Rhubarb Eton Mess

rhubarb sauce

It's rhubarb season and I am tickled pink. (Get it?) I adore this old-fashioned early spring fruit that always cooks up in a brilliant shade of hot pink. I love to preserve it, bake with it and create rhubarb-flavored versions of classic desserts. With spring and farmers' market season upon us, you may be bringing home a lot of fresh, seasonal … [Read more...]

Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup with Spring Onion

chicken soup with ginger

It's spring, spring, spring! Really and truly spring. Chicago had its soul-crushing, hibernation-inducing winter. Then it had March and April which count as spring elsewhere but not here. Now it is finally May and gray has turned to green. We have traded parkas for trips to the park. Citrus and root vegetables have given way to strawberries, … [Read more...]

Three C’s Granola (Coconut, Cherry, Cacao)

nut free granola recipes

I curdled a Hollandaise sauce tonight. Looking at that oily, grainy mess was like a dagger to the heart. The stakes might have seemed low to an outside observer. It was only a family dinner. No one in my family cared about the split Hollandaise. Hell, no one in my family was even planning to eat the Hollandaise except for me. My husband and … [Read more...]

Cranberry Ginger Granola (Nut-Free)

homemade granola

For years I have struggled to find a packed lunch that JR would eat. More often than not, sandwiches came home with only a few bites missing. I tried to pack his favorite dish, macaroni and cheese, in a thermos but even that came back half-empty at best. When I asked him why, he answered that it wasn't very good at room temperature -- something I … [Read more...]

Roasted Garlic Hummus for National Hummus Day

roasted garlic hummus

Did you know that May 13 was National Hummus Day? I for one did not. But why not celebrate this made-up holiday with everyone's favorite chick pea spread? After all, hummus is delicious, healthy, and a great source of vegetable-based protein. It works well as a dip with veggies or as a sandwich spread. Yes, hummus is a kitchen … [Read more...]

Cabot Creamery Cookbook and Gift Box Giveaway

cabot creamery cookbook

Two of my great loves, cheese and cookbooks, together at last! Earlier this year, my friends at Cabot Creamery released their first-ever cookbook, The Cabot Creamery Cookbook. This stunning book features recipes for every meal of the day that are filled with all kinds of dairy goodness. The dozens of recipes, for baked goods, soups, salads, dips, … [Read more...]

Cold Asparagus Soup


It is definitely asparagus season and although I won't be seeing any local asparagus for a few more weeks, if you live somewhere south of me, you may already have them at your farmers' market. Lucky. Meanwhile, I will content myself with fat, prosperous-looking, organic asparagus flown in from California. I gravitate towards thicker asparagus … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Food-Obsessed Moms


A Mother's Day present is best when it is something indulgent. Something that a woman would absolutely love to have, but that she would never buy for herself -- because it is too expensive, or frivolous or impractical. Some women dream about gardening; some about music. Some dream about decorating and others about fashion. Me, I dream about … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Brunch Idea: Cinnamon Babka

mother's day recipes

I hope you guys are ready for a project. Because babka, a rich, yeast-risen bread swirled with a sweet filling, is definitely a project. However, it is a very worthy project, especially for a special occasion such as -- I don't know -- Mother's Day, which is right around the corner. Don't know how to tell Mom how much she means to you? Babka will … [Read more...]

Chicken Escabeche Tostadas for Cinco de Mayo

authentic mexican tostadas

Chicago knows its Latin food. With a large and thriving Mexican population and some of the country’s best Mexican restaurants — need I mention Rick Bayless? — Chicagoans understand that the cuisine of Mexico is one of the finest in the world and extends far beyond tacos and enchiladas. With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, it is a great time … [Read more...]

How to Shop at a Farmers Market

what to buy at the farmers market

With May right around the corner, farmers' markets are starting to open up all around the country. Sadly, I still have a few more weeks until my beloved Oak Park Farmers' Market, home of delicious, freshly made doughnuts, begins. I can hardly contain my excitement. For those of you in warmer climes, the wait may be much shorter. As a home … [Read more...]

Whole Wheat Savory Galette: Butternut Squash and Kale

savory galette recipe

A lot of us try to eat as much locally grown food as possible. I know I do. Why? Well, often because it tastes better. Give me luscious cherries and blueberries from nearby Michigan please. I'll skip the ones flown in from halfway around the world. I like my corn on the cob picked that morning, thank you very much. I'll wait until Illinois corn is … [Read more...]

April 2015 Chicago Food Swap Recap

chicago food swap

The Chicago Food Swap's April event had a very special guest: food preservation expert Cathy Barrow of the blog Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen. Cathy is touring the country promoting her new, award-winning cookbook Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and stopped by the Chicago Food Swap to sign some books and, yes, swap with us. Cathy had sent ahead … [Read more...]

DIY Mango Fruit Leather

how to make fruit leather at home

I was so inspired by the Kids in the Kitchen cooking class that I attended with the National Mango Board last week that when I saw the small yellow Ataulfo or champagne mangos on sale for $1 each at my local Whole Foods, I stocked up. Faced with a crop of ripening mangos and an upcoming Chicago Food Swap, I put my DIY hat on and decided to try my … [Read more...]

How to Cook with Mangos (Beyond Just Smoothies)

how to cut mango

Today's post is sponsored by the National Mango Board and I was selected to participate in this campaign by The Motherhood.  Kids from India to Ecuador feast on mangos. In fact, mangos are the most consumed fruit in the world. But what about American kids? Do they love mangos? Do you know how to use this delicious and versatile fruit beyond … [Read more...]

What I’m Cooking Spring 2015

gluten free brownies

You might think that because I have turned in the manuscript for my upcoming cookbook on food swapping that I would be more relaxed. But you would be wrong. I am trying to take advantage of this lull while I await my editors' feedback to work on the proposal for my second cookbook, an idea about which I feel particularly passionate. I know that the … [Read more...]

Ploughman’s Lunch Grilled Cheese

a grilled cheese sandwich inspired by the ploughman's lunch

Did you know that April is Grilled Cheese Month? Thanks to my friends at Cabot Creamery, my cheese drawer is usually well-stocked with multiple varieties of delicious cheddar. Cabot Creamery has some pretty amazing grilled cheese recipes on its website, including one for Philly Steak and Grilled Cheese and another for Hot Habanero Cheddar Grilled … [Read more...]

Three Ways to Spring Clean Your Kitchen

how to spring clean your kitchen

Have you started your spring cleaning yet? For the past two weeks, I have been taking advantage of a short break in the work on my cookbook -- I have turned in my manuscript to my editors and am waiting (anxiously) for their comments -- to take care of accumulated household tasks. When changing those air conditioner filters and cleaning the carpets … [Read more...]

Sweet Potato Fries with Spinach and Mint Yogurt Sauce

sweet potato fries recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpringIntoFlavor #CollectiveBias Sweet potato fries with wilted spinach and yogurt-mint sauce. Sounds like a restaurant dish, doesn't it? But you can whip up this perfect spring side dish in your kitchen in under thirty minutes. The … [Read more...]

Arugula with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata

burrata recipes

It is barely spring. Too soon even for the lead-off hitters of the local produce line-up: fava beans, asparagus and rhubarb.  Yet, I am so weary of root vegetables, winter squash and even the exotic citrus that brought sun to bleak January and cruel February. I can't even look at that arugula-fennel-blood orange salad one more time. Although … [Read more...]

Mexican Matzo Brei

mexican matzo brei for passover

For many people observing Passover, breakfast is the hardest meal of the day. Oatmeal is out. Cereal seriously not okay. Toast verboten. Granola a no-go. So, what is left to eat in the morning? On weekdays, my husband downs some yogurt and an apple, which is a very healthy, but maybe not the most satisfying, breakfast. The truth is, for those … [Read more...]

Brisket for Passover

brisket recipes

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...]