Brisket for Hanukkah

hanukkah recipes

Tonight at sundown, Jewish families around the world will gather together to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a small group of Jews, the Maccabees, over the army of the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus in the second century BCE. After the Jews drove the Greeks out of Judea, they attempted to restore … [Read more...]

Holiday Entertaining with Gougeres

hors d'oeuvre recipes

With Hanukkah starting this week and Christmas only two weeks away, many of you have entertaining on your mind. Let me take this moment to remind you of my favorite make-ahead hors d'oeuvres: gougères. One of the most classic French pre-dinner bites, gougères are small cheese puffs made with pâté à choux, which is the same dough that is used to … [Read more...]

Meyer Lemon Bars to Brighten Your Day

lemon bars recipe

When I was in law school, I was always the one baking for parties and student group meetings. (I was also the one who hosted elaborate dinner parties and brought homemade soup to sick friends, one of whom later became my husband.) I had two go-to recipes, my grandmother's famous Halfway Cookies and lemon bars. If he weren't going to marry me for … [Read more...]

Holiday Dessert: Maple Buttermilk Pie

buttermilk pie recipe

Did you happen to catch me on Fox 32's morning show "Good Day Chicago" talking about edible gift ideas from the Chicago Food Swap? If not, be sure to watch the clip here! When your hobby becomes your profession, it is a bit of an adjustment. For years, it was my dream to cook and write about food professionally. Now that I am in the midst of … [Read more...]

Edible Gift Idea: Caramels

how to make caramels

Despite putting up jars upon jars of jams and pickles all summer long, I still find myself scrambling at this time of year to make gifts for the friends, neighbors, teachers and coaches who have touched our lives in the past year. If you are in the same boat, be sure to tune in to Fox 32's Good Day Chicago on Monday December 8 at 9:45 am when I … [Read more...]

Cooking Demo with Chef Takashi Yagihashi

chef takashi yagihashi

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Chicago is a city rich in celebrity chefs from Rick Bayless to Stephanie Izard. One of the international celebrity chefs that Chicago likes to claim as its own is Chef Takashi … [Read more...]

Cookie Exchange: Lemony Jam Thumbprints

jam thumbprint cookies

It's holiday baking season and I am here to help with some of my best cookie recipes. This cookie came about because I wanted to showcase (read: get rid of) some of the beautiful jams that I put up this year with fruit from my beloved Oak Park farmers’ market. There is no better way to get a sense of who I am as a cook that to try some of my Black … [Read more...]

Cookie Exchange: Key Lime Meltaways

key lime cookies

I'm just back from our annual Thanksgiving jaunt to Florida, and of course, now that my beloved Oak Park Farmers Market is closed for the season, the only farmers market that I get to visit is the Saturday morning Third Street South Farmers Market in downtown Naples. My favorite stall at the Naples Farmers Market sells unusual varieties of citrus … [Read more...]

Scenes from Thanksgiving Dinner

thanksgiving centerpiece

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Was your meal a success? Did you try new recipes or stick with your tried-and-true favorites? My mother and I hosted my family and several friends at her house in Florida, as has been our tradition for several years now. We have honed our menu over the years and feel like we have the perfect balance of … [Read more...]

Apple Caramel Tart for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving apple caramel tart

Today's post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Riveridge apples, including Macintosh, Cortland, Jonathan, Empire, Rome and Honeycrisp, for your Thanksgiving table in fine grocery stores, such as Publix, Meijer, Mariano's, Copps, Pick 'n Save and HEB. In … [Read more...]

Homemade Cranberry Sauce for National Cranberry Day

how to make cranberry sauce

Did you know that November 23 is National Cranberry Day? I suppose it makes sense, being so close to Thanksgiving, which is cranberries time to shine. But I love to cook and bake with cranberries all winter long. In fact, I stock up on cranberries during the last few weeks of the Oak Park Farmers Market because these babies freeze like a dream. I … [Read more...]

Snacking with Gold Emblem Abound Baked Rice Crisps

roasted garlic hummus

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Gold Emblem Abound Snackurday campaign. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers. Earlier this month, I wrote about how … [Read more...]

Cortland Apple, Fennel and Bleu Cheese Salad for Thanksgiving

apple recipes

Today's post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce, a Michigan grower and distributor of twenty-four delicious varieties of apples. Look for Riveridge apples, including Cortland, Jonathan, Empire, Rome and Honeycrisp, for your Thanksgiving table in fine grocery stores, such as Publix, Meijer, Mariano's, Copps, Pick 'n Save and HEB. Thanksgiving … [Read more...]

November Chicago Food Swap Recap

kombucha at the chicago food swap

The final meeting for 2014 of the Chicago Food Swap took place this past Sunday at Peterson Garden Project's Fearless Food Kitchen in the Broadway Armory Field House. Despite freezing temperatures, snow flurries and parking woes, the event was a tremendous success. Everyone left laden down with delicious homemade and homegrown food and a warm … [Read more...]

What To Do with Persimmons

how to use persimmons

Prized in their native Japan, persimmons look and sound cool but they are a little mysterious. What do they taste like? How do you use them? I'm new to persimmons myself but I am have been experimenting with them recently and I am pleased with the results. Persimmons are in season right now, from September to December, so if you are ever going to … [Read more...]

Fennel, Orange and Red Onion Salad with Bulgar

fennel salad ideas

They say never to make a new recipe for company. They should also say: never make a new recipe for a soup that is normally served as a first course as a main course for company. Because if you do, you may find yourself with not quite enough soup for dinner.  Serves six as a first course should be enough for four for a main course, right? … [Read more...]

Perfect Cornbread Dressing

cornbread stuffing recipe

When life gives you leftover cornbread, make cornbread dressing. That is exactly what I did last week. In anticipation of a busy day, I had made turkey chili in my slow cooker in the morning. When I got home, less than an hour before dinner time, I decided that the chili wasn't quite enough for the hearty dinner that we needed after a busy fall … [Read more...]

Baking for Dorie Greenspan

dorie greenspan event

Revered American expert on French cooking, Dorie Greenspan, is on tour at the moment promoting her latest cookbook, entitled Baking Chez Moi. She stopped in Chicago over the weekend of November 8 and 9th and I was fortunate enough to hear her speak at an event with the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Several volunteers, me included, had baked … [Read more...]

Soy-Lime Tuna Salad on Gold Emblem Abound Baked Rice Thins

tuna salad recipe

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Gold Emblem Abound Snackurday campaign. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers. I am more than slightly obsessed with … [Read more...]

Gala Apple Orchard Salad

salad with apples and craisins

November is upon us. As soon as the Halloween decorations have been cleared away, I begin to think about Thanksgiving. I bet you are starting to think about it as well. Are you hosting this year? Traveling to see friends and family? As always, my mother and I are hosting Thanksgiving for friends at her house in Florida. My children are eagerly … [Read more...]

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle

pumpkin seed recipes

Another Halloween has come and gone. As JR said to me on November 1: "Only 364 days 'til next Halloween!" Our house is full of Snickers, KitKat, and Twix, but I thought that what we really needed was some homemade candy. Okay, no. The last thing we need actually is more candy of any kind, but I had some free time and an itch to try something new. … [Read more...]

Your Best Apple Pie

flaky pie crust

Are you finzlizing your Thanksgiving menu? Will you make the same foods as last year or will you try to mix it up? My mother and I love to host Thanksgiving together and we have pretty much honed our menu over past the few decades so that it is just how we want it. I did revolutionize the way we cooked the turkey about 7 years ago. (See this … [Read more...]

Snack Healthy with CVS Gold Emblem Abound

gold emblem abound

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy for the Gold Emblem Abound Snackurday campaign. I am being sponsored to help lead this campaign, but all opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers. How often do you run into CVS for … [Read more...]

Fall Cooking: Pear-Apple Crisp

easy apple crisp recipe

I sometimes resist making apple crisp because, well, it's just so easy.  I would rather spend my time making a recipe that will challenge me or show off some difficult technique that I had spent months mastering. My husband, poor man, just wants an apple crisp for dessert sometimes. Indeed, in my husband's pantheon of desserts, apple crisp resides … [Read more...]

Fall Cooking: Potato Leek Soup

best fall soups

The thing that you have to understand is that my husband loves soup. Rarely a day goes by during which that man does not eat a bowl of soup. And he is not at all dismayed when he has soup at lunch and comes home to find that there is soup for dinner. A two-soup day? Heaven as far as he is concerned. What's funny is that my beloved late father … [Read more...]