A Quick and Easy Summer Potato Salad with Aïoli

Earlier this week, when good friends came for an overnight visit, I prepared Salade Nicoise for lunch and an all-American comfort food menu for supper. The latter included pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, a corn gratin, and easy-to-make potato salad. The potato salad –a big hit with our guests–was especially simple to assemble.

The secret to its robust taste was the garlic mayonnaise, or aïoli, that I used Continue reading

Delicious Turkey Burgers for Memorial Day

Even though summer is not officially here, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the new season for most of us. We pull out our grills, clean our decks, scrub our patios, and sweep our porches as we switch to al fresco dining. This year I’m reviving a recipe I created years ago while writing The Big Book of Backyard Cooking. I’ve added some new touches to Lemon Dill Turkey Burgers.

I had already eyed these burgers when Marilyn Cozad, one of my longtime Continue reading

A Savory Grape Tomato and Blue Cheese Tart for Mother’s Day

For those of you who are still deciding the menu for a Mother’s Day celebration, here’s a recipe for a foolproof tart that could anchor a brunch or lunch this Sunday, May 8th. I’ve been baking this savory tart for more than 10 years, and never tire of its robust flavors. With its flaky crust and delectable topping of sweet grape tomatoes and creamy blue cheese, this Continue reading

A Side Dish of Orzo Dressed Up for Spring

This past week I clicked on my computer and culled my files for spring dishes. When I spotted a recipe that I created 15 years ago for Orzo with Fresh Peas, Mint, and Parmesan, I remembered how much I had liked this simple side and decided to try it again.        

 Orzo, the oval-shaped pasta which resembles large grains of rice, can be cooked for a few minutes in boiling salted water until tender, then drained, tossed in butter, and seasoned with grated cheese, such as Parmesan. It can Continue reading

Asparagus in a Starring Role

Since Easter is little more than a week away, I’ve begun to think about the menu for this special holiday, which we usually spend with our son and his family. Typically, Mike (my son who’s a talented and passionate cook) and I have several conversations about what to serve.  He always offers to prepare the meal’s main course, and chooses lamb or beef which he cooks on his oversized grill. I volunteer to take care of the vegetables and sides. This year I’m excited about a recipe for asparagus spears that are blanched and brushed with brown butter (known as beurre noisette in French cuisine) and then sprinkled with a flavorful mix of toasted hazelnuts, golden bread crumbs, orange zest, and chives. Continue reading

Pappardelle with Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, and Mushrooms for Spring

Recently, while looking through old recipes I had created, I spotted one from over a decade ago for pasta with roasted garlic and crème fraîche. I had roasted garlic cloves in olive oil, then mashed them into a puree with some of the oil in which they had roasted and with softened butter. This mixture along with a touch of crème fraîche, grated Parmesan, and parsley were tossed with cooked pasta and mounded in bowls. I decided to make the dish again, but with some new additions. I included a sauté of sliced mushrooms and asparagus and pan-fried diced pancetta for the garnish. Continue reading

A Warming Fish Chowder for Late Winter

A few weeks ago, my talented assistant, Emily Bell from Columbus, Ohio, mentioned that on a winter trip to New England she had sampled a delicious seafood chowder at the home of friends. She liked it so much she politely asked for the recipe. When she told me about this winter soup, I asked for the directions too, and quickly made some myself. After several weeks of chowder suppers where I tweaked the recipe, my spouse, a picky eater when it comes to any fish dish, declared the broth and fish both delectable while he sipped with abandon.

In the original version, a good amount of flour was used to thicken the Continue reading

Valentine Dark Chocolate Cookies from a Cookie Box Recipe

Recently, while making chocolate pots de crème, I opened a box of Guittard chocolate bars where I noticed a small note printed on the flaps that read “Guittard Family Recipe Inside.” As soon I put my chocolate custards in the oven, I opened the box and discovered the directions for Chocolate Walnut Cookies. Continue reading

A Warming Pizza for Cold Winter Weather

Yet again weather forecasters are predicting snow for most of New England this weekend. Although the snowfalls we’ve experienced so far have resulted in small accumulations, this upcoming storm is described as a major blizzard. I’m stocking up on groceries, and planning to make a new pizza to counter the cold. 

The inspiration for the pizza came from a delicious meal my husband and I enjoyed recently with friends at Loring Place, a restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village. Our table ordered an appetizer of baked ricotta topped with Kabocha squash (similar to butternut), chilies, and mint served with Continue reading