Soups to the Rescue for Cold Winter Nights

During the hectic days of the holiday season soups were my “go to” dish. When the frigid temperatures arrived in our New England town along with snow last month, I made a lentil soup with smoked garlic sausage. My spouse loved it and took seconds, and then thirds. I also packed up a container to take to a friend who had returned home from a short hospital stay. For Christmas Eve I prepared a hearty vegetable potage topped with melted Gruyère that we shared with our son and his family. And, finally we invited out of town pals to welcome 2023 with us, and on the first day of the new year we savored bowls of a delicious broccoli soup with curried crème fraîche. The recipe for the latter is featured here today. Continue reading

 A Delicious Make-Ahead Side Dish for the Holidays

Most of us have decided on the main course for our Christmas meal, but many (like moi) might not have all the side dishes determined. For those who are still choosing, you might consider a delicious gratin of Belgian endives with ham, crème fraîche, and Gruyère cheese. It serves six, but can be doubled easily.  Another plus you can prep and assemble this dish several hours ahead!

A classic French recipe, a gratin of endives is typically prepared by Continue reading

A Delicious Holiday Dessert–Warm Cranberry and Apple Buckle

Cranberries deck the aisles of grocery stores from Thanksgiving to Christmas, tempting cooks everywhere to use them creatively. Although I love making cranberry chutneys and sauces, I am just as keen about desserts prepared with these omnipresent berries. In fact, this past week I baked a cranberry apple buckle, and served it warm garnished with orange-scented whipped cream.

Many cooks are unfamiliar with buckles, which belong to the family of cobblers and crisps. The late Richard Sax in Classic Home Desserts defines a Continue reading

A Simple Yet Delicious Soup for Thanksgiving

Although my husband and I have hosted many Thanksgivings for our family, this year we will be celebrating at our son’s home in the Boston suburbs. (Our grandson, a talented defensive linebacker, is scheduled to play in his high school’s annual football match held on Thanksgiving morning.) My son, Mike, and I have been coordinating the menu. He’s in charge of the turkey and plans to brine and then smoke it slowly for several hours. I’ll bring Southern cornbread dressing, cranberry chutney, and haricots verts with caramelized shallots. I’m also planning to include a creamy potato, leek, and Savoy cabbage soup, which I’ve made several Continue reading

An Autumn Butter Board with Honey, Fresh Thyme, and Toasted Almonds

Early last month my talented assistant, Emily Bell, sent me a link to a New York Times story about the popularity of butter boards. The Times noted that one food writer, Justine Doiron, had had over 8.4 million views on her TikTok video that featured how to assemble a butter board. She spread softened butter on a wooden board, then sprinkled salt and lemon zest over it. Next, she added edible flowers, red onion, and a drizzle of honey along with slices of warm bread for spreading.

Within minutes my mind was teeming with ideas for butter boards, and so was Emily’s. She sent me suggestions for several while I made a list of my own. I finally decided on a recipe that I think would be perfect for serving during the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. I seasoned softened butter with honey and cayenne, spread it in a circle on a slab of slate (marble works too), and topped it with minced fresh thyme (from my herb garden) and coarsely chopped toasted almonds. To counter the sweetness of the honey, at serving time, I drizzled some balsamic glaze over the butter.

Along with small slices of artisan bread, I arranged mounds of dried apricots and McIntosh  apple wedges around the seasoned butter. I knew my “board” was a success when several young workers who were washing windows at our home while I was testing the recipe asked if they could take a sample, and then returned for seconds and for thirds! They agreed with me that everything tastes better with butter!”




A Delicious Cheeseburger for Fall

My husband, as I have mentioned more than once on this blog, never met a burger he didn’t like! I have all manner of burgers for family meals, and never has my spouse been disappointed. Piquant Cheeseburgers with Roasted Jalapenos, juicy Hamburgers with Mahon, Avocados, and  Chipotle Mayo, plus delectable Pimento Cheese Burgers all hold places in his “burger hall of fame.”  Recently I’ve been testing Fall Continue reading

Plums Star in a Delicious Fall Dessert

Although I have been filling my grocery cart with plenty of apples and pears—quintessential autumn staples– I’ve also purchased plenty of plums. I’ve bought these dark red to purple orbs to use in some of my favorite seasonal desserts. They are excellent in an apple and plum crisp  featured here on this blog in years past. And, I particularly like the following recipe for warm spiced plums topped with softly whipped cream, scented with honey.

Simple and delicious, these spiced plums take 30 minutes or less to prepare. You cut the plums into wedges and then sauté them until tender with sugar Continue reading

A Delicious Late Summer Salad

After Labor Day, many think of Summer as having ended, but Fall doesn’t start officially for a few more weeks.  At my local farmers’ market, there’s still an array of summer crops, including melons, vibrantly hued tomatoes, and plenty of fresh herbs, Recently, I used some of these late season beauties to create a salad of cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, and feta tossed in a fennel seed vinaigrette.

This dish is simplicity itself. You need only to dice the melon, halve the Continue reading

Two Favorite Recipes Pair Up for a Delicious Summer Dish

Recently I combined two recipes—both staples of my summer cooking repertoire—into what turned out to be a delicious main course. I have often made and even included in my cooking classes Barbecued Salmon Fillets, but never have I garnished them with Fresh Peach Salsa, a condiment I usually reserve for grilled pork. However, earlier this week at the supermarket when I spotted a bag of local peaches perfectly ripe and temptingly priced, I had a eureka moment!  Why not pair that tangy peach salsa with fish such as salmon (already on my grocery list) instead of Continue reading