Brisket for Passover

With Passover only a few days away, it is time once again for me to share my brisket recipe. Brisket is just about the ideal food to serve a crowd, which is exactly what I am expecting for our Seder. What makes brisket so perfect for large meals? First, it is an inexpensive cut of meat. Second, you can do all the work in advance. Not only … [Read more...]

White Cheddar Cheez-It & Rosemary Biscuits

white cheddar and rosemary biscuits

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MVCheezIt #CollectiveBias March is a month of buzzer-beaters, bracket-busters and basketball. College basketball. This year's tournament has been filled with close, exciting games and my crowd does not want to miss a minute of the … [Read more...]

Passover Dessert: Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Curd

passover desserts

This is the dessert that I wish I had made for my Seder last year: bite-sized meringues shells filled with luscious lemon curd and topped with a juicy strawberry.  The dessert that I actually made was saucer-sized meringues filled with sliced, macerated strawberries and topped with a dollop of lemon curd. They looked great . . . but there was too … [Read more...]

Passover Menu: Chicken with Dried Fruit


The Jewish festival of Passover begins next Friday, April 3, at sundown. Fridays are busy nights around here so I am planning to host a Seder on the second night of Passover, which thankfully is somewhat traditional. It’s still hectic to host what amounts to a large dinner party, so I am already starting to prepare some of the dishes ahead of time … [Read more...]

Chocolate-Covered Matzo Toffee


Less than two weeks until Passover begins! Time to start planning the Seder menu. So much of cooking for Passover is about making up for what we can’t have during the eight-day festival. Many Passover recipes, especially those for Passover desserts, claim to be “as good as” a regular dessert made with flour and leavening. The author cheerfully … [Read more...]

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cream Pie

cinnamon toast crunch recipes

JR has loved the game Skylanders for years. He collects the figurines; plays the game with his friends on our Wii and proudly wears his favorite Skylanders shirt to school every week. So when General Mills teamed up with Skylanders to offer an exclusive Skystones game free with selected boxes of cereal, JR wanted to collect them all. JR loves … [Read more...]

Cheddar Horseradish Spread


With warmer weather in sight, March Madness on television and spring holidays right around the corner, it is time to invite some friends over.  My husband and I have attended several cocktail parties in the past few weeks to meet prospective members of our pool and tennis club and seeing so many friends and neighbors after the long winter reminded … [Read more...]

March 2015 Food Swap at The Chopping Block


What a difference a month makes! While we all had to trudge through a blizzard to make it to the February swap, it was sunny and mild in downtown Chicago the day of the March Chicago Food Swap. For this event, we returned to The Chopping Block, Chicago's premier recreational cooking school, located in the iconic Merchandise Mart. This was the … [Read more...]

Quiche Lorraine with Schmacon

quiche lorraine recipe

I don't mind telling you that every since bacon became the hottest thing since sliced bread, I have felt left out. When I agreed not to have pork in my house many years ago as a way to bridge the gap between my heathen upbringing and the kosher home my husband grew up in, I did not know that bacon would become the darling of cooks everywhere. I did … [Read more...]

Chocolate-Orange Cream Pie

chocolate cream pie recipe

One of the features of my upcoming book on food swapping are profiles of nineteen food swap groups around North America and Great Britain. I love this aspect of the book and thoroughly enjoyed interviewing all the different food swap organizers. But when it came time to write the profiles, I struggled. I was not certain how to approach it. Should I … [Read more...]

Chocolate-Covered Blueberry Bread Pudding

bread pudding recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveDoveFruits #CollectiveBias You know how kids ask, as soon as they have finished eating: "Can I have dessert?" At least my kids do that. The truth is, I feel much the same myself. Forty years on this earth have not diminished my sweet … [Read more...]

How to Make Hamantaschen

hamantaschen recipe

In the interest of keeping it real, I will confess that I tried very hard this week to create a recipe for salted caramel Hamantaschen. Doesn't that sound amazing? Well, don't get too attached because I never managed to make it work. First, the caramel leaked out. Then my attempt to make empty Hamantaschen shells that I could fill with caramel … [Read more...]

Hamantaschen Galette

purim dessert

Wednesday at sundown, the Jewish festival of Purim begins. Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from an evil government minister, named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish community in ancient Persia. In essence, Purim is the Jewish “carnival” holiday — every culture has one — where people are encouraged to dress in costume, … [Read more...]

Dominique Ansel’s Banana Bread (Sort Of)

best ever banana bread recipe

When I saw that the inventor of the Cronut had created a banana bread recipe, I expected that recipe to make the best banana bread I had ever tasted. I probably expected it to be fattening. (Not as fattening as it turned out to be.) I did not expect that recipe for banana bread to be even easier than the fairly straightforward recipe that I was … [Read more...]

DIY Pokemon Cupcakes

how to make pokemon cupcakes

As the deadline for my book manuscript approaches, I find more and more ways to procrastinate. This week, the project that was more compelling than my work was making cupcakes for JR's eighth birthday party. Confession: I do not usually bake for my children's birthday parties. Some years ago, I found a baker in my area who makes amazing custom … [Read more...]

February 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

Last Sunday, February 15, was the February meeting of the Chicago Food Swap As I trudged through the snow, wind howling around me, on my way to the Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory Field House, I suddenly remembered that the 2014 February Chicago Food Swap took place in similarly bad weather. Note to self: perhaps skip February next … [Read more...]

Apple & Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

apple and bleu cheese stuffed chicken breast

Today’s post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Jonagold Apples from Riveridge Produce at a special price of only $.68 per pound in Mariano's stores all over Chicago from February 19-25. Did you know that it is still apple season? It is! Many varieties … [Read more...]

Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Crust

chicken pot pie recipe

Chicken pot pie must be such a great way to use up leftover chicken and vegetables. How often do you have leftover chicken and vegetables though? It's not a common occurrence around here. If I waited until I was stuck on how to use all this leftover chicken to make chicken pot pie, I would be waiting a long time. And my family is not that … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Nightwood

chicago restaurant week

My third and final 2015 Restaurant Week meal was lunch at Nightwood,  the Pilsen restaurant owned and operated by the Lula Cafe team. Located on an out-of-the-way corner -- hey, at least there's street parking -- Nightwood is a pleasant spot with exposed brick walls, a windowed front wall and deeply 70's leather chairs. I gather the outdoor patio … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: GT Fish & Oyster

gt fish and oyster

Another day, another Restaurant Week meal. This time, my $22, pre-fixe lunch came courtesy of GT Fish & Oyster. This was my third visit to this nationally recognized, East Coast style seafood restaurant and once again, I was reminded why I love it. GT Fish & Oyster is one of the restaurants that does not condescend to its Restaurant … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Cheesecake Brownies

valentine's day desserts

In my view, the best reason to make brownies from scratch is so that you can add cheesecake to them. I’d turn down the chocolatiest, fudgiest brownie any day for a swirly, marbleized cream cheese brownie. The slight tanginess of the cream cheese is the perfect foil for the richness of the chocolate. Better than either cheesecake or a plain brownie, … [Read more...]

Better than Take-Out Vegetable Biryani

indian food at home

Sometimes the tail wags the dog around here. I had a big batch of cucumber and mint raita sitting in the refrigerator -- a recipe that I had developed for my upcoming cookbook on food swapping -- and needed to come up with a way to use it. I have always enjoyed heaping cool, refreshing raita on biryani, the spicy South Asian mixed rice dish, when … [Read more...]

Chicago Restaurant Week 2015: Blackbird

chicago restaurant week

Did you know that Chicago Restaurant Week is happening right now? From January 30-February 12, over two hundred and fifty restaurants in the city and suburbs — including some three and four-star restaurants — are offering special pre-fixe menus of three and four courses for $22 a person at lunch and $33 or $44 a person at dinner. (Tax, tip and … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

valentine's day treats

Did you catch me on WCIU's "You & Me This Morning" talking about homemade Valentine's Day gift ideas from the Chicago Food Swap? What a fun segment that was! If you would like the recipes for the projects that I demonstrated, you will find them all on the Chicago Food Swap website. I am posting the recipe for the Valentine's Day … [Read more...]

Cheddar Apple Pigs in a Blanket

super bowl party recipes

Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner. Are you hosting a party, attending one or just watching with your family? Whatever your plans are, you will need a killer game-time snack. Enter, my Cheddar Apple Chicken Sausage Bites. I originally posted this recipe last year at this time, but it is still a winner. So I am posting it again for all you … [Read more...]