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

A Warming Tomato and Garlic Soup with Gorgonzola Bruschette for Cold Winter Days

 A few days ago I suggested to one of the hosts at Mass Appeal (a popular midday tv show on our local NBC affiliate in western Massachusetts) some soups that I could demo in January. It didn’t take the host and crew long to choose Winter Tomato and Garlic Soup with Creamy Gorgonzola Bruschette for my cooking segment.

I wasn’t surprised since this warming soup is perfect for the snowy weather Continue reading

A Last- Minute Seafood Dish for New Year’s Eve

Originally, my husband and I were planning to spend the last night of 2021 with two good friends in Boston, but because the pandemic is widespread in Massachusetts, we all agreed that cancelling was a wise choice. So, I’ve decided to make individual scallop gratins to anchor our imposed dinner for two.

I had a Eureka moment recently when I thought of my favorite potato gratin prepared with crème fraîche and Gruyère. Why, I asked myself, couldn’t I make individual scallop gratins using those two primary ingredients? After several attempts I got the amounts and timing figured Continue reading

A Delicious All-In-One Holiday Brunch Dish  

By now you’ve probably decided on the menus for Christmas Eve and Day, but if you’re still worrying about what to serve in the morning during this long holiday weekend, this recipe for a Gratin of Eggs, Leeks, Bacon, and St André Cheese is a brunch cook’s dream. I’ve been making this indulgent gratin for over 20 years, always to enthusiastic reviews.

 It’s all-in-one dish that can be assembled the night before, then taken from the refrigerator to the oven the next morning. Toasted baguette slices, Continue reading