Posts made in February, 2016

Indie-style in the Pot

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Asian and Vegetarian, Soup | 0 comments


Lucky Peach is a food and lifestyle journal that explores various themes outside of mainstream thinking; through indie style, art, photography, essays, and food too. Food & Wine gave a nod to LP Asian takeout favorites like Hot-and-Sour Soup which truly is reminiscent of pleasing spicy Chinese homebrew from a carton.


The tough part is collecting all the stuff—then it cooks up quickly.


Wood Ear mushrooms are elusive—so I chose a single cluster Maitake mushroom to pull apart and toss into the soup. I also tread lightly with the vinegar and Sriracha using only half of the amounts called for.  More of each can be stirred in to liven up individual bowls.  Pork shoulder doesn’t hang around my kitchen, but a half pound of MP’s homemade wild boar sausage stepped up.  Then of course, if tofu isn’t on your protein dance card, simply leave it out and use 8 ounces of another.  One pound of deli-style chicken could easily be a nominee for both.


Now, just chop up the fresh aromatics and sauté them


with the meat in a neutral oil (I used coconut) and cook until softened and the meat has lost its pinkish color.


Add stock, bring it to a boil; then stir in tofu, vinegar, soy etc.


Stir in the mushrooms. I added a few wedges of tomato too.


Drizzle the eggs over the soup, stirring with a fork forming eggy strands.


Taste and adjust the sour and heat.

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 When the eggs are set, divide and devour while catching up with Chip and Joanna at Magnolia.

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Maria Time

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in New | 0 comments

MP and I celebrated our anniversary with coveted counter seats for an elegant four-course Chef’s tasting menu at wildly popular, Taco Maria at THE OC MIX.

Photo Source: www

Chef Carlos Salgado, Food & Wine Magazine, Best New Chef in 2015 humbly mentioned to MP how long ago his food truck days seem from memory.  On those mornings at the SoCo Farmers’ Market, Duck Tacos were first up on our Saturday foraging file.  Carlos worked as a pastry chef in the Bay area prior to sweeping back home to a refined artistry serving food in the famed truck.

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Now days newly–married Carlos glides through a polished galley kitchen among his staff

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all moving, verifying flavors, and seasoning with a seemingly choreographed discreet dance; but food opera is playing in our heads for two splendid fine dining hours.

MP and I selected one of the two offerings at each course; relishing divine respite in Carlos’ modern market-oriented ”Chicano Cuisine” world with its palpable sweet spirit and sincere hospitality.

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carrots, honeydew radish, serrano, citrus, spicy herbs

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scallop, queso menonita, squid ink crumbs,chile ancho

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smoked Passmore Ranch sturgeon, cabbage, mil islas

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sunchoke, potato, chorizo, queso, brussels sprouts

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roasted chile, crab, potato, salsa Veracruzana

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trout, broccoli mole, cauliflower, pistachio, tomatillo

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Stone Valley pork ribs, guajillo BBQ, braised cabbage

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ribeye cap, spigarello, young shallots, oregano jus

When Carlos paused from his efficient expediting to walk us to the door,

I asked him with a tongue-in-cheek style, “Ahem, so who catered your wedding?”

”I did.” He responded as I fully expected.

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Utmost for my Love Letter

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in New | 2 comments

The following letter was written by Major Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah (nee Shumway) who was at home with their sons in Rhode Island. Ballou died a week later at the First Battle of Bull Run.  He was 32.


Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure - and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows - when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children - is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.

I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me - perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours - always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.


--Civil War Trust


February 13, 1971.

 45 years ago, on blue carpeted church steps, who knew what delight warbling songbirds would chant on ten-thousand foggy hope-filled dawns; or how many mighty storms we would buffet as one, whose quiver is full of sharpened arrows.

--to be continued


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Red Gems in Repose

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Desserts | 0 comments


This is a sweet repost of one of the most glorious desserts I have ever made for Valentines Day.


Red Velvet Gems

Take a look back with me--

and better yet; craft some for your love!

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Save the Date

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Desserts | 3 comments

Lundes Hams (2)

Our friend Susie, reminiscences about a cooking class she was part of in OC led by at that time, Carol Wertheim. This recipe for Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce was part of her “How to Catch a Husband” demonstration.

Good grief; I’m not certain why it took me two years (since Susie sent me the recipe) to bake these simple chocolate-- oozing more chocolate cakes.

On Saturday MP and I will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary, plus it’s almost Valentine’s Day so I rocked this out for a test run; the whole,--can be made ahead of time routine, sometimes flummoxes the in-control part of me.


Having poured all that background out, it’s time to say,

make this.



Make it the day before you plan to serve it and bake it during the last few minutes of a grand occasion.


Either way; run a knife around these molten beauties and serve with raspberry sauce, softly whipped cream and berries or even vanilla ice cream.

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Susie’s husband, Tom is quite right.  If Susie hadn’t already caught him, this dreamy lover’s dessert would have certainly caught his attention!

Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce


  • Cakes:
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ¼ sticks, (10 Tablespoons) butter, plus more for brushing ramekins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups sifted Confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Raspberry Sauce:
  • 1 quart raspberries
  • Sugar to taste (about 1 cup for fresh berries or 1 Tablespoon for frozen berries
  • 3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • fresh raspberries


  1. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool slightly so as not to cook the eggs. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and yolks until blended. Add chocolate, sugar, flour, and salt. Mix well.
  2. Pour batter into six ¾-cup buttered ramekins. May be prepared I day ahead and refrigerated.
  3. Bake at 450 degrees F. until sides are set but center remains soft and runny, about 10-12 minutes. Run knife around cakes to loosen and turn out onto plates.
  4. Puree berries in a food processor adding half the sugar and 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice. Process until sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar and lemon as needed. Strain berry mixture to remove seeds. Surround cakes with a puddle of sauce and fresh berries. Dollop with fresh whipped cream and dust with confectioners’ sugar
  5. --Carol Wertheim

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