This morning the puppy, CeCe, woke me up early before the blazing Sacramento sun discouraged me from heating up the oven.  So I decided to bake cornbread to have for dinner with our garden chili (so many tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion right now).  This cornbread does have a spicy kick to it, so I would suggest either pairing it with a mild chili or, if you do go all out, have a tall glass of milk ready.

Fresh Baked Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

2 cups of cornmeal (yellow or white)
½ cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
2 Tbsp sour cream
3 jalapeños, diced
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
1 green pepper, diced
1 tomato, sliced
dash of cumin or cayenne pepper

Adding Cheddar, Jalapeño and green pepper to cornbread batter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together dry ingredients. Set aside. Whisk egg, milk and sour cream. Mix with dry ingredients. Fold in jalapeños, peppers and cheddar and spices to taste. Pour batter into greased baking pan and top with sliced tomatoes. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes. Cornbread should be brown on top and pulling away from the sides of the skillet.

Baking is Yummy!

It’s so tasty! Even Cece is lickin her chops.

Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen


To those people who think it’s hard to eat fresh on a dime, you need to visit Pedrick’s Produce in Davis, California.  My friend Natalie, a student at UC Davis, raves about this place.  You can get a lot of fresh, local fruits and vegetables for incredibly cheap.   They also have packaged candies, chocolates, hot sauces, dried fruits and legumes.  I got a bag of yellow peaches for 49 cents a pound.  It could possibly have been the juiciest peach I’ve ever eaten.  Delicious, but I do imagine the produce would go bad if you don’t eat it right away.  I like to put mine in a vegetable fresh bag and let it work miracles in our fridge.   These bags keep lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, fruit and other delicate produce fresher for at least three times as long as it normally would.

I love traditions.  It give me something to look forward to and also memories to look back on.  There is a particular tradition that we share with our family friends, the Morrows.  Friendships have been shared among all three generations of our families.  Our histories are partially intertwined.  That’s why it’s important that the two families go out to dinner at Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant every summer.   There is no better place to eat in the Carmichael area.  When we went this past week, we ordered a couple pitchers of beers and two larger than life pizzas:

The Chicken Supreme- extra cheese, marinated chicken, tomatoes and garlic.

Vegetarian- Extra cheese, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and olives.

The chicken supreme is the better of the two, but both are delicious and filling.  This restaurant has been family owned since 1975 and the service is still great!  Whenever I’m in the mood for Italian, Pasquale’s it is.

Located at 7609 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Carmichael CA

Chocolate chip zucchini bread is my weakness.  It is so delicious for breakfast, a snack or dessert.  During the summer, we end up with so many zucchini from our garden and our CSAs that I usually double the amount this recipe calls for.  Enjoy it while you have it, because come fall season, it will be all about the chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  I’ll be sure to post that recipe too.  It’s to die for.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg and cardamom
1 cup chocolate chips

  1. In a large bowl beat the eggs. Beat in the sugar and oil. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
  2. Stir in the four, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Mix until just moist.
  3. Pour batter into two 9 inch baking dishes and bake at 350 F for 40 to 45 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick into the middle and it comes out dry.

Chocolate Zuchinni Bread


This spring my mom did an amazing job of planting a garden where our above-ground pool used to sit.  Now we look out to green rows of vegetables and flowers and know that we are cultivating life in our own home.  We are growing the food that will nourish our own bodies… or at least our dog Charity’s.  She seems to be the primary harvester this year.  Last week she ate three cucumbers right off the vine.  This has been a great learning experience and we are looking forward to making our garden even better next year.  We are so lucky to have the California sunshine and fertile soil of the Sacramento valley.  We might as well make use of it.

Tomato Toast

This is like soul food for the summertime.  It’s not too rich and heavy for a hot night, but it’s got enough buttery, toasted goodness to satisfy anyone.  These heirloom cherry tomatoes are so juicy- take one bite and they explode with sweetness.    I suggest using a batard loaf.  Batard literally means bastard because it is the inferior form of a baguette.  However, it’s large surface and spongy insides are perfect for holding in the delicious flavors of Tomato Toast.

Tomato ToastTomato Toast

6 slices batard sourdough
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 avocado
handful of chopped basil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 slices butter

Heat the butter in a pan until golden brown, add the bread and fry until browned on both sides.  In another pan put the garlic, basil, and a slice of butter and let it brown.  When that is done, mix tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, avocado, and the basil/garlic mixture.  Spoon on top of the bread and enjoy with a glass of Pinot Gris!

Heirloom cherry tomatoes and garlic from Rudolph Steiner Biodynamic Farm

Basil from our garden

I can’t work at the California State Fair for eight weeks and not do a post on all that greasy, deep-fried food I’ve been seeing and tasting.

Food I’ve tried:

Chocolate-dipped key lime pie
Chocolate-dipped banana
Fried green beans with chipotle mayo
Deep-fried zucchini
Deep-fried brownie

I don’t exactly have a stomach of steel, so I usually try just one bite. Everything I’ve tried has been tasty, especially the key lime pie. All the buzz this year though has been about the Big Rib- two pounds of marinated meat balanced precariously at the end of a bone which serves as a handle. I see whole families just pass this thing around, bite by bite, devouring the beast.

Beignet With Bananas

It may not be local, healthy, or gourmet, but fair food is tradition. It wouldn’t be the same here without it because sharing a meal with others is how we socialize and celebrate. Memories are created in the presence of food.

Photo Credit: Mikhail Chernyavsky / CBSSacramento.com

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