Cabo San Lucas

What to do when the weather is cold, windy, and wet?!? Why... gather some siblings and spouses and head south to Baja California Sur. Or, more specifically, Cabo San Lucas!

I was in Cabo about 45 years ago when I worked for Hyatt. I flew down with a couple of guys I worked with and we got our free rooms and more than our fair share of free tequila. it was before the advent of the all-inclusive resort, but hotel employees always took care of other hotel employees.

It was a sleepy fishing village just on the verge of becoming a huge resort still focusing on sport fishing and tequila back then. Today, it's all-inclusive resorts, golf, spas - and tequila!

The area has changed so much I really didn't recognize anything - other than the absolutely gorgeous Sea of Cortez, It's just stunning.

This is sunrise from our hotel beach, taken by Victor.

And sunset on a sunset cruise...

We stayed at Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Blanco.


Here's an early morning shot from our balcony... It's rough waking up to palm trees and a sea breeze...

These were the only early morning shots we did... While tequila was offered at breakfast, we did not partake. We have standards. We waited until at least 11! Well... maybe 10:30.

The food was really good - a lot of traditional Mexican foods with a slightly spiced-down  American twist. They did serve a house-made habanero sauce that perked things up a bit, though. Our first night was steak and lobster...

Cooked to perfection! They did great presentations...

We did the requisite touristy things and took a tour to Todos Santos.

Bought some fun souvenirs, ate great food, and had a great tour guide who answered a particular question for me... My memory is very vague and fuzzy about that that first trip - I was only about 25 or 26 at the time - but back when I first visited Cabo, I thought it was a quick drive into town, but it took us about 30 minutes from the airport to the hotel. He said there is an airport probably less than 10 minutes from town that is now a regional airport where I most likely landed. I'm not sure if we flew in from San Diego or Tijuana, but the only ID we needed was a drivers license. Customs took seconds to pass through and on to the next flight.

As for the hotel... It doesn't exist, anymore. All the old hotels and resorts have been torn down or remodeled and expanded beyond recognition. Hyatt now has 5 or 6 properties down there under various brands... But the more I think of it, the more it seems it was south of the marina. It was an easy walk into town.

But back to the present...

My Dermatologist will be very proud of me when I see him on Thursday! I wore my SPF 50 Sun Shirt in the pool the whole time we were there! No sunburn for this kid!

A good time was had by all!

In a few weeks we're off to San Francisco. being retired is good!



Raw Chopped Beef with Spices

  • 1/4 cup nitter kebbeh (recipe here)
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp very finely chopped green peppers
  • 2 tbsp very finely chopped hot chilies
  • 1 tsp very finely chopped scraped gingerroot
  • 1/2 tsp very finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp strained lemon juice
  • 2 tsp berbere
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs beef filet or top round, trimmed of fat and coarsely ground
  • 12 medium-sized Italian frying peppers

In a heavy 8-10 inch skillet, melt the niter kebbeh over low heat. As soon as it is warm, add the onions, chopped green peppers, chilies, garlic, and cardamom. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes until the seasonings are heated through and the kebbeh begins to sputter.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the kebbeh mixture into a deep bowl. Set it aside at room temperature for 15 minutes or so to cool. Stir in the lemon juice, berbere, and salt. Add the beef and toss the ingredients together thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.

Mound the kitfo on a platter and serve it at once, accompanied by injera or by Arab-style flatbread.

You may also serve the kitfo stuffed into raw Italian frying peppers. Without removing the stem, slit each pepper lengthwise from about 1/2 inch from the top to within about 1 inch from the narrow bottom end. Make a crosswise slit 1 inch wide at the top of the first cut and gently scoop out the seeds. Carefully cut out as much of the white membranes or ribs as you can without piercing the skin of the pepper. Wash the peppers inside and out under cold running water and pat them completely dry with paper towels. Then stuff the peppers, diving the kitfo evenly among them, and serve immediately.

Yemiser Selatta

Ethiopian Lentil Salad with Shallots and Chile

  • 1 1⁄4 cups dried lentils
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large shallots, peeled and cut into halves
  • 2 fresh hot chili peppers, each about 3 inches long
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Place the lentils in a sieve and wash them under cold, running water before dropping them into enough lightly salted boiling water to cover them by 2-3 inches.

Lower the heat and simmer in a partly covered pan for 25-30 minutes or until tender but still somewhat firm to the bite.

Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.

Mix the vinegar, oil, salt and a bit of pepper in a bowl and beat together with a whisk.

Stem and seed the chilies and roughly chop them.

Mix everything together with the lentils and let marinated at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, before serving.

Niter Kebbeh

Spiced Butter Oil

To make about 2 cups

  • 2 pounds unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • l 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 cardamom pod, slightly crushed with the flat of a knife, or a pinch of cardamom seeds
  • l piece of stick cinnamon, 1 inch long ·
  • l whole clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat the butter over moderate heat, turning it about with a spoon to melt it slowly and completely without letting it brown. Then increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is completely covered with white foam, stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible point and simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes, or until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan are a golden brown and the butter on top is transparent.

Slowly pour the dear liquid niter kebbeh into a bowl, straining it through a fine sieve lined with a linen towel or four layers of dampened cheesecloth. Discard the seasonings. If there are any solids left in the kebbeh, strain it again to prevent it from becoming rancid later.

Pour the kebbeh into a jar, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature until ready to use. Kebbeh will solidify when chilled. It can safely be kept, even at room temperature, for 2 or 3 months.

Doro Wat

Chicken stewed in red pepper sauce

  • A 2½- to 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
  • 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • ¼ cup niter kebbeh (recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • teaspoon finely chopped, scraped fresh ginger root
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, pulverized with a mortar and pestle or in a small bowl with the back of a spoon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated ·
  • ¼ cup berbere (page 56)
  • tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup dry white or red wine
  • ¾ cup water
  • 4 hard:cooked eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub the pieces with lemon juice and salt. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes \.

In an ungreased heavy 3- to 4-quart enameled casserole, cook the onions over moderate heat for 5 or 6 minutes, or until they are soft and dry. Shake the pan and stir the onions constantly to prevent them from burn­ ing; -if necessary, reduce the heat or lift the pan occasionally from the stove to let it cool for a few moments before returning it to the heat.

Stir in the niter kebbeh and, when it begins to splutter, add the garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom and nutmeg, stirring well after each ad­ dition. Add the berbere anci paprika, and stir o-yer low heat for 2 to 3 min­ utes. Then pour in the wine and water and, still stir.ring, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid in the pan has reduced to the consistency of heavy cream.

Pat the chicken dry and drop it into the simmering sauce, turning the pieces about with a spoon until they are coated on all sides. Reduce the heat to the lowest point, cover tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

With the tines of a fork, pierce 1/4 inch deep holes over the entire surface of each egg. Then add the eggs and turn them gently about in the sauce. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the chicken is tender and the dark meat shows no resistance when pierced with the point of a small knife. Sprinkle the ew with pepper and taste for seasoning.

To serve, transfer the entire contents of the casserole to a deep heated platter or bowl. Doro wat is traditionally accompanied by either injera or spice bread ( Recipe Index), but may also be eaten with Arab-style flat bread or hot boiled rice. Yegomen kitfo (Recipe follows) or plain yoghurt or both may be presented wit1:,the wat from separate bowls.

Lithuanian Krupnikas

This comes from an old TJ customer circa Christmas, 2001.

  • 2 cups water – cold
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 1/2 lb honey
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp orange juice
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 liter grain alcohol

In pot: cold water, sugar, and honey – heat slowly until dissolved. Then add the next 5 ingredients (spices) and simmer with frequent stirring for 1 hour.

Remove from heat, add the boiling water.

Let cool to room temperature and add the alcohol.

Filter through cheese cloth (or coffee filter). Bottle, let stand a few days to settle and clear, then carefully pour into a clean bottle without disturbing the sediments.

Store in a cool place to age & mellow.


Five Joint Soup

  • 1/4 cup mung peas
  • 1/4 cup azuki peas
  • 1/4 cup lentils and/or split peas
  • cranberry beans – enough to cover the bottom of
  • ettle
  • 1 1/2 bunches celery
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 4 large yellow onions
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1/2 cup chard
  • 1 medium potato
  • any vegetable to taste – solid ones first, leafy ones last
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/4 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cubes beef or chicken bouillon
  • 1-2 cups red wine (any cheap, dry red goofy)
  • grated parmesan cheese

Use a large pot (can be picked up for about a quarter at most thrift shops) of 1 gallon or more capacity. Put enough water in the kettle to come up 2-3 inches up the sides. Pour in cranberry beans and other beans and peas, 1 sliced onion, and 3 stalks chopped celery, including leafy part.

Season with liberal/radical amounts of salt, black pepper, celery salt, thyme, oregano.

Season conservatively with bay leaves, allspice.

Season fascistically with cayenne or curry powder

Season piggishly with chili powder

  1. Let this first part cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. As it comes to a boil, stir occasionally.
  2. Now during the first hour of cooking, get away from the stove, sit down, roll one, have some tea, look out the window – relax.
  3. After one hour begin adding vegetables – hard ones first – celery, carrots, potato, etc.
  4.  Put in leafy vegetables after the second hour.
  5. Add mushrooms and tomato in the last 20 minutes, wine in the last 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.

Marie's Pineapple Bread Dressing

Marie Martorano

Marie only makes this at Easter. I think it’s good enough for year-round eating!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
Fold in bread and pineapple. Bake in 1 1/2 qt casserole at 350ºF for 1 hour.

Marie usually doubles the recipe and uses a bit less sugar and butter. A double recipe fits perfectly into a standard 9×13 pyrex dish.

Eggplant Parmesan Non-Meatballs

Barbara Olson

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 lb eggplant, cut into 1″ pieces
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (low sodium)

Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium heat until it sizzles – about three minutes.

Add eggplant and 1/4 cp water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.. Cook, covered, on medium-low heat stirring occasionally, until tender – about 12-15 minutes.

Transfer to colander and let drain 5 minutes.

Heat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil and coat lightly with cooking spray.

Transfer eggplant mixture to food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Do Not Puree.

Add breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.

Stir in egg.

Form into about 20 1 1/2″ balls and transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Bake until firm and browned on the bottom 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat sauce in a large skillet then gently toss in meatballs.

Top with freshly grated parmesan and parsley.


Eggroll in a Bowl

Ryan Hughes and Mia Scioscia


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

In a large pan, brown ground pork with sesame oil.

Once browned, add shredded carrots. Mix soy and fish sauces with garlic and ginger and add to pan.

Immediately add shredded cabbage to pan and toss to coat.

Add chicken broth and cook for 3 minutes.

Garnish with salt, pepper, sesame seeds and sliced green onion.

Veggie Stromboli

Lauren Snyder

  • 1 pkg herb pizza dough
  • 3/4 bag shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 – 3/4 bag melange a trois peppers
  • 1/2 – 3/4 bag broccoli florets
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach

Roll out dough.

Season shredded mozzarella with curry, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, and turmeric.

Saute veggies in a dash of olive oil.

Put half of seasoned cheese on dough.

Place veggies on top of cheese.

Put remaining cheese on veggies.

Fold dough. Cover in a light layer of oil.

Cut slices to vent.

Bake at 425°F for 15-17 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Susan's Pineapple Cake

Susan Schaff

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can 1 lb 4oz crushed pineapple in own juice – don’t drain

Mix above ingredients. Bake in a greased/floured 13″ x 9″ pan at 325°F for 40 minutes.

Spread with butter while hot. Let cool

To Frost:

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp butter

Cream until smooth – spread on cooled cake.

Refrigerate remains.