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Great recipes from our travels and traveling friends!
Cinnamon Walnuts
1 C sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 C water

Heat to soft ball stage(240 degrees, @ 5 min) stirring constantly

Heat 2 1/2 to 3 C walnuts in oven 15 minutes @ 250 degrees. Boil syrup the last 5 minutes nuts are in the oven. Add nuts to the syrup and stir until the syrup is crystallized or dry! Spread out on cookie sheet and separate.

I have used as much as 3 1/2 cups of nuts but they will not be as covered in the sugar. 4 cups is a pound

Donna Burgad, Chief Cracker
I. M. Nuts Co.

Lillian’s Cookies
Use toll house recipe – but change – 3 cups flour, 1 ½ sticks butter, 2/3 C sugar (both white & brown each) for Choc chip cookies

Lillian's Lemon Bars
Lillian Kuniyuki brought these wonderful treats to a trip reunion luncheon. Lillian’s family is from Hawaii and her secret ingredient is chopped macadamia nuts.

Crust: 2 C flour
½ C sifted powdered sugar
½ C butter
½ C margarine
½ C chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

Sift together flour & powdered sugar, cut in butter & margarine till mixture clings together. Add ½ C chopped macadamia nuts. Press mixture in 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Filling: 4 eggs, beaten
2 C granulated sugar
1/3 C lemon juice (do not use meyer lemon)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ C flour

Beat together eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Sift flour, baking powder together. Stir into egg mixture. Pour into baked crust (not necessary to cool crust). Bake again for another 25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cool, cut into 1½ inch bars.

Caramel Apple Cake
from Judy Bergman

1-1/2 C veg oil
1-1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t baking soda
1 C chopped walnuts
1/2 t salt
3-1/2 C diced peeled apples
2 t vanilla extract


1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C light cream
1/4 C butter
1 C confectioner’s sugar
Dash salt

In mixing bowl combine oil & sugars, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients, add to batter and stir. Fold in apples, walnuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased & floured 10-in tube pan. Bake at 325 for 1-1/2 hours or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 10 min. remove to a wire rack to cool completely. In top of double boiler over simmering water, heat brown sugar, cream, butter and salt until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Beat in confectioner’s sugar until smooth; drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Portofino Pizza Cafe-Gorgonzola Pear Snacker
from Lisa Johnston/Peggy Beezley

Fresh pizza dough or Boboli Pizza
Spread butter on pizza crust
Slices of thin provolone cheese
Pear –sliced thin
Sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese
Sprinkle thinly sliced toasted almonds on top

Bake 350-till cheese has melted

Surprise Chocolate Cake AKA Black Forest Cake
At a recent trip reunion luncheon traveler Lillian Kuniyuki brought a wonderful Black Forest Cake and has shared her recipe.

1 21oz. can cherry pie filling
2 eggs
1 t almond or vanilla extract
1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake (no pudding)

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and lightly flour 9x13 pan
Blend all ingredients for 2 minutes
Pour into pan, bake for 45 minutes
Cool 10 minutes, spread with frosting

In small pan mix 1C sugar, 1/3C milk, 1T butter
Boil 1 minute
Add 6oz chocolate chips
Stir until chocolate is melted
Pour over cake
Sprinkle with nuts

Ralph's Favorites
At the same trip reunion Sheryl Fabrizio brought some delightful sweet treats. Here’s the recipe.

2 sticks of butter
1/2 C of sugar
1 t vanilla
1 C chopped nuts
Graham Crackers

Makes 12, 24 or 48 cookies depending on how they are cut. Bake in preheated over at 350 degrees on ungreased 15 x 12 cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with sides.

Cover entire cookie sheet with graham crackers, leaving no spaces in-between. It will look like one big cookie as it spreads while baking.

Melt butter and sugar in small pan on the stove. Boil for 2 minutes only, stirring as it boils on medium heat. Remove from heat and add 1 C nuts. Add 1 t vanilla. Stir to mix.

Quickly pour mixture over the graham crackers, spread with spatula. It will brown around the edges and will continue to brown a bit when removed from oven.

Bake approximately 10 minutes. Begin to cut 3-5 minutes after removing from oven. Pizza cutter works well for cutting. Cool on wax paper.

Tex-Mex Cranberry Salsa
Lou Camacho contributes her Tex-Mex Salsa recipe.

1 C water
1 t dried cilantro
1 C sugar
1/4 t ground cumin
1 12 oz pkg fresh cranberries
1 green onion sliced
2 T chopped canned jalapeno peppers
1 t lime juice

Combine water & sugar in med. sauce pan.

Bring to a boil, add cranberries, return to gentle boil for 10 min without stirring.

Pour into med. glass mixing bowl. Gently stir in remaining ingredients.

Place plastic wrap directly on the salsa. Cool to room temperature then refrigerate.

Best if served at room temperature. Makes 2 1/2 cups salsa. Use in place of regular salsa, as a side dish with turkey or pour it over softened cream cheese.

Pumpkin Custard Cake
Lillian Kuniyuki brought Pumpkin Custard Cake to our last trip reunion luncheon, and it was such a hit we are including the recipe.

Mix well, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan:

1 large can pumpkin or 3 ½ C fresh pumpkin puree, 1 tall can evaporated milk, 1 C sugar, 3 eggs, Dash of nutmeg

Mix: 1 pkg Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, 3 eggs, 1 C milk or water, ½ C oil

Pour cake mixture evenly on top of pumpkin mixture. Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Immediately melt 1 block of butter and spread evenly over the cake. Cool in the pan and invert. Touch up evenly with butter knife. Optional – may serve with whipped cream. 

Sonoma County Artichokes
If you are traveling with us on Wine Country & the Coast, September 15&16, you will have a chance to taste wonderful grilled artichokes at Kenwood’s The Vineyard’s Inn.

Although the following is not the exact recipe, it’s close enough to be pretty darn good – all the Setness staff members make this at home.

Combine ½ C each olive oil & soy sauce with several crushed cloves of garlic.

Peel the outside of the artichoke’s stem (when peeled the stem is edible). Wrap the artichoke in saran wrap and microwave for 3 minutes.

When cooled, cut artichoke in half and remove fuzzy fluff. Place the artichokes cut side up in the marinade, spooning marinade into the center and leaves. Flip artichoke after 30 minutes to one hour, again spooning marinade.

Grill (or broil if you don’t want to deal with a grill) for approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Apple Hill Cake
2 C sugar
2 eggs
½ C oil
4 C diced apples
2 C flour
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
2 t soda

Mix together in bowl the sugars, oil, eggs and apples; blend well. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and soda. Mix well again. Bake in greased 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees for 45-60 mins.

Serve hot, warm or cold. Plain, frosted or with whipped cream.

Spicy Candied Pecans
These are a great addition to salads or sautéed vegetables

Spicy Glazed Pecans

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a baking sheet with a light spray of oil, or with butter

Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and bubbles.

Add pecans and stir until pecans are well coated with mixture, about 1 minute.

Transfer pecans to prepared sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until the pecans are beginning to brown, anywhere from 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer the cooked pecans to a parchment lined sheet and keep separate. Cool completely, then store in airtight container.

This recipe may easily be doubled.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Kelly’s Restaurant on the Outer Banks of North Carolina serves marvelous sweet potato biscuits. Below is the simple recipe.

1 pound cooked sweet potatoes (steamed or boiled)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4p water
2 1/4p Bisquick or other baking mix

Cool and peel sweet potatoes. Mix together sweet potatoes, brown sugar, Bisquick and water. Combine ingredients thoroughly. (The mixture will be moister than regular biscuits.)

Flour table. Roll biscuit mix to ½” thickness. Cut with a 2 ½” cutter. Place on greased sheet pan.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes. The moist mixture does not allow the biscuits to rise a great deal. A mindful eye should be kept on the biscuits so they do not overcook. Yield 1 ½ dozen.

Corn & Crab Bisque From The New Orleans School of Cooking
This is from the New Orleans School of Cooking which makes the most wonderful, decadent, corn and crab bisque.

1/4 C flour
1/4C butter
1qt heavy cream
1 qt milk
1C chicken stock
1# crab meat
2C chopped green onion
24 oz whole corn with liquid
1T chopped parsley for garnish
Salt to taste

Joe’s seasoning to taste (available at Marina Market)

Combine milk, heavy cream and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

Make a roux with equal parts of butter and flour to desired color; add in your simmering pot.

Stir in your corn with liquid, crabmeat and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Gradually add in half your green onions, salt and Joe’s stuff to tastes. Use the other half of your green onions

Mushroom Bisque
Many of you have been with us to Ripon’s Barnwood Restaurant. I call owner John Mangelos “performance art” from his handlebar mustache to his stories of catering at several Olympic games, competing in an Iron Chef contest, or his Cretan immigrant roots. Here is his Mushroom Bisque.

1/4 C butter
1/3 C finely diced onions
2 T lemon juice
4 C chicken broth
1/4 t pepper
1 & 1/2 C heavy cream
3 T flour 
1 # finely diced mushrooms
1 t salt 
1/2t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t marjoram
1/3 C bourbon
chopped parsley for garnish

In a 5 quart saucepan heat butter until melted, add onions and mushrooms. Saute 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle lemon juice, blend in flour. Gradually stir in chicken broth & herbs. Cook, stirring until slightly thickened. Stir in cream and bourbon. Heat and serve.

Katherine’s Orzo Pasta
3 Cups orzo
3/4 cup evo
9T fresh lemon juice
3 green onion
1 ½ t dried oregano
¾ cup parsley minced
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 ¼ C crumbled feta cheese
1 cup toasted pine nuts salt & pepper to taste
Thyme, corn, lemon zest, vinegar, splenda, basil, sautéed squash

Cook pasta, drain and cool. Blend oil, lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in parsley, tomatoes and feta cheese. Chill until served.
Yield: approximately 20 side portions or 12 entree-size servings
Salt and pepper

Cook orzo in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender, then drain well in a colander.
Whisk together lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl, then add hot orzo and toss. Cool orzo, then toss with pine nuts, feta, sun-dried tomatoes and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.

I recommend zesting & adding the lemon zest. If you don’t have lemons, limes work fine. If you substitute a vinegar use a mild one like rice wine vinegar and balance with some sugar or apricot preserve.

You can add fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, thyme or oregano.
Beans such as kidney or garbanzo
Chopped vegetables, either raw, steamed or sautéed such as mushrooms, celery, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, whatever you have.
If you don’t like feta you can substitute parmesan cheese.
You could add ham, turkey, most any leftover meat.

Katherine’s simple vegetables, served at the last reunion luncheon

I peeled & sliced carrots, put them in a large bowl, covered them with saran wrap and microwaved for 3 minutes – The steam cooks the carrots. If I had sauteed the carrots the outsides would have been overcooked, the insides undercooked and I would have had to fool with them longer. I then sauteed fresh mushrooms with a lid on until they lost their juices and reabsorbed them, then stirred in the carrots, some butter and some apricot-pineapple preserve. All done. You can use most any vegetable combination – green beans, red onions, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, whatever.

All Things Artichokes
We visit an artichoke stand on the Monterey Getaway (we have a few spots left), and I’m preparing recipes for our travelers. Grilling is my favorite preparation, and a recipe for that method is on under “recipes”.

Here’s a traditional Italian preparation for Focaccia stuffed artichokes.

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 2 cups focaccia or herbed bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper

    Wash artichokes, cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Spread leaves, remove center leaves and fuzzy centers with a spoon and discard. Toss bread crumbs with cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stuff bread crumb mixture between leaves of artichokes and fill centers. Place stuffed artichokes in a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 cups boiling water around the artichokes. Cover with lid or foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until tender.

  • Apricot Almond Bundt Cake
    Here’s Sheryl Fabrizio’s recipe for the Bundt Cake she brought to our recent trip reunion luncheon.

  • 1 Pkg yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 3 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1/2 C slivered almonds

    Glaze: 1/2 C apricot preserves thinned with 2-3 T orange juice

    Mix all ingredients, adding cake mix last. Grease Bundt cake pan. Cover bottom of pan with almonds. Pour in batter. Bake @ 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool on rack for 30 minutes, then turn out onto plate. Cool completely. Spoon glaze over cake.

  • Katherine's Rice Salad
    Here’s a general outline of how to make the salad I served at the same luncheon using the classic pairing of feta cheese, artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes.

    Start with a starch – pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, potatoes, whatever. I used basmati rice and barley – be sure to cool the starch thoroughly before combining ingredients.

    Chop and add raw veggies – I used parsley, red onion, baby spinach, corn I removed from the cob.

    Chop artichoke hearts – mine were not in oil, but any kind is fine, add crumbled feta cheese and sun dried tomatoes in oil.

    Zest and juice 2 lemons and add sugar to the lemon juice until it is tangy – not sour. Combine 1 part lemon juice with 2 parts olive oil for the dressing. Add salt & pepper to taste.

    A Sweet Swiss Treat
    Switzerland is known for its fine chocolates and myriad of cookies. Wayne plans to sample several on September’s Switzerland & the Italian Lakes District trip. Here’s a classic Swiss cookie.

    Swiss Hazelnut Crescent Cookies

  • 1 C butter
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C ground hazelnuts or walnuts

    Mix butter, syrup and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts. Chill 1 hour. Shape dough into 2 inch length. Roll in cinnamon coating (1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon). Place on cookie sheet and bend into crescent. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes 4 dozen crescents.

  • Mushrooms
    John Steinbeck House Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 50 button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 C shredded stale sourdough bread
  • 1/2 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

    Break off mushroom stems, wash and dry whole mushroom caps. Chop stems and combine with bread, cheese and garlic several hours before assembling so that the garlic has time to permeate the bread. Add enough melted butter to hold crumbs together well. Pack stuffing into mushrooms. Place stuffed mushrooms on a greased cookie sheet and add another dab of butter on top of each. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 10-15 minutes or until soft.

  • Sheryl Fabrizio’s Chocolate Crackles
    Grease cookie sheets, bake @ 350 for 10-12 min.

    Makes 4 dozen

  • 1C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1/3 C oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C nuts
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t baking powder

    Melt choc. chips, sugar & oil over medium heat. Remove from heat & add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add vanilla. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix flour, salt & baking powder, then add slowly to mixture. Chill dough. Stir in nuts. Drop by rolled tsp into powdered sugar. Space approximately 1 1/2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

  • Rio City Cafe' Salad Dressing
    Our travelers raved about the dressing on Rio City Café’s salad. The key is high quality ingredients. While they gave us the ingredients, they didn’t give us proportions, so you have to experiment. Most dressings have 2-1 ratio of oil to vinegar.

    California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (fresher than imported), Sherry vinegar, lemon juice, pureed garlic, chopped chives, salt, pepper, a touch of honey if you want more sweetness.

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