• Posted by Califia Suntree on December 17th, 2010, 2:54 PM

    It’s now one week to Christmas, so if you don’t already have your gifts squared away you are officially “behind.” According to the National Retail Federation, a mere 16.9% of holiday shoppers have not yet begun the process. Funny, I thought everyone was like me and didn’t think about Christmas until it was breathing down our necks…Who knew Americans were such go-getters? The NRF also reports that the average Christmas celebrant will spend $689 on the holidays, roughly $485 of which is on gifts. Who knew Americans were such spendthrifts? OK, everyone knew that.

    That kind of spending strikes me as unnecessary. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to handmake things for everyone on your list, you can certainly reduce your spending by supplementing the gizmos, pajamas, and tchochkes with tasty edibles. One of the gifts I remember most vividly from Xmas ’09 is an addictively delicious white chocolate-walnut-Chex candy that my aunt Peggy made (see recipe below). I ate the whole bag so fast I’m surprised I didn’t go into insulin shock, and I can feel the joy to this very day. Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on January 5th, 2007, 5:13 PM

    happy new year everyone! i hope 2007 is tasty and filled with good stuff and wrapped in golden pastry. that is, i hope your new year is rather like this coulibiac i made for one christmas dinner (no photo unfortunately!)…life should really be more like pie.

    it’s always a challenge to make a dramatic centerpiece for a meal without meat. the leg of lamb, roasted turkey, or crown roast makes an obvious focus of attention. my quest for a meatless centerpiece lead one year to an entree of cheese fondue accompanied by my mom’s turkey-shaped loaf of brioche. that was fun. but variety is the spice and all that, so another year, i went for coulibiac. if you really get into the sculptural potential of puff pastry, this loaf of fish (hah) is a perfect focus for your meat-free feast. (note! it is not just for christmas, but is certainly a fall-winter dish.)

    this recipe for russian fish pie is gleaned from what i consider the best of many sources: my memory of the delicious ones turned out by the cleaver company, my former employer, and lots of reading about coulibiac and its many, many forms. some say that you make it with salmon and spinach so as to make festive red and green stripes when you cut it open. i find salmon a tad too strong, but it’s up to you. salmon-lovers should go for it. Read on… »

  • Posted by Califia Suntree on December 20th, 2006, 5:12 PM

    hello jolly readers … there’s this scene in talladega nights where ricky bobby’s wife unceremoniously dumps him after he returns from the hospital. his kids react with a brutal joy, screaming ‘two christmases!!’ … well, kids, it’s true. divorced parents means lots of christmas. in my case, that can often translate to lots of cooking. this year, i’m rolling out: saturday fish coulibiac, sunday lavendar-herb rack of lamb, monday tamales and fish brochettes. i plan to throw some recipes up in here, but since i’m making it up as i go along, and soliciting help, it’ll have to be a post-christmas lowdown … happy eating to all and to all a good night!

    PS: if anyone reads this, i’d love to hear what you are cooking this holiday season. share the recipe love!

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