Category Archives: Recipes

This is what May tastes like

If it’s May, that means it’s time for baking with rhubarb! I still don’t have my own rhubarb plant, which means that around this time of year I have to hope that friends with better gardening skills than I are generous enough to share a bit of their bounty.

When my husband brought back a bag of freshly cut rhubarb from a friend’s house last weekend, it got chopped up and tossed in the oven within the hour. Maybe even faster.

This recipe for rhubarb crisp that ran in the New York Times earlier this month is about as simple as it gets. Chop up some rhubarb; toss it with some sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest; spread it in a baking dish; and top it with a basic crisp topping.

Simple, but oh so tasty. So much better than pie. Really.

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Nanaimo bars

I was browsing food blogs looking for inspiration for Olympic-themed cookies or cupcakes to take with me to an Opening Ceremonies gathering, when I saw a treat that looked awfully familiar.

Nanaimo bars!

Or, at least, that’s what the blogs were calling them.

To me, they looked suspiciously like Prayer Bars, one of my favorite holiday treats growing up. My mom made them every Christmas, adding green food die, and sometimes mint flavoring, to that middle buttery-sugar layer. My only two attempts to make them ended in disaster — a crumbly mess. So I gave up on Prayer Bars and kind of forgot about them.

Until these turned up. Get the whole story »

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Merry Christmas

One great cookie recipe + one set of Fred ABC Cookie Cutters =

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Party mix

The number of hits on my homemade thin mints post must mean I’m not the only one in the midst of a week-long marathon of holiday baking. All week I’ve been making and freezing dough for lemon cream cheese meltaways (a new recipe for me), thin mints (yum!), snickerdoodle pinwheels (a disastrous sticky dough experience that led me to toss the recipe immediately) and peanut butter blossoms.

No photos, because I haven’t baked a single cookie yet. That comes this weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I’d post my favorite savory holiday/party recipe. I love variation on Chex Mix. I think it’s the Goldfish crackers and croutons that win me over.

This recipe makes a really big batch. As in, I don’t have a bowl big enough to mix it all in, or pan big enough to bake it all at once. I have to divide it up between two bowls and two to four pans, and bake it in batches. The hassle is worth it though, because this snack mix goes quickly!

One note about the recipe: The packaging sizes have changed since the cookbook it came from was published. I just buy whatever size box the cereal and crackers and pretzels are sold in now.

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Homemade chutney, or, who needs Stonewall Kitchen?

I have a weakness for gourmet chutneys and jams.

This weakness most often manifests itself while traveling. Because, inevitably, my husband and I will stumble upon a gourmet grocery or kitchen shop. And, inevitably, that gourmet grocery or kitchen shop will have samples. Very, very tasty samples. Samples of things like apple cranberry chutney and roasted garlic onion jam. And I sample. And I start to swoon. And I decide that since I’m on vacation, what the heck, why not spend $7 on a pretty little 8.5 ounce jar of  Stonewall Kitchen goodness?

gingered rhubarb chutney over grilled lamb chops

But today was not a Stonewall Kitchen day. Tonight I went for a little more frugal version: A homemade gingered rhubarb chutney from Cooking Light. It was just as good as the prepared stuff from the gourmet grocery, and much, much cheaper.

I even found a pretty little jar to store the leftovers in.

This tangy-sweet chutney was a perfect pairing for grilled lamb chops, which is how we ate it this evening, but Cooking Light also recommends pairing it with duck or pork, or with cream cheese and crackers as an appetizer.

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Strawberry salsa

On a sunny mid-summer afternoon, few foods are tastier and more refreshing than salsa made with tomatoes, cilantro and peppers straight from the garden. (Or, if you garden like I do, from the farmers market.)

But this is not July or August. And the tomatoes are not yet ready to go front and center on the plate. This is May, and THIS is what has been tempting me on every visit to the grocery store:

This weekend, they were just 99 cents/pound! I bought two, bringing my total strawberry purchases so far this spring to, um, something like 8 pounds.

So, it’s a good thing that month’s issue of Cooking Light has an entire section dedicated to recipes starring strawberries, including jam, pizza and one outstanding salsa.

Not only was this strawberry-avocado salsa simple to make — a must on a sunny spring day when I’d rather be playing outside than spending time in the kitchen — it turned out to be the perfect contrast of sweet and savory, citrus and spice. We used it to top grilled pork, then found ourselves sneaking spoonfuls of extra salsa long after our dinners were gone.

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