Crunchy Maple-Walnut Granola

If I was asked to name the recipe for which I have tried the greatest number of variations over the years, I would answer with absolute certainty, “granola.”   I have never really been a fan of the granolas that are sold on the grocery store shelves, because I find them to be much too sugary or too processed tasting.  There have been some really great

Chicken Vegetable Pot Pies

When I was a little girl, I used to take ice-skating lessons for several hours after school, three times a week.  When I would get home, I was usually famished and ready for something warm and hearty for dinner.  One of my favorite things to have was chicken pot-pie, which I always thought was a special treat.  We always bought the frozen, individual sized kind,

Vegetable Frittata with Turkey Apple Sage Sausage

This year, my husband and I decided to take a different approach to Christmas morning breakfast.  Instead of our traditional hearty and heavy a.m. holiday feast, which usually features some sort of rich stuffed french toast in a pool of butter and maple syrup with a double side of Sweet and Spicy Bacon, we decided to try something healthier.  Our hope was that we wouldn’t

Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Soup

The day after Christmas is a day that usually goes by in a blur.  Everyone is a little bit tired from the whirlwind of activities from the preceding days (In the case of my family, we usually don’t even finish opening presents until late Christmas evening, due to the fact that my mom always creates a “Christmas game” to coincide with present opening, such as

Cookies for Santa: Snickerdoodles

I think that it is pretty safe to say that everybody loves Snickerdoodles.  How can you not love a cookie with a name that fun to say??  I think that our fondness for these crackly cinnamon-sugar treats can partially be attributed to the fact that they hand the recipe out to all grandmothers as a part of their initiation.  They are so old-fashioned that they

Stollen (German Christmas Bread)

Because I am a “foodie”, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is browse the learn about the traditional foods of the country that I am visiting.  During my recent trip to Germany, I loved having the opportunity to see (and sample!) all of the wonderful European breads and pastries that the bakeries prepared freshly each morning (Why is it so hard

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)

I just returned from a ten day trip to Germany with my mom, where we visited the Christkindlmarkts, the Christmas Markets, which are held each year all over the country during the advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas day.  The markets, which are generally held in town squares and pedestrian areas, all vary in size and quality of offerings depending on the population of the

Gougeres

Once I was in New York City, having dinner with my family at a French bistro named L’Absinthe.  It was the kind of restaurant that felt authentically French, from the decor to the charming accents of the staff.  At the beginning of the meal, instead of the usual bread basket, we were presented with a plate of small golden brown pastries which were obviously fresh

Mediterranean Roasted Eggplant Dip

When someone asks me what my favorite kind of food is, I tell them “Mediterranean.”  Sometimes this results in a blank stare because an answer such as “Italian”, “Chinese”, or even “pizza” was expected.  I’ll admit that it is sort of cheating to pick Mediterranean cuisine as my favorite, since it doesn’t limit itself to just one country, but when I think about the types

Decorated Gingerbread Cookies

A holiday cookie assortment would not be complete without the addition of gingerbread people.  Their individuality, complements of “the artist”, their smiling faces, and their friendly waves help each one of them to take on a personality of their own.  Whether you plan to bring them to a holiday cookie swap, keep them at home for a treat, or punch a hole in the top

Party Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Crostini

For our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a cruise.  The cruise ship was owned by a Scandinavian company, so at breakfast, lunch, and dinner there was always an overabundance of fresh Norwegian smoked salmon to pile onto our plates.  I’m pretty sure that I ate some for every meal and, to my husband’s embarrassment, I never grew tired of it, especially since I

Peppermint Candy Cane Marshmallows

Question: What is better on a cold winter night than a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows? Answer:  A hot cup of cocoa with homemade peppermint marshmallows. Yes, you read correctly.  I am suggesting that you make your own marshmallows this year, and I think that you will be surprised by how simple they are.  Contrary to popular belief, homemade marshmallows are not something that

Party Appetizer: Prosciutto Pinwheels

There are two recipes that my mother can count on my brother requesting whenever he is home for the holidays.  The first is Chex Party Mix, the seasoned cereal, pretzel, and peanut concoction that goes hand-in-hand with holiday entertaining in America.  There is always a big container of this waiting for him when he arrives, and she inevitably needs to make a second batch during

Blackberry Blue Corn Muffins

Crumbly. Dry. Bland.  If I was a contestant on Super Password, these are the words that I would use to try to get my partner to guess “cornbread.” When most people are served a piece of cornbread, their first inclination is to slather it with butter, cover it with honey, or dunk it in their soup–whatever it takes to inject some moisture and flavor into

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

This is the first of a two-part post.  Today, I am sharing with you my recipe for a healthy and hearty vegetarian chili.  What goes better with chili than cornbread?  If you answered “nothing”, then you are correct.  So, tomorrow, I will provide you with my take on the ultimate chili companion. Chili is a hotly debated subject, and everyone thinks that their chili is

Rich Chocolate-Pecan Fudge

American culinary folklore says that fudge was invented in the United States over 100 years ago.  Most stories claim that the first batch resulted from a “fudged” batch of caramels made in 1886–hence the name “fudge.”  At this time, it sold for about 40 cents per pound. Apparently, Americans still love there fudge.  On Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, fudge is the primary industry and

Pancetta Wrapped Herb-Roasted Pork with Fig Jam

By the time that Christmas Eve rolls around, many people are “turkey-ed out.”  The last thing that they want to do is spend most of their holiday afternoon in the kitchen wondering if the 24 pound bird in the oven will ever reach the correct internal temperature.   Over the years, my family has not had a standard Christmas Eve dinner entree;  sometimes we had ham,

Moist Chocolate Christmas Cupcakes

My most recent cookbook purchase, for my already ridiculously large collection, was one called Confetti Cakes, written by one of New York City’s hottest custom cake decorators.  The book contains cakes that are perfect replications of everything from a Chinese take-out box to a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes and the box that they came in–all edible! A master cake decorator is something that I

Pecan Pralines

I vividly remember the first time that I ever tried a praline.  At that time, I had heard of pralines, but I didn’t really know what they were as I had lived in New Jersey for most of my life–not really a hot spot for praline producers.  My family had recently moved to Texas, and we were leaving a restaurant after having dinner there.  On

Spiced Sweet Potato Zucchini Bread

There’s a new cookbook out, written by the wife of a very famous comedian whose eponymous show dominated Thursday night sitcom T.V. in the 90s**.  The book has been plugged by Oprah and Ellen, and truckloads of copies have been sold.  The concept?  Titled Deceptively Delicious, the cookbook gives you methods for sneaking fruits and vegetables into your children’s food so that they can get