Rice, Rice, & More Rice

  1. Rice in cupboard1

Our 2nd blog email is going out just as we’re about to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary. The whole family is off to Colorado on Saturday to get introduced or re-introduced to my beautiful home state where we got hitched 50 years ago.  Unfortunately, the Presbyterian church where we were married was torn down shortly thereafter.  An inauspicious event.

Before I blog-on about recipes, let me tell you about our new page feature (see menu at the top) – Food for Thought.   In Food for Thought we’re posting articles that we’ve really enjoyed and found thought-provoking – and sometimes just provoking.  We promise to stay far far away from politics – unless/maybe/if/possibly it relates to food.  Our first article is about why today’s poultry is so flavorless.  I’ve been griping about that for years.

Now back to our blog:  Two weeks ago I couldn’t stop thinking about Curry.  Go GG Warriors!  Now I have another obsession – it’s rice.  RICE.  Maybe it’s because I was looking through old wedding photos and found this one.  There we were, 50 years ago, RiceThrowing2 starting our life adventure together – and being bombarded with rice.  For fertility? For wealth?  Apparently, Ann Landers said that we were just killing birds by that old custom, but that belief has been discredited.  Some of my FCHS Besties will recognize two very special mothers in that photo, and our Chino relations will see special family members.

But on to rice as our almost most-favorite food in our simplify-our-cooking efforts. Continue reading

Lamb Kheema in a Hurry Curry


So I’ve been thinking a lot about Curry lately.  Maybe Andy has too.  But not Indian curry; rather Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors 🙂  We’re wishing Curry and the Warriors lots of play-off luck.

But while on the subject of Curry,  I decided to fix something curry-ish for dinner and settled on Lamb Kheema (or keema); kheema is basically ground or minced meat.  We’re huge devotees of Indian food and are lucky enough to have Yeti, a great little Indian/Himalayan restaurant about a mile from our teeny Glen Ellen community.

This kheema may have lots of spices, but it can be whipped up pretty quickly (even with making notes about the recipe, I did mine in 30 minutes – but that didn’t count Andy’s cleaning-up-my-mess time or the 15 minutes to simmer it).  The curry could also be made with ground chicken or ground turkey.  You can switch peas for spinach.  Leave out the potatoes.  Add or subtract from the spices.  Serve it with rice or in a wrap of some kind.  Be flexible (easier said than done????).

Lamb Kheema in a Hurry Curry

  • Servings: 3 to 4
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  • 3 T peanut or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 3 small red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into about 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1 T ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 # ground lamb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c canned tomatoes – crushed or pureed – plus 3/4 cup water (or 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes works too)
  • 2 chopped fresh tomatoes – if tomatoes are in season; omit if they’re not
  • 1/4 c yogurt
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • chopped cilantro

Heat 1 T oil in a deep pan until it’s medium hot.  Add the chopped potatoes, turn down the heat a bit, and cook and stir until soft – won’t take more than 5 minutes.  Remove the potatoes from the pan.  Add the rest of the oil; heat until medium hot, then add the cumin seeds followed almost immediately by the onions (so the seeds don’t burn but still have a moment on their own in the hot oil); saute until the onions are soft; add the the garlic, ginger, coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, and garam masala, stir in well, and saute for about 1 more minute.  Add the ground lamb and salt and saute until the lamb is no longer pink – or until it’s cooked.  Add the canned tomatoes and water, the chopped tomatoes, if you’re using them, and bring all to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or so, uncovered.  If it appears to get dry-ish, just add a little water.   After it’s simmered,  add the yogurt and frozen peas and previously cooked potatoes and return just to a boil.  Remove from the heat; stir in the lemon juice.  Serve the hurried-curry with the cilantro on top –  either by itself or on rice.

If you’re averse to spiciness, go light on all the spices.  This curry may be even better served the next day; or eat some now and freeze the rest for a meal next week! Recipe brought to you by Big Little Meals and Andy & Ann

Kentucky Corpse Reviver


If you’re celebrating the launch of a blog – or a Warriors’ win – or just getting through another day, we recommend a Kentucky Corpse Reviver!

And did you know that the cute beach town north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which is called “San Pancho” by locals is officially named San Francisco? That’s why Sara and Joe, our SF kiddos, named their bar Bar San Pancho.  How clever can you get.

Kentucky Corpse Reviver

  • Servings: 1
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  • 3/4 oz Bourbon (my dad would have used Ancient Age; we use Bulleit)
  • 3/4 oz Curacao (Cointreau may be substituted)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (which you’ll love having on hand for warm summer evenings when a little apertif is needed)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add bourbon, curacao, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc.  Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a mint sprig.

Longevity Noodles

The perfect dish to begin our blog: Longevity Noodles.

I’m addicted – both to them and to the idea of longevity – within reason, of course. We’ve adapted this recipe from Grace Young, the food writer whose cookbooks adorn our shelves. Our daughter, Sara, introduced us to Grace in New York City 12 years ago, so I was delighted when I found this recipe in the New York Times and saw that it came from Grace’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. And I was even more delighted to find that Longevity Noodles are both simple to prepare and delicious to eat. And they warm up beautifully on that day you don’t want to cook.  Just pop them in the microwave.

And, just so you know: these noodles are typically served during the Chinese New Year and represent longevity, intelligence, and prosperity. What more could we wish for you, our new and not-yet-devoted readers!  Plus, you’re packing big hopes into this little dish.  Now, according to the Chinese, just don’t break the noodles up – or all longevity goes by the wayside.

FYI: this recipe may be more labor-intensive than most of our other recipes, but it is so delicious – and starting out with longevity noodles is so perfect – that we couldn’t resist.  

Longevity Noodles

  • Servings: 4
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Adapted from Grace Young


  • 12 oz thin fresh egg noodles
  • 1 T sesame oil

Chicken and marinade

  • 1# boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into very small pieces (about 1/2″)
  • 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry (optional)  I have read that gin makes a fine replacement for rice wine.  Go for it!
  • 1T very finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (preferably white pepper, but I used black)

Ingredients for the stir-fry

  • 2 T peanut or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  about 4 c thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 1/2 of a large head)
  • 3 c sliced shiitake mushrooms with the stems removed.  I haven’t tried the ordinary already-sliced readily-available mushrooms.  It would save time – but might not be as good.  Report back if you try them.

To add at the very end

  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 T rice wine or dry sherry (optional) – or more gin
  • 2/3 c thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 tsp salt – depending upon your salt love


  1. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook the noodles just until done (3-5 minutes is what Grace recommends).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Return noodles to the pot and toss with the sesame oil.
  2. Put the diced chicken in a bowl and add the rice wine, ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix gently.  This marinated chicken can sit for a bit – even enhancing the flavor.  I’d use it within an hour, though.
  3. Heat a wok (preferably) or large frying pan until very hot.  Add 1 T of the peanut oil and swirl, then add the marinated chicken and the pepper flakes.  Let the chicken sear for one minute and then stir-fry until the chicken is just done – less than 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and put in a good-sized bowl.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms to the pan (once it’s hot again) and stir-fry until the cabbage is wilted but not completely cooked and the mushrooms are soft.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms to the chicken.
  4. Heat up the wok again to very hot, add the last 1 T of peanut oil and add the cooked noodles.  Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then add the “add at the very end” ingredients – the soy sauce, rice wine, and green onions.  Add the chicken and vegetable mixture and the final 3/4 tsp of salt.  Stir-fry it all until everything is heated through.

And I swear it’s better warmed up the next day.  And it will freeze.

Marcella Hazan’s Super Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce


This one is for Becky.  She’s a CC-er; GPB-er; fellow native Coloradan; fellow West-Coaster; fellow mother-of-kids-in-NYC-and-SF and definitely a BFF-er! Knowing we were putting together this web-site, she forwarded this the other day:


Well, BFF, here’s a recipe from the legendary Italian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan. It’s been written about more times than can be counted.  Nonetheless, when you’re looking for big flavors and really REALLY simple, this can’t be beat.  Go for it, Becks!

Marcella Hazan's Super Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 4
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  • 1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano, preferably)
  • 5 T butter
  • 1 onion (medium sized), peeled and cut in half
  • pinch or two of salt (I used 1/2 t kosher salt)

Combine the tomatoes, juice, butter, and onion halves in a saucepan.  Add the salt.  Place the pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally and mash up the whole tomatoes with a spoon.

Before serving, discard the onion, then toss with about 1 pound of cooked pasta.

Here’s the scoop:  We like the recipe just as is, but you can add your own touch.  Maybe fresh herbs to the simmer.  Maybe cooked meatballs or sausage – on the side or mixed in.   Many folks say  a pinch of sugar should go in all tomato recipes.  We like grated parmesan on top….and tend to cut up the chunks of tomatoes into small pieces.  Go forth and create!

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann

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