Here is a little secret, I never made bolognese sauce before, I never looked at a recipe for bolognese sauce but here I am, in the middle of the corona crisis. I am quarantined and trips to the store to get necessary ingredients are not an option.
However, I am well stocked and as I enjoy my morning coffee I think of the ingredients that are available to me to make bolognese sauce. I pull the vegetables out of the fridge and select some that need to be used pretty soon. I find a handful of shiitake mushrooms, a beautiful looking fennel bulb and some garlic. Beside the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini I find some very tired mini peppers in the back of my refrigerator. There are a few leftover shiitake mushrooms from last weeks barley soup. Then I remember my Italian friend telling me that she uses two different kinds of meat when making her bolognese. I use some pieces of prosciutto and the leftover meat from last night’s short ribs. I have some overripe tomatoes that are not good for anything else and pull out a can of tomato sauce. That should do it.
But let’s not forget the pasta. I was given several boxes of dried pasta from an on-line store in Virginia. The pasta was outstanding and I will order some more. We had two delicious dinners, slurping the pasta being coated by the rich sauce. I served my lemon caesar salad with it and a nice glass of wine.
These days I have only one tester, my husband . He can be a picky eater, he doesn’t like vegetables and could live on steak and potatoes for the rest of his life. I love sneaking in some vegetables and this is a good way. Of course you could substitute different vegetables and use different meat like leftover pot roast or beef stew. Or, leave out the meat entirely and make a vegan sauce. The possibilities are endless.
This recipe made four generous meals with about 2 cups of leftover sauce that I put in the freezer. I added 2 TBS of my frozen pesto to the sauce. You could substitute different vegetables and use different meat like leftover pot roast or beef stew. Or, leave out the meat entirely and make a vegan sauce. The possibilities are endless.
I bought cooked shrimp instead of cooking raw shrimp. In this case, I don't think it makes much difference. If you omit the shrimp you have a regular salad the goes well with chicken or meat dishes.
You all know the special love I feel for the Hawaiian Islands, with their turquoise warm Pacific Ocean and beautiful beaches. From my home in California the islands are within a relatively easy reach. You still have to get on a plane, but for less than five hours, which is enough time for a good read and a little snooze. My goal is to post about all the islands I have visited over the last 30 years. Click here to continue reading about my trip to Wakiki and some new eating places I discovered.
This farro salad is perfect for any picnic, barbecue or a healthy lunch for work.
Click here for the recipe
I am making my German-American green bean and potato salad for an upcoming party. It's a tasty salad made with a warm oil and vinegar dressing. I like to serve this salad with baked salmon and romesco sauce on the side. Click here for the recipe
This is one of my favorite salads that I have made for many years. If green asparagus is no longer available, you can use roasted eggplant. The recipe is from the original Greens cook book from the restaurant of the same name in San Francisco's historic Ford Mason. It has pioneered vegetarian cooking since the 1970s. I love it. It's a real treat and so is this salad. Click here for the recipe.
There is nothing better than a ripe apricot—picked fresh from the tree and eaten right away. Dripping with juice, tasting intensely sweet with a tinge of acidity, eating an apricot is a truly sensual experience..
However, most of us will not experience this because today’s apricots are picked firm and then brought to the market. Most varieties grown today have little flavor, are usually pale, odorless and tart. If you want the old-fashioned apricots, look for Blenheims. This apricot got its name from the Duke of Marlborough’s garden at Blenheim Palace in England. Apricots were probably cultivated in China thousands of years ago. The Spaniards brought apricots to the New World and planted them in the mission gardens of California. If you are lucky, you can find Blenheims in the costal valleys of California.
This year, I bought a crate (28 pounds) of apricots from one of the road stands in the central valley here in California. They were not Blenheims, but had been picked riper than the commercial kind. I don't know what kind of apricot I bought. They were okay, but I had bought a crate of apricots at the same farm stand the previous year and they were better. I put the apricots in a single layer in my cool downstairs bedroom and immersed myself into cooking them. Most of them became apricot jam. The jam turned out fabulously this year—smooth and velvety with a little crunch from the apricot kernels and texture from the skin. It was just the way we like it—sweet and tart at the same time. I would not omit the pits, as they really add a lot of flavor. For this years recipe, I used 10 pounds of apricots, 6 pounds of organic sugar, 16 cracked and roasted pits and 6 TBS of lemon juice. I was thinking about adding a vanilla bean or a cinnamon stick (or maybe some ginger), but in the end I did no such thing. I like my jam without any other flavors. The fruit itself is enough.
My husband likes my cobbler, and I baked two while I still had apricots. I like my cobbler because I use very little sugar, but it tastes delicious. I made the same cobbler for the 4th of July using peaches, blackberries and a few leftover blueberries.
I am very found of my German apricot cake with marzipan. It’s easy to make and a real treat for an afternoon tea. Or great for a picnic on a warm summer day.
My all-time favorite treat during apricot season are apricot dumplings. In Austria, they are considered a meal unto themselves. To make these, you need quark, a German soft cheese. Whole Foods and Shopper's Corner in Santa Cruz now carries quark.
While looking through back issues of my beloved Gourmet magazine from the month of June, I found a shrimp, jicama and apricot salad recipe. My husband loved this salad because it is crunchy, fresh and light. For me, the salad was a little bland, yet it was refreshing and elegant in its presentation. It is a perfect salad if you are counting your calories. I can imagine a salad like this being served decades ago in a fancy private club or hotel. Even though this is not my favorite salad, I decided to post it anyway.
Farro is an ancient wheat grain that has been eaten for thousands of years around the world. It is supposed to be the oldest grain, from which all other grains are derived. It almost became extinct, but is making a comeback as a healthy grain with a high protein content. And it is loaded with fiber and B vitamins, and is also low in gluten. Farro (Triticum turgidum dioccum) has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It is used in soups, salads, and other dishes. You can pretty much turn any pasta salad into a farro salad. The chewiness of the grain and its nutty earthiness always satisfies me and makes a great snack when I’m really hungry.
My farro salad is a great dish for a large party. I made it twice and it was well liked. It goes well with different proteins like fish or chicken. It also makes great lunches. It is tasty and filling just by itself. Most of the photos are done in my friend Deb’s house. Check out her beautiful blog Eastofedencooking. We made this salad at her house and had it with shrimp and her delicious cabbage salad. The recipe I am using for my farro salad comes from Food and Wine magazine.
What can I say, I have been cooking my heart out. Whenever life becomes somewhat challenging, I go for a walk or cook in the kitchen. I preoccupy myself with different recipes and just cook and cook. I like that! I also enjoy reading different blogs and stories, which leaves me with a sense of connection with the writers. Thank you all for being there in this virtual world of blogging. Maybe this has become our new community.
Here are some recipes from different blogs that I have made lately. The Romesco sauce from my blogging friend, Mary Ann, was a big hit in my household. One other recipe that I have made numerous times is scallops with bacon, corn and polenta from another friend, Karen at Back Road Journal. I tried to post a recipe for a no-bake German cake, some of you may have seen the photo on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. Unfortunately, this cake bombed. I liked the concept of the cake but it needs a lot of work. Something got lost in the translation or maybe it was just a bad recipe I got from a German calendar. I am going to do a field study when I am in Germany, which means I have to go to different bakeries to try to find a better recipe. That’s my kind of work! If the weather is good, I get to sit outside with a piece of cake and a cappuccino watching people. I cant wait!
I am leaving for Germany in a few days to celebrate Easter in my village. It is so much fun going to the Easter fire and meeting everybody from the village while drinking beer and eating sausages— so quintessentially German. Read more about it here and how to make a lemon cake for Easter.
2 cups farro
1 ½ tsp grated orange zest
2-3 TBS orange juice
2-3 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS thinly sliced shallots
1 ½ TBS grated ginger
¼ cup (plus) olive oil
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup sour cherries
¼ cup fresh mint
2 TBS cilantro
1 TBS preserved lemons (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook covered for 35-40 minutes, depending how crunchy you want your farro. After you finished cooking, drain the farro and make sure to shake off all the excess water.
In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking the orange zest, orange and lemon juices, ginger and oil together. Season with salt. Add the warm farro to the dressing along with the raisins and cherries. Mix well and let it stand to cool. Just before serving, add the scallions, pistachios, mint and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and extra oil or juice. Serve the salad at room temperature.
recipe by Food and Wine magazine
most photos are by Deborah Ryan
I made this salad for the first time over a year ago and invited my friend Deb from
East of Eden Cooking. She made most the photos for this post. Thank you, Deb!
(makes 4 to 6 servings)
1 to 2 celeriac roots (about 1 pound or less)
coarse sea salt
1 tsp table salt
1 tart green apple
1 head of romaine lettuce
½ cup toasted walnuts
3 or more TBS lemon juice
1 garlic clove (1 tsp peeled)
½ tsp coarse sea salt
1/3 cup (100g) mayonnaise
1/3 cup (100g) European yogurt
2 TBS prepared horseradish in a jar
½ cup milk
1¼ cup (50g) freshly grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp Worcester sauce
several drops tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
16-20 large peeled shrimps with tails
3 TBS olive oil
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 TBS (30g, 1.5 ounce) minced ginger
I use Trader Joe’s European nonfat yogurt and I use a micro grater to grate the parmesan cheese, which gives it a light and fluffy texture. I grate the cheese this way because it is less dense than usual, hence a lighter dressing. You don't want to overpower the flavor with too much cheese. 50 grams is 1.5 ounces. Mash the garlic with the sea salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. The dressing can be kept in the fridge for several days and can be used on any salad.
Roast the walnuts in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Let them cool.
Using a sharp knife, cut both ends of the celeriac, then peel the rhino-tough skin. There will be a lot of peelings and roots for the compost pile. Slice the celeriac and then cut the slices into approximately ¼-inch thick and 2-inch long sticks. You will end up with different sizes, I'm just giving you an estimate. Think thicker Julienne strips. Immediately after cutting the celeriac sticks, put them in cold water with either vinegar or lemon juice. You can use a mandolin slicer, but I did it by hand. Bring a large pot of salted (about 1tsp salt or more ) water to a boil. Add the celeriac sticks and bring to boil again. Immediately drain the celeriac into a colander and rinse with cold water. You want the sticks to be still crunchy. Drain the celeriac again and let it cool and dry. I kept mine in a container for several days, I sprinkled them with additional lemon juice.
Peel and mince the ginger and garlic. Make sure the shrimp is deveined. Rinse the shrimp and dry with kitchen towels. My husband does not believe in rinsing the shrimp because it washes out the flavor of the shrimp. Heat the the oil in a large frying pan. Depending on the size of the shrimp, sauté them for several minutes until they turn pink. Please, do not overcook your shrimp. If the shrimp are very large, wait a minute before adding the garlic and the ginger. Since mine were medium-sized, I added all the ingredients and sautéed my shrimp for about three minutes or less.
Assembling the salad
Separate the leaves of the romaine and rinse them to remove any dirt. I used my salad spinner to dry them. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Wrap them in a towel and they will keep in the fridge for several days. Cut the apple into small slices (I didn't peel my apple). Mix the celeriac, lettuce and apples with half or less of the dressing. Sprinkle with the crushed walnuts and top with the shrimp. Serve extra dressing on the side. Since I had more than I needed, I served my salads over several days, keeping all the ingredients separate and mixing it with the dressing shortly before serving One night I served the salad without the shrimp.
recipe from a German Magazine
adapted by © Sunnycovechef
This potato salad is one of my favorite recipes—I created every bite of it myself. So, if you don't like it, you have only me to blame. I have used this recipe for decades, and it’s perfect for picnics, large parties or any small gathering. There is no mayonnaise, so it won't go bad if left out on the table for awhile. When I have a large summer party, I usually make this salad (or my Chinese noodle salad), both go well with salmon, chicken or any other protein. It makes a stunning presentation.
Here are some important things to remember :
Use firm white potatoes (russet potatoes are not good for this).
When you use larger potatoes, you need more dressing because these kind of potatoes absorb more dressing.
Steaming the potatoes and beans makes for a better salad.
The amount of vinaigrette depends on the texture of the potatoes. Sometimes, I double the vinaigrette so that I have some extra if needed. You will have quite a bit of leftover vinaigrette if do this. Extra vinaigrette will keep in the fridge and is good for different salads.
I keep everything in separate bowls and assemble the salad before serving.
I use different grainy mustards
2 lbs. yellow potatoes
1 lb. green beans (the skinnier the better)
2 cups mixed greens
3-4 TBS chopped cornichons (small pickles)
2 TBS chopped chives
sweet peppers and radishes for garnish
coarse sea salt
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup finely chopped red onions
1 ½ tsp. mustard
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1+ TBS cornichons (pickle) juice
While the potatoes are steaming, put the oil, vinegar and mustard in a small, heavy pot. Mix well and add the onions. Very slowly, warm the vinaigrette until it is hot (but not boiling). Add sugar, salt and pepper while the vinaigrette is heating up.
Wash and steam the potatoes in a covered pot for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Test for doneness with a sharp paring knife. Do not overcook the potatoes. Peel the potatoes while they bare still hot. Use a fork to hold the potatoes, while peeling them with a paring knife. Put the potatoes in a bowl and pour 3/4 of the vinaigrette over the potatoes. Mix gently so that all potatoes are covered with the vinaigrette. You might have to add some extra. Cover the bowl and keep it room temperature.
I have kept marinated potatoes refrigerated for a day or longer. Steam the washed and trimmed green beans in a covered pot for 3-4 minutes. I love my beans al dente. When finished steaming, put the beans in a bowl of ice water. This way they will keep their nice, shiny green color. Dry them with a paper towel, put in a bowl and add some of the vinaigrette to the beans. Cover the bowl, and keep at room temperature if you are serving it the same day. Otherwise, refrigerate the beans. Before plating, taste the potato salad and add extra vinaigrette, salt and pepper if needed. Mix in the cornichons, juice and chives.
To assemble, put the lettuce on a large plate. Mound the potatoes in the middle of the plate, adding the beans around them. Decorate with radishes and sweet small peppers. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
recipe © Sunnycovechef
Life continues, it goes on and it is beautiful. I have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for my dear friends, Diane and George, and their beautiful serene mountain retreat. It is a dream, even when it rains on the day of a big party. We were celebrating a birthday and a soon-to-be-married beautiful granddaughter. It was the only rain we had in months here in California, so nobody was complaining. An old spinnaker sail was hoisted over the picnic tables and it kept out most of the precious rain drops. There was a big, beautiful, smoked ham from the Corralitos Meat Market local butcher, and much more delicious food.
It was a lot of work, a labor of love.
14 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles (the thinnest available)
7 TBS dark sesame oil
7 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
3 TBS sugar
2 ½ tsp salt
1 TBS red pepper oil
8-10 scallions, the whites & some of the greens
(thinly sliced into rounds)
1 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 TBS cilantro, chopped
1 pound or more asparagus
½ pound mung bean sprouts (optional)
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
1-2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
3 TBS sesame seeds
handful of radishes, thinly sliced and then slivered
¼ cup toasted pistachios, cashews, or roasted peanuts (optional)
cilantro leaves for garnish
The Marinade and Noodles
Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl, and stir them together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and store in a jar with a lid. I keep mine in a mason jar, so I can shake the marinade before using. The marinade will keep in the fridge for several days.
Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil. While the water is heating, gently pull apart the the strands of noodles with your fingers, loosening them and fluffing them as you do so. Add the noodles to the boiling water and give them a quick stir. Cook them briefly, a few minutes at most. Immediately pour them in a colander and rinse them in cold water. Shake the colander vigorously to get rid of as much water as possible. Put the noodles in a bowl, stir your marinade and add about one third or more to the noodles. Spread the noodles on a baking sheet and toss them with your hands to prevent any sticking. If you want to refrigerate the noodles, put them back in the bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. Allow them to come to room temperature before adding the vegetables.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the snow peas until they are bright green, no more than 30 seconds. Immediately remove them with a strainer and put them in ice water. Let them dry on a towel and cut them into diagonal strips.
Blanch the sprouts in the same water for 30 seconds, rinse them in cold water and spread out to dry on a paper towel.
Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and blanch the stalks in boiling water for a few minutes (do not overcook them). Put the drained asparagus in ice water and spread out on the kitchen counter to prevent any further cooking. Cut the cooled asparagus into serving sizes.
Roast the sesame seeds in a cast iron frying pan until they are lightly colored and smell toasty.
Assembling the salad
Carefully toss the salad using most of the vegetables with more marinade. Leave some of the veggies to decorate on top. Sprinkle the salad with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.
Recipe from the
Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown
adapted by ©sunnycovechef
Why Do We Cook?
On this particular night, I roasted some fresh asparagus coated with walnut oil sprinkled with sea salt in a preheated oven at 375˙degrees for about 8 minutes. The cabin is at a 6000-foot elevation, so the cooking time increases. I made my citrus vinaigrette for my green salad and pulled out my sauces and condiments that everybody loves with the lamb. Mint jelly is a must, however, my mountain fridge had some wonderful treasures—like the cranberry ketchup I made for our Christmas dinner and never used, and my green sauce that I made a couple of days before to go with salmon cakes. This green sauce had more garlic than normal and was mostly yogurt with some chives. We had a great dinner, and the wine and conversation was flowing. Everybody seemed to enjoy the food. I covered my little creamy potatoes and pieces of lamb with the different sauces—and it was divine. Some of the little lentils from my lentil salad were swimming in the sauce–and oh what flavor! Every bite brought more joy.
1 cup French lentils
3 cups water
3 small sprigs of thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 small carrot (for cooking)
3/4 cup finely diced carrots (to add to the salad)
1 tsp. salt
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
¼ cup walnut oil or olive oil
¼ cup chopped chives
1 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
1 small shallot (peeled and minced)
Additions to the salad
freshly ground pepper to taste
coarse sea salt to taste
1 TBS vinegar
1 celery rib (finely diced)
goat or feta cheese
Rinse the lentils and put them with the thyme, garlic, bay leaves, the carrot, water and 1 tsp. salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the diced carrots and simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook, as the lentils should still have a light crunch.
While the lentils are cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk the oil to emulsify. Add the shallots and fresh tarragon.
Drain the lentils well, discarding the thyme branches, the garlic, the whole carrot and the bay leaves. Combine the dressing with the warm lentils, mixing well, and let it cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally. Add the chives and the celery. Then add additional vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Add goat or feta cheese before you serve the salad. The salad will last in the fridge for several days, but you may have to season the salad again.
Recipe by © sunnycovechef.com
Mixed Green Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing
The dressing gives the salad a fresh citrus flavor.
1 TBS honey
3/4 TBS chopped fresh tarragon
6 TBS good olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ or less cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I use Meyers lemons)
6-8 cups mixed green lettuce
1 cup roasted walnuts or pecans (optional)
¼ -½ cup dried or fresh blueberries, pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
1 peeled and sliced apple or other fruit
1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
Roast the walnuts at 350° for 8 minutes and cool.
For the dressing, put the honey in a jar and heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds or less. Stir in the olive oil until well combined. Add the orange juice and tarragon and shake in the jar. Any leftover dressing will keep in the fridge for several days.
Put the mixed lettuce in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the salad. Toss the salad with half or more of the dressing and serve immediately.
2 TBS tamari or soy sauce
2 TBS Oriental sesame oil
2 TBS olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
12 shiitake mushrooms
Combine the tamari sauce, sesame oil, olive oil and sugar.
Preheat the broiler.
Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Place them cap side up on a baking dish. Brush dressing on the mushroom caps. Position the dish 4-6 inches from the heat. Broil until the mushrooms look brown and crusty, 2-3 minutes. They cook very quickly so keep an eye on them. Keep the mushrooms with all the juices in a glass container or use them right away in a salad. I made a salad with mixed greens, baked tofu, and some feta cheese. I used the warm juice from the mushrooms as salad dressing and I squirted some balsamic vinegar reduction over the salad.
But let's get back to my drawer. Those recipes are special, they are my favorites. Some of the pages are full of stains , some of them are handwritten , some of them are torn out of magazines or newspapers, and I have made them over and over. One of them is a recipe for Lemon Cesar Salad that my friend Linda Ristow send me years ago. It is a vegetarian version of a Caesar salad. My family and friends have enjoyed this salad over and over.
Lemon Caesar Salad
4 Tbs. Olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of one or more lemon ( a matter of taste)
1Tbs. Lemon zest
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Worcester sauce
1 tsp. Crushed garlic ( vary the amount to your taste)
1 Head Romain lettuce - washed patted dry, and torn into pieces
Croutons ( recipe follows )
Additional Parmesan cheese
Combine olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, Worcester sauce, and garlic in a bowl or jar if you don't plan on using all of it. It keeps well in the fridge for several days. Whisk vigorously until combined thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving , place the torn letters in a large bowl. Add enough dressing to coat . Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with croutons and additional cheese. I've been known to add some chopped anchovies to the salad.
Cut several pieces of your favorite bread into cubes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil . Season with garlic salt and pepper. Bake at 350* Fahrenheit for about 5 to 10 minutes until all sides get browned . Toss occasionally.
My husband makes great croutons by browning the cubed bread in a frying pen with butter, adding garlic salt. Rich and yummy. I prefer crusty bread for my croutons sprinkled with mixed herbs or spices I bring from abroad . I once bought a mix to sprinkle on bruschetta in Italy. That was the best, unfortunately I could never find it again or duplicate it.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.
If you have tried any of my recipes, snap a photo and tag me @sunnycovechef I'd love to see your creations!