Posts made in September, 2014

Life of the Party

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in New | 2 comments

MP and I were happy to host a birthday party for Agnes Thiers Saturday honoring her 100thbirthday.

As a five-year-old child in Wales, Agnes was boarding a boat for America with her mother and sister. Her father had immigrated earlier; and now it was possible for the whole family to join him.  Turned away by  officials when they discovered a “mysterious blister” on her hand, Agnes remained in Wales with her grandmother. She would have to come later.  World War I delayed her voyage and she arrived on Ellis Island as a nine year old with her grandmother. She recalls hearing confusing languages spoken by large strange men at long tables where they ate communal meals.  After three weeks on Ellis Island, her father arrived to take her to their new life and home.


Cheers Agnes!

Photo cred--Karen Thiers 

Agnes Theirs Surprise 100th Birthday


Homemade Hummus and Veggies

Classic Caesar Salad

Corn, Rice, and Bean Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Pinwheel Pork Loin

with Genoa Salami, Pepper Jack, Scallion and Cilantro Stuffing

Pork Gravy

Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

Seasonal Selection of Fresh Fruit

Mac N Cheese

Corn Pudding

Home Made Pies






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Something About Martin

Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in New | 0 comments

This is our friend, Martin Rinon

I first met Martin when I came upon small hydroponic lettuce gems he watches over at the Farmers’ Markets MP and I frequent. His wide smile and sweet demeanor is a harbinger of a pure heart.  No matter how many folks scramble and crowd narrow passage lanes—he calls a greeting to us.  First, he hand picks a dark green summer crisp bundle of green; then shares what the Lord has laid upon his heart.

Jacmel is located in Haiti

In March, Martin found himself on a mission field in Jacmel, Haiti.  His team from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills took the gospel to four different high schools, local marketplaces, and a soccer stadium.  Immediately Martin found a new heart for serving God and connecting with hurting hungry Haitian people.  After making a  decision to put school on hold for now, Martin opted to return to Haiti in October.  The cost of his trip is intimidating ($1800.00) –but with financial gifts and prayers for his team, he will soar to Haiti. If this young man’s story touches your heart, he calls it “awesome”.

To donate (any amount is appreciated)

  • Surprise Martin by handing him a donation at the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays at The Orange County Fairgrounds or Saturdays at the Irvine Farmer’s Market
  • Send a check to: Calvary Chapel Chino Hills 24235 Sylvan Glen, Diamond Bar, CA 91765
  • Martin Rinon Haiti Mission Account on the memo line.
  • for questions and connecting.

Oh, and buy some baby lettuces too!

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” –1 Chronicles 16: 23-24


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Tomatoes Two Ways

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Salad | 0 comments

It happens every year.  There is a ‘last call’ for summer fare, like berries, vine ripened tomatoes, gazpacho, and miniature vegetables.  Foodies look to apples and squashes for overnight marketplace inspiration by the first day of autumn--not so much in our neck of the woods (or desert, or coast).  We, Cali cooks long for apples, pears, heirloom squashes, risotto, and pumpkins too; but then summer extends like wind blowing wherever it pleases.  If you are hungry for more summer tomatoes and light salads showing-off autumn hues, this tasty Tomato Salad with Camembert Fondue announces unhurried passage.











It requires forward planning but ingredients are few.








Prepare plum tomatoes by scoring a small X on the bottom.








Blanch until skins loosen;








douse in an ice bath








and peel.








Roast tomatoes with olive oil and thyme until soft.








This can be done ahead—which I did.








A few dried mushrooms promised broth,















that combined with cheese (I used baby Brie rounds from Trader Joes), create the ‘fondue’.








While the recipe calls for making large croutons, I had another idea.  I toasted slices of rosemary bread and then scraped garlic and tomato onto tops--sandpaper style.

Pour warm fondue into a rimmed bowl; place a slice of tomato-garlic toast in the center.  Top with wedges of heirloom and roasted tomato.  Garnish with basil, chives, and sea salt.








Garlicky toast soaked with rich warm earthy fondue, piled with tomatoes two ways; ushers us to our patio.







...of course there is Mac and Cheese for our guest!


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Pumpkin Hummus

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Daniel Fast Recipes, Party Drinks and Appetizers | 2 comments

My friend Jacqueline sent a recipe for Pumpkin Hummus wondering if it could be prepared without a food processor.  At first, I deduced that it would not be smooth enough without the big whirl, then reconsidered.







Beginning with a can of pumpkin and adding the remaining ingredients using a hand held mixer-- is as easy as pumpkin pie.  I used the Cuisinart.








The result (using a mixer) may not be as smooth and creamy but—it is a delicious surprise with an autumn-style twist on traditional Middle Eastern spread.








Light, lemony with a little kick and foolproof too; zizz this up and see who can identify the mystery ingredient!








Pumpkin Hummus


  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish


  1. Place all the ingredients except parsley and pepitas into the bowl of a food processor or blender; and process until smooth. Stir in parsley. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve with toasted pita wedges.




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Brownie Up!

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Desserts | 2 comments

Do you enjoy brownies dense moist gooey and fudgy-- or light and cakey?  The proportions of butter, sugar, chocolate, and flour determine the style.  It seems texture is the selling point when choosing a Brownie (or Blondie) camp.  When Ty was in high school (and home baking was still ‘legal’), I baked a zillion of these cake-like frosted brownies on sheet trays for water polo games and banquets, spilling over to church events to even now 25 years later. Presently, I am placing this favorite treat under investigation—first up.

Real Simple Magazine Espresso Brownies-- a fudgy contender with a shot of espresso to intensify the chocolate hit.










I photographed the steps; if you grab ingredients and leave your camera in your handbag (or fanny pack) brownies assemble quickly using a hand mixer—no need to get out the big gun.








Begin by melting unsweetened chocolate and butter in a microwave in 30-second intervals until chocolate is nearly melted.  Don’t overdo it; residual heat will melt remaining bits as you stir it to a glossy finish.








Proceed by adding sugars, eggs, espresso, and vanilla.






















I prepared a jetpack-fueled espresso by brewing one tablespoon of instant espresso powder into two ounces of coffee.








Yes, I did.








Then, add the flour mixture








(just until flour is absorbed).








Fold in broken bits of bittersweet chocolate.








Pour batter into a prepared pan; Begin testing  brownies for doneness after 30 minutes.  Dark metal pans provide a faster baking time than glass dishes.








this one has a removable bottom for blessed assurance it will come out beautifully.








Otherwise, use “parchment or waxed paper handles” to remove brownies when completely cooled in the pan.







Deep, sophisticated chocolaty deep coffee richness…Wasn’t it Shirley Temple who first said, Oh! My Goodness”?






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