​​​​Mushrooms Berkeley

I don't remember where I first encountered this recipe; the first time
​I made them I served them over buttered pappardelle noodles. Mushrooms are a favorite at home, so Mushrooms Berkeley make recurring appearences.  - Raymond

I quote the cookbook Vegetarian Epicure: "The mushrooms and peppers will be very dark and evil looking, but irresistible in flavor and aroma." So true. In my opinion, there is no better side for a good steak.

1 lb fresh mushrooms
2 medium bell peppers
1 onion
1⁄2 cup butter


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 cup mellow red table wine
seasoning salt


  1. Clean the mushrooms, cut in half unless quite small. Cut bell pepper into approximately 1-inch pieces. Dice the onion.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until translucent.
  3. Prepare the sauce: Mix together mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire cause until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in the wine, season with lots of freshly ground pepper and seasoned salt to taste.
  4. When the onion is ready, add the mushrooms and peppers and sauté 5-10 minutes, stirring often. As the mushrooms begin to brown and reduce in size, add the wine sauce.
  5. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for about 45 minutes or until the sauce is much reduced and thickened.  Serves about 4.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower
An head of cauliflower can be a wholesome meal or a great side.  The garlic herb butter and cauliflower create an earthy and savory dish sure to please. - Raymond


1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 large head cauliflower, leaves and stem trimmed


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix butter, dill, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, salt, and ground black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Spread butter mixture evenly over the top and sides of cauliflower, place in a casserole dish, and cover with foil.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until tender and cooked through, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer to a platter and spoon any liquid in the casserole dish over the cauliflower.


  1. Mushrooms Berkeley
  2. Old Country Lentils
  3. ​Whole Roasted Cauliflower
  4. Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Cacciatore means hunter, chasseur in French, and cazador in Spanish; the very name evokes heartiness.  This is the type of dish that is stick to your ribs goodness.  It was once considered peasant food for the hard working class and originated in the Tuscan area of Italy around the Renaissance.  I use a Dutch Oven when making this dish but any heavy pot with an oven-safe heavy lid works. Enjoy, this is one of my favorite dishes and is always hit with company.  - Raymond


1 whole chicken, quartered
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic , peeled (1 crushed, 2 sliced)
½ bottle Chianti
flour, for dusting
extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1 handful green or black olives, pitted
2 14 oz cans of plum tomatoes


  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them into a bowl. Add the bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, and the crushed clove of garlic; cover with the wine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry. Dust the chicken pieces with flour and shake off any excess. Heat an ovenproof pan, add a splash of olive oil, fry the chicken pieces until browned lightly all over and put to one side.
  3. Place the pan back on the heat and add the sliced garlic. Fry gently until golden brown, then add the anchovies, olives, tomatoes (broken up with a wooden spoon), and the chicken pieces with their reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid or a double thickness layer of foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.
  4. Skim off any oil that’s collected on top of the sauce, then stir, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, and serve with a salad, or some cannellini beans, and plenty of Chianti.

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Old Country Lentils

The weather in Southern California at the moment is rather pleasant for my taste-- 67 degrees, cloudy with soft showers here and there. Perfect weather for staying in with a good book and a bowl of soup.

Lens Culinaris is a type of small legume named for its lens-shaped appearance. Lentils originated in India but today it is found virtually the world over. It is a staple legume in Indian and vegetarian cuisines. Iberian and Mediterranean cuisine also favor it.

There are many variations of this iron rich legume. Lentils contain an abundance of protein, dietary fiber and B1 Vitamins. In short, not only are they delicious, but also extremely good for one.

This is my variation on my mother's Old Country Lentils. - Raymond


5-6 Servings

1 lb  Lentils
1/3c Wild Rice
8 c  Hot water
1 Tbsp Chicken Bouillon
1/4 Tsp of each of the following:
-Ground Cummin
-Celery Salt
2 Bay Leaves
1/3 c of each of the following vegetables:

4 oz Bacon or medium thick Serrano Ham
1  Egg


  1. Remove any debris from the lentils and rinse clean.  Add lentils to hot water cover and cook for approximately 50 minutes.

  2. Add wild rice, bouillon, bay leaves and spices 20 minutes into the cooking process.

  3. Chop bacon and cook in a medium sauté pan. Remove bacon from fat (keep 1/3 of bacon fat in pan) and add to the lentils.

  4. Sauté Celery and Onion (approximately 5 minutes) and add to lentils. Repeat with Tomatoes.

  5. Allow to boil. Crack egg into small bowl and beat slightly. Drizzle into boiling pot while stirring the lentils. Eggs will cook in broth.
  6. Garnish with cheese, fresh chopped onions, croutons.