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New Year – New Beginnings – Brussel Sprout Slaw Recipe

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Happy New Year!

Looking forward to the New Year in a big way. To say that 2012 was a challenge, would be an understatement. I have not shared before, but in July of 2012, Mr. K became unemployed. In the beginning, we thought it would be easy to find employment, but we were very mistaken. By December of 2012, he had applied to over 300 positions, engaged in some interviews and in that said month 1 offer was tendered. A position in Georgia. GEORGIA! Being a Cali girl, this was a sad/scary moment for me. But looking into the area, etc. we came to the conclusion that it would be a nice place to land. Then something else happened, almost simultaneously another job interview was presented, and ultimately an offer was made with a company in Southern California! Nothing for 4+ months, then 2 job offers in one month! Crazy. I do not know if fate, karma or what intervened for us, but it happened and we are staying in California. Yay! So, needless to say, with Mr. K’s new employment, it will be a new beginning for our family in more ways than one.

So with our new beginning ahead of us, I would share a new recipe for Brussel Sprout Slaw. It is excellent as a side dish, maybe serve it with some of your holiday leftovers. This recipe is for a lightly dressed slaw, the Young One likes the slaw a little saucier, so just make your own adjustments depending on how “saucy” you like it. Additionally, I sliced the brussel sprouts with a food processor using the thinnest blade for slicing.

Local Products – Brussel Sprouts, Raisins, Red Onion

Sliced Brussel Sprouts

Sliced Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprout Slaw
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
Easy, tasty side dish.
  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, sliced
  • ½ c mayonaise
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled (save a little for garnish)
  • ¼ c. red onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. raisins
  • Sunflower seeds
  1. Combine mayonaise, sugar & vinegar together in bowl.
  2. Once combined, add remaining ingredients except sunflower seeds.
  3. Toss until combined.
  4. Garnish with bacon & sunflower seeds. Season with salt & pepper, if desired.
  5. Chill & serve.



Grandma A’s Potato Chip Cookies

Yum! Potato Chip Cookies 🙂

Christmas already?!? I don’t know about you, but it is too early for me to think about Christmas.  But on the flip side, maybe it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

I am going to share a recipe with you from my Grandma A.  We used to visit her during the summer at her home in Mesa, Arizona and she would make some treats for our arrival.  One of my favorites was her Potato Chip Cookies.  They resemble a shortbread cookie with a salty, crunchy surprise of a potato chip.  I bring up Christmas, because every year for our holiday baking we make these Potato Chip Cookies and share them with friends and family.  For me, biting into these cookies is just like sharing a memory, fun times and family.

To get the holiday started, so to speak, I am sharing the recipe with you and those from other blogs.  Enjoy!

Grandma A's Potato Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ pound butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ to 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup crushed potato chips
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Mix first 4 ingredients and cream together. Add flour and mix well. Fold in potato chips and nuts.
  2. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Press with fork dipped in powdered sugar.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until edges are brown. 350 degree oven.
  4. Dust with powdered sugar while warm, if desired.
Cinder's Notes - Local Products are Walnuts - California, Butter - California, Eggs - Shelly's Farm Fresh, Brentwood, California,

Local Sources/Finds – Shelly’s Farm Fresh (Eggs), Continente Ranch (California Nuts)

Steamed Almond Flour Cake – With the Ninja Kitchen System

Luvin’ from the Oven! Or in this case the Ninja!

Earlier this year I attended the International Food Bloggers Conferences (IFBC) in Portland, Oregon.  It was a fantastic event where bloggers from all over gather to network, learn new techniques and meet new friends.  On Saturday of the conference, a luncheon and presentation was held by the Ninja Cooking System.  What is a Ninja Cooking System you ask?  Well, it is an appliance for the kitchen that can sear foods, bake and slow cook, all in ONE device! It is amazing!  I have browned, slow cooked and now have tried to steam bake in it.  So far, I have made soup, spaghetti sauce, carnitas and now cake!  One of the perks of steam baking is that you can use 1/2 the fat in a recipe and it will still be extremely moist. Oh, I forgot to mention by attending the conference we all had the privilege of having one delivered to our home to try out.  Sweet!

Showing the oven setting on the Ninja Cooking System

I used a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill called Magically Moist Almond Cake.  The recipe called for a 9 x 13 pan, but I used the pan provided by Ninja for the Cooking System which is 7 x 9.5 inches.  Per the recipe, the cake was to bake for 30 minutes.  The insturction booklet said for steam baking add 1  cup of water for every 10 minutes of baking time.  In this case, I added 3 cups of water for the 30 minute baking time.  I checked the cake at 30 minutes and low & behold it was done!

Ready for the Ninja!

The adjustments I made to the recipe was to use 1/2 the fat, in this case butter, added a little almond flavoring and sprinkled some sliced almonds on top.  I took a class on how to make butter last week, so I had some fresh buttermilk and replaced the milk called for in the recipe with that.  I also swapped out the sugar for a natural, no calorie sweetener for dietary reasons.

Let me talk about the cake.  It was utterly moist and remember, I used half of the amount of butter!  It was a little crumbly, but I cut it while still warm.  I would say to let the cake cool thoroughly before serving.  A very light almond flavor was a lovely touch.  I was very impressed with the way this cake turned out and  will absolutely try this method again. This cake would be an enjoyable treat whether for dessert or with a cup of coffee in the morning.  I think serving it with some fresh local fruit would be a tasty addition.

Local Notes:  Buttermilk – Cindi’s Kitchen, Almonds & Butter – California

Equipment:  Ninja Cooking System

Loaded Cauliflower

Loaded Cauliflower

This is a version of “Twice Baked Potatoes” using cauliflower.  Who does not love loaded baked potatoes?  I know I do, but if you are looking to lower your carb count, here is a great alternative.  A special tool that I used for this recipe was a “Potato Ricer“and I used the smallest “die”.  I wanted a really smooth product like mashed potatoes.  I tried a blender, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer but the ricer produced the smoothest result between the three.  If you have a food mill, you could also try that and I think next time I will to see if I get a smoother result.

The ingredients in this recipe really worked well, but you can always add or take away something as desired.

Local note – Cauliflower is from Sanger, California.

Loaded Cauliflower
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut cauliflower in to medium to small chunks. Steam until tender.
  3. Using a potato ricer, "rice" cauliflower into a medium bowl.
  4. Add sour cream to "riced" cauliflower and stir. Save some of the green onion, bacon and cheddar cheese for garnish. Add remaining green onions, bacon and cheddar cheese and stir.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
© Cinder's Kitchen


Hickory Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Hickory Smoked Gazpacho Soup

After attending a BlogHer Food Conference earlier this year, I was asked by to be a guest on their Fresh Bites Blog.  This is the recipe I came up with for the post and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the layers of flavors, refreshing with a little crunch from the vegetables of a cold soup.

On a local note –  All from California.

Tomatoes, onions and cucumber are from Knightsen. Garlic from Gilroy.

Cilantro & corn from Brentwood.  Onion from Stockton.


Here is the post:

A Late Summer #RecipeForHappiness Starring Grilled Tomatoes

Imagine being in a big room buzzing with excited food bloggers! That was Allrecipes’ experience this past June when the annual BlogHer Food conference took place in a hotel right down the street from our offices. One of the bloggers we met then was Cindi Marino, the writer behindCinder’sKitchen. A recent blogger—she says she ‘officially’ started her blog this year in July—and considers it a ‘work in progress.’ But she also notes, “I guess I started “blogging” before I knew what blogging was. I have notebooks of my foodie experiences, before anyone owned personal computers, notebooks with so many tried-and-true recipes, holiday menus from the past and little “food finds” from here and there. I did not know I was a foodie when I started collecting cookbooks. When I got married (28 years ago), I owned one cookbook and borrowed a couple from my mother-in-law for recipe ideas. Now I probably own well over 200, and cannot part with any one of them.” Her Cinder’sKitchen blog focuses on the abundance of locally sourced produce, grown and picked right near her home in Northern California. 

When thinking about my personal #RecipeForHappiness, it always has to start with good food, good ingredients, good friends, and great belly laughs! There’s nothing better!

Having moved to Northern California from Southern California, I discovered the “good ingredients” part in all the local fruits and vegetables. Mind you, I knew they were there in Southern California too, but the nearest farm was a 30- to 40-minute drive. Depending on what we desired, it could be even further. Well, five miles from my present home I can now basically get most anything I want, and freshly picked.

My farmers’ market tomato bounty! (Photo by Cindi Marino)


What makes me happy every summer are CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) boxes, and farm stands filled with freshly picked fruit, vegetables, and homemade pies—so much good stuff that I feel like a kid in a candy store all the time. I scoop up as much as I dare, and then turn to my cookbooks or Whether for recipes themselves, to find inspiration to create other meal ideas or simply to reminisce about recipes I’ve forgotten. Allrecipes is a wonderful resource for cooks of any level.

The two things I most look forward to things are the heirloom tomatoes and cooking them on my ceramic cooker/grill. (Confession: I like my grill so much I own two!) When I visit a local farm stand, I walk around and admire the colorful tomatoes. They are breathtaking! People who know me will be surprised about my love affair with heirloom tomatoes, because I am not a big fresh tomato fan. However, these tomatoes taste totally different from the grocery store varieties. I adore their sweet, luscious, fresh flavor!

My favorite grill #1 (Photo by Cindi Marino)
My favorite grill #2! (Photo by Cindi Marino)


When I started to think about how I could use both tomatoes and my grill. I remembered a restaurant in Southern California called the Velvet Turtle. It had wonderful soups, and one of my favorites was gazpacho, which is a cold tomato soup. The recipe called for canned tomato juice, and it was delicious. Sadly, the chain is no longer in business and all outlets are closed. Well, I knew I had some kitchen homework to do.

The result is the following recipe that I think is reminiscent of the Velvet Turtle’s gazpacho, but with a little twist from my grill. Grilled tomatoes! You will not believe the smoky flavor you get from having your tomatoes on the grill for such a short time. Overall, the soup is deceptively simple to make and very flexible. Make it when you have an extra ear of corn on hand. Adjust its seasonings to suit your own tastes. Seriously, there is no wrong way to make it. Make it your own and enjoy!

Sliced heirloom tomatoes awaiting the grill (Photo by Cindi Marino)


And if you don’t have a grill, or are looking for other ways to use late summer’s bounty of tomatoes, check out these recipes. They’re a bunch of my favorites from Allrecipes that also use fresh tomatoes.

Double Tomato Bruschetta
Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa
Avocado-Feta Salsa
Insalata Caprese II
Chef John’s Gazpacho

If you do have a grill and want to try my method for grilling tomatoes for gazpacho with a twist, here’s my recipe.

Waiting for a spoon: A bowl of Hickory-Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho (Photo by Cindi Marino)

Hickory-Smoked Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Servings: 6

10 heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 chunks hickory wood
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped
5 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
1 grilled corn-on-the-cob, corn sliced from the cob
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 outdoor grill
1 juicer (or a food mill or similar device)
1 food processor (or a blender)

1. Place the halved tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare a charcoal grill and heat to 300 degrees F (149 degrees C). When temperature is reached, top the hot coals with the hickory chunks. Once the hickory chunks start to smoke, place the tomatoes onto the grill. Grill the tomatoes 2 minutes on each side, and then remove them from the grill to a plate Let the tomatoes cool.
3. Place the cooled tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. In a separate bowl, reserve about 1/2 cup total of the chopped cucumber, onion and cilantro. Add the remaining chopped cucumber, onion, and cilantro to the tomatoes into the food processor bowl, and stir in the garlic. Pulse about 5 times to chop, or until the tomatoes reach the desired consistency. (NOTE: You will need to do this in several batches.) After each batch, pour the tomato mixture into a large bowl. Stir the corn, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar into the tomato mixture. Adjust the salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve, ladle the chilled gazpacho into bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle with the reserved cucumber, red onion, corn, and chopped cilantro mixture.

Cook’s Tips

  • The hickory chunks do not need to be soaked in water before using them on the grill.
  • For flavor variations, top the soup with cold, cooked shrimp; avocado slices, bell pepper chunks, or jalapeño peppers, etc.

Buy Fresh Buy Local

The “Community Alliance of Family Farmers is a non-profit organization that advocates for California’s family farmers and sustainable agriculture.”

I have added the widget below so you may find local food in your area.  This organization is a California based organization.  Try and seek one out in the area where you live and thank a farmer! Buy fresh and buy local!


find local food

Search for local food from California’s farms, stores, restaurants & more!

but fresh

Eating Seasonally

Mushrooms! Can’t get them any fresher!

As part of the evolution of eating locally, eating seasonally is just as important. For myself, it is getting harder to remember what is grown when, especially with all kinds of fruits and vegetables imported from other countries. I remember growing up we could not wait for strawberry season to begin, and in Oxnard, California they even have a festival every year honoring the California Strawberry. Now you can get strawberries all year long and for some reason I don’t think they taste as well in December as they do when purchased in season. I also remember on a trip to a Cozumel grocery store buying fruits and vegetables, I came across lettuce that was from Salinas, California! I am in Mexico and I can buy lettuce from California that is a little over 100 miles from where I live. Crazy.

Here is a website you can refer to if you need help figuring out what is in season and when. There is a link also where you can print it out the information for your use at home.

Refer – Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture

Here is another source for a seasonal chart (more regions coming) – To-Go Ware

Creamed Corn Bubba’s Way

Creamed Corn Bubba’s Way!

I don’t remember when I first tried/made this recipe but it is one of those comfort foods you fall back on every so often. This recipe was named after my dad “Bubba”, though there seems to be some rankling about who really came up with the recipe I just remember getting it from him.  But with that said, he also told me when I was about 6 years old he invented the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, so consider the source.  🙂

This recipe uses Brentwood Corn, it’s so simple and a special treat you might make it more than once.  We always buy yellow corn as we think the white corn is just too sweet for us. You use what you enjoy the most whether it be yellow corn, white corn or both!  For this recipe the corn should already be cooked before mixing with the other ingredients.   You can use corn from many sources of your choosing fresh, frozen, canned or ??? it is up to you.  I shucked the corn using “Ken’s Trick” from YouTube.  (Check out my Tips & Tricks page for the video)

Brentwood Corn 🙂

Local Food(s) – Corn is from Dwelley Farms in Oakley,  California (we bought a case!). Here is another one of my  favorite  sources forBrentwood Corn.

Creamed Corn Bubba’s Way

Cooked Corn Kernels from 3 Ears of Corn (These ended up weighing 10.7 ounces of kernels)

1 1/2 ounces of Cream Cheese

1/2  Tablespoon Butter

1/4  Teaspoon Seasoned Salt

2 Green Onions sliced for Garnish

Place all ingredients except green onion in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until melted & heated through.   Garnish with sliced green onion. Serve!

Tip – You can always add a dash of water if you think the mix is too thick. Not too much though. I ended up not needing to do so.

My Homework Project from IFBC – Christmas Lima Bean & Dill Pollen

I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon this year.  What a fun event and learned so much.  In attending a conference session titled “Break Out of Your Recipe Routine: Where to Discover New Meals to Blog About”   hosted by Alex Malott of and Currin Berdine of StumbleUpon.  They had a wealth of information to help trigger new ideas, recipes, and more.  In addition, they gave us “homework”.  Each of us received a package of ingredients to take home, create a recipe and write about it.  In my package courtesy of Marx Foods there were two ingredients I had never heard of before Christmas Lima Beans and Dill Pollen.


I wondered why they were called Christmas Lima Beans, because at first glance they looked speckled with a brown color, but now that I have soaked them they are a lively red and white/tan color resembling the colors of Christmas!

Heirloom Beans

The first website I visited told me how long to soak the beans (8 hours) and to cook them about 45 minutes.  Well, when that did not work I looked for more website posts.  I found one where the author said cooking the beans could take as long as 2 hours, and to not over cook them.  Well, these beans ended up cooking for hours!  I think at least 4 until they were done.  I lost count after a while.  I think I tasted more raw beans during the process than what was left at the end of the “assignment”. Well, I chose to make a bean salad with my ingredients and the end result was quite tasty.

Local Note – The green beans in this recipe are from Smith Family Farm in Knightsen, California.



Christmas Lima Bean & Farm Stand Green Bean Salad


Christmas Lima Beans

Farm Stand Green Beans

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup Oil

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt & Pepper to taste

Dash/smidgen Dill Pollen

Soak the Christmas Lima Beans for at least 8 hours or overnight water covering the beans by over 2 inches.  Rinse. Then cook the beans in water, covering them with several inches of the water.  Boil until tender.  Replace water as necessary.  Once tender, drain and let cool.

Snap ends off green beans.  Place in steamer and steam with water until tender. Cool beans. Place both the Christmas Lima Beans and the green beans in a bowl.

Mix remaining ingredients, except dill pollen,  in a jar with a lid.  Place lid on jar and shake until all ingredients are mixed/emulsified.  Dress beans with the Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette to taste.  Sprinkle a very small amount of the dill pollen on the salad (the dill pollen is very potent).  Stir/toss the salad to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  Serve as a side dish with BBQ meats, or as a dish by itself.  Enjoy!

Crustless Heirloom Tomato Pie – Need Help

UPDATE – I think I have it figured out.  Will test the recipe again and post next week.  Thank you!


I am making a recipe for the above mentioned pie and I need your help.  The end result was a very tasty dish, with unpleasant results.  The dish ended up being very watery, I believe from the tomatoes.

What I did with the tomatoes was slice them and sprinkle with salt, so the water would leach out.  I let them do that for at least 2 hours and they did leach a lot of water.  Before assembling in the casserole dish, I patted each one dry.  I then baked the pie for about 45 minutes and then let it rest for about 10 minutes.  There must have been at least 1/2 cup of liquid at the bottom of the dish.

What are your recommendations for a more pleasant outcome?  Should I let the tomatoes sit longer?  Is there a different method?  I don’t want to use different tomatoes as this dish was really tasty (coming from someone who is not a big fan of tomatoes) and very eye appealing with all the different colors of tomatoes.

Any suggestions, recommendations and tips would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you and Cheers!

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