Living Columns & Blogs

Cathie Campbell

Having a pear-y good fall

Sometimes I wish I could get away with eating just fruit, but of course that would not work out too well. Lately I have been oohing and ahhing over the selection of pears available at farmers markets, produce stands and grocery stores. As a kid I had access to all the tree-ripened pears I could eat, as my grandparents had a tree and so did one of my best friends. Once you get used to a tree-ripened pear (or any tree fruit), there’s no way green-picked fruit can compare. I especially love the old-fashioned Bartlett pears, even though being thin-skinned, they bruise very easily by the time you get them home from market. I thought it would be fun to share some recipes that call for fresh or even canned pears, to help set the mood for the fall season. Hope you enjoy.

Cathie Campbell

At the heart of the matter

Artichoke hearts rank as one of my all-time favorite foods. I love them fresh and also the marinated ones in jars. Sometimes there are good recipes that use the canned, water-pack type, but I admit those are not my first choice. It’s amazing that we can enjoy artichokes as a culinary treat, given that they are thistles. I love the Globe variety of artichoke as those have great flavor and are meaty. If you like chokes as much as I do, it is my hope you find a recipe to try from the selection here. I also hope you are looking forward to some nice fall weather.

KOMB

Plastic is forever

Did you know plastic never breaks down? The material, created from petroleum, even when recycled, still remains, and what doesn’t end up in landfills eventually ends up in the ocean.

Cathie Campbell

Ring around the onions

Since onion rings are on so many restaurant menus I think it is safe to assume I am not alone in my appreciation for those crispy treats. My favorites are the ones dipped in batter rather than bread crumbs. I like them fixed both ways but I prefer the batter dipped ones. They seem more evenly coated and in my experience, less likely to be burned or have the coating fall off. One thing I do not like about some of the onion rings I have ordered is when the actual onion inside has disintegrated into nothing but a thin, limp membrane. It’s like having a hollow onion ring. So, when I make them myself I am careful to slice off thick enough rings so they won’t disappear when fried or baked. I am a big fan of onions no matter how they are presented, and I used to eat a lot of Funyuns, too (that onion ring shaped and flavored crunchy snack by Frito-Lay). I say used to, because I have stopped eating most chips and other convenience store packaged snacks. That helped me lose almost 15 pounds so far, so I hope I can keep that up. Not that homemade onion rings are much higher on the health scale, but I need a treat once in a while. And if you thought you saw me buying several boxes of Girl Scout cookies this past spring, that was someone else. Sure, it was. On with the recipes now.

Cathie Campbell

Near-end of summer potluck desserts

Summer gets people together, many times in the form of picnics and potlucks. Even though a lot of folks have concluded their summer vacations, we still have quite a bit of summer left to enjoy. If you are looking for some good dessert recipes to make so you can bring a dish that people will gobble up, I hope you find something right here. One thing about potlucks, though, is that all too often people expect you to bring a dish you may be well known for, as in a specialty dish.

Cathie Campbell

Don’t put the grill away yet

Summer time is getting closer to the finish line, but there is still time, at least weather wise, to get outdoors and use that trusty barbecue grill. Most students are back in school, and many families have already had their camping vacations.

Cathie Campbell

A sweet corn summer

This summer I have been eating a lot of corn on the cob, thanks to the ag department over at CSU Fresno’s farm market. Yes, I know that corn isn’t high up on the healthful foods list, but sometimes I just want to enjoy the best of what summer time offers, and that special corn tops that list.

Cathie Campbell

Just peachy

Like many people, I love peaches. But this time of year is very difficult for diabetics, even if we stay away from baked goods. The abundance of sweet, ripe fruit is so very tempting, especially if you are lucky enough to find some delicious tree-ripened peaches. Maybe you even have some in your own home orchard or garden area.

Cathie Campbell

A passel of parsley

For months, some creature was nipping off fresh herbs from my container garden out on the deck, which I refer to as my kitchen garden. It didn’t like sage, chives, rosemary or thyme, but it dearly loved the oregano (didn’t plant basil this year). What puzzles me is why it always nipped off branches of parsley, but didn’t seem to eat them. Every morning I saw evidence of the nighttime raid, especially in the parsley pots, as the greens were just lying wilted and flat against the potting soil. I was getting tired of having to go buy bunches of parsley at the store. I finally installed a game camera and the culprit was a large pack rat. It actually was funny to see it flee back to its nest with a large branch of oregano in its mouth. After that rascal was caught and released elsewhere, two mice came along and took his place. They went bye-bye, too. Now I have a fresh crop of parsley that I started from seed and I hope to be able to harvest some in the near future. In honor of this new crop, I wanted to share some parsley recipes with you. If you grow any, I hope the rodents don’t wipe it out.

KOMB

Thank you, Sandee

Sandee Scott has written most of the Keep Our Mountains Beautiful (KOMB) articles for the Sierra Star for the past three years, and alternated with Susie Tomlinson, Judy Linda Horn and Jean Russell the previous six years.

Sue Langley

Watering lessons in a foothill garden

I like to hand water. It’s relaxing, cool on a hot day, and I can watch over the newly-establishing plants while I weed a bit in the wet, softening soil. I like to hand water ... up to a point. By August, I’m over it. Besides, our family usually goes on a trip or two during the hot summer, times through which I know my patio pots won’t live.

Cathie Campbell

Summertime hot dogs

I recently ate some hot dogs that were made at CSU Fresno’s meat department. It was my first time to visit the university’s farm market. I really liked the hot dogs (and had to share with my cat, as she thought they were pretty good, too). My favorite way to fix hot dogs is to grill them outdoors, over coals from a mixture of oak and manzanita wood. There are times when I don’t put anything on the hot dog except for a bun. And there are other times when I load it up with all sorts of things, such as baked beans, chili, caramelized onions, relish and on and on. Makes a big mess, but oh, so good. I also like to cook hot dogs in a Dutch oven along with Bavarian style sauerkraut and canned new potatoes. That dinner was born decades ago during a time when the power was out for a week and we used a Coleman camp stove to get by. Sort of like indoor camping. If you are feeling like serving family or friends some hot dogs this summer, here are some recipes to check out. If you do grill, use extra caution, what with this horrible and scary fire season.

Cathie Campbell

Cool off with a summer drink

I must confess I have an addiction to ice in beverages, even if I am just having water. And not just some ice, but lots of it. Fill a glass all the way to the top with ice, trickle a bit of beverage over it and I am one happy camper (even though I have not had a chance to actually go camping yet this summer). Of course, beverages can be served without ice, or so I hear. If you are looking for some recipes for nice, cold drinks to enjoy during these hot days, I’m hoping you will find something you like right here. Enjoy your summer fun and stay safe.

Cathie Campbell

Delicious strawberry sundaes

July 7 is National Strawberry Sundae Day, so now we have an official excuse to indulge and take advantage of the season’s fresh strawberry crop. Not that we need any excuses, though; most of us love our strawberries no matter what. I recently returned from a vacation in Ontario, Canada, where their strawberry season was just beginning. Surprisingly, none of the restaurants where I dined featured strawberries on their dessert menus. The berries in the markets seemed not quite ripe yet, so I avoided those. Now I am so hungry for ripe, fresh local strawberries, so let’s get down to business. I hope you had a wonderful and safe July 4 holiday.

Cathie Campbell

Summertime meals

Are you always on the look out for tasty recipes you can use during the summer months? I do a lot of outdoor grilling in summer, but I also spend a fair amount of time in my kitchen, or cooking when I visit my mom over in Gilroy. I hope you see at least one recipe here you will want to try. They are divided half and half into vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes. I also hope you are enjoying your summer and stay safe in your travels.

Sue Langley

Encouraging butterflies and bees in the garden

Butterfly gardeners begin this way - they see a colorful butterfly in their garden and start paying attention. Once you begin observing, you notice more and more of these beautiful creatures and wonder, how can I see more kinds? Let’s fill the garden with them. I’m sure that’s how I began.

Videos

More Videos

Tiny patients and nursing staff who cared for them early on in trying times in their young lives reunite 2:41

Tiny patients and nursing staff who cared for them early on in trying times in their young lives reunite

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired 0:51

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired 0:51

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired

Adding a face to a number: New law requires California to track veteran suicides 1:04

Adding a face to a number: New law requires California to track veteran suicides

Who is Fresno State's starting quarterback now? 0:51

Who is Fresno State's starting quarterback now?

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired 0:51

Trump says any NFL player who sits during anthem is 'son of a bitch' and should be fired

Talking to teens early could help Fresno County reduce number of preterm births 1:37

Talking to teens early could help Fresno County reduce number of preterm births

Man detained after shooting in southwest Fresno 0:26

Man detained after shooting in southwest Fresno

Meet California's official state dinosaur. And it's from Fresno County 2:09

Meet California's official state dinosaur. And it's from Fresno County

More NFL players sit, take a knee following Trump criticism 1:44

More NFL players sit, take a knee following Trump criticism

Food, hungry law enforcement: How it all came together

Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst Director Steve Rumage tells about the decision to offer meals to law enforcement after the power went out and ECCO was ordered to evacuate due to the Railroad Fire.
Morgan Voorhis The Sierra Star
Food, hungry law enforcement: How it all came together 1:39

Food, hungry law enforcement: How it all came together

Railroad Fire incident commander updates progress, and it's good news 2:29

Railroad Fire incident commander updates progress, and it's good news

Massive air tanker drops retardant on Railroad Fire 0:49

Massive air tanker drops retardant on Railroad Fire

Day turns to night as timelapse video shows vegetation exploding from Railroad Fire 0:47

Day turns to night as timelapse video shows vegetation exploding from Railroad Fire