RECIPES…COMFORT FOOD…MY FATHER’S “JAPANESE” SALAD…..by ISABEL

Iceberg Lettuce (I like a firm/heavy head) cut into thin strips in the style of  coleslaw

Green Onions sliced very thinly and proportioned to taste (I like a lot of green onions)

Dressing made with a neutral oil like safflower or canola mixed 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons to each Tablespoon of Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar

A light sprinkle or pinch of White Sugar (remember this  was created “long ago”) and Salt and Pepper to taste

This is an excellent summer salad….and I like it much better than the mayo based dressing that is served in so many asian restaurants…..

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MEMORIES…COMFORT FOOD…ETHNIC STYLE…..by ISABEL

My father, who was a mechanical engineer, worked in an architect’s office in the Silverlake area of LA. He worked with several men of Japanese descent. They would take him to Japanese restaurants for lunch and he enjoyed it so much that he brought home sushi rolls for us to enjoy…..Fortunately, for the ages that we were, it was vegetable sushi…both fresh and pickled vegetables. This was way before Japanese food was on the “foodies” radar (before “foodies” even existed) but it has always been a comfort for me to revisit my early experiences. My father also created a salad, with an asian flavor, which has always been a favorite despite its key ingredient being iceberg lettuce.

HUNTERS…IF YOU HAVE ONE…..by ISABEL

Elk and Venison (Deer) if properly prepared can be a very special source of  lean meat protein.

If it is aged like fine steak, professionally butchered and then properly frozen….it makes for many wonderful meals throughout the year….

Steaks, stews, spaghetti sauce….stroganoff…..

Coming very late in life into a “hunting” family…no one was more surprised than I that I enjoyed it….(the eating…not the hunting) Once you have had fresh….nothing else is quite the same… Just like farm raised fish are not the same as wild……

HUNTERS AND/OR GATHERERS…WHICH ARE YOU…..by ISABEL

There are those who are both…I am not one of them…..                                                                                                                                                 

I am an enthusiastic consumer of meat, poultry and fish, but I learned at an early age that I cannot participate in the process…..

 As absurd as it seems I am ok eating it if I don’t participate in the process of “Hunting”.

I learned this on my first fishing (hunting) adventure with my father and brother….. As you can see from the photo we had a successful fishing expedition.

However,  if you do have the good fortune to have a hunter in the family,  there are some treats to be had.

Our hunter would always bring back fresh duck breast…..attached, of course, to the rest of the duck…..

Cut into small strips,  and sautéed quickly in hot olive oil with garlic,  it is best eaten right out of the pan…..sometimes before it even makes it to the plate….

Nothing like it….!

A very special treat…!

BISCUIT DOUGH PIZZAS RECIPE……by ISABEL

Pre-made packaged biscuit dough
Squished canned tomatoes (today I would use Muir Glen Fire Roasted whole or diced tomatoes) It is much more more engaging for kids to squish the whole tomatoes into small pieces.  The tactile sensation is very intriguing for children and the pieces may be patted dry before cooking
Olive Oil
Grated or cubed Mozzarella cheese ( It is easier for children to control the placement of  cubed mozzarella cheese when placing on biscuit dough
Dried Oregano
(Non-stick cookie sheet with raised sides (to contain juices)

Pat biscuit dough to as thin as possible without tearing
Brush a light coat of oliveoil on top surface of biscuit dough

To taste layer:
Grated or cubed Mozzarella cheese
Pieces of canned tomatoes
Dried Oregano

Cook according to biscuit package directions adding additional time if necessary

For impromtu pizza making you can substitute English Muffins

MEMORIES…BISCUIT DOUGH PIZZAS…..by ISABEL

My earliest memory of cooking was making individual pizzas (yes…pizza again) with my father and brother.
We used pre-packaged biscuit dough which is still sold, in tubes, in the refrigerated section of the market.
My favorite part was squishing the canned whole tomatoes (no diced tomatoes in those days…) into small usable pieces.
It was so tactile and engaging that I would recommend letting your kids use their hands in this way while getting them “hooked on cooking”…..
The

was very simple.
I repeated this tradition with my children…..My brother did too…..

CHICKEN SOUP…EASY TO MAKE…? by ISABEL

For something that has been made forever..and has so few ingredients…it seems like it would be easy to find many versions of delicious chicken soup…. It is, however, surprisingly hard to find those who make it well, whatever the culture. My current favorite which I have NEVER been able to duplicate…is made by my sister-in-law.  Her’s is an asian version…again with very few ingredients…broth, small pieces of chicken, greens and asian egg noodles. Each thing is perfectly cooked and balanced for maximum flavor… I know she didn’t learn to make this from her mother…because she grew up in a home in Vietnam with servants who did the  cooking….I find it enormously frustrating because we live so far apart and I can’t even come close to duplicating it despite my best efforts…..