Cathy Merenda
Cathy Merenda
Cathy Merenda
Cathy Merenda
Cathy Merenda


Apple Thing & National Medjool Date Day

Who knew?  Of course the King of Fruit should have it’s own day.  Feb 4th.  Get ready!  It’s going to be HUGE!

I love love medjool dates.  There’s nothing like a big fat fresh one!   Luckily, I live close to the Date Capital of the World in Coachella Valley.   There a many date farms out there and the freshest dates are at hand.

I like to eat them raw.   I discovered a variation of this recipe in a raw lifestyle pamplet in the early 90′s.    Once I tried it I became obsessed and literally ate it every morning for about 10 years.   TEN years.   Literally.   Somehow I got sidetracked with granloa and stopped having it every morning but I still love it.

It’s called Apple Thing for no apparent reason.   It could be called Raw Apple Pie, Apple Hash or something like that but Apple Thing suits and it stuck.    Oh and it’s in my book Sweet Things.  Yeah!


For one serving

1 apple (a sweet variety like Fuji, Braeburn, Gala)
1/4 cup raw whole almonds
1/4 lemon
3-4 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Slice apple in half, then core. Leave skin on.

Put almonds in a Cuisinart food processor with the blade attachment and pulse about 10 times until almonds have a rough chop.

Add pitted dates and pulse until mixture is crumbly and dates are chopped and incorporated.

Leave date mixture in bottom of Cuisinart but take out blade and insert either grating or french fry attachment.

Put top back on Cuisinart, insert apple into tube and shred. Remove top and blade attachment in Cuisinart. Dump apple mixture into wide bowl. Squeeze lemon juice on top then sprinkle with cinnamon.

Serve immediately.

Apple 005


Apple 013


Apple 018

Vegetarian Paella

Angel requested Paella for her birthday because she’s never had it.  So she threw it out there for someone to make it for her birthday.    I grabbed it because I’ve never made it and if someone else was going to make it I’m sure it would have meat in it.   So I selfishly volunteered so I could eat paella at Angel’s birthday party too!

Research showed me to a ton of postings on the interweb.  They were all a little different but basically the same.   I mean it’s just rice!   So I found myself in Sur la Table to look at paella pans.   Now that I’ve made it, I think it’s a must.   Proper equipment for the job.   Since I wasn’t sure of what I was doing I got the inexpensive $20 pan.   I also got the correct rice, Bomba.   Not sure if aborio rice would do the trick but the Bomba was da bomb!  One final kind of cheat that I got at Sur la Table was a jar of sofritto.  All paellas start with sofritto which is a mix of onion, tomato and garlic.   This is a cheat but man is it gooood.     I already had the smoked paprika which I had on hand from a trip to Penzey’s in Santa Monica and I already had saffron – both of these ingredients are a MUST.

For the “meat” and vegetables I used a jar of roasted marinated artichoke hearts (which were soooo good), red bell pepper, frozen peas and tofu.   The tofu wasn’t that great so next time I make this I’ll try other fake meats.

Vegetarian Paella

12” paella pan

4 cups vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 jar Matiz Valenciano paella sofrito (or 1 choppped tomato, 10 cloves garlic & 1 onion)

1 large pinch saffron
2 tsp Spanish Style smoked paprika
¼ tsp Turmeric
salt & pepper
1 jar roasted marinated artichoke hearts
2 small red bell pepper cut into strips
1 cup fake meat of your choice (tofu, seitan, etc)

2 cups Bomba rice

½ cup frozen peas

1 lemon cut lengthwise into 6 slices.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in paella pan, add artichoke hearts, bell pepper and fake meat.    Saute for about 5 minutes until bell peppers are soft.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the meantime put saffron in ¾ cup hot water to soften.

Back in the hot paella pan add sofrito, paprika, turmeric, garlic, salt & pepper.  Sauté for a few minutes then add saffron with water, rice and stir.   Then add the vegetable broth and stir.  Rice will be covered.

Cook on medium high until the whole thing comes to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.

Place the cooked artichoke hearts, bell pepper and fake meat on top of rice.   Then throw on the peas.  Reduce heat to very low and cover the whole thing with aluminum foil for another 15 minutes.

Squeeze one of the lemon slices all over the paella and place remainder of the lemons on top of paella and serve.
Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella

2013 Flipgram Review

This is a little late but thought I’d post it anyway.    Flipgram is a very cool app.  You load in whatever photos you have on your phone and it makes a little movie out of it.   You can set the speed and add music to it.  I ended up having more photos from the last half of the year than the first half – I guess it’s just fresh in my mind.

It’s so nice to see a review of life in the past 12 months.   My phone pictures are much more random and off the cuff than my “big camera” pics.  There’s a lot of sunset and clouds but if we can only have more of that in our life, the better.

Music is “Eleven Wives” by Avishal Cohen Trio.



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