• Posted by Califia Suntree on September 29th, 2014, 10:15 AM

    I actually wore socks this week, so I know that summer is officially over. Here in Portland, the cozy darknesss has set in—as has the rain—and I’m so pleased to finally be using my oven again. The first thing baked: tender delicata squash especially for this autumnal lunch salad. The kale marinates in the sweet balsamic dressing until lunch hour and loses its bitterness, while the seckel pear—diminutive and sweet—keeps its shape and doesn’t brown thanks to the vinegar. The delicata is an especially nutty, mild squash with beautifully striped edible skin; if it’s not a fall favorite yet, it will be soon. And Oregon hazelnuts make everything crunchy and fancy. Another harbinger of fall? Halloween candy. Hey, you can’t be too pure.

    I packed the salad in my favorite Glasslock leak-proof container paired with To-Go Ware‘s brilliant bamboo cutlery. Find these and other lunch-gear recommendations, plus more than 60 recipes for healthy and delicious lunches, in my brand-new e-cookbook Bring Your Lunch!

    Kale Salad with Delicata Squash, Seckel Pear & Hazelnuts

    Makes 1 serving Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on November 17th, 2011, 9:08 AM

    Once November rolls around, I find myself looking for as many ways as possible to use cranberry sauce. It’s my favorite part of holiday eating–I consider turkey a cranberry-sauce delivery system, and pile it on accordingly–and I’m always thrilled to come across unexpected uses for the stuff. (Cranberry-sauce margaritas are a tradition of mine–I’ll post that recipe soon–and I’m trying to perfect a cranberry-sauce-based tea cake…) So I was pretty thrilled when, at a recent breakfast at Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park, I was served delightful fresh pumpkin pancakes topped with maple syrup and, yes, cranberry sauce! The pancakes are standard-issue whole wheat, studded with diced, cooked pumpkin. And the sauce is your typical canned variety, all bursting berries and oozy red syrup. But the overall effect was surprising, not too  sweet, and totally comforting. Forget the holiday rigmarole–serve these tasty cakes with some turkey bacon and a persimmon-rosemary bellini, and you’ve got a Thanksgiving brunch!

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on October 14th, 2011, 5:43 PM

    Where I live, early fall is the season of lumpy, oddly shaped, strangely colored last-hurrah tomatoes. They aren’t as vibrantly flavored as the height-of-summer fruits, but they do ease the transition into cooler weather and darkening days. Our fall tomatoes were all yellow (or yellowish), and not quite suitable for slicing into a salad. But they did make an excellent fresh tomato sauce, with a bit of oregano, perfect for serving with seasonally appropriate mushroom ravioli. Here’s how I made it:

    Crush or finely mince garlic and saute it in some olive oil in a wide, non-reactive pan. Just when it starts getting aromatic, toss in some crushed dried or minced fresh oregano. Using a food mill, grind your fresh yellow tomatoes into the pan and simmer until the flavors meld. Season with salt and, if your tomatoes lack acidity (ours did), squeeze a bit of lemon juice overall. (A friend recommends lemon zest, which I haven’t tried.) Toss with pasta and enjoy the lingering taste of summer!

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on September 25th, 2011, 9:42 AM

    On Friday morning, I opened the door at 7 am to get the newspaper, looked around and said, “It’s different today.” Checking the calendar, lo and behold, it was the first day of fall. Sweet corn and barbecues aside, autumn is the best season for cooks. (All those food-based holidays…) Get your table ready with some of the Spooning Shop‘s fall-themed vintage kitchenware! From Thanksgiving-ready Pyrex to dinner sets and linens, you are sure to find something that inspires a cozy feast.

 
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