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Donna Brown

Foothill gourmet: Stellar Thanksgiving

Here’s a few tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner stellar. It’s never too early to plan for the holidays. First is my recipe for wild mushroom-shallot gravy which is delicious. The aroma of shallots, while roasting in the oven, perfumes the whole house with a wonderful scent. If roasting shallots doesn’t get you salivating, nothing […]

Foothill gourmet: Nutty tips

Last weekend we made and brought nutty pecan bars to friends for the dessert course. It was fun to try a new recipe and the nutty pecan bars were welcomed. Tips to make the recipe are also included in today’s column. For deep nutty flavor, don’t rely on baking to brown nuts. Always toast nuts […]

Foothill gourmet: Get nutty

We’ve been making nut butters most of our married life. A welcome wedding gift from Dwight’s mother was an electric Salton peanut butter machine. We even used it in the late ’70s when we lived in a small travel trailer on our rural property for six months while our house was being constructed. It was […]

Foothill gourmet: Currying flavor

Today’s column is on Thai yellow curry. Our son fixed Thai yellow curry for dinner recently when we visited. It was so delicious we decided to prepare Thai yellow curry with potatoes for friends. First is the recipe for Thai yellow curry paste. The yellow curry paste recipe is included, because it’s difficult to find […]

Foothill gourmet: Know the difference

Readers have been asking about the difference between baking powder and baking soda and when to use each one. Today’s column gives important clues to know the difference and know when you should use each. One key in the difference of each is that baking soda needs an acid ingredient to produce the carbon dioxide […]

Foothill gourmet: Yummy cupcakes

In recent columns, I have featured vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes. Cupcakes are famously popular today. I have seen several local cupcake stores open recently. Today’s column arms readers with the ability to make their own cupcakes. It repeats the hints (in case you didn’t save them) to make delicious cupcakes. The column also includes […]

Foothill gourmet: Good tastes

Today’s column focuses on sweet and savory. Remember how mom always told you that you had to finish your meal before you could have dessert. So I’ll start with delicious savory toppings for toast. Then I’ll share some ideas for bar cookies. Toasts, cream cheese veggie — Purée 4 ounces cream cheese with 1 tablespoon […]

Foothill gourmet: Cupcakes

I had so much fun writing about spice cupcakes in the last column I thought I would write about cupcakes again. Today’s column, however, focuses on chocolate cupcakes, a favorite flavor of almost everyone. Included are recipes for chocolate cupcake batter, several cupcake variations and a chocolate frosting. Plus, I’ve included my personal review of […]

Foothill gourmet: Fun cupcakes

Just last weekend, we had an enjoyable morning preparing banana cupcakes. You know those pesky bananas. They tend to get overripe real fast, especially in the heat of summer. It’s difficult to throw away food, unless it’s moldy. We decided to use the overripe bananas to make cupcakes instead of banana bread. We chose cupcakes […]

Foothill gourmet: Good stuff for summer

Exciting and delicious news about chicken cutlets with saffron cream sauce and some awesome ideas for making homemade soda. I thought, if you did the prep, the kids around the pool can make their own sodas. Can summer get any better than that? We made chicken cutlets with saffron cream sauce recently for friends. It […]

Foothill gourmet: Time to get corny

Fresh corn is plentiful during the summer season. Here are some ways to cook corn, whether you buy it from the supermarket or the farmers market. First, the best ways to cook corn — To grill: Brush husked corn with oil. Grill over high heat, turning until lightly charred, 8-10 minutes. To boil: Bring a […]

Foothill gourmet: Smoothies are easy to make and good to drink

Smoothies and fruit juice drinks are delicious all year but particularly irresistible in the heat at this time of year. They are so easy to make even a child can be taught how to make them. Even better with all the fresh fruits and juices available, it’s almost impossible to make a bad combination. Probably […]

Foothill gourmet: Perfect paella

Today’s column features paella, the delicious Spanish rice dish that features meats, shellfish, saffron, broth and vegetables. Recipes include a quick riff on a traditional recipe since it is less work intensive and a slow-cooker paella with some prep, but even less labor. I’m looking forward to trying the slow-cooker one. I never thought it […]

Foothill gourmet: Saffron is the star

Saffron has starred in several previous columns. I delight in the flavor and color of saffron, so my opinion is that everyone should have the experience of enjoying saffron. Saffron is presumed to be expensive. By weight saffron is the most expensive spice. Since it takes only a small amount to flavor dishes, actually it […]

Foothill gourmet: More meatballs

Today’s column is dedicated to my workout friend Cindy Z. I know she’s reading today, because she is a faithful reader. At a recent yoga class, she complimented me on my last meatball column. She thought it was one of my best. That’s why I’m dedicating this second meatball column to Cindy. After the recipes, […]

Spring Art Show at Woodridge

Lodi Community Art Center’s 55th annual Spring Art Show comes to Woodridge by Robert Mondavi, 5959 East Woodbridge Road in Acampo, on Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12 from 11 a.m-5 p.m. Admission is free and this year the theme is “Fabulous Fifties.” By producing one of the largest juried art shows in California, […]

Foothill gourmet: Consider all dining preferences

Our friend Wilma and her partner Jackson recently came over for dinner. She’s vegan but he’s not. We solved the problem, by preparing a vegan meal and Dwight grilled small portions of meat to accompany the dinner for himself and Jackson. In the past, I have occasionally written articles for the column about fixing dinner […]

Foothill gourmet: Where’s the meatballs?

Welcome to today’s column, it has flavorful ideas for meatballs. Meatballs are no longer ordinary. Read ahead to find stellar ideas for flavorful meatballs ranging from beef to seafood and in flavors from Italian to Jamaican. There are four ways to cook meatballs: bake, broil, deep-fry or pan fry. To bake: Arrange on a parchment-lined […]

Foothill gourmet: Soup with vegans in mind

Over a year ago, I found a recipe for wild rice and mushroom soup planning to use it when my vegan friend Wilma came to dinner. Recently, I found the recipe again and plan to make it for Wilma’s next visit. The soup base begins with an entire pound of sliced cremini mushrooms, a favorite […]

Foothill gourmet: Fun with pesto

Pesto is a favorite flavoring for many foods; for example, pasta, rice, potatoes, grilled or braised chicken breasts or thighs, and fish fillets. Pesto can be made from greens beyond basil, cheeses beyond Parmesan and nuts beyond pine nuts. First, toast 1/3 cups nuts or seeds (varieties follow) in a dry skillet (a no oil-cast […]

Foothill gourmet: Super subs

Game day is approaching, so ideas for party subs could be just the recipe you need. Use a large (22-25-inch) loaf of bread for these subs. First hollow out the bread inside to make room for the fillings, similar to my recent recipe for stuffed French bread. Depending on how you slice the finished sub […]

Foothill gourmet: Spinach is supreme

Mention the words a la Florentine and you immediately have my attention. The French phrase translates as “in the style of Florence,” and refers to dishes that are accented with spinach. When the entrée features fish, as well as spinach, it’s usually enrobed with Mornay sauce, sprinkled with cheese and browned in the oven. In […]

Foothill gourmet: Wild recipes

Several years ago I made wild mushroom-shallot cream sauce. It is so delicious, that I now make it every year. It also provided me with an exciting new technique for peeling shallots, to add to my repertoire. Because the cream sauce is rich, I save the recipe for special occasions. While I’ve always loved the […]

Foothill gourmet: cookie column

Cookie recipes suitable for the holiday season are featured in today’s column. My favorite oatmeal cookie recipe is oatmeal craisin gems and I plan to use it often during the holidays. It is a variation of chocolate chip cookies. I treasure the other cookie recipes, because significant people in my life have given me their […]

Foothill gourmet: Winter warmers

Today’s column includes two delicious soups to warm you and your family during the winter weather. First is a Cajun shrimp chowder. The recipe is very versatile using fresh produce when in season and frozen or canned vegetables in winter. The second is turkey minestrone, which I created last year to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. […]

Foothill gourmet: Vegan meal is a win-win

Recently, we made a delicious vegan dinner for friends. It gave us the chance to try a new recipe and make the spice blend garam masala. It was a win-win on both counts and the dinner we created was delicious. Also included are several new and easy ideas for quick flavorful pasta dinners. Roasted masala […]

Foothill gourmet: Favorite clam chowder recipes

If you’re a clam chowder aficionado, read on. Clam chowder is today’s highlight. We visit the stunning coastal area of San Luis Obispo County and enjoy bird watching and fresh seafood. Besides 250 species of birds, San Luis Obispo County (SLO, in the local vernacular) hosts a decadently rich, creamy clam chowder at the Splash […]

Foothill gourmet: Two paella recipes

Today’s column features paella, the delicious Spanish rice dish that features meats, shellfish, saffron, broth and vegetables. Recipes include a quick riff on a traditional recipe since it is less work-intensive and a slow-cooker paella, some prep, but even less labor. I’m looking forward to trying the slow-cooker one. I never thought it was possible. […]

Foothill dining: Avacados are good

At our house, eating an avocado is a pleasure anytime one is ripe. Avocados are colorful and delicious additions to recipes and an excellent fresh accent to meat, fish, chicken and salads. We eat them because they are heart healthy. They also supply healthy monounsaturated fats, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Their monounsaturated fats help lower […]

Foothill gourmet: Helpful tips

Today’s column features tips for getting fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, a recipe for baked fries, tips for picking lean steaks and the best way to keep the steaks tender, while cooking. The column ends with a recipe for watermelon salsa, which you might be able to use before watermelons quickly disappear from […]

Make your own snacks

Snacks come in all kinds of flavors, savory, creamy, chocolaty, salty, crunchy and sweet. I like healthy, savory, creamy, and crunchy best. EVOO is shorthand for extra virgin olive oil. These recipes are for individual servings. Multiply the ingredients if you’re going to make additional servings. Mini Margherita Pizza — Top half of a whole-grain mini […]

Foothill gourmet: Barbecue is always on the menu

In California, with our year round favorable weather, it’s never too late to barbecue. Most weekends the fall weather remains warm and outside dining is extremely enjoyable. Barbecue sauces are invariably popular. Many cooks and backyard chefs like to devise their own. Barbecue sauces impart assertive flavors and give meat a delightful color, which are […]

Foothill gourmet: Things get corny

With fresh corn abundantly available during the summer months, a column highlighting different flavors accented with a topping for fresh corn would be welcome. First, it’s helpful to know how to cook corn. You can cook it three ways: boiling, steaming or grilling. I have friends that love to grill corn, because grilled corn has […]

Foothill gourmet: Sunsational salads

Hot summer days include an abundance of summer produce from the garden and farmers market. What better way to use flavorful summer produce than in stellar summer salads. It’s perfect fare for hot days when appetites wane. Avocado and chicken salad is a unique, delicious salad. It features a delicious, subtle light green dressing of […]

July 14, 2014 | Posted in Prospecting | Tagged ,

Foothill gourmet: Wraps are the in thing

Wraps, instead of sandwiches, are the current go-to food. Easy and flavorful to make, plus you only need a hand to eat them. Lots of fiber in the greens and vegetables and using a tortilla, they are easy on the carbs. Eating a whole sandwich is difficult for me; it’s just too much bread. My […]

Foothill gourmet: Good gifting

Gifts in a jar range from soup options to brownies and bars. It is a colorful eye-catching gift, because as you layer each ingredient you and your recipient will see a range of different colors. Today’s column focus on brownies and bars. An additional advantage to preparing a gift in a jar is that as […]

Foothill gourmet: Chicken salad has many uses

Chicken salad is a favorite dish for any summer dinner or barbecue. Recently, I found several variations on the classic, so today I’m sharing the fun. Included today is a basic chicken salad recipe and several twists on the classic chicken salad. The ways you can use chicken salad are almost endless. Use classic chicken […]

Foothill gourmet: Avocados are the best

At our house, eating an avocado is a pleasure anytime one is ripe. Avocados are colorful and delicious additions to recipes and an excellent fresh accent to meat, fish, chicken and salads. We eat them because they are heart healthy. They also supply healthy monounsaturated fats, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Their monounsaturated fats help lower […]

Foothill gourmet: Spinach makes the recipe

Mention the words a la Florentine to me and you have my immediate attention. The French phrase translates as “in the style of Florence” and refers to dishes that are accented with the flavor of spinach. If the dish features fish, it will probably be topped with Mornay sauce, sprinkled with cheese and browned in […]

Foothill gourmet: Bacon and cackle berries

Today’s column is bacon and eggs — ideas for bacon appetizers and ideas to help you dress up hard-boiled eggs. When we use bacon, for health reasons, we always buy uncured bacon, as it has no nitrates. Nitrates are suspected of producing cancer in colons. When you read the recipe, know that we purchased uncured […]

Foothill gourmet: Can’t go wrong with bacon

Today’s column features several appetizer recipes and many recipes include bacon. We purchased uncured bacon, (no nitrites). Most of the recipes serve four to six guests. One or two recipes will easily serve a small dinner party. If you’re planning an appetizer party, prepare several additional recipes. Goat cheese trio — Cut a 12 ounce […]

Foothill gourmet: Homemade tomato soup

Today’s column features several delicious recipes — a lovely homemade tomato soup, a recipe for stuffed French bread and ideas for savory wings. Homemade tomato soup — I made this recipe with 1 1/2 pounds of canned Italian tomatoes (save the juice for another use). It was delicately seasoned and a perfect accompaniment to stuffed […]

Foothill gourmet: Chicken makes a good piccata

I’ve had a chicken piccata recipe that I have treasured for 20 years. A piccata recipe is typically made with veal but chicken is a flavorful, as well as, a less expensive alternative. Last weekend we prepared chicken piccata for good friends. A piccata recipe is extremely flavorful implying a complicated preparation but this recipe […]

Foothill gourmet: Go Greek

A welcome gift from friends of ground turkey combined with ground venison was the inspiration for a delightful Greek repast. I knew I wanted distinctive burgers since this gift deserved star treatment. The final easily prepared meal included the entrée, Greek burgers with creamy pesto dressing. I created artichoke-kalamata pilaf for a delicious accompaniment. First […]

Foothill gourmet: Homemade hummus

We’ve been enjoying purchased hummus with friends and family for several weeks. Imagine my surprise, when I found a recipe to make homemade hummus. This recipe uses dried chickpeas instead of canned. Dried chickpeas make a creamier hummus. I was excited to try that recipe. I followed the recipe the first time but made two […]

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