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

A Delicious Appetizer to Welcome the Holidays

This time last year my husband and I, like countless others, were in lockdown. We hosted no dinners, certainly didn’t plan any parties, and didn’t even invite a friend or two for some holiday cheer. Most celebrations were canceled, including my book club’s annual potluck. But fast forward to 2021.  Since all the members of our reading group are fully vaccinated, we reinstated our get together. Along with loving to read, my literary pals adore to eat, so everyone arrived with delicious treats. I decided to bring an appetizer of Burrata with Roasted Grapes and Red Onions served on toasted crostini.

For this simple dish, I roast red onion wedges and small clusters of red Continue reading

A New England Cider Pie for Thanksgiving

Years ago, my good friend and talented chef, Matt Sunderland, mentioned that his mom always baked a cider pie for Thanksgiving. Intrigued, I asked how it was made. “Not complicated,” he responded, and pulled out a recipe written in typical chef fashion: an abbreviated list of  ingredients and a single brief paragraph of instruction. When I asked him to be a little more specific, he called his mother for extra details.           

The unusual filling is prepared by reducing cider, then cooking this liquid with butter, sugar, and water until thickened. When the cider base has cooled, egg yolks are added to it and beaten egg whites folded in. This simple filling is spooned into an uncooked pie shell, then popped into a very hot oven for 10 minutes so that the crust will start to crisp up quickly. The Continue reading

Delicious Cider Pancakes for Fall Breakfasts

Recently, my good friend and longtime assistant, Emily Bell, texted me about some cider pancakes she had made with her teenage grandson. “They were so easy and delicious,” she recounted, noting that the young sous-chef loved them. It didn’t take me long to ask for the recipe!

My friend used a basic pancake batter, replacing a small amount of the milk with cider and adding cinnamon for a spicy accent. She also sautéed diced Continue reading