Time for something a little different from the usual omelet or quiche we have for Sunday brunch. With a couple of family members to join us, I found a recipe in the Breakfast and Brunches from the Academy cookbook that had an Anglo-Indian combination of curry-seasoned rice and smoked salmon. I happened to have some smoked salmon on hand and decided to give it a try. Delicious! Recipe

It also prompted me to remember with fondness my days at the California Academy in 1978 shortly after it opened. It was during its free-wheeling early days and I learned a lot there before we opened our restaurant in Saratoga in 1980.

Quiche aux Fruits de Mer (Crab Quiche)

For many years our Easter brunch has consisted of crab quiche, asparagus, strawberries and champagne. The quiche recipe comes from Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. One p. 149. Julia knew a thing or two! I have made modifications over the years by substituting half and half or whole milk for the whipping cream. Still delicious, but not quite as rich. I use her crust recipe, but a favorite pie crust recipe could be used in its place.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

This comes from Cook’s Country, December/January 2007, with a few modifications, as usual. Sometimes I have found some perfect stuffing-sized mushrooms at Safeway.

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Baked Beans with Nigerian Seasonings

A couple of years ago my neighbor, who is a vegetarian and a great cook, gave me Madhur Jaffrey’s award-winning cookbook, World Vegetarian. I was looking for a recipe for beans (because they’re good and good for you) and came across this one. It is delicious and perfect for a cool fall day. I served it with Israeli Cucumber Salad, which has cucumbers and radishes and sour cream, and with some of my sister-in-law’s homemade wheat bread. Perfect!

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Butternut Squash Polenta

This comes from Gourmet, December 2005. It was delicious. I made a few minor changes. First, they called for a 12 oz. package of frozen butternut squash puree. I did not even know such a thing existed, so I peeled and seeded a butternut squash, cut it in pieces and steamed it for about 20 minutes. Worked fine. The recipe also specified instant polenta, another thing I had never encountered. I used regular polenta and it, too, worked fine. Finally I flung in a little rosemary I had harvested and not yet used. Yum.

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