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Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

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Pumpkin Cakelets with Bourbon Glaze

  Attention bargain shoppers: I found this  Nordic Ware autumn cakelet pan at T.J. Maxx for $15! I have found many a Nordic Ware pan at our local T.J. Maxx/Homegoods and have an impressive collection by now. And I’m pretty sure that ‘cakelet’ is an actual word….hear that, autocorrect? Adapted from a recipe in BH&G, I swapped out vegetable oil for olive oil because the resulting earthy moistness pairs well with pumpkin and I scaled it way down to make just 8 little precious cakelets. Now that we are empty-nesters, I find myself doing a lot of mathematics to scale down recipes, but feel free to do a little math yourself and scale back up if you like. Enjoy these with a nice afternoon cup of coffee! For the cakelets:   1/2 cup of flour 3/8 cup of sugar 1/2 t baking powder 1/4 t baking soda 1/8 t salt 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice mix 4 oz. pumpkin purée 1 egg 1/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin) Spray your cakelet pan with Baker’s Joy (properly or else your cakes will stick) and preheat the

Irish Whiskey Chocolate Bundt Cake

  I needed an excuse to use my adorable new Bundtlet (even the word is cute!) pans and St. Patrick’s Day happened to be around the corner, so I combed the internet for something with an Irish twist that didn’t involve Bailey’s Irish Cream. Because I don’t like it. Yes, you read that right and I’m sorry for it....I want to like it but I find it sickeningly cloying and in desserts it gets lost.. However, I do love Irish whiskey so I adapted a Whiskey cake from NYT Cooking. Is it cocky to say that I made some significant improvements to the recipe? You can use any whiskey or bourbon you like (or even rum, for that matter); the recipe is designed for a large Bundt pan but if you use small cute ones like I did, shorten the baking time a bit. This cake is best made the day before you want to serve it. Cake: 1 cup vegetable or canola oil 2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 5 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted 1/4 cup instant espresso powder 2 T cocoa powder 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey  1/2 t kosher salt 3 egg

Eggplant, Chickpea and Tomato Stew

This recipe was inspired by Claudia Roden's beautiful cookbook  Arabesque ; it is so flavorful and is lovely with za'atar flatbread or pita. We are having a Middle Eastern cooking theme this March in conjunction with our friends Mike & Jackie (fantastic cooks, btw!!!) so it's been fun to try some different things. The plan is to get together after we are fully vaccinated and cook our favorites together. Tomorrow... homemade harissa! 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced (roughly 1/2" dice) Evoo 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 1 t sugar 2 pints cherry tomatoes 1 1/2 T pomegranate molasses 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained chopped parsley Preheat oven to 425º; toss tomatoes and eggplant onto a rimmed baking half sheet pan and drizzle generously with olive oil. Salt and pepper as well- don't be stingy. Roast for 20-23 minutes or until everything looks nicely roasted and charred. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the garlic and 1 T EVOO just until the garlic starts to

Portuguese(ish) Cornmeal Bread

  I'm not sure what magazine I cut this recipe out of but I changed it up enough that I don't think it matters who gets the credit.  I served it with caldo verde  from Leite's Culinaria and the whole thing couldn't have been better! A word (or two) about the flour: I use the kind of cornmeal that comes in the canister (Quaker). I do this because the Bob's Red Mill medium-grind is too coarse; back when I used to buy it, one of those pellets cracked a friend's tooth (although he politely claimed that the tooth was already cracked before the cornmeal lined pizza I served him finished the job); I also use King Arthur's Artisan flour and I want to assure you that using a good quality bread flour is essential and totally makes a difference.  Start this bread the night before for best results.  The night before: make the sponge 1/4 t instant yeast 1 cup bread flour (refer back to my word or two above) 1 cup lukewarm water Mix with a spoon and cover tightly; leave t

Spicy Paloma

I tinkered significantly with a recipe that I saw online and came up with this version. So so delicious and quite festive looking as well. This is a batch recipe; you can scale down or up. A note on the type of grapefruit juice: I usually use Matt's grapefruit but because I was feeling a little flinty, I bought Simply Pure and I'm sad to say the cocktail was noticeably NOT AS GOOD! So please use Matt's- it's worth the extra money and makes a big difference. We made several different batches of drinks the week before Christmas to have on hand and it was quite delightful:   12 oz. tequila, any kind 4 oz. triple sec 12 oz. Matt's grapefruit juice (I am very specific about that) 4 oz.  spicy hibiscus syrup 4 oz. lime juice Mix everything up in a pitcher; you have the option of shaking it in an ice-filled shaker first (nicer result but more work) or simply pouring it into a salt-rimmed glass of ice directly from the pitcher. Garnish with a lime and enjoy!  

Broccoli- Cheddar Soup (with a potato thrown in!)

  This soup is delicious but I have never particularly enjoyed the sight of a green soup—hence the attempt to draw your eye to the croutons and my cute napkin. I had a hankering for a soup like this but every recipe I looked at involved something I didn't want; for example, a roux with  lots of flour (which IMHO gives it that pseudo-homemade taste that you find in Panera soups or the like), lots  of heavy cream, carrots (why?!!!). I decided to use one small potato as a thickener and only a small amount of cream rather than the 2 cups called for in several recipes I saw. If I’m going to consume 2 cups of cream (and believe me, I’m not unwilling), it’s certainly not going to be with broccoli!  The croutons, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, are pure deliciousness; I like to make my own from stale baguettes or bread that no one wants to eat anymore. There's not really a recipe- I cut the stale bread into cubes and sauté them in a decent amount of EVOO, sprinkling with