Posts made in February, 2013

Sweetheart Sunset Pasta

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Pasta | 1 comment

Sweetheart Sunset Pasta



I have made this pasta two times now.  The first time was to experiment with a recipe I had cut out of a Martha Stewart Magazine a zillion years ago.

Roasted vegetables catch my attention and my appetite. When they get tossed around with pasta, fresh herbs, and cheese --we sail into the sunset together.








Martha used Rigatoni and Fontina cheese in her recipe.  Fontina is an Italian cow's milk cheese.

I used whole wheat penne rigate pasta and Parmesan cheese.








Fresh chopped sage,







Wedges of red onion,








and cubed butternut squash








are all tossed together with olive oil.








After roasting...








they become sweet and precious gems!








Stir the vegetables into cooked penne pasta with more fresh sage and a shower of grated Parmesan.








These sweet vegetable jewels snuggled right in with the pasta for a perfect weeknight meal.

I enjoyed them so much that I made them again for our completely grilled anniversary dinner and Valentine's' Day, using a wedge of princess pumpkin that I spotted at the Farmers' market.


Grilled Cesar Salad

Lemon and Herb Grilled Mexican Shrimp

(a gift from our fisherman neighbor)

Grilled Hanger Steak with Roasted Red Peppers in Balsamic Vinaigrette

Rigatoni with Roasted Princess Pumpkin, Red Onions, Sage, and Parmesan

Warm Bittersweet Chocolate Melting Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream




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In the Arms of Love

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in New | 5 comments

The invitations were put in the mail on my 20th birthday.

Three weeks later on the day before Valentine's Day, MP and I were married.

The bridesmaids wore --shades of pink and wine velvet—

perfect for a 90 degree day in California.

I wore a Nadine Cupcake Dress.

This is the only photo of that day on the steps of the "old sanctuary" at

Saint Andrew's Church.

42 years…

Less curls…

Loads of Love Letters...

We have history...

MP has been lovingly mindful of my sometimes fragile heart—sleepover after sleepover.

Happy Anniversary!


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The Giving Tree

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Desserts | 4 comments

The Giving Tree


Our Meyer lemon tree stands right alongside the public sidewalk.  Beginning in October the thin skinned tops of the fruit closest to the sun begin to turn bright yellow.

By late January the tree hangs and sags with the weight of it all.

If we share lemons with passersby I am okay.  It is a prolific tree and keeps on giving.



What a delight it is to take a few steps and retrieve these gloriously scented lemons to use in lemonade, salad dressings, entrée’s, sauces, and desserts.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and all hearts are on chocolate—but for me and my house—the sweetheart of a delicately scented lemony dessert is waltzing right alongside the soufflé.








Lemon Pound Cake has become a treasured dessert because it goes to a picnic or teatime

as is-- or can be dressed up with a crown of fresh berries and lemon curd.








Because it makes a small loaf I often use the processor.








The room temperature butter creams well in the machine.








After adding the eggs

Sift the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture--















but don't over mix here.

This is a super neat trick I learned from my friend and mentor, Jacques Pépin.








After you have filled the prepared loaf pan with as much of the batter as you have removed from the food processor,








there is always a pesky portion that you have trouble scraping out.  I have noticed on TV the  the whole lot is moved to the sink... so annoying.








Duh?  Simply spin it again and the  blade whirls clean!






Let the cake cool for a few minutes.







Meanwhile prepare the warm lemony syrup







and glaze.








Use a skewer to poke holes all over the top of the cake.  I poke holes through the sides and the bottom of the cake too.








Pour the warm syrup over the warm cake until it has absorbed every drop.








Let the cake cool completely.








Spoon the glaze over the loaf  scooping up any that pools on the plate.








Beautiful, simple, and adored!

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • For syrup:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • For icing:
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 7X4X2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with buttered waxed paper.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together the butter, sugar, zest and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture; thoroughly combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake cake 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool cake 5 minutes and turn out onto a platter. Remove waxed paper. Turn cake upright.
  3. In a saucepan, cook sugar and lemon juice over moderate heat until sugar dissolves completely.
  4. Prick top, bottom and sides of cake with a wooden pick. Pour syrup over warm cake in batches until it is completely absorbed. Cover loosely and chill completely.
  5. In a large mixing cup beat confectioner’s sugar with lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spread on top of loaf and chill until serving time.
  6. Serves 10-12
  7. © Copyright 2013 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  8. All Rights Reserved


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Winter Sunset

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in New | 2 comments

Crystal Cove--Laguna Beach, California

“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color

-- oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples...”

--Anna Godbersen, The Luxe

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Year of the Smarty Pants

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Asian and Vegetarian | 2 comments

When our children were young MP and I managed to celebrate our anniversary most years in San Francisco.  It coincided with Chinese New Year—an added cultural bonus.

This year, The Year of the Snake will be celebrated by Chinese communities who seriously enjoy tradition, foods, parades, and fireworks.

Chinese New Year card

My own version of a hot and sour soup-- seems a simple way for me to share an Asian inspired soup we love.



Eating  long noodles or long beans is one way of hoping for longevity in the New Year.




Feeling authentic?

Toss out the tofu and drop in a pig, duck, or  a chicken!



The soup is prepared in literally minutes.  It is important to have the ingredients all lined up and ready.  




Because this is a quick saute of ginger, fat green onions, salt and pepper, and as much crushed pepper as you like, I use  sesame oil.  It perfumes the house for hours.








Add the mushroom soaking liquid to the saute.








Bring chicken or vegetable stock to a simmer.

Here is where you drop in a block of cubed firm tofu.  If you choose a pig, duck , or chicken--you are on your own.








The reconstituted mushrooms are added  along with the








snow peas.







Here is where I shot my self in the foot.  I actually broke the buckwheat noodles in half!   I have never done that.  I was in the moment -- thinking they would be easier to eat.

So much for longevity... UGH.

Don't be a smarty pants.








Don't over cook the noodles or peas--thicken the soup with soy sauce and rice vinegar mixture.








Using a fork slowly swirl in an egg white.








The final note is a squeeze of fresh lime juice.








Serve the hot, spicy, sour, fresh and oh so fragrant soup in vintage Chinese restaurant bowls from the flea market in Mill Valley.

circa 1980

Hot and Sour Soup with Tofu


  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 ounces soba noodles
  • (Buckwheat noodles)
  • 8 ounces pea pods
  • 1 (12 ounce) box extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 egg white
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Add mushrooms to boiling water to rehydrate; set aside to cool.
  2. In a small cup, combine soy sauce, vinegar, water, and cornstarch.
  3. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add ginger and sauté until softened.
  4. Add scallions, salt and pepper, and crushed pepper; reduce heat. Continue cooking until onions are tender.
  5. Slice mushrooms. Strain and reserve soaking liquid.
  6. Add reserved mushroom liquid and chicken stock to pot; bring the stock to a simmer and add noodles, pea pods, tofu and mushrooms. Simmer 4-5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the soy sauce mixture to thicken.
  8. Drop egg white into soup stirring constantly to form threads.
  9. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Adjust seasonings.
  10. Serves 4
  11. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  12. All Rights Reserved


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