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Entries in cooking (2)


Savoring the last sweetness of summer

Being a native of the Pacific Northwest, the concept of the last days of summer being in October is difficult to grasp. Even here, on the Central Coast of California though, we are beginning to see a change in the weather. Days are a little shorter & the summer fog has turned to some rainy days. 

Yesterday, the sky was brilliant blue & the Friday farmer’s market was lively. We saw bushels of tomatoes, sweet peppers, fat carrots, greens, potoates, stone fruit, apples & herbs.  My favorites are the sweet, plump tomaotes. They are just perfect right now and this time will pass quickly. 

 We brought home 30# of ripe & juicy tomatoes & set about saving them for those bleak months of winter when are tomato choices are  limited to overpriced and underripe grocery store tomatoes. 

The box of tomatoes became this:

.....and this:


.....and this:

Recipe:   Oven Roasted Fresh Tomatoes

 Ripe, whole tomatoes 

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra Virgin Olive oil

slivers of fresh garlic (optional)

Red, chile flakes (optional)


Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Halve tomatoes & place on sheet pan cut side up. 

Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings. 

Place in oven & reduce temperature to 250 degrees. 

Bake for 1.5 - 3 hours depending upon size of tomatoes. 

The tomatoes should still be juicy when they are done. Serve warm or at room temperature with grilled bread & fresh cheese sprinkled with herbs.


To freeze: place tomatoes in freezer containers, drizzle with their juices & the olive oil. Cover tightly & freeze. To serve, thaw and then warm them slightly. They’re also good in soups, sauces & stews.  Share with friends.




Sunday Morning Potato Cake Contest

What is the very best potato cake?  I've read for years that the latke was the best & folks that make them are certainly opinionated about their recipe! I'm not a big fan of the breakfast potato usually. The are either undercooked, overcooked, too greasy or just plain bland. What's all the fuss??????

Thus.....the Sunday morning potato cake contest. Thanks to Smitten Kitchen ( and Donna Hay for inspiration.


The potato mixtures clockwise from the upper left: latke with onion, sweet potato with russets potatoes, garnet yam & mashed potato cakes with bread crumbs. The cakes were cooked in both a non stick skillet and my favorite cast iron pan in salted European butter. 

The contenders...again clockwise from the upper left - two latkes, three yam cakes, one mashed potato cake & one mixed russet & yam cake. 

The breakfast. One latke, two yam cakes, one egg topped with horseradish cream sauce (thanks Donna Hay) & a chive blossom & parsley compliments of the garden. Don't worry, all the cakes got their fair share of tasting. They just didn't fit on the plate!

.....and the winner is........The Russet & Yam cake! This is a perfect blend of sweet & crisp, holds up well in the oven and is delightful with eggs.

Russet & Yam Cakes

1 large Russet potato

1 medium garnet yam

1 extra large egg

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

(feel free to go nuts here with additional seasonings.....chile powder, rosemary, parsley and so on)

1. Grate the Russet potato, shred & wrap tightly in cheesecloth. 

2. Wring as much water as you can from the potato & set aside in cheese cloth

3. Grate the Garnet yam

4. Mix dried Russet potatoes, grated yam, beaten egg, salt and pepper. 

Melt 1 TBL butter in your favorite skillet (mine is a big, old cast iron pan). Drop a mounded spoon of the mixture into the bubbling butter & press down lightly. When the bottom is nicely browned, flip over and brown the other side. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the rest.  Top with a poached egg, fried egg or a bit of applesauce. Feel comforted.