What’s for Dinner?: Meatballs

BY  |  Sunday, Apr 06, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

meatball

Let’s start with the facts: every omnivore loves meatballs. Period. So, when some friends invited us over for an evening of meatballs and wine, as card-carrying omnivores, we simply could not resist.

Each guest was asked to bring their interpretation of a meatball dish and as the invitees were a hodge-podge of nations and ethnicities, it almost turned the evening into a Meatball World Cup.

The universal popularity of the otherwise humble meatball is unwavering: from simple meatballs with red sauce and spaghetti to fancy Spanish albondigas served as tapas. Meatballs truly run the culinary and global gamut: Kofta, polpette, xiu mai, they are all a variation on a theme: meat shaped into a ball!

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What’s for Dinner?: Herb and Cheese Pancakes with A Garlicky Dip

BY  |  Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

panchees

Finally, there’s less of a nip in the air and that has given me the chance (albeit slowly) to start transitioning my family’s meals to ones featuring lighter fare. Granted, I have not quite put away my heavy coat, but I’m getting close to bidding it au revoir until we meet again later in the fall.

With green shoots starting to appear in the yard, here is an easy recipe to ease you further into spring —Herb and Cheese Pancakes with A Garlicky Dip.

While it is not yet asparagus or pea weather, the herbs in these delicious savory pancakes are a nod to more seasonal fare.  This recipe is great served with a green salad and a sharp dressing (think red wine vinegar), and you could always add smoked salmon to dial up the protein content.

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What’s for Dinner?: Leek and Potato Soup

BY  |  Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

potleeksoup

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and so it is time to start thinking about some seasonal treats that are (A) fitting for the occasion and (B) not filled with green dye.

My Irish grandmother would be appalled by the very thought of green bagels. In truth, I’m not sure she’s even heard of bagels, but we can be certain that the concept of a bright green one would only further complicate things. Equally, my grandfather would be turning in his grave at the thought of green beer. Guinness is good enough as it is.

This naturally green Leek and Potato Soup  is economical, quick, nourishing and most important of all, dye-free.

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What’s for Dinner?: Slow Cooked Chocolate and Pear Pudding

BY  |  Sunday, Feb 23, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

slowcookerpud

 

Courtesy of the continued presence of the polar vortex, this winter has been all about comfort food. Pounded by snow and icy chills, I have felt obliged to make—and let’s be honest, eat—more than usual.

In the service of delivering said comfort food, my slow cooker has been used a lot this year, cranking out simmering stews and satisfying soups. However, slow cooking and indulgence don’t usually go hand in hand but the moist, gentle environment of the slow cooker is just the place to steam a pudding hence this delicious recipe.

This Slow Cooked Chocolate and Pear Pudding is gooey and indulgent and against a backdrop of wintry misery, deeply satisfying. Featuring a syrup that seeps through the sponge to make a brownie-like concoction, once served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream it is the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

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What’s for Dinner?: Chinese Dumplings

BY  |  Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Chinese dumplings

My kids love baking. I love baking and we have had plenty of opportunities to bake together this winter as a fun way to fill the many snow days that have chillily blown in our direction. What’s not to like? The kids are occupied without being left in front of the TV, your home smells good enough to host an open-house, and there are delicious home-baked goods piled high on cake stands and cookie jars the length and breadth of the kitchen.

Alas, every sugary silver lining has a calorific black cloud hiding behind it: the whole point of delicious baked goods is that they have to be eaten and that is not good news when it comes to my waistline…

Luckily, the Chinese New Year inspired us to do something a little less baked and bulky and so our snow days this week were spent making dumplings. It kept the kids busy for ages, we had some great dinners and I got to freeze a batch and that will save us time another day.

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What’s for Dinner?: Roasted Barley Pilaf

BY  |  Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

barley1

With people looking for more bang for their nutritional buck, ancient and heirloom grains have started to rise to prominence.

Five years ago, you would have struggled to find nutritious grains such as spelt, teff, kamut, chia seeds, buckwheat or millet, but now there is an amazing choice to be found on shelf as these super-foods find their time in the spotlight. Continue Reading

What’s for Dinner?: Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Soup

BY  |  Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (3)

caulisoup

Cauliflower is the new Brussels sprout.

You heard it here first. Unless of course you were listening to NPR in the last week and then you’ve heard it here second.

If this food-trend prediction is true, in 2014 we will become inundated with articles on how to deal with cauliflower’s white gentle white curds. From now on, the brassica will be liberated it from its soggy, boiled mush to become an exotic crispy, spicy, delight.  You now have permission to eat cauliflower with reckless abandon.

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What’s For (After) Dinner?: Ginger Snaps

BY  |  Sunday, Dec 29, 2013 11:54am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Ginger Snaps

I hereby declare that it is still Cookie Season™ until I take down my Christmas tree. And because I’m not one of those throw-it-out-the-minute-Christmas-Day-is-done types, that won’t be until January 6th (Twelfth Night has a name for reason, people…) In the meantime, Cookie Season™ is still in full swing.

So regardless of whether it still feels a lot like Christmas in your corner of Baristaville, if you need a plate of cookies to take to an open house or New Year’s party, here is a simple recipe that features a really quick assembly and a superfast bake. And at about five minutes to mix together and 15-20 minutes to cook, when I say simple, I mean simple.

The great thing about Ginger Snaps (or ginger nuts, ginger thins or gingerbread cookies depending on your personal provenance) is that they have a sharp enough taste to cut through the coldest of winter days that’s also sweet enough to pair with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Or glass of dry sherry, depending on the occasion…

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What’s for Dinner?: Mince Pies

BY  |  Sunday, Dec 15, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Mince Pies

For me, mince pies are the quintessential seasonal treat, but for a lot of Americans, the mere suggestion of them raises an eyebrow.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting a mince pie yet, here’s a quick description: buttery pastry filled with sweet dried fruit and spices. Delicious. The taste of Christmas.

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What’s For Dinner?: Crunchy Brussels Sprout Salad

BY  |  Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Brussels Sprout Salad

I hereby declare pie season officially closed.

We did not host this year (we visited some very good friends instead) but I still feel all cooked-out.  And after a very pie-heavy Thanksgiving, I’m trying to give my body some reprieve by having at least a week’s worth of healthy eating before the onset of that next installment on the culinary calendar, Cookie Season.

This  tasty and healthy Crunchy Brussels Sprout Salad is a snap to make. The sprouts are full of Vitamins C and A as well as folic acid and fiber which is all good stuff.  The addition of pecans provides a seasonal twist and the combination of some good Parmesan cheese and a sharp dressing adds a bit of flavor.

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