Friday, January 20, 2012

Fresh Fruit Cobbler

5C fresh fruit, cut in pieces or berries
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4C sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch cinnamon

Biscuit topping
1-1-4C flour
1/4C sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted cold butter, cut in pieces
2/3C cream or whole milk
Pinch cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sugar (to sprinkle on top of the biscuits)

vanilla ice cream (to serve with the cobbler)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Place fruits, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a pot and stir to combine.  Bring just to a boil and turn out into a 9 x 2-inch dish.

In a food processor add the dry ingredients and pulse to combine.  Pulse in the butter and then the cream just to form a dough.  Pat out into a 7-inch square, cut into 6 pieces and place pieces on top of the warm fruit mixture.  Sprinkle biscuits with the sugar and bake until golden – about 25 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Serve warm with ice cream.
MAKES:  6 servings

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. medium-size mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
2 small Italian sausages, casings removed, meat crumbled
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1C Vermont cheddar or cheddar of choice, grated
1 egg, beaten
1/4C pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter

Melt the butter in a sauté pan, add the mushroom stems and sauté until soft.  Add the sausage meat and onions and sauté until soft.  Place in the food processor and let cool 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse two or three times.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place the mushroom caps round side down in a glass dish and toss with melted butter.  Fill with stuffing mixture, pressing to form firm domes.  Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until hot.  Serve.
MAKES:  2 – 2-1/2 dozen


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

San Francisco - 2011

You can’t beat Southwest’s $30 each way special from Orange County into Oakland!!  It takes about one hour on the bart from the airport to downtown San Francisco and costs less than $5 – what a deal.

I stayed at the Hotel Beresford ( on Sutter Street, a very reasonable bed and breakfast inn with Sugar Café ( (coffee house by day, lounge at night), almost next door.  Even though breakfast is served at the Hotel Beresford, I prefer the muffins and coffee at Sugar Café to start my day.  First, I visited the Museum of Performance and Design ( near the opera house.  On display in the hall were miniature toy theatres.  These theatres, scenery and characters were sold in paper sheets, subsequently mounted on cardboard, cut up, then used for home performances.  Also, down the hall was a rehearsal room where you could listen to that evening’s opera being sung!!!

Lunch Spruce ( (grilled tuna salad and peanut butter bar) was delicious!!!  I took the bus to the Legion of Honor ( where I saw Pissarro’s People, 100 works of art made by Camille Pissarro over the course of his entire career and the mourners, 37 tomb sculptures from the tomb of John the  Fearless.  There is always something interesting going on there.  Dinner at Frances ( , a delightful little restaurant on
17th street
.  I had a duck confit salad with kale and dates, scallops with lemon risotto and mushrooms and a chocolate “clafouti” with caramelized bananas for dessert!!!  It is a hard reservation to get but well worth the trouble.

The following day I took the ferry to Sausalito which takes about 40 minutes and is a lovely crossing.  From the town center I leisurely walked to Fort Baker about a nice hour’s walk to
Murray Circle
in the Cavolo Point Lodge ( .  The restaurant is nice and cozy inside and the food is delicious.  I had a Nicoise salad with rare tuna and pumpkin chocolate cake for dessert.  I intended to walk back over the Golden Gate Bridge like I did last year but it was closed to pedestrians.  Instead I “hitched” a ride with a very nice couple who drove across.  I wandered down
Union Street
before heading to Saison ( later that night for dinner.  I sat outside by the pizza oven and it was fun to watch some of the dishes being prepared.  The food was delicious and many unusual ingredients, i.e. sea urchin, deer, red quinoa were incorporated into the menu; however, it is veryyyy expensive to dine at Saison so keep that in mind when you make a reservation!!!

The next morning after a delicious muffin and coffee at Sugar Café I walked down to the Asian Art Museum ( to visit the Maharaja exhibit which was a dazzling collection of nearly 200 artworks of India’s great kings.  Lunch at A16 ( on
Chestnut Street
was an arugula salad with dates, shaved pecorino romano cheese, toasted almonds and dandelion greens and a chocolate budino for dessert, a creamy chocolate tart topped with gros sel –  so yummy!!

On to the DeYoung Museum ( to see the Art of the Anatolian Kilim exhibit.  Kilims are hand woven flat rugs created by nomads in Turkey.  Each tells a story, weaving hope for good fortune or longing for love into the motifs.  Dinner at Prospect ( created by Nancy Oakes of Boulevard.  I had an unusual cauliflower salad with pomegranate seeds, cucumbers and feta cheese, bacon wrapped quail with lentils and celery root puree and a chocolate bar with ginger ice cream for dessert.  Every dish was delicious!!!

On Saturday morning I walked down to the Ferry Building where there is a great Farmer’s Market.  All around the building are stands filled with vegetables, cheeses, fruits, etc. as well as hummus’ and Indian chutneys to try.  There are also restaurant food stalls, i.e. rosa pistola, selling barbecue pork sandwiches, bacon and eggs, etc.  This is a happening place to be sure.

 Afterwards I wandered around Jackson Square and the little shops surrounding it, finally ending up at the casual Cotogna ( created by Chef Tusk of Quince.  It is a bustling little place with an open kitchen and wonderful food.  I had beets with crème fraiche, tortellini with zucca, brown butter and sage and a chocolate tart for dessert.  I can’t wait to go back and try some other items on their ever changing menu.

Altogether it was a fabulous trip!!!