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Fox's 'morning food' remains a treasure


During Margaret Fox?s reign at Cafe Beaujolais, the diminutive restaurant was one of the best places in the entire country for breakfast.

Mendocino itself encourages a leisurely morning meal. I spent more mornings than I can count savoring breakfast there and then walking along the cliffs or climbing down to the beach to listen to the waves and feel their soft spray on my cheeks.

This recipe is from ?Morning Food from Cafe Beaujolais,? written by Margaret Fox and John Bear and published by Ten Speed Press in 1990. It is a treasure not just of delicious recipes but of a certain time and a certain place that deserve to be remembered.

Cafe Beaujolais Buttermilk-Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Makes 12 servings

? Butter, at room temperature

2? cups white flour

? teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

? teaspoon grated ginger

1 cup brown sugar

? cup white sugar

? cup corn oil

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

Coat the inside of a 9-inch by 13-inch by 2-inch pan with butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, white sugar and corn oil in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.?

Transfer 3/4 cup of this mixture to a smaller bowl, add the chopped nuts and set aside to use as topping.

Add the baking soda, baking powder, egg and buttermilk to the remaining batter, mixing quickly to combine all ingredient. Do not over-mix and do not worry about small lumps.

Pour the batter into the buttered pan and sprinkle the reserved mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

In 2001, ?Secrets of Salsa: A Bilingual Cookbook? was published by the Anderson Valley Adult School to raise funds for its on-going programs. The recipes in the book were contributed by the Mexican women who learned English at the school, in part by demonstrating their family recipes. The book has been a big success and spawned a documentary movie about the women involved.

This unusual salsa, contributed by Camelia Roldan and Arcelia Saucedo, is blisteringly hot and mildly smoky. It is delicious with roasted meats, grilled fish and drizzled over tuna salad. Be sure to wear gloves when you prepare the chiles or scrub your hands thoroughly afterward so that you don?t transfer the searing oils to tender tissues.

Toasted Sesame Salsa

Makes about 1? cups

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

2/3 cup mild olive oil

30 chiles de arbol (small dried chiles), stems removed, chopped

garlic clove, minced

? Kosher salt, to taste

Set a heavy frying pan ? cast iron is ideal ? over a high flame or burner and when it is hot, add the sesame seeds.? Shake the pan constantly until the seeds are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.? Transfer the toasted seeds to a bowl or plate.

After the pan has cooled somewhat, return it to the heat, add the oil and when it is hot add the chiles, garlic and toasted sesame seeds, cover, cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat.?Let cool.