Starting a new career at 60 years young!

I have been neglecting my Basque wife blog for sometime.  Let me share with you the reason why.   Along with the volunteer cooking I do for the Basque club I belong to I am now employed as a freelance writer!  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imaged starting a new career in my 60’s!   In the spring I was approached by an energetic young woman that I have know since the day she was born, to leave my comfort zone and embark on a new adventure.  Ali, along with my children, Julie and Martin, had been encouraging me to start a blog where I could share my recipes, thus was born The Basque Wife.    Ali owns Ali Cox & Company and her business is branding and marketing.  She asked if I would join the team for the California Dry Bean Advisory Board to write a blog promoting California dry beans. Being a little apprehensive, as I hadn’t really thought of myself as a writer, I put my fear aside and met the challenge.  As a bean farmers daughter I thought I knew a lot about beans, but I am learning more everyday.    I am still cooking, just using more beans and posting those recipes on the website.  I am also doing a lot of crafting using beans.   When I have a little more time I will post some recipes here on my blog.  I had every intention of posting a cookie recipe for Christmas, but the holidays seemed to fly by so quickly!  I would appreciate it however if you would follow the following social media for California Dry Bean Advisory Board.  And please check out the recipes on and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Thank you!!!

Instagram:  @californiabeans

Facebook: California Beans

Twitter: @californiabeans

Pinterest: californiabeans

Lamb Shanks

Every first Friday of the month, except for July when our Basque club has it’s picnic, we have a dinner open to the public.  We always serve lamb chops and I alternate chicken, pork, albondigas (meatballs) and fish for the other meat.  We also have lamb shanks, lamb ribs or lamb stew along with homemade soup, Basque rice, a vegetable, salad, homemade bread and desserts.  I never know how many people will show up, it could be 80 or 160 so I always try to prepare enough food and I always keep my fingers crossed. So far we have never run out…came close a few times but we have never run out.  There have been some mad dashes to the grocery store for more lettuce for the salad.

I made up this recipe from a couple of ones that I had tried and this recipe has become a regular on the menu.  I also use it for lamb ribs.  Lamb ribs can be fatty, but this combination goes really well with them. Don’t be alarmed of the large amount of lamb shanks pictured in the pan.  This was for the first Friday dinner and I made two large pans of shanks.

20130923-222320.jpglamb shanks

20130923-222341.jpgAdd minced garlic and chopped onion

20130923-222406.jpgAdd sliced carrots, can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 can of beer, cup of red wine, salt and pepper to taste.

20130923-222419.jpgCook at 350 degrees for about 4  hours.  This is an approximate. It may be more or less depending on your stove.

You just want to slow roast them.


Lamb Shanks

4 to 6 lamb shanks

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion chopped

3 carrots peeled and sliced

1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 can of beer

1 cup red wine

salt and pepper to taste

Put a little oil in the bottom of a roasting pan or a large dutch oven.  Add shanks, garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, beer, wine, salt and pepper.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees approximately 4  hours.  This may be more or less.


Basque Wine Cake

This cake is so simple, delicious and might I say, addicting.  Make sure you have plenty of people to eat this after you bake it, because if you don’t I can guarantee you will eat almost all of it yourself.  It’s kind of like when you make homemade bread and it’s hot out of the oven and before you know it half the loaf is gone with 1/2 a stick of butter! Not that has ever happened to me!  This cake freezes well and is a wonderful cake to take to a new neighbor or anytime you want to give someone something home baked.

Our Basque club makes this a lot for our food booths at the county fair and two other events.  It’s always a favorite with the customers.

  In the summer I like to serve it with sliced fresh freestone peaches and top the peaches with real whipped cream that has a touch of ground cinnamon.

Ingredients for Wine Cake
Ingredients for Wine Cake

Basque Wine Cake

1 package yellow cake mix with pudding in it
4 eggs
1 cup white wine
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients.  Pour into greased Bundt pan.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven, turn out onto a plate and immediately pour glaze over hot cake.

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup white wine
dash of cinnamon

Mix well, adjusting sugar and wine amounts to get a heavy syrup.

You can use nutmeg instead of cinnamon.
You can also use spice cake mix or chocolate cake mix with red wine.  You can use red wine with the yellow cake mix, but it makes the cake a greenish color.


Finished cake.

IMG_4568Wrapped and unwrapped cakes for my husbands customer appreciation dinner.


Basque Chicken with sauce

I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for the Gooding Basque clubs annual picnic this weekend.   There is so much shopping and organizing to do.  Good thing I love to do both of those things!  In fact, I will admit that I am a little OCD when it comes to organizing! I have had this post ready for a while and just got around to finishing it.

This is my go to chicken recipe for our Basque club.  I make it often for catered lunches and our first Friday dinners.  At a recent luncheon a young man was practically licking the plate, he had used bread to get every last drop of sauce! As a cook you know you people enjoy your food when the plates coming back to the kitchen have no food left to scrape off other than bones.  This is one of those recipes.


Brush oil in casserole dish and place chicken in casserole.  Sprinkle granulated garlic and kosher salt over the chicken thighs. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until almost cooked


Place sweet peppers, onions and garlic in saucepan.  Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender.

Add paprika and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.


Stir in tomatoes, broth, parsley and olives.  Bring to a boil.  Spoon mixture over chicken.  Put casserole, covered, into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.20130717-001412.jpgEnjoy!

Basque Chicken with sauce

1 package Chicken thighs with skin

olive oil

granulated garlic

kosher salt

1 green and 1 red bell pepper cut into bite size pieces

1 onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, add more if needed

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 small can pitted sliced olives

snipped fresh parsley about a handful

Brush oil in casserole dish and place chicken in casserole.  Sprinkle granulated garlic and kosher salt over chicken thighs.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until almost cooked.

Place sweet peppers, onion and garlic in saucepan.  Cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are nearly tender.  Add paprika and red pepper flakes.  Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, parsley and olives.  Bring to boiling.  Spoon mixture over chicken.  Put chicken, covered into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.