A quilter’s kitchen – Cable TV cook from Southern California moves to Nevada County, shares recipes | TheUnion.com

A quilter’s kitchen – Cable TV cook from Southern California moves to Nevada County, shares recipes

Much to our joy, we immigrants to Nevada County are here enjoying all the lovely things this incredible place we have chosen to call home has to offer.

Two of those happy immigrants are Joan and Jim Dyer, who arrived here from Redondo Beach in 2001.

Jim, an engineer, retired from Northrop-Grumman Corp. and also taught at California State University at Long Beach for 17 years.

Joan and Jim raised two daughters and now revel in their two adorable granddaughters, one supplied by each of their girls.

They are active in the German-American Club, and hike frequently with their group the “Happy Wanderers.” Joan, an art quilter par excellence, belongs to two quilt guilds.

Joan is the kitchen queen at her casa. She claims no formal culinary training, but says she did lots of kitchen lab work across the years. While still in Redondo Beach, she participated in a series of cooking shows on Torrance Community Cable TV.

She has wowed friends in all of her groups with her innovative food offerings. She says she loves baking the best of it all! Recently at a quilt group meeting, we were all yum-yumming about the below mentioned shrimp and orange salad. It’s a winner BIG TIME!

Shrimp and Orange Salad

In this delicious salad, the shrimp are cooked by the acid in the lemon juice and vinegar, rather than by heat.

1 large sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings

2 lbs. large raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined

4 oranges, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup salad oil

2/3 cup lemon juice

1 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Lettuce leaves

One avocado

Combine the onion rings, shrimp and orange slices in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix all other ingredients, except lettuce leaves and avocado, and pour over the shrimp mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 24-48 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain well and serve on lettuce leaves. Garnish with avocado slices. Serves 6.

Lamb Curry

After enjoying a wonderful leg of lamb dinner, use the leftovers to make curry.

Chop fine and sauté in 2 tablespoons olive oil until limp:

1 apple

1 onion

3 outside celery stalks

2 carrots

2 garlic cloves


1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup beef stock

2 cup cooked lamb chunks (or more)

Simmer at least one hour. Serve with rice. Serves six.

Put bowls of the following condiments on the table to be spooned over the curry as desired: sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, toasted coconut, raisins, diced hard-boiled eggs, diced cooked bacon and, of course, Major Grey’s mango chutney (I like Cross and Blackwell’s).

Apple Tart

This recipe is from Joan’s German mother.


11/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Combine the egg yolk and milk, and add them to the pastry mixture. Combine lightly with a folk. Press into an 8×8-inch pan on the bottom and half way up the sides. Cut two or three apples into eighths, and place in rows onto the pastry. Nine servings.


3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoons flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Mix well and sprinkle over the apples. Bake at 375 F until the apples are tender. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Grilled Scampi

Here’s an appetizer that can be prepared ahead of time for your next party.

1 lb. jumbo prawns

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons A-1 Steak Sauce

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon each, dried basil, dried tarragon and celery seed

2 tablespoons dry white wine

Salt to taste

Shell, de-vein and butterfly the prawns. Marinate in all the other ingredients, except salt, for at least an hour. Throw them on the grill until just opaque. Salt to taste. Serves six.

Butter Horns

This is my Aunt Helene’s special breakfast bread. You need to start these the day before you wish to serve them.

1 cup milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 pkg. dry yeast

2 eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening

One cube melted butter

Nut filling:

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

3 tablespoons sugar

One egg white, beaten stiff

Heat the milk with the third cup sugar. When lukewarm, add the yeast and eggs. In another bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter. Lightly stir in the milk mixture. Let rise at least 12 hours in the refrigerator, covered.

Combine all the filling ingredients. Divide the dough into thirds. Roll each portion into a circle about one-quarter inch thick.

Cut into 8 wedges and spread each with melted butter. Place a spoonful of filling on each wedge and roll from the wide end into crescents.

Let rise on cookie sheets at least one and one-half hours, covered with a light towel. Bake at 350 F for 15 or 20 minutes until slightly browned.

When cool, frost with an icing made with a cup of powdered sugar, a little milk and a teaspoon vanilla. Makes 24.


She’s gone but not forgotten … Foodies, we have lost a national treasure. On Aug. 13, Julia Child died in her sleep in an assisted care residence in Pasadena.

The food world and cooking industry will never forget her, and neither will those of us who have ever owned one of her cookbooks or seen her on television making French cooking look like a breeze!

My Mother introduced me to Julia. A wonderful home-taught cook herself, my Mother LOVED Julia, and would never miss one of her cooking shows.

While visiting my Mother one day, she interrupted our visit by turning on Julia’s television cooking show, and I was hooked for life! Julia warbled (how does one describe Julia’s voice?) around her kitchen showing us fledgling cooks that there was hope for even the most ignorant of us.

Real life things happened in her kitchen, but she never lost her aplomb.

For example, any real chef always wears a towel tucked into their belt called a “side towel.” She was very tall, 6-feet, 2-inches, and one day while busily putting together a soufflé, she leaned over the stove and her side towel drifted over the flame and caught on fire.

Unaware of the smoldering towel, she warbled on until someone caught her attention. Without missing a beat, she whipped the towel onto the floor and, still warbling on about the soufflé, proceeded to stamp out the fire! I actually saw this show and knew this woman was someone who could REALLY teach me something and it wasn’t just how to cook.

I have owned many of her cookbooks, and sadly I moved to this area and missed meeting her. A dear friend of mine, Nancy Hoke, was still teaching for the California Culinary Academy when Julia visited the school to talk to budding chefs and hopefully sell (and autograph) her latest book.

Julia, with her ever-present glass of wine at her elbow, graciously encouraged students and schmoozed with the chefs. Everyone who met her loved her. My friend Nancy said she was a “real” person and talked to people easily.

She taught me many lessons and her humble attitude about food – she loved hamburgers, Wonder Bread, and iceberg lettuce – kept most of us budding food snobs more realistically centered.

She believed in natural ingredients and never eschewed butter and cream and stayed healthy by practicing moderation in her life. She was two days short of her 92nd birthday when she died.

Julia’s trademark signoff was “Bon Appetit,” and I know she would not have minded sharing it with me. Thank you for it all, Julia.


Anybody else got an over abundance of zucchini? Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say! So guess what I am going to grovel for THIS week? You are exactly right. ZUCCHINI RECIPES!! Any and all will be appreciated. Breads, cookies, side dishes, main dishes, preserves Ð you got it, I WANT it! Thank you in advance…

I wanted to share with you my all-time favorite food book. It has no recipes, but defines every cooking-term and ingredient known to us kitchen folk (plus some of which I had never heard!)

The title is “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst. It’s part of the Barron’s Educational Series and is a wonderful reference book.

That’s it for this week, Foodies! And now why not run out and try one of Joan’s great recipes?

Bon appetit!!


Jo Names is The Union’s food columnist. She can be reached by e-mail at livewhyre@usamedia.tv or by phone at 272-6727.

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