It’s a recurrent theme at our house and maybe at yours too. Does this sound familiar? You’ve worked all day and arrive home feeling as if the last thing you want to do is cook. The temptation looms large to order a pizza or take out from the local Chinese or Mexican place, but what you really crave is something homemade for supper.
Because I play out that scenario often, I’m always searching for easy homemade fixes for weeknight meals. When I discover a new dish such as Spicy Lamb Chops with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce I love to share it with my readers. Continue reading
As soon as the first bottles of local cider appear in our markets, I put one in my cart, not just for sipping, but for cooking as well. I love to cook seasonally, and nothing says fall more clearly than fresh cider.
This year, along with serving mugs of warm spiced cider, I’ve used this fall libation to baste pork tenderloins seasoned with sage, thyme, and rosemary. After browning the tenderloins with some sliced shallots, I add cider to the pan, slide it into the oven, and then halfway through the roasting arrange apple wedges around the pork. As a finishing touch I prepare a quick pan sauce with more cider, a hint of cider vinegar, and some butter. Continue reading
Turnip greens and collards were familiar staples at our table when I was growing up in the South, but Swiss chard, another nutrient-packed green, was never on the menu. Not until many years later, did I discover this delicious, leafy vegetable. Chard comes in green, red, and yellow varieties and is available throughout the year, but right now it’s at its peak in my farmers’ markets and local groceries.
Mediterranean cooks have long used chard imaginatively, but I only recently started cooking with this vegetable that ranks as one of the healthiest in the world. Like spinach, it can be sautéed with garlic, added to vegetable soups, or baked in a casserole with a creamy sauce, all with tempting results. Continue reading
It’s definitely not too late to plan a picnic when the cool, crisp days of autumn arrive. In New England where I live the exquisite fall foliage is reason enough to plan an outdoor meal. You can also pair an autumn picnic with a special activity. Plan a hike or organize a biking excursion, then follow that with a delicious al fresco spread. And for football fans, what’s more appropriate than a scrumptious tailgate picnic.
A delectable potato salad studded with slivers of smoked trout and sliced green beans makes a colorful centerpiece for an open air menu. This trio of ingredients is tossed in a white wine Continue reading
A Great Dish for Cool Fall Nights
When the first fresh cider arrives in our markets each fall, I buy a quart and bring it home, not only for sipping but also for cooking dishes like Cider-Baked Pork, Red Cabbage, and Apples. For this hearty casserole, sliced red cabbage, onions, and apples are sautéed in butter, then simmered in cider along with seasonings of sugar, vinegar, and crushed fennel seeds. The cabbage and apples are spread in an oven-to table dish, topped with pan-fried slices of pork tenderloin, and then baked. Although this main course is substantial enough to be stand alone accompanied by a simple salad, creamy mashed potatoes or buttered noodles would make tempting sides. Continue reading
Typically, gingerbread is baked in a pan and then cut into squares, but in the following version the batter is ladled into standard-size muffins tins. When using tins, the baking time is cut almost in half, a big advantage for busy cooks. These muffins rise above the rims of the molds, but do not spread out as much as traditional ones. They are especially moist and tender because of a generous addition of butter, and have a deep brown hue from plenty of dark brown sugar and molasses. There’s also a double dose of ginger in these little cakes; ground ginger (along with other fragrant spices) is added to the batter, and halfway through the baking, chopped crystallized ginger is sprinkled atop each muffin.