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!

A Delicious Pasta Dish Updated for Today

A few months ago, I received an email from a woman who had lost a recipe of mine for Baked Penne with Italian Sausage and Porcini. It had appeared in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch newspaper way back in 1991. She explained that the dish held special sentimental value to her since she and her now husband had cooked it together on one of their early dates. After emailing a copy to her, I made a note to try the recipe myself, and finally got around to it this past week.  I loved the flavors of this casserole—sautéed Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms and a quick homemade tomato sauce paired with penne, all topped with sliced fresh mozzarella.

Several decades later, I tweaked this recipe to fit my lifestyle today. The Continue reading

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

For the past few weeks, I’ve been revising a recipe for decadent chocolate cupcakes prepared with three different types of chocolate. For these heavenly little treats, cocoa powder and chocolate chips add a double burst of flavor to the cupcake batter, while the luscious glaze is prepared with chopped semisweet chocolate melted with cream and butter. It took several tries to tweak this recipe that I first made over a decade ago, but, being a certified chocoholic, I savored every bite of every batch.

Because my husband and I are empty nesters, still working and staying in Continue reading

Homemade Crispy Fish Sandwich Rivals McDonald’s

Everyone has a guilty food pleasure. You might think mine would be some chocolate caramel brownies (the creation of a friend who is a talented baker), or Southern pecan pie  (my favorite dessert growing up), or maybe a millefeuille (that incredible French puff pastry layered with a cream filling) from a patisserie in Paris, but you would be wrong! It’s a McDonald’s filet-o-fish sandwich—a golden fried fillet of white fish topped with a slice of (processed) cheese and a dollop of tartar sauce, all enclosed in a soft white bun. For years, I’ve ordered this sandwich along with a bag of fries instead of their burgers. Recently though, due to warnings of a higher Covid 19 spread in our area, I’ve had to forego my “Mcdulgence,” and resort to making the sandwich in my own kitchen.

For my adaptation, I used fresh cod fillets, cut into sandwich size 4-ounce Continue reading

Warming Soup for Cold January Days and Turbulent Times

I remember clearly that after 9/11, all I wanted to cook was comfort food. I could say the same thing this week after our nation’s Capitol was attacked on 1/6. Once again comfort food is what my husband and I craved. During the past few days bowls of spaghetti tossed with a tomato and caper sauce, fried fish sandwiches served with chips, and pizzas ordered from our local pizzeria have brought consolation. Most of all we found our spirits lifted by a warming roasted cabbage and potato soup with smoked kielbasa.

This soup, which calls for inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients, is also uncomplicated to assemble. Diced potatoes and wedges of cabbage are roasted in the oven to enhance their flavor before they are simmered in Continue reading

Happy 2021

In case you’d like to add even more sparkle to your flutes of champagne on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, here are two ways to put pizzazz in your bubbly.

You can add some St Germain,  a French liqueur made from elderflowers, to champagne or enhance it with with fresh raspberries smashed with sugar. Either way will turn a simple glass of champagne into something extra special!

Thanks to all of you who have followed by blog during this challenging year. I wish everyone a healthy, safe, and joyous New Year. May 2021 be a return to normalcy when we can give hugs to all, invite friends to our homes, and travel far and wide.  And, may we always be grateful for and share our blessings with others.


A Delicious Christmas Dinner for Four…or More

After posting recipes for Camembert Stuffed with Dates, Apricots, and Walnuts and for Spiced Orange Pecans (both perfect for small holiday gatherings) last week on this blog, I’ve decided on the menu for our scaled down Christmas dinner. The pièce de résistance will be sautéed beef tenderloin steaks with a shallot, bacon, and port sauce accompanied by creamy Stilton flans. My spouse is ecstatic since he adores tenderloin steaks and counts blue cheeses as his favorites.

It’s the tantalizing sauce, layered with multiple flavors, that makes the steaks so distinctive. Sweet, caramelized roasted shallots and salty bits of bacon are added to a simple reduction of port and stock to form a quick pan Continue reading

Two Quick and Easy Holiday Appetizers for Small Gatherings

Typically, at this time of year, we’d be entertaining nonstop—hosting an end-of-semester party for my husband’s students, inviting friends and neighbors for some holiday libations, or welcoming guests to a large open house. None of that will take place in 2020 because of the pandemic. Our socializing this season will be primarily through Zoom or Face Time, and we’ll only need appetizers for two! Because many other families, like ours, will be scaling down this year, I’ve chosen two easy yet delicious treats (both featured on my blog in earlier posts) perfect to serve at small gatherings. A wheel of Camembert stuffed with a glorious mélange of fruit and nuts as well as bowls of spiced orange pecans are on my list.

A round of Camembert is halved horizontally, filled with a colorful fruit Continue reading