Macy’s Picks America’s Grilling Guru

grilling guru contest

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.  Are you a Grilling Guru? I definitely am not. While I reign supreme in the kitchen, my husband is the Grill Master in our house.  And he does … [Read more...]

Father’s Day Dinner: Lighter Chicken Parm

lighter chicken parmesan

Is it a bad sign that when I made my husband's favorite dish for dinner this week, he was terrified? Had I bought something expensive? Was the car totaled? There had to be some bad news. Why else would I make chicken parmigiana on a random weeknight? (The truth is, I was just in the mood for it myself. Also, I bought a handbag.) Yes, my … [Read more...]

How to Make A Watermelon Basket

fruit salad in a watermelon basket

Turning whole watermelons into adorably shaped bowls for serving fruit salad is a Pinterest staple. Having once carved a round baby watermelon into a bloody brain for a second grade Halloween party, I felt like I needed to redeem myself by making one of these less macabre watermelon shapes. JR's first grade class Author's Tea was on the agenda for … [Read more...]

Farmers Market Find: Green Garlic

how to use green garlic

If you have visited your local farmers market this spring, chances are you have seen a lot of spring onions. But are you sure it was green onions that you saw? Could it possibly have been green garlic? The two crops look very similar. And, of course, they are related as onions and garlic are both members of the allium family. (Other cousins include … [Read more...]

Cookbook Review: Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

lemon chess pie

Some say that pie-making is a lost art. I have found, however, that there are countless men and women toiling away anonymously in their kitchen, keeping this quintessentially American art alive. I was at a party the other night and got to talking with one of my neighbors. The party was a dessert party so the subject naturally turned to our favorite … [Read more...]

How to Get the Most out of Shopping at the Farmers Market

how to shop the farmers market

This Saturday, my beloved Oak Park Farmers Market reopens for the season. It can't even tell you how excited I am. Zuzu has swim practice across the street from the farmers market from 9-10:30 am and my plan is to spend that entire hour-and-a-half browsing at the market. Ninety minutes at the farmers market is not too much for me. As a home … [Read more...]

Ramps Two Ways

how to cook with ramps

It's spring and that means that foodies everywhere are losing their minds over ramps. For the uninitiated, ramps are a variety of wild leek with a mild garlic flavor.  They have a small bulb at the bottom and a leafy green top. A staple of farmers' markets, ramps are apparently hard to cultivate and tend to be available only for a few weeks in the … [Read more...]

Smoked Turkey Banh Mi

vietnamese sandwich

Zuzu came home from school dejected the other day because she had not gotten her first or even second choice for her class project on French-speaking countries. Instead of Canada or Belgium, Vietmam was the country Zuzu had been assigned. My first thought was: you dodged a bullet there, kid! I would absolutely love to do a school project on … [Read more...]

Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

mother's day brunch ideas

I am of the firm belief that you should not go out to eat on big restaurant holidays, like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. The restaurants are extra crowded, the prices inflated and the wait staff harried. You are much more likely to have a great meal on any random Saturday night or Sunday morning when the dining room has a normal number of … [Read more...]

Mango Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

mango salsa recipe

Okay, so we don't actually celebrate Cinco de Mayo at my house. We're not twenty-something city dwellers with the alcohol tolerance befitting a recent college grad. Instead, we are a suburban family of four who will spend Monday night going to piano lessons, doing homework and eating dinner without Daddy, who has a work function. But we did have … [Read more...]

April is Grilled Cheese Month

a grilled cheese sandwich inspired by the ploughman's lunch

I'm not usually so last-minute about things, but did you know that April is Grilled Cheese Month? If you are a regular reader of food blogs, my guess is that you already knew about Grilled Cheese Month because everyone has been chiming in with their versions of this lunchtime classic. I am so late to the game, in part, because of Passover. I spent … [Read more...]

How to Make a Chopped Vegetable Salad

crunchy veggies in a yogurt-sumac sauce

Last week, sometime after the third night of repurposed leftover brisket, multiple bowls of matzo ball soup and the umpteenth plate of scrambled eggs, I longed to sink my teeth into some food that would resist.  Give me something -- anything! -- with some crunch to it. I went to my fridge and pulled out all the raw vegetables I could find: … [Read more...]

The Only Brisket Recipe You Will Ever Need

brisket recipes

I was all set to make chicken for Passover this year. I had a terrific recipe worked out and given that I was hosting a Seder on the second night of the holiday, I figured that my guests would appreciate a lighter entree. And then my husband asked me if I would please make brisket. "Your brisket is special," he cajoled. Well, how could I resist … [Read more...]

Passover Menu: Chocolate-Covered Matzo Toffee

passover desserts

So much of cooking for Passover seems to be 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 leavened. The author cheerfully declares that he or she would eat this Pesadich dessert all year round - it's … [Read more...]

Chicken with Dried Fruit and Almonds for Passover

passover recipes

The Jewish festival of Passover begins next Monday at sundown. Mondays 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 on a weeknight, so I am already starting to prepare some of the dishes ahead of … [Read more...]

Spring Cooking: Asparagus, Ricotta and Lemon Flatbread

asparagus pizza

When people ask me what my blog is about, I say that it is about fitting ambitious food into family life. This recipe is exemplifies what that tagline means to me. This flatbread can either be a quick weeknight meal or a cool, all-from-scratch, DIY project depending on how you approach it. You can make this seasonal, vegetarian flatbread in no time … [Read more...]

Turnip Greens and Potato Frittata

how to use turnip greens

I have always maintained that if you have eggs in your refrigerator, you have the makings for a perfectly good dinner. Whipping up a quick omelet will get dinner on the table far quicker than ordering pizza. Add a green salad and you have a complete meal that is perfect for when it feels like there's nothing in the house. If you have a few … [Read more...]

Review of Preserving by the Pint

pickled turnips

My friend Marisa McClellan changed the way Americans think about water-bath canning with her iconic blog Food in Jars. Writing from her apartment in downtown Philadelphia, Marisa showed a new generation of cooks that preserving fruits and vegetables food was the logical extension of their interest in local, seasonal produce from CSAs and farmers … [Read more...]

Mariano’s Simplifies my Passover Shopping

mariano's chicago grocery store

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. Popping into Mariano's, my favorite Chicago grocery store, this week I noticed that the Passover displays are out in full force. Is it really that time of year … [Read more...]

French Patisserie Meringues

how to make meringues

When you think about French pâtisseries, or pastry shops, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? An impossibly flaky, buttery croissant? An almost-too-beautiful-to-eat tarte aux fruits? A towering croquembouche encased in spun sugar? Rows of brightly colored macarons? Sensible choices all. But for me, the favorite French pâtisserie … [Read more...]

Understanding the Terminology in the Meat Case

how to buy meat

Today’s post is sponsored by Illinois Farm Families, for which I serve as a Brand Ambassador. You can read more about my role as a Brand Ambassador here. What do you look for when you buy meat? Is taste the most important factor in your purchasing decisions? Is it price? Safety? Sustainability? Do you see terms such as "organic," … [Read more...]

Meatless Spaghetti a la Carbonara

vegetarian pasta recipes

Today's post is sponsored by Safest Choice Eggs as part of its March Meatless Meals Party. Before March 31st, enter to win one of two Safest Choice Prize Packs, worth over $450, containing a $200 Amex gift card, a 10" inch Lodge Round Fry pan, a set of Sur La Table mixing bowls, a year's supply of eggs and more. When I was a little girl, one … [Read more...]

Hamantaschen Galette for Purim

hamentaschen galette

Saturday 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 … [Read more...]

Chunky Red Lentil Soup

lentil recipes

Since I started cooking with lentils about two years ago, I have become increasingly enamored of these little pulses. They are a great source of vegetable protein -- the third highest level of protein by weight among legumes -- and relatively quick-cooking. Unlike dried beans, which need to be soaked prior to use or take long to cook, lentils are … [Read more...]

Change Up Your Squash with Risotto

how to make risotto

I'm making all meatless meals this week. No, it's not in anticipation of Lent. Rather, we are atoning. Last weekend, we took the kids to one of those Brazilian steakhouses where men dressed as gauchos circle the room and slice hunks of meat off pitchforks for gluttonous guests. And that's after you have loaded up on vegetables, cheese and cold cuts … [Read more...]