Dinners at Anna's

Happy times spent cooking and sharing life at the Beach House

Snausages June 13, 2010

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes — heatherinsf @ 1:41 pm
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A last minute invitation and a heat wave caused me to head over on a steaming hot train to The Beach House for a cool beer in the garden and a sausage feast after sundown.

It was 86 F by 1:00 pm and the cool ocean breeze was most welcome upon my arrival, a chilly 76 F!

The garden is gorgeous and the icy beer was perfect.

Much later in the evening, we started dinner and Anna instructed me with her method to braise cabbage to serve with snausages.


1 small red cabbage, slivered
1 Vidalia or sweet onion, slivered
2 c Russian pickled vegetables (cabbage) or fresh saurkraut
2 T olive oil
1/2 c dried cranberries
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c H2O (we used potato water)
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil until they are golden brown and starting to caramelize.  Add the cabbage and stir until the cabbage has wilted significantly, approximately 15 minutes.  Add the cranberries, salt and pepper and water, stir well, and cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The cabbage and onions should be extremely tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed, resulting in some caramelization.

Serves 4


We piled the cabbage onto a pretty platter, and added a panful of sauteed onions and sweet red peppers, and a lovely mound of fluffy mashed potatoes.  The bratwurst and bockwurst were panfried until browned, split in half and browned a bit on the cut side, and arranged on top of the cabbage.


We had pots of insanely hot Russian mustard, a hot sweet deli mustard and soft white deli buns from Nature’s Pride* .  What a feast!

Cool Sofia Rose was poured, and we quickly dispatched most of everything.

The Aftermath

Finally the air began to cool around 11:00 pm and we drifted off to our various rooms for the evening.  I was tempted to let the doggies sleep with me but I think they already had popped on Anna’s bed.  Well, that’s really okay, Bella snores…

*Please note that the Nature’s Pride Premium Harvest (TM) Deli Rolls were provided to me free of charge by Nature’s Pride and other than the product I am not being compensated for discussing them on my sites.


Decomposed Salads June 11, 2010

Filed under: food,food porn,recipes — heatherinsf @ 12:00 pm
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It has been my custom for quite a while to present a deconstructed salad for my guests.  I arrange beautiful lettuces in a deep bowl, add a perfect tomato, a cucumber, and whatever other veggies I like with a sharp paring knife and a side of wonderful dressing.

One day I served this to Anna and she said, “Oh, a decomposed salad!”  Sometimes her mother tongue comes out with hysterical English equivalents.

Now, I always call my pretty salads prepared in this fashion Decomposed Salads because it is just that funny.

Arrange the romaine prettily!

Tonight, over at Anna’s, we had a bonus crop of romaine hearts from our favorite garden, errrr, well, from Costco.   We were both craving a huge salad for dinner plus someone mentioned Caesar dressing and that sealed the deal.

I prepared the salad while Anna finished the flower border in her backyard, a wondrous creation she and her dear beau have been slaving over the past few weeks.  From an empty lot of sand to a sumptuous riot of color and textures, the garden is the best place to watch the sun set with a glass of juice (a Merlot based meritage) and a cozy sweater.  You can hear the surf so loudly in the yard, it’s like a giant engine humming in the background.

This weekend my stepsister J___ shared with me a wonderful recipe for a fast Caesar-like dressing that she serves over crisp cooked asparagus and diced sweet red peppers.  With a few tweaks of my own,  I realized that with just the basic ingredients one normally has on hand in the fridge one can have a delicious Caesar salad anytime.

To accompany the salad I thawed a few chicken thighs and sauteed them in butter and finished them with vermouth and fresh tarragon from the garden.This Chicken Tarragon is a staple recipe in my family, from the amazing Spice Island Cookbook.

New Message
(Chicken Tarragon)

What a delectable dinner!

If you have these, you can make a fast Caesar salad


1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T H2O
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or pureed
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 romaine hearts, separated into leaves

Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl using a whisk, until very smooth. Add more lemon juice if you like it more tangy, like I do. Serve with the lettuce leaves and dip into the dressing with abandon.

You can make this dressing very low calorie by using light mayonnaise and fat free sour cream. Or, make it more decadent by using homemade mayonnaise.

Deconstructed Caesar Salad

Don’t you just want to dive in?

A bonus to the evening, Anna gifted me with a gorgeous Portuguese chicken filled with my favorite herb for stuffing – marjoram. Isn’t she adorable?

My new chicken!

I love chickens!


Burger Night! June 8, 2010

Filed under: eratta,food porn — heatherinsf @ 7:15 pm
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Sometimes a gal just needs a big ole burger!

When Anna invited me over for a burger, I hopped on the train so fast, I almost flew to the beach.

After much wine, gardening, chatting and playing on the computer, we realized what time it was, almost 9 pm.  Anna was slightly in favor of skipping dinner altogether, but I started whinging, because, darn it, I need a burger!

About 10 minutes later, ahhhh.  Meat…..

Ah, success. The wine helped.

Naturally it tasted a lot better that it looks here.  A whole wheat bun, toasted a bit, topped with a perfect medium-medium rare burger from meat we ground ourselves.  A layer of melted blue-jack cheese and sprinkled liberally with crunchy onions.  The garnishment:  a slab of heirloom tomato, a slice of sweet Vidalia onion, and a tangy leaf of mustard greens from the garden, picked moments before eating.   What could be better?

Oh yes, with that burger a lot of great red wine.

Rabbit Ears collage

Maybe too much wine…