Donna Brown

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 […]

Foothill gourmet: Saffron is a 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. Because it takes only a small amount to flavor dishes, in reality […]

Foothill gourmet: Cookie time

Today’S column features two Christmas cookie recipes. Isn’t it remarkable how the holidays seem to creep up on us? In spite of all the hustle and bustle of holiday preparation, Christmas is a season that evokes sentiment and memories. It’s a time for making special favorites to share with family and friends. For me, these […]

Foothill gourmet: Helpful holiday dinner tips

Here’s a few tips to make your Christmas dinner stellar. It’s never too early to plan for the holidays. First is my recipe for wild mushroom-shallot gravy, that 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: Be prepared

It’s those last few days before the Thanksgiving celebration. For the most part, the planning has been done; the guests are invited. All that is left is the shopping and the final execution of your menu. If there is one suggestion that would help you to cope with the stress of the day’s cooking; it’s […]

Foothill gourmet: Thanksgiving tips

Here’s a few tips to make Thanksgiving dinner stellar. If you like the tip, but not for Thanksgiving, put it in your file of delicious tips to save. Wishing you lovely holidays. A good rule of thumb for knowing how much turkey you will need for Thanksgiving dinner is to purchase 1½ pounds of turkey […]

Foothill gourmet: Spice up the holidays

October and November holidays have most kitchens filled with the smells of pumpkin or cranberries. A huge thank you goes to two of my long-time friends who took the time to share favorites. Today’s column also features several new cranberry recipes, that you might like to try for the upcoming holidays. My friend Traci recommends […]

Foothill gourmet: Vegan meal

I have a dear friend, Wilma, that I’ve known for 43 years. After meeting we went on a bicyclying tour of Hawaii. She recently became vegan. When we have her and Jackson to our house, we always make a vegan dinner. Today’s column feautures vegan stuffed acorn squash with wild rice medly. For meat lovers, […]

Foothill gourmet: More about 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 cup nuts or seeds (varieties follow) in a dry skillet (no oil-cast iron […]

Foothill gourmet: Pesto is great

My friend, Betsy, wanted an answer to the question: What is pesto? As a result, a recipe for classic Italian pesto appeared in one of the my first Foothill Gourmet columns. Imagine my delight when I found additional ways to use pesto beyond pasta. Traditional pesto is a combination of fresh herbs, oil and cheese. […]

Foothill gourmet: Sport food

Welcome to the sports seasons of the end of baseball and start of football and a column full of savory snack recipes excellent for creating a festive feeling for sport viewing. Recipe ingredients are available at the supermarket and require little or no cooking. Garlic-herb dip — Halve 3 heads garlic crosswise. Place in an […]

Foothill gourmet: Time to get corny

Sweet summer corn is ready to give all its flavor right now. Buy enough ears for all family members and serve it up one of the following different ways. Steaming and grilling is a time tried favorite way of preparing corn. Of course, fresh has more flavor but frozen will work when fresh is no […]

Foothill gourmet: Get corny

With fresh corn abundantly available during the summer months, I thought a column highlighting different flavors that can be an accent topping fresh corn would be welcome to readers. First, it’s helpful to know how to cook corn. It can be cooked three ways: boiling, steaming or grilling. I have friends that love to grill […]

Foothill gourmet: Appetizers for everyone

Appetizers are featured in today’s column. A favorite for a large party, is a he-man stuffed French bread appetizer. It is especially good for any gathering — large or small. For a small gathering use a half loaf of French bread and a whole for the large party. Stuffed French bread is quickly and easily […]

Foothill gourmet: Yummy slaws for the season

Summer is barbecue: flavorful meats excellently grilled, grilled vegetables, green salads and slaws. The first three items have been prominent in recent columns. I have to admit I have not accorded coleslaw it’s due. Recently, I found great information about how to vary the traditional coleslaw recipe. Today’s column features delicious slaws. It features a […]

Foothill Gourmet: Basic tools

A great question friends and readers ask me is what equipment items should I purchase for the kitchen. The essential equipment for a cooking kitchen are the following items; quality knives, stainless or cast-iron pans, a food processor and a stand mixer. These are the basic tools that I would be hard-pressed to live without […]

Foothill gourmet: Tangy and delicious

Today’s column includes several recipes for Mexican food. Mexican ingredients abound in out local supermarkets. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, be sure to talk and ask questions of the store manager or produce department manager. I shop our local stores regularly. As a regular shopper, they always answer my questions. Tortilla bake […]

Foothill gourmet: Son inherits a love for cooking

My son, Kyle, loves to cook. Did the apple fall not far from to the tree? Two experiences fed his love of ethnic cuisines. First, he found a love of pizza and tacos at middle school. Later, when working at Bay Area game companies, he worked long hours to get the game completed. He was […]

Foothill gourmet: Salad dressing recipes

One of my favorite topics to share with my readers is tips that save money when preparing or cooking food. I read several food magazines each month, so I’m always on the lookout for helpful tips. Today’s column includes many money-saving tips and salad dressing recipes to accent the salad greens you’re preparing. Cheese rinds […]

Foothill gourmet: From grill to salad

What makes a great salad? Crisp greens, fresh or grilled vegetables, grilled meats, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a perfectly balanced dressing and a dash of the exotic. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with fresh ingredients since wonderful produce is abundant at the farmers market. With temperatures heating up, salads are a welcome […]

Foothill Gourmet: More mac and cheese dishes

Today’s column features an Alfredo mac and cheese recipe, not included in a recent mac and cheese column, and several fabulous variations. Alfredo mac and cheese — kosher salt, 8 ounces penne or other short pasta, 1 clove garlic smashed, 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, 2 cups heavy cream, freshly ground pepper, 1/2 cup freshly ground […]

Foothill gourmet: Paella can be complicated or simple

I have fond memories of successfully making Spain’s national rice dish paella (pronounced pie-ay-yuh) for a large company dinner in the mid-1980s. I remember choosing to prepare paella, because not only was it unique but I thought it would taste delicious, be festive and be just that perfect entrée for feeding a large number of […]

Foothill gourmet: Classic mac and cheese and more

Baked macaroni and cheese is definitely a family comfort food. Today’s column includes a basic recipe, two stove top recipes and inventive additions to delight your diners. Classic baked mac cheese — Ingredients: 8 ounces fusilli or other short pasta, 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon more for the baking dish, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, […]

Foothill gourmet: From the heart

Just last weekend my husband pointed out the Valentine candy conversation heart display as we entered the supermarket. Candy hearts are, for me, reminiscent of carefree childhood times. Just in case you know nothing about those charmingly nostalgic hearts, I’m enthused to share facts about them that I find interesting. NECCO, short for, the New […]

Foothill gourmet: Super Bowl treats

The Super Bowl is next Sunday. Being a native San Franciscan, it’s go 49ers. I have zero control over the game, but I can share some appetizers that can make your family and Super Bowl friends delighted. If you can’t use today’s ideas for a Super Bowl party, save the recipes anytime you need an appetizer. […]

Foothill gourmet: Cioppino party

Welcome, all readers old and new to today’s column. After creating cioppino last weekend, I am sharing three different cioppino recipes: an original recipe from Mrs. Pesavento, always an excellent source for flavorful food; a recipe from a food advertisement; and an easy, quick one we made. Mrs. Pesavento’s cioppino — Prep time is 15 minutes, total […]

Foothill gourmet: Time to share recipes

Holidays are hectic, with shopping and wrapping and planning menus. However, even more important, they are filled with love of family and friends. During the whole year, but especially at holiday times, I like to create the unexpected. My idea for today’s column is to share muffin and candy recipes that could easily be used […]

Foothill gourmet: Cookies represent tradition and love

Cookie recipes are featured in today’s column. My new cookie recipe, oatmeal craisin gems, reminds me of fall. I plan to use it often during the holiday season. It is a variation of chocolate chip cookies. I make the other cookie recipes, because significant people in my life have given me the recipes. These cookie […]

Foothill gourmet: Two excellent holiday recipes

Our family enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving repast. Now, I have two excellent recipes to share for the Christmas holidays: sweet potato, pecan and cranberry surprise and Terri’s favorite cornbread-sausage stuffing with apples. My sister made sweet potato, pecan and cranberry surprise for Thanksgiving dinner and my good friend Terri shared with me a delicious cornbread-sausage […]

Foothill gourmet: Terrific tips

In my opinion, I can never have too many cooking or organizing tips. In today’s column, the tips come first. One of them might strike your fancy, plus save you time. Following the hints is a delicious recipe for a pizza blanca recipe. Pizza Blanca is a pizza that uses a white sauce instead of […]

Foothill gourmet: Great tips and recipe

Welcome back, intrepid readers. Today’s column again shares time and money saving tips, plus a delicious recipe for parmesan peppers. It can be almost impossible to get the last remaining teaspoons of mustard from a jar or bottle. I usually use a spatula to scrape out the left-over. If that doesn’t work for you, try […]

Foothill gourmet: Fun cooking tips

Finding a helpful preparation or cooking tip is for me almost as much fun as cooking. I constantly read food articles looking for helpful tips. When I find one or more, I save them in a special file. The file is a resource to share with my family, friends and readers. Here are my new […]

Foothill gourmet: Apple time

A visit to Apple Hill, with a bounty of apples and irresistible baked apple desserts, is a lovely trip. We usually visit Apple Hill during the week to avoid the crowds. We purchase fresh apples and a single delectable apple dessert. Apple pie and ice cream is considered the official national dessert. Celebrate the fall […]

Foothill gourmet: Love pizza?

Today’s column includes techniques to use with either purchased pizzas or homemade dough and I guarantee you will make the best pizza your family and friends have ever tasted. You’ll be so confident of your pizza making skills that you’ll want to share these rarely known techniques that supply pizzas with remarkable flavors. The best […]

Foothill gourmet: Yummy snacks

Today’s column features several recipe ideas for football watching, movie watching or pre-dinner snacks and a recipe for grilled portobello burgers. Kettle corn — Put 3/4 cup popcorn kernels and 3 tablespoons each sugar and vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Don’t use a thin alumium pot as the sugar can burn too […]

Foothill gourmet: Tasty desserts

If you are thinking about preparing a great dessert or want to make an edible gift, I have several ideas that might tickle your fancy. These desserts require refrigeration. Keep the items refrigerated until serving or gift giving. While traveling be sure to add blue ice. Peanut butter fudge — Melt 2 sticks butter in […]

Foothill gourmet: Dinner and dessert

D and D is my shorthand for today’s column since it includes a main dish for dinner and a “cool” recipe for dessert. The first recipe is courtesy of my workout friend, Kay. I trust her judgement, because she eats healthy and likes to cook quality food for her husband. She cooked for her whole […]

Foothill gourmet: Salads are perfect in the summer

Hot summer days include an abundance of summer produce from the garden, neighbor’s gardens and farmers markets. 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 […]

Foothill gourmet: Delicious milkshakes

Today’s column features ice cream and frozen yogurt to make incredibly delicious milkshakes. Each of the following recipes makes two milkshakes. Double or triple the recipe ingredients to serve family and friends. For the most flavorful results, use real vanilla extract, not imitation. Real vanilla extract is more expensive than imitation vanilla but the difference […]

Foothill gourmet: Ice cream is cool

We have always loved ice cream, but I do have to admit we eat less ice cream as we age (even though we still work out). An ice cream sundae bar is a festive dessert for any summer occasion. Provide 2-4 cartons of ice cream, a selection of fresh fruit, a cooked sauce and a […]

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