Mandarin recipes

I buy at least 20 pounds of mandarins every year from one of our many growers in Placer County for eating and cooking. Most of the mandarins are eaten right out of the bag, but a few make it into salads, drinks, and as glazes or sauces. Experiment a bit and try them on or in whatever sounds good to you. Mandarins are easy to squeeze for juice, and the juice freezes well.


Bake a fall dessert with apples

Ever walk past a bakery with one of those impossibly elegant apple tarts in the window, the ones with the apple slices fanned out in the shape of a flower? Nothing you could ever make at home, right?


Ina Garten’s new book offers make-ahead tips

Ina Garten is a best-selling cookbook author, an Emmy-winning television host and the doyenne of casual elegance. But on a recent afternoon, the “Barefoot Contessa” star looked around her East Hampton, N.Y., kitchen and realized that she had produced piles of cherry biscotti and tubs of rum-raisin ice cream – but no dinner.


Add zest to desserts with orange peel

When it comes to sweets, I have a surprising trick up my sleeve. And the best part about it? It probably won’t cost you a penny because most likely you already have it, but throw it in the trash.

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The Mailbox: Readers requests recipes

Forty Mile Ranch was a true ranch outside of Placerville. It had a small lunchroom with some very good sandwiches and salads and a gift shop which sold jams, sauces and other non-edibles as well.


Snip a bit of tarragon

Most herbs defy easy description. Trying to discuss the flavor of thyme or oregano leads only to vague adjectives. Calling rosemary “woody” doesn’t quite cut it.


What’s Cooking: Brunch

“Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,” wrote Guy Beringer in Britain’s 1895 Hunter’s Weekly, in an article titled “Brunch: A Plea.” “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”


Tomato pie gets a spicy update

Tomato pie is a classic Southern dish made when everyone has had enough tomato sandwiches and salads. It is essentially a pie shell filled with fresh sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, topped with mixture of shredded cheese and served with a sprinkle of fresh basil.


What’s Cooking: Pears

Mmm, pears. Around here they’re picked in summer – and they taste spectacular grilled alongside that steak – but pears seem more suited to autumn meals and desserts. Something about the way they go with cinnamon, I guess.


Dried beans are worth the extra effort

I didn’t appreciate the numerous lovable qualities of dried beans until my college years, when I was living on my own in a house with several other women, all of us strapped for cash. As soon as we discovered that beans are a tasty, economical and nutrient-rich alternative to animal-based protein, they began turning up at the center of our plates with real regularity.

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