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Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes

February 7, 2011
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Sometimes recipes come from the strangest, most unexpected places. They can come from a flash of creativity connected to absolutely nothing, they can be inspired by eating something amazing or even by a location, they can be passed down from generation to generation or given like a secret gift from friend to friend. The recipe for this lemon pudding cake came to me from of all places, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Only in our digital age would it have found its way to me as it did.

In the Fall of 2009 I sent out a tweet, asking for lemon dessert recipes. Robyn Eckhardt, a professional travel/food writer who also writes one of my favorite blogs Eating Asia replied, asking if I’d ever made Lemon Pudding Cake. I said no and she emailed me a scanned page from an cookbook called Classic Home Desserts, one I can only presume made …

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Winter Quinoa Salad with Mixed Beans and Tahini-Chili Dressing

January 12, 2011
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Last year I did a 21 day cleanse diet which I detailed here on the blog. During that time I adhered to a very simple, yet strict, set of rules; no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no wheat gluten and no animal products (totally vegan) for the entire three weeks. I was very proud to be able to say I completed my goals with no cheating. It was an eye-opening experience and taught me three big things; I have the will power to say no to donuts (and everything else for 3 weeks), that pork really isn’t a food group (I didn’t need to eat meat protein at every meal), and that I have the skills to eat well even with limitations. That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to return to how I normally eat when it was over.

Even though my typical diet …

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Pig Candy (Bacon Peanut Brittle) and the Good Meat Book

November 15, 2010
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It seems like everywhere you look in the last couple of years bacon is a key ingredient in everything from savory to sweet, from casseroles to cupcakes, so I guess putting it in candy makes sense in some weird way.  I’m not late to the party here, I’ve simply been trying to avoid the bacon frenzy and not buy into the hype. Bacon is trendy, and like all trends it will be replaced by something else soon enough and then we can all go back to having it with our eggs in the morning. I was happy to ignore the trend until I saw the recipe for “Pig Candy” in the book Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat and suddenly, my mind was changed.

Good Meat, is a weighty hardcover book filled with over 200 recipes and absolutely stunning photos of both raw primal cuts …

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Three Olive Tapenade Plus How to Roast a Pepper

October 18, 2010
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All of my friends like olives. It’s a bit odd, but I think I could have a dinner party with nothing but bread, wine, and olives and everyone would be perfectly content. When I recently made a batch of this tapenade for a Sunday dinner at my mother’s house it was as if I’d brought a pot of gold instead of a small crock of olive spread. Call it olive crack.
In fact, while I was in Cambodia, my husband posted this on Facebook, “Kristina has only been in Cambodia since Saturday, so it looks like cold chicken and olive tapenade on english muffins for dinner tonight. What will I do when there’s no more tapenade?”
Sigh. Really? That’s what he eats when I’m gone?

I’ve been making a version of this for at least the last 15 years and for some reason it fell of …

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Strawberry and Nectarine Crisp

September 15, 2010
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Here in Southern California we are in that “sweet spot” of perfect weather between the scorching summer and our typically mild Fall; it’s a beautiful and sunny 78 degrees and should be for most of the week here. Even though people not originally from Southern California lament the “lack of seasons” here, as one raised here, I can tell you we have our seasons and Summer is coming to an end. I can tell the seasons are changing because the traffic gets worse when kids go back to school. Seriously though, my garden is gasping its last breath and I’m already looking forward to Fall soups and stews and more baking.

Last week my husband, an avid golfer, made a pilgrimage of sorts to play a nice course up in Ventura, CA. On the way home, he stopped at one of the many farm stands which dot the highway and …

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Hand Cut Pasta with Maitake Mushrooms and Squash Blossoms

August 9, 2010
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Last week I was given some Maitake mushrooms, also called Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and immediately started thinking up dishes where I could showcase their earthy goodness. Sometimes simple preparations are best; good sweet butter, fresh herbs, homemade pasta all compliment the star of the show; the mushroom. I added the squash blossoms because I had them in my garden, but if you don’t have any, you could leave them out, or replace them with zucchini, sliced into very thin ribbons.

These mushrooms not only taste good, but have been heavily researched for their cancer-fighting properties and may help balance blood sugar. In the wild, they can grow in pods of up to 40 or 50 pounds those these were commercially grown, organically, in little 3.5 oz cups, making them look a little like a mushroom cupcake.

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