In 2020, our ubiquitous all-American cookouts — which roar on ad infinitum Mother’s Day through Labor Day — were often a tad sad little affairs if we had them at all. Instead of the jumbo party packs of burgers and brats, unending veggie or cheese trays, boxes of big cupcakes, and the super-sized bag of red, white, and blue paper napkins to last all summer long, we were buying a single pound of ground beef, 4 buns, a pint of vanilla, and left the colored napkins on the shelf. Fireworks, if available on the 4th, were viewed from apartment building balconies or hillside decks. We were masked and our celebrations felt the same.Continue reading
More’s the pity, I haven’t an Italian bone in my body — unless drinking a lot of Chianti counts? But I love to cook Italian food and nothing makes this baker’s heart sing like making a crostata for dessert. A crows-TAH-tah (plural: crostate) is a freeform pie — no pie or tart pan necessary — and, filled with jam, is often the homemade dessert of choice in an Italian kitchen. There is occasionally a lattice pastry top, though not often. The French word for such a pie is a gallette and the two terms are often used interchangeably here in the states where we bake this pie full of whatever fruit happens to be ripe and in good supply. I’ve taught crostate making in both my Italian Christmas Day Dinner Class and in one-on-one pie classes. Without exception, everyone who makes it loves the finished product and feels terribly accomplished because who doesn’t like to look at and eat pie?Jump to Recipe Continue reading
In the house where I grew up in a Chicago suburb that was situated so far south that its streets ended exactly where the tall, green and golden midwestern cornfields began, the best treasures were often in the big freezer out in the utility room. Last summer’s fish from vacations in Minnesota or Wisconsin (cleaned by yours truly), stored in tubs of water, were frozen forever just as they were…or at least until the next weekend’s fish fry. Small cartons of peaches –the ones that came in after the canning was done–might be on the door for mid-winter dessert or for topping the homemade ice cream we all took turns cranking early the following summer. The thing you really had to search for, though, as they were well-hidden from my Dad, me, and all the grandkids (you know who you are), were ice cream sandwiches made from Mom’s leftover waffles. Now I don’t know how there were ever leftover waffles, but there were. And somehow my mom managed to press vanilla ice cream between a couple of them, wrap them tightly, and hide them well until they were badly needed. You get it, right? When your whole adolescent world was falling apart or the Chicago weather had turned frightening…Jump to Recipe
“How about an ice cream sandwich?”asked my mom…
Since the first person made wine, there have no doubt been myriad variations on that theme. Additions, subtractions, trials, errors…even wine made from water if you include the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first and always best miracle. I’m not in the habit of quoting anyone’s scripture on the blog, but this is my very favorite Bible story ever, of course, so bear with me:Continue reading
It’s more than ironic that many of the best fruit pies need to be made when the weather is sizzling, sultry, humid, or plain old drippy hot. As a cold-weather fiend, I particularly find this one of the most unhappy cooking situations. I am thus incredibly blessed to live in Colorado where the summer days may be hot, yes, but might also occasionally dip down into the 40’s and even more often into the 50’s with the advent of a good, old-fashioned hail and/or rain storm. In fact, nightly fifty-some temps aren’t unusual even without rain. (Of course that’s why our tomatoes don’t do squat. Thank God we have the best beer in the country to partially make up for that.)
I admit to a longtime fascination with healthy homemade granola; the blog bears me out. I make it about once a month and it’s the only breakfast cereal in my kitchen besides the whole oats I keep for oatmeal. We eat granola on yogurt with or without fruit, in a bowl with milk, as a grab and go snack, with ice cream, on vegetables, sprinkled over eggs and pancakes…the list goes on. It’s so simple to stir up and bake a batch that I invited Alaena and Josiah (above) over to make some to take home for their own breakfasts and to see what THEY might do with granola. (One of their thoughts was with carrots. Yum!) Continue reading
My friend Helen came over last week for an Instant Pot (IP) demonstration and to share a quick lunch we would make together. Well, actually I prepped; SHE cooked! Helen thought she wanted an Instant Pot–or similar–but needed to see it up close and personal before she made a final decision. While she enjoyed the Cream of Pea Soup with Scallions, Mint, and Sharp Cheddar we made, she was interested in meat main dishes–thinking she’d like to skip using the stove once in a while. It’s a wonderful idea, especially come summer, but not something I’ve done a lot of. I tested chicken recipes for America’s Test Chicken last year (see their new book!) and the rest of my electric pressure cooking has been vegetarian or oh-so-close. Just working my way through the process, I’d guess, but it was definitely time to branch out. By the way, she went home and ordered her IP! YAY!
This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio! For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day. I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in. Be cool!
Now you and I know that there might not actually have been something called Basil-Bacon Salsa, but there is now. It could be mis-named, but it seems to work for gilding the lily of this tender, crisp, juicy simple grilled chicken. I occasionally do a sort of Italian salsa (generally called Raw Tomato Sauce) with just tomatoes, basil, and garlic or onion for a quick topping of meat, grilled bread, or pasta; this time I had bacon cooked and thought, “Why not?” Chicken and bacon are certainly compatible–and now “Basil-Bacon Salsa” is a thing around here.
I don’t know what you make for the 4th of July. It’s kind of a hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet type day…though in my opinion hot dogs are for ball games, apple pie isn’t often on the menu at a summer cook-out, and lots of us drive Subarus. I’m sure we typically have burgers. Potato salad. Brats. The occasional barbecue ribs or chicken. You?? I looked through the blog to see what I’ve written about over the years. The theme seems to be RED, WHITE, AND BLUE… I appear to be a somewhat hokey cook. Hmm. Who knew?