Cool, Clear, Water, A Cowboy Song

“With throats burned dry and souls that cry for water, cool, clear, water”

When I was a kid my Dad would sing in his clear tenor voice this cowboy song, Cool Water, a song recorded by Marty Robbins.  Well, today it’s the first day of Autumn, 83 degrees, 72 percent humidity, and no AC, and cool, clear water sounds lovely!  Whether straight or enhanced, it’s the perfect antidote for summer heat.

So for the past two summers I’ve been playing around with enhanced or flavored waters.  You know, those fragrant ones they hand out at a spa.  Or a cutesy restaurant.

And I thought I’d share some of my favorite flavorings.

And what do you know!  In addition to being tasty and rejuvenating, they can also be beneficial.  I’m a big fan of reverse-osmosis water.  Use whatever you usually drink.


There’s the spa-worthy cucumber, sliced thin and added to 4 cups water.  Refrigerate overnight.  CUCUMBER promotes healthy aging and can heal a hangover.  Hmmm, gotta’ remember that one!


To make the CUCUMBER water my favorite, I add some slightly bruised BASIL leaves.  BASIL is a natural stress and anxiety reducer.  This is a perfect after-work water.

IMG_2416For a sweet summery water, try a CANTALOUPE water.  The vitamins in a ripe cantaloupe promote eye health.  I added slightly bruised TARRAGON, which imparts a slight anise flavor and is an antioxidant.  This one should be consumed quickly, within 1-2 days.  The melon softens rapidly in water.


Another flavorful summery melon variation is WATERMELON water.  WATERMELON is the highest fruit or vege in lycopene, plus it has an abundance of other vitamins and minerals including Magnesium.  As a melon, it will also soften rapidly in water.  I added some punch to my WATERMELON water by infusing it with ROSEMARY, which is anti-inflammatory and an immune booster.


A new water for me this summer was PINEAPPLE-MINT water.  What a refreshing combination!  A little sweet.  A little minty.  PINEAPPLE has a mixture of enzymes called bromelain that digest protein, has  anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants which prevent free radical damage.  MINT is a well-documented aid in digestion, nausea, and headache.  Refrigerate this one overnight.

A super-pretty water is RASPBERRY – SAGE.  The berries are sweet/tart, and the fragrance of the sage is awesome.  RASPBERRIES are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  SAGE, part of the mint family like ROSEMARY and BASIL, is a herb with one of the highest antioxidant levels, helping cell’s recover from damage.  Drink this one within 1-2 days.


As with most fresh-fruit-or-vege-infused drinks, the fruits and/or veges used are generally not very good after infusing the waters.  Just add them to your compost.  So cool down these last summer days with your own yummy and beneficial flavored waters.

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Smokin’ Hot Hatch Chiles

IMG_2590One of my favorite memories is traveling with my Dad from Texas to college in California, and making a stop in New Mexico for some of their not-to-be-missed dishes prepared with Hatch Chiles.  Yum!

As described in Wikipedia:

“Chile grown in the Hatch Valley, in and around Hatch, New Mexico is called Hatch chile. The peppers grown in the valley, and along the entire Rio Grande, from northern Taos Pueblo to southern Isleta Pueblo, are a signature crop to New Mexico’s economy and culture.[1][2] The chile pepper actually is a fruit, however, it is savory and eaten like a vegetable in a main dish or side. It is New Mexico’s state vegetable, and the official New Mexico state question is “Red or Green?”.[3]”

So I’m thrilled every August when they show up in one of my local markets.


Last night half of my Hatch Chiles were roasted under the broiler and added to a pizza which included:

  • a whole wheat & chia crust I put together last week
  • Jarred marinara sprinkled with smoked paprika
  • crispy bacon
  • caramalized onions with a little basalmic
  • a selection of shredded mexican cheeses
  • garlic oil-infused garbanzo beans



Spicy, smoky, garlicy, and the sweetness of the caramelized onions, with a thin and crunchy crust.

Oh, yes, I love Hatch Chile season!

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Creamy Korma Curry


Yes, I do make the dinner kits I sell! My honey and I have a Supper Club that explores the world through food. Last Saturday night was Passage to India, a great selection of northern Indian foods. I contributed my Lamb Korma Curry, creamy and spicy.

We at Passport Dinners buy the exotic and fragrant organic spices for you so you don’t have to.

IMG_2525There’s all those great, fragrant organic spices plus my local, sustainable fresh ingredients.

Supper club, here we come!

Passport Dinners brings you DIY (Do-It-Yourself) themed adventure dinner party kits for you to taste the world, one country at a time.

1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor!

IMG_2521(1)Not only is it Friday, it’s also National Tequila Day.  And you know what that means.  No, not shots!  I want to enjoy my Saturday!  It’s summertime, hot and humid, and I’m ready for a cold margarita.

Fresh lime juice.  The only way to go.  Roll the lime on the counter before cutting and juicing to release more juices.

IMG_2513And a better tequila.  I prefer Carralejo Reposado, plus the bottle is beautiful!

IMG_2516(1)And simple syrup.  You can buy it at better liquor stores, but why not make your own?  One part sugar to one part water, heated and simmered for about 5 minutes until the sugar is totally incorporated.  I use cane sugar, which gives a darker-hued simple syrup.  You can use white sugar.

And some sort of orange liqueur.  Today I’m using Potter’s Orange Curacao (cure-ah-sah-o). Top it off with a splash, or so, of Grand Marnier and a lime slice.IMG_2519Summer-y Fresh Lime Margarita

  • 1 part fresh lime juice (1 oz.)
  • 2 parts tequila (2 oz.)
  • 1/2 part Curacao (1/2 oz.)
  • 1/2+ part simple syrup (1/2+ oz.) (sweeten to your taste)

Shake with ice, strain into a glass dipped in curacao and rimmed with, preferably, margarita salt (I use a pink grapefruit salt sprinkled with fresh lime zest).IMG_2514Pour a splash, or two, or Grand Marnier on top to float, then garnish with a fresh lime slice.  Sip.  Repeat.  Let the weekend begin!

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Happy Bastille Day


Yes, I know Bastille Day was last week.  Oooh, my not-cooperating software!  But good food can always be posted, right?

Because we are lovers of fine food and wine, and freedom, my family cannot let Bastille Day pass by without a little celebration.  A repressed people fighting for human rights is at the core of what we in America can appreciate.

As I read on the website, the government of France in the 1700’s controlled bread and salt, two staples in the typical French diet.  Rising taxes on these two items led to the rise in the working person’s anger against the French monarchy.

As J. Michael Straczynski, an American writer and producer says, “No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand.”

Who cares if it was only a Tuesday?

I love making crepes, and the typical buckwheat crepe, or galette, is perfect for a french crepe.  I’m using a variation of David Lebovitz’ classic french galette recipe

Buckwheat is one of those nutritious super-flours.  It is a bit starchier than quinoa, but like quinoa it is high in protein and amino acids.  It is naturally gluten free due to the fact that it is a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel, rather than a grain.  It also is very attractive to honeybees who create a deep, fragrant honey from the buckwheat flowers.

This time, I’m using a little less of the buckwheat flour and a bit more organic unbleached flour for a bit more pliable and elegant crepe.  Last year, though tasty, the full-buckwheat crepes were not too pliable (  Add a little raw cane sugar, a pinch of salt, and a cup of whole milk well-mixed with melted butter and 2 farm-fresh eggs.

Bastille crepe ingredientsI chill the mixture a bit before swirling it into my well-seasoned crepe pan.

Bastille crepe #2I went with the classic Crepes avec Jambon, crepes with ham, asparagus (lightly steamed, then tossed in a skillet with butter), drizzled with a mornay sauce.

Bastille crepe fillingsBastille crepe assemblyWe had a nice start to the meal with toasted baguettes, Foie de Volaille (chicken), and cornichons with, of course, a smooth glass of Cotes-du-Rhone.

Bastille pate & cornichons

Ah, the main event:  Our finished crepe with a petite salad topped with toasted goat cheese.  Cheers ’til next year.

Bastille crepe dinner

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Farm-to-Table and Greenwashing

“Farm to Fable: Deception, Fraud, and Honest Mistakes in the Farm-to-Table Movement”

image_1I knew that the big chain restaurants were getting on the bandwagon and “greenwashing” their menus by using farm-to-table descriptions. But I never dreamed that small, local restaurants were doing the same thing.  My eyes were really opened by the following article in San Diego Magazine, July 2015.

Have you come across this problem? How would you try to ensure the menu item you’ve ordered is as the menu describes?  And is it that important to you?

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Here’s to the Things We Love, and the Time to Do Them

When my daughters were young, I baked bread every Friday for the weekend. As they grew older, and my schedule became more erratic, and bread became a pariah to American palates, that weekly scent of baking bread became an occasional treat.

breadNow that our younger daughter’s wedding last Sunday has soooo quickly come and gone, I grabbed a bit of time to do one of my favorite things again: bake bread. I keep 2 different sourdough starters in my fridge that I feed weekly. I grabbed the San Francisco strain, made from a dry starter I purchased online [] (the other is a SoCal strain I made using my Grandma Cecelia’s recipe and inviting natural local wild yeast strains to populate it).

starter3Starter2I consistently return to a recipe I ran across while living in Colorado at nearly 10,000 ft. altitude. Many things, including allowing bread to rise, were difficult at that altitude. So I have a rise-once recipe that I love. And I use organic-only, mostly Eikhorn, flours, sea salt, olive oil, eggs from my neighbor, organic cane sugar, and raw milk. If you’re going to do it, use the best ingredients.

How to Make “No Knead-Fast Rising” Roll Dough

Bake:  400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes                   Makes:  About 1-1/2 dozen

*The night before, if using sourdough starter instead of yeast, (1 T. of yeast = 1 cup of starter), place in mixing bowl 1 cup of starter added with 1/2 cup room-temperature water plus 1 cup flour, lightly stirred, and covered until next day.

**If you’re interested in making your own sourdough starter, see the simple instructions below the recipe.

Place in this order in Mixing Bowl:

  • 1 packet or 1 T. active dry yeast or above-notated sourdough starter
  • 2 T. organic cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups organic flour (whole wheat or unbleached or Eikhorn)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup warmed raw milk (milk makes a more tender crumb than water)

Beat at speed 3 (medium low) for 3 minutes.  Stir in 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups unbleached or Eikhorn flour (too much whole wheat flour will make for heavier rolls) to make a very stiff dough.  Cover.  Let rest for 15 minutes.

Toss on well-floured surface until no longer sticky.  Shape into dinner rolls and place on baking sheet or baking stone.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 30-60 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen).

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

bread 1

Ready to rise, then toss in the oven.

bread 2

Ready to slather with butter and munch!


Using a large jar or stone crock, mix together 1 cup flour plus 1 cup non-chlorinated water to a smooth paste.  Set aside in a warm place to sour, about a week. 

I placed mine near my kitchen window so it could be introduced to all the wild yeasts floating around in my yard.

After a day or two, the mixture will start to bubble while the wild yeasts grow.  Feed it about 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water every other day for about 10 days, then it should be nice and alive and sour, with a consistency of yogurt.  You can then cover it with plastic wrap punctured with holes (the wild yeasts need to breathe) and attached with a rubber band, and store it in your refrigerator. 


It’s alive! Bubbling sourdough starter.


Ready to store in the fridge.

Some professional bakers I know, the Prager Brothers in Carlsbad, CA ( feed their starter daily.   But they also use a tremendous amount of starter daily.  I feed mine weekly, well, sometimes every two weeks, about 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water, stirred in.    And if you decide to try your own starter, then think you’ve killed it, you can find information online to help recover it, like I once did  : )

So, here’s to the things we love, and the time to do them.

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