Cheddar Apple Chicken Sausage Bites

superbowl party foods

When my husband was living in New York City right out of college, he threw an annual Super Bowl party, the signature elements of which were a big pot of chili and a sign on his apartment door with the number of the game in Roman numerals. After he left New York for law school -- which was the best thing he ever did because that was where he would … [Read more...]

Key Lime Curd for Teatime, Dessert and Beyond

how to make key lime curd

I am still playing around with the Key limes that I brought home from Florida. But even if I had to rely on my local grocery store for citrus fruits, I would still find plenty of delicious varieties to chose from. This is truly the best season to be exploring the versatility of citrus fruits. A casual stroll through your grocery store's produce … [Read more...]

Key Lime Meltaways

key lime recipes

Continuing on my theme of cooking with citrus fruits -- a perfect January theme -- today I present the Key lime. Smaller than its cousin the Persian lime, which is the variety we usually see in stores, the Key lime is particularly juicy and acidic. It has a smooth rind, a greenish-yellow color when ripe and lots of pesky seeds.  Key limes also have … [Read more...]

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Asian Chicken Noodle soup

Is it cold where you are? Is the ground covered in snow? Yeah, tell me about it. After the coldest December in twenty years, Chicago is bracing itself for an even colder January. I came home from two weeks in sunny Florida to 18 inches of snow and below-freezing temperatures. It has been a shock to the system to say the least. What we all need … [Read more...]

Meyer Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Meyer lemon tree

In January, just about the only excitement to be found in the produce section is in citrus. All the other fruit has that anemic, flown-in-from-the-southern-hemisphere look. Summer vegetables like peppers, zucchini and tomatoes are expensive or tasteless or both. And while I love cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables, and winter squash, by … [Read more...]

Last Minute Gift: Thyme-Infused Sea Salt Caramels

how to make caramels

I was running around Oak Park yesterday taking care of some last-minute holiday errands when I ran into one of my canning students. She pulled me aside to ask if I had any last-minute edible gift ideas. Apparently her son thought the gift that she had picked out for his teacher was not going to cut it. I could have acted all superior and claimed … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Cranberry Orange Scone Recipe

cranberry orange scones

This is perhaps the third scone recipe I have published. How often can one person make scones, you may ask. Well, you see, I often have some of my girlfriends over for coffee during the week and when I do so, I like to make a special treat for them. But I have a limited time -- maybe an hour -- in which to bake something between dropping my kids at … [Read more...]

Cooking Tips from Marcus Samuelsson

march samuelsson demo

Last week, Macy's Culinary Council, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, invited me to attend a demo by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at the State Street Macy's store. Everyone knows Marcus Samuelsson from his many television appearances and, of course, from his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster. I have long been a fan of his and … [Read more...]

Roasted Garlic Hummus for the Chicago Food Swap

hummus without tahini

Last Saturday was the second anniversary Chicago Food Swap. It's amazing how this community has grown in such a short time. From the dozen or so swappers at that first event in December 2011, the Chicago Food Swap has grown to a community of several hundred people with events that regularly draw eighty or ninety.  Each swap, it seems, is a mix of … [Read more...]

Low-Fat Holiday Treat: Chocolate Mint Meringues

low fat cookies

This is a recipe and post from a few years back, but the story is so classically me and the cookies are so tasty and seasonal, I just had to bring it up from the archives. Enjoy! It all started with the Meyer lemons. I was doing my just-buy-the-necessities-because-we-are-leaving-town shopping trip last week when a display of vibrant yellow … [Read more...]

Latkes for Hanukkah Dinner

potato pancakes

Yes, this year Thanksgiving falls during Hanukkah. Yes, everyone is talking about the culinary mash-up of these two holidays. I even wrote a freelance article for the local weekly paper about how to merge Thanksgiving and Hanukkah food traditions. (To sum up: I recommend going with sweet potato latkes and challah stuffing.) But Hanukkah lasts for … [Read more...]

Gala Apple Orchard Salad

salad with apples and craisins

Today’s post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce. You can find Riveridge-brand Michigan apples in all Roundy's supermarkets, including Copps, Rainbow, Pick ‘N Save and Metro Market throughout the Chicago area, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, all Roundy's stores will be selling a plastic pie clamshell that includes apple … [Read more...]

Interview with a Field Mom

illinois farms

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. For several years, Illinois Farm Families has sought bridge the divide between food consumers and food producers through its Field Moms program. This program brings mothers from the Chicago … [Read more...]

Tips from a Pie Contest Judge

pecan pie

One of the fringe benefits of being a food blogger is that sometimes people ask you to judge food contests. This has happened to me exactly twice. Earlier this year, I judged a contest to determine the best frozen yogurt-and-topping combination -- the "coolest combo contest" -- by Yumz Gourmet Frozen Yogurt. (Given my husband's devotion to frozen … [Read more...]

Enjoy Jonagold Apples from Michigan

squash apple soup

Today's post is sponsored by Riveridge Produce. Look for Riverridge Gala, Honeycrisp and Jonagold apples from Michigan for your holiday table. Whether you want to make an amazing apple pie, a refreshing salad accented with crunchy apples, or a sweet-and-spicy squash and apple soup, such as the one pictured here, Riveridge apples will make your all … [Read more...]

Giovanni Rana Pasta Review

artichoke heart ravioli

Many parents find pasta to be a quick and easy weeknight meal that satisfies kid and adult palates alike. I know I fall into that category. Although I rely heavily on dried pasta, I sometimes like to serve my family fresh, filled pastas such as tortellini and ravioli for variety and as a way of adding more protein to the meal. Fresh pasta must be … [Read more...]

Recap of the November Chicago Food Swap

chicago food swap items

What's the best way for a food lover to celebrate her birthday? With a food swap, of course! This past Sunday was both my 40th birthday and the November Chicago Food Swap which took place at The Chopping Block, Chicago's premier recreational cooking school. Given that the Chicago Food Swap has been my passion project for the past two years, holding … [Read more...]

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

how to make cranberry sauce

The Oak Park Farmers Market ended recently. I’m always so sad to see the market end for the season. Not only does it mean the end of my Saturday mornings spent browsing beautiful, locally grown fruits and vegetables, but also it is a sure sign that winter is on its way. On the last day of the market, I try to buy fruits and veggies that will freeze … [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...]

Maple Pecan Cherry Granola

maple pecan cherry granola

Eating breakfast is a struggle for me.  While I love traditional breakfast foods like eggs and pancakes, those are more of a weekend breakfast treat. Weekdays mornings are too rushed for that kind of cooking. Sadly, most quick breakfast foods -- cereal, fruit and the like -- don't appeal to me. And I hate eating something just for the sake of … [Read more...]

Your Best Apple Pie

flaky pie crust

Are you starting to plan 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...]

Savory Bread Pudding

savory bread pudding

I can't stop making savory bread puddings for dinner. Part of the problem is that I have a lot of stale bread to use up. I love nothing more than to eat bread and cheese for lunch, so every few days I buy some fancy cheese and a baguette. The baguette inevitably goes stale before I can finish it. If that bread were going to waste, I would be upset, … [Read more...]

From the Archives: Five-Spice Pumpkin Apple Cake

five-spice pumpkin apple cake

Have I ever mentioned that I am a sucker for pumpkin-flavored baked goods? The pumpkin pie is definitely my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. But pumpkin-flavored treats are more versatile than we give them credit for: they work well not just for dessert but also as breakfast or brunch fare. I love how pumpkin adds sweetness but also earthiness … [Read more...]

Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

orange cauliflower

Fall is cauliflower season and I could not be more excited. Although broccoli is just about my least favorite vegetable, I adore its cruciferous cousins, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower has all the healthy, cancer-fighting nutrients that you would expect from a member of the Brassica family and a mild, nutty taste that appeals to … [Read more...]

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Rice and Black Beans

vegetarian stuffed poblano peppers

I get very excited when I see poblano peppers for sale at the Oak Park Farmers Market. You may be familiar with poblano peppers from the Mexican restaurant favorite chiles rellenos, in which poblano peppers are stuffed with cheese, battered and then deep-fried. Usually topped with a spicy red sauce, chiles rellenos is a delicious, if guilt-inducing … [Read more...]