at least eight items, the wide variety of flavors was amazing, and very healthy too.
We started with Kado Borani, which translated means roasted butternut squash topped with garlic sour cream and dried mint, healthy and cooked to perfection.
Kado Borani, aka Butternut Squash
We tried a half order of both zucchini and leek Bolani, little pastries (well, not so little, it was actually quite large for a half order!) filled with sautéed zucchini and leek with great homemade cilantro chutney, and more yogurt.
Afghani Bolani and Chutney
Feeling adventurous, we opted for a third appetizer, the Mantu, pasta filled with ground beef, onions, garlic and spices topped with a vegetable sauce, garlic sour cream and dried mint. An order of Afghan bread comes with almost every dish, it was light as a hotel pillow, and more than we could ever finish.
Mantu and Afghan Bread
We split the Triple Kabob, Murge, Teka and Chaplee - aka -chicken, beef and a grilled ground sirloin patty mixed with scallions, crushed red pepper and plenty of spices. The meats are soaked in homemade, full-o-flavor marinade, and were moist, tender and delicious. At this point along the journey, I decided that I would like to be adopted by the Afghani family that owns the restaurant, I want to eat like this every day!
Triple Kabob, Murge, Teka and Chaplee
All of the Kabobs are served with Afghan rice or potato salad, we tried both of course! The brown Afghan rice was actually a white basmati seasoned with a variety of spices and onions, and the Shornakhod, or in English, Afghan Potato Salad, was not your average American mayonnaisy potato salad, but an uncommonly light, vinegary, fresh potato salad with garbanzo beans and chili flakes.
Shornakhod, i.e. Afghan Potato Salad
At this point, there was absolutely no room left for dessert, we had a big box of leftovers to go, but according to the 5-star yelp reviews, next time, I'm leaving room for the Sheer Yakh Jhala (i.e. ice cream) and Baklava!
Once you’ve tasted your way through Afghanistan, now it’s time to dig out your passport and cross the border into Mexico. You can find a Mexican restaurant on almost every block of downtown Livermore: Casa Orozco for Shrimp Cocktail Veracruz, Anita’s Veggie Burrito is my favorite choice on the menu at Anita’s Mexican Restaurant, in my opinion El Charro has the best Sope in town, feast on Tequila’s Taqueria’s huge Burrito de Camarones, drop in on Los Caporales for breakfast with Chorizo and Eggs or a hot bowl of Pozole, or for an “uptown” flavor of Guadalajara visit El Sacromonte for their housemade Sangrita Tequila chaser (along with a laundry list of tequilas) and “Comala” Stuffed Avocado.
Book your passage to the Mediterranean by way of Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen for Baba Ganuch (I just like to say that!) or Shawarama, plus, they have belly dancers! Or imagine the blue waters and islands of Greece while dining at Demitri’s Taverna, where they launch your trip with Skordalia, onto Moussaka, and end with the family's Baklava. Hop the gondola to Italy by way of Bruno’s Italian Cuisine with a plate of Linguini Frutti di Mare or their thin crust Pizza; or peddle over to the French Casse-Croûte Bakery for fresh baked crusty baguette or Croissants et Chocolatines, Merci beaucoup!
Since we can't have a home-cooked tiffin lunch delivered to our office by a dabbawala, add some Indian spice to your life by visiting Sansar’s lunch buffet for their Chicken Tikka Masala with a cold bottle of Taj Indian beer or enjoy India Clay Oven’s warm Naan, Parantha or Tandoori. Trek to “The Land of the Rising Sun” at Kawa Sushi for their soul warming Miso, Spicy Spider or Unagi; other stops along the Japanese coastline include Yamota Hibachi Express for tender Hibachi, or steaming Udon at Roppongi Sushi. You can then head east on the Indochina Peninsula to the Saigon Café and enjoy a steaming bowl of Shrimp Pho or crunchy Clay Pot; get your Bibim Bab fix at Korea BBQ & Tofu; feast on the fresh herbs and teas from the Kingdom of Thailand at Lemon Grass with their Pad Thai and Kao-Pad-Goong or up the block to the modern Star Anise for Roti Paratha, where they will treat you like the King of Siam! Travel the Silk Road into China for Chow Mein at the Yin Yin, Lo’s China Bistro for a Sizzling Platter or Uncle Yu’s for Classic Peking Duck with Bao.
Happy trails to you, and Bon Voyage! Nancy
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
This recipe has become one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. It's easy, there is no baking, the cookie can be made gluten free and it looks festive!
Festive Gluten Free Coconut Cookies
The surprising ingredients are deliciously combined and rolled into this cookie - aren't dates and nuts healthy?! The original recipe called for margarine, but I used butter, with no difference in the consistency of the cookie. The recipe also called for Rice Krispies, but I used the Gluten Free Rice Krispies, which worked out fine and did not compromise the flavor.
I often use the packaged chopped dates, rather than chopping them my self. This cookie also freezes well. Just make sure they are not crowding each other or stacked.
Skillet Coconut Cookies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispies
3 cups (7 ounce bag was perfect) sweetened shredded coconut
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs and then combine the sugar. Add to the melted butter in the skillet.
Add the salt and chopped dates, cook until thickened, 10 - 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture as it cooks and mash the dates to break them down.
When thickened, remove from the heat, stir in the nuts, vanilla, and Rice Krispies. Return to the heat and cook for just a few more minutes to help combine the ingredients.
Remove from the heat.
Gluten Free Cookies Ready to Roll
Using a teaspoon, form into walnut size balls and roll in shredded coconut. Makes 3 dozen.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do - a fun addition to any cookie assortment.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM||comments (1)|
Hachiya Persimmon Tree
Tis the season to see Hachiya persimmon trees around northern California looking like their bare branches have purposely been decorated with bright orange ornaments. People often move into homes with persimmon trees growing in the yards and have no idea what to do with the fruit. This happened to our cousin Wendy when she bought our grandparent's house several years ago. Last year she received a great recipe for a persimmon trifle. Settle in as I tell you the story about how she received the recipe.
My sister Susie attended San Jose State University in the 1970s. While living in the dorms there, she had a roommate named Candace who later in life moved to Chicago.
Fast forward to the early 2000s. Susie was staying with her friends, LouAnne and Lowell, who were living in the caretaker's cabin on our family's ranch in the Livermore Hills. One morning Susie walked down the long dirt lane to get the newspaper that was delivered at the bottom of the lane. While she was down there, a car driving by stopped. A young woman got out of the car to introduce herself as Melody, the new neighbor who had recently bought the ranch next to our family's ranch.
Susie was quite surprised to recognize Melody as someone she had once met in Chicago while visiting Candace. Needless to say, they were both quite surprised to meet again, so far from Chicago, and in such a rural location! Proving once again, that it is a small world. Since that day Melody and her husband, Steve, have attended many of our events at the party barn.
Our cousin Wendy lives about 1/8 of a mile from Melody and Wendy often shares the persimmons that grow at her house with Melody. For years Wendy has been at a loss as what to do with the persimmons, so Melody shared a persimmon praline trifle recipe with her. Wendy made the trifle for our annual New Year's Day party and again recently when our cousins from Denmark were visiting. The first time she made it the pralines cooked a bit too long, however, they made a crunchy candy that Wendy chopped up and put into the trifle. I, personally thought the crunchy praline was fabulous in the trifle. Whether the pralines are crunchy or not, the persimmon trifle is very, very good.
Persimmon Praline Trifle
Ingredients for pralines
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup pecan halves
Ingredients for trifle
8 ounces mascarpone
1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons dark rum
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 medium wild Hachiya persimmons, very ripe
2 cups cubed pound cake (1/2 inch cubes)
To make the pralines:
Spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the sugars and half-and-half in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and salt and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 260 degree F on a candy thermometer. Working quickly, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the pecans, then pout out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it as thin as possible. The mixture will start to harden quickly. Let the pralines cool completely, then chop into 1/4 inch pieces.
For the trifle:
Place the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the rum, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix on low and increase the speed to medium high. Whip the mixture just until it holds a firm, creamy peak.
Place a medium-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Remove the stem ends from the persimmons. Squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Using a rubber spatula, press the pulp through the strainer. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of puree.
Place one-third of the mascarpone cream in the bottom of the dish, spreading it out to the sides. Top with one-third of the persimmon puree. Sprinkle with half the cake cubes. Brush the cake cubes with 2 tablespoons of the rum. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the praline. Repeat the layers, ending with the mascarpone cream on top, a final drizzle of persimmon puree, and a sprinkling of pralines. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 2, 2012 at 5:25 PM||comments (1)|
There seems to be a renaissance in pickling these days, even amongst our family. This year we pickled 45 quarts of asparagus, resurrected our Grandmother’s Danish Pickle recipe after 20 some odd years of slumber, and also whipped up some Dills, Bread and Butter Pickles and Pickled Okra. And boy oh boy, were they good, it was well worth the effort.
Our pickled aspargus under construction
You can find a wide variety of tangy pickled products on the shelves of sustainable grocers in the bay area from Studebaker Pickles, and you can also visit the Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley where they are whipping up Kim Chee, Sauerkraut and Kombucha, who knew?!
On a recent trip to Portland, we were in need of an adult beverage, so we headed to one of the state liquor stores (unlike California, you can’t buy liquor in the grocery store), and as I was perusing the shelves, low and behold, I saw a McClure’s Pickle label; but it wasn’t pickles, it was Bloody Mary Mix. I felt like I had hit the jackpot! I have seen McClure’s products in specialty grocery stores here in the bay area and had picked up a few jars here and there, but I had never seen this concoction! Joe, Bob and the McClure family use their great grandmother's recipes for the Brooklyn pickles they produce by hand.
When you picked up the bottle and shook it around, you could see that there was some love and attention given to this bottle of tomato juice. Flecks of hot chili flakes and black pepper, chunks of vegetables, this was a must have. And sitting next to it was a welcome addition to any Bloody Mary, pickled asparagus. So I loaded up my cart with a lemon, celery, some potato vodka and we headed back to the hotel. My friends had never had Bloody Mary's with pickled asparagus, and we certainly had never sipped on McClure's mix, this was a real winner, a unanimous vote for Best Bloody Mary Mix on the Planet!!
Bloody Marys concocted in our Portland hotel room
Our family's favorite Bloody Mary was found at The Point, a restaurant on the banks of the Sacramento River in the San Joaquin Delta. They have been voted Best Bloody Mary on the Delta numerous years running, and that's where I learned about adding pickled asparagus, because of course, we're near the asparagus capitol of the world! Unfortunately, they are closing this December. We were planning our next family reunion in February at The Point, so if you have any recommendations for a new restaurant serving killer Bloody Mary’s on the Delta, please post it on the Holm Family Cookbook facebook page!
Bottom's Up! Nancy
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM||comments (1)|
My daughter, Laina, has been making the pumpkin pies for our extended family's Thanksgiving dinner for the last three years. She started making them when she was 16-years old. The tricky part about her pie making is that she doesn't open a can of pumpkin puree to make them; she actually cooks the pumpkins and purees them herself. She does take a shortcut and uses frozen pie crust.
A pie pumpkin used to make pumpkin pies
Laina uses pie pumpkins to make her pies. You can usually find these pumpkins in the produce section of the grocery store before Halloween and until after Christmas. The pie pumpkins are smaller than the pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns. The pie pumpkins are also sweeter and the texture is not as grainy as the larger pumpkins.
Baked pie pumpkins
To make the puree, she bakes the pumpkins, scrapes out the seeds, and purees the cooked pumpkin--she does not use the shell. It is not as complicated or time consuming as one might think. And, the results are so much tastier than store bought pies and puree.
One of Laina's pumpkin pies
Laina uses the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's, which taste and look homemade. So, Laina's pies are almost homemade . . . .
Pumpkin Pie - Makes one pie
One pie pumpkin
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pie crust
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and strings. Place the pumpkins cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Allow pumpkin to cool and then scrape the cooked pumpkin out of the shell.
Place the cooked pumpkin into a blender and puree until smooth. Laina likes to put the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk with the cooked pumpkin in the blender on the liquefy setting to make the texture smoother. Pour the pureed pumpkin into a bowl and mix in the eggs, then the salt, sugar, vanilla, and the spices. Mix well to make sure there are no spice clumps.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a 9" pie plate with a pie crust and crimp the edges. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust.
Bake the pie in the 425 F oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 40 more minutes or until the pie is no longer jiggly in the center.
Cool the pie before serving. We store our pumpkin pies in the refrigerator.
We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.
- David Mamet
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
Tom and Vibeke visting from Denmark
Yesterday our "cousins" Tom and Vibeke Hvilsted from Denmark came to the Party Barn for a visit. We wanted to treat them to a taste of fresh American food, and the family rallied! Merry made guacamole, a green salad with pears, candied pecans, and blue cheese along with her Dutch oven beer bread. Sandy Holm made her spicy Cranberry Salsa with fresh ginger and jalapenos (we'll post this family favorite in a future blog!), Whitney made a fruit salad with Fuyu Persimmons, grapes, pomegranate, pears and apple, and Troy, aka "Spud," mashed the 10 pounds of potatoes. Nancy with the help of cousin Kenny Calhoun and Alton Brown grilled a turkey using Ken Calhoun's Turkey Marinade, Wendy made her persimmon trifle and I made my aunt Vivian Brizee Calhoun's stuffing.
My sister Nancy manning the BBQ (rain and all)
The spread and Wendy's persimmon trifle
Aunt Vivian's stuffing has been a staple at the Calhoun Thanksgiving for many years. We always thought it was Uncle Ken's recipe! I enjoy it because it has celery, mushrooms and spinach in it. We had a lot of stuffing left over and my father plans to test a recipe he saw on "The Chew," stuffed bell peppers!
We had a wonderful visit with Tom and Vibeke, they shared many stories and snippets of our Danish family history. Also visiting were four deer and a covey of quail. The much needed rain did not dampen our spirits! We also used this opportunity to try the long awaited Danish pickles that my family made during the summer. The pickles passed the test! They tasted just like the pickles that our Granny used to make and the Danes said they taste just like the pickles you buy in Denmark.
Vivian's stuffing with sausage
Vivian Brizee Calhoun's Turkey Stuffing - Serves 10
I doubled this recipe for the 14 guests and there were PLENTY of leftovers.
1 pound ground sausage (I used the Jimmy Dean Reduced Fat Sausage)
2 large onions
5 stalks of celery
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms
1 package of frozen spinach
1 package of cubed bread
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt, or less
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sage
2-3 tablespoons butter
Brown and drain the sausage. Chop the onions, celery and mushrooms then sautee in about 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the package of frozen spinach according to directions on package and then drain. Combine all above with 1 package of cubed bread, stir it gently in a large bowl.
Add the dry mustard, salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, and sage. Add enough hot water (plus some melted butter) to moisten the dressing. I used about 1 cup of water and melted the butter right in it using the microwave. Stir gently.
We did not stuff the bird, but cooked it in a covered dish at 300 degrees F for about 1 hour. Add a little more moisture when cooking in a covered dish. I added about 1/2 cup chicken stock with about a tablespoon of butter melted in it.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM||comments (2)|
We were invited to participate in the Sunol Pioneer Folk Festival that was held yesterday at the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park in Sunol. Our Great, Great Grandmother Caroline Arnett's family moved from Missouri to Sunol and she lived there until her marriage to Daniel Teeter in 1870. Unfortunately, Caroline died twelve years later at the age of 33.
Here is a copy of Daniel Teeter and Caroline Arnett's wedding certificate. I have transcribed what is written on the certificate below. Apparently spelling was not a strength of the person that did the writing.
THIS CERTIFIES THAT The RITE of holy Matrimony WAS CELEBRATED between Daniel M. Teeter of Pleasanton Almeda, Co. Cal and Caroline E Arnett of Sunole off the Same Co. on the 27 day off June at Sanleandro Almeda Co. Cal by Gor. Smith Justis off the pese in the year off our lord 1870
We had a great time at the festival and have been invited back again next year. It appeared the other people at the festival had a great time too. The setting for the festival was just beautiful and the weather was just perfect. There were craft booths where at no charge people got to make stick horses, clothes pin dolls, stamped leather accessories, and they got to plant seeds to take home in a pot. Cousin Wendy and my sister Nancy happily went home with stick horses and clothes pin dolls. There were food booths, again at no charge, where the attendees could make their own lemonade, taste horehound candy, apple fritters and biscuits made in a Dutch oven, and hand cranked ice cream.
Nancy cranking the ice cream maker at the Sunol Pioneer Festival
We manned the hand cranked ice cream booth. The ice cream was a hit. Men, women, and children were excited to take turns cranking the handle of the ice cream maker. Many of the people came back for seconds and some came back for thirds and fourths. Several of the people said the strawberry ice cream was the best strawberry ice cream they had ever had (however, some of the people had just hiked five miles, so anything cool would have tasted great).
A few people from India stopped by and told us about making hand cranked ice cream in India where there is either no electricity or electricty for only three hours a day. The ice cream flavors some of them made was mango, cardamom, or saffron. Other people visiting from India that had not seen or made hand cranked ice cream were very interested in how it was made and where they could buy the makers to take back to India.
Some of the leftover hand cranked strawberry ice cream
We used our grandmother's recipe that we have posted in our blog before, but this time we made some changes. The recipe below reflects those changes. You can use this recipe with other fruit, such as peach, which is one of my favorites.
Granny’s Pumped Up Strawberry Ice Cream - Makes 5 quarts
Ice Cream Ingredients
6 pints ripe strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 pints heavy whipping cream
1 pint half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Needed for the ice cream maker
Mash the strawberries until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the freezer canister and insert the dasher into the canister. Place the lid on the canister and put the canister into the bucket.
Pack the area between the canister and the bucket with ice and rock salt. Add a 3- or 4-inch layer of ice and then pour a layer of salt, at least a few handfuls. Repeat the layering until the ice is about an inch or two below the cannister lid. Don't go above the lid and take care not to get the salt into the canister.
It will take about 1/2 hour to an hour for the ice cream to thicken in the hand crank maker. The ice cream thickens in about 15 to 20 minutes in an electric maker. With the electric maker, be sure to turn the maker off as soon as the ice cream is thick or the motor can burn out.
In our family homemade ice cream was a tradition at birthday parties and summer events. Why not make it one of yours?
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
Recently the Brew Angels, the home brew club my husband Troy and I belong to, had a BBQ potluck meeting. Knowing there was sausage and ribs on the menu, my mind wandered to vegetables and then to the pea salad I had at Skates on the Bay many years ago. I went online looking for recipes. Someone had blogged about the Broadway Pea Salad at Skates, but the recipe that was posted by the blogger wasn't my favorite. I looked further and found a recipe from Clinkerdagger's in Spokane. This was the one I chose to modify a bit. I am always a bit hesitant about taking anything with mayonnaise in it to a potluck, but I kept it in the ice chest right until the meat was served.
Mind you, peas have never been my favorite. In fact, at the Thanksgiving kid's table, they were a chosen form of ammunition! There was just something about this salad that I liked. Maybe because the peas weren't thoroughly cooked, or was it the bacon? Here is the final recipe below that I ended up making, it paired well with the ribs and beer!
But wait, most important of all, what was on tap at the BBQ?? Bohemian lager, Cocoa Porter (chick beer), Chocolately and creamy, APA - American Pale Ale, IPA - India Pale ale, Bourbon, Barrel ESB - Extra Strong Bitters, American Strong Ale , Black IPA, American Brown, English IPA. And don't forget the 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat in cans!
Broadway Pea Salad - 8 servings
(Modified from Clinkerdagger's Broadway Pea Salad)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
(I made the whole amount of dressing, but only used half)
Water chestnuts, bacon, and red onion really add flavor to this recipe
3.5 pounds frozen baby peas, thawed but not cooked (see note)
5 ounces water chestnuts, sliced and cut in half
8 ounces bacon, some fat trimmed off, cooked crisp and broken into pieces
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
Blend together mayonnaise, sour cream, pepper and salt. Combine baby peas, water chestnuts, bacon and red onions with dressing until ingredients are well coated.
Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. Stir twice each day to redistribute dressing.
Slowly thaw the peas at room temperature
Note: Peas must be naturally thawed. Slow thawing under refrigeration is best. Room temperature is acceptable, but do not place in water. Place the thawed peas on paper-towel lined pans and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to purge the remaining excess moisture from the peas. If peas are not thoroughly thawed or have been thawed in water and not properly drained, they will dilute the dressing.
Susie Calhoun, a Brew Angel
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
The assortment of mini desserts I served at Bunco
After Christmas dinner last year I served a tray of assorted mini desserts to my guests and they loved them (click here to read about them). What my guests loved about the minis was that they could say "I'll try one of each" and they would only be consuming the calories of one regular sized dessert, that they could eat one mini dessert and not feel too guilty about eating a dessert, and they loved having an assortment to choose from.
Recently it was my turn to host Bunco at my house. In my Bunco group the hostess is expected to serve dessert after the game. It was really hot that week, so I thought some refreshing minis would be the way to go. I'd wanted to make lemon mousse for a long time, so I used this opportunity to make it. Along with the mini lemon mousses, I made mini raspberry trifles using this recipe (click here) and I assembled the mini trifles in champagne glasses. I also served Trader Joe's mango ice cream in some mini dessert glasses that I bought at Pier 1 Imports. I topped the mini ice cream desserts with a dollop of whipped cream and a Trader Joe's coconut cookie.
Mini raspberry trifles made in small champagne glasses
Mango ice cream served in mini dessert glasses
Well, the Bunco group enjoyed the desserts, but they gave me some grief about setting the bar too high for the next Bunco hostess. No worries, she was happy to serve pies from Shari's.
There are so many desserts that you can make as a minis. I recently had a mini tiramisu at a luncheon and mini tarts are always fun and easy to make.
Lemon mousse in mini dessert glasses
Below is the recipe I used to make the lemon mousse. If you make this recipe, you will actually be making lemon curd first and then will make whipping cream to fold into the curd to make the mousse. For the best flavor, be sure to use fresh squeezed lemon juice.
Lemon Mousse - Makes 6 regular sized servings or 12 mini servings
Ingredients for the lemon curd
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 4 lemons (zest the lemons before you juice)
1/2 cup lemon juice (approximately five or six lemons)
Pinch of salt
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, cut up into small pieces
Ingredients for whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
To make the curd, you are going to use a double boiler improvised by using a medium pot filled with a few inches of water and a large glass bowl. Bring the water in the medium pot to a boil. Do not place the glass bowl on it yet.
Pour the three eggs and three egg yolks into the large glass bowl. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt to the eggs and whisk.
Set the bowl over the pot with the boiling water. Fast and furiously whisk the contents of the bowl. Keep the mixture moving or it will turn into scrambled eggs. The mixture will become frothy and then creamy. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. It will take about 10 or 11 minutes to get to this point.
Remove the bowl from the boiling water. Start adding handfuls of the small pieces of butter to the thickened lemon mixture. Keep adding the butter until it has all been mixed in. If any lumps remain, put the bowl back on the pot with the boiling water until melted.
Push the curd though a fine mesh sieve to remove the stray bits of scrambled egg that may have formed.
Put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cool.
To make the whipped cream, beat the cream and sugar together in a medium bowl until soft peaks are formed. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the curd at a time. Take care that you don't completely deflate the cream, so the mousse is somewhat fluffy when served.
To fill small dessert glasses, fill a corner of a gallon Ziplock bag with the mousse. Cut the tip off of the corner of the bag and pipe the mousse into the glasses.
Garnish with raspberries and thin strips of lemon peel.
Have fun with it. Your guests will love them!
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
I was invited to a "Think Performance" session at the Googleplex yesterday (Google’s corporate headquarters), and almost didn’t go…what a mistake that would have been! What a campus they have, it was amazing to say the least.
But what really got me out of the house at 6:30am was the offer to receive Google's Nexus 7 Tablet just for attending, yowza! But why, you may ask, would I be talking about Google on a foodie blog? Because of their lunch of course!
After the 3 hour session pitching Google ads (very effective by the way, I’m in), like cattle to a trough, we all headed to lunch and lined up for what we thought was a buffet, but in actuality, was just the fruit and cheese display. Soon, the service staff began rolling in with small passed trays of lunch items, first, an oyster shooter in a small Asian spoon with a jalapeno mignonette, bang, what a way to start! My hands were full when the first round of Cheddar Burger Bites passed by (animal style with thousand island and grilled onions!), then a small triangle of grilled cheese with an old fashioned tomato soup shot. On this cloudy autumn day that really hit the spot.
Most of us were milling about, so my hands were full again when the roasted beet kabob passed by the first and second round, but I was able to grab one on the third pass, absolutely delicious, red and golden beets on a skewer. I spotted a meatball tray, but heard the word lamb, spicy lamb with cucumber raita to be exact, and chickened out - if you’re familiar with our blog, you know that most of my generation of the Holm family is averse to lamb, we raised them for 4-H and can’t quite stomach it.
Then another vegetarian choice rounded the curve, a mini falafel on a pita triangle with a great tzatziki sauce. And they just kept rolling in, I spotted a chicken skewer coming by, it was tandori with a yogurt sauce, yum.
Everything was so tasty and beautifully plated, I had to go thank the chefs for this unexpected lunch that was way beyond expectation, as was the entire morning. This was Google’s onsite catering team, there is another kitchen that serves their cafeteria. Bravo team Google!
Then, for the pièce de résistance, they had hired Harvey, who specializes in mini donuts, oh my goodness, they were lighter than air. I prefer simple desserts and chose the sugar cinnamon version, but there were plenty of choices, especially for you chocolate lovers.
I grabbed his card, I want Harvey’s Gourmet Mini Donuts to come to an event in Livermore!
Thanks for an incredible morning Google, well worth the horrible 2 hour commute! Nancy
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
One of the spectacular sunsets at Pajaro Dunes
A couple of weekends ago I stayed at a beach house in the gated community of Pajaro Dunes on the Monterey Bay coastline in California with a group of friends from high school. We had the time of our lives there!
The inside of the beach house was light and cheery. The color scheme inside was white, yellow, and light blue, and there were windows everywhere. A whimsical set of bare toes was designed into the hearth of the stone fireplace.
The front entrance to the beach house
The backside of the beach house looked out onto Monterey Bay
The cheery yellow, white, and light blue color scheme in the beach house
Can you see the bare toes on the hearth of the fireplace?
Pajaro Dunes is on the edge of Watsonville, a farming community where most of the artichokes, raspberries, strawberries, lettuce, and cabbage that we consume in the San Francisco Bay Area is grown. Even if you don't live in the Bay Area, if you have any fruit or veggies in the house, it's a good chance some of it was grown in Watsonville. For me, driving through the Pajaro Valley to get to the beach house was like taking a step back in time. There were miles upon miles of row crops and old trucks loaded with packaged berries leaving the farms to deliver fresh berries. In my younger days, the San Francisco South Bay and East Bay areas used to be large farming communities and most of that fertile ground is now covered with housing tracts, and the high tech businesses that make up the Silicon Valley.
Miles of artichokes, lettuce, strawberries, cauliflower and other row crops line the bottom of the Pajaro Valley
Acres of raspberries are covered with tents
Sorry for the digression. The beach house was built on a small cliff above the beach. There were Adirondack chairs placed around a fire pit and that looked out onto the bay. This is where we spent hours visiting, listening to the waves, and watching pods of dolphins and sea lions swim by. I was excited to see the dolphins as I have never seen them off the coast of California. I'll tell you, there is nothing like an early morning of enjoying a great cup of coffee while watching dolphins swimming and frolicking in the surf.
I sat here and watched pods of dolphins and sea lions swim by
At night we made a bonfire in the fire pit and sat around the fire telling stories and laughing until we ran out of wood. We found sand dollars during our walks along the beach in the morning. We ventured away from the beach house once to go up the coast to Capitola for lunch and to visit some of the little shops there.
There are condos and beach houses (including the one where we stayed) in Pajaro Dunes for rent. Here is a link to the website where this particular beach house can be rented: House 6 - At the Dunes Rentals
What a wonderful way to spend a weekend and to get a much needed attitude adjustment. And, only about an hour and a half from home!
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Glamour Gal Martini
My sister Susie and I have been friends with Brenda and Melanie Vieux for several years, and we've have had a lot of fun times with the Vieux girls, such as
trips to Mexico, "sibling" dinners in San Francisco, trips to the beach,
and just hanging out. Urban legend has it that their father Don Vieux, a well respected rancher in Alameda County, would make deliveries to our grandparent's ranch in the Livermore Hills and would spend time chatting with our grandmother Ione. Our grandmother was one of the kindest people you could ever meet and Don assumed the rest of the family followed suit, so he encouraged Brenda and Melanie to forge a friendship with us. Boy, did we have him fooled!
The Vieux family has lived and ranched in the hills high above Fremont since Brenda and Melanie's great grandfather Octavien Vieux immigrated to the United States from France in the late 1800s. Brenda and Melanie grew up in the house their grandfather built on the ranch that overlooks the San Francisco Bay and cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City. Evenings at the Vieux ranch offers a view of beautiful sunsets and the twinkling lights of the cities below.
Susie and I have been fortunate to attend many events and dinners at the Vieux's house. The meals are usually prepared by Brenda and Melanie's mom, Ralene, and complemented with salad, dessert, or cocktails made by Brenda and Melanie. Unfortunately, life has a way of complicating things, so we don't get together as often as we used to. We recently, however, made plans to get together for a potluck. Those plans then morphed into a dinner that was prepared by Ralene and complemented with dishes and cocktails made by Brenda and Melanie. As usual, the food and company was outstanding.
Melanie made some beautiful cocktails that night and if not metered, they can knock your socks off. I still can't find the socks I wore that night. The recipe is below.
Glamour Gal Martini
2 oz vodka
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup or 1 tsp sugar
Drop of crème de cassis
Rim a martini glass with crème de cassis and sugar.* Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the martini glass. Finish the cocktail with a drop of crème de cassis on top.
*To rim the martini glass, first dip rim of glass in a shallow dish filled with crème de cassis and immediately place rim in another shallow dish with sugar, rotating the glass to ensure the whole rim is covered.
Note to the Vieux's: I'm still working on my thank you card.
|Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Holm Family Cookbook recipe testers and Susie Calhoun all set for a food and history tour of Murphys, California
This past weekend, some of our cookbook recipe testers and I, gathered in Murphys, California "Queen of the Sierra" to experience a food and history tour. A tour was booked with LocalRoots Food Tours. We met Lara, our tour guide, at the gazebo in the Murphys Community Park. Tours usually accommodate ten people. Ours actually had seven, five friends and a fun foodie couple from Sacramento. The couple have been to various cooking classes internationally and shared some of their travels with us as we walked through Murphys.
Melanie, chef & co-owner of Newsome-Harlow (standing) and our tour guide Lara (sitting)
The first historical stop was the Murphys Pokey, where Lara shared the early history of Murphys. Off we walked to the Newsome-Harlow tasting room, one of my favorites in Murphys. Melanie Klann, chef and co-owner, is known for her use of local produce. She had prepared a butter roll, with fig jam, Swiss cheese and bacon; paired with Newsome-Harlow 2010, Calaveras County Zin. The tasting room would be both the beginning and the end of our tour.
Butter roll, with fig jam, Swiss cheese and bacon at Newsome-Harlow
Next stop was the Aria Bakery. FRESH and delicious would best describe their products. The bakery is very small, but full of delicacies. Here we picked up our potato onion thyme focaccia and then moved to the patio of the Marisolio Tasting Bar, a tasting bar of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The variety of oils and vinegars was extensive and flavorful. They provide the opportunity to taste all the oils and vinegars and once you make a selection of oil or vinegar to buy, they will bottle your selection.
Aria Bakery (left) and the Marisolio Tasting Bar
At the historic Murphys Hotel, we learned about all the dignitaries who stayed at the hotel on their way to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Next stop was the E Clampus Vitas Wall of Comparative Ovations. For those of you who have not heard of the “Clampers” or seen one of the ECV plaques, I suggest you check out this website for a bit of history: http://www.yerbabuena1.com/history.htm. I have been to Murphys many times and known many Clampers, but had never seen this wall – it's an outside museum!
The E Clampus Vitas Wall of Comparative Ovations
Off we walked to the far end of Murphys to Val du Vino Winery. The winery is owned by Jonathan and Jeannine, a well traveled and diverse couple. Both were behind the wine bar, but Jonathan was our host and winemaker. We tasted five wines, concluding with the 2009 Spanish Dragon. The multi award winning Spanish Dragon is a Tempranillo with a touch of Grenache. It was definitely my favorite. On Fridays during the summer Val du Vino is host to a Farmers Market, and on this day, was host to a wedding.
Johnathan our host and winemaker at the Val du Vino Winery
Upon leaving Val du Vino, we walked back into town via a back street to The Spice Tin. This shop is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Murphys and had a tunnel that led to the bar of the Murphys Hotel. The walls were lined with fresh spices and some local food products. Of particular interest to me was the Himalayan salt. These slabs can be used for cooking and chilling. For tasting was Dukkah, an Egyptian inspired blend of nuts; which is great for coating over fish, fowl or veggies. I loved the toasty flavor, which was intensified with the olive oil it was served with.
The Spice Tin shop (left) and the Himalayan salt display
As we traveled back down the main street, we walked down an alley on the way to V Restaurant Bar and Bistro at the Victoria Inn. Known for their fine dining; Dan Murray the chef, buys the best and changes the menu weekly. We were seated at the quaint bar and served a delightful plate. Presented on a picturesque plate was a petite Caprese salad on a skewer, a succulent BBQ pork rib resting on a mixed potato salad, and a Devil on Horseback (blue cheese stuffed date, wrapped in bacon and deep fried) – a personal favorite! Fabulous!
The delightful plate served at the V Restaurant Bar and Bistro at the Victoria Inn
On our way to Alchemy we stopped in at Nelson's Candies.This is owned by the same people who have Nelson’s Candy Kitchen in Columbia.The candies looked delightful, but this group was saving ourselves for the Cupcake Wars winner!
Lara guided us down to the Alchemy Restaurant and Market at the opposite end of Murphys. Alchemy Chef, Jason Wright served us black mussels, fries with scallion aioli. This traditional Belgian fare was paired with a De Proefrouwerij Flanders Fred--a Belgian beer. This unique beer was a collaborative effort of two breweries using a wild fermented sour lambic and wood aged Hair of the Dog. I loved that we were served food paired with beer!
Black mussels and fries paired with a De Proefrouwerij Flanders Fred
Our last food stop was at Lila & Sage. Waiting for us was the award winning Honey and Lavendar cupcake. Owner Karen Henderson’s creation helped Murphys see a surge in business when Cupcake Wars brought the Food Network to Murphys!
Lila & Sage, home of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars' winning cupcake
After three and a half hours of touring, feasting and enjoying history; our tour ended with a more extensive tasting at Newsome-Harlow. I purchased Train Wreck, a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine I enjoy drinking and sharing with friends. It is here we said good bye to Lara and thanked her for generous hospitality and knowledge.
My friends, former colleagues, and I retired to one’s home in Saddle Creek to watch the sunset. Here we reminisced about the tour and the wonderful time we had on the Local Roots Food Tour. Based in Auburn, Local Roots gives tours in Sacramento, Murphys, and soon Nevada City.
The sunset in Saddle Creek
What a fun and filling way to spend a day!