Dark Chocolate Crackle Cookies with Orange

Posted by    |  March 8, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine Holiday Cookie Edition

There are two kinds of bakers: fat bakers and skinny bakers. The fat bakers just love to bake and consume far too much of their product and so… well, they’re giving their lives to the cause.

The skinny bakers used to be a mystery to me until I figured out their secret. They bake for the pleasure of baking and then find a way to dispose of the results without harming themselves. Some skinny bakers find outlets to sell their products- a great trick. Others find ways to foist the calories off on other people. They find circuits of things to bring cookies or pies to: meetings, parties, potlucks and picnics. They’re always looking for someone who just had surgery and needs a dozen cookies to cheer them up. Read more

Conch Fajitas

Posted by    |  March 3, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

For the full story on Conch Fajitas, go to this link. The snorkel boat captain suggested that I grill the conch steaks by pounding them very thin, wrapping them in foil with peppers and onions and cooking them quickly. That sounded like a fajita to me, so I improvised a marinade from what was in the fridge and the spices I’d packed. Read more

Conch Marinate

Posted by    |  March 3, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

If you’re headed to the Caribbean for Spring Break, give conch a try.  Conch is very mild, but not at all tasteless- similar to fresh scallops. It can be chewy if overcooked, but when uncooked or cooked properly, it is tender with a texture similar to al dente pasta.

This is my interpretation of what our snorkel boat captain dictated to me. The kids loved it, in spite of being initially freaked out by watching our conch being caught and dispatched.   Read more

Big Batch Italian Meatballs

Posted by    |  February 17, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Aside from pizza, is there any other meal that is as sure to get an enthusiastic reception as spaghetti and meatballs?

I’m a fan myself. Five years ago, that big warehouse club bag of meatballs was omnipresent in our freezer. I’d have been as panicked to discover I’d run out of meatballs as Cheerios. However, with my new, make-it-myself way of eating, I’ve lost my taste for them. I’ve also found that- like most dishes- making it myself isn’t a big ordeal. I’ve played quite a bit and have come up with my idea of the perfect meatball to pair with spaghetti and marinara Read more

Very Warm Cocoa

Posted by    |  January 29, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

“Homemade” Hot Cocoa mesmerizes my kids’ playdates in the winter. “You mean your mom actually makes hot cocoa from scratch??!!” I love the illusion I can spin with homemade cocoa: kids think I am a genius super-mom. The word “homemade” implies work and care and effort. I sort of feel like I’m cheating:  what a ridiculously easy way to be a hero. Read more

Whole Wheat Pretzels

Posted by    |  January 20, 2011  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

They’re threatening another snow day for tomorrow. I don’t know if I can take it anymore! I’m a hardy Midwestern girl. When it snows in Chicago, you just drive slower. You slog through it. Why does the world stop for New Yorkers every time it flurries? Seriously people!!? You are KILLING me with the snow day silliness. Trapped again in the house with four bored kids, it takes a spurt of creativity to break up the day.

These pretzels are a very satisfying way to make the best of the day. Their flavor and texture are fantastic. They’re minimally time-consuming. The dough is incredibly forgiving of the kind of torture young kids inflict. If your preschooler just decides to stretch his piece into an oddly-shaped clump and insists that’s how he wants it, it’ll bake just fine. Read more

Pan-seared Porterhouse

Posted by    |  December 23, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

I know. I said I’d be on hiatus ‘till the New Year. I’m cheating just a little for a good purpose. Bill and I decided to send a custom-cut porterhouse steak and some Campeche shrimp from Gourmet’s Choice as Holiday gifts to some of his closest work colleagues. While I was working out the details of the order with Jim, I realized that there are probably a lot of folks in the world who might feel a bit daunted by this gorgeous slab of meat.

The truth is that just a few years ago, I myself would have been intimidated. Should I make a sauce to go with it? It’s too cold to grill, so how can I cook it in a skillet? How do I know when it’s done? Read more

Cranberry Maple Syrup

Posted by    |  November 12, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

The color of this breakfast condiment is brilliant magenta.  It looks amazing on top of vivid orange pumpkin pancakes but is also quite fetching on a simple slice of french toast.  The cranberry flavor melds perfectly with the maple.  Each mellows out and balances the other- like my marriage. Read more

Pumpkin Pancakes

Posted by    |  October 25, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine November 2008

The snappy, cool breezes of fall put me in the mood for all things made with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving just isn’t enough for me. It took me two years to find a pumpkin pancake recipe that had the right texture and flavor. Read more


Posted by    |  October 25, 2010  |  Filed under: Home, Recipes

I recently had a conversation with a friend about how much we love In ‘n’ Out Burgers- the West Coast burger chain that inspires groupie-like devotion. I mentioned to her that- though I love the flavor of their burgers- it is the partnership between the burger and the fries that does it for me. Those fries taste clean and potatoey. Cut onsite from fresh potatoes, they are just amazing.

Homemade hashbrowns have that same quality without the hassle or mess of the deep-fryer. If you’ve never had hashbrowns made with fresh potatoes, you’re in for a treat. And like the burger and the fry, they are soul-mates with rich, golden pasture-raised scrambled eggs. Read more

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