Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

There is nothing as cherry as a bright orange pumpkin.  And its just the thing for a moist and delicious muffin that fills the house with a heavenly scent.  Try these with or without the currants.  They make a great breakfast with a little margarine or cream cheese.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

We have The Pancake Handbook: Specialties from Bette's Oceanview Diner and it has a great recipe for buttermilk pancakes.  They claim that they have perfected this recipe over the years at Bette's Diner--and I believe it.

If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute  1 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1 cup milk.  For blueberry pancakes, stir in 1 cup thawed frozen or fresh blueberries and 1/2 tsp grated orange zest.  For apple pancakes add 1 cup diced peeled apple and 2 teaspoons sugar. For a gluten-free version use Cup4Cup in place of the flours.

Interestingly this batter can be used to make waffles as well without any modification.  Try it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cranberry Walnut Pie

I like to think of this pie as the Midwest's answer to the South's pecan pie.  It's less sticky and gooey and has a nice tartness from the cranberries.  It's a great pie to serve at Thanksgiving.  Try it with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Curried Squash Soup

This fall we went to the Apple House at the University of Minnesota Arboretum and found all kinds of interesting squash.  We bought buttercup, butternut, hubbard, some Asian squash, a blue Australian squash and an italian violin squash.  They are packed into a cooler in our garage waiting to be roasted and made into squash soup or squash pancakes.  If you lack your own supply of fall squash, you can use a 15 oz can of pumpkin to make this recipe.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fresh Blueberry Tart

Only in the summer when blueberries are at their peak would I even consider cooking them.  Normally, they're devoured so quickly at our house that they don't last long enough to be baked into anything.  This recipe was given to me by my friend, Barb Benn, and it combines fresh blueberries with cooked blueberries for the best taste. It's also simple enough to make again and again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bittman's Meatballs

My mother used to make meatballs that were mainly just meat.  In balls.  Fried.

They were tough little meatballs.  So, when I found tasty soft turkey meatballs could be had in the freezer section at Trader Joe's I thought I had my meatballs covered.  It was a good solution for many years.

Recently though, I decided to tackle homemade meatballs.  The secret is a French technique where you soak breadcrumbs in milk and add it to the meat mixture. It keeps the meatballs soft and moist.  Not rock-like.  (But, I'll bet you already knew that.) Try it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Trout with Pecan and Pine Nut Crust

My husband took the kids on a charter fishing trip and they caught their limit of trout one afternoon on Lake Superior.  Unfortunately with mercury levels being what they are, we can only have one serving per month, so we have to make each one count.  This is a recipe that I've made for years--it's one we all enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vermont Coleslaw

This coleslaw has a dressing with a hint of sweetness.  It's fresh and light and a snap to put together if you buy a bag of shredded coleslaw.  I like the kind with red cabbage and carrots in the mix.  For a classic summer dinner, serve this with Easy Slow Cooker Ribs and warm cornbread. Yum!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fresh Corn Salad

Some things are best prepared simply.  Fresh corn in the heart of summer is one of them.  This is a simple preparation that showcases the sweetness of the corn.  It works for a dinner party as well as a weeknight meal.  If you are in rush, you could use the best quality yellow and white frozen corn, thawed in the microwave, but don't tell Ina that I told you that.  I feel sure that she would not approve.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Salade Nicoise

When is a salad a meal?  When it's Salad Nicoise.  Nicoise is French for "meal in a salad bowl."  Just kidding.  But served with a toasted baguette or a gluten-free flatbread, this does make a perfect summer meal.  I've tweaked the classic ingredients here, using cherry tomatoes instead of sliced tomatoes, fresh tuna steaks (not pictured) instead of canned tuna and adding small potatoes.  To simplify preparation, the green beans and the potatoes can be made ahead of time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chickpea and Dried Cherry Salad

The key to summer is to have a few go-to salad recipes at the tips of your fingers.  If you have them on your phone, that's even better because then you can access them when you shop!  This is a nice fresh salad that us a bit off the beaten path of summer salads.  You can substitute raisins or dried cranberries for the cherries if desired.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

The fresh flavors of this salad are the perfect side for a summer meal from the grill. Many recipes are overly complex, but this simple salad is a perfect blend of textures and flavors that you can put together in fifteen minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

No-bake Energy Bites

Good-bye Cliff Bars and hello Energy Bites!  These are seriously simple to make and go over well with kids and teens alike.  Modify the recipe as you wish to suit your taste, just don't leave out the honey or else they might not stick together well.  These are great in the summer when your kids are clamoring for cookies but you don't want to turn the oven on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Easy Slow Cooker Ribs

Love ribs, but don't have time to cook them?  This is the easiest method I know of and it yields very tasty ribs with very little attention.  The long cook time at low heat ensures tender meat that falls right off of the bone (frankly the ribs don't look that good in photos, but they're for eating, not for googling at).  You won't even need to equip your diners with a knife.  Add some corn bread and fresh coleslaw for a great meal. Yum!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Beet and Feta Salad

Beets are starting to grow on me.  I never used to be particularly fond of beets, but my husband enjoys them so I try to work them into our diet.  In the past I have thought that if they were easier to prepare, I would be inclined to serve them more often.  Now, some genius at Trader Joe's has realized what has been keeping beets out of our salads, and they sell packages of cooked, peeled beets that make this salad a snap.  Melissa's offers a similar product.  Check the produce aisle of your local grocery store.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

French Potato Salad


This delicious potato salad avoids the use of mayonnaise.  I have nothing against mayonnaise, but it is nice to have an alternative way to dress up your potato salad, don't you agree?  A great dish to serve with a lemony broiled fish and a green salad.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there a perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe?  I venture to say that there is.  I used to think it was the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse chip bag.  Then I thought it was the Neiman Marcus recipe that was being passed around on the web that someone at some time allegedly paid $200 for.  Then it was the slightly awkward "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe I clipped from a newspaper.  And now, now it is this recipe from the geniuses at Cooks Illustrated, with slight modifications by moi.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

My six-year old wanted a "fresh lemon cake" for Valentine's Day.  I let him pick out a cake mix and then whipped these up while he was at school.  These cupcakes have raspberry centers and a divine lemon cream cheese frosting that's a snap to make.  If you want to go whole hog and make the cupcakes from scratch, go ahead.  But, I have to say, it's pretty hard to beat cake mixes these days!  (Just don't tell anyone they came from a box.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Moroccan Orange Walnut Salad

This is the first real salad I learned to make, from the first real cookbook I ever purchased.  It was one in a series of popular Moosewood Cookbooks.  I marveled over every page embellished with Mollie Katzen's handwritten recipes and hand drawn illustrations.  Her style of cooking seemed very au courant to me, having only attended the cooking school of Mom at the time.

The recipe, as published in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, is designed to feed 6, but could really serve 10 quite nicely at a potluck.  This stripped down version is the way I make it for a weeknight dinner.  My apologies to Mollie.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I absolutely love oatmeal cookies and I happen to think that they are sort of good for you.  (Just think of all the fiber!)

It's hard to beat the oatmeal cookie recipe on the Quaker Oatmeal box.  I have tried other recipes and keep coming back to this one.  You can change it up by substituting craisins for raisins.  I usually use some whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour.  And you could toss in a little flax seed to up the omega-3 content.  But otherwise, its a pretty basic, foolproof recipe.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Skillet Cauliflower Torrisi

Cauliflower is not the world's most-loved vegetable, especially around my house.  But when I find a nice head of cauliflower in the store, this is what I make with it.  And the whole family seems to enjoy it--even our rabbit who gets the cauliflower trimmings.

Torrisi is apparently a deli in New York City.  I have to guess that they are fans of olive oil and garlic, because they use plenty in this recipe.  Feel free to cut down on the garlic or substitute some garlic powder to suit your taste.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fusilli with Spinach Walnut Pesto

This brilliant green pesto is a great pick-me-up in the dead of winter.  It also allows the sly mother to add more spinach to the family diet without any children being the wiser.  It makes a quick weeknight meal with the addition of a salad and some crusty bread.  Try adding a few tablespoons of ricotta to the pasta for extra protein.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Radicchio, Goat Cheese and Raisin Salad

Looking for a statement salad?  Look no further.  This is a quick prep salad that could be made for a weeknight dinner, but has the bold presentation and complex flavors a special occasion salad.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mushroom Cups

These pretty appetizers are easier to make than they look.  They make any occasion seem festive and they taste pretty darn good, too.  Try them for your next dinner party.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cranberry Spinach Salad

This is a tasty and easy salad for the winter months and it is a nice special occasion salad. The bright red cranberries are cheery and the pecans give it some crunch.  The dressing is a snap to make--you may find yourself making it to liven up a plain spinach salad during the week.

For a dinner party this is the perfect accompaniment to Chicken Marbella and rice pilaf.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Caught without pancake mix again?  Never fear!  This quick recipe will save your Sunday morning breakfast.  It's simple enough that your kids could make it for Mother's Day breakfast.  (Hint, hint.)  And just in case you lack baking powder, as I did, I will give you a baking soda option as well. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Coconut Date Balls

These are a traditional Christmas cookie in my husband's family.  His sister still makes them for us every year and they are our favorite holiday treat.  This year after eating all of the date balls provided by Ann and Amy, I decided that I would try to make them myself.  I had to adjust this recipe from, but now it is a pretty good approximation of the family favorite!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Weeknight Quiche

Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook was the first cookbook I ever owned.  I can remember buying it at a bookstore on Spring Street when I was in college.  What possessed me to buy a cookbook when I didn't even have access to a kitchen?  I think I was impressed by the handwritten recipes, the fresh new ideas about cooking.  This was not my mother's cookbook.