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81 posts categorized "18) Just Thanksgiving "

11/09/2017

~ Caribbean-Style Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew ~

A steaming hot and hearty stew on a cold day. Almost nothing is more comforting than it, except perhaps, enjoying it in front of a roaring fire listening to the wind howl and watching the snow flakes fall. As a lover of sweet potatoes, I am always on the lookout for a scrumptious new way to prepare them, so, quite a few years ago, when I came across this recipe in January (amongst the pages of a in-flight-magazine on my way to a land of sunshine, palm trees and sandy beaches), I was intent on having it -- I'm the...... View full recipe for "~ Caribbean-Style Sweet Potato & Black Bean Stew ~"

09/23/2017

~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~

Once upon a time there was a woman in Happy Valley Pennsylvania who was planning to make chicken Milanese for dinner. "In the style of Milan", it refers to a thinly-sliced and lightly-pounded protein dredged in flour, dipped in egg, then coated with breadcrumbs. It's quickly-sautéed in butter and/or olive oil until golden. It's crispy outside, juicy and fork-tender inside, and, after squirt of lemon and a parsley garnish it's served the moment it comes out of the skillet. It couldn't be easier, especially when cooking for just two. I refer to it as one of my flash-in-the-pan dinners. (Italian...... View full recipe for "~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~"

05/02/2017

~ The Iwatani Twelve-Minute Tornado Cheeseburger ~

A not-so-funny thing happened last Monday. Happy Valley, Centre County, PA got hit by a violent storm that rendered a great percentage of us without electricity, and in some cases water as well, for three days. I've lived here for forty-three years -- this was longest we've ever been without power. I'm no expert. I can't prove it was a tornado that hit our street, but, I can't name one other "thing" that moves in a straight line snapping telephone poles and felling trees at their roots, doing virtually no other damage, except a tornado -- my deck and patio...... View full recipe for "~ The Iwatani Twelve-Minute Tornado Cheeseburger ~"

11/30/2016

~ Dried Cherry-Berry & Walnut Holiday Cheese Ball ~

'Tis the season for holiday cheese balls or cheese logs. They're in all ordinary grocery stores and specialty cheese shops, or, they can be ordered from catalogs or on-line. For the most part, they are a popular addition to the holiday nosh table -- given to the right person, they make a thoughtful gift too. They pair great with any type of wine or champagne and almost any cocktail. Did you know these tasty (and often pricey) cheese balls are really easy to make at home? Back in the 1970's and 1980's, port wine cheese, and, the relatively inexpensive store-bought...... View full recipe for "~ Dried Cherry-Berry & Walnut Holiday Cheese Ball ~"

11/28/2016

~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~

Thanksgiving. I love all the pomp and circumstance and I always cook a full-blown, traditional feast with all the trimmings. Stuffing. Next to a cold turkey sandwich on white bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo the next day, stuffing is the dish I like best (we all have our #1 favorite). I could skip the other stuff -- I'm fine with a plate of steamy stuffing and a ladle of gravy on Turkey Day, reheated the next day, or, a cold slice of stuffing as a snack for a day or two or three afterward. What's the difference between "stuffing"...... View full recipe for "~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~"

11/20/2016

~ Easy Rosemary-Kissed Butternut Squash Bisque ~

This sinfully-simple, creamy-rich butternut squash bisque is one of my favorite go-to Turkey Day specialties. I don't serve it every year, but on years when my husband has harvested a bumper crop, it starts off our traditional feast. It looks pretty and tastes divine. There's more: It is indeed easy to prepare, and, it can be made two-three days in advance too. All it needs is a gentle reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave and it's ready to take to the table and serve. A bit about butternut squash: Butternut squash is one of our healthy super-foods. That’s...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Rosemary-Kissed Butternut Squash Bisque ~"

11/18/2016

~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~

"Eat your squash". Three words I never heard as a child. At the tables I sat down at to eat, no one made squash -- not my mother, not my grandmother and no one in their immediate or distant families. Meat, potatoes, gravy, a green or yellow vegetable and "drink your milk". That was that. No squash. I never had to worry about squash. The first time I cooked and ate squash I was twenty. It was butternut squash at the apartment of a co-worker and close friend: Eileen. Eileen was born and raised in Brooklyn, and, like my husband...... View full recipe for "~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~"

11/15/2016

~ So Sophisticated: Sweet Potato & Frangelico Tart ~

"So sophisticated." That was my mother-in-law's comment when I served this dessert in place of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving a few years back. I hung onto those words because Ann was a woman of few words who didn't hand out compliments often. We were having an unusually small gathering of eight people that year. Making one easy-to-serve dessert to feed us all, enabling me to offer seconds to a few, and, save me time too -- it worked out perfectly. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie (in addition to Dutch apple, pecan, and rhubarb) was/is always a part of my three-four...... View full recipe for "~ So Sophisticated: Sweet Potato & Frangelico Tart ~"

10/08/2016

~ Classic Pommes Anna: The Ultimate Potato Cake ~

This just might be the most impressive potato dish ever placed on a fancy-schmancy dining room table. It's a gorgeous golden cake constructed of layers of ultra-thin-sliced potatoes that have been baked in the oven (just like a cake layer) and turned out onto a serving plate. When sliced into wedges, each person gets a pretty, pie-sized wedge of potato heaven: buttery-rich, nicely-and-lightly seasoned potatoes, with a crispy golden crust and a soft tender center. Impressive to look at & surprisingly simple to make. While pommes Anna does take a bit of time to make, for a French dish, it...... View full recipe for "~ Classic Pommes Anna: The Ultimate Potato Cake ~"

10/02/2016

~ Duchess Potatoes (Pommes de Terre Duchesse) ~

Mashed potatoes are the quintessential American side-dish for the Sunday roast or pot roast and the gravy that comes with it. While there are a lot of ways to prepare potatoes, the ethereal smell of a chicken roasting in the oven or a pot roast simmering on the stovetop compels me to peel potatoes and bring a pot of water to a boil. To us Americans, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and duchess potatoes, a fancy French-named mashed potato dish made of piped egg-laced mashed potatoes which are baked to a beautiful golden brown, is an impressive-to-look at,...... View full recipe for "~ Duchess Potatoes (Pommes de Terre Duchesse) ~"

06/07/2016

~ Holy Trinity & Remoulade: Creole Macaroni Salad ~

Crunchy, creamy and cold, macaroni salad is a classic Summer staple on American tables everywhere. It's easy to make, tastes great, and, by changing out a few add-in ingredients here and there (and the fresh herbs and dry spices in your mayonnaise concoction too), you can personalize it to suit yourself, or, customize it to fit the flavor profile of the meal you're serving. In case you've just landed from another planet, the "holy trinity" (diced celery, green bell pepper and onion) is to the French-heritaged Cajun and Creole cooks of Louisiana what "mirepoix" (diced carrot, celery and onion) is...... View full recipe for "~ Holy Trinity & Remoulade: Creole Macaroni Salad ~"

03/21/2016

~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~

"Why can't you be more like your friend Melanie?", said the mothers of many of my childhood friends. A long, long time ago, middle-class mothers all cooked, and, when you were invited to a friend's house after school, it was common practice to be asked to stay for the evening meal. Those were hospitable times, and, that was my life during the 1960's (age 5 thru 14). If you are old enough to remember June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson and Donna Stone (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Donna Reed), the image of each of those TV moms serving...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~ "

03/16/2016

~ Meatless Mushroom Duxelles & Gruyere Crostini ~

For lack of better words, I'm going to refer to this mouthwatering crostini recipe as an "all-purpose, all-occasion" hors d'oeuvre. They complement a host of foods, and, can be served (for brunch, lunch, or dinner), at casual or upscale gatherings. They pair well with all sorts of cocktails, as well as red or white wine. They can be passed prior to an entrée of fish, seafood, poultry, porcine or meat. They can be served with a cup of soup and/or a salad. They are meatless too. That makes them perfect for meatless meals, certain religious holidays, and, entertaining vegetarian friends....... View full recipe for "~ Meatless Mushroom Duxelles & Gruyere Crostini ~"

03/11/2016

~ Get Out Your Whisk & Make this Tomato Bisque ~

You need recipes like this, I need recipes like this, all of us cooks need recipes like this. This creamy, rich tomato bisque is what I call a "go to" recipe -- one I rely upon for a variety of kitchen encounters. From unpretentious eat-in-the-kitchen meals to upscale dinner-in-the-dining-room soirees, it's a perfect starter course to plug into a host of menus, and, it pairs great with many salads and sandwiches too. Plus, there is little risk serving tomato soup because almost all folks like it a lot. I've handed out this recipe countless times, which is just how I...... View full recipe for "~ Get Out Your Whisk & Make this Tomato Bisque ~"

12/20/2015

~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~

Yes Virginia, there is more than one way to make an omelette, especially if you are cooking breakfast or brunch for a crowd. The Denver omelette in particular, which is a festive-looking Southwestern omelette that is loaded with lots of smoky diced ham, bell peppers, onions and grated cheddar cheese, once the ingredients are diced, which takes about 10 minutes, transitions from making omelettes one-at-a-time to one crowd-pleasing casserole so easily, if you're like me, it's going to end up at or near the top of your go-to AM casserole recipes list. Here's my photo of ~ My Kinda Cowboy...... View full recipe for "~ My Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole~"

11/27/2015

~ La-di-da Breakfast: Lox, Caviar & Frambled Eggs ~

If you are ever lucky enough to have lox and caviar in your refrigerator in the morning, there is no reason under the sun not to make this decadent three-minute breakfast -- it is an exercise in simplicity and tastes as pretty as this picture too. The classic caviar service I served as an hors d'oeuvres on Thanksgiving Day left me with a package of lox, a container of caviar, and a few small bowls of meticulously chopped accompaniments -- all good stuff. What's a girl to do? Turn yesterday's classy appetizer into today's lazy-day la-di-da breakfast! Besides caviar and...... View full recipe for "~ La-di-da Breakfast: Lox, Caviar & Frambled Eggs ~"

11/24/2015

~It's Not Easy Being 60: The Green Bean Casserole~

Newsflash: The iconic green bean casserole turns 60 years old this year. Depending upon who you talk turkey to, the subject of "green bean casserole" will garner one of two responses: a loving look of childlike glee or a loathsome adult eye roll. In the event you are talking turkey to me, you'll get a unknowing shoulder shrug because the only thing I have in common with the green bean casserole is we were both born in 1955 -- I in a hospital in Palmerton, PA, and, the casserole in a Campbell's Test Kitchen in New Jersey. I've never made...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being 60: The Green Bean Casserole~"

11/15/2015

~ Anchor-Deep Deep-Fried Shrimp w/Tartar Sauce ~

Circa 1960's and 1970's Anchor Deep Seafood was the name of a take-out seafood joint in my town, Tamaqua, PA. It was a block from my Great Aunt Mary's house, which was three-four blocks from the high school, where I had band or majorette practice after school three-four days a week, and, way back then, there was no "activities or sports bus" to shuttle us kids who lived in the burbs home -- our parents had to "deal with it". For years, I walked to Aunt Mary's after practice, then, around 5:15PM, my mom would pick me up after she...... View full recipe for "~ Anchor-Deep Deep-Fried Shrimp w/Tartar Sauce ~"

11/12/2015

~ Pumpkin 'n Spice and Everything Nice Pancakes ~

A stack of pancakes with a dollop of whipped butter and drizzled with pure maple syrup -- it's an iconic breakfast that few people can resist. Add a few strips of salty, crisply-fried bacon to the side and even I'll hang around the breakfast table until, astonishingly, I manage to finish it. A pancake breakfast is special to us Americans and there is lot of evidence to prove it: All sorts of community organizations host pancake breakfasts as a way to raise money for a good cause, iHop thrives in every town or city, and, when any mother in America...... View full recipe for "~ Pumpkin 'n Spice and Everything Nice Pancakes ~"

11/09/2015

~ Oh My Cup of Tea: Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares~

I love cheesecake -- on many levels, it's my ultimate-indulgence dessert. For me, a slice of cheesecake is a celebration on a plate. Ponder that last statement for one moment. Now: Would you rather celebrate your birthday with a candle in a slice of real-deal cheesecake, or, no matter how moist and decadent, a piece of cake or a cupcake? You've guessed my answer. I'm guessing I'm not standing anywhere close to alone. I hear a resounding cry for "cheesecake"! A bit about cheesecake: Cheesecake, a sweet dish of one more layers, is a beloved dessert around the world. A...... View full recipe for "~ Oh My Cup of Tea: Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares~"

10/26/2015

~Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting~

My grandmother never made pumpkin cookies, my mother never made pumpkin cookies, and I never felt deprived. The first time I encountered pumpkin cookies was at an elementary-school Fall-Festival fundraising-bake-sale back in the 1980's. All of the teachers and staff baked Fall desserts which were served with coffee and tea to us parents as we watched our kids parade through the school in their costumes. At the end of the festivities, the desserts were sold, some by the piece, some by the dozen -- you get the picture. My son Jesse's first grade teacher, Mrs. Rhodes, made pumpkin cookies, from...... View full recipe for "~Pumpkin Spice Cookies w/Cream Cheese Frosting~"

09/15/2015

~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~

This rolled sandwich, containing a savory combination of antipasto staples, is in the top five of my family's any-time-of-day snacks -- it's a perfect lunch too. My kids always called it pizza bread, because before it's sliced it looks like a loaf of bread. Once sliced, it reveals a cross between everything they love about a pizza and everything they love about a baked sub (hoagie) -- sans the shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. I'd been making it for years before I heard Mary Ann Esposito refer to it as "Rotolo di Pizza" on her Ciao Italia TV show. From...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Rotolo di Pizza (Stuffed Pizza Rolls/Bread) ~"

09/06/2015

~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~

When my family of five sat down to dinner, unlike a host of other foods, I never had occasion to say "eat your applesauce". When applesauce was on the dinner table my kids would eat it. Applesauce had bargaining power too: "Finish your pork chop, then you can have another helping of applesauce." "Eat half of your green beans and you can have more applesauce." There's more: My boys weren't "big" on eating apple slices, but, if there was applesauce in the refrigerator, they were happy to slather it on a Ritz with a piece of Cracker Barrel cheddar. Applesauce...... View full recipe for "~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~"

08/28/2015

~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~

I made dinner rolls today because I had buttermilk leftover in my refrigerator. I wish they'd sell buttermilk like cream, in one and two cup cartons -- a full quart is usually about twice as much as I need. For example: On Friday of last week, I used one cup to make my ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~, to use as a dip for my ~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings ~. One week later, I still had three cups of buttermilk lollygagging around in my refrigerator. Happy ending: These dinner rolls will make...... View full recipe for "~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~"

01/17/2015

~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~

When a recipe has the word "perfect" in its title, one had better be certain it is exactly that. In my kitchen, in order for any recipe to make it onto my blog, it must make it through my kitchen three times without glitches. Yes, unlike plenty of other cooking blogs, my recipes are not only tested, they are tested three times before I place them in your capable hands. I take testing very seriously, and, once is not enough. In the case of roasting poulty and meat, many times, three times is not enough. For example, I tested this...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rosemary Turkey Breast ~"

12/31/2014

~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~

'Twas the season for mashed potatoes. First there was the Thanksgiving turkey feast, followed by the Christmas prime rib feeding frenzy, and, it's not quite over yet. The clock is ticking down to the mother-of-all pork festivals: New Year's Day. This morning, in a moment of reflection, it occurred to me that the combined total of these three holidays equates to approximately 50-60 pounds of heavy hunks of meat roasted, and, about 25-30 pounds of potatoes mashed. It's hard to imagine my food world without mashed potatoes. They are an institution -- a way of life. They're the quintessential side-dish...... View full recipe for "~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~"

12/11/2014

~ Baking Basic: Evaporated Milk & Condensed Milk ~

I was just asked a question from a KE reader who said, "I ruined my mother's pumpkin pie recipe at Thanksgiving because I substituted condensed milk for evaporated milk. I'm about to bake some Christmas cookies from one of her recipes, and, while I won't make that mistake twice, I still don't understand what the difference is between the two. Can you quickly explain it to me?" It only takes a taste of each to know they are very different... No kidding around, I thought everyone knew the difference between these two commonly used ingredients -- I remember learning about...... View full recipe for "~ Baking Basic: Evaporated Milk & Condensed Milk ~"

11/29/2014

~ Seriously Simple: Sweet Potato & Apple Cobbler ~

While sweet potatoes are always part of my traditional Thanksgiving feast, they also find their way to my dinner table on a regular basis during all the Fall and Winter months. Well, they don't find their way to my table, I put them there, in as many forms as possible. I love them. If sweet potatoes were decreed by the food police to be unhealthy, even that could not stop me from eating them. As a side-dish, this root vegetable pairs perfectly with amost any poultry or pork, and, due to their natural sweetness, they can be used to make...... View full recipe for "~ Seriously Simple: Sweet Potato & Apple Cobbler ~"

11/26/2014

~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~

This is the stuffing that takes us back to the beginning. Grandma ripped up some stale bread then tossed in some sauteed celery and onion seasoned with salt, pepper, and perhaps an herb or two. Once she mixed those together, she slowly added some turkey stock, just enough to make the mixture really moist without any liquid puddling in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes she added a lightly-beaten egg too. "Back in the day", oven space in the home kitchen was almost always limited, so, stuffing was almost always baked inside the bird -- a smart way to get...... View full recipe for "~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~"

11/20/2014

~ Roasting Poultry and Making Gravy Too: My Own Techniques and Oration (the long and not short of it) ~

After thirty years of roasting almost every type of poultry, from 2-pound game hens to 24-pound monster-sized turkeys, I've faced and solved almost every glitch imaginable, carefully documenting them (so as not to let any of them occur twice). I won't lie to you, in the early years there were some tears, but about 5-6 years into my meticulous list of DON'T EVER DO THIS AGAIN, I started producing those moist, juicy birds with crispy, golden skin that everyone covets. Then, about 18 or so years ago, I switched to a different list. One that documented the size of each...... View full recipe for "~ Roasting Poultry and Making Gravy Too: My Own Techniques and Oration (the long and not short of it) ~ "

11/15/2014

~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~

If you write a cooking blog long enough, you learn that sharing old, classic recipes is as important as sharing new, innovative ones. Another way to say it is: "what's old is always new to someone", and they appreciate learning about it -- and that includes a bit of history too. I know this to be true because by the time I was in my thirties, tetrazzini had been around for a very long time but I had never tasted it. I grew up a tetrazzini deprived child. My mom didn't make it because my dad doesn't care for anything...... View full recipe for "~ Untangling an American Retro Classic: Tetrazzini (Stranded Pasta baked in Parmesan Cream Sauce) ~"

11/12/2014

~ Portioning Poultry: The Chart/Guide that Will Help ~

Every cook, novice or expert, at some point, finds him or herself asking the question, "how much poultry do I need to buy?" This chart is a great place to start. I ripped it out of a magazine in my doctors office almost 38 years ago. Since my son Jess will celebrate his 38th birthday in December, my recollection is precise. We women remember important stuff like our wedding day, the birth of a child, and, the first time we cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for our family -- timing the turkey, making the gravy, and, mashing all those potatoes. It's overwhelming!...... View full recipe for "~ Portioning Poultry: The Chart/Guide that Will Help ~"

11/08/2014

~ So what exactly is in Poultry Seasoning? Poultry? ~

My grandmother ("Baba") and my great aunt (my grandmother's sister "Tettie") always had a small tin of poultry seasoning in their respective pantries. My grandmother used Durkee's and my great aunt used McCormick. My mother does not care for poultry seasoning, so, her pantry is bare. I actually keep two brands on hand, McCormick and Bell's -- I like them both, but I don't always use them interchangeably. I use McCormick because it is the flavor blend I grew up with, so it goes into family recipes like ~ Tetties Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~. A bit about "poultry seasoning":...... View full recipe for "~ So what exactly is in Poultry Seasoning? Poultry? ~"

11/06/2014

~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~

If you're sarcastically mumbling, "just what the food world needs, another stuffing recipe", you are going to regret it. This is my Great Aunt Mary's recipe -- she lived to be 99 and was one of the best cooks I have ever known. This is a trip back to a kinder, gentler time. A time before self-appointed gourmets and TV celebrities started adding everything from chorogi artichokes to whortleberries to stuffing. This is pure, simple, unadulterated, beloved, comfort food: that warm, soft, subtly-flavored white bread stuffing that nobody talks openly about but everybody remembers, loves and longs for. Cathy Guisewhite,...... View full recipe for "~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~"

10/30/2014

~ Home for the Holidays: The Cheese Cracker Tray ~

No, there is not a typo in the title of this post. It shouldn't read "cheese and crackers" because this isn't a post about serving cheese with crackers, it's a post about serving cheese crackers -- homemade cheese crackers. Ready or not, like it or not, here it comes: the holiday entertaining season. If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for relatively simple, do-ahead appetizers and snacks to impress your guests. I'm here to tell you, making homemade, savory cheese snacks (cookies, crackers, sticks and wafers) is always a part of my holiday agenda -- just like baking...... View full recipe for "~ Home for the Holidays: The Cheese Cracker Tray ~"

10/28/2014

~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Spread ~

Cheese spread. Everyone who entertains has one, two or a few recipes in their repertoire. The base line for a basic one is: a simple and balanced, smooth, creamy, spreadable blend of tangy, savory cheese plus a fresh or dried herb and a spice or two. For added flavor and texture, a few fresh, dried or roasted chopped fruits, nuts and/or vegetables can be stirred into the mixture, and so can cooked, cured or smoked meats, poultry or fish/seafood. For as easy and straightforward as cheese spreads are to make, they deliver big, bold complex flavor to the cocktail or...... View full recipe for "~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Spread ~"

10/26/2014

~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Wafers ~

I learned something new yesterday. Blue cheese is what provides the tangy flavor in Cheetos and all those other beloved puffed-cheese-type snacks. I had no idea until I was ordering a container of cheddar cheese powder for my pantry (FYI: cheddar cheese powder is a great addition to cheese sauces, macaroni and cheese, and, it's fantastic sprinkled on popcorn). Just prior to "proceeding to checkout", Amazon suggested that I purchase some blue cheese powder too, because other customers frequently purchase cheddar and blue cheese powder together. Amazon is accommodating like that. This lead me to ask why the two would...... View full recipe for "~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Wafers ~"

10/19/2014

~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly (+ the best tips I can give for wrapping and storing)! ~

Blessed are the cheesemakers. They make hard, dry, grating cheeses; firm, moist, sliceable cheeses, and; soft, gooey, spreadable cheeses. They make blue, white and yellow cheeses. Some cheeses are aged for years, others for a few months, and, some aren't aged at all. They make herby, spicy, fruity and/or nutty cheeses. They make mild, aromatic and strong, stinky cheeses. They make cheese from the milk of cows, goats and sheep -- sometimes it's pasteurized and sometimes it's not. There are a thousand+ varieties of cheese in this food world -- some are mass produced, some are specialty, some are artisan...... View full recipe for "~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly (+ the best tips I can give for wrapping and storing)! ~"

10/16/2014

~ Cozy Apple, Bourbon, Vanilla Bean & Pecan Crisp~

I'm turning the heat on in my house and preheating my oven today. The heat is on because "baby it's cold outside", and, the oven is on because baby I'm using up the last of our apples. I'm making my version of perhaps the simplest of all Fall apple desserts: an apple crisp. In the event you don't know what it is, it's basically: apple pie filling (no bottom pie pastry) sprinkled with streusel (no top pie pastry) and baked until the apples are cooked and the top is crispy. It's usually served warm, spooned (not sliced) onto a plate,...... View full recipe for "~ Cozy Apple, Bourbon, Vanilla Bean & Pecan Crisp~"

10/13/2014

~ My Silky-Smooth Spiced Apple-Pear Puree Sorbet (+ the best tip EVER for perfect sorbet all the time)! ~

Did you know that high-quality, applesauce (homemade or store-bought) makes luxurious, creamy, dreamy sorbet in about 25-30 minutes? Well, I didn't quite believe it either until I decided to give it a try last year. I was having one of my smallest crowds ever for Thanksgiving, a group of six for a sit-down dinner. I especially love small, intimate dinner parties because it gives me the opportunity to "fuss" ("pull out all the stops"), and this includes an intermezzo to freshen/cleanse the palate -- usually a small scoop of homemade sorbet or granita: Served properly, in small chilled ramekins with...... View full recipe for "~ My Silky-Smooth Spiced Apple-Pear Puree Sorbet (+ the best tip EVER for perfect sorbet all the time)! ~"

10/08/2014

~ Fried Hazelnut-Crusted Brie w/Apple-Pear Puree ~

Yes, you read it right, this is deep-fried Brie. I suppose I have always been a fearless fryer, because, the moment I received this recipe, without any hesitation, I drove to our local K-Mart to buy a Fry Daddy. The Presto Fry Daddy (introduced in 1977), was basically an electric, temperature-controlled nonstick pot with a handle and a lid. It was the precursor to our pricey present-day cool-touch deep-fryers with all of their fancy filters, heat-control settings and timers. The inexpensive Fry Daddy is still being sold today and they still work great! Back in the 1970's I was in...... View full recipe for "~ Fried Hazelnut-Crusted Brie w/Apple-Pear Puree ~"

10/04/2014

~ Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree (Taking grandmother's applesauce to another level.) ~

Does anyone make homemade applesauce anymore? I ask because I never hear anyone talk about doing it. I grew up in a time and a place where not only was applesauce homemade, the making of it was an event, and, it was served often. We stirred it warm into our oatmeal for breakfast and served it chilled as a side-dish to almost any poultry or pork for dinner. We dolloped it on cheddar cheese and crackers for an appetizer and drizzled it over gingerbread for dessert. There's more. My grandmother taught me to stir "a tad" into apple pie or...... View full recipe for "~ Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree (Taking grandmother's applesauce to another level.) ~"

09/25/2014

~ Dutch Apple, Sour Cream & Walnut-Streusel Pie ~

"It's as easy as apple pie." I hear people say it all the time, and, it annoys me every time because it is a very misleading statement. Baking a really good apple pie is not as easy as "A, B, C", "one, two three" or even "snap, crackle, pop". Too many people think that just because they've baked an apple pie it automatically qualifies for awesome apple pie status. It does not. I have encountered more than a few nasty renditions: from overcooked to undercooked, sickeningly sweet to vapid, and, soupy to pasty, they were anything but the "pleasant and...... View full recipe for "~ Dutch Apple, Sour Cream & Walnut-Streusel Pie ~"

06/15/2014

~ Pucker-Up for a Straight-Up Rhubarb Streusel Pie ~

This is an heirloom recipe in honor of Father's Day. The green-stalked rhubarb we grow in our vegetable garden was transplanted from my father's garden, which was transplanted from his father's garden. It's green, which makes my rhubarb pie different than most others. It's bold and sassy in a subtle, sexy way. It's a humbling pie I serve to people who aren't easily impressed. There is a certain satisfaction in teaching people how to love food made from a misunderstood ingredient. Rhubarb is one such ingredient. Sometimes referred to as "the pie vegetable", if you have never tasted a rhubarb-ginger...... View full recipe for "~ Pucker-Up for a Straight-Up Rhubarb Streusel Pie ~"

05/23/2014

~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~

Macaroni and cheese is near the very top of the American favorite food list. This ooey-gooey irresistable mixture of unpretentious pasta and cheese has earned a beloved place on tables ranging from your grandmother's kitchen to college dorms to gourmet restaurants. We love it and we serve it year round, indoors or out, at all sorts of gatherings, holidays and celebrations. My guy wants my Mac & Cheese served with our son Jesse's Bone-Suckin, Charcoal-Smoked Spareribs for Memorial Day! I'm sure there is a percentage of you who think Mac & Cheese was invented by Kraft foods (their first version...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~"

04/03/2014

~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~

'Stuffins' -- just saying it brings a smile to my face. These are just plain fun to make, kid-friendly, and, practical too -- pretty little portions of complete happiness. If you brown bag your lunch, just wrap one up and toss it in. If you're cooking for just you or for two, make a dozen to have on hand for the entire week. They're a surefire crowd pleaser as well. A few years ago, I made a huge batch and took them to a Fall tailgate party where the men couldn't get enough of them! Stuffins can be made from...... View full recipe for "~Cinnamon-Raisin Bread-Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins')~"

02/17/2014

~ Golden & Cheesy, Potato & Bread-Stuffing Cups ~

When company is coming and mashed potatoes are a must, this recipe is one of my favorite side-dishes. It combines two somewhat ordinary family-style side-dishes (mashed potatoes and bread stuffing) into one, by layering and portioning them into desired-sized ramekins. Once baked, these pretty-to-look-at accompaniments can grace even the swankiest of tables. They taste great with almost any roasted poultry, pork, and, prime rib too. There's more, they can be assembled a day or two before baking and serving. What's not to love about: Perfectly portioned, not too little, not to much -- just enough! Golden, cheesy potatoes on top...... View full recipe for "~ Golden & Cheesy, Potato & Bread-Stuffing Cups ~"

11/30/2013

~ I Just Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole ~

I just love my mother's "stuffing". When I was growing up, I could not wait for her to make it for Thanksgiving. Truthfully, I always wished she would have made it more than once a year, but, alas, that was not the case. It's a simple mixture of saltine crackers soaked in milk and eggs with sauteed celery, onions and ground beef added to it. Yes, I said ground beef. My mom disliked turkey giblets (thankfully I did not inherit that gene), so, she substituted the ground meat to mimic the look and mouth feel of them. That substitution makes...... View full recipe for "~ I Just Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole ~"

11/28/2013

~ Happy Thanksgiving! Fun Stuff from My Archives! ~

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely day sharing your best Thanksgiving recipes and memories with your family and friends. I applaud all of you who cook on this day for your families. We will be celebrating tomorrow. We've been gobling on Black Friday for about 20 years now. Why? It gives the ones we love (who don't have the luxury of taking Wednesday off) today to travel here to Happy Valley for the entire weekend. It works very nicely. Today, during the course of baking pies and pre-prep, Joe remembered the year he and I made two turduckens for...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Thanksgiving! Fun Stuff from My Archives! ~"

11/25/2013

~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~

In my opinion this 'feel-good' dessert is truly the best of two worlds: Our traditional American apple pie filling rolled up inside of a classic French crepe. It's light to eat, easy to make, elegant to look at, and, it's the perfect ending to any breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. It's as appropriate for a weeknight family meal as it is for a party or holiday celebration. It is so perfect, I am serving it right next to my traditional pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner this week. Plus: The crepes & the apple filling can be made days in advance!!!...... View full recipe for "~As American as Mom's Apple Pie & French Crepes~"