C&C Club

Do You Have #bloggerstyle?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Bacon_Aporkalypse_6x9_CMYK-24.25"x2.75" Post Card TemplateI am looking forward to an evening of tasty treats and great conversation as I join fellow foodies at the Riverview public library. In honor or this event I have placed two of my short stories free on Amazon.

Cookbook Club: Digital Dining.

This month’s theme is Food Blogging. Join special guest, Lois Lewandowski, local author and food blogger, who will share how her passion for food and writing about it, jumpstarted her career as a fiction writer. Choose a recipe from your favorite food blog or from the display and prepare a dish; bring it to the meeting to share with the other participants. Please bring your own place setting (cup or bowl, plate and silverware) for each meeting. Funded by the Friends of the Riverview Branch Library. #readlocal #enovaaw

Vietnamese-American Thanksgiving Red Cabbage Salad

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Red cabbage, carrot, and fennel slaw.

This past Saturday the C & C Club got together for a delicious Vietnamese dinner. The hostess sent me this recipe and I was delighted to make it.

  •  2 Thai, Fresno or serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 to 2 1/2  or more tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 plus tablespoons unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
  • 3 carrots, cut into julienne or matchsticks
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (1 cup / 115 g total)
  • 4 cups packed / 200 g shredded red cabbage
  • 3 plus tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or basil (Thai or Italian) leaves
  • 3/4 cup toasted cashew halves and pieces


  1. Use a mortar and pestle to mash the chile, garlic, ½ teaspoon sugar, and salt into an smooth paste. Scrape it into a bowl and add the remaining teaspoon of sugar, fish sauce and rice vinegar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Taste and tweak to create a spicy, tart, savory, lightly garlicky dressing.I added more fish sauce and more rice wine vinegar.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the carrot, fennel, cabbage, herb, and cashew. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well, either with tongs or better yet, with your hand in a gentle massaging motion. The vegetables will soften slightly but remain a little crunchy. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing the sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Transfer to a serving plate, leaving any unabsorbed dressing behind, and serve.
Origin: Viet World Kitchen

Writers Eat… Corn Bread With Caramelized Apples and Onions

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Sunday brunch.

I am always interested in the food blogs of other writers and I was excited to discover alittlesaffron.com. Ileana Morales is a Times correspondent and approaches food the way I do. Food for her is a joy, an experiment, and an opportunity to play with her camera.I used to take a lot of artsy black and white photos until I began to raise a family. She has inspired me to wipe the dust off some of the lovely cameras gathering dust in the closet.

I prepared this recipe for the most recent Culture and Cuisine Club dinner. Our host wanted to make a Texas style barbeque and it was a huge success. The following recipe was in the paper and I saved it for the occasion. You can’t cook a southern barbeque without some sort of corn bread.

I had to travel with this dish so I broke it up into two parts. I sautéed the onions and apples at my home and let them cool in the cast iron skillet. In my case, the time to cook the onions and apples was longer than specified. I would allot about ten minutes for the onions first. By the way, I sliced everything on a mandoline slicer. If you don’t have one you should add it to your gadgets. You may not use it frequently, but it is the best way to get even slices. It is also extremely fast. You can check out a good one here

In another bowl I combined all the dry ingredients. I brought the buttermilk, eggs, and the unmelted butter with me. (I only melted the butter in the skillet that I would need to sauté the onions and apples.) I put the recipe together at my friend’s house.

The result was one of the best corn bread recipes I have ever eaten. The combination of the flour and two different types of ground cornmeal gave the bread a lighter texture without depriving it of that wonderful corn flavor. I decided to take Ileana’s advice and have a piece with breakfast the next morning. As you can see, it added just the right touch to a decadent Sunday morning breakfast.

The hostess, after going back for another piece, decided that it would be completely decadent to drizzle the bread with some sort of light caramel sauce. I think she may have hit on something…


¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

Black pepper

2 large apples (Gala, Pink Lady or any red-skinned apple should work), thinly sliced

5 tablespoons sugar, divided use

3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided use

½ cups cornmeal (half finely ground, half coarsely ground)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

2 large eggs

½ cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Pour all but 2 tablespoons melted butter into a small bowl.

Place the skillet back on the burner and add onions. Cook and stir occasionally until onions are softened, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and reserved melted butter until smooth and no lumps remain. Fold in half the onion mixture and pour batter into the skillet. Top with the rest of the onion mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.

Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8.

Original Source: Bon Appétit

Peking Duck for Christmas?

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Crispy skinned Peking Duck

If you are looking for an easy recipe for Peking Duck here it is. We made this on our Weber grill and it was delicious! We like the Weber Grill and the Weber Grill cookbook because specified time on the grill is always correct. If you follow the recipes you are sure to have a successful dish. We used the recipe below which came from the Cooking Channel, but followed cooking time suggestions from the Weber cookbook. This recipe did not require the duck to be hung without refrigeration, which is the tradional way Peking Duck is cured.





  • tablespoons sesame oil
  • tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • package Chinese/Mandarin-style pancakes, to serve
  • 3 scallions, sliced into long thin strips, for garnish
  • cucumber, cored and sliced into long thin strips, for garnish


For the duck: Prick the duck all over with a small knife or fork. Carefully pour hot water over the duck to rinse. Discard the hot water. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and dry all over by patting it with paper towels. Sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper and leave it in the roasting pan until ready to cook. 

In a small bowl, mix together the honey, 6 tablespoons water, five-spice, soy sauce and brown sugar. Brush the duck all over, inside and out. Let dry for about 10 minutes and then brush again. Repeat this process until you have used all but 4 to 5 tablespoons of the glaze (reserve this glaze). Ideally, let the glaze marinate on the duck overnight, leaving it uncovered in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Place the duck in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Flip the duck over, baste with the reserved glaze and cook until the skin is crisp and golden brown, another 45 minutes. Make sure you check halfway through that it is not getting too dark. If it is getting too dark before half the cook time is up, turn your heat down and lower the rack in the oven. When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and let rest while you make your sauce. 

For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water and set aside. Next, heat a pan or wok over medium heat and add the hoisin, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce. When the sauce starts to bubble slightly, add the cornstarch mixture and stir well to thicken. Set aside and let cool. 

Carve and slice some duck. Place a teaspoon of the sauce in the center of each pancake, add a couple slices of duck, garnish with the scallions and cucumbers and serve immediately.
You can treat a friend who loves to grill to the excellent Weber Cookbook here

Sou-Berag (Armenian Parsley-Cheese Turnovers)

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Yummy appetizers.

Our most recent Culture and Cuisine Club dinner featured the cuisine of Armenia. One of the standouts of the evening was this appetizer. The chef describes her adjustments to the recipe. Enjoy!


1 box phyllo dough (Frozen Pastry). You will only need one of the rolls of pastry.  Thaw and handle the roll according to box directions. You will need 12 sheets plus 3 sheets of phyllo dough the size of the pan you are using (the recipe online does this in a pan to slice.)  I did the individual turnovers described below for a party.

 1/2 pound butter, melted


 1½ lbs. mixed grated cheese of your choice: I used 8oz whole milk ricotta, 8oz Monterey

  Jack, 4 oz whole milk mozzarella, and 4 oz feta.

3/4 cup chopped Italian, flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

2 eggs, beaten well

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper and ¼ teaspoon white pepper

 Mix the above ingredients for the filling.

 DIRECTIONS: Easy-quick way:

 1. Butter your cake pan well and lay a sheet of phyllo.  Butter the top. Lay another sheet and butter.

2. Put on a layer of filling.

3. Add another 2 phyllo sheets, buttering each one and add more filling.

4. Do this until 12 sheets of phyllo are used and your filling is used up.

5. You can now add the last three sheets of phyllo making sure to butter each one.

6. Bake in a 450 oven for 20 minutes.

7. Lower the heat to 300 and bake another 20 minutes. The time is not as important as the color of your phyllo dough. Make sure it is a golden brown.

8. Take out the sou-berag and let cool for 5 minutes.

9. Cut in diagonals or squares and serve warm.

 For individual turnovers:

1.  You can also make sou-berag by taking long sheets of 4 inch wide phyllo dough, buttering it and adding the filling and folding the strips into triangles, using the whole strip to make the layers. Like folding a flag. This makes nice little individual packets of cheese turnovers. I like these for parties. Cook the same way as the pan, but watch closely. 


The 9112 Lychee Martini

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The 9112 lychee martini and a pork dumpling.

At our recent Culture and Cuisine dinner we celebrated the cuisine of China. As all of you know, we always start our evening with a delicious cocktail. After extensive research, our favorite mixologist invented the following cocktail. Enjoy!

  • 3 oz vodka
  • a splash of vermouth
  • 1 oz lychee syrup (from canned lychees)

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled Martini glass, garnish with a lychee and a twist of lemon.

The proper glass for a delicious martini can be found here.

The Culture and Cuisine Club Visits China

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Lychee martini and pork dumplings.

It was our turn to host our dinner club and we chose the cuisine of China. The cuisine is so varied – what should we cook? We decided to try some of our favorites. And, the best mixologist in Tampa put his personal touch to a truly fabulous lychee martini.

I have always judged a Chinese restaurant by their dumplings and hot and sour soup. After enjoying our appetizer and luscious soup, we progressed to Peking Duck made on our Weber grill. I made a pork, chicken, and shrimp fried rice, and a friend brought a delicious broccoli rabe and red pepper casserole in a light lemon sauce.

My dinner.

Dessert is a tricky thing when cooking Asian food. Often, fruit is what is served. I was going to attempt Eight Precious Pudding, but when I saw that it needed to be steamed I changed my mind. I have never used that method and I didn’t want to serve a glutinous mess to my guests. I decided to bake two types of cookies, an almond and a roasted peanut. Both turned out well and were enjoyed on the lanai with Chinese Green Tea. It was a lovely evening enjoying good friends and munching the tasty cookies. I will post the recipes in the next couple of days.

Crispy and browned to perfection.

Ina Garten’s Vegetable Tian

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Tian and cassoulet

One summer we travelled with two other families to the Cahors region of France. There were fifteen of us, six adults and nine children. We visited castles, wineries, churches, audacious gardens, bridges where no battles were fought, and the caves of pech merle. One night we shared the excitement of France competing for the World Cup with townies in a local tavern in the quaint village of Sauveterre. Another evening we watched as a colony of bats exited the side of our country house, crawling out from spaces in an ancient rock wall. Our group leader discovered a three-star restaurant, Privilege du Perigord, in the bastide town of Monpazier. This unassuming restaurant provided us with one of the most memorable meals of our lives. We are all still close friends, and it is no surprise that our recent Culture and Cuisine Club dinner celebrated the fabulous cuisine of southern France.

I have an extensive collection of cookbooks, and Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris has many wonderful recipes and is an interesting read. Below is her recipe for Vegetable Tian, my contribution to the C&C Club dinner. I used a mandoline to slice the veggies except the tomatoes, which I cut with a serrated knife. I have one small adjustment to her recipe. The next time I make this I will drain the onions by scooping them into the casserole with a slotted spoon. After all the veggies are lined up, then I will drizzle a bit of the juice over the top. Otherwise, there is too much liquid.

Good olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

Per Serving (based on 4 servings): Calories: 289 ; Total Fat: 15.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 9 grams; Total carbohydrates: 31 grams; Sugar:6 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 16 milligrams; Sodium: 550 milligrams

Mung Bean Pancakes

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Mung bean pancake.

My friend made mung bean pancakes for our Korean Barbeque C & C dinner. The picture doesn’t do them justice; they were moist and very tasty! She also made kimchi, a staple in the Korean diet. A friend of mine who was born in Korea said it was better than hers! Her notations are in blue.

14oz nok doo (mung beans)  These should be dried mung beans, split and hulled or peeled.  Available in asian food stores.  I used whole dried mung beans with their green skin still on them.
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 carrot, shredded or julienned
4 scallions, sliced in diagonal
1/4 lb beef, sliced very thin   I might try ground pork next time, although the beef was good, too.
1.2 cup bean sprouts – blanched, drained and chopped coarsely
1/2 cup kimchi – although I made my own homemade kimchi as a learning experience, I would definitely used store-bought next time!! It was a lot of work.
2 Tbsp salt
Soak mung beans in water for 3 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Puree in food processor with some water til a spreadable paste.  (I found that the pancakes need something to bind them.  I’ve seen recipes with 2 eggs and a little flour added, and others with 6 Tbsp of glutinous/sweet rice soaked and ground with the beans.  These would be good ideas as I had trouble with the pancakes falling apart.)

In a large bowl, mix the vegetables, meat, bean paste and salt.  In a non-stick pan with some vegetable oil, spread a 3-4 inch circle of past and cook until brown, turning once.  These took a LONG time to cook.  I ended up using my 2-sided frittata pan from Williams-Sonoma to cook an 8-inch diameter pancake and flip it.  These took about 12 minutes a side, or 24 minutes each.  You should get about 6 8-inch pancakes from the above recipe.

I made up a serving/dipping sauce mixed from these ingredients based on taste:  soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, lime juice, red pepper flakes.

The kimchi recipe is here:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Traditional-Napa-Cabbage-Kimchi-233839
I used Korean chile paste, not powder, but, otherwise, I followed this recipe closely.

The Best Irish Coffee

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Yummy Irish Coffee

The most recent Culture and Cuisine Club dinner celebrated the cuisine of Ireland. We saw this recipe for Irish coffee in the local newspaper and decided to treat our guests. It was wonderful and well worth the trouble. We do not plan on waiting an entire year to enjoy this smooth concoction again, and neither should you!

This recipe is from the Tampa Bay Times. We used Tullamore Dew, a non-peaty, smooth whisky. I used one teaspoon of regular white sugar instead of the brown or the cubes. I made the whipped cream myself, adding one teaspoon of vanilla and one tablespoon of white sugar. I poured a generous amount of the whipped cream onto the top of the coffee, and garnished with milk chocolate chips.

Irish Coffee

Depending on which version of the “original” Irish coffee you subscribe to, it is sweetened with either 2 sugar cubes or 1 teaspoon brown sugar. For a San Franciscotake on Irish coffee, stir 2 tablespoons of milk-chocolate bits into the coffee at the same time as the sugar. Once the chocolate bits have melted, proceed with the recipe.

Boiling water

Hot coffee

2 sugar cubes or 1 teaspoon brown sugar

½ ounces Irish whiskey

¼ cup heavy or whipping cream, lightly beaten (but still pourable)

Fill a large coffee cup with boiling water to preheat it. Let it stand for about 1 minute, then empty the glass.

Fill the glass three-quarters full with hot coffee. Add the sugar, then stir until dissolved. Stir in the whiskey.

Top the coffee-whiskey blend with the lightly whipped cream. To do this, hold an overturned spoon over the coffee, then slowly pour the cream over it. The goal is for the cream to float on top of the coffee; do not mix it in. Part of the Irish coffee experience is drinking the hot coffee through a layer of cool cream.

Serves 1.

Source: Buena Vista Cafe, San Francisco