Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cranberry Mascarpone Graham Cracker Salad


A few years ago a friend introduced me to his childhood "Strawberry Pretzel Salad" - exact origin unknown, but incredibly well-known by many potluck goers. It goes something like this: a crushed pretzel crust, a cream cheese / whipped cream center, topped with a strawberry jello loaded with fresh strawberries. It was new to me, despite my potluck attendance in years past, and didn't sit well with my taste buds. Well, the time has come for a new dessert and I remembered that particular dish. What could I do to make the treat into something I would enjoy? The next thing I knew I was pulling together this Cranberry Mascarpone Graham Cracker "Salad." It mirrors the original in concept, removes the saltiness, and blends into a rather smooth delight!
Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Banana Pudding


For those of us unable to go home for the holidays, food can be one of the simplest ways to bring that taste of home to wherever we are. Accented by the family pie and casserole classics, the season also serves up Banana Pudding on my family's dessert table. Over time, one of my grandmother's sweet specialties began to sit with certainty in our dinner tradition (and I never minded). This year, I added my taste of home to a non-traditional holiday feast among friends bringing what I know as comfort in a simple dish with a few simple steps.
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vanilla Custard


There are a few flavors that give me the nostalgic feeling of home and this is one to certainly add to that list. This Vanilla Custard is a quick and delicious pudding-custard dessert hybrid that pairs artfully with fresh fruit, cream pies, or served as a more elaborate dessert pudding. It thickens quickly and is so simple to make it's a wonder why I don't make it more often. I tend to eat a serving or two right off the stove and another later after it chills (on a puff pastry, mayhaps?). Try it, enjoy it, and see what new desserts come to mind as the creamy dish takes over the taste buds!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Doughboys Cafe

Los Angeles, CA. I admit it: I'm known to crave cake. If it were left completely up to me, I'd eat an entire double-layer frosted confection - health permitting. When I'm in such a state and find myself fogging the exterior of a local bakery, I make the firm decision: Doughboys Cafe. Funny enough, years ago a friend suggested we grab a bite, but the downplay on the baked goods didn't sell me on the excursion. Yes, they do serve food, but it's the individually portioned cakes that returns me to this mid-city eatery.
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicken Soup with Bacon, Broccoli, & Oricchette


In the story "Stone Soup," three hungry travelers convince wary villagers to give them some food in a time of scarcity. The trio fill an empty pot with water from a nearby stream, drop a large stone into it, and set it over a fire. Seeing this, the townspeople gather round, asking if it is delicious. "Oh yes," the trio replies, adding that it could use a little of "this and that" for a garnish. One villager offers a few carrots, another adds some seasoning, until eventually the entire village has contributed to a delicious soup shared by all. Whenever my teacher retold that story in class, I was hungry for soup by the time the stone hit the bottom of the pan. Soup has always had a hold on me.

This Chicken Soup with Bacon, Broccoli, & Oricchette you'll want to share (or horde for yourself, whatever - it keeps well in the freezer), and the delicious bacon bits and doughy oricchette will settle nicely at the bottom of your tummy like warm, delicious, digestible stones keeping you nice and toasty this winter. Dive in. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012



Portland, OR. Put a little flare on the table. Better yet, put a little flare everywhere! If on the hunt for Cuban fare in quite the festive environment, Pambiche becomes the place to try. I grew up around Cuban cuisine on the east coast and discerning the authenticity became easier with time. Here, the bright exterior, tight interior, friendly staff and flavor combinations gave me a little Miami in an unassuming city: good ole Portland, Oregon.
Thursday, December 06, 2012

Dad's Donut and Bakery Shop


Newport Beach, CA. Tis the season for a southern California holiday stroll - exploring neighborhoods glowing beyond reason from timely decor in a 'crisp' upper 60s climate. If you find yourself in Orange County, head over to Balboa Island and be impressed by the holiday aesthetics gratuitously provided by the local light displays. At some point along the way duck into Dad's Donut and Bakery Shop. For a donut? Naw, for their famed frozen bananas. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Savoy Tavern Bistro


Portland, OR. CHEESE CURDS!! NO, really!! CHEESE CURDS!! How often are those words really heard nowadays when you're looking for a decent place to grub? Well, clearly Savoy Tavern makes the introduction: Customer, meet fried goodness. A group of us gathered at this Clinton Street bar / bistro for an after work, pre-home snack. I guess we weren't quite ready to end the day by sinking into the comfiest of couches and falling asleep to another dated documentary (it's a thing...).

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