fig and orange honey mini cakes

Fig and Orange Honey Mini Cakes

While re-organizing the huge mess in the cabinet which houses all of my muffin tins, pie, tart, and assorted sheet pans, I came across a mini-popover pan, wrapped in plastic with the receipt taped on it, from the year 2000.  I must have meant to return it, but obviously, I never did. Instead,  I packed it and  moved it from our condo in Orange County, CA to our apartment in downtown Seattle, to our house in Bellevue, WA, and back to Southern California, first to an apartment and then to our current house, still wrapped in its original packaging. Continue reading

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baked buffalo wings with celery and blue cheese slaw

Buffalo Wings with Celery & Blue Cheese Slaw

A couple of weeks ago, I attended Camp Blogaway, a conference for food and recipe bloggers run by Patti Londre of Worth the Whisk. Special thanks to Christina Peters, of MDR Photography Classes, for telling me about the camp in the first place, and for graciously sponsoring me to attend. The camp, limited to about 100 bloggers, speakers, and sponsors, is held annually at Camp de Benneville Pines, located at about 6,800 feet in elevation in the picturesque San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California. All weekend long, we heard from top notch speakers who spoke about their careers in food, their experiences writing cookbooks and e-books, and their experiences working with PR agencies, literary agents, and brands.

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strawberry-rhubarb sorbet

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet

At the farmers market, blood oranges, lemons, and other citrus are starting to give way to spring’s fruits and vegetables.  This week, rows of beautiful ripe strawberries, with their deep, ruby-red color and sweet fragrance, caught my eye. It’s a perfect time to showcase them in this simple, refreshing sorbet.

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endive stuffed with goat cheese, blood orange, and walnuts

Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Blood Orange, and Walnuts

I was first introduced to this light and refreshing appetizer about ten years ago (thanks, Auntie R), and I have been making it ever since. The stuffed endives look elegant, and they are a breeze to make. They’re perfect to serve at dinner parties since all the components may be prepped ahead of time and then quickly assembled right before guests arrive.

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carrot cupcakes with orange honey cream cheese frosting

Today, I bring you another dish that includes a vegetable I’ve harvested from my edible garden. I pulled the first bunch of lovely “Round Romeo” carrots this week, which I planted back in October. At the time I sowed the seeds, their uncommon round shape intrigued me and looking back, I think I planted them primarily for their novelty. However, upon tasting them, I was pleasantly surprised by these smooth-skinned carrots and their sweet flavor and crunchy texture; they are delicious! I used a couple of them for these cupcakes, along with some regular carrots I already had on hand. I am going to steam the rest and toss them with a little butter and chives to fully enjoy their uniqueness and flavor.

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honey walnut shrimp

Honey Walnut Shrimp is one of my favorite dishes.  I’ve always wondered how to make it, but I never bothered to figure it out since the Chinese restaurant down the street makes an absolutely fabulous version.  Per chance, I was watching the program on the Food Channel a few weeks back called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and the host, Guy Fieri, visited a Chinese restaurant called Pagoda, in North Pole, Alaska (0f all places!).  The chef demonstrated how he made some of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  (To see the show’s segment, click on the restaurant’s link below.) Seeing how good it looked, I decided to try it for myself.   Continue reading

orange semolina cookies

I have learned so much about cooking, and baking, in particular, since I started this blog.  One of the things that I particularly enjoy about food blogging is that it forces me to be more creative and to seek out recipes that use ingredients in a way that is new to me.  This is one of those recipes that intrigued me enough to give it a try.  Continue reading

goat cheese polenta with caramelized onions, bacon and honey

Goat Cheese Polenta with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and HoneyI was very excited to make this recipe when I found it on Food 52.  It was named the runner-up polenta recipe in last year ‘s Your Best Polenta Recipe Contest! on the Food 52 website.  The recipe remains very popular today with over 17,000 views. In the comments section, there are many posts from readers who had actually made the dish and raved about it.  With all that build-up and anticipation, I was very disappointed to be underwhelmed by this dish.  The sum of all the delicious individual parts should have been much greater than what it actually was. Maybe I did something wrong?  I’m not sure.  How could so many people give this high praise when I thought the dish as a whole was just so-so.   Continue reading

caramelized fig breakfast bruschetta

This is reprinted from The Thompson Family Cookbook, a collection of recipes from my extended family that I compiled last year.  The recipe was adapted from the Breakfast Bruschetta served at Starling Diner, a cute little neighborhood restaurant in Long Beach, California owned by my cousin, Joan.  Starling Diner is a wonderful place to hang out and have a leisurely breakfast.  The food is outstanding and the ambience is comfortable and relaxed.  My favorite things on the menu are the creamy Breakfast Polenta, the decadent San Francisco Stuffed French Toast and these Breakfast Bruschettas.  At Starling Diner, the bruschetta is served with seasonal berries, but I think the recipe works beautifully with caramelized figs as well.  Perfect for a casual brunch, this is a quick and easy dish to prepare that may be assembled ahead of time.

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