Food

Gazpacho and waning summer days

  I had forgotten how good gazpacho is on a warm summer night. I had also forgotten how good it is to pull out something prepared ahead to serve at a family meal. That’s how gazpacho went down on Labor Day weekend when some of my family gathered to say goodbye to summer. I had […]

My new favorite drink

Hi there, Small Plate pals: About two months ago, I had dinner at Masala, an Indian restaurant in Ashland, and I discovered my new favorite drink: Masala’s version of the East India Company cocktail. It is perfect for hot weather. The drink is icy, refreshing, tart and tasty. No kidding. It contains gin, pamplemousse rosé, […]

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 […]

New Hydrangeas Bloom Longer

Some of the newer hydrangea varieties are both longer blooming and smaller in size. It is great to see these newer varieties which are extending our shrub blooming season. A few are available in a standard tree form. The Endless Summer series was one of the first to introduce the re-blooming trait in hydrangeas. There […]

Water Trees and Shrubs Deeply Now

Our extended period of hot dry weather has caused some trees and shrubs to develop premature yellowing or browning and dropping of leaves and needles. Trees and shrubs which do not receive irrigation when adjacent plants are watered need deep watering now. Water should be applied for a long enough time period so it reaches […]

Fertilize Container Plants

Most container plants have had all the fertilizer that was initially in the soil used up or washed out by frequent watering. Plant roots have a more limited growing area in containers. Container soils are more porous to insure good drainage. These two factors make it necessary to water more frequently. As a result, fertilizer […]

Disease Resistant Roses

I love roses but have just about given up growing them because I don’t have time to spray them regularly for diseases. Are there roses available which are disease resistant and bloom all summer? There are a number of recent varieties of shrub roses which are very disease resistant and continue to bloom throughout the […]

Is Your Tree Too Big?

I am often asked to evaluate a situation where home owners want to drastically reduce the size of a large tree. When I ask them why they want to reduce a mature tree’s size, the response is often “It is just too big. We didn’t realize it was going to get this big when we […]

Coconut Macaroon Nests

Coconut Macaroon Nests will totally be on the table at Easter brunch next weekend.  Although they’re a bit messy to make, they look adorable and taste great.  Feel free to make these a day or two ahead so you have less to manage on Sunday. Coconut Macaroon Nests Makes 24 nests Ingredients: 1 14 oz […]

Super Lemon Coffee Cake

I’m a food nerd.  Completely comfortable with this title, it means I read cookbooks for fun (yes really), take pictures of everyone’s food at restaurants (sorry not sorry) and take about 5 hours in any kitchen store (I told you to get a coffee and bring a book). Food nerd status also means I love […]

Pecan Caramel Clusters

Pecan Caramel Clusters don’t require any baking.  Quick and easy, these treats would be a perfect addition to Mother’s or Father’s Day brunch.  You can also substitute in your favorite nut mix.  A coworker has asked me to try making these with a pecan, cashew and pistachio combination.  Sounds even better, can’t wait to give […]

Fudge Buckeye Cake

Fudge Buckeye Cake combines dense chocolate cake with sweet, squishy peanut butter filling.  A great option for Father’s Day, you can substitute 9 inch round cake pans for the fancy rectangular ones.  Buckeye is a reference to a super popular treat originating from the Midwest. Fudge Buckeye Cake Serves 12 Ingredients: Cake 2 C sugar 2 C flour […]

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