20 Nov 2012
Ah those crafty Surf City Vintners know how to get my attention. Holding their annual Art, Wine & Gift Bazaar this Friday, November 23 from noon to 5pm, the savvy winemakers will offer handcrafted, locally-made gifts by area artisans at each of the thirteen Surf City wineries.
Tasting fees on Friday will be waived with a donation of non-perishable food for the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center. This is truly a no-brainer event.
Winetasting. Handcrafted gifts. The opportunity to grab some appetizers at Le Cigare Volant, party specialties at El Salchichero, pastries from Kelly’s, everything else you need at New Leaf — this is truly a one-stop-shopping event.
Yes, the day after Thanksgiving. Step away from the computer—taste and shop away those holiday calories!
07 Dec 2011
Here’s a vintage portrait of the highly independent woman whose fruitcake recipe I used, with much variation, in my own recent effort.
According to her niece, Lisa Jensen, this portrait of Anna Augusta Kirstine Jensen was taken in 1920 or 1921, “when Chris would be 18 or 19 years old.”
Her fruitcake heyday happened much later, when she retired to Hermosa Beach, California.
Thanks Aunt Chris!
30 Nov 2011
This was how the Magdalene must have felt, anointing the body with precious spices and elixirs, carefully wrapping it in clean linens before placing it in the cool dark place where it would wait—preserved and guarded—until its ultimate appointment with destiny.
As I watched my fruitcakes slowly cooling on their racks, the mythic significance suddenly hit me. Since the dawn of time, women’s hands had carefully wrapped such precious bodies—in some cases a dead loved one, in others a symbolic cake—the bearer of costly ingredients, memories and hopes for the future.
All such creations were intended to undergo a transformation. To wait until the moment when they would grace the center of the ceremonial table. I considered how many hearths, through how many centuries, had witnessed this preparation.
Mixing the ingredients of two bowls (there was just too much to manage in a single bowl) laden with chopped figs, More…
23 Nov 2011
When my sister and I were little, we would make the annual trek to Aunt Mariana and Uncle Doodle’s house for a holiday visit. Aunt Mariana would reach up high into her pantry and take down the fruitcake we were forced to eat each Christmas.
My sister and I would politely taste a forkful of this brown crumbly creation studded with eerily bright red and green fruits. We would take one bite and then cover the remaining bits with our napkins. Reading each other’s minds we would both think, “yes, but where’s the frosting?”
Children hate fruitcake. But many decades later, those early negative impressions were replaced by a romantic afternoon’s experience, on a rainy October day looking out over Lake Como, consuming the local fig and nut cake washed down by grappa. What a difference time (and grappa and a romantic companion) can make.
This season —after years of building a fan base on two coasts for my labor-intensive Christmas cookies—I’ve decided to wade into deeper, more mythic culinary territory. Yes, I’m making fruitcake this year. More…
21 Apr 2011
Marie Waters of La Mesa and Boulder Creek, California - and to Elizabeth Windsor of London and Buckingham Palace!
20 Apr 2011
Southern-style specialties complete with live jazz this Easter Sunday April 24, fill the menu at Clouds Downtown, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Easter Eggs Benedict! Fried chicken and waffles, bananas foster, endless Mimosas. 110 Church St., Santa Cruz - 429-2000.
Or savor Easter brunch with a colossal view of the beach, Boardwalk and bay at Casablanca Restaurant, 10:30am until 2pm. Enjoy classics like New York steak and eggs, strawberry banana crepes, those Eggs Benedict, plus zesty salmon gravlox omelets, snapper piccata and of course you’ll want to chase those items with the easter bunny’s drink of choice—the fresh squeezed orange juice mimosa. Casablanca looks out over the corner of Beach and Main Streets - 426-9063.
14 Feb 2011
Music department manager Thomas Pistole sure knows how to pamper his UCSC faculty & staff. Cupcake Diva Pistole uses any holiday as an excuse to break out his trusty cupcake carrier and fill it with colorfully-decorated, to-die-for pastries.
These are his latest - red velvet topped with cinnamon-flavored hearts.
A good man to know, especially around Halloween when his fabled carrot cupcakes with orange frosting are available.
07 Apr 2010
Or at least a colorful table display. This is how adults in deep denial as to their actual emotional maturity adorn their dining room table during official holidays. Not all of them. But this one. Who can resist ranunculi in loud colors that exactly match the Peeps du jour? We can’t.
01 Feb 2010
In Aptos, Muriel Loubiere has filled her Au Midi Valentine’s Eve menu with food for lovers. Foods with a provençal accent.
It begins with salad of Dungeness crab & shrimp, with lemon coulis & tomatoes emulsion, followed by wild mushroom crème brulée.
Entrees include Vegetarian Risotto: asparagus, lemon confit, mascarpone & reduction of balsamic vinegar, Or - rosemary kebab of Scallops: with glazed caramelized endives and orange juice, Or - seared foie gras served on More…
21 Dec 2009
New Year’s Eve dinner at chic La Posta, 538 Seabright (831.457-2782, involves this terrific $50 prix fixe menu.
Antipasti - Santa Cruz foraged mushrooms in cartoccio
Sformato of cauliflower with bagna cauda
Primi - Windmill Farms Butternut squash and chard cannelloni
Dungeness crab and wild nettle lasagnette
Tortellini in brodo
Secondi- Ceci bean caciucco with cavolo nero More…
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