Spaghetti with Clams and Mussels

  The pendulum has been swinging between spring and summer in our neck of the woods.  With no air-conditioning in our half-century old house and temperatures rising last week, I had to pull our very old electric fan out of storage.  This is a fan from my husband’s childhood, a contemporary of our home.  Rather […]

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

  My husband and I are beginning to feel like restaurant jinxes.  Over the last few years we have discovered a few restaurants in our area only to see them close their doors a couple of years or even just a few months after deeming the eateries current favorites.  We don’t have a very good […]

Caprese Salad with Fig Balsamic Dressing

  If there is one type of dish that makes me miss not growing tomatoes this year it would be a salad.  A bowl of pasta tossed in a simple tomato-based sauce is a close second, but I can usually come up with easy substitutes like capers, olives or anchovies to add substance to pasta […]

Pasta alla Carbonara

  The summer before my freshman year in high school, my family moved out of San Francisco and to a neighboring town a few miles away. This meant that I spent my first year in a new school trying to find my place in a sea of new faces.  I was extremely shy which severely […]

The Glorious Pasta of Italy: A Book Review

Many of you might already know how much I love to eat pasta.  I can eat it each day of the week and not tire of it.  Were I to be asked what my last meal would be, pasta would most certainly be in the equation. So when the good people of Cooks & Books […]

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi

  When I was 11 or 12, my mother deemed me old enough to make quick visits to the grocery store on my own. We lived in San Francisco at the time, on a dead end street where all the families knew each other. The neighborhood market was within view from our front door so […]

Yountville: Wine Country Weekend

    While I was in college in the early 1990s, I made frequent visits to Napa Valley–not to drink wine but to eat.  Whenever our class schedules would permit, my partner-in-crime (aka best friend) and I would take to the scenic wine country road and spend the afternoon catching up about our school and […]

Fresh Starts

  Perhaps you and I are alike.  You live life guided by a set of rules or priorities ranging from silly to serious.  You skip or trudge along depending on present circumstances; at times you are more proactive about those rules and most others you find yourself just reacting, not really in control.  You eke […]