4 Great Recipes That Give Comfort. Plus, A Good Read!

An old column from my Novato, Advance Days plus a couple recipes that provide comfort!

Enjoy the read and cooking

Well one of the editors at the Novato Advance, it a little upset with yours truly for not giving you a DATE BAR recipe last week. I refuse to give in to the MAN (well, in this case, it’s a woman) but you know what I mean. Back in the day, those with the power called the man! I hope she (the man) who shall remain nameless is laughing because I am totally kidding. However, if you all do not respond with date recipes I will have to give in to said MAN, so send in your recipes to curtisaikens.net. If your recipe is chosen you will receive one of my cookbooks, and I will sign it if you like!

Today Chestnuts, in most gourmet shops, you will find chestnuts imported from Italy,  not because those are the best chestnuts.  About a hundred and ten years ago, or so, the best tasting chestnuts were grown in America. Unfortunately, they were wiped out by a chestnut blight.

Chestnuts are usually priced according to size. Medium, large, extra large and JUMBO. No smalls allow. They the small ones are ground, crushed or beaten and used elsewhere. Normally the bigger the nut, the bigger the bucks to buy most time chestnuts are used for roasting, so I say save the money buy the smaller ones.

Here is a dessert topping one can try, take the meat for the


1 cup chopped chestnut

1 / 2 cup water

1 / 2 sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla


Add all ingredients to saucepan heat to boil lower and simmer until thicken, pour over any dessert for a French twist.

This recipe comes from my boys Grandmother Jane Lehman, Happy Holidays Jane I love you.

Almonds Crisps


1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 pound butter

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

4 1 / 2 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sliced almonds


Cream sugar and butter, Stir in vanilla extract add eggs one at the time beating each in well. Sift flour, salt and soda add to eggs and butter half cup at the time mixing in well as you go forming cookie dough. Fold in sliced almonds. Divide four equal sections form into round loaves. Wrap in wax paper and chill thoroughly overnight if you have time. (the Dough can be frozen) Slice thin and bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes or until brown.

Nest week I hope to have at least one Date recipe to share!




How about some comfort food?

Broiled Shrimp and Garlic


2 pounds jumbo shrimp peel and divined

(Cole my youngest likes the tail removed so I do that as well.)

8 cloves garlic peel chopped

2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 / 2 tsp ground black pepper.

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 / 2 stick butter cut into pads (as many and you can)



Place shrimp in the baking dish, (note I like to rinse my shrimp in cold water then pat dry before broiling) spread chopped garlic over shrimp, drizzle half the olive oil over them, add garlic salt, pepper and salt, toss to mix season. Place pads of butter over the top, drizzle remaining olive oil over the butter   (this oil helps you butter keep for burning). Broil 10 to 15 minutes or until Shrimp are pink and juicy!

Garlicky/ BBQ MeatLoaf


8 cloves garlic chopped

2 pounds ground beef

1 / 2 cup of my Mama homemade BBQ sauce (you may have to buy 1 of my cookbooks) or use your favorite sauce

10 saltines crumbled

1 medium red onion diced fine

2 green onions chopped

1 teaspoon season salt

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 / 4 teaspoon black pepper

1 / 4 cup more of BBQ Sauce


In a large mixing bowl, add garlic and beef, mix well. Add sauce 1 / 2 cup BBQ Sauce and saltines mix, add red and green onions, then seasonings, form into loaf or place in loaf pan cover with remaining sauce, bake at 350 about 60 minutes.

Couples of tips, after broiling the shrimp, that garlicky liquid is quite tasty, don’t through it out. Reduce it about 1 / 3 then drizzle it over toasted

French bread, all I can say is WOW!

With the shrimp, I served cold slaw, baked potatoes, hush puppies and because it was seafood night Southern Fried Dover Soul.

The meatloaf was served with lumpy mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage and red onion, cornbread and for dessert homemade Pound Cake, because it was the country night.

Let me know what you think of these two simple but tasty recipes.


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