Food

Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing

Just when you thought the worst was behind us, it is hot, hot, hot again. Consider this an excuse not to cook, and I’m writing all of you a permission note right now. Keep it cool this week and make simple meals. Don’t heat your house up. Here’s what to make when the stove and […]

Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Are we having fun yet? This was one of my dad’s favorite phrases. Secret code for those of us in the know, it was his way of saying, “Yep, this is a really good time.” Usually he was talking to one of his grandsons, fishing rod in hand, bent over so he could reach a […]

Summer Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin with Herbs

Summer goes by so fast. Just when you really start to get the hang of it, it’s suddenly Labor Day, and before you know it, it’s over. Be sure to make the most of it. Eat fresh and eat seasonal every chance you get. No matter how you say tomato, the season is upon us. […]

Cowboy Caviar

The heat is definitely on this week. When it gets this hot, the last place you want to be is the kitchen. Warmer temperatures can definitely wreak havoc with your appetite, not to mention your desire to cook. Make something refreshing and beat the heat with cooling dips that let you eat light. These three […]

Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches

Clear, sunny skies and fruit and veggies galore, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and celebrate National Picnic Month. A picnic captures all the joie de vivre that is summer and delivers it in food form. In the park or at the beach, or even in your own back yard, the addition of fresh […]

Plum and Blackberry Granola Crisp

Slump, grunt and buckle. It sounds like a grueling exercise routine, but it’s actually what you should do with all the fruit you have on hand this summer. Stone fruits and berries are at the peak of perfection, so now is the perfect time. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this. Here are two recipes […]

Garden Ginger Highball and Seedlip Mary

Beverages are an important part of how we mingle. Non-alcoholic options are getting better, but for many years your only choice was something pink and syrupy sweet that came with an umbrella. Whether you’re trying to support friends who don’t drink, or if you aren’t drinking for whatever reason, there is now a grown-up option […]

Classic Succotash and Chopped Salad with Cornbread Croutons

When my kids were small, we would end every school year with a bucket list. We’d sit together and make a plan, listing all the things we wanted to see and do over the summer. Now is the time to make your summer bucket list. Let your kids stay up way past their bedtime to […]

Peach and Cucumber Salad

If you want someone to smile, say “peaches”.  It works for photographers, and it will work for you, too, if you’re serving up a dish featuring this enticing blushy fruit. Juicy, sun-ripened peaches are easy to pick right now, whether you do your picking at a roadside stand, U-pick orchard, or your favorite grocery. With […]

Grilled Cheesy Loaded Potatoes

Celebrate dad’s day with a special dinner. Let him pick the main dish and have his choice of dessert. You fill in the blanks with sides and a really good salad. Whatever else you happen to be cooking, here’s what to serve with it.  Start with a big wedge salad topped with thick, chunky blue […]

Nothing better than spring chinook

A couple of weeks ago, one of my sons and I made a quick trip to Eugene (exhibiting proper social distancing, using masks and doing hand sanitizing) to pick up some bees. We also ordered chinook salmon from Newman’s. (I miss them so much in Portland; best fish monger ever.) Last night, David and I […]

Apologies to nonna

Here is wedding soup, with apologies to all my Italian friends who learned to cook alongside their nonnas. I had to make substitutions because I didn’t want to run to the store, and I didn’t have the soup bones to make the rich, homemade broth. I had ground pork, but not ground chicken for the […]

Hunkered down and making poppy-seed cake

Hi there! It has been awhile, and I can’t say that I’m back at blogging for Small Plates, but today I made a cake that has been in the family files since 1972. It was a recipe that my mother-in-law used after her sister sent it to her from Virginia. Hunkering down to avoid COVID-19 […]

Frassati Suppers up and running again

After an extensive kitchen remodel in the Lower Hall of the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater, we are serving Frassati Suppers again. What’s Frassati? A welcoming place in Vancouver where volunteer greeters, chefs, waiters and others serve the poor and homeless in the spirit of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The supper is part of the […]

Thai sweet and sour pork

My friend Linda Meade, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Vancouver and a volunteer for the Frassati suppers at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater where we feed the poor and homeless, took me to lunch the other day at Thai Orchid. We ordered the Thai sweet and sour pork entree. […]

Gardening and Multitasking

Gardening is a fun, creative and healthy hobby. There’s nothing like unplugging from your daily routine and getting down and dirty doing concrete, tangible work. A key part of gardening is how relaxing it is. In today’s fast-paced advancements in the technological world, you can also multitask while gardening, adding an entirely new dimension to […]

Crab sandwich and warm spinach salad

  I didn’t hesitate when No. 2 son (John) dropped by the other night and offered to make dinner: a Dungeness crab sandwich alongside a spinach salad. I was thrilled to have a night off from cooking and made a quick deal. He would do the cooking; I would do the cleanup. Afterward, we talked about getting the […]

Food evokes joy of friendship

Hi there, Small Plates readers: Last weekend, I had a fabulous visit with one of my best friends from high school and her husband. I flew to San José, Calif., to stay at their house. (It was on a Boeing 737, but not the MAX.) We went to the Little Italy section of San José […]

More cooking with Hana

Another month and another chance to cook with Hana Adamko, my fellow parishioner at the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in downtown Vancouver. This time we made a Polish kielbasa-cabbage stew. Again, our guests at the Frassati Supper sang Hana’s praises and sent compliments to the chef. Frassati is a once-a-week event in which volunteers feed […]

Layered sauerkraut catches me by surprise

I coordinate volunteers for the Frassati Supper, part of an outreach program for the poor and homeless at Vancouver’s downtown Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater. Aboutt a year ago, I was short a head cook for the fourth Thursday of the month. Out of the blue, fellow parishioner Hana Adamko offered her services. Of course, I […]

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