“Z” is for Zucchini…

Well you had to know that was coming!
In our post about “N” we mentioned the Silver Palate Cookbook. Well there is another killer recipe in there (good ole Silver Palate!) for… you guessed it, Zucchini Bread! It is killer and at the end of summer we harvest fresh Zucchini from the yard and we make dozens of mini loaves and freeze them and then enjoy them the rest of the year! Yum!

Photo of Sliced Zucchini, laid out in the shape of the letter "Z"

“Y” is for Yams…

Every year at Thanksgiving, one of my favorite dishes on the table is a baked yam and pineapple casserole with a crusted marshmallow topping. If you have not had this before, you are really missing out. There are plenty of recipes out there for this and they are all fairly similar with a few variations. Try any of them or go with your family recipe like we do!

Photo of Yams, laid out in the shape of the letter "Y"

“X” is for…

Okay… there has been some anticipation for this post….
The fact is there are not a lot of edibles that start with the letter “X”. At least not in the English language, which is the realm in which we are operating at this point. There are things like Xanthum Gum, which is an additive, and just looks like flour… so no.. not photographing that… There are quite a few foods whose Chinese name starts with “X”, but again… working in english here… Our original goal with this series was to be able to spell out words with cuisine based letters, so while you may think this is a cop-out, we are going with. If you would like to suggest YOUR favorite “X” food, submit it here and maybe we’ll just go seek it out and shoot it for you!

Photo of Two Wooden Spoons, laid out in the shape of the letter "X"

“W” is for Watercress…

I remember as a kid watching I Love Lucy reruns and in one episode Lucy & Ethel end up “ride-sharing” with a stranger (played by Elsa Lanchester) down to Florida. They stop for a snack and the only thing available are Watercress sandwiches. I had never heard of that before but knew by Lucy’s smooshed face that it had to taste atrocious. Now that I am semi-grownup, I have to say I think she was wrong in her assessment.

Photo of Watercress, laid out in the shape of the letter "W"

“V” is for Vanilla…

Mmmmmm, Vanilla! One of my most favorite things is Creme Brûlée. There are ( in my opinion ) three things that make a stellar Creme Brûlée. 1.) A great recipe. I use the one from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl. 2.) FRESH eggs.. like right out of the chicken. 3.) Fresh Vanilla Beans. There’s nothing like it when it’s done right!

Did you know that Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, right after Saffron.

Photo of Vanilla Beans, laid out in the shape of the letter "V"

“U” is for Udon Noodles…

My first experience with really good Udon Noodles was in a little counter restaurant in Tokyo. I cannot remember the name of it but it was a very short walk from the Hotel Okura, where I was staying. The flavors I experienced that night were a taste sensation!
More locally, these days we go for Shabu Shabu at Osawa in Pasadena…not the same.. but still really good!

Photo of Udon Noodles, laid out in the shape of the letter "U"

“T” is for Tortellini…

I learned to make Tortellini while taking cooking lessons in Florence, Italy. Should you ever find yourself there and want a simply delicious, and intimate experience that you’ll be able to take with you, you MUST check out Toscana in Bocca. ( Some of our photography is featured on their site. ) A customizable cooking experience taught by the lovely Stefania Borgioli. I am not going to plant any preconceived notions… just book it and savor!

Photo of Tortellini, laid out in the shape of the letter "T"

“S” is ALSO for Shrimp…

It is a wonderfully warm day here in Los Angeles, and as the evenings get longer, a great way to end the work day is a freshly chilled plate of jumbo shrimp with some tangy horseradish cocktail sauce! I chilly glass of Pinot Grigio takes it to a lovelier level! Do it!

Photo of two Shrimp, laid out in the shape of the letter "S"

“R” is for Radishes…

Photo of Radishes, laid out in the shape of the letter "R"

A completely underused vegetable in my opinion…
Here is a great way to enjoy them:

Pickled Radishes


  • 10 red radishes, trimmed, unpeeled, quartered
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine first 3 ingredients in a clean 1 quart glass jar. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cover; shake until sugar and salt begin to dissolve. Refrigerate for at least 3 days, shaking once a day. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. (The flavor mellows the longer the mixture pickles.) Keep chilled.

Thanks to Epicurious.com for the recipe!

“Q” is for Quiche…

My friend John V. makes an Amaaaaaaazing Quiche! He just throws it together like he is making it up on the spot, but it tastes the same every time and simply makes my mouth water! That with a mimosa is the perfect start to any Sunday morning!

Photo of a quiche with a slice extending out in the lower right, forming  the letter "Q"