Lentil Soup - a family favorite

A little Parmesan cheese adds a salty creaminess to the soup.

A little Parmesan cheese adds a salty creaminess to the soup.

Another family favorite is Lentil Soup…we are all getting tire of being sick and bored of Chicken Soup.

Lentils are legumes, Lens ensculenta, coming in yellow, red, green, black and brown colors. The brown and green variety are best for soups and salads because they stay firm; holding their shape after they are cooked.  These little seeds come one or two in a pod. They are a good source of iron, potassium and protein. Lentils absorb the flavors from ingredients and seasonings they are cooked with. Lentils can be used in soups and salads.

Lentils cook fairly quickly without needing to be soaked. They are a good choice for same-day soup making. Always checked the lentils for small stones and rinse them before cooking. 

Lentils are among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World; believed to have originated in central Asia. “Lentil seeds dating back 8000 years have been found at archeological sites in the Middle East. Lentils were mentioned in the Bible both as the item that Jacob traded to Esau for his birthright and as a part of a bread that was made during the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people.” According to The World’s Healthiest Foods A site managed by the George Mateljan Foundation.

Lentil Soup Recipe

This recipe makes a large pot of soup.  About 4 quarts.

Ingredients  

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion – diced
3-4 Cloves Garlic- chopped
3 Carrots cubed – I wash my carrots, but I don’t peel them
1/4 head of green cabbage chopped 
2 boxes broth – Use what you have vegetable or mushroom stock will keep this a vegan soup.
1 lb. Lentils – rinsed
5 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tsp Thyme 
1 tsp Cumin
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Paprika
Salt + Pepper
Chopped parsley or grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)

 Directions

Sauté the onions in oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot until translucent. Add garlic, carrots and herbs and sauté for a few minutes. Add the broth and stir to incorporate any of the bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Stir in tomato paste, cabbage and lentils.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. On medium heat bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until bean are soft 15 to 45 minutes. Remove by leaves before serving.

Serve warm and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or parsley.

This soup pairs well with a grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla (link here for my quesadilla recipe)

Banana Bread - Made in the Cuisinart Food Processor

Banana Bread - a breakfast treat.

Banana Bread - a breakfast treat.

My friend Cami whips up this Banana Bread in minutes following the recipe in the Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook she got with the purchase of her Cuisinart, This is a very easy recipe to make...even if you don’t have a food processor...see directions below. The Banana Bread comes out sweet and moist.

Cuisinart is an award winning maker of kitchen products for professional chefs and home cooks. They introduced the food processor to America in 1973. This multi-use kitchen tool grates, slices, mixes and make food preparation quick and easy.

Cami’s well used Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook,

Cami’s well used Cuisinart Food Processor Cookbook,

This recipe is well used. Cami even had to add back lost words..

This recipe is well used. Cami even had to add back lost words..

Banana Bread

Ingredients

¼ lb. butter cut into 6 or 8 pieces
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 very ripe bananas, peeled, cut into 3 pieces
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Directions For Food Processor

Place metal blade in the food processor. Add butter sugar and eggs to processor. Pulse on and off until ingredients are blended. Add bananas and pulse on and off again until bananas are blended into mixture.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and add gradually to the processor. Pulse on and off, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula. Do not over process. Process only until flour disappears into the other ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into a grease 9x5x3 inch long loaf pan, Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

Directions by Hand

Cram butter and sugar together until well blended. Mix in the eggs until they are incorporated then add the ripe bananas and mix well. Set your wet mixture aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet a about 1/2 cup at a time until the flour is incorporated. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into a grease 9x5x3 inch long loaf pan, Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

Tips

This is a moist bread freezes well. You could add some chopped nuts and spices. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon or a little bit of nutmeg. Raisins, currants or dried cranberries… if you like them

If you use smaller loaf pans you will bake for about 45 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chicken Soup with lots of Vegetables

My granddaughter Carly got really sick with a viral infection so, I made her some chicken soup. It’s really easy to make and is believed to have healing properties. Even so, a good bowl of homemade soup makes everyone feel better.

Below is the basics. I use organic where ever possible. You can add whatever vegetables your family likes and vary the amounts to your taste. This recipe is more of a guideline. You can replace the starch from the potatoes with barley, rice, noodles or your favorite grain.

Chicken Soup is tonic for a sick grandaugther

Chicken Soup is tonic for a sick grandaugther

This recipe makes a large pot of soup.  About 4 quarts.

Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Ingredients

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 lb Chicken – use the meat you like. In this soup I used thighs and tenders
2 Leeks - wash and chop
1 Onion – diced
4 Stalks Celery – sliced – leaves included- Today I made this without celery, because, while I love celery. Carly...not so much.
Garlic- chopped – for this soup, since everyone was sick so, I bumped up the garlic to 10 cloves
4 Carrots sliced – I wash my carrots, but I don’t peel them
6 small to 4 large – Potatoes - about 3 cups - washed and cubed
½ Head of green cabbage chopped  
2 Boxes Chicken broth
1 tsp dried Thyme
4” Sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 tsp dried
Salt + Pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish - I use flat leaf or Italian Parsley chopped

Directions

Cook the chicken in the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot as directed below. Once the chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and add the leeks and onions, sauté until they are soft. Add the garlic and herbs and sauté for a few minutes. Once the chicken has cooled cut it the into cubes. For added nutrition you can break or crack the bones and add the large pieces into to the soup. Remove bones before serving. Add the chicken broth and bones while stirring to incorporate the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Add the carrot and potatoes. When the soup has come to a boil reduce the heat, add the cubed chicken and cabbage then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Toss a handful of chopped parsley just before serving. Parsley is rich in vitamin K, C and A

How I cook chicken: Heat the oil on medium in a heavy bottomed pot/pan. I use a Dutch oven, especially, if I’m going to make soup. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. When the is hot put the chicken in the pan skin side up. Let it cook for 12 minutes, then turn it over and cook for another 12 minutes Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat off and let the chicken be for another 12 minutes.  For bone-in chicken cook for 15 minutes each side and rest for 15. The chicken should be completely cooked, tender and moist. The trick is not to fuss with the chicken.

Leeks add a distinct flavor and texture to any soup and many dishes.

Leeks add a distinct flavor and texture to any soup and many dishes.

Phuket Cafe - Thai Cuisine - Mount Shasta

Phuket (pronounce ‘Poo-ket’) Thai Cafe at the south end of Mount Shasta - eat in or order take out

Phuket (pronounce ‘Poo-ket’) Thai Cafe at the south end of Mount Shasta - eat in or order take out

Phuket (pronounce ‘Poo-ket’) Cafe serving Thai Cuisine is located at 1328 S. Mt. Shasta Blvd. They are a family owned and operated cafe. Eat in or order take out. They are open Tuesday thru Sunday. They serve lunch and dinner every day, but only dinner on Tuesday. They are closed on Monday when they travel to Sacramento to shop. Pick up a menu when you go there and you’ll have this information to refer to or check them out on Yelp - Phuket Thai Cafe or Phuket Cafe FaceBook Page

Owner, Steve works the front of the house taking orders and going in and out of the kitchen. The space is decorated with Thai art and has an place for burning incenses offering of oranges and a large laughing Buddha. The space is large and can be cool in the winter. Plan ahead and take an extra layer.

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The Phuket Cafe has a lot of vegetarian options and they are family friendly.

The restaurant’s name comes from Phuket one of the southern provinces of Thailand and Thailand's largest island. Phuket is a popular tourist spot world renowned for its white sand beaches, palm trees and lively towns. The island lies off the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. The island has a multicultural history Europeans (Dutch, Portuguese, French and British) in the 16th century with Chinese immigrating in the 19th century.

“Thai food originated with the people who emigrated from the southern Chinese provinces into modern day Thailand many centuries ago. Historically there were many Szechwan influences in Thai cuisine, although over the centuries many other influences have affected Thai food. In a more distant past, Buddhist monk brought an Indian touch, and southern Muslim states influenced the cooking in the south of Thailand. Much later, Thai food was influenced by European cuisine after contact with Portuguese missionaries and Dutch traders. During these times there were even some influences from the Japanese. Today Thai food is its own, with a special unique blend of the 5 tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy.”  From the Khaola Explorer website.  https://www.khaolakexplorer.com/thailand-guide/thai-cuisine/

Phuket’s hours on the take out menu

Phuket’s hours on the take out menu

Yellow Curry from the lunch menu - topped with fried onions

Yellow Curry from the lunch menu - topped with fried onions

I ordered the Karee, Yellow Thai Curry, with chicken. When ordering off the lunch menu you get a smaller portion and the rice comes on the same plate. I still took home a small box for dinner. Karee is yellow curry with coconut milk served with potatoes, carrots and topped with fried onions. The potatoes and carrots were perfectly cooked! The curry had the right amount of heat for me. This kind of heat that hits the back of your throat and feels warm. Having my mouth set on fire isn’t important to me. I like to taste the flavors and enjoy the meal. This dish was just right for me…rich and flavorful.

Pad Thai served with chicken served with rice on the lunch menu

Pad Thai served with chicken served with rice on the lunch menu

Pad Thai is a traditional meal in Thailand and can be found on almost every Thai restaurant. It’s a good item to test the quality of a Thai restaurant’s flavors. Pad Thai is made with soaked dried rice noodles, chopped scrambled eggs and is flavored with a tamarind, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar sauce and served with wedges of lime and chopped roasted peanuts. Most restaurants offer your choice of protein; tofu, shrimp, chicken or pork. It may contain vegetables like bean sprouts or green onions.

Shelly ordered the Pad Thai with chicken off the lunch menu. The lunch portion is smaller and it’s served with white rice on the same plate. The Phuket Cafe’s Pad Thai has good flavors in the sauce and it’s not too sweet. The menu says they adds eggs, sweet radishes, beansprouts and tops the dishes with green onions. The menu said peanuts, but she didn’t get any on this dish. She didn’t get any radishes, either? They are accommodating so I think you could ask for them.

The lunch menu is available at the cafe.

The lunch menu is available at the cafe.

Phuket Cafe Take Out menu

Phuket Cafe Take Out menu

Sweet Potato - Curried Soup + more

Sweet potatoes can be substituted for yams or squash - acorn, butternut, pumpkin or your favorite variety

Sweet potatoes can be substituted for yams or squash - acorn, butternut, pumpkin or your favorite variety

Curried Sweet Potato Soup + more

Curried Sweet Potato Soup can be made in a flash if you cook your sweet potatoes ahead of time. This is a spicy vegan soup that is warming on a winters day. It is also versatile and can be made with your favorite squash. There are many varieties of squash available in the winter months. I have made this soup with acorn squash and pumpkin. Today I had sweet potatoes and wanted to make something warm.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup - Recipe

Ingredients

1 medium onion - chopped
2 -3 cloves of garlic - chopped
1-2 tbsp coconut for sauteing
2 cups - cooked + mashed sweet potato or your favorite squash - pumpkin included.
3 cups vegetable stock - boxed or homemade
1 can coconut milk - whole or lite
Curry powder - I used 3 tbsp of red curry - See Curry below
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes - adjust to your desired level of heat and the heat in the curry you are using.
Salt to taste
Apple + pecans for garnish

This is where it gets fun! Add any of the following spices that you enjoy. Taste and adjust to make a soup that makes you happy.
Saffron
Turmeric
Cinnamon
Ginger - fresh or ground
Sweetener - honey, sugar, agave

Directions

Saute onions and garlic in coconut oil until soft and translucent. Add your spices to open up their aromas and stir for a few minutes. Turn burner to low heat and add coconut milk. Stir until the spices are well distributed. Add vegetable broth and sweet potatoes. Mix well and simmer for 10-15 minutes allowing the ingredients to infuse with the spices. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, food processor or blender until smooth. Serve hot. You can garnish with grated or cubed apple and pecans.

The many uses for Sweet Potatoes or your favorite squash: I often bake a batch of sweet potatoes that I can eat during the week. Link here to my recipe on How to Cook they Perfect Sweet Potato. Fry sliced sweet potatoes in coconut oil; add an egg and you have a good breakfast.You can simply smear it on toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon..yummy. Dice the potatoes and add to a salad, taco or soup, Once they are cooked there is no end of places you can add them to your meals.

Winter Squashes - For this recipe you want to use the winter squash, acorn, pumpkin, butternut are all good. Here’s a link about Types of Squash at HGTV

Curry is not a single spice, but a mix of several spices. Curry flavors vary with the regional cuisine. In the South East area of Asia and India most families will have their favorite curry recipe that might be passed down from generation to generation. It on my list to play around with making my own, until then I have a collection from Asian markets I visit when traveling. There is no Asian store in Siskiyou County, but some stores do sell a curry in the spice or international section. I’ve have played with the curries I have enough to know which to use and how much will work for my recipes. The only way to know about spices is to taste and adjust the amounts and taste again until you achieve the flavors that make you happy. Curry can be hot or mild, but the flavors you are looking for a warming and flavorful. Being hot is not the goal. Here is a link to Curry Flavor a site that will tell you everything you want to know about curry from it’s history to how you can make your own blend.

Let me know how you like this soup and if you have a family curry recipe. Enjoy!

Quiche + the evolution of a recipe

This blog is about how I made a quiche that had a too thick soggy crust so I adjusted the recipe for another quiche that was much improved. I think I’m going to try a few more improvements in the future, but till then here’s The Evolution of a Quiche Recipe.

Quiche 1 -  with spinach and shitake mushrooms. This crust was too much!

Quiche 1 - with spinach and shitake mushrooms. This crust was too much!

Quiche 2 -  Spinach and a mixture of mushrooms. Much improved crust!

Quiche 2 - Spinach and a mixture of mushrooms. Much improved crust!

The first quiche had too much soggy crust. The filling was delicious so, I thought it was worth a second try. I made some adjustments and the crust on the second crust came out crispy and well proportioned. I cut the mushrooms into bite size pieces allowing the custard to fill the tart and creating a browned top. The crust and the filling were equally yummy!

Quiche 1  - Beautifully baked quiche, too bad the crusty was too thick and soggy, and the mushrooms were too big.

Quiche 1 - Beautifully baked quiche, too bad the crusty was too thick and soggy, and the mushrooms were too big.

Quiche 2 - Another beautiful Quiche and the crust was perfect!

Quiche 2 - Another beautiful Quiche and the crust was perfect!

Quiche is one of the most versatile dishes you can have in your menu toolkit. It is easy to make with simple ingredients. If you plan ahead and shop for shredded cheese and pre-made pie crusts you can have this in the oven in less tjan 15 minutes. It bakes in 35-40 minutes. If you prefer you can use only egg whites and there are lots of gluten and dairy free options for the milk and cheese.

The more vegetables the better!  Use you favorites, what you have in you garden and what’s in season. Playing with the filings is one of the fun things about making quiche. Once you perfected your favorite crust the rest of the recipe is simple.

Quiche a savory open tart or flan consisting of pastry crust filled with a custard made from eggs, milk or cream, and cheese. A quiche can have meat, seafood or vegetables added to it. Quiche was created in France. It can be served hot, cold or room temperature for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s also easily eaten with out a fork on the go.

The 1995 edition of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest . It’s still hand lettered with Mollie Katzen’s drawings.

The 1995 edition of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest. It’s still hand lettered with Mollie Katzen’s drawings.

Fresh grated nutmeg is much more fragrant than already ground. It’s the same with fresh ground coffee. A microplane makes it easy.

Fresh grated nutmeg is much more fragrant than already ground. It’s the same with fresh ground coffee. A microplane makes it easy.

One of my go-to cookbooks is The Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook by Mollie Katzen. In the new (1995) version Mollie Katzen has made adjustments to the dairy heavy ingredients of the original book printed in 1982. As she says in the preface, we know more about nutrition and rely more on vegetables, soy and beans for a vegetarian diet.

I haven’t made a quiche in years the quiche recipe sounded delicious and it looked easy to make. It was both! Mollie’s Quiche Formula is a great start to any quiche. I say start because, her formula is adaptable to your dietary needs, what’s in season and your favorite veggies. She provides the formula and you add the creativity. You can use ingredients that you might have in your kitchen. I do love a recipe that doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store. I did include Swiss cheese and milk on my last shopping list in preparation for this recipe, as these are 2 ingredients I don’t keep in my fridge.

Press the crust mixture into a pie pan or quiche dish. Making it as even as you can.

Press the crust mixture into a pie pan or quiche dish. Making it as even as you can.

Crust - I used the Savory Crumb Crust from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

If you are gluten free or have a favorite pie crust you can use it here. Mollie has several alternative crusts in the cookbook, too. If time is an issue for you the pre-made pie crusts you find in the refrigerator section of you local grocery store will work just fine.

Here’s the recipe for the second crust with the changes I made that was successful.

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour - I used unbleached all-purpose flour in the second crust. You could use whole wheat.
1 cube butter - room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1 -2 tsp of herbs that will compliment your filling (for spinach and mushroom I used thyme and sage)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the bread crumbs in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. You can do this by hand, too. Place the dry bread in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to break the bread into crumbs. Add the flour, oats, seasonings and mix. Add the room temperature butter and mix until the butter is well distributed into the dry mix.

Pat the mixture into a 9” deep dish pie pan or quiche pan. This took a little patience and some finessing to get it evenly distributed on the bottom and sides. I put strips of tin foil folded over the rim and baked for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove tin foil and the crust is ready to fill. No need to cool it.

Some recipes I read said that putting the cheese in the quiche crust first will help keep the custard from getting soggy. I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt.

Some recipes I read said that putting the cheese in the quiche crust first will help keep the custard from getting soggy. I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt.

Cheese - I used 1 cup Swiss cheese that I grated it in my food processor after I made the crust and before the custard. Gruyere is good, too. I don’t know enough about non-dairy cheese, but you should be able to use them.

Saute onions then add mushrooms. This was the same for both quiches, but I cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

Saute onions then add mushrooms. This was the same for both quiches, but I cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

A lot of spinach cooks down quickly to a small amount.

A lot of spinach cooks down quickly to a small amount.

Filling - For both quiches the filling contained the same ingredients.

2 tbsp oil to saute veggies
1 medium onion - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - peeled and chopped
1 10 oz. package of frozen organic mushrooms - The 1st quiche was shitake, the 2nd was a mixed bag cut into bite size pieces.
10 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
Salt + pepper

Saute the onions until slightly caramelized then add mushrooms. I used frozen, but you can use fresh. Be sure to boil off the extra liquid that happens when using frozen mushrooms. Then add the spinach. Putting a lid on the pan helps to wilt the spinach quickly.

Next cover the cheese with the vegetables or your preferred filling ingredients.

Next cover the cheese with the vegetables or your preferred filling ingredients.

The final step is to pour the custard mixture into the dish. This picture is from the 1st quiche. I cut the mushrooms into bite size piece. It was easier to eat.

The final step is to pour the custard mixture into the dish. This picture is from the 1st quiche. I cut the mushrooms into bite size piece. It was easier to eat.

Custard - For the custard you can use your favorite nut milk or soy and eliminate the yolks

3 eggs - room temperature
3/4 cup Half n Half - it’s what I had on hand. You could use a nut milk or any dairy milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt + pepper

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or mixing bowl and mix well. pour the custard over the cheese and filing. Bake 35-40 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling is firm. You can test by sticking a knife in the center. It’s done when the knife comes out clean.

Serve hot, warm or cold. A nice green salad makes this a complete meal. Enjoy!

I’d love to hear about your favorite quiche recipes!

December at My Home Sweet Home

I hung light on the outside of my home sweet home.

I hung light on the outside of my home sweet home.

I haven’t posted since December 16th when I wrote about my road trip to Marin with 7 restaurant reviews in 6 different Bay Area towns and my home town of Mount Shasta. I’ve been busy with the holidays. In late December our family celebrates Christmas, New Years and my daughter’s birthday. I say holidays because I have friends who celebrate Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice. There is room for everyone’s practices in my life. It’s a busy time of the year with lots of extra task that need doing. In the middle of it all we had the death of my daughter’s second family’s mother.

Doodling is fun! There is always something to draw. I think the feathers came out like feathers.

It is my habit to stay busy, which is easy because, there is always something that needs doing…especially at the holidays. Whenever I’m bored, stressed or down I make art or bake. Since I wasn’t going to bake cookies this year, I sharpened the colored pencils and started playing around. I’ve always loved playing with paper! For years I made Papier-mâché bowls, trays, masks and columns. I’ve recently added dragonflies to a line of cards I designed. I save CLBs (Cute Little Boxes) and cover them in sheet music paper or paper from free books I get at the library. My friend Cami makes little envelops and cards that inspired me to do the same. I reused and old handmade sweater into pompoms and a hat for my daughter. I’m filling this blog with images of my many projects.

Little cards and envelops about 1 1/2” square. My new line of dragonfly cards with glitter. CLB (cute little boxes) and bows are fun to make!

The year 2018 is almost over. Like every year there are births and deaths, trials and triumphs, and everything in-between that we call our life. Here’s a big cheer to “out with the old and in with the new!” As we prepare for the celebrations and traditions for New Year’s Eve, I wish you, your friends and family the very best of health, happiness and prosperity in 2019!

I unraveled a sweater that had a couple of moth holes in it to make pompoms and a hat for my daughter’s birthday.

Sonoma Market - tiramisu

A dusting of cocoa tops off this moist and fragrant tiramisu

A dusting of cocoa tops off this moist and fragrant tiramisu

Lucky for me that my friend Jan had to run some errands in the town of Sonoma that included a stop at the Sonoma Market for some tiramisu.

Tiramisu is an Italian coffee-flavoured dessert from the Veneto region of Italy where Venice is the largest city in the region. It is traditionally made of ladyfingers soaked in coffee, layered with a mixture of mascarpone cheese and whipped cream and embellished with chocolate.

The Sonoma Market version is “Delicate sponge cakes soaked in coffee, filled with layers of cream and topped with chocolate shavings and cocoa powder.” states their website. Every bite is rich in coffee and cocoa flavor with the smooth rich texture of the cream. Using the sponge cake made it lighter in texture than the traditional ladyfinger cookies. I liked it! I liked it very much! Thank you, Jan!

The Sonoma Market is located at 500 W. Napa St, just north of the Sonoma Square. They have been serving the Sonoma Valley for more than 50 years. The market has a reputation for having high-quality meats and seafood, fresh farm-to-market produce, a large selection of local and imported wines, artisanal cheeses.

Cafe Verde - Corte Madera

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera, It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera, It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio

Cafe Verde in located at 502 Tamalpais Dr, in Corte Madera. It’s a homey cafe with a large outdoor patio. My friend Jan and I went for a happy hour beer. It’s located next to the Corte Madera sports field, Jan said parking can be impossible when their is an event. Fortunately she lives within waling distance. The Cafe Verde is a local casual spot with a European vibe serving Mediterranean style foods.

Roasted beet salad with a tart Lemon vinaigrette

Roasted beet salad with a tart Lemon vinaigrette

We split their roasted beet salad served with sliced almonds, and goat cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was sweet and tart! There was too much of it for me. Next time I’ll ask for the dressing on the side. Yes, we had beers, too. They have Deschutes Brewery beers and ales on tap

Jan comes here often enough to get a hug from our sever who was very happy to see her. It is the kind of place where there are no strangers. They are open 7 days a week from 8:00 am - 9:00 pm serving breakfast lunch and dinner with a Happy Hour from 4-6 pm.

A simple Happy Hour Menu

A simple Happy Hour Menu

Doña Tomás - Telegraph Ave - Oakland

Doña Tomás has been serving classic Mexican dishes for 15 years on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland

Doña Tomás has been serving classic Mexican dishes for 15 years on Telegraph Ave. in Oakland

Doña Tomás is a popular eatery in Oakland’s Temescal District at 5004 Telegraph Ave. serving classic Mexican dishes. Doña Tomás uses as many sustainably grown and organic produce and meats as is possible sourced in the Bay Area. I went there with my friend Jan after the obligatory visit to Ikea. I hadn’t seen Jan in about 7 years, but like all good friends we picked up like it was yesterday. It was fun to catch up in the lively atmosphere with the Sunday brunch crowding the dinning room. The patio was closed because of the smoke from the Camp Fire.

Chef Dona Savitsky worked her way through the kitchens of San Francisco before opened Doña Tomás in 1999 in Oakland’s Temescal District. In 2003 she opened Tacubaya Taqueria . Tacubayal is a colorful causal dining taqueria in the trendy Berkeley's Fourth Street shopping district.

Doña Tomás is closed on Mondays and check website for lunch and dinner times.

We saw these signs in windows all over the East Bay. I love Oakland for their bold attitude!


Me & Jan outside Ikea staying trying not to breath the smoke

Me & Jan outside Ikea staying trying not to breath the smoke

Jan took this picture of your’s truly with the bright red wall inside Doña Tomás

Jan took this picture of your’s truly with the bright red wall inside Doña Tomás

Beautiful guacamole & chips! Jan had a Mexican Coffee, coffee spiked with Kahlua, topped with whipped cream. I had an IPA - perfect start to brunch!,

Beautiful guacamole & chips! Jan had a Mexican Coffee, coffee spiked with Kahlua, topped with whipped cream. I had an IPA - perfect start to brunch!,

The Guacamole y Totopos was a simple mashed avocado with cilantro, onion, chile and lime, with tortilla chips. The avocado was treated with respect so that it’s decadent creamy flavor was enhanced…not hidden.. by the added chile, onion and lime. I ordered an IPA from their rotation tap offerings. This one was from Fieldwork Brewing Company a craft brewery founded in Berkeley,

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Jan ordered the Huevos Revueltos which is scrambled eggs with chorizo, nopales and goat cheese, cilantro, puréed black beans and warm corn tortillas. Nopales is prickly pear cactus that is roasted. William Sonoma says, “They have a flavor that recalls both sorrel and asparagus and are used in salads, side dishes and with eggs.” I had a bite Jan’s meal and found it had the same rich balance of flavors that Doña Tomás is well known for serving.

Tacos Desayunos makes my mouth water just looking at these tacos that tasted so good!

Tacos Desayunos makes my mouth water just looking at these tacos that tasted so good!

Tacos Desayunos translates to breakfast taco comes with two corn tacos, whole pinto beans, cheese, rajas, pico de gallo, avocado and cilantro, tomatillo-guajillo salsa, each topped with a fried egg. The salsa is made with roasted poblanos and rajas is strips of roasted poblanos. I was so happy with my meal! The rich depth of flavors that from the roasted poblanos just made me feel like I was eating real food that someone put together with thought about the end product. It also reminded me how these simple ingredients can come together to make a meal.

After eating Jan and I walked around the Temescal District checking out the shops. The Temescal District is commercial and residential properties along Telegraph Avenue and adjoining areas along Telegraph Avenue from 40th to 66th Street, also the Berkeley border, This are has an eclectic mix of shops, eateries in a residential neighborhood. It wasn’t an adventure to find a parking space. They are doing some construction and I captured this huge crane. Another sight I don’t see much of in Mount Shasta.

Cityscape - something tall is going up in Oakland. notice the sky has a little blue showing a reprieve from the smoke of the Camp Fire

Cityscape - something tall is going up in Oakland. notice the sky has a little blue showing a reprieve from the smoke of the Camp Fire