Holm Family Cookbook

Some eat to live, we live to eat!

Cowgirl's Foodie Blog

Uncle Ken's BBQ Turkey

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 13, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Somewhere along the line while self-publishing our cookbook, maybe year 9, our designer/editor recommended that we test all of the recipes since we now would be publishing the book for the public. So now we had to divvy up the 240+ recipes. We knew we couldn’t do it ourselves, so we emailed out to our family and friends all across the U.S. asking for their help, and what cooking skills they possessed. There were some difficult items: pickles, pies, chow-chow, recipes from the 1800’s, cakes, adult beverages (why didn’t I get that section?!), even rattlesnake. It just so happened that our cousin killed one in his yard, so even that was tested! I had a frozen turkey in my freezer, so I offered to test my Uncle Ken’s BBQ Turkey Marinade, his "special way" of marinating and BBQ'ing turkey. That was one of the best decisions I ever made, it took a few days but was soooooo worth it. That turkey was the absolute best I had ever eaten, the meat was so tender, hard to describe, it was like velvet, unbelievable.


We were having some friends a couple of weeks ago, and two of us had frozen turkeys, so we decided to try out one on the gas grill, one over charcoal. I have to admit, needing two gallons of wine for the recipe, I didn’t choose any of our fine Livermore Valley wines for the marinating, I went with “the box”. This time I used a large canning pot and a large roasting pan for the marinating vessels, cleared out the refrigerator in the garage and got started the process started.


Don't be fooled by the size of the Heineken, it was a mini kegger!


We tried something a little different on the charcoal grill this round, a friend sent me up some hickory chips to smoke with the turkey, recommended using beer in the pan while we bbq'd it, and we laid strips of hickory bacon across the top during the first portion of cooking. We did baste both turkeys during the process, the charcoal bird with beer, the gas grill turkey we basted with the wine marinade. Once again, it was worth the wait, both turkeys were so moist, full of flavor and absolutely delicious! Two carcasses for soup were all that remained, and just enough white meat for two sandwiches!


BBQ turkey with hickory chips & bacon


Uncle Ken’s BBQ Turkey Marinade

I use this marinade when I cook turkey “my own special way.” Ken Calhoun


1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage

Cloves from 1 large head garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

½ cup salt

2 tablespoons pepper

1 gallon white wine

Juice from 3 lemons

1 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the sage, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix in the wine and lemon juice, then whisk in the oil.


Ken’s Special Way

An extra refrigerator makes this easier. The turkey soaks in the great flavors as it marinates. I use a sixteen-pound turkey or smaller. A bigger bird is ok, but cooking times will be different. Depending on weight and heat, figure about twenty minutes per pound. Please don’t overcook the bird—use a thermometer to be safe. If you use a gas grill, a three-burner grill with the middle burner turned off is great. Cook at 325˚F to 350˚F.

BBQ turkey on the gas grill with wine marinade

Put a large plastic bag inside a tall plastic bucket or container. Pour the marinade into the bag. Place the turkey in the bag, pull up the sides, and tie the top, trying to submerge as much of the bird as possible. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning once a day.



When ready to cook, prepare an indirect fire on a charcoal grill. Place the bird on the grill, cover, and cook for about 3 to 4 hours. There is no need to baste the turkey while cooking. Add more charcoal as needed (about 18 to 20 briquettes every hour) to maintain an even heat. The turkey is done when your thermometer reaches 165˚F.



- Niece Nancy

Dining Along California's Central Coast

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 15, 2010 at 3:24 AM

On a recent trip, my husband Troy and I had the opportunity to visit several different areas along the central coast of California. We started the trip on Thursday night in San Luis Obispo. The hotel, San Luis Creek Lodge, was within walking distance of the renowned San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market.

Potpourri of Peppers at the San Luis Obispo Farmer's Market

We cruised the market and stopped at Creekside Brewery for a brew and bite. Many items on the menu were made with the beer. I ordered the beer sampler which featured a beer brewed by the Cal Poly brew crew. The house salad was ample and the brisket sliders were filling.

Beer Sampler at Creekside Brewery in San Luis Obispo


Friday and Saturday were spent in Pismo Beach at the Kon Tiki. The hotel has a view of the ocean from every room. Next door is Steamers, a restaurant that is part of the McClintock group in the SLO area. The Bowers family gathered at Steamers for dinner on Saturday night. We filled the Captain’s Room and ordered from the banquet menu.

Our dinner at Steamers included, bruschetta, house salad, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. Entrees were halibut and filet mignon. All food arrived as ordered and was very tasty. Our server, Jared, was very accommodating – especially for the group of 10 unruly pirates he had to wait on. To add to the festivities, I ordered a German Chocolate “pirate” cake that creatively decorated from the Arroyo Grande Bakery.

Pirate Cake from the Arroyo Grande Bakery


Our final leg of the trip was up the coast to Monterey for two nights at Casa Munras. The quaint room with a fireplace was perfect for the overcast weather. Esteban’s Restaurant on the premises had a happy hour all day Sunday featuring Tapas at half price. Troy and I shared dates wrapped in bacon, stuffed with blue cheese. I can still taste them! Also delicious was the beet salad, but best of all; the fresh, warm pitas served with olive tapenade, olive oil and humus.


The grand finale meal was at The Portola located inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With breath taking views of the Monterey Bay, the sustainable food on their menu was creatively presented.

The Portola Restuarant Inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium

I chose the Monterey Bay Farm Raised Abalone, panko crusted, accompanied with Swank Farm Fresh Puree, Watsonville strawberry jam and a shaved fennel, cucumber, radish salad. My choice of beer was Anchor Steam – a beer l enjoy with seafood. Wanting more fresh fruit; I also ordered the Summer Fruit Salad with thinly sliced peaches, black berries, raspberries, house dried apricots, Point Reyes blue cheese, baby lettuce and dressed with Marshall Farm Honey Vinaigrette. Troy chose the sea bass with house made herb pasta, roasted baby beets, English peas, heirloom cherry tomatoes, pea tendrils, mustard, sabayon, buerre blanc and herb oil. He accompanied the meal with a Big Sur Golden.

Panko Crusted Abalone and a Shaved fennel, Cucumber, and Radish salad

Sea Bass with House Made Herb Pasta

Sea Otter in Monterey Bay

~Susie Calhoun


Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 19, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Summer time means fair time for the Holm family. The annual Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA, has played significant and varied roles in our lives. Many of us have been exhibitors at the fair. As a small child, I remember going to the fair to see my grandfather’s hay on display. It was at the same fair that I saw an “iron lung.”


Because agriculture has been such a large part of our lives, the Junior Livestock Show and Auction is the event in which most Holm family members have participated. The Holms, Calhouns, Neelys, and Carters have all exhibited market lambs, beef cattle, and horses, with many of their 4H and Future Farmers of America projects being sold at the Junior Livestock Auction. Dick and Ione Holm were ardent supporters and stayed late into the evening, bidding on and buying not only their family’s animals, but also their friend’s. We continue to honor Dick and Ione by sponsoring an award in their name each year. Bob Holm continues the tradition of buying at the auction and has been buyer of many champion lots. Numerous family members help host the Junior Livestock Booster’s annual barbecue.


Livestock is not the only area in which the Holm family has competed for prizes and won! Tilli Calhoun and Nancy Mueller both have won prizes in the Fine Arts and Photography Department. Petra Holm has wowed the judges with her beautiful knitting and crochet.


For some of us, the fair has been a place of employment. I began working at the racetrack, where Hank Neely would often enjoy an afternoon. Merry Carter, Wendy Howe, Nancy Mueller, Patsy Neely, and I have all spent summers working in the Competitive Exhibit Department, working with everything from art to wine, and pies to pigs.


Gelato was a main staple during the 2010 fair. Matt the owner of Colossal Gelato likes to use local produce…It is made fresh daily. At the Alameda County Fair he used fresh ollalaberries, blueberries and blackberries from Brentwood for Berry Mountain, Fresh Blood oranges for Blood Orange and fresh cherries for Cherry Chocolate Chip – he invited in the fair manager’s family to learn how to make it. He also had frequent buyer cards available – buy 5 get one free. His next stop on the fair circuit is Santa Maria, so you can only imagine how delicious the strawberry will be!!


Our next stop on the fair circuit is the Amador County Fair in Plymouth, CA,  July 29 - August 1, my husband Troy Bowers happens to be the CEO. Through a fair connection, I was invited to go on a blind date with Troy - what good fortune - I married him! Troy’s father, Bates, was the fair manager and his mother, Jean, was the secretary of the Kings District Fair in Hanford. (The fair must run deep in our blood!)


We have not often entered baked goods in the county fair, but our longtime family friend Howard Bettencourt has. He graciously gave us his award-winning pie recipe to include in our cookbook. His pies are a remarkable sight—and delicious. (It looks best when it's whole, before they cut into it for the judging!)

Howard’s Blue Ribbon Boysenberry Pie  

Howard Bettencourt has been entering pies in the Alameda County Fair for more than 15 years and he has a box of blue and gold ribbons to show for his efforts! He is famous for his crust, which he rolls out between sheets of wax paper, rather than a floured countertop. He says avoiding the extra flour keeps the crust tender.


Pastry crust

2½ cups sifted unbleached or all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco

5 tablespoons cold water



4 tablespoons instant tapioca

4 cups fresh boysenberries

1½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 425ºF.


To make the crust, in a medium bowl mix together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or a pair of knives, cut the shortening into the flour. Add the water all at once and mix with a fork.


Then pull the dough together with your hands. Divide the dough in half and roll out 1 piece between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Line the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan with the dough. Set aside.


To make the filling, grind the tapioca in a coffee grinder to break it down. In a bowl, mix the tapioca with the berries, sugar, and lemon juice and toss well. Pour the fruit into the uncooked pastry shell. Roll out the second piece of dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and cover theberries with it. Press the edges together to seal, then crimp them. Cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue baking until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let cool before serving.  Makes one 8-inch 2-crust pie


~ Susie Calhoun


"Fair time is fun time!!"

Portuguese Style Shrimp with Swamp Sauce

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on June 27, 2010 at 1:51 AM

In addition to his marinated fava beans, our cousin Chris brought some Portuguese style shrimp to our Calhoun Family Reunion in May. With garlic, wine, red pepper, and cilantro, these shrimp really have a great flavor. And, to add another dimension of flavor, Chris brought a swamp sauce dip for dipping the shrimp. The shrimp tasted great with or without the swamp sauce. The recipe for the shrimp and swamp sauce are below.


Read more about the family reunion, the Calhoun family’s Portuguese heritage, and Chris’ marinated fava beans by clicking here.

Cousin Chris


Portuguese Style Shrimp


¼ cup olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic, crushed

¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

½ cup vinho verde or other white wine

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 pounds large uncooked fresh shrimp (approximately 21–25), rinsed and in the shell (out of the shell also works)

½ teaspoon coarse salt or to taste

2 tablespoons butter


In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown. Stir in the tomato, bay leaf, garlic, and red pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until mixture is soft and tomatoes are partially dissolved, about 15 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cilantro, shrimp, and salt. Mix and cover. Simmer 3 minutes or until the shrimp are tender.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a serving dish and cover. Melt the butter into the broth, then strain or puree the broth. Serve the broth mixture on the side as a dip.


Chris’ Special Swamp Sauce for Dipping the Shrimp (not Portuguese)


1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons grainy mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon whole oregano, crushed

3 cloves garlic, minced

Cayenne to taste


Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Curta que a vida é curta.

Enjoy every moment because life is short.




Potato Salad Season is Upon Us!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on June 20, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Tomorrow is the official start of summer, which means…. potato salad season! Most families have their own adaptation (as do we!), but maybe you want to try something new, healthier, quicker or classic?! I’ve seen dozens of p-salad posts across the e-universe over the past couple of weeks, and here are a few I found that are worth checking out:


The recipe that got me started on this potato quest was “Garden Potato Salad,” posted on facebook by The Food Network, it was the addition of cucumber that caught my fancy.


If you are just starting out, Cooking Light is featuring 5 Potato Salad recipes, and one being “Potato Salad 101.”


Chow.com is sporting an article, “Perfect Potato Salad, Five Creative Takes on this Classic Side Dish” with a very unique “Marinated Purple Potatoes.”


I think we can trust Better Homes and Garden with a “Classic Potato Salad.”


Tyler Florence can introduce you to “The Ultimate Potato Salad.”


A food blogger that I enjoy following, Heidi, at 101 Cookbooks, has a great “Grilled Potato Salad Recipe.” Her game plan: throw as many of the salad ingredient as possible on the grill, whip up a simple vinaigrette, toss and enjoy.


Then I happened upon “The World’s Easiest Potato Salad” using fresh thyme leaves, this sounds like it is right up my alley.


I found an interesting twist at huggingthecoast.com, from the folks at Serious Eats, “Grilled Sweet Potato Salad.”


My family is partial to our grandmother’s potato salad. What made it unique was her homemade French dressing that she mixed in. Our cousin, Lori Neely South would help Granny make large batches of potato salad, the recipe was never written down, but Lori was familiar enough with the ingredients that she was able to figure out the ingredients for our Holm Family Cookbook. The recipe calls for five pounds of potatoes and serves a crowd of about twenty. For Easter and the Fourth of July, Granny always used twelve to fifteen pounds of potatoes.


An excerpt from Granny’s diary read: “July 4, 1971. Nice day. Up at 6 to make 14 lbs. salad. Dick over to lay fire sprinkler, etc. Rich took me over to put oilcloth on tables, etc. G & Ben not here. 90 of us, very good day, home about 9.”


4th of July at the Circle H Ranch, original painting by Tilli Calhoun


Granny’s Potato Salad

Serves about 20


French dressing

1 cup salad oil

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Spice Islands paprika

1 teaspoon dry mustard



5 pounds red potatoes, cooked and peeled

Salt and pepper

5 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

Best Foods mayonnaise

Miracle Whip salad dressing


To make the dressing, combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, paprika, and dry mustard in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well.


Thinly slice about 3 potatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper, sprinkle with the dressing, and mix well. Add approximately a 1/4 cup of the celery and 1/4 of the red onion; mix again. Add approximately 3 heaping tablespoons of the mayonnaise and 2 heaping tablespoons of the Miracle Whip salad dressing; mix again. Transfer this batch to a large mixing bowl. Repeat this same process until all the potatoes are used, being sure to mix the batches together as they are added to the larger mixing bowl.


Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.


This recipe and many more can be found in The Holm Family Cookbook. If you don’t have your own copy, you can purchase it right now at https://shop.wentevineyards.com/SHOP.AMS?LEVEL=BOT&PART=8713 " target="_blank">wentevineyards.com!


Enjoy our long-awaited summer!




We Love Abalone

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 26, 2010 at 7:18 AM

My family has been enjoying abalone for many years. It is quite a delicacy.


My parents’ friend, Ken Cole, used to give us abalone that he had retrieved from his abalone dives. He invited our family to join him, his family and other friends on an abalone dive years ago. My sister and I were quite young. We went up to Point Arena, California in Mendocino County. We hiked down a cliff to the beach in faint morning light. After there was more daylight my mom was shocked to see how steep the cliff was. She said we came down a cliff that only billy goats could climb. Even then, the Fish & Game Patrol had strict restrictions on the number of abalone you could get and how to transport it.


Years later my sister met a girl at her work whose brother dove for abalone quite often and would give my sister abalone. We would get together and have quite a feast. We like it best lightly breaded and sautéed.


My sister Lori lives in Texas now and when she comes to California for a visit she likes to make a trip to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and splurges on an abalone meal. She likes to go to the Abalonetti Seafood Restaurant, and requests that the abalone be breaded and sautéed. My mother and I usually try and join her. The meal is always delicious and we savor every bite.



For my mother’s birthday last November, we purchased four live abalones from Monterey Abalone Company, and had it sent by UPS Next Day Air from Monterey, California to my sister’s house in Texas.



They were farm raised, averaged about 4 years old, and weighed about a pound a piece with their shells. My mom was sure surprised! Then the work began. First we had to remove the abalone from their shells. This was no easy task.



The abalone really suctioned themselves onto their shells. We used large spoons to pry the meat out of the shells.



We then tried to slice the meat in uniform slices. The abalone meat is very hard and tough and needs to be tenderized, so we pounded the abalone with a cooking mallet. Lori then breaded and sautéed the abalone.



We had quite a plateful. It was so good, we ate until we were stuffed.


Here is a recipe that I got off the Monterey Abalone Company’s website and is almost identical to the recipe that we use.


Sautéed Abalone

1 lb. Abalone

1 egg – slightly beaten

2 teaspoons milk

3/4 cup sifted seasoned dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Cut the abalone into 1/4 inch thick steaks across the grain and pound to tenderize. Mix the egg and milk and beat slightly. Place mixture in a shallow plate. In a second plate, place the breadcrumbs. Dip the abalone in the egg wash and then coat in the breadcrumbs. When the oil is hot sauté the abalone steaks for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.


~Wendy Howe~

Taking the Moms to the Beach Chalet

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 13, 2010 at 1:55 AM


For the last few years, my sister Susie and I have partnered with our cousin Wendy to take our moms to a special place or restaurant on the Saturday before Mother's Day. Some of the places and restaurants we have been to were a special tea at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, Poppy Ridge Restaurant in Livermore, and the Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse in Berkeley. 

This year we took them to the Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant in San Francisco for lunch. The weather was perfect that day and our table looked out across the Pacific Coast Highway and onto the Pacific Ocean. Our mom's seat offered her a perfect view of the ocean, the Cliff House, rocks with waves crashing against them, and some hills covered with iceplant with bright purple blooms. Several times during lunch she said, "This is just perfect."

Susie Calhoun and our mother, Tilli Calhoun

Aunt Patsy Neely and cousin Wendy Howe

The Beach Chalet sits at the very west end of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It has an enclosed dining room upstairs and some murals and historical exhibits downstairs. Also downstairs and in back is an open air restaurant called the Park Chalet. It has a large fireplace and large glass doors and windows that can close most of the restaurant off from the elements when necessary. The day we were there a live band was playing on the grass outside of the Park Chalet. The crowd there seemed to be having a great time. See our sister Nancy's story about the Beach Chalet.

The Beach Chalet

Pacific Coast Highway

Windmill in Golden Gate Park next to the Beach Chalet

The Beach Chalet offers classic ale house fare with salads, burgers, fish and chips, but a bit more gourmet than the typical ale house. We started off our lunch with an order of calamari that was perfect. Some of the entrees we had for lunch were fish and chips, French dip sandwich, Monte Cristo sandwich, hamburger, and crab louis. My mother and I had the crab louis and we were somewhat disappointed as we had envisioned the crab louies we used to get at The Grotto in Jack London Square in Oakland that were just full of large pieces of Dungeness crab with a nice louie dressing that complemented the crab. The chef at the Beach Chalet has taken creative liberty and mixes chopped onion, mayonaisse, and spices with the crab and then mixes capers in with the lettuce, all of which overwhelm the sweet taste of the Dungeness crab.

We finished our lunch off with a rustic warm apple pie, beach chalet chocolate sandcastle, and cheesecake. They were all very good and well presented.

Monte Cristo

Rustic Warm Apple Pie

Beach Chalet Sandcastle an Intense Chocolate Torte



Setting a good example for your children takes all the fun out of middle age.  ~William Feather, The Business of Life, 1949

The Other Side of the Family's Reunion

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 2, 2010 at 1:05 AM

If you have read our cookbook you will know that our mother's side of the family is of Danish descent. Our father's side of the family is of Portuguese decent, but you would never know it by the surname, Calhoun. Both of our father's parents' families immigrated to California from the Azores Islands, which belong to Portugal. When our father's grandfather came to America (legend has it he jumped ship in the San Francisco Bay sometime in the 1800s), he changed his name from de Cuhna to Calhoun. I hate to admit it, but he may have done us a favor. Kids made fun of the last name Calhoun, I can only imagine what fun they would have had with de Cuhna.

The Calhoun Family at the 2010 reunion

Almost every year we have a Calhoun family reunion with a potluck. It used to be that every few years a Portuguese dish, such as soupas or linguisa, would show up at the reunion, but for the last few years we have tried to have a Portuguese theme for the food. This year our cousin Colin brought Portuguese beer, soda, cheese, fish, and sweet bread.  Our cousin Jeff brought a Portuguese sweet bread with purple yam filling and another sweet bread with a coconut filling. Both of these breads tasted great.

Canned fava beans

A tasty Portuguese beer

Portuguese soda

Octopus in hot sauce

Sweet bread with purple yam filling

For the second year in a row our cousin Chris brought a fava bean dish that was one of the most popular dishes. We eat these fava beans as an appetizer by spearing them with toothpicks.  Below is his recipe.

Marinated Fava Beans


4 to 6 cups fava beans

2 tablespoons salt

1 quart water

3 to 6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 hot chili pepper (optional)


Boil the fava beans approximately 1 to 2 hours in salted water until tender. Drain the beans. In a large bowl mix the fava beans with the chopped garlic and chili pepper and set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Pour the dressing over the beans, mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix well before serving.

NOTE: Our cousin Chris likes his recipe to have a bite, so he uses serrano peppers with the seeds.

Comer bem, beber bem, e viver bem!

To eat well, to drink well, is to live well!


Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 26, 2010 at 10:26 AM

My family and I are fortunate enough to attend a few San Francisco Giants games a year, which are held at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Sometimes there is a large group of us (~35 people) and sometimes just a few. AT&T is a beautiful ballpark and we usually sit in some cheap seats high above the home plate that offers us an incredible view of the San Francisco Bay and McCovey Cove. There are often some interesting floatation devices In McCovey Cove, such as inflatable couches, with the people on board hoping to catch a fly ball.

No matter what the size of the group, you can always be sure there is plenty of food. Someone will always have a big bag of peanuts to share with the group, containers of homemade cookies or brownies make their rounds, red vines and other candy is shared. Best of all is the fare offered at the concession stands. The traditional stadium food is available, such as hamburgers and hot dogs, but at AT&T you can find quite a variety of other really good food. A crowd favorite are the Gilroy garlic fries. My sister Susie's favorite is the grilled crab sandwich. My daughter Laina almost always gets the clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. I like Orlando's cha cha bowl, which is grilled chicken on top of a black bean and rice mixture covered with a pineapple salsa. 

In addition to the food, you can get some pretty good beer and cocktails too. As a tradition, my sisters and I always top off our day with a Buena Vista Cafe style Irish coffee. You can make your own with the recipe below.

Nancy Calhoun Mueller and Merry Calhoun Carter enjoy Irish coffees in 2010

All three of the Calhoun sisters with their Irish coffees 2006

Irish Coffee - serves one


2 tsp sugar

1 part Irish whiskey

2 parts hot coffee

Lightly whipped cream


Pre-heat your glass by filling it with very hot water. Empty the glass. Pour the coffee in and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add the whiskey. Float the cream on top by pouring it over the back of a spoon.


Go Giants!


The Holm Family Goes to the Yin Yin Restaurant

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 14, 2010 at 11:11 PM

The Yin Yin restaurant has been in downtown Livermore for over 60 years and the Holm family has been dining there for all of those years. Our cousin Lori relocated to Texas several years ago and when she comes back to Livermore, the Yin Yin is one of her first stops. Usually several of us meet her there for dinner and the staff has become very familiar with us. The last time Lori called to make reservations, when she mentioned the number of people that would be in her party, the person that answered the phone asked, "Is this Lori?" We order the preset dinners for one or more people at the Yin Yin and we get one additional dish for each person up to 10 people. The price of the "special" dinner that we order is $7.95 per person and the amount of food we get is unbelievable. There is also the "deluxe" dinner that is $9.95 per person.

The dinner starts out with the choice of hot & sour or egg flower soup and ends with fortune cookies. When we were there the Monday after Easter this year, here's what we were served between the soup and the fortune cookies:

Jumbo prawns

Crab Rangoon


BBQ Pork

Sweet & Sour Pork

Broccoli Beef

Pork Fried Rice

Mongolian Beef

Pork Chowmein

Honey Walnut Prawns

Kung Pao Chicken

Sesame Chicken

Chef Special Beef

Lemon Chicken

Believe it or not, there was one additional dish, Sauteed Happy Family, that we substituted for extra Honey Walnut Prawns.

The Yin Yin offers a lunch special that ranges from $4.95 to $5.50 and includes soup, fruit, the choice of a fried wonton, egg roll or pot sticker, fried rice, chowmein, and an entree. My favorite entree is the string bean chicken.



Marini's at the Beach

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on April 10, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Marini’s at the Beach has been making and selling salt water taffy, candied apples, caramel corn, ice cream, and chocolates on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California since 1915 and the Holm family has been eating them for five generations! Besides the Boardwalk location, Marini’s also has a store on the Santa Cruz Wharf and downtown Santa Cruz.

The beach boardwalk location of Marini's is located in this covered section of the Boardwalk

Caramel and candied apples

Chocolate covered strawberries

Caramel corn and salt water taffy


I take my kids to Santa Cruz a few times a year and we usually get some type of a treat at Marini’s. During our spring break visit this year, I visited the Marini’s wharf location and ordered a non-fat latte. Do they know how to dress up their cappuccino drinks! The latte was served with a chunk of fudge.  A woman ahead of me ordered a mocha and it was served with a mountain of whipped cream, a chocolate covered coffee bean, and a large chunk of fudge.  She was kind enough to let me take a picture of it and then decided she better take one of her own.

Marini's mocha with plenty of whipped cream, chocolate covered coffee bean and fudge


A lot of the treats Marini’s sells are made at the three locations. While I was at the wharf location, hand dipped chocolate covered nuts and strawberries were being made. There are several cases of candies and other sweets at this location.

Hand dipped chocolate covered nuts

Salt water taffy and chocolates--including chocolate covered bacon!

Hand made chocolates

After leaving Marini's on the wharf, I wandered out on the wharf sipping my latte and enjoyed some of the fabulous views Santa Cruz has to offer and my family has also been enjoying since the 1800s.


Surfs up in Santa Cruz!


The Super Bowl is More than Just Football . . . .

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on February 13, 2010 at 7:22 PM

My husband and I spent Super Bowl weekend with our friend Julie Martin.  We figured we had been doing this for about 20 years. Most years we do not care which team wins, but we still make it a party with all the typical Super Bowl fare.


Julie had prepared the following food for us to enjoy:

Chili with cheese and Fritos

Salami, assorted cheeses and crackers

Potato skins

Cheese stuffed bread sticks

Jalapeno artichoke dip


Spinach dip

Cajun popcorn

Salsa, cream cheese and tortilla chips

Fruit platter

Brownies (for our sweet tooth)

Brown sugar smokies

Sweet and sour chicken wings

Julie Martin's 2010 Super Bowl spread

A new recipe for us this year was brown sugar smokies. These were little smokie sausages wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar and then baked. YUM!!

But our all time favorite is the sweet and sour chicken wings.  They are sweet and sticky and fall off the bone.  The recipe is below.

~Wendy Howe~


Sweet and sour chicken wings

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings


2 lbs. chicken wings

1 package onion soup mix

2 – 18 oz. jars apricot pineapple preserves


Mix the jars of preserves with the package of onion soup mix. Cut off the bony wing tips and discard.  Cut each wing in half at the joint.  Place them in a single layer in a greased, shallow 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with the preserves mixture. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Memories in the Making

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on January 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM

What is it about food that brings back so many fond memories? Tonight I used a ham bone in the Gloria Retzlaff Taylor’s Country Pea Soup recipe (on page 87 in our cookbook or see the December 29, 2009 blog). The ham bone was the remainder of my Honey Baked Ham Ranch House Breakfast gift, which was given to me by Raelene Vieux – a rancher and fantastic cook.  Raelene shared her Potato and Ham Bake Breakfast Special recipe with my sister and me several years ago and we liked it so much we put it in the cookbook (on page 20). Along with her daughters, Melanie and Brenda, and granddaughter, Josey, Raelene was one of our recipe testers.

The fantastic Honey Baked Ham Ranch House Breakfast gift fed myself, my husband, a house guest, and the guests at the New Year’s Day gathering at the party barn. The Ranch House Breakfast included English Muffins, strawberry preserves, coffee, pancake mix, maple syrup, a pound of bacon and a 7 pound ham. To my delight there was a good sized ham bone left. My husband, Troy, had just been saying how much he liked split pea soup. Perfect!  Finally an opportunity presented itself to try Gloria’s Country Pea Soup.

I had planned to make the soup on Sunday afternoon while watching football, but after stopping by the local market, they were out of split peas! The shopping for the vegetables was done, so decided to make it Monday after work, when I would be in Lodi and closer to other grocery stores. Lockeford has one grocery store – and it’s a good twelve miles to another. The recipe is not complicated and with few basic ingredients, it was one I could handle.

As I was making the soup I spied the picture of myself, Bob and Gloria Taylor and a friend Jennifer Marx that is in the cookbook on the page with the split pea soup. Gloria passed away this past year, so I was reflecting on some of the memories I had of her. Prior to living in the vineyard, the Taylor family lived next door to my childhood friend, Jane Drummond, in an old Victorian home.  Gloria was an accomplished artist and I was very impressed by her large pieces of art. There were also memories of her son Noah, who was notoriously late for school with his friend John Drummond. They lived approximately 2 blocks from 5th Street School – but always found some distraction on their way there. This story was shared recently at Gary Drummond’s 80th birthday. The photograph also reminded me of the day I brought friends from Fremont to some of my favorite wineries in Livermore – Concannon and Retzlaff.

Bob Taylor, Jennifer Marx, Susie Calhoun, and Gloria Taylor in the picture from the cookbook

What had started as a gift of food, led me down a path of fond memories being created but also revisited. 

~Susie Calhoun~


New Year's Day at the Party Barn

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on January 1, 2010 at 11:45 PM

One of Wayne and Tilli Calhoun's yearly traditions is to invite friends and family to their party barn on New Year's Day. At this event there is always a wide array of food and drink, a hike, and white elephant bingo and today was no exception.

Although there was rain in the forecast today, the weather was perfect. Some of the guests ate outside in the sun and enjoyed the view of Cedar Mountain.

Warren Howe, Kim Bonde, Troy Bowers, Annie Warner, Susie Calhoun, John Masters, and Wendy Howe enjoy some unexpected sunshine

Cedar Mountain

Guests at the Party Barn

The Calhoun Sisters:  Nancy Calhoun Mueller, Susie Calhoun, and Merry Calhoun Carter

Lou Ann McCune putting on the dog

Food is always plentiful and there are some dishes that are a tradition at this event. Cowboy caviar, Patsy Neely's deviled eggs, and barbecued linguisa are some of the traditional fare. The cowboy caviar is a very tasty way to serve the black-eyed peas that are believed to bring good luck.

Cowboy caviar - For the recipe, click here

Patsy Neely's deviled eggs (for the recipe, see page 52 of the cookbook)

Linguisa on the grill

One of the new appetizers this year were colorful Danish open-faced salmon, dill, and caper sandwiches Wendy Howe made for an appetizer.

Salmon, dill, and caper open-faced sandwiches

Ann Mueller took the award for the most original cook. She brought dates stuffed with cream cheese, nuts, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, bacon wrapped bell and jalapeno peppers, and a green bean with linguisa dish that had been seasoned with cumin. All of these dishes were great.

Ann Mueller's green beans with linguisa

Neighbors Melody and Steve Oshea brought a couple of bottles of their Oshea Corral label wine that was made from the grapes grown on their property. Susie Calhoun's husband Troy Bowers brought a bottle of his home bottled wine, which was a cabernet, merlot, and petite syrah blend. Both wines had great flavor.

The Oshea's Tombstone Red Cabernet

Troy has put his focus on the flavor, not the label

Kim Bonde once again treated us to aebleskivers and used her grandmother's aebleskiver pan to make them.

Kim Bonde making aebleskivers

Although I was one that could have benefited the most from the hike down to the ponds and creek, I stayed behind with the over 80 crowd to prepare for the white elephant bingo. Even Charlie the Yorkshire Terror took the hike this year and didn't demand to be carried. The much anticipated white elephant bingo draws quite a crowd and a variety of new and gently used treasures.

In preparation for bingo, the players peruse the prizes

Cheers to a happy new year!

~merry carter~


May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.  –Joey Adams, comedian, actor, author

Tamale Day

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 29, 2009 at 1:16 PM

My friend Gina Pepper and her extended family continue her mother’s tradition of making tamales at Christmas time. This tradition is not an easy one; there is a lot of hard work to be done, but the reward is huge and I'm not just talking about tamales here. 

The day before the actual tamale making day, Gina and some of her other family members prepare the chili sauce that the meat will be cooked in. The chili sauce is made from about nine different types of dried chilies. The dried chilies are reconstituted, de-stemmed, and then pureed with garlic and other spices. Bay leaves are added and the chili sauce is cooked for hours.  Each of the different types of chilies serves a purpose. One type adds flavor, one type adds thickness to the sauce, one type adds color, one adds heat, and so on.

The chili sauce

On the tamale making day, gas stoves are set up outside to cook the meat and steam the tamales. The kitchen counters, floor, and dining room table are covered in plastic to prevent staining and make clean up easier. Everyone brings appetizers to eat throughout the day. There was a very wide array of appetizers on this day that included Mexican pastries, mini pulled pork sandwiches, homemade guacamole, marinated shrimp, hot artichoke dip, deviled eggs, mini cheesecakes, and much more.

The simmering meat


The tamales are usually made before Christmas, but this year we made them two days after Christmas. On this day, there was one pot of chicken, two pots of mild pork, and one pot of spicy pork cooking. Gina is a vegetarian, so there were some vegetarian tamales made as well.

The pork is simmered with bay leaves and orange slices

The chicken is simmered with lemon halves

The corn husks must be soaked in water to soften them and the masa (corn meal) must be mixed and aerated. Fat skimmed from the cooking pork is mixed into to masa. The masa is mixed by hand and you know that it’s done when it makes a popping sound.  Olive oil is mixed into the masa for the vegetarian tamales.

Soaking the husks

Mixing the masa

Once the masa is ready it is spread onto corn husks with spatulas. On this tamale making day there were six people spreading.  In most families, this is the entry level job and as time goes on the spreaders will eventually work their way up to one of the higher level jobs such as the masa mixer or tamale wrapper.  I have been very fortunate when making the tamales at Gina’s as I have experienced all of the jobs, starting at the top and working my way down.

Spreading the masa

The meat and sauce is spooned onto the masa covered corn husk, a whole olive is added, the husk is folded, and then the tamale is wrapped in paper. The tamales are placed into a pot standing in an up position (the open end of the wrapped tamale is up). Refried beans, cheese, and Ortega chilies are put into the vegetarian tamales. The tamales are steamed and tested for doneness. You know that the tamales are done when the masa is set.

Assembling the tamales

Checking the tamales for doneness

I have only seen olives in homemade tamales. When you talk about the olives with other people that grew up in families that made Christmas tamales, they always smile when they talk about the olives. One friend said his mother would put three olives into one special tamale and the person that got that tamale was the winner or the very lucky one.

Tamale making day is not just about making the tamales. It is a time for friends and family to spend time together, to share food, to continue family traditions, and most important of all, to make wonderful memories.  ~merry carter~

~ May you always find three olives in your tamale ~


Ringing in the New Year with Cowboy Caviar

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 28, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is a common recipe that can be found in many cookbooks or recipe websites. This version found in The Holm Family Cookbook was served at Heritage Oak Winery for the First Anniversary Party in January 2009. The recipe is perfect for ringing in the New Year with the black eyed peas that are believed to bring good luck. Cowboy caviar is full of healthy ingredients and goes well with Heritage Oak’s Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.  I prefer to use red wine vinegar, green onions, less corn (11 oz) and only one avocado. You can substitute pinto or black beans for the black-eyed peas called for in the recipe. I like to use the scoop chips when serving this recipe.  ~Susie Calhoun~


Cowboy Caviar, serves 12

Recipe submitted to the cookbook by Nancy Mueller

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and minced

2 firm, ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 (14-ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 red onion, finely chopped

2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 to 6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 (6-ounce) bag tortilla chips


In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, and pepper. Add the avocado to

the vinegar mixture and gently toss. Add the peas, corn, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes

to the avocado mixture; mix gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a

dish and serve with the tortilla chips.


What's For Christmas Dinner?!?

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 22, 2009 at 12:49 PM

After many years, I’ve decided we’re not having prime rib for Christmas dinner again this year. When it comes to deciding what I'm going to serve to the guests coming to my house for dinner, I'm a procrastinator. More often than not, you will find me the day of my event at the grocery store just hours before the guests are to arrive deciding what I'll be serving for dinner. Unfortunately, I don’t have that flexibility during the Christmas season. A few years ago I found out the hard way that grocery stores are not open on Christmas Day, therefore, I have to make a decision days before. After several days of deliberation, this year I’m leaning towards beef wellington. I made a beef wellington for dinner guests once and it turned out well, so I’m hoping for a repeat performance on this one. The last time I made it I used a Martha Stewart recipe, sans the liver pate. I substituted the liver pate with a mushroom pate. This year I’ve found a recipe by Gordon Ramsay that is well documented and includes a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ANTCKxzO-M). Today I will start my hunt for enough beef tenderloin to feed 14 people. Wish me luck! ~merry carter~

The Spritz Cookie Event

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 20, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Every year on a Saturday close to Christmas, some of my family members, a family friend, and I continue to carry on our grandmother's yearly tradition of making spritz cookies. The spritz cookie is a thin butter cookie that is made with a cookie press. Yesterday was our yearly cookie making event that includes a pre-cookie making dinner, wine, and lots of talking. This year we broke our record of seven batches of spritz and made eight batches. We had a real production line going with each person doing the same job througout the day, which made things move along much faster. A couple of years ago I was removed from the job of mixing the ingredients just because I forgot to add one of the essential ingredients. Naturally I was not the one mixing the ingredients yesterday. At the end of the day we each load the cookies up into containers and take them home. Most of my spritz cookies will be given away at a cookie exchange at work tomorrow. Below is the recipe for the spritz cookies. ~merry carter~

Spritz Cookies


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

3/4 cup sugar

Dash salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time. Put the dough in a cookie press using the 1/8-inch ridged cookie design disk and press the dough out onto cold, unbuttered cookie sheets. Bake until set but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the strips into 3-inch lengths while they are still hot.

Kim Bonde and Wendy Howe mix the ingredients

Nancy Mueller squeezes the spritz dough onto cookie sheets

One sheet ready for the oven

The finished product

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