Sunday, July 31, 2011

Scallop Ceviche

Today I feel old and tired as I take a lone and quite walk at our local cemetery and gaze across the markers, wishing I was back in my home town, unable to attend my friends funeral.  I’m only comforted by my memories of times long ago, we single chefs, making road trip after road trip up and down the California coastline, eating and drinking our way from one place to the next.  I recall our laughter, tears and deep conversation over matters I no longer can remember. 

More now than ever I feel time in my life running short, knowing that I have lived more than half of it already.   I have outlived my Mother, Father, and Brother with most of my relatives gone on my mother’s side and only my sister and I survive on my Fathers side of the family.  My fathers side has seemed to only barley continue generation after generation since the Nazi’s thinned out our family tree (my Great Grandfather changed our family name “Stetzel” too Applegate when they came over on the boat in January 1939) but enough about that.

My fondest memories of my time traveling up and down the Coastline with my friends were the many types of places we ate and drank at.  We were always enamored by the many types of cultural foods you can find in a short distance.  The one place I recall more than any was ‘The Fat Cat Cafe”, were all our trips started.

After closing down the restaurant were we all worked together, usually at 2AM we would head out for Avila Breach which we made our first stop in the morning to have breakfast.  Our menu choice was always the same.  Eggs Benedict, Biscuits and Gravy, and Seafood Omelets with LOTS of avocado.  After breakfast we would then plan our route either north or south on Highway 1. 

 Now that my friend Eddie is gone, all I’m left with are those memories.  Good Memories.  Memories that for now make me weep and smile at the same time.   

 Scallop Ceviche

1 pound scallops, sliced into quarters
1 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 green Serrano chilies, seeded and minced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

2. Spoon the Ceviche into small (4-ounce) glasses and garnish with cilantro.

Here is the reason I picked this recipe.  When all the ingredients are fresh and handled with great care, it always brings me back to my memories of everything California.  The sea air, foggy mornings, the sound of the surf, the sound of seagulls in the background, and so many other items going on around me that never seemed to matter until they were missed.  This recipe represents those memories. 


Monday, July 25, 2011


I don’t dig cooking in my kitchen during the summer.  Well, that’s not totally the truth.  I don’t like using my stove in the kitchen or any device that generates heat.  I blame all those summers as a kid growing up in California with no central air.  All we had was a swamp cooler that my dad swore by.  If you ask me all it did was make our house smell and forced my dad to walk around the house naked.  
During these hot months finding something cool and refreshing sometimes takes creative thinking.  Cooking without heat can be a daunting task but not impossible.  You just need to think out of the box.  I often think to the Mediterranean for inspiration.  The food has always seemed refreshing and creative to me.  Now, I’m fully aware that the food goes back several thousand years and nothing really is new under the sun when it comes to that region.   The food always strikes me as cool, refreshing, and easy to make, and when it comes to a hot sweltering day, nothing beats easy and quick that won’t require heating the kitchen. 

When I have one of those days, which seems more often than not lately, this recipe comes to mind. So since I promise a co-work I would put this recipe to print and share it with her I thought I ought to stop procrastinating and do the deed and hammer at the keypad.  I might add I’m writing this sitting in front of our AC vent.   Ahhhhhhhhh!


4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Two 1-pound 3-ounce cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup well stirred Tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

In a pestle and mortar, mash the garlic to a paste with the salt.

In a food processor purée the chick-peas with the garlic paste, the Tahini, the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the oil, and 1/2 cup water, scrape down the sides, until the hummus is smooth and add salt to taste. Add water, if necessary, to thin the hummus to the desired consistency and transfer the hummus to a bowl.

Clean out your food processor.  Next purée the remaining 1/4 cup oil with the parsley until the oil is bright green and the parsley is minced.  Transfer the parsley oil to a small jar. The hummus and the parsley oil may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Divide the hummus between shallow serving dishes and smooth the tops. Drizzle the hummus with the parsley oil. Serve the hummus with the pita.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Declaration of Independence

Happy Birthday America!

And to all those who serve and protect these words and our way of life and the freedom that it affords, may God watch over you, protect you, and keep you. May God's grace smile upon you.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.