A New Twist on Club Sandwiches for Summer

Consider the sandwich–make that the club sandwich, perfect for summer outdoor gatherings, whether backyard picnics, concerts, or plays. What could be easier to assemble than a delicious version of this classic with a new twist!

My good friend and creative cook, Emily Bell, suggested the club sandwiches featured here. I used a whole loaf of ciabatta bread, halving it lengthwise. Instead of traditional mayonnaise, Emily proposed for spreading on the halves a recipe of mine for curried apricot mayo. A layered filling of lettuce, thinly sliced smoked or roasted turkey, tomatoes, Continue reading

A Special Cheesecake for July 4th Celebrations

Although weather forecasters are predicting plenty of rain and cooler weather for the long July 4th weekend in New England, this news has not dampened my spirits when it’s comes to cooking. My spouse and I are looking forward to savoring some pulled pork barbecue sandwiches along with corn on the cob slathered with cilantro lime butter, coleslaw, and baked beans scented with bacon and maple syrup. Truth be told, I ordered my pulled pork from Corky’s (my favorite barbecue spot in Memphis, my hometown!) That leaves plenty of time to prepare the sides and a special cheesecake for dessert.       

An extra creamy, orange-scented cheesecake mounded with local strawberries tossed in sugar and a hint of orange liqueur might just be the pièce de résistance of our meal. I’ve had the recipe for over a decade, but reworked and updated it recently. For the crust, I patted a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and melted butter onto the bottom of the pan, and baked it quickly to ensure that the bottom layer stays crisp. For the filling, velvety smooth mascarpone plus traditional American cream cheese are beaten together until smooth before sugar combined with orange zest is added.

This cheesecake has been a hit with those who sampled it while I was working on the recipe. It can be baked a day ahead and will easily serve 12. Plus, it’s definitely in the showstopper category for appearance. It’s also easy to transport, if you are driving. Just leave the cheesecake in the spring form pan, cover with foil, and unmold upon arrival. Happy July 4th everyone!

 

 

Indulgent Cheeseburgers for Father’s Day

My husband Ron, a father and grandfather of many years, never met a hamburger he didn’t like. Add cheese and a few extra trimmings to that sandwich and he’d declare himself in heaven. So, for him and dads everywhere, the recipe included here for Cheeseburgers with Avocados, Bacon, and Chipotle Mayo might just be the piéce de résistance to celebrate the pop at your house on Father’s Day, this coming Sunday, June 20th.

 Definitely indulgent, these burgers seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika are  grilled and topped with creamy cheese. Then they are Continue reading

Pan Grilled Tuna Steaks for a Delicious Summer Supper in Half an Hour

When my husband and I were newly married, the only tuna that ever came into our home was in a can. And, it was always turned into tuna salad for sandwiches. Years later I discovered fresh tuna steaks at the supermarket fish counter. Yes, they were on the expensive side, but they were delicious and could be cooked quickly and served with a simple sauce or mayonnaise. My spouse, who thinks all (well most all) fish should be fried didn’t embrace fresh tuna as enthusiastically as I did. That is not until I Continue reading

A Delicious Asparagus Appetizer for My Book Club!

For over a year my book club met on Zoom, but this month, with restrictions lifted in Massachusetts and all in our group fully vaccinated, we felt comfortable gathering in person!  I offered to host, and couldn’t wait to see my pals who love to snack while they discuss literature. Since we meet in the late afternoon, I decided that two savories and two desserts would be just right.

A no-bake lemon cheesecake drizzled with warm blueberry sauce (I’ll be including it in a cooking class next week!) plus dark chocolate and almond-studded short bread bars satisfied our sweet cravings. And, a block of feta roasted in a baking dish with multi-hued cherry tomatoes was offered warm with crispy baguette slices. A quick sesame and orange-scented mayo dip surrounded by blanched asparagus spears sprinkled with toasted Continue reading

Best Ever Dutch Baby with Berries and Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream

For the past few weeks I’ve been making large skillet pancakes, often referred to as Dutch Babies or German pancakes. They are considered a cross between a popover, pancake, and crepe. What I like best about this type of pancake is that you pour the batter into a single ovenproof skillet or pan, put it in a hot oven, and watch as the edges climb up the sides of the pan while it cooks. Although I started by making savory fillings for this dish, I fell in love with a sweet one that is prepared with sautéed berries tossed in orange-scented sugar and topped with dollops of crème fraîche whipped cream.  

The secret to turning out successful Dutch Baby pancakes lies in using a Continue reading

A Light Soup and Sandwich Supper for Spring

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of my own cooking. For more than a year, I’ve prepared pastas, varying the shapes and sizes, as main courses, assembled myriad versions of hamburgers, and roasted everything imaginable. When I mentioned this to my good friend and longtime assistant, Emily Bell, she suggested that I make a favorite soup of hers from my book, Sunday Soup. The recipe she had in mind was for a cream of parsley soup. “Pair it with a sandwich, and  you’ll have an easy and delicious spring supper,“ she declared.

The next day I pulled out the recipe and marveled at the simplicity of this dish I had created over a decade ago. It called for fresh parsley and leeks Continue reading

A Delicious Potato Salad for Spring

This past Easter Sunday was the first holiday we’ve been able to celebrate with our family in more than 15 months (Christmas 2019 was our last!). To say that my husband and I were excited about seeing our teenaged grandchildren would definitely be an understatement! And, as usual for this special spring celebration, I offered to cook the meal with my son, Mike. He took care of the meat and fish, while I prepared sides, including a Continue reading

Cooking in Between Seasons

Although the calendar announced that it was spring back on the 21st, not every day here in New England has reflected the new season. We’ve had some 60 to 70 degree highs, and also seen the thermometer drop into the 30s, especially in the evening. To counter the mercurial weather, I’ve been cooking dishes that work whether it’s warm or cold outside. One such recipe for Crispy Pork Cutlets with Arugula and Fennel Salad has been especially well suited for this “in between” season.

A few weeks ago at a local supermarket, I spotted a package of sliced pork tenderloin. I’d never seen pork tenderloins offered that way, and immediately added a container to my cart. At home, I pounded the pork Continue reading

Sips of Irish Coffee to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

As I finished taping a short TV cooking segment for Mass Appeal, a popular midday talk show that airs weekdays on our local NBC affiliate, I couldn’t wait to take a sip of the Irish coffee I had just demonstrated. Enlivened with a touch of Irish whiskey and topped with a cloud of softly whipped cream, it was heavenly! Some things never go out of style, and classic Irish coffee is one of them.

This coffee has an interesting history that starts in Ireland and finishes on the West Coast of the U.S. As the story goes, the drink was created in the Shannon airport in the mid-twentieth century where it was a restorative offering served to weary passengers. The recipe arrived in the States with a San Franciscan who shared it with his hometown’s Buena Vista Bar. This special coffee became the signature drink of that California bar, and eventually its popularity spread around the globe.

I’ve been making some version of the recipe for more than three decades. And, I always add the cream the way a good friend (a professor of Irish literature) suggested: “Hold a tablespoon with the back facing up over the cup of coffee, and then ladle the cream onto it so it gently falls onto the coffee and floats rather than sinks.” I still do it that way!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to everyone!