Perfect Little Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Toasts for Autumn Gatherings

Fall finally seems to be touching down in New England with the arrival of cooler weather and shorter days. Since I love to cook seasonally, I’ve been adding autumn staples to my grocery cart. Grapes, apples, and pears from the produce aisles and local kielbasa sausages and fresh pork roasts from the meat counter have been frequent choices. I also love to stock up on delicious cider from nearby farms.

An appetizer of roasted grapes and goat cheese on toasted baguette slices is a dish I’ve prepared and served three times during these early days of the Continue reading

A Scrumptious Plum Tart for a Labor Day Get Together

Since we live in a college town (there are 3 colleges in Amherst and two more in neighboring communities!), many of our friends are away during the summer when school is out. Labor Day is the magical date by which everyone has returned, so this year my husband and I have invited two couples we have not seen in months for a casual supper during this holiday weekend.

Our farmers’ market is at its peak right now so planning the menu was a dream. For openers I’m making golden corn cakes topped with swirls of Continue reading

The Star of the Season—Fresh Local Corn

In the small New England town where we live local corn is everyone’s favorite vegetable in late summer. You can find it at our Saturday farmers’ market, pick your ears at roadside stands, or add them to your cart at supermarkets. I can’t remember a time these past few weeks that there hasn’t been a bag of corn in my fridge. Over the years I’ve used corn for Continue reading

Savoring France: Paris, Lyon, Provence Aug 13-22, 2024

Bonjour tout le monde Hello everyone,

We’re using our French because we have some exciting news to share! Next August (2024), The Baker’s Pin is moving for 10 days to France where we’ll be taking a fabulous Tauck river boat cruise. Called “Savoring France: Paris, Lyon, and Provence,” this trip is tailor-made for foodies who love France. It begins with two days in Paris, and continues in Lyon, considered one of France’s premier food cities, where we’ll board a luxurious riverboat to travel down the Rhône to Arles, Avignon, and the Camargue in Provence. (Click here and tap the download button at the bottom of the page to see the full brochure of this trip.)

What makes this trip so special are the many culinary events Tauck has included. In Paris, you’ll have reserved places for a private pastry class at the Cordon Bleu (where Julia Child did her studies) and enjoy a welcome Continue reading

Winning Grilled Salmon to Please My Husband

My spouse, who loves shellfish, often orders oysters on the half shell, splurges on Maine lobster, and savors clams in creamy chowders. But other popular fish—think salmon, cod, and haddock, for example—are not among his favorites. To entice him to try these fin fish, I typically serve them cooked with robust seasonings as in the following recipe for Grilled Salmon Continue reading

A Showstopper Summer Dessert

During the pandemic, my entertaining (if you can call it that) was limited to my family or a small number of friends. I searched for recipes that served 2 to 4, and occasionally 6. Fast forward to today. Post pandemic, at our house, we’re happy to host larger gatherings. In April we planned a buffet for 12, and in June we invited a group of 10 for Sunday brunch. Recently, I created a special dessert for larger gatherings–an orange-scented roulade with Continue reading

Discovering a Special Chicken Salad in Paris

A few years ago in Paris, one of my young thirty-something friends asked if we could have lunch together near her office. She suggested that we go to Cojean, at the time a new prepared foods chain that emphasized healthy eating. I was amazed at the array of tempting salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes that filled the refrigerated compartments of this eat in/take out shop. I ordered a delicious salad, but that was my one and only encounter with Continue reading

A Creamy Fresh Pea Soup for Lunch with Friends (Recipe Included!)

Several years ago at a small restaurant called Le Saint-Joseph, located on the outskirts of Paris, I savored a creamy celadon-hued soup of fresh peas garnished with diced feta and mini-croutons.  At home, I worked hard to reproduce the Parisian original, and was pleased with my close facsimile. This year, once again in Paris, but this time at Pétrelle, a new restaurant in the 9th, I discovered another silken smooth spring pea potage, but this one was garnished with toasted hazelnuts. Crazy about both, I decided to replace the croutons in my earlier version with hazelnuts. I loved the results and served the soup this past weekend at a lunch for out-of-town guests. When everyone took seconds, I knew this latest variation was the best! 

Sautéed leeks and tarragon make fine partners to the peas, which are simmered for a few minutes in chicken stock, and then pureed. Some half-and-half adds a smooth finishing touch. It is the simple garnishes, though, that distinguish this soup. I sliced a block of feta into fine dice and then toasted and crushed some hazelnuts. Then I spooned these ingredients along with a sprinkle of chopped tarragon atop each serving. These additions added color, a crunchy texture, and an herbal accent to the dish.

I served this soup with a club sandwich prepared with a whole loaf of ciabatta that was stuffed and sliced. However, you could easily make this delectable potage the anchor of  a light summer meal. Pair it with a  salad of tender green oak leaf lettuce and thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions tossed in a white wine vinaigrette plus a warm crusty baguette to round out the menu.

Pasta Dinner for Two in Paris

Since our arrival in Paris several weeks ago, I’ve delighted in cooking meals for two –my husband and moi! The apartment we’ve rented is in a quartier filled with food shops. I can walk to the Bon Marché’s Grand Épicerie when I want to splurge on special ingredients. There’s an excellent cheese shop, a great charcuterie, and one of Eric Kayser’s boulangerie/patisserie outposts nearby. However, what I cook has to be simple because the kitchen in the apartment is ”petite!” Penne with Mascarpone, Fresh Peas, and Asparagus Continue reading

Make Ahead Appetizers for Easy Entertaining

A few weeks ago my spouse and I along with another couple co-hosted a good bye dinner for friends who are moving out of town. My pal, Maddy, one of the hosts, and I planned the menu together, choosing dishes that could be prepared in advance so we would not miss out on socializing.  Savory warm mushroom, leek, and bacon pinwheels, one of the appetizers, was especially popular with all the guests. Now that I am across the Atlantic in Paris, I’ve pulled out the recipe again. I plan to invite friends for Continue reading