Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kindness never tasted so good

I haven't felt like cooking lately so I've been lax on posting recipes. But today I was given an easy solution to my laziness and lack of motivation. The solution: Post food someone else prepared!

In our office we have many thoughtful and generous patients that we are especially fond of. Today one of my very favorite patients, Gail, brought in lunch for our whole team. I asked her why she was so good to us, and she said, "Just cause I enjoy it." I wish I had a heart that loving and giving. But since I don't I'm glad to be on the receiving end of the ones that do.

This amazing woman brought in Caravan rolls, fruit salad, Japanese salad, a vegetable tray, and assorted sweets, crackers, nuts, and chocolates. It was lovely, thoughtful, and Oh, so delicious.

Today's feature recipe is the Japanese salad. She said her girls grew up on this salad, and they still ask her to make it for gatherings.


2 bags of shredded cabbage (or one head cabbage shredded)
2 bunches green onions, chopped
2 or 3 pkgs Top Ramen (use only the noodles) crush slightly
1 cup sunflower seeds
½ to 1 cup sliced of slivered almonds

Saute the seeds and almonds in a skillet with a little vegetable oil until golden brown, stirring often. Let cool.

1 cup vegetable oil
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. Salt
6 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (I use Nakano Brand “Original” flavor)

Mix all salad ingredients together at serving time and pour dressing over and toss.

SERVES: A crowd of ten or more.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sweet, tart for sweet hearts

My dad has a lemon tree in his backyard that’s abundant with fruit this time of year. Every winter I try to find as many ways as possible to use them. I frequently make lemon meringue pie, lemon cookies, lemon cake, and lemon sauces for fish and vegetables, but I’m especially fond of lemon bars.

If you are looking for a dessert for Valentine's Day that's not chocolate, you can stop looking. Lemon bars have a crisp buttery cookie-like crust, and a filling with enough tart to wake up your tastebuds and enough sugar to satisfy that sweet tooth. Your sweetheart will love them.


For the crust:

1/2 pound butter (2 cubes)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pulse the butter, flour and powdered sugar in food processor until it is the consistency of corn meal. Pour into 9 X13 X 2 inch pan and press evenly into bottom, building a ½ inch edge on all sides.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.

Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Remove from oven and lightly dust with confectioners' sugar. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into rectangles or triangles and lightly dust again with confectioners' sugar.

Makes approximately 25 bars.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sweet, sweet, the desserts that you gave to me

We are already well into January of a new year and most of us have been busy with chores that we put off during the holidays. During this time, your faithful correspondent has been thinking up recipes to make 2010 fun and exciting for your dinner parties or quiet evenings at home.

We have many options during the winter months, from dishes that warm your souls and fill your stomachs to sweet, sweet desserts that are pleasurable to view as well as to taste. We’ll explore all these possibilities. But I’ve decided to offer up a dessert.

This dessert is a coconut cheesecake. I found the recipe in the Fresno Bee in 1996, but it took me 14 years to get around to baking it. I decided to try it for one of our Christmas Day desserts this season and was very pleasantly suprised. I wasn't sure I would like the texture of coconut in a cheesecake (which is suppose to be smooth and creamy) but was delicious.

This recipe was submitted from Joanne Harland when Harland's Restaurant was at its peak. I'm so glad I hung onto it all these years. So were the cheesecake lovers in the family.


1 package macaroon cookies, crushed
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Combine crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Chill the crust while preparing the filling.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 (15 ounce) can cream of coconut
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Beat first 4 ingredients until well blended, add cream of coconut, cream and coconut. Beat just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake until puffed and golden, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, cool completely. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cookie sheet dinner

Not every meal has to be a fancy feast. Cooking takes creativity and sometimes I don’t feel like being creative. If I’ve had a long day at the office or if I’m cooking for one, I want something I can throw together in under 5 minutes and be done with it.

Well, that’s how I feel tonight… tired, all alone, and hungry for something quick. Tonight the little voice inside of me is screaming, "Cookie sheet dinner."

1. A cookie sheet.
2. Miscellaneous frozen/refrigerator foods.
3.A piece of foil sprayed with Pam.
4. An oven.
5. A fork.
6. A glass of your favorite wine.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place foil over cookie sheet spray with Pam. Spread miscellaneous frozen foods over the foil. Choose foods that cook in about the same amount of time. Bake in oven until cooked or heated through.

Remove cookie sheet from oven and place it on a trivet on the table. Use the cookie sheet as your plate, just don't burn yourself on it. Add seasoning or sauces from refrigerator to food as desired. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your meal.

Wad up used foil when finished eating and toss in trash. Put clean cookie sheet away.

1. You get to clean out the freezer/refrigerator of all those mostly-emptied bags of food that you’re never going to use anyway.
2. You get to eat in 15-20 minutes.
3. You get to drink a glass of wine.
4. The cookie sheet serves as a hot plate and a dinner plate.
5. There is only one thing to wash when you are done, a fork. The wine glass won’t need to be washed yet because you should have refilled it by now.

SERVES 1. (You could double the food and make it a romantic dinner for two. Just put the cookie sheet between the two of you and dig in.)

Dinner doesn’t get any easier than this.