Call it a Riff

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Desserts, Holiday | 0 comments


You may yet be in a food coma; not only from Thursday but, for the wonder of ritual leftover dressing, potatoes, gravy and weird gelled concoctions. If you have pumpkin fatigue, are pastry challenged or simply check pumpkin pie off your sweet holiday list after Thanksgiving and move on—reconsider Food and Wine’s Pumpkin Pie with a Chocolate Crust.  The marriage of the two is not new even Martha Stewart finds the pair blissful.


The most difficult part of the pie is finding those Famous Chocolate Wafers at the supermarket (look near the the ice cream).

Pulse the cookies; add sugar and melted butter.  Press into a pie plate and chill, literally.  If you are the organized type, wrap and freeze the crust.  Remove from the freezer and set on the counter while you make the filling.


Bake the crust for a few minutes.


Plop pumpkin from a can; add remaining ingredients, beat together; then pour the smooth mixture into the prepared crust.

Bake the pie until it quivers in the center 50-60 minutes; begin checking it at 45 minutes.  Cool completely.  The pie may be baked and refrigerated overnight.


Imagine a crisp, pure chocolate cookie crunch mingled with the not-too-sweet silkiness of pumpkin perfumed with warm spices and fresh ginger.

Top the luxurious pie as the author, Melissa Clark suggests, with tangy Crème Fraiche topping or merely old-fashioned whipped cream as I did.


Perhaps save a slice for breakfast…



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A Christmas Cookie

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in Cookies, Holiday | 1 comment

Pfeffernusse, a classic German biscuit like cookie served around Christmastime popped up on ABC’s, The Chew last week; sending me straight to the peppermill.  These spicy dunking cookies dusted with powdered sugar are a piece of my childhood holiday remembrances; settled next to Grandma Barrett’s Shortbread and my mother’s famous Bourbon Balls (which children were allowed to eat)!  I am in a massive baking project and sturdy festive cookies are perfect packers for a Christmas on the Bay celebration.  Reminiscent of gingerbread; mingling warm aromatic spices and freshly ground pepper create a sophisticated winter blend.


Few ingredients, mostly pantry ready, make this a super quick bake (and the cookies mellow appropriately and freeze well too).









Begin by creaming butter with brown sugar followed by an egg and deep rich signature molasses.  The recipe then calls for vanilla and rum.









There was no rum in the inn; I used amaretto which was all I had near that genre.








Proceed, adding the flour blended with spices, soda and salt.  Make sure you use freshly ground high-quality pepper, not random old stuff from a tin; there is a vast distinction.









I also love how this recipe kinda self-cleans the bowl.








Form the dough and bake the cookies (I produced 24 using a small scoop).








Wait, wait and wait until they cool








before showering these zesty sweets with copious amounts of snowy sugar.


Steaming hot cappuccino and a bright tangerine

qualifies this as breakfast. Right?

Thanks again, to abcthechew for choosing my photo for the holiday parade 🙂

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Holiday Crack

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Holiday | 2 comments

Mom stuffed our holiday turkey with two contrasting dressings; traditional inside the bird, and tucked away in the neck cavity, oyster.  I remember strong opinions as to whether or not the whole fowl was tainted by those oysters.

Having said that, Mom’s English Toffee (which had nothing to do with the turkey) was every grown up, child, neighbor, and church ladies top sweet indulgence from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.


Still in my arsenal of Christmas goodies, Southern Living’s Pecan-Espresso Toffee bumped Mom’s tame butter, almond, and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate treat like an elbow to the side.  It got my attention.  Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate morsels partner with toasted pecans and hard toffee; taken close to the edge of smoky coffee burnt.  And, baby it is a spot on; teetering on the edge of ruin.  Certainly, I have hidden it from myself and, I don’t have a sweet tooth.









Using a candy thermometer is highly efficient; otherwise you might blow it. Be prepared to work quickly.  The toffee will take 17-20 minutes of constant heat to reach 290 degrees.









Putt,putt; suddenly it is 290 degrees.









Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the chopped toasted pecans.









I was pleased that MP was home to grab the hot lava and pour it onto parchment paper, allowing me to stand by ready to spread.   Hence, there is no photograph.








Finish with a generous blend of sweet and bitter chocolate; wait.









Five minutes is all it takes to warm the rich chocolate for a silky spread.









Triumphantly, I sprinkled sea salt high above the cooling slab (not included in the instructions).

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An hour later when no one is looking, begin to break the decadent toffee into jagged pieces; undoubtedly, small bits fall to the side.

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What you do with them is your business…


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On the Easter Table

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Asian and Vegetarian, Holiday | 1 comment

500 hundred blogs ago, I made Romesco Red Pepper Dip.

Quick and easy; jarred roasted red peppers partner with equally yoked toasted almonds--

whirled up in a heartbeat.

Now, I think it could be coloring up your Easter brunch table,

or hover adjacent the creamy stuffed eggs; at least.

Sweet and smoky, this beauty seems to suit everyone--

gluten-free, dairy-free, and veg-obsessed.


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Christmas in Cali

Posted by on Dec 24, 2014 in Holiday | 4 comments

Good morning moon

Sleeveless December treks at Crystal Cove

Balboa Island

Christmas Eve Eve with Ty, Jules & Izzy

Christmas Carol memories being made

Snow in Surf City 🙂

Remembering Tommy and Jim

Celebrating Britton's mother, Joyce on her birthday—a traditional

Cherry Walnut Cake made by me this year.

“I take good selfies, don’t I coco?” says, a beaming Jules.

Waiting for the Christ Child

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him, all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1: 1-5 --NIV

Merry Christmas!

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Home for the Holidays

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Holiday | 2 comments

Britton's father stepped into the throne room on this day.  Our hearts are heavy as we will miss his quiet demeanor and kind gentle heart—

 Jim, a former pilot showed resolute spirit and heroic countenance

for nearly ten years while living his life in a chair since a ranch accident left him a paraplegic.

I hear his laugh and see him upright-- walking with Jesus.

 Godspeed Hoss, you have new wings...

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