eat a peach

the title of a k d lang album, or
a swell breakfast


We’re getting near the end of peach season in Northern California, a good time to eat a peach, and to celebrate a peach.

This is an O’Henry, a yellow freestone peach. I’m eating it on Tuesday morning, having bought three at the Market on Saturday morning. The other two hit my tummy on Monday. Peaches at the Market are picked pretty ripe, so even though I pick out the firmest, they don’t last long at home, a bad thing if you want space between your peaches.

In any case, this one was ready to go around the bend, so after my morning walk, I got out my vegetable peeler, paring knife, little skillet and sausage and went to work.


First, I peeled the peach. Love peaches, yellow peaches — I’m not partial to white, they have kind of an empty sweetness — hate peach skin. This is a freestone peach, so I can cut it into wedges.

I took my sausage — a hot Italian from Golden Gate Meats — slipped it out of the casing and fried it up. I’ll use about half and put the other half aside for whatever later.


I scoop the sausage meat out of the skillet, but not the good sausage juices — these sausages aren’t overly fat. Add about half a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and swirl it around to coat the whole bottom. Add the peach wedges and cook. Juices will flow.


I turn the wedges and sprinkle the cooked sausage over and between. In a minute or so, that’s all hot and done. Slide it onto a plate and eat.

Oh my.


asparagus and mortadella
dinner thursday

I had a meeting at 7pm. That always makes for an awkward dinner. Carol gets home about 6:20 and I have to leave about 6:30, so maybe we can work in a first course together.


After lunch, I made some asparagus soup. When we have asparagus for dinner, the first step is to snap off the bottoms. I’ve taken to saving those to make asparagus soup and have developed a fabulous go-to recipe based on a recipe. He uses “the good part” of 12 spears and garnishes with a tip or two. I use whatever I have, in this case about 15 bottoms.

Cut the asparagus into one-inch pieces. Cook the asparagus in chicken or vegetable broth, uncovered for 30 minutes.


Should have used a smaller pot. In this pot, the asparagus cooked nearly dry and I had to add more broth… no big deal.

While that is going on, make a batch of Tomato Coulis.(included with the SC asparagus soup recipe)


Take two medium tomatoes and put in a blender. (I used four of my smallish San Marzano tomatoes home-canned last fall.) Add 1 clove garlic, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 3 anchovy fillets, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and puree at high speed for 3 minutes.

Now 3 minutes is a really long time when you’re standing looking at a blender whirring at high speed. I have pureed this for 3 minutes and have also pureed for 1 1/2 minutes. Didn’t see much difference. Continue reading

Saturday Morning Frittata

Why Do I Make Breakfast Difficult?

My Saturday mornings have a routine… Go to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at eight o’clock, come home and prep the vegetables for storage – top and wash the carrots and radishes, trim the leeks, whatever else depending on the season and bounty – put everything away and make notes of what we have to eat for the week. Then, it’s time for breakfast – by that time one might call it brunch although I cook and eat alone and brunch implies a sharing, less informal thing – Carol has long since had her breakfast.

Since childhood, I’ve never been a cereal or oatmeal – or even a smoked salmon and cream cheese – kind of guy. I need to invent something. “Why do I have to make it difficult?” I say to myself… and then I go ahead with a preparation of more than a few steps. This morning, I had leftover corned beef, I fried that, just enough to get it warm – that’s a good start – but I had no other leftovers. So I sliced and fried a potato, broke two eggs and beat them up with a bit of crème fraiche (tip: zap your crème fraiche in the microwave for seven seconds before adding eggs), topped that with some fresh cheese curd from the market and made a two-egg frittata. Oh, I threw in some celery, for crunch.

slice and fry a potato

slice and fry a potato

slice the corned beef and warm

slice the corned beef and warm

start the frittata with a layer of corned beef and potato

start the frittata with a layer of corned beef and potato

add celery, eggs, more potatoes and cheese curd… cook at very low heat until it sets…

add celery, eggs, more potatoes and cheese curd… cook at very low heat until it sets…

pop under broiler for three or so minutes, slide onto plate

pop under broiler for three or so minutes, slide onto plate

I had the time and took the time to do it. That’s what I call a good breakfast.

You want a quik-n-EZ breakfast?


Warm up last night’s pizza in the toaster-oven. Yum.

Chicken Liver Pate

Back in July, 2007, I posted a story called A Chicken’s Liver, about what to do with the liver you find inside your chicken — make a quick one-liver pate. I do that as a matter of course when I have the occasion to use a whole chicken.

And that’s good, but not plenty. Carol recently said, “You know what we haven’t had for a while? Chicken livers.” I listened.

From time to time, I make the traditional Chopped Chicken Liver — liver, onions and hard cooked eggs mixed together — most recently for my Super Bowl XLIII Party. Good, but it lacks finesse; and on that occasion it was overshadowed by my Bacon Explosion, wildly popular at the time.

I went in search of a real chicken liver pate — buttery and boozy and rich — and found the answer on the KQED blog in a recipe by Thy Tran, a food writer I had seen in the Chronicle from time to time.

Here’s what she thinks about a real chicken liver pate:

“For those trying to watch their cholesterol intake, you can stop reading right now. Ditto for the vegetarians and the hard-core dieters. Teetolers might also want to move along.

For those remaining — those of us who still manage to reward ourselves during the dark days of winter — it’s time to whip up some chicken liver paté.

As buttery treats go, liver is dense with protein, vitamins and minerals. A few crackers spread thinly with this paté will make the bitterest salad sweeter. Accompanied with a thinly sliced apple and a glass of wine, it becomes a very adult way to enjoy a movie at home. And little ramekins set out for guests never fails to impress.”

That’s my kind of food treat — I’m not much into sweets — so I set to work.

w_chix_liversFirst, marinate the livers in cognac and thyme to get all flavorful and joyful. OK, it doesn’t look all that good… yet. But chicken livers, cognac and thyme… there’s no bad in there. I did a half recipe, so that’s a half pound chicken livers, an ounce of cognac and one and a half tablespoons fresh thyme. Continue reading

Two Breakfasts

One at IHOP and one at home
And then, two more breakfasts

International Crepe, Omelette at IHOP

Son Brian’s job has moved him from Montpellier, in southern France to Reno, in western Nevada. Quite a change, but Reno is a pretty nice place. He closed on his house a short time ago. Carol and I went to help him unpack and move furniture around. His refrigerator was delivered about the time we arrived on Friday; a beautiful refrigerator, but empty.

Brian had to go get his driver’s license early Saturday morning, so Carol and I went searching for a proper sit-down breakfast. Outside of downtown Reno and the casinos, restaurants are situated in outdoor shopping centers. The first we passed had no restaurant. At the second, larger shopping center we spied an IHOP. Their parking lot was full, a good sign that they’re open and popular.

I don’t think I’ve been to an IHOP since they were the International House of Pancakes on Storrow Drive in Boston, back when our kids were kids. I’m not a fan of pancakes, so I ordered the International Crepe Passport: Two eggs, two crispy bacon strips, two pork sausage links and your choice of a Danish fruit crepe or two Nutella or Swedish crepes. I chose sausage only, eggs over easy and the Danish fruit crepe.

Carol chose the “Create Your Own Omelette” with sausage.

The portions were enormous, way more than I wanted or needed for breakfast.

August 09
That’s the “Danish” apple cinnamon crepe on the left. The white blob on top is whipped cream and the crepe is also stuffed with whipped cream. When the waitress asked if I wanted sausage and bacon or one or the other, I thought she was talking about a total of two. Silly me. I declined extra toast. The trouble is, people expect these huge portions, and then feel obliged to clean up their plate. I ate the sausages and eggs and about a third of the crepe. The kindly waitress offered a box, but enough is enough. Continue reading

Sunday Breakfast

Carol and I religiously eat dinner together at the dining room table. As for other meals, it’s catch as catch can – we each prepare what we want when we want it and eat at the kitchen table. She’s a sandwich person, I’m not; I tend toward soup or anything made in a skillet.

Sunday morning, I had a hankering for eggs poached in some kind of tomato sauce. That’s a good start. Although I have various homemade tomato sauces in the freezer, none were ready to go.

I did have a can of Progresso Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil Soup in the drawer. That’s pretty good for use as tomato sauce, thick and tomatoey.

I got out some celery to chop into the soup, but with the refrigerator door open, spied some excess fava beans that I had shelled and blanched for a lamb stew. Even better.

I got out the eggs and put two in a bowl of hot tap water. That will warm them up a bit… it doesn’t seem right to put cold eggs into hot sauce.

favas in one bowl, shells in another

favas in one bowl, shells in another

Put a small skillet on the stove over medium high heat, and when it was pretty hot, covered the bottom with olive oil, added the favas and cooked a bit, tossed and cooked a bit more. Continue reading

One Handed Breakfast


On Saturday I had brunch with a friend at Namu on Balboa at 6th Avenue — fine place that — and broke into a rant about Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. I really believe in his way of eating and can’t help going on about it.

On the subject of breakfast, Lisa said she would like to eat fresh food but she has two pre-teen daughters and teaches. Mornings are hectic, to say the least. Her first class is at 7:30, so she eats a Trader Joe’s power bar in the car during her commute. “I have to be able to eat with one hand,” she said, “something not messy. I don’t like what I eat for breakfast, but that’s the way it is.”

I don’t have that problem, but was thinking about her plight the next morning. I put together a breakfast that was not messy, and while I ate at the table, what I had could have been eaten in a car with one hand, from a container rather than a dish.


  • Piccoline olives
  • Anchovy stuffed olives
  • Hard boiled egg, quartered
  • “Mikes” cheese curd (with peppers) from Spring Hill Farm, available at a Farmers Market near you. Continue reading

Super (Bowl) Food

Food and the Super Bowl


This year we hosted our XIth Annual Super Bowl Party for Super Bowl XLII, the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots. Having lived in Newton, Massachusetts for 24 years while raising our kids, we are dyed-in-the-wool Patriots fans; but not all those invited shared our views.

In years past, we themed the food around the teams playing (Baltimore Crab Cakes, Carolina BBQ, are examples,) but last year we ran up against Indianapolis. What the heck would you do with Indianapolis??? So we punted and did a country ham, because we like country ham.

In any case, this year we had some good theme choices (New England Clam Chowder vs. Manhattan Clam Chowder, Lobster vs. NY Steak,). We recently returned from Europe, and particularly Spain, where we delighted in the Tapas. What great food for a party, finger food, little paper plates are good; eat bites of what you want, when you want, as much as you want, throughout the game. Continue reading



We were at a friend’s house for lunch on Sunday. Panini was served. Ummm Good. Our hosts raved about their Cuisinart Panini Press and another guest said she had bought one just like it at Crate and Barrel.

When I was standing in line for the Get Green event at Macy’s, an All Clad Panini Set was on display, right beside me, a simple non-stick, 10×12 inch grill pan and a heavy metal weight with a handle, slightly smaller than the pan. I checked the price, $130!!

Lordy! I can do that with my cast iron grill pan using the lid from my cast iron skillet for the weight. Continue reading

A Chicken's Liver


a one-liver pate;

When you poach a chicken, there are these giblets in the cavity of the beast. What does one do with those? And why am I ”Eats – for – One – guy” poaching a whole chicken?

Second question first:
In this case, I’m using the chicken meat and the broth that the poaching creates in Brunswick Stew. If I weren’t doing that, poached chicken meat can be used in chicken noodle soup, for chicken salad, for chicken hash, for chicken sandwiches, to fill tacos or quesadillas, to throw into canned soups or to add to leftover, already-made soups to make them more interesting and hearty. And you’ve got the chicken broth, for free, as a bonus. I freeze mine in stackable quart containers. Continue reading