All Posts In Recipes

French Onion Soup — The Weekender

by in Recipes, April 13th, 2012

french onion soup
During the final years of their lives, my grandparents stopped cooking at home. They’d do little things, like make coffee and toast in the morning and heat up a can of soup for lunch. But dinner was always eaten at Little Pete’s, the restaurant across the street from their apartment building.

Each day at around 5:00 or 5:30, they’d don coats (no matter what the weather) and make their way over. The wait staff took great care of them, reserving my grandma’s preferred booth and depositing a glass of iced tea in front of her the moment she sat down.

When we’d go to visit them, these trips to Little’s Pete’s took on even more importance, because it was an opportunity for them to show my mom, sister and me off to the unofficial members of their de facto nightly dining club.

Over the years, I logged a lot of hours at Little Pete’s. My regular order was a cup of French onion soup and a Greek salad with extra olives. Truly, though, the salad was simply there so that I could justify eating a bowl of tangy broth, onions and bubbling-hot cheese.

The tenth anniversary of my grandmother’s death recently passed, so it just seemed right to make something in her honor. Though I ordered it more often than she did, I chose Ina Garten’s recipe for long-cooked French Onion Soup as a way of remembering all those meals. I took my time slicing onions and cooking them until golden. I think it may have been my most favorite Weekender yet.

Before you start slicing onions, read these tips

Angel Food Cake — The New Girl

by in Recipes, April 12th, 2012

angle food cake
When I think angel food cake, the words “light” and “airy” come to mind; when I made angel food cake, “shrunken” and “dense” were my results. I share this kitchen collapse not to deter you from making the recipe, but to share the lessons I learned. What follows is the sad yet hopeful story of the Fallen Angel Food Cake.

Last weekend, I decided to bake dessert for my boyfriend’s family since they were graciously hosting me for the holidays. Angel food cake is a classic in their household. So the choice was easy, but the pressure was high. I had never made an angel food cake before, and after skimming through various blogs and recipes, I was less than confident. I read the instructions thoroughly and measured the ingredients properly, but I didn’t bring the eggs to room temperature and I pulled the cake out too early. As I’m sure other first-timers can relate, my worst fear came true: The cake fell. I stuck it back in the oven in a desperate attempt to puff it up again, but there was no going back.

Luckily, the poor souls for whom the cake was intended have a great sense of humor and were forgiving of my failed attempt. They also happen to love 7-Minute Frosting. And if anything can save the day, it’s a homemade fluffy, marshmallow-y frosting.

Here’s what I learned after my first angel food cake attempt

Wild Boar — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, Recipes, April 10th, 2012

wild boar ragu
Wild boar: a tasty way to do a good deed.

It’s true — across at least 39 states there are an estimated four million feral pigs and wild boars (they are close relatives and prone to interbreeding) roaming about.

And they are laying ruin to vast acres of land. The problem with wild pigs is they are voracious eaters — shocking, I know — and destroy natural ecosystems.

There is no one solution, but eating them certainly helps. It’s what I like to call taking a bite out of swine.

Bad pig puns aside, people throughout Europe and Asia have been eating feral oinkers for years. Italians are particularly fond of them, turning them into all manner of salumi.

Now Americans are starting to catch on. Feral pig is showing up on more restaurant menus, especially in the South, the epicenter of the problem.

Get the recipe for Fettuccine With Wild Boar Ragu

Polenta With Roasted Tomatoes — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 9th, 2012


Let’s talk polenta. Less coarse than grits but grainier than mashed potatoes, polenta is made from cornmeal and boiled with water or stock until thick and combined. From here you can add any number of ingredients — like cream, butter, cheeses, fresh vegetables and herbs — to transform it into a hearty, rich dish. You could also let the polenta cool completely then shape it and bake or deep-fry it. Giada’s Fried Polenta fingers are deliciously warm and cheesy, and when dunked in marinara sauce, they mimic classic mozzarella sticks.

Food Network Magazine’s polenta (pictured above) is traditional and rustic, cooked on the stove until it becomes soft and creamy. This Italian-inspired recipe calls for instant polenta, which tastes the same as the original but cuts down on long cooking times. Before serving, top each comforting bowl with tender Swiss chard, sweet roasted tomatoes and mild, crumbly farmer cheese.

Get the recipe: Polenta With Roasted Tomatoes

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Easter Brunch — Simple Soirées

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 6th, 2012

coconut carrot cake cupcakes
Easter brunch is one of my favorite meals of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are great. And my birthday is high up on the list, too. But Easter has always been special for me.

When I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz., my family and I would head up to the club for brunch, participate in some extreme Easter egg hunting (I’d always win) and then I would basically stuff my face. Homemade omelets, pounds of roasted potatoes and smoked salmon galore. You name it and I probably ate it. But let’s be honest here — the best part of brunch really has to be the desserts. There are a few in particular that stand out, but in my opinion a truly phenomenal carrot cake tops then all.

I know making a fresh carrot cake can be a little time-consuming because you actually have to grate carrots. Gasp! I know, I know. It’s tough. But trust me, it’s worth the extra prep time.

Get the recipe for Coconut Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Chicken Liver Mousse — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 6th, 2012

chicken liver mousseMy Aunt Doris made canapés the way other women garden or take tennis lessons. She was always on the hunt for a new recipe or a source for discounted Pepperidge Farms thin-sliced white bread, and was never happier than when she had eight or 10 dozen hors d’oeuvres wrapped in aluminum foil and tucked into her basement chest freezer.

She often spent Saturday afternoons practicing a recipe, lining up assembly stations all across the kitchen counters, leaving no square inch unutilized. When my mom and her cousins were young, they were often used as foot soldiers in these battles of woman versus cornichon, pimento and caper.

Aunt Doris would lay out large rounds of rye at the kitchen table, almost as if she was setting up a meal with edible plates. Each child was given a pastry bag that Aunt Doris filled with whipped and flavored cream cheese or chicken liver pâté. They would take their positions standing behind a slice of bread and with militaristic precision, would pipe a circle of cream cheese or pâté onto the bread, using the outer crust as a guide.

Before you start cooking your liver, read these tips:

Hop to It: Make Your Own Easter Sweets

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 5th, 2012


No matter how much candy you may find in your Easter basket or waiting for you in dozens of hidden eggs, on Easter Sunday there always seems to be room for another piece of something sweet, right? This holiday, after you finish another successful dinner of roast lamb or glazed ham, celebrate creative and traditional treats by baking up a few of Food Network’s favorite Easter desserts, like Coconut-Covered Bunny Cake, Hot Cross Buns, Carrot Cake and more. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy these after-dinner indulgences, and you’ll be pleased because they’re a cinch to put together.

A go-to, last-minute dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Easter Bunny Cake (pictured above) is a no-bake recipe that can be made in just one hour, thanks to pre-baked or store-bought cake. After building the bunny and covering it in creamy buttercream frosting and sweet coconut, embellish it with any extra Easter candy you have on hand, like licorice and jelly beans. Check out how the Kitchens assembles their realistic-looking rabbit.

A holiday staple in many homes, Easter Egg Bread is light, flaky and bursting with a refreshing light lemon flavor. Food.com’s recipe yields a golden-brown loaf that is dotted with colorful shelled eggs and drizzled with a sweet citrus glaze. Save leftover slices of bread for breakfast tomorrow and spread each with a thin layer of room-temperature butter before enjoying.

Read more

Macaroons for Passover, or Anytime

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 5th, 2012

Passover Macaroons
Like most of our family gatherings, Passover in my house is all about the food. No one misses bread when you’ve got steaming bowls of matzo ball soup, homemade gefilte fish (never the slimy kind from a jar), fork-tender brisket and half a dozen sides. But come dessert time, I used to wish for the flour and leavening agents that are forbidden on Passover.

My grandmother was an excellent baker throughout the rest of the year, but her annual spread of kosher-for-Passover cakes and cookies left something (okay, a lot) to be desired. And for some reason, back when she and my grandfather hosted the Seder, the macaroons always came from a can.

This was a travesty. The flourless coconut macaroon is a staple of Passover — it might as well be on the Seder plate next to the horseradish and shank bone. But those canned cookies always smelled weird and had an odd, waxy texture. I grew up thinking I didn’t really like macaroons and left them untouched. French-style macarons — yes, please. Jewish-style coconut macaroons — no thanks.

Chocolate-Dipped Passover Macaroons

Pasta Primavera — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 2nd, 2012

Celebrate the bright colors and bold flavors of spring by cooking this light and fresh pasta dish. After adding sweet cherry tomatoes to al dente noodles, sugar snap peas, crunchy carrots and a bell pepper, gently mix in chopped mint, nutty Parmesan and silky goat cheese until combined. Ready to eat in just 30 quick minutes, this seasonal recipe guarantees that you can get dinner on the table in a flash.

Complete your Italian-inspired dinner by serving Food Network Magazine’s Almond Caesar Salad, featuring red-leaf lettuce tossed with a garlic-Dijon dressing and cheesy baked croutons.

Get the recipe: Pasta Primavera from Food Network Magazine

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Easter Egg “Hunt” Cake — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 30th, 2012

easter egg hunt cake
When I was growing up, my parents really enjoyed making a big deal out of Easter. Being that they were Jewish (Mom) and Unitarian (Dad), they weren’t really interested in sharing the religious part of it, but they loved building up the mythology of the Easter Bunny and the arrival of spring. What can I say? We were a secular household that loved a reason to celebrate.

Because of this, preparations for Easter typically began weeks before the actual day. It usually started with an increase in scrambled-egg consumption as my dad began blowing eggs empty to keep the shells for decorating. Soon after, my mom would fill the Easter baskets with fresh potting soil and plant real grass in them (she was too much of a hippie to use plastic “grass”). Then, notes from the Easter Bunny would appear and my parents would claim early-morning sightings.

There would be a Saturday dedicated to coloring eggs (often with natural dyes) and an afternoon devoted to baking sugar cookies cut into the shapes of bunnies, eggs and baskets.

Finally, Easter arrived. My sister and I would wake early in order to begin the hunt for our baskets. There would be a note on the dining room table with the first hint and the race would be on. One memorable year my parents even managed to imprint fake bunny footprints all over the yard.

Before you mix your egg wash, read these tips