Simple Pasta Dish Featuring Healthy Kale

orchiette with kale and baconThis is a quick pasta dish that addresses the need to consume healthy greens — kale is often listed at the top — while not sacrificing taste. Slender-leaved black kale (cavalo nero) is great in this dish, but any kind of kale, green or red, or other hearty green will also be good. The dish can be made even tastier and prettier with the addition of tomatoes (sun-dried or cherry tomatoes) and other compatible ingredients. Make sure to add lots of grated parmesan, since there’s no “sauce” in this dish. Of the myriad kinds of pasta available, orechiette (“little ears”) is one of my favorites for its toothy texture and the way it holds ingredients. Continue reading

Easy, Delicious French Chicken Recipe

chicken with tarragon and creme fraicheThis simple entree — pan-roasted chicken breast with tarragon creme fraiche sauce — is impeccably French and ever so delicious. I saw it in a food magazine and tweaked it a bit. The most work involved is prepping and cooking the vegetables, so if you’re in a hurry, make just the chicken and sauce and serve with rice. Continue reading

Black Olive Caramel – Simple and Tasty “Sauce”

black olive caramelIt might sound weird, but this combination produces a subtle, exciting sauce that’s particularly great with lamb.

During a recent trip to Seattle, I dined at Mistral Kitchen and had an absolutely delicious entree of lamb loin medallions with black olive caramel. This led to the inevitable task of duplicating the sauce at home, where I discovered just how easy it is to make.  Some have said it’s a Catalan idea, but I’ve seen it accompanying all types of proteins and even dotting some dessert plates. The flavors are deep and interesting; earthy, slightly bitter from the olives and not particularly sweet, actually, although what sweetness is there helps to round out the flavors and add complexity. Continue reading

Stand-Up Paddleboard – Everyman’s Sport

SFThe hottest sport around these days is stand-up paddleboarding, which can be done all over the Bay Area in the ocean, bay, lakes and rivers.

(Published by the San Jose Mercury-News and its affiliates on August 17, 2014.)

When the surf is down, and the winds are slight, it’s time to walk on water — or so say an increasing number of Bay Area residents reveling in one of today’s hottest sports, stand-up paddleboarding. Continue reading

Artificial Turf: Green Lawns in an Era of Drought

dogs in yardWhether it’s enjoyed by the family or the family dogs, today’s artificial turf  is an attractive, realistic-looking option as well as a water-wise replacement for thirsty lawns.

(Published by the San Jose Mercury-News and its affiliates on August 2,  2014.)

It’s long been considered the bad toupee of the landscaping world by people recalling the atrocious-looking fake grass of earlier years or remembering football players who got the equivalent of rug burns when tackled on the stuff. Continue reading

Where to Find Moan-Inducing Seasonal Fruit

candycotsWhy are peaches, nectarines, apricots and other stone fruit so frequently a disappointment?   Andy Mariani from Morgan Hill’s Andy’s Orchard can tell you why and provide tips on picking out great fruit.   Read the whole post on KQED’s Bay Area Bites blog here.

Finding the Best Summer Food

summerHot weather means bring on the cool, light ingredients.

(Published by South Bay Accent in August, 2014.)

Hot summer days can define your dining choices. Who wants stick-to-the-ribs dishes when sizzling weather calls for light, cool cuisine — if possible, featuring all of summer’s divine fruits and vegetables. So slip into your shorts and peruse our list of 10 great restaurant choices for summer dining and drinking, featuring dishes so delectable that you’ll want to have them all year long. Continue reading