pork chops

For the first Spoon I was to come up with something affordable and delicious for people to serve to their guests. I came across this recipe in a Tyler Florence cookbook and admit that it was kinda like a shirt or pair of shoes I keep thinking about. If I keep thinking about it, it'll probably be a good investment. Well, this recipe turned out to be all I thought it would be...

Step 1: Brine the chops around 2 1/2 hrs before you plan on eating them. You're going to brine them for no more than 2 hrs then they'll be in the oven for 30 min. On we go...In a gallon zip lock back mix a whole lot of water (what the bag can hold or a gallon), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sea salt- or if you have table salt use 1/2, 1 cup apple juice concentrate- thawed, 2 fresh thyme sprigs and 1 1/2 t. whole black peppercorns. Put 4 bone in 1 lb. each pork chops in the whisked solution. make sure the sugar and salt dissolve into the water solution... Cover and stick in fridge.

Take the pork chops out of the fridge- pat dry with a towel. heat some evoo in a skillet and after seasoning each chop with salt and pepper, saute on each side about 4 min. Transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30 min or until internal temperature is about 140/145. No one likes a dry pork chop so watch this step!

While the chops are cooking melt 2 T unsalted butter. Add 3 granny smith apples- cores and peeled and cut into wedges, and 2 thyme sprig leaves. Cook for about 8 min, then toss in 1/4 cup raisins and 3/4 c. apple juice concentrate. Stir in 3 T. brown sugar, 1/4 t. allspice and a pinch of dry mustard. Season with salt and pepper, wake up the sauce with a splash of lemon juice and simmer to reduce the sauce for 10 min. Serve warm over the chops.

the best asparagus you ever had.

tell me a suzanne goin recipe and i'll make it. all you do here is grill asparagus and mix 1/2 cup creme fraiche with 3 T. whole grain mustard. put down a bed of prosciutto and serve this up. i'm not sure it can get more easy, or more delicious.

dates wrapped in bacon with green olive sauce

for the spoon, this was one of the recipes i made. a winner really. salty and sweet. dynamite. i test kichened it out with some friends a couple nights before. it's simple- you should make it. wow your guests.... go ahead. who doesn't like almonds, bacons and dates?!

toast the almonds for 10 min at 350. this will bring out their flavour. pit the date and put the almond in the date. wrap half a piece of thin bacon (thick won't work!) around it. bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy.

meanwhile make the green olive sauce. saute 2 shallots with 1 minced dried red chili. cook on low heat for about 8 min. put into a food processor with one jar of spanish olives, a small bunch of parsley, 2 T sherry vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil. blend.

put in a pretty jar and when the dates are ready- you can dip them in it. you'll have plenty so I warmed up some herb focaccia from the market and served this as well. delicious.

coq au vin

time to make a classic French dish to add to my repertoire. in prep for the first good spoon and in wanting to make a delicious dish for friends, i was happy to find this recipe in "perfect recipes for having people over" by pam anderson. another reason to use dutchie, and a good reason to cook it then transport dinner to their house.

Melt 2 T butter in dutchie- add 2 lb. mushrooms (sliced) and saute until liquid evaporates about 10-12 min. Transfer to a medium bowl then add another 2 T butter and saute 1 lb frozen pearl onions and saute for about 5 min til golden brown. set aside with mushrooms.

Add 3/4 lb bacon to pan- fry until crisp about 8-10 min. transfer to a paper towel. While bacon cooks lay 4 1/2 lb chicken thighs on plate and season with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, saute thighs in bacon about 3 min per side until crisp. Transfer to platter as they brown. Add 2 med. onions, chopped, and 4 minced garlic cloves to pan. Saute about 5 min til soft. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in 2 t. dried thyme, 4 bay leaves, and 1 bottle cab or merlot. AND....add chopped bacon. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce for 20 min to let the flavours come together.

Meanwhile heat oven to 300 degrees and add chicken, mushrooms, and onions to pan. Cover and bake for 30 min. Serve. Really good. Maybe get some crusty bread to sop up the delicious flavour. or maybe save it and have it over egg noodles.

blueberry crumb bars

delicious. this was part of the menu for les and jer and well, jen came over too and there were seconds, and maybe thirds had. make these. they're easy and you can find blueberries, especially now that they're in season, on sale perhaps. i was really happy when my bon apetit had a whole section on bars. and i was really happy when i found blueberries on sale.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 15 ounces) or one 12-ounce package frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup blueberry preserves (10 to 11 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel


for the crust

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter bottom of 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk flour, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl. Add 1 cup butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in small clumps. Transfer 2 cups to medium bowl; reserve for topping.
  • Press remaining crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden and just firm to touch, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.

for the filling

  • Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Spread evenly over crust in pan, then sprinkle reserved topping over.
  • Bake bars until filling bubbles thickly at edges and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes; cool in pan on rack. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip into 6 pieces, forming 24 bars.

the best ceasar salad dressing

the other week i had the lovely opportunity to make dinner for les and jer- molly too through les but well- molly's days of appreciating good wine, good food and good dressing are many years to come. we did delve into hell's kitchen which was a stellar bottle. right now- most favorite bottle of wine. thanks to kitchen sink i made this recipe i had my eye on. ceasar which can go too heavy most times- but this was light and fresh and salty and wonderful. make it- especially if you have herbs and a food processor.

Basil Caesar Salad

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove
1 large egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 package romaine hearts (1 pound), leaves separated and washed well, then halved crosswise
1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

With motor running, drop garlic into a food processor and finely chop. Add egg, lemon juice, anchovy paste, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and pulse until combined. With motor running, add remaining 6 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified. Add herbs and blend until dressing turns green and herbs are finely chopped.

Toss romaine with dressing, croutons, and half of cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.


I'm alive and baking and cooking up more and more of a storm these days and consumed with thoughts of spoons, wooden, silver, simmering, a stewing. Good Spoon is a concept I've come up with that continues to take more and more shape. Basically kids, I'll be doing cooking classes, hope to cater small parties and events, or maybe your office staff meeting! Saturday is the first Good Spoon and it's sold out! There's even a wait list. Wow. The website is in the works and next week I'll be doin a lil photo shoot to help that along. Think aprons, spoons, tossing fruit and veg, kitchen, etc. It's gonna be grand. stay tuned- much more to come on the spoon! If you're interested in spooning before the website is launched (think August at goodspoonsb.com) then leave a comment and I'm happy to add you to the list of events that will happen, or if you have a party you want catered or to attend a class, let me know! Maybe you have a group of friends who are looking for something different to do with your Sat night? Here's to spooning and to my amazing friends that are helping make this dream a reality!

And then I Made Bread.

A first. I've always known I would have to make my own bread sooner than later, so I was more than excited when I discovered the "No-Knead" bread recipe. It sounded simple enough, yet would open up my eyes to the process that is bread making. And so, Saturday night I mixed, and I let rise. For 12-18 hrs.

Then there was more process to be had on Sunday which I guess made it a good thing that I was home sick. The smell of bread baking in your house really can't be beat. It reminded me of the Ries home growing up. I'm not sure much can beat having bread that you've made yourself.

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
via New York Times

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours' rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Flaxseed

If I'm going to make muffins or bread these days, I try to pack in the good stuff as this usually acts as my breakfast, and flour and no protein won't keep me going for too long. I made this bread the other morning and it's tasty. I can taste the salt in it a bit- but I'm a sucker for the salty and sweet, so it's alright. I say make it. Whole wheat, flax and all...and enjoy!


Makes 1 loaf, serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed (from about 2 tablespoons whole)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (about 1 3/4 ounces), toasted and coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, and set aside. Whisk together the flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  2. Put egg and egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium-low speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and bananas, and mix until combined. Add the reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until well incorporated, about 10 seconds. Stir in walnuts.
  3. Pour batter into buttered pan. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Invert bread to unmold; reinvert, and let cool completely on rack.

Oatmeal Milk Chocolate Cookies

I love how large the Quaker Oat containers are. If you think about it, and are like me and love how much you can produce from your kitchen without many trips to the store, oatmeal is a great thing to have on hand. I clipped this recipe out awhile ago and had and it the other night. It's your basic oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, but I added milk chocolate chips. I was concerned this might make them too sweet, but they were just fine. They didn't hold together that well, and so, I might just still be on the hunt for the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie...


Makes 24

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, raisins, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined. Gradually add oat mixture; beat just until combined.
  2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown but still soft, 12 to 16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

A Basic Angel Food Cake

Friday I made Angel Food Cake for the bbq. It's so simple, and who doesn't love the consistency when it's whipped? It's simple, pretty, and a crowd pleaser. I think I prefer one I make with blueberries and a lemon glaze, but this one was still good.

A Successful Tri Tip

Tri Tip is a rare cute of beef I only learned about when moving to CA. Last week AP and I headed to Costco and picked some up for a bbq Friday to test out the free grill we were recently gifted . Thursday night I made the marinade, and put 2 pieces of tri tip in there overnight, but more so almost 24 hrs. The marinade was from Bobby Flay, so I was pretty confident in his bbq recommendations. I threw the beef on the grill and probably about 35 min later.. success! I turned it throughout cooking and it came out pink inside. I think every Friday should be a tri tip bbq day.

I tweaked the recipe a bit and didn't make as much. I eye-balled it but did include 1/2 c soy and almost a couple of oil. Otherwise I juiced about 5 limes instead of lemons didn't add all the salt and pepper, about 3 cloves garlic, and 1/2 onion- chopped. The results were so delicious friends put their meat in the marinade before throwing it on the grill!

Marinade :
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup soybean oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup black pepper
  • 1/2 cup garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried onions
  • 2 (4-pound) tri-tips, trimmed


June 11th marked the day, or early morning rather, of Molly Ka Mun Hui entering this earth. I knew Les and Jeremy had headed to the hospital Wednesday night, and I was waiting with anticipation and praying for a safe and healthy delivery for both mom and baby! I woke up, looked at my phone, and there was a text saying she had come at 3:13 and she was beautiful. Tears. Lots and lots of tears. I haven't known Leslie for as long as I've known some other dear friends, but being with her these past months watching this little baby in her grow, and now she's here. Baby's are miracles. Hallmark isn't lying.

Jen, Aaron and I headed to the hospital that day and were SO excited to finally meet Molly! She is so beautiful and perfect! Tomorrow they'll head home. I can't wait for couch time and being able to just sit and hold her. And, for this next year to watch her grow outside of Leslie's belly! Congrats to the new fam.! Hiii Molly!

Lentil Soup

It's been a busy couple weeks and with that, I haven't found myself at the gym as often as I'd like. In these times, it's good to load oneself up with healthy yet satisfying meals so you don't completely feel as though you're letting yourself go...

I adapted this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Basically all you need is onion, lentils (which come cooked and packed at trader joe's) a can of diced tomatoes, and kale. It's packed with good veg. I added some cumin after the onions started to sweat to add some spice. A great, healthy, weeknight meal you should try.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

I made this recipe a lot during high school. It's easy, and says 'summer' to me. It's nice as a salad at a bbq, or can be eaten as a salsa as well. I made up my own version, listed below:

Bean and Corn Salsa Salad:
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
a couple tomatoes chopped, seeds removed
Chopped red onion- as much as you want. about 1/4 of a cup or a bit more works well
1 1/2 T evoo
lime juice of 3 limes. taste- maybe you need more?!
1 t. cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro if you please...

Cut up the extra lime for your Corona. Enjoy.

Mom's Broc Salad

Align Center

For our homegroup barbecue I brought something that represents the Midwest in me, and something that's the California in me. This, mayo and all, is the Midwest in me. But...It's vegetables so Californians are thrown off and they eat it. Mwa-ha-ha. It's delicious, easy, bring back memories of the back porch in summer time, and is from items that should be in your pantry. I doubled the below recipe.

Broccoli Salad:
1 bunch broc.
1/2 lb crispy bacon (or I used turkey bacon)
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
4 T. minced onion

1/2 c. mayo
2 T vinegar
2 T sugar
4 tsp. milk

Make the marinade and let it hang out for a bit. I made it about a day in advance. Toss all ingredients and let them get to know one another at least 2 hrs. before serving as the flavors just get better with time...