Lemon Panna Cottas with Crushed Hazelnuts and Strawberries To Welcome Spring

Finally, it feels like spring in New England. After weeks of chilly weather, recently we’ve had a stretch of days where the thermometer has climbed to the 70s and even 80s. Accordingly I’ve happily changed my cooking to welcome the warmer weather. 

For appetizers I’ve prepared grilled asparagus with a mayo dipping sauce, Continue reading

A Pasta Dish Perfect for Early Spring

A few weeks ago while taking a Zoom cooking class at The Baker’s Pin (in Northampton, MA), I watched as Barbara Morse, my talented friend and fellow cooking teacher, explained the art of making pasta by hand. Every recipe looked and sounded delicious, but the one that I fell for hardest was farfalle tossed with a simple Taleggio cheese sauce, sprinkled with crispy pancetta and toasted breadcrumbs. Fast forward a few weeks later. At the market I gathered the ingredients for the dish, but because I had a busy Continue reading

Cooking with Simple Ingredients for St Patrick’s Day

What could be better on St Patrick’s Day than a casserole that stars that trio of Irish favorites–corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. These ingredients can be found at supermarkets around the country, so if you want to make this dish tomorrow on March 17 th, last-minute shopping will be easy.

For this recipe cabbage is cut into strips, then sautéed in a skillet until lightly browned and caramelized. The cooked cabbage is combined with small red skin potatoes that are boiled and sliced and with corned beef (purchased at the deli counter) that is sliced and  cut into strips. A delectable white sauce enriched with grated Gruyère, grainy mustard, and crushed caraway seeds binds this trio together. The dish can be prepared several hours ahead, then put in the oven for less than half an hour. A recipe serves six generously but can be halved to feed two to three.

I did a demo of this casserole last week for Mass Appeal, a popular noontime show that airs on our local NBC affiliate here in western Massachusetts. The aromas of this dish heating in the studio kitchen’s oven attracted the attention not only of the staff, but of other guests appearing on the program. “Perfect,” they declared, “for celebrating this holiday.”

Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone!

PS Here’s the link to my cooking demo of this special dish. There will be a short ad and then the video will begin. Untap the mute button  for audio.


Artichoke Hearts and Feta Two Ways

This week it was my turn to host our book club, but on the scheduled day of our meeting, seven inches of snow were forecast by the local tv weather teams. I wasn’t certain how many of the ten members who had rsvp-ed would show up, so another member and I decided we’d give everyone a choice. They could come in person or on Zoom. In the end five people made their way to my house, and the rest opted to join online. That meant I had lots of extra food! Among the offerings I had prepared was an artichoke and feta spread to mound on toasted baguette slices for bruschette. I needed only part of the spread for our smaller gathering, and decided to use the rest for grilled artichoke and feta cheese sandwiches. Each version was Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Praline Truffles for Valentine’s Day

A bonafide chocoholic, I always look forward to February 14th when I can savor (without guilt) homemade chocolate creations. This year, rather than baking a flourless chocolate cake or fudgy brownies, and instead of whipping up chocolate panna cottas or crème brûlées, I am preparing dark chocolate praline truffles. These tempting treats, which take only minutes to assemble, will also keep well in the fridge for a week–if they last that long. 

I am crazy about praline, a crunchy combination of nuts and caramelized Continue reading

Crispy Pork Cutlets with Apple Coleslaw for Cold Winter Nights

Last week a good friend and I were discussing what we were cooking now that extra-cold weather has arrived in New England. After an array of hearty soups and stews, I was looking for something different to stave off the chill. My talented pal suggested pairing crispy, breaded pork cutlets with an apple coleslaw. I loved this idea and began culling my files for recipes.

For the pork, I turned to a dish I first made back in the 80s. It called for cutting thick slices from a pork tenderloin, pounding them into cutlets, Continue reading

Spicy Turkey Chili with Garnishes from Around the World

During the early days of the pandemic, when everyone was in lockdown, I learned while cooking three meals a day to make substitutions for ingredients that I didn’t have on hand. Fontina cheese might be replaced with white cheddar, onions might be used instead of leeks, and lime juice  stood in for lemon juice in many of my recipes. Such replacements became so routine that gradually I began to realize that I liked the newer versions better than the originals. That is certainly true for the spicy turkey chili Continue reading

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