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Cheers for Schmears! Mother's Day Bagel Brunch

(Written for the Los Altos Town Crier) Encircle mom with love and bagels If you’re ready to round up the moms in your life for brunch, look no farther than the beloved bagel, which is suitably circular to reflect the everlasting love of moms. We love our moms year-round, but Mother’s Day gives us a reason to encircle them with appreciation. Round references aside, a bagel spread makes the ideal brunch for celebrating Sunday – the variety of toppings and bagel flavors offer something for both sweet and savory food fans. Whether you’re a mom hosting friends or a dad looking to wow his wife, a bagel spread comes together with little effort, and is impressive whether you’re hosting a party of one mom or a houseful of mothers. What’s more, brunch sits perfectly placed on the clock to allow the mom in question to sleep in or go for a morning walk as it’s prepared. THE BAGELS

If you’re able, buy bagels the morning of the brunch for maximum freshness. Posh Bagel, with locations in Los Altos and Mou…
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Mother's Day Round Up

Breakfast in Bed: Dads: get ready to harness your children’s nimble fingers and infectious enthusiasm in preparation of Mother’s Day breakfast in bed.

Moms Supporting Moms: My girlfriends, sisters, aunts and mom are my absolute bedrock. It is upon their love and reinforcement that I thrive.

Mom and Wine Have Much in Common: Time and moms have an extraordinary relationship – we seem capable of bending time when needed.

Chill at Home or Take a Hike: For a maternal figure who would love nothing more than some quality time at home, declare the day a screen-free one and head outside.

Granola for All the Moms: This Mother’s Day, my kids and I will show some admiration and appreciation to my women friends without biological children: aunts, in-laws, neighbors and colleagues who serve as honorary moms to my kids -- loving them fiercely and without question.

Versatility in a (pale pink) glass: Top wines for spring entertaining please many palates

After a long and particularly wet winter, the recent mild weather has people yearning to socialize. 
(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

Knowing how to fill your wine glass during the changeable weather of spring can be somewhat perplexing, but if you stock up on a few versatile vintages, you’ll be ready for every entertaining scenario. It is with some reservation that I share my current go-to bubbly. There’s a portion of me compelled to hoard the remarkable value all to myself. At $14.99, Antech Emotion 2016 Crémant is as well priced as it is delicious. Crémant wines (made the same way as Champagne but far less dear in price) are ideal for spring entertaining. The fine strands of bubbles, delicate pink hue and tender floral and dreamy cherry notes of this Crémant have me wondering whether the winemaker managed to bottle spring itself. From the Languedoc region of France, Antech Emotion 2016 Crémant is a great aperitif before a dinner party. Or have it on hand for a night when company …

Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Tray Bake

My mom has proclaimed that she could live on pasta alone. Funnily enough, I don't recall pasta featuring heavily on her dinner rotation when her dining room was full of kiddos. But I totally get her. It's how I feel about this vegetarian tray bake. I could eat it noon and night for weeks on end before I grew tired. As I don't just cook for myself, it is a dish that makes it onto the table every few months. 

The warm Ethiopian spices scatter on before baking and drizzle of dressings at serving, make this a meal fit to impress should you wish to go meatless for company. The quick clean up adds to the overall joy of the dish.

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
pinch of ground cloves
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 carrots, washed and rough cut
2 turnips, peeled and rough cut
2 parsnips, peeled, cored, rough cut
3 large shallots, peeled and rough cut
2 tablespoons grapeseed or avoc…

Spring Soup

March is roaring in like a lion where we live. Blustery days and the arrival of watercress in the produce department make this an ideal time for my watercress and leek soup. This can be made without the zucchini, but I think the squash add a lovely silkiness to the soup.

Watercress and Leek Soup

1 tablespoon Kerrygold butter
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3 small leeks, cleaned well and diced
1 bunch watercress, washed and rough chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small zucchini squash, washed and diced
4 cups chicken stock ideally homemade or best quality store-bought
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Irish grey salt
Fresh ground black pepper (I ground the mill 25 times because we're big black pepper fans)

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium. Once butter fully melted add leeks and sweat for five minutes. Add watercress, potatoes, zucchini, thyme, salt and pepper and allow to cook for five to seven minutes more. Pour stock over v…

Seafood Tostadas

In years past, the season change from winter to spring has brought about a bumpy dinner routine transition for me. Committed to my winter set of recipes, I've been known to serve heavy soups on days far too bright and balmy for the meal.

This year, I'm welcoming spring with gusto thanks to my super simple seafood tostada recipe. What's more, I can get this dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

Seafood Tostadas with Spicy Cream

1 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)1/2 cup Vegenaise (or regular ole' mayo)2 Tbs prepared red harrisa1 lb cooked seafood (I used a combination of lump crab and shrimp-meat this time)1 avocado, diced2 tomatoes, diced3 spring onions, diced2 Tbs chopped cilantro1 lime1 lemon (1/2 of lemon sliced and ready for dinner squeezing)8 tostada shellsChopped lettuce for serving1/2 cup shredded cojita cheese for serving
Heat oven to 375F
Prepare spicy cream by combining yogurt, Vegenaise, harissa, and the juice of 1/2 lime (for non-spicy version, omit harissa)
In a med…

The Domesticated Cupid: Cooking up weekday romance (with wine)

If only Cupid, that mischievous cherub of love, had enrolled in a home economics course instead of archery. His doing so would have allowed him to wield a needle and thread – stitching lovers’ hearts together rather than zinging couples with bow and arrow. Nonetheless, I’m convinced that within the endless dirty dishes, kids’ sports schedules, monthly bills, piles of laundry and work trips, romance lurks even after that first zing. While grand gestures of love are noteworthy, sustained care for one another is the stuff of all the greatest relationships. Simple acts of kindness scattered throughout domestic life stoke the passions of love, and demonstrate how two hearts can become one in life. Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year. In chatting with friends, many approach Feb. 14 with a feeling best described as blasé dread. The day holds a long-standing place in their lives as an overrated holiday that rarely lives up to expectations. They’d be just as happy to skip it all togeth…