Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits  

Bone Appétit! Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits As some of you may know, we have two Pembroke Welsh corgis named Frankie and Remi.  They are brother and sister from the same litter.  We adopted them when they were two years old. They are joyful and exuberant (although they were quite tired on that long drive home seven years ago). As seen in this Vanity Fair piece, corgis are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog. They are also super smart and athletic.  Because they are herding dogs, they need to be kept busy.  We have taken many agility classes over the years and even once took them to a ranch in Malibu to herd sheep.  That experience set us back … Read more…

Borough Market Cheese Toastie

Say “Cheese!” Borough Market Cheese Toastie Main Course Having recently returned from our London / Scotland holiday (trip report coming soon!), we were in the mood for the delicious cheese toastie we had at the Kappacasein Stall at the Borough Market in London on a previous trip.  We tried this sandwich on our first excursion to London in 2013.  Tom liked it more than I did, but I changed my mind after trying it again last month.                              Biting into the crunchy, toasted cheese goodness, I realized the addition of leeks and onions made for sheer perfection.  As you can see, Tom’s eating manners have not improved in the past four years. The sign hanging over the Kappacasein stall…          … Read more…

Mom’s Grasshopper Pie

Patience Grasshopper Mom’s Grasshopper Pie Dessert Grasshopper Pie is one of Tom’s childhood favorite desserts.  I make it for him every year on his birthday.  Today, we roll it out early in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, not because it’s Irish, but because it’s green! The easiest way to make this pie is with a 9” pre-made chocolate crumb crust.  However, I find those pre-made crusts aren’t really deep enough to hold the entire recipe.  Not to mention, the tin foil pan does not make for an appetizing picture. For today’s pie, I made the pie crust on the side of the box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. This is an old-school minty chocolate delicious dessert that will have your … Read more…

Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter

Cornbread With A Kick! Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter Category: Side Dish One of my favorite things to eat at Bandera’s or Houston’s Restaurants (part of the Hillstone group of restaurants) is their Iron-Skillet Cornbread.  They serve it as an appetizer, but it really could be a meal with a small side salad.   Cheesy rich and yummy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside from baking in the cast-iron skillet.  I was so excited to see the recipe in Bon Appetite  that Tom and I immediately made it, and it was every bit as good as the restaurant. With all the rain Southern California is (finally!) getting, I decided to … Read more…

Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies

When Life Hands You Lemons and Oranges… Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies Our next door neighbor, she of the fabulous fig tree, also has an incredible Meyer lemon tree (very pretty) that fortuitously hangs into our yard and provides us with lemons nearly year round.  After reading the recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies in Dorie’s Cookies, I decided to give it a try with Pat’s lemons. I wish you could smell these lemons!  Unlike many of the lemons you buy in the store, these exude the sweetest scent and are really juicy.  To maximize the amount of juice you can get from a lemon, roll it around on the counter with your palm a little bit before squeezing it. If you … Read more…

Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tracy’s “Secret” Recipe Dip Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip There are lots of really good spinach artichoke dip recipes out there.  This one was given to me years ago and allegedly is the “secret” recipe of a famous steakhouse (although the restaurant was never divulged).  This recipe never fails and is a party favorite.  For large parties, I double the recipe and serve it in a crock-pot to keep it warm. The best thing about this dip is it is made ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld and to free up the kitchen and you.  Just bring it to room temperature before baking.   And because there aren’t enough calories and deliciousness in this recipe, next time I am … Read more…

Dorie’s Classic Jammer Cookies

A Hunky “Dorie” Classic Cookie Dorie’s Classic Jammer Cookies In late 2016 you could not pick up a holiday magazine without seeing a cookie recipe by Dorie Greenspan or reading about her new compendium of cookies, “Dorie’s Cookies.”  I had no sooner read a review in the LA Times when Tom was invited by Melissa’s Produce to attend a demonstration featuring Dorie. Despite my Nana’s best efforts, other than the occasional drop cookie and Bundt cake, I am not a baker (nor do I play one on TV).  That having been said, I told Tom to take copious notes and maybe I would give one of these recipes a whirl. Tom came home from Melissa’s Produce with a bag of … Read more…

Italian Wedding Soup With Orzo & Spicy Chicken Meatballs

A Marriage of Pasta and Chicken Italian Wedding Soup With Orzo & Spicy Chicken Meatballs Our New Year’s Eve plans changed at the last minute and as it was an unusually cold and wintry day in Southern California (even rain!), I turned to my favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten, to make her Italian Wedding Soup.  I have made this on numerous occasions and always change it up.  My favorite is to use spicy Italian chicken sausage in the meatballs, pancetta to sauté the veggies and orzo for my pasta.  If you are like me and don’t have the homemade stock on hand, a little trick I like to use is to add 1 t. Better Than Bouillon (reduced sodium) to … Read more…

Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake

Simply Irresistible Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake Category: Dessert From MaiTaiTom’s Kitchen baby!  Every great chef has his or her Signature Dish. I’m not a great chef nor do I play one on TV, but this is my Signature Dessert, and the reason is because it is so damned easy to make. I’m nothing if not lazy.  Yet with so little effort, this dessert is so incredibly delicious. I was given this recipe in 1981 from Cynthia Salcido (Cynthia, wherever you are…thanks). In looking online I see many Black Russian Cake recipes that only include 1/4 cup of Kahlua and 1/4 quarter cup of vodka.  They also include 3/4 cups of water.  Well, my thought is if you have … Read more…

Apple Of My Eye Soup

Soup With A Peel Apple Of My Eye Soup Category: Main Dish or First Course I love apples, but I must admit that when Tracy said she had a recipe for Apple Soup, I was a tad skeptical. However, once I took the first spoonful, I knew she had concocted a winner.  It’s a perfect dinner for a chilly night.  Heck, it’s a perfect dinner any night.  We happen to use a variety of apple called Envy, and it is the best tasting apple I’ve ever tasted (yes, even better than Honeycrisp).  If they’re in season (and it’s a nearly year-round season now with apples out of the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand) try one, and if you love them … Read more…