A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

Posts tagged “recipe

Recipe comfort: Slow Poached Eggs

Here’s a recipe I’ve been searching for since having a wonderful brunch at a Japanese bakery in the Outer Richmond, Cassava. I’d ordered the “Japanese Breakfast” from the menu, and the standout dish was a sous vide poached egg.

Japanese Breakfast ( $10 )
Koshihikari plum rice, ichiban dashi miso soup, sous vide “onsen tamago” poached egg, Myer lemon kosho natto, wakame salad, simmered hijiki


Japanese Breakfast at Cassava Bakery, San Francisco

Here’s a recipe we found online for Slow Poached Eggs, adapted from Chef David Chang and Peter Meehan’s Momofuku restaurant cookbook by:


Slow-poached Eggs Recipe
But none of those things kept me from trying out more recipes, and I struck pay dirt with the slow-poached egg recipe. Meehan did a splendid job conveying Chang’s fervor over the utter simplicity of the cooking process, which originated in Japan with old ladies who took to multitasking at the natural hot springs. They soaked themselves while slow-cooking eggs in 141F hot baths. The finished eggs hold a wonderful elliptical shape (in the photo above) that charms and excites all at once. The yolk is barely cooked and remains runny so that you can enjoy their unctuous essence. At Momofuku Noodle Bar, the slow-cooked eggs are added to ramen and fried too.

I slow poached all the eggs I had – 8 total – and ate them over the course of several days. I don’t usually eat that many eggs in a week but it was fun to play around with them. Then I had to eat them. Thank G.O.D. Rory was around to help.

To give you a sense of my thinking process when using a restaurant chef’s recipe, I’m providing Momofuku’s slow-poached egg recipe verbatim but with [my annotated text in brackets]:

Large eggs, as many as you like [as fresh as you can get, organic, free range, all the quality you can afford]

1. Fill your biggest, deepest pot with water and put it on the stove over the lowest possible heat. [If you have a 5,000 BTU burner for simmering, that works perfectly.]

2. Use something to keep the eggs from sitting on the bottom of the pot, where the temperature will be highest. If you’ve got a cake rack or a steamer rack, use it. If not, improvise: a doughnut or aluminum foil or a few chopsticks scattered helter skelter across the bottom of the pan will usually do the trick, but you know what you’ve got lying around. Be resourceful. [Chang and Meehan know that this is a potential obstacle for home cooks and their encouragement is great. You don’t need much to MacGyver the cooking set-up. I used a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot and a collapsible steamer rack to elevate and cradle the eggs. A deep 4-quart pot would have done the trick too. Any pot that will hold eggs in 1 layer and will fit a rack of some sort; or do the foil coil. You have to keep the eggs submerged for 45 minutes. Think of the Japanese ladies in their hot springs!]


3. Use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature in the pot – if it’s too hot, add cold water or an ice cube. Once the water is between 140 and 145F, add the eggs to the pot. Let them bathe for 40 to 45 minutes, checking the temperature regularly with the thermometer or by sticking your finger in the water (it should be the temperature of a very hot bath) and moderating it as needed. [On a home stove’s simmer burner, achieving the low water temperature and maintaining it is easy. I just clipped my deep-fry thermometer on to gauge the temperature and then stuck my finger into the water to double check. Set a timer. My temperature fell below 140 for about 10 minutes so I adjusted the temperature and then bathed them for longer. It’s not rocket science though vigilance is required.]

4. You can use the eggs immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. (If you’re planning on storing them, chill them until cold in an ice-water bath.) If you refrigerate the eggs, warm them under piping hot tap water for 1 minute before using. [I kept the eggs around for 4 days. Before using them, I returned them to room temperature by letting them sit out for about 1 hour. If I served them as warm poached eggs, I boiled a saucepan of water, then let it cool for about 15 minutes, then let the egg sit in the hot water for 1 minute.] 

5. To serve the eggs, crack them one at a time into a small saucer. The thin white will not and should be firm or solid; tip the dish to pour off and discard the loosest part of the white, then slide the egg onto the dish it’s destined for. [Chang and Meehan are totally right on about this. The egg holds a mounded shape but it’s jiggly. And, there’s some white for you to pour off.]

How to use the slow-poached eggs:

Momofuku-slow-poached-eggs2 Momofuku-slow-poached-eggs3
  • Eggs Benedict without much last-minute fuss.
  • Fried eggs – use a nonstick skillet with a film of oil. Heat over medium high to smoking, slide the egg in (do the sauce thing to make it easy), then fry for 45 seconds on each side. Sprinkle with Maldon or kosher salt and black pepper. Eat as is. Or, top a salad orbowl of hot rice. Add Maggi Seasoning sauce and black pepper or homemade Sriracha sauce. Heavenly.
  • Add the poached egg to an impromptu bowl of rice soup (chao/congee/jook). Use leftover cooked rice 1 part cooked rice: 4 part broth, water, or combination of. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until creamy. Add salt, scallion, and ginger. Ladle it into a bowl, slide the egg into the middle and top with black pepper.

Momofuku’s slow-poached eggs recipe is a keeper. The technique is easy to master and one that I’ll keep in my back pocket. That’s the kind of restaurant cookbook that worth adding to your bookshelf.


a truly great recipe: bean, ham and swiss chard soup with celery root


bean, ham and swiss chard soup with celery root and fennel

bean, ham and swiss chard soup with celery root and fennel

Here’s a great recipe for you. Happily, this makes enough for you to have lots and lots of leftovers. (In fact, this soup will taste even better as leftovers, too, I guarantee you!)

From Epicurious, with my additions/modifications in bold:

Tuscan Bean and Swiss Chard Soup (reprinted from Gourmet, Jan 2004 edition)

  • 1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy (2 cups), picked over and rinsed- (I used cranberry beans)
  • 1/4 lb sliced pancetta, chopped (I used a whole ham hock)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks discarded and bulb chopped
  • 1 whole celery root, cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 cups “>chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth (32 fl oz)
  • 1.5 cup white wine, reduced to about .75 cup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 lb Swiss chard (preferably red or rainbow), stems discarded and leaves halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Soak beans in cold water to cover by 2 inches in a bowl at room temperature at least 8 hours, or quick-soak (see cooks’ note, below). Drain in a colander.

Cook pancetta in oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer pancetta with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Cook onion and fennel in oil remaining in pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, stock, water, cheese rind, celery root, bay leaf, wine and pepper and simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Discard cheese rind and bay leaf.

Stir in Swiss chard and salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.



recipe for orange cardamom cake


orange cardamom cake

orange cardamom cake

I never would have met GT. if it weren’t for the internet. And, you wouldn’t have this recipe for an amazing orange cardamom cake if I hadn’t. Thanks to the science & magic of whizzing, flying electrons a social network has emerged that links us in an entirely new way. No longer are we limited solely to meeting people through walking and talking in the physical world; now, we can meet people based solely on common interests, using carefully considered keywords, and the computer does the rest. I met GT. first online via FBook and shortly after that, in person, and he’s impressed me from the start. Not only does he know a heck of a lot about current events and policy (he’s one sharp dude, and has helped me sharpen my FBook debating skills) but also, he happens to be an accomplished gardener and can cook up a storm. As our readers know by now, that combination of talents makes him a star here at MUS•e•YUM. So when he shared photos of his homemade orange cardamom cake with his own social network, we had to grab that recipe and try it for ourselves and, here it is for you. All of you who typed in the search criteria “orange, cardamom, cake, food, recipes”. Here, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. And, you’ll love it, too. We’ve made the cake twice since Christmas, it’s that good!

Recipe for Orange Cardamom Cake, by G.T.

Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake
adapted from Epicurious
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
• 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons orange extract
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, plus the zest from the orange you’ve squeezed
• 1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 12-14 cup bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the butter and granulated sugar, scraping side of bowl occasionally, until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla bean paste and beat until combined well, about 1 minute.

Add the orange extract and beat until combined well, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then add in the orange juice and orange zest until combined well.

At low speed, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top. Gently rap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.

Brush with orange juice. Make a glaze with baker’s (castor) sugar + orange juice (or grand marnier) and drizzle artfully over your cake.


PS. Make some extra batches of ONLY the dry ingredients, combined. . . you can save this mix in the freezer so that you’ve got a little ‘head start’ the next time you want to bake a cake!


Orange cardamom cake, with slices missing

Orange cardamom cake, with slices missing

recipe for drunken macaroni and cheese . . . and wine

MUS-e-YUM recipe macaroni and cheese

MUS-e-YUM recipe macaroni and cheese

I’ve tried a lot of macaroni and cheese combinations over the years but this one really stands out. Given that a basic macaroni and cheese recipe is forgiving of experimentation, feel free to change it up to suit your taste (or as is often the case, to make creative use of what’s in the fridge). Be assured though that this combination is pretty damn good!

I chose to feature Manchego cheese (Manchego is a spanish cheese from the La Mancha region) which is at once mild but not bland; it has a fully round, rich flavor which is both nutty and slightly sweet. Enhancing this balance of savory and sweetness, and lending a bit more aromatic character to it, I’ve added some vanilla to the roux. Providing a bit more kick, enough to add a slight bit of sharpness without overpowering the Manchego, I added a small portion of mature cheddar, as well as a white wine reduction which added a warm complexity to the dish.

Here is my recipe for the grandest of comfort foods, macaroni and cheese:

MUS•e•YUM Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 ½ c (9 ounces) dry pasta, I love Farfalle- it’s curvy enough to hold the sauce well.
  • 2 ½ c whole milk
  • 1 whole white onion, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • ¼ c all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Manchego cheese, grated (about 4 cups worth)
  • Mature cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ¼ c White wine ( I had a Riesling on hand and enjoyed it in this recipe but I’d love to experiment with other wines, too )
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ½ c fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare your pasta as directed until it is about half-cooked, soft and tender on the surface with a distinct bite still left in the center, say 5-ish minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside. Stir through occasionally so that it doesn’t start to stick.

3. Put the milk in a small saucepan and add half of the onion slices, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring just to a low boil over medium heat, watching the milk closely and stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t boil over. . . then take the pan from the heat add the vanilla. Let the mixture sit to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes while it cools off.

4. Step #3 takes a long time. So, while you’re waiting on the milk, get out a small skillet and sauté the other half of the sliced onions in some olive oil. This won’t take long, a couple of minutes, or just until they turn translucent and ‘yellowish’. Before they start to brown remove the onion from the pan and transfer to a holding dish of some kind.

5. In the same skillet, still hot from sautéing the onions, deglaze: turn the heat up, pour in the white wine, stir together with all the bits left from the onions, and simmer to reduce it down to say, ½ c.

6. When the milk has finished infusing, get the pot in which you boiled your pasta and in it, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until it foams up (it should not brown), 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the warm milk into the pan and whisk to blend. Continue to cook the sauce, whisking often, until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the cheeses until fully melted. Now, add the white wine reduction and the reserved sautéed onions. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, then gently fold in the pasta until it is fully coated with the cheese sauce.

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over. Set the dish on the oven rack and bake until the macaroni and cheese is bubbling hot and the top is nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

recipe save, breakfast on the day after the party: toasted baguette with olive oil, sea salt and dark chocolate, melted


toasted baguette with melted dark chocolate, olive oil and grapes, triple cream cheese and ...mimosa. Good morning, 2011!

toasted baguette with melted dark chocolate, sea salt, olive oil and grapes. On the side: triple cream cheese and ...mimosa. Good morning, 2011!

All this one takes is the right mix of leftovers (baguette from last night’s dinner? any drops of champagne left?), a toaster oven, and some assembly, and…Voila.

Indulge yourself and use a really good olive oil here, like Bariani.

And, if you sprinkle a little sea salt on top, you won’t be disappointed. Trust us.

pocket recipe; fast, easy, delicious roasted root vegetables with shallot vinaigrette

roasted root vegetables

roasted root vegetables

who says eating healthy has to be boring, time-consuming, or hard?? If you’re looking for something fast and easy and healthy to prepare for a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I have a great recipe for you. I found this one on Food 52 last week and made it for a potluck dinner. It was a hit! and don’t wait til Thanksgiving to prepare it. It’s easy enough to mix up the ingredients for a quick and healthy dinner any season of the year.

((MUS•e•YUM note: I altered the recipe below by adding the following: parsnips, radishes and FENNEL, and the result was really good. With this recipe the idea of the “mix of veg” is the important thing, but the components are really up to you. Support your local farmers! Go to your nearest farmer’s market, have fun filling up your bag and experiment! ))

Autumn Vegetable Medley, by AntoniaJames (source, Food52.com)

Serves 6-12
  • 2 cups of peeled and cubed winter squash, cut into ¾” dice
  • 2 cups cubed thin-skinned red, white and/or Yukon gold potatoes (preferably a combination), cut into ¾” dice
  • 2 cups trimmed and halved Brusslies (Brussels sprouts)(measured after cutting)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large shallots, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium bay leaves (preferably fresh)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash cubes and diced potatoes in 2 teaspoons of oil. Put them on a baking sheet and sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the cubes over and stirring briefly after the first 10 minutes. The vegetables should be fork tender and just starting to caramelize.
  2. Toss the Brusslies (Brussels sprouts) in 1 teaspoon of oil and a tiny pinch of salt and roast for about 15 minutes. If you like them softer and browner, cook them a bit longer.
  3. Heat a large skillet until fairly hot, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the bay leaves. Cook for about ten seconds, stirring, and then add the shallots. Cook over medium heat with a pinch of salt, stirring constantly. When the shallots are wilted and somewhat translucent, add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and, with the heat on medium, add the squash and the potatoes. Toss very gently to combine with the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium low heat for a minute or so.
  5. Add the herbs and toss again carefully and cook over medium low heat, stirring, for another minute.
  6. Add the Brusslies, and test for salt and correct, if necessary. Grind on fresh pepper to taste, and carefully toss again. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  7. Enjoy!!
  8. N.B. You can roast the potatoes and squash up to two days in advance. Cool thoroughly before storing in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator. The Brusslies do much better and retain their beautiful color when they are cooked within a few hours, at most, of eating. You can trim and halve them, though, up to two days in advance, provided that you store them in cold water in the refrigerator. Drain them well, tossing a few times in the colander to get as much moisture off as possible, before roasting. They can be slid in the oven on a rack directly below another one. Feel free to make up the entire dish, except the Brusslies, three or four hours before the meal, and then toss the Brusslies in at the end. This dish is best served warm, but it doesn’t need to be too hot. It’s also tasty at room temperature, if that works out best for you.

Read more: http://www.food52.com/recipes/7836_autumn_vegetable_medley_vegetarian_style#ixzz16DrSFUb1

recipe original; easy, healthy cauliflower, onion and miso puree with sauteed mushrooms

cauliflower, onion and miso puree recipe

cauliflower, onion and miso puree recipe

I love mashed potatoes but wanted to find an alternative to them that might be a little healthier, without making a sacrifice in terms of taste. This recipe is what I came up with, and I really like it. Despite the conspicuous absence of milk or butter, your guests won’t miss the potatoes and dairy! It’s a MUS•e•YUM original.

Onion, Miso and Cauliflower Puree, with Mushrooms, by MUS•e•YUM


• one head cauliflower

• one white onion

• 1-2 tablespoons concentrated MISO paste

• mushrooms


Cut the main stem from one head of Cauliflower

Coarsely cut, separating florets into 1-2 inch chunks

Coarsely cut up your onion

Bring a large pot of SALTED water to a rolling boil.

Add cut cauliflower florets and onion. Water should just cover your vegetables.

Boil until knife easily pierces vegetables. Probably 10-15 minutes

PRE-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Strain vegetables, but reserve half a cup of the water in a measuring cup. Add one tablespoon of miso to the hot water and dissolve.

Return vegetables to pot. Add the 1/2 cup water with miso.

Add 3 T. olive oil (you may substitute butter for 1 T. if you like)

Use a stick blender to puree until smooth

Pour in a Pyrex dish or individual serving ramekins, sprinkle paprika or parsley on top, and

bake at 375 degrees F until golden on top, about 30-40 minutes


While the cauliflower is baking, warm some olive oil in a skillet on your stove. Add a clove of garlic and after a minute, throw in as many mushrooms as you want, sliced.

Spoon mushrooms over cauliflower after it comes out of the oven and serve.

recipe find, italian butter beans via the ever-inspiring, Matte Gray

I tried another recipe posted on the blog, Matte Gray (inspired musings on lots of things, from a “gay green foodie perspective”) and, as usual, I was NOT disappointed: ITALIAN BUTTER BEANS.

For some reason I’ve always been intimidated by beans. You probably already know you have to soak them, then you have to slow cook them at a simmer, but apart from all that, it’s really not that hard. Gray lays out the recipe so perfectly I’ll reprint here in its entirety. And now that I’ve cooked beans once, I’m inspired to follow the procedure and mix it up with some other ingredients. Roasted Peppers? White wine? Sausages? Harissa? Curry? With this killer base, you can go in lots of directions.

Italian Butter Beans, as published on Matte Gray

I discovered the Iacopis at the San Mateo Farmers Market in August of 2000. I had spotted their unshelled cranberry beans and was about to start scooping some up when Mr. Iacopi touted his unshelled “Italian Butter Beans.” Well, they didn’t look anything like the butter beans I was familiar with, which were shaped like lima beans but larger than the typical lima and much better tasting. So I asked him the Italian name for these beans. He muttered something to his wife that I didn’t catch, but which provoked a brief utterance from her that I suspect would translate as “No way!” She, in turn, suggested to him something else I didn’t catch but which got from him a similar response. So I gave up and call ’em “Italian Butter Beans” like he does. They look pretty much like an extra large Romano bean, but as I discovered after I’d cooked the trial bag, taste even better. The Iacopis have reached the age at which they are no longer laboring every day in the fields, and I now see them regularly at both the Ferry Plaza and Justin Herman Plaza farmers markets. They’re delightful people, and besides their many varieties of beans, they sell all kinds of good stuff, including award-winning sugar snaps, the best Brussels sprouts in the world, and just amazing baby cauliflower – my first batch of which I steamed into near oblivion since I didn’t consider that something that small and tender would cook in a small fraction of the normal time.The following recipe is an original creation, which is not to say that someone else has not already done this, but rather that I was messing around in the kitchen one day and made it up.

Beans by Louis, bowl by Brusché, photo by Al

INGREDIENTS:1 lb. dried Italian butter beans.

You could, I suppose, substitute another bean, and if I were going to substitute, I’d go for Romanos or cranberry beans. You do need to use dry beans here for two reasons. First, when you can get fresh beans, you do not want to have very many other things in the pot with them since the whole point of going to all that work getting them and shelling them is to enjoy their fresh flavor. Second, if you used fresh beans, there would not be enough cooking time for the tomato reduction.

Either soak the beans overnight or use Julia’s technique: To the beans add 10 c. water and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for two minutes, cover, and let sit for an hour. Drain the soaking water, as this makes the beans more digestible. As Julia says, if you’re concerned about the minimal nutrient loss, “simply eat a minimally larger serving.” Add enough fresh water to cover the beans well. You do not want a lot of extra water at this point.

1 ½ lbs. fresh tomatoes.

Ideally, you’ll have access to heirlooms like the Brandywine and the Purple Cherokee that are “meaty” and don’t reduce to almost nothing when cooked down. Romas are an acceptable second choice and are more widely available. Early Girls, even though delicious if dry farmed, are just too watery. You could throw in enough tomatoes to turn this dish into Red Spaghetti Sauce with Beans, but I find that 1 ½ pounds yields a dish sufficiently tomatoey and would not go higher than this amount.

1 lb. onion.

This recipe calls for a full-flavored onion. The Vidalias and Walla-Wallas would be wasted here. Go ahead and chop the onion, but you do not need to get all compulsive about it as the onion is going to disappear during the cooking.

1 head garlic.

You do not need to be gentle when you’re peeling the cloves, as the garlic, like the onion, disappears.


I originally made this dish with fresh oregano, but the next Saturday, I told Mrs. Iacopi about it, and when I got to the oregano, she interrupted and told me to use sage, fresh only. Well, I’d never heard of using sage in beans, but I defer to Mrs. Iacopi’s judgment. After all, when her ancestors were doing stuff like writing the Aeneid, building gigantic aqueducts, and perishing of surfeits of nightingales’ tongues, mine were dancing around campfires with their faces painted blue. (OK, the punch line is from Steinbeck, and I’ve been waiting for years to use it.)


There are many wonderful peppers out there. Use just the right amount of your favorite.


I subscribe to the urban legend that beans should not be salted until they are nearing doneness. Frankly, I think it’s probably hogwash, but I’m a creature of habit.  Late note:  It’s not hogwash after all.  See Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, a marvelous book that every serious cook should have.

1 bunch spinach (optional).

This is a better addition than it might seem. Go ahead and try it. I mean a standard size farmers’ market bunch, which is routinely rather larger than a supermarket bunch.  Wash your bunch of spinach well, stem it, and chop it up thoroughly. We’re aiming at green flecks here rather than green strings.


To the beans just covered with water add all the above ingredients except possibly the salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for thirty minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer until the beans are finally tender and the liquid has reduced to a fairly thick sauce. This will take another two to two and a half hours because these are big, tough beans. You will probably need to add small amounts of water toward the end, but remember that what you’re going for is not a bean soup but rather beans in a thick, easy-to-scorch sauce composed of cooked down tomato, onion, garlic, and spinach.

recipe mainstays, easy maryland style crab cakes and caprese salad

recipe for crab cake and caprese salad of heirloom tomato, peaches and nectarines

recipe for crab cake and caprese salad of heirloom tomato, peaches and nectarines

Here’s a simple pair of recipes that packs a lot of bang for the buck, Maryland style crab cakes and a caprese salad that amounts to nothing more than good shopping (and slicing): farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, mozzarella and fresh basil. (Also pictured, I did a quick sauté of summer squash with olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic crushed and a little white wine.)

Caprese Salad,

• fruit: Find a good assortment of colors, roughly equal parts juicy heirloom tomatoes and stone fruit (I like a mix of peaches and nectarines), all the better if the fruits are roughly the same size

• a bunch of basil

• a ball of mozzarella

Slice and plate in layers, putting a basil leaf between each slice.

Drizzle with olive oil and follow with a scattering of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Take a photo of your work!

Maryland Style Crab Cakes

  • 16 ounces crabmeat (Costco has a great packaged option in the refrigerated case with a long shelf life, so you can have some on hand in a pinch!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons mustard
  • 3 teaspoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • -In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the crab meat.
    (I mix the liquid ones first, the dry ingredients second, and combine.)

    -After mixing ingredients, add crab meat and fold together with a spatula, trying not to break up the crab meat chunks very much.

    -Form into desired size cakes, I get 6-8 from this recipe.


You can make these up to two hours before your guests arrive, refrigerated, and pop in the oven right before you plan to eat. I find the best result is to bake them in a muffin tin, but you also can bake them in a pyrex dish (they’ll be less golden on the outside), or pan fry (they’ll be greasy).

Muffin Tin: Preheat oven to 450°F. Generously coat a  nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray (spray enhances flavor). Bake until crispy and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Pan Fry: pan fry on each side over medium heat until golden brown (about 5-7 minutes each side) Serve with desired sauce, I mix together a little mayo, ketchup, old bay, and vinegar, but that’s just a personal thing.

Serve with lemon wedges, sprinkling of paprika, and an assortment of sauces…get creative!

recipe nostalgia: pickled red beet eggs, aka, “purple eggs”

Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for pickled red beet eggs, aka 'purple eggs'

Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for pickled red beet eggs, aka 'purple eggs'

Despite how gloomy and grey it looks outside lately, it’s summer time in San Francisco and with summer comes certain associations for me, memories of summers-past growing up in Pennsylvania! Thunderstorms. Fireflies. Picnics and Family. . . And with those memories of home, thoughts of certain foods are always linked. I may not be able to recreate a thunderstorm here, or wait for fireflies to appear at dusk, or hang out with my sister and parents 😦 but when I need to bring a little bit of Pennsylvania to my life here in California, when I need to connect with my roots just a little bit, food is a great way to do it. From assembling certain ingredients, to the physical act of making a dish, to the ritual presentation and eating of it, good feelings are always evoked when you reconnect with your past through food.

One such dish that instantly recalls memories of home for me (mostly because Pennsylvania is one of the only places you’ll ever find this dish) is the pickled red beet egg, or ‘purple eggs’ as they’re casually called. Yes, purple eggs are impossible to find here in California, let me tell you and when you describe them to anyone they’ll sort of look at you as if you must be joking. I mean, you MUST be. And yet, if you travel to South Central Pennsylvania, I can assure you they’re so common that you will find them in the deli section of any grocery store, or at any picnic, social or covered dish. I mean, they’re as common as whoopie pies. “But what’s a whoopie pie. . . ?” Sigh, I’ll have to write another blog post about those, too.

purple egg

pickled red beet egg, aka purple egg

Pennsylvania Dutch Red Beet Eggs, aka “Purple Eggs”

(recipe taken from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Vacations website: http://lancastercountyvacations.com/pennsylvania-dutch-red-beet-eggs/)

“Basic Red Beet Egg Recipe

There are plenty of red beet egg recipes coming out of Lancaster, each with its own special twist. Here is the basic idea behind red beet eggs. The basic ingredients to the red beet egg recipe are:

Hard-boiled eggs
Red beets

Mix your beets with 2 cups of vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar. Heat this mixture until the sugar dissolves. Pour over a dozen peeled hard-boiled eggs. Store the eggs and mixture in a glass jar and refrigerate. Some people prefer to use the juice from canned beets while others prefer to boil fresh beets. If you decide to use fresh beets- cook them until tender, skin them, and then heat again with the vinegar and sugar.

Spicing Up a Red Beet Egg Recipe

For those wanting to get creative there are infinite possibilities when it comes to red beet eggs. Here are a few ingredients to consider:

Cider vinegar
Brown Sugar
Mustard Seed

Part of the fun with red beet eggs is experimenting with your recipe to see what flavors you like best. Remember though that a little spice goes a long way, so a quarter-teaspoon of cinnamon or a half-teaspoon of mustard seed should do the trick.

Red Beet Eggs are a tasty treat that will last for weeks. They are also a colorful addition to your meal. Many people find that red beet eggs are a great way to use painted Easter eggs once Easter is over. However, they are delicious all year round.”


Postscript: Surfing the blogosphere earlier today I came across a recipe on Mamarazzi that brought back loads more memories for me: Jell-O cake. Jell-O cake, in all its flavor incarnations (and there are many) was a staple celebration dessert in our house growing up and the whole family absolutely loved it. Check out the linked recipe above and best of all, it’s written so as to be a lower calorie version of the classic. Cheers to that!

POSTpostscript: Growing up, my family always made red beet eggs with canned beets. I love the recipe above because it is one of the few out there that asks you to boil real, live beets. I promise you that using fresh beets makes for a big improvement over the canned, so don’t be daunted!