Using up the Tomatoes and Basil Still in our Markets

Trying to decide what to prepare for a monthly cooking segment I do for Mass Appeal (a midday tv show that airs on our local NBC station), I decided the dish should feature either tomatoes or apples. One of the show’s hosts voted for tomatoes since they are still bountiful in our markets in September. Culling my files, I spotted a recipe for a savory Tomato and Chèvre Tart published on this blog back in 2013. When I baked it several days ago, it was just as tempting as I remembered it from all those years ago.

The recipe has an interesting history. During a stay in Paris one summer, I Continue reading

A Simple Pasta Dish for All That End-of-Summer Zucchini

A few weeks ago my husband and I met out-of-town friends passing through western Massachusetts for an al fresco dinner at The Waxwing, a new restaurant in Hatfield. Our pals—as passionate about food as we are– were anxious to try the latest eatery in the area. No one was disappointed. Our group loved the pork belly with toasted corn, jalapenos, and queso fresco, as well as chicken schnitzel with lemon aïoli, fennel, and arugula, plus hake (a mild white fish) with creamed corn and fried onion slivers.

However, it was the rigatoni with zucchini, mint, and toasted breadcrumbs that caught my attention. Sadly, I didn’t order it (nor, due to Covid, did I get to taste it), but my pal, Carrie, swooned with each bite she took of this Continue reading

A Special Summer Dinner for Our Granddaughter!

A few days ago, my teenage granddaughter, Edie, texted to tell me that she and her friend, Eva, would love to drive from Boston to our home in western Massachusetts for dinner and an overnight. Thrilled, I responded with a phone call to ask what she’d like me to cook. After several menu proposals, she chose pan seared halibut steaks with a corn, tomato, and avocado topping. “Sounds very summery, Mimi, she replied!

And, she was right. Corn and tomatoes are reaching their peak in our Continue reading

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