All posts by Claire Walter

Two From the Thanksgiving Table

Stuffing and cranberry relish were 2015 hits.

ThanksgivingTurkeyThe media are awash with Thanksgiving recipes before the holiday, but few people share recipes afterwards for successful dishes. But there will be Thanksgiving again in 2016, so here goes. Dinner was a joint effort of all us 2015 holiday gluttons, but I had compliments and even recipe requests for two of my contributions to the groaning board. I neglected to photograph either.

From the typeface on the yellowing clipped directions, I can tell that the basis for the stuffing recipe below came from the Denver Post at some time in the past. Of course, I changed it a bit. It filled a 15-pound turkey and a casserole for the oven.

Turkey with Olive Bread Stuffing

2 round loaves of artisanal olive bread
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 cups turkey stock (or chicken or veggie broth)
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup dried currants
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut bread into one-inch cubes, place  on cookie sheets in a single layer and toast until well dried out.  In a medium skillet, sauté sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until sausage is lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large skillet (I like cast iron), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add mushrooms, currants, part of the turkey stock and thyme, and heat until butter has melted.  Add to the bread cubes the remainder of the stock, the mushroom-currant mixture and the browned sausage. Mix with your hands until well combined. If you like a moister stuffing, add more stock. Stuff the brined or unbrined turkey. Put remaining stuffing into an ovenproof dish. Roast turkey and heat stuffing using your preferred method.

My tradition has long been to make one cranberry sauce as directed on the back of the Ocean Spray package (with or without an added cinnamon stick) and one interesting “other.” And here that one is, inspired by a recipe from Real Simple.

Fresh Cranberry and Apple Relish

3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 Braeburn apple, unpeeled but cored and chopped
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. orange juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let sit at rom temperature so that flavors blend, and then refrigerate until serving.

Lunch in Long Beach

Crepes & more in downtown restaurant.

P1060752We paid a long-overdue visit to friends in Long Beach, and after a gabfest at their home, we headed downtown for a bite of lunch.  French fare always hits the spot, so I was happy to visit Crème de la Crepe, a delightful little restaurant — and perhaps our own little food tribute to the recent tragedy in Paris.

This appears to be a small local chain. The Long Beach one is light, airy  and has French literary quotes stenciled on the ceiling. Yellow appears to be the theme color, carried out with yellow cloth napkins and a yellow rose on each table. I am generally not a fan of chains, but I would not be unhappy if someone from Colorado would buy a franchise.  One reason: at least at lunch, the fresh mixed salad with an authentically French salad dressing, not the bottled orange glop, that came with each dish four of us ordered.

Crème de la Crepe is a
Crème de la Crepe is a “restaurant tres charmant.”
Chicken Panini with potatoes au gratin.
Chicken Panini with potatoes au gratin.
Crab (not crabcake) Benedict, with hefty French bread slice.
Crab (not crabcakes) Benedict, with hefty French bread slice and also potatoes au gratin.
Croque monsieur with the customary accompaniments.
Croque monsieur with the customary accompaniments.


A dessert crepe was called for. Caramel-mango crepe with a zig-zag of chocolate sauce on top, and ice cream and whipped cream alongside.
A dessert crepe was called for. Caramel-mango crepe with a zig-zag of chocolate sauce on top, and ice cream and whipped cream alongside.

Price check: None to add. The menu is not on-line, and since I assumed it would be, I didn’t take notes.

The restaurant is at 400 East First Street, Long Beach, CA; 562-437-2222.

Crème de la Crêpe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Down-Home Cooking at Chino Airport

Low prices & huge portions in SoCal.

P1060720My husband and I spent several hours at the Planes of Fame museum, whose collection largely consists of World War II era aircraft. (My post and some pix are at The museum is on the north side of Chino Airport, in the transition zone between agricultural and suburban southern California.

Locals of a certain age appear to be regulars, filling long tables, small tables and the counter in connected dining rooms at Flo's.
Locals of a certain age appear to be regulars, filling long tables, small tables and the counter in connected dining rooms at Flo’s.

Right down the street is Flo’s Airport Café, a throwback eatery specializing in enormous portions of traditional American fare — with a few stir-fries and salads thrown in to communicate modern-ness. We ate there to continue the back-in-the-day theme.

Continue reading Down-Home Cooking at Chino Airport

Keystone Ranch Now a Steakhouse

Two resort restaurants’ focus has shifted.

KeystoneRanch-logoKeystone was one of the first ski resorts in the Rockies to emphasize very good food.  Keystone Ranch is an original 1930s  homestead turned AAA Four-Diamond rated restaurant and Wine Spectator Award and DiRoNa winner. It is introducing a new menu when it opens for the ski season on Friday, November 20. In place of the earlier fine-dining approach, the Ranch now is presenting a Colorado steakhouse experience. 

The Ranch décor — over-sized log cabin, river-rock fireplace, elk antler chandelier and such — really lends itself to the steakhouse format. Chef Steven Vlass and his culinary team are utilizing the finest meats, a variety of game, locally sourced products and sustainable practices. Menu items include Imperial Ranch Waygu New York strip, Rosen Farms lamb chops, garden herb-rubbed Red Bird chicken breast, pumpkin and quinoa croquettes and the Ranch’s signature soufflé dessert.  

Previously, The Bighorn Bistro & Bar in the Keystone Lodge, which previously was a steakhouse, now offers fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere. Its focus is on seasonally inspired from-scratch appetizers and entrees, locally sourced when possible. 

For reservations at either, call 970-496-4386.

First Bite at Bacco

Boulder’s restaurant week in high gear.

015The 10th annual First Bite Boulder again presents foodies with the delicious dilemma:  which of 40 or so area restaurants to visit for a prix-fixe dinner. Five of us gathered yesterday evening at Bacco Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar in North Boulder. Wine? Of course. The menu? With a choice of two of four first courses, two of five main courses and two desserts, we just selected two of each course among the five of us. I like Bacco’s food a lot. My one wish is that it were less noisy.

Thick slices of crusty bread with herbed olive oil attractively comes on a wire basket.
Thick slices of crusty bread with herbed olive oil attractively comes on a wire basket.
A generous orb of burrata on a bed of arugula with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers is a generously portioned appetizer.
A generous orb of buratta drizzled with Balsamic reduction and served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, braised zucchini and a wedge of braised eggplant is a generously portioned appetizer.


Continue reading First Bite at Bacco

Predictably Mediocre Chinese Food

Low expectations met at May-Wah.

015I generally try not to eat anyplace predictably uninteresting, but today was an exception. As we were driving south of Broadway in Boulder to go for a sunny-day hike, I suddenly got hankering for spicy Chinese food. The power of suggestion was great, and my husband bought into it.

But we had miles to hike before we ate. On the way back, we were ravenous, so we pulled into the Base-Mar shopping center, where May-Wah has been located ever since it came into my consciousness. It is located in a strip mall, so I had few expectations of interesting fare and have always avoided it. My expectations were met. When we arrived, a single woman at one table was finishing her meal, and one fellow was waiting for his take-out order. One table was left to be cleared. It still took quite some time to have our order taken and then for our food to be brought out

No longer simply May-Wah Chinese, it has added Thai and Vietnamese to its claims, and a paper sign in the window also promises pho.
No longer simply May-Wah Chinese, it has added Thai and Vietnamese to its claims, and a paper sign in the window also promises pho.

Continue reading Predictably Mediocre Chinese Food

Perfect for a Potluck: Glazed Carrots

Maple syrup and more punch up sliced carrots.

Potluck-linedrawingWhen bringing a hot dish to a potluck, I like to make something unfussy that doesn’t need to be cut with knife, can travel without falling apart and doesn’t need to be reheated in the hostess’ oven. For a potluck last night, I improvised a spin on Maple-Glazed Carrots. I didn’t measure (as I wrote, “unfussy” was a criterion), so I’m estimating quantities here. If you make it, you can change the seasonings, sprinkle with parsley or make any other modifications you wish.

Sliced carrots glazed with maple syrup and more.
Sliced carrots glazed with maple syrup and more.

Glazed Carrots

3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/3 cup real maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup water*
2 Tbsp. mild chili powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans

*If you buy packaged carrots to avoid the step of peeling, use the water in the package.

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except chili powder and pecans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add chili powder during the last stir. The goal is for the liquid to thicken and glaze the carrots. (If the carrots are tender before the liquid has thickened, uncover and increase heat to medium-high.) Stir in the chopped pecans.

Serves a crowd.