March 26 – March 28 – A Visit with Wonderful Forever Friends

The Young’uns were our neighbors when we lived in the ’barn on the hill’ and the mature couple – Coleenie has been one of my closest friends since the early 70s, such a large part of my life and her husband, Roger. While new friends over the years are treasures, old friends who have walked your life path with you are so precious you never want to lose touch with them. Thanks for a wonderful visit!! (even if you did send me to bed for 10 straight hours!!)
???????????????????????????????  Our Kelly multi-tasking….
Mar 26 Roy Brent Discussing 2   Roy & Brent ‘discussing’

Mar 26 Roy Brent discussing 1 ….and, still discussing before Brent turned to me and picked on the ‘bleeding heart liberal’ in his life. 🙂

Next leg of our journey took us to Healdsburg, where we lived for six of our greatest family years – ever!!

Coleenie took a break from K.P. duty and we visited some interesting food stops in the Healdsburg/Windsor area. First stop was Kin and lots of dishes to share and taste.
???????????????????????????????  Pea Puree with Mint Bruschetta ( pea, mint, goat cheese and radish)Could  have made a meal on this one.
???????????????????????????????  My Charcuterie plate – soon to be a Pizza topping

???????????????????????????????  Roger & Coleenie and we all shared Blueberry Crisps.
???????????????????????????????  Coleenie infusing our coffee with Kahlua!! To get us started the next morning. Then on to an Omelet place to have brunch – 3 of us had the Red Flannel Hash and it was excellent with an egg topping.

As I said, we were able to catch up on our beauty rest with 10 straight hours of sleep and we’re ready to go again… I think. A few more days here to catch up with son Matt and our wonderful d-I-l, Wendy and hopefully more of the kids…


March 22, 2015 – A Few Dishes From the Road To Be Remembered!!

We will pay for it later, but my Goodness, we are having a ball tasting our way around the U.S. and it didn’t end when we arrived back to the West Coast. I defy anyone to find more luscious produce depts. than  we have on the West Coast. I wanted to buy one of everything I saw! Even with all the wonderful new dishes we had been enjoying, I was beginning to feel deprived of the produce/fruit choices I am used to.

Stopped for lunch at a Macaroni Grill where we haven’t been for years and I was pleasantly surprised at the offerings that were not so very unhealthy – items not over-laden with starchy/cheesy pastas. Roy had a Sausage and potato dish that was both spicy and satisfying with grilled potatoes and veggies.
My choice was Pan Seared Branzino with Lemon Chardonnay Sauce – except they did not add the sauce. The kitchen didn’t even know they were to use it! A cook sent a cup out and it made all the difference in the dish. Also, loved the grilled lemon squeezed over the fish.
Guess I’m a little ahead of myself – after we’d decided on lunch choices, I happened to see on the menu, “Mac & Cheese Bites with Truffle Dip” and decided we couldn’t possibly pass that up and good sales person that we had for a server, she mentioned that appetizers were 2 for some good price….so had to add Goat Cheese stuffed Peppadews.
???????????????????????????????  Ran out of ‘Mac & Cheese’ before the Truffle dip, but a spoon took care of that – the dip was just wonderful!
??????????????????????????????? I didn’t even know I like Peppadew peppers – they are great and with the goat cheese and drizzle of Balsamic reduction…WOW!

Both were just wonderful and I’m anxious to duplicate the Truffle dip which is an Alfredo sauce with Asiago cheese and truffle oil. (P.S. Few days later, I found a deli which offered fresh peppadews, so I have everything to play with this appie!!)

Next leg of our trip was to get to Sonoma and Placer counties to visit friends for a couple of days. En route we detoured off the freeway in Davis for a light brunch which turned out to be humungous….a bacon cheeseburger to beat all!
??????????????????????????????? Even I couldn’t get my mouth around this one, but I sure tried!!
Then back on the road.

March 21, 2015 – 2 For 1 Dinner – For Two

For many of us our kids are out of the house and we’re cooking for two now. It’s a whole new world of not taking advantage of some recipe(s) because of the quantities or using 1/2 cans of whatever. So, I’m finding more and more that it is more interesting to do something a little different with leftovers like this. (but, then I love leftovers!!)

This is one of those 2 for 1 dinners and to top it all off, the two only take 1/2 the original recipe! Because of that, the remaining black beans, enchilada sauce and black olives get used, so no waste.

One is from yesterday – the dip was a very informal “sit around the deck with a glass of wine and chips” dinner and this morning’s champagne brunch was burritos, taking advantage of the remaining dip mixture – we really enjoyed both. It’s an adaptation of a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.

Chicken Burrito Dip and Burritos – a 2 for 1 Dinner

For the dip – 1st entrée:
1 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup cooked white rice (minute rice works great here)
1/2 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 (10 oz) can Old El Paso mild enchilada sauce
1/2 cup corn kernels (from a can or frozen)
1/2 can (4.25 oz.) sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese, divided
Tortilla chips for dipping
For the Burritos – 2nd entrée:
the remaining dip from above
Finely chopped jalapenos to taste – if candied jalapenos are available, these add a great flavor
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
4 6-7-inch Flour tortillas, wrapped in foil and heated for 10 minutes in a 350°F. oven
Additional grated cheese & sliced green onion for garnish
Fresh Cilantro for garnish

For the dip (1st dish):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese. Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into a pie plate or another small cooking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip is hot and bubbly. Serve with chips. 6 servings or 4 servings (using 2/3 of the above mixture) if making the 2nd entrée.

To plan on making the 2nd entrée, hold back 1/3 of the dip from above.

For the Leftover Chicken Burritos (2nd dish):
To the leftover dip, add the amount of chopped jalapenos you prefer plus the remaining black beans, enchilada sauce(holding back 3 T. to drizzle over burritos before baking) and the black olives.
Combine well and divide between 4 tortillas. Roll up burrito style and place in a baking dish, seam side down, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle the held back enchilada sauce over and bake in the oven until heated through. Place 2 burritos on each plate and top with the garnishes.

Off to check out the refrigerator and see what leftovers are awaiting me. 🙂

March 19, 2015 – Leftover Cod Tacos, Part II

Couldn’t stand it, we so enjoyed the cod tacos from the leftovers yesterday, that we went back to Filly’s again last night for another round of the Cod. Only this time I ordered the cod AND a take-home box and put the cod in the box and split a BLT with Roy.

Made a variation on the taco today –
Leftover Cod & Pepper Tacos with Lemon-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce
This is a take-off from a recipe in 300 Best Tacos cookbook.  Yield: 4 tacos
3/4 cup roasted peppers – green/red/yellow bells or Poblano type
(I used 1/2 a roasted red bell plus 1 roasted Poblano)
4 – 6 oz. leftover cooked cod, flounder or other delicate white fish
4 6-inch flour tortillas
Lemon-Jalapeno tartar sauce (*see below)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Lemon wedges
Assemble the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the roasted peppers
1/4 of the cod pieces
A dollop of Tartar sauce
1/4 of the green onion slices
Drizzle lemon juice over all.

Heat the peppers and set aside. (I added 1/2 cup cooked rice I had in the refrigerator to the sautéing peppers)

Slice the fish into ‘sticks’ about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and set aside.

 Heat the tortillas in a 350° oven for 6 minutes; add the pkg. of fish and continue for 5 more minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble taco.

Variations –3/19/15 – I added 1/2 cup rice to the peppers (1/2 bell + 1 Poblano) while I sautéed them. Great addition to the tacos.

* Lemon-Jalapeno tartar:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, as much of the membrane and seed removed as preferred (If you can find Candied Jalapeno, use them and delete the sweet pickle relish)
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.
 still have 4 oz. of cod left and now the quandary is….how to play with the it. Decisions, Decisions.


March 18 Leftover Cod Filet Tacos

Leftover Cod Tacos

4 oz. of Cod leftover from my lunch at Filly’s Roadhouse, Apache Junction, AZ.

$13.99 and I got my lunch plus 4 fish tacos the next day = $4.66 (or $2.33 for 4 each tacos – not a bad deal)

Fun place with a hitching post for the horses of customers – and they do come in on their horses! The cod was lightly battered and cooked to my perfection. Wanted to eat it all, but also wanted to bring home for tacos. The tacos won out! In addition to the cod I brought home a sample of their Spicy BBQ sauce which they offer with their wings. Note: while you read the menu in a restauran, if you see sauces offered with different entrees that look tasty to you, don’t hesitate to ask for a sample. I love to bring them home and make use of them in so many ways.

Leftover Cod Tacos
Serves 2 – 2 tacos each

Preparing the filling for tacos:

Tartar sauce: bring home from the restaurant or make your own, which I prefer:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. sweet pickle relish
1/2 T. capers, coarsely chopped
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

Whisk all the tartar sauce ingredients together and set aside to add to the tacos.


Sautéed Corn:
Give a quick sauté to 1 1/2 cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned) and 1/4 tsp. chili powder in 1 T. butter over medium-high heat to just start browning the corn. Remove from heat and set aside to add to the tacos.


It’s easier to slice the cod when it is cold – I sliced into crosswise “sticks” about 3/8” thick; wrap in foil and set aside.


Flour Tortillas:
Wrap 4 7-inch flour tortillas in foil and heat in 350° oven for 8 minutes; add the foil wrapped fish to the oven and continue heating for 5 minutes. Remove both from oven and assemble the tacos.

For the tacos –
Layer on each tortilla:
1/4 of the sautéed corn
1/4 of the warm cod pieces
Drizzle of Spicy Wing sauce (or spicy BBQ Sauce)
Tartar sauce
Fresh cilantro
4 green onions, thinly slice and divided between the 4 tacos.

These tacos are so tasty and easy to put together.

March 15, 2015 – Dinner with Chef Dave & Pam Nelson

Chef Dave Nelson and his wife, Pam, treated us to one of the best and certainly most fun dinners on the road. But, I must say every time we meet up with old cooking forum friends from Chef2Chef, it is always an Event!!

So, sit down with a glass of wine and put your feet up – because I took notes and pictures of almost every step of our dinner.
Here’s our menu:

1st course –
Hazelnut-Crusted Foie Gras with Plums and Sunflower Honey – from the book, “Foie Gras: A Passion” by Michael A. Ginor – can you imagine an entire ‘thick’ book of ideas for using Foie Gras??
???????????????????????????????  2 oz. pkg. makes for a trouble-free portioned start to working with the Foie Gras. Chef Dave is a Rep for Harvest Specialty Foods (exotic meats) and this is one of his products.
???????????????????????????????  Foie Gras – quickly browned on each side and slipped in a ‘screaming hot’ oven for another 30 seconds and ready to go.
???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????  Micro Greens topped with honey sautéed plums, foie gras and toasted hazelnuts and served with Raisin Toast points – everything just worked together.
It tasted as good as the plated dish looked.

2nd course –
Seared Duck with sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions) – drizzled with Duck demi-glace/5 pepper jelly sauce (a jelly made by Pam). This was my favorite of the night! P.S. almost forgot to mention – the duck was a dry-aged product his company is testing and working with – it’s great!
???????????????????????????????   Can’t get much better cook on a duck breast.
???????????????????????????????   Must admit I did a little licking of the plate on the way to the kitchen….. Pam’s 5 pepper jelly with the Duck demi-glace was outstanding.

3rd course –
Elote – a chip topper of caramelized grilled con tossed with a mayo-chicken stock sauce and served with Mexican chips. From the restaurant’s, Elote Café, cookbook, by Chef Jeff Smedstad, of Sedona, AZ

4th course –
Austrailian Wagyu Street Taco with homemade tortillas

Loved the combination of these flavors. Dave rubbed the ‘Tomahawk’ with a little of his Naughty Nelly’s spice rub then smoked to a beautiful medium rare piece of goodness! Pam made tortillas to hold all the goodies of the taco and also the refried black beans served along with Mexican rice. I could have eaten a dozen of these if I had not gorged myself on the previous 3 courses….. have to include every picture I took of tise beautiful hunk of meat which I’d never met in person before!!

And, we couldn’t quit here…

5th course –
Pam made the most luscious creamy Lemon Crème topped with a Blackberry sauce which I could not even finish I was so darn full – but Roy Richard had no  problem finishing it off for me. That man always has my back when it comes to food, bless his heart!

Our Cooks and hosts for a most fantastic dinner and evening – Chef Dave & Pam Nelson – thank you so much.
and of course I needed to record our visit for my album –

I wish we could go back and relive the entire evening….