Beef Stew with Charred Rainbow Carrots

Oh Top Chef you've done it to me again.  I swear I watch that show and just am blown away but the creativity that comes out of those chefs on the fly and under stressful conditions.  On a recent episode one of the chefs charred carrots on a wood smoker and then used them as the star of his vegetarian dish.  The judges went wild for it and, for me, it reinforced the idea behind how I like to cook - highlight one simple ingredient to make a twist on a classic dish. While this isn't Top Chef ... Continue Reading

Cheesy Cornbread topped with Jalapeno & Sour Cream

This recipe I made with my cooking club girls in mind.  We all love cheese and we all love spice and this little bite of heaven has both of those.   The jalapeno part is optional if you don't like spice just leave it off as a topping.  The dollop of sour cream adds a little more moisture but you could also do warm honey and butter and that would be delicious, too.  So make the cheesy cornbread as base for what you like on top. When I lived in Berkeley, California - oh so many years ago now ... Continue Reading

Smoked Salmon Spread

What is the difference between a spread and a dip?  In my book, a spread should be thicker (not runny) and a dip should be able to be scooped up and eaten with a chip or a delicate cracker.   You don't want your spread dripping through your bread and making it soggy and you don't want your chip to get stuck mid dip - like a tire in the mud. This smoked salmon and cream cheese spread is meant to slather on toast or a bagel for a simple but delicious breakfast.  But, I will say, that I did ... Continue Reading

The Perfect Giant Meatball

Let's face it, there is something really appealing about eating a giant meatball.  It's like a feat.  Sure you can eat ten smaller meatballs and you are bound to be just as full but there is so much less satisfaction than knowing you conquered the giant meatball, right?  And just the presentation alone is worth it, friends.  Here's your plate and your one giant meatball.  Enjoy.  People get a kick out of it.  Well...at least I do. I've made a lot of meatballs in my life and there are ... Continue Reading

Strawberry Gelato

The end of summer. Fresh strawberries. A local farm.  Eggs, cream, milk, sugar.  The beginning of a new school year.  My kids. These are a few of my favorite things.  I thought maybe making some fresh strawberry gelato from the strawberries we picked up at the farm down the street could be a new family favorite tradition to mark the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.  And so this year I surprised the kids when they got home from their first day with this little treat. ... Continue Reading

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed portobello mushrooms make the best gourmet weeknight meal.  Perfect for date night or even a casual evening with friends because the presentation is elegant but really the flavors are something everyone is familiar with. I mean who doesn't love a cream cheese and sausage stuffed mushroom as an appetizer at any cocktail party, right? So why not take the same idea and make it into a meal?  But even better because it's a little lighter without all that cream cheese and with a touch of ... Continue Reading

The Perfect Meatball

Oh yeah.  I said it.  It's a bold move to call this the perfect meatball but I really think I may have a winner.  Take it from the girl who has made countless meatballs over the years and tried every kind of technique and recipe out there.  This recipe is culmination of my years of learning and refining.  And the best part?  It's a pretty straightforward, basic recipe.  No gimmics.  But trust me....this ain't your mamma's meatball.  It is crunchy on the outside and oh-so-tender on the ... Continue Reading

Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich

Fast forward a few days from now to that inevitable leftover turkey staring you down in your fridge as you ponder what wondrous midnight snack you can make with it.  Sure, the classic cranberry and cream cheese sandwich comes to mind but why not try a new leftover turkey sandwich with a fresh twist?  This ultimate leftover turkey sandwich comes to life with caramelized onions, fresh spinach, and a creamy mustard and horseradish sauce that may just change your whole view on leftover turkey.  ... Continue Reading

Summer Fruit Puff Pastry with Mascarpone Whip Cream and Peach Glaze

Oh the sweetness of summer fruit....there is nothing like a fresh picked raspberry.  Or a peach straight from the tree.  Or a buck of cherries that came from the cherry tree in the backyard so perfect with their bright red skin.  This puff pastry dessert is a celebration of all that delicious summer fruit in season.  I used Ranier cherries, fresh raspberries, and fresh peaches but you can use whatever you have on hand that you like.  Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries....you can't go ... Continue Reading

Corn and Sweet Potato Salad

Corn and sweet potatoes are an irresistible combination. Plus it's summertime and you probably have corn coming out of your ears.  Okay....that was a terrible attempt at humor but hopefully this recipe for Corn and Sweet Potato Salad hits a better note with you.   I call it a salad but it's really a side dish or a hash.  There are many names for it but whichever you choose it's delicious and easy to make. Corn is probably on sale by the bucketful where you live as it is here in ... Continue Reading