Crispy Garlic-Ginger Chicken

As lots of you know I was born in San Francisco, grew up and
spent most of my life just south of SF near Stanford University.
Because of its cultural diversity the San Francisco Bay Area 
is home to some really fine ethnic restaurants, including 
 some top quality Chinese cuisine, which I LOVE.

Several years ago when I moved to this area of the Pacific Northwest, 
 I was dismayed to learn that the Chinese restaurants here
are abysmally bad. But my love of Asian inspired food
remained (and still remains) as strong as EVER ...
 so when we long for Chinese food, I make it myself.  

This is one of my favorites, and I've 
posted about it before  (clickable link) ~ 

It is really not difficult to make at all,  and it always 
satisfies my craving for Chinese food.

You can get a 
printable copy of the recipe over on my
recipe blog by clicking here.

Gluten Sensitive?
The good news is the coating used for the chicken is
made with cornstarch, not wheat flour, so it is naturally gluten free.
However the sauce does contain soy sauce, so
substitute tamari (verify that it is wheat free.)

I usually serve it with steamed rice and a simple
vegetable (this time steamed broccoli.)

If it sounds like something you might like,
I hope you'll give it a try!

Do you have a favorite Chinese dish that
you make, or that you like to order?

I'd LOVE to hear your favorites!

I'm linking to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
please come see!

Thank you for stopping by today.



Postcards from the Garden

I so wish I could share the heavenly fragrance of this garden with you!

This was the calm before the storm in
the side garden . . .

Below: Climbing Abraham Darby (David Austin English rose)
In the far background, growing over the gate Climbing Don Juan

If you have roses, or rose covered garden arches, showers of rose petals are inevitable 
--unless you're vigilant about dead-heading.
(Dead-heading means removing the spent blossoms.)

the weather is usually quite 'changeable' for Memorial
Day weekend, and this year was no exception.

Yesterday was a mix of brilliant blue skies, changing to overcast, 
some light sprinkles a pattern which repeated throughout the day
 . . . then the high winds whipped up in the late afternoon ~ 

David Austin English rose 'climbing 'Eden'. In the background, climbing 'Zephirine Drouhin' (French Bourbon Rose)

which wreaked havoc on the rose arches . . .

Close up, full blown (Eden)

I'm glad I was able to capture a couple of shots of one or
two of the rose arches over the path just moments before the
wind had its way.


I'm going out now to mend/tieback/clip and do
major petal clean-up right now.

I hope you all had a nice long weekend ~
Happy Tuesday!

xo ~mari


Pizzettas! Applewood Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions and Fresh Sage

Just Pizzettas (Little Pizzas).

I like them because they are just the right size
and each person can add their own toppings.

So easy!

Your favorite pizza dough, shaped into rounds
from 3 to 8 inches in diameter.

Then add your favorites...

Here is one of my favs ~ 

It includes a light brushing of extra virgin olive oil
 caramelized onions
applewood smoked bacon
a little scattering of grated mozzarella cheese

Then a sprinkling of fresh baby sage leaves
and sage blossoms, if in season, when it comes out of the oven.

Pair it with a fresh salad and you have a very fine meal.

Blessings everyone!

Please come visit Foodie Friday at
Michael's Rattlebridge Farm blog:

Click the logo to see some wonderful

Have a wonderful holiday to those observing Memorial Day.
Memorial Day honors all Americans who have died while in the military service.


Shrimp and Asparagus Fried Rice

When rice is on the menu I always steam enough for
leftovers so I can make Fried Rice. 
(Leftover, cold rice makes the best quality fried rice.)

It's one of my favorite dishes and I usually load it up
with healthy things so it is a one bowl meal. Another
reason I love it is because it is the perfect opportunity
to use up leftovers.

This time I didn't really use leftovers (except the cold rice),
as our dear neighbors generously share fresh asparagus
from their garden . . . (Thank you P & J!) So I wanted
that to be the star of the dish, and I added a few
medium size shrimp along with the things I always
include in Fried Rice. 

If you've made Fried Rice you know the steps and this
never really needs a recipe, but generally I follow this

Heat about a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok
Yellow or white onion - diced, saute until translucent 
Garlic (optional sliced) add when the onions are almost done

Carrots - diced or sliced
Celery - diced or sliced (I like lots)

I allow those veggies to saute for just a minute or two 
(to retain some crispness)

Next add the remaining ingredients:

Asparagus - or other vegetable (as much or as little as you like),
sliced on an angle in small pieces so it cooks quickly
Cold rice (may need to add a little more oil to the pan
before adding rice)
a little salt

Stir the rice until the vegetables are distributed evenly through the rice
and all ingredients are hot. 

At this point I push the rice to the side and add a teaspoon or 
so of vegetable oil, then add one or two (or more) beaten eggs
 to the cleared area of the pan ~ cooking and stirring until the eggs are lightly scrambled, 
then stir them into the rice mixture.

Usually if I'm adding shrimp I cook them separately, 
(I poach the shrimp in lightly salted water for just one or two minutes until they just turn pink.)

Add the shrimp and
fresh or frozen peas, snow peas, or edamame to the rice mixture, 
and allow to heat through (usually takes less than a minute.) 
If using frozen peas I don't bother cooking or thawing them as the residual heat
will do the job.

For best flavor serve the delicious rice up right away 
and sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions/green onions-- both white and green parts. 

If desired garnish with cilantro, toasted sliced almond and/or
toasted sesame seeds.

Something that you may find surprising?

My Fried Rice is not the usual kind you'll find in most
Chinese-American restaurants  - because it isn't cooked with
soy sauce.

I learned many years ago from a cooking lesson conducted by a
native Chinese woman that authentic Fried Rice is not cooked with
soy sauce so I do not add it, but instead pass it at the table
for anyone who would like it.
 (I usually add some to my bowl at the table because that's the way I grew up eating it.)  ;o)

This is just an outline of how I make  Asparagus- Shrimp Fried Rice, 
truly the variety of vegetables and/or protein you can use is enormous.

I usually make some form of Fried Rice about twice a month,
many times with brown rice rather than white and we
always look forward it. 

Bonus! When you make it yourself, you can be extra generous
with the add ins!

If  you give it a try, I hope you love
it too.

Do you have favorite version of Fried Rice? I
would love to hear about it-- whether you make your own
or order it -- I'm always up for new ideas.

Please come visit Foodie Friday over
at Rattlebridge Farm blog for more
great recipes!


Thank you for stopping by today!

Blessings,  ~Mari


Postcard from the Garden

~ A drizzly Spring day in the garden ~

"Carding Mill" English rose bred by David Austin (UK)

(This rose was named after Carding Mill  "an extremely beautiful valley 
in the Long Mynd just to the west of the David Austin 
nursery in Shropshire", UK.)


Fresh Lemon Cake with Berry Glaze

A redux post from a couple of years ago . . .
It was a special tea party.

I decided to share it again as it is a favorite dessert
around here, and I am making this same cake today. 

You can choose almost any fruit topping, (or leave it off entirely), I like the combination of the
lemon cake with strawberry topping and that's
the way I usually make it.

My mom began making it back in the 1970's, when it was originally called "French Lemon Cake" ~ I'm
not sure why "French"... perhaps because it is only one layer?

It's one of those that you can put together VERY quickly as it is mixed in the food processor.

After it is baked sweetened lemon juice is drizzled over the top, intensifying the luscious lemon flavor.

It can be served plain, and it's very good that way ~ but I usually dress it up a bit by adding a thick Strawberry glaze, made with melted Strawberry jam, and then I pipe on, or serve the cake slices with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

So simple to make, but so good!

If you'd like the recipe, a printable copy is available 
HERE on my recipe blog.

Click the link below to see all the
wonderful recipes for this weeks
Foodie Friday hosted by
Rattlebridge Farm!

Click HERE.


Thank you for stopping by for a visit today.



Baked Blueberry French Toast with Blueberry Syrup

Perfect for Mother's Day Brunch!

Everybody I've served this to loves this recipe.

If you like blueberries, this is the one for you ~

it is similar to stuffed french toast as little cream cheese
cubes and fresh berries are layered between the cubes of 
French bread then the egg-milk custard mixture is
poured over all.

It's assembled the night or day before you intend to serve it
then refrigerated overnight 
and baked the next morning when you're ready.

You can make the Blueberry Syrup a few days ahead if desired,
or serve with your favorite syrup.

You'll find the printable recipe over on my
recipe blog ... Click HERE.

Please join us for FOODIE FRIDAY (click)
where you'll find dozens of fabulous recipes each week!

Happy Mother's Day weekend everyone!



Chile Colorado

One of my favored ways of using my homemade Red Chile Sauce
is in Chile Colorado.  Chile Colorado is made with chunks of
beef, red chili sauce and just a few other simple ingredients. 
Unadulterated, pure form of the dish we know in
the United States as Chili.

You can use stew meat cubes from the market, or cut 
your own from Chuck Steak or any of the less expensive
cuts of beef; those which benefit from a long, slow cooking time.

The method is much the same for making beef stew.
(I usually make mine in a pressure cooker, but you
can make it in a traditional pot on the stovetop as well.)

Here's the method:

Heat a little vegetable oil in a heavy pot until quite hot, season the meat
cubes with salt and pepper and brown in batches (don't crowd or
the meat won't brown properly.) Turn occasionally so the cubes of
meat are evenly browned on all sides.  Remove the browned meat
to a large plate or platter and repeat until all the meat is browned.

Add a large white or yellow onion (diced) to the pan, and
cook until translucent, you may add a minced clove of garlic
(or two) at the end of cooking time. Place the meat back in
the pot, add some of the red chili sauce (a cup or three,
depending upon how much meat you have), and add enough
water or beef broth to just cover the meat.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to barely a simmer and place
lid on pan (slightly askew so steam can escape), and
slowly simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until
beef is almost fall-apart tender. Add more liquid if during the
cooking time if it is evaporating too quickly.

At the finish you want enough chili 'gravy' to
generously coat the meat, with some extra to serve with
rice and tortillas, if desired.

I truly like this better than chile con carne!

I usually serve this with sliced avocados, a few slices of lime,
rice and beans; and any other condiments you like.

I always offer pinto beans from the pressure cooker,
cookedwith just a chopped onion, a little garlic, salt and pepper
and water, cook until tender.

Hope you enjoy!


Homemade Mexican Red Chili Sauce

If you make enchiladas, tamales, or any 
Mexican or Tex-Mex style dish that requires
red chili sauce, I urge you to bypass the canned
stuff and make your own sauce from scratch.

It goes together very quickly, with just a couple of ingredients
 and is far tastier than canned, plus you can adjust the level of
heat according the the chilies you use.

(Most well stocked grocery stores
carry dried peppers in the Mexican food/ingredient 

The method is much easier than you might imagine:

- Simply rinse the peppers, remove the seeds
and stems (discard.) 
- Lightly toast the peppers in a dry skillet to bring out their flavor.

- Remove from skillet and place in a small sauce pot with
water, bring to a boil and remove from heat. 
Allow to soak for 10 minutes.

- Puree the softened pepper in a blender with some of the
soaking water (or plain water if the soaking water seems

- Add 1 large clove of garlic, 2 whole cloves, 2 pepper corns,
1 or 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, and salt. 
Continue to blend until sauce is smooth.

- Pour the sauce through a sieve into a skillet, add a
tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir and simmer over medium
heat for about 10 minutes.  Taste for seasonings.

Use immediately in your favorite recipe or cool and
store in a glass container then refrigerate or freeze.

Elise, over at Simply Recipes has a wonderful
step-by-step pictorial, with the type of chilies to
select as well as the recipe.

Next up,  I'll show you one of my favorite ways of
using this Red Chili Sauce.

Thank you for stopping by, and for any comments you
would care to share!  Have a wonderful week.

xo ~mari  :o)


Chocolate Chip Scones with Strawberries

When the first of the season organic strawberries
arrived in the market a couple of weeks ago I just
had to bring some home.

Bright red and surprisingly sweet for early season
strawberries, they needed very little sugar when
I sliced and macerated them in their own juice.

After eating our fair share of the ruby beauties
right out of the carton, I put some aside to
serve on split Chocolate Chip Scones with a
little dollop of slightly sweetened vanilla-sugar
whipped cream.

The chocolate Chip Scones are also divine
served warm, either plain or with a pat of butter
or a dollop of thickened cream.

This recipe is a very good one if you decide to give 
them a try.  I hope you enjoy.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Come join us at Foodie Friday!! 

Click Here.



French Bread ~ Two Ways

I'm going to share two ways of making this bread 
the recipe is the same in both cases, but the loaves
are just finished differently. (I made a mistake the first
time I made it, but we still loved the bread!)

The recipe makes one large loaf, or two medium size baguettes, 
and you can use a bread machine for
mixing the dough and for the first rise.

This the bread cooling when the recipe is made the way it
was intended to be made ~ resulting in a nice 
crispy-chewy crust with body.  

The interior texture is fairly fine, unlike a rustic sourdough; 
no big holes so you can use it as a base for sandwiches and tartines, etc.

For the crispy crust version, egg-white wash is
brushed on during the last few minutes of baking.

And below is my "mistake" version:

 I brushed the egg wash on the bread when I placed
it in the hot oven. This way the crust is softer ~ 
perfect for when you don't want a pronounced crunchy crust. 

Kids and anyone with a dental issue would probably 
prefer the bread made this way.  :0)

Either way, there is not much that can top the
aroma (and taste) of freshly baked bread!

If you would like a copy of the recipe; you can find
it HERE.

Coming next:

I'll share a couple of yummy ways I like to use French bread
when it's a day or two old.

A Sampling of my food . . .


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