All-Purpose Celebratory: Festive without Symbols...

Dec 23, 2011 by

Growing up Jewish I never had a Christmas tree and did my share of  begging for the beautiful ornaments and sparkly lights. My parents rigorously opposed the ‘Chanukah Bush’ concept, countering my insistence that I would have one of my own when I left home with smug assurance that I wouldn’t do that.  They were wrong for decades: I spent the fall semester of my senior year in college making hand-beaded ornaments to hang on the tree in my boyfriend’s apartment. We still lit Chanukah candles, and I justified it because his roommates weren’t Jewish. Half a decade later, when I lived in San Diego, I had a tree of my own with ornaments collected from trips to Mexico. I continued collecting and amassed a beautiful international array of ornaments. And then, right around...

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The Latkes Debate: Blender or Shredded...

Dec 23, 2011 by

We’ve all got cherished family recipes, don’t we? Chanukah, a Jewish holiday celebrated with food fried in oil, begins on December 20th this year.  The oil reminds us of a miracle in which an eternal light burned for 8 days even though it only had enough oil for one day. Everyone likes a good ancient miracle, but in my opinion the real miracle is how incredibly delicious fried potato pancakes taste on the one occasion per year that I make them. “Omigosh!”, I say to myself.  “I forgot how good these are!”  It’s the same way I feel about M&Ms. I’ll share the family recipe for potato latkes below, but in typical familial fashion, my mother and I have something of a disagreement about how to prepare them. She feels the potatoes should be...

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Tail-Waggin’ Doggie Bones...

Dec 9, 2011 by

I’m starting a new revolution. From now on, instead of buying “stuff” for friends and family at Christmas, I’m giving gifts to their animals instead. Actually, I rarely buy “stuff” for Christmas gifts. I’m not a shopper by nature, and since I’m a professional artist, I usually offer my sculptural artwork as unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. But after a number of years, I realized my friends and family had only so much room in their homes for all of my art! So two years ago, I started considering gift-giving alternatives without jumping on the Black Friday consumer bandwagon. What could I make that would be useful, as well as thoughtful and fun? Scanning the internet for ideas, I came across a site that offered recipes for homemade dog treats, which sparked an inspiration. People have...

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Almond Bars

Nov 25, 2011 by

Almond bars were a big seller for Chickens in the Kitchen this past summer.  This recipe is an adaptation of an Elana’s Pantry recipe.  Her book, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, includes a delicious recipe for almond flour chocolate chip cookies. I learned, by experimenting, that you can make lovely almond flour cookies in a home oven, but a commercial convection oven will turn the batter into one very thin layer of cookie on the baking sheet!  Why?  The heat rises too fast and the batter melts.  Making bars solved that problem. Another change involved the almonds.  I don’t own a food processor and chop my almonds in the blender, resulting in a very coarse grind.  If I blend too long, I get almond butter and then I get distracted by lunch. The...

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Grandmother Frederiksen’s Indian Corn Pudding...

Nov 11, 2011 by

If you’ve been reading my recipes you probably guess that I am big on holiday traditions. Many years ago, shortly after my divorce, a good friend invited my two young daughters and me to spend Thanksgiving with her extended family. Knowing my preference for pies she asked me to bring basic apple and pumpkin specimens to the feast.  I agreed, but warned her I would bring my corn pudding as well. Thanksgiving simply isn’t Thanksgiving without Grandmother’s corn pudding. My friend was clearly skeptical, but polite. Thanksgiving day we showed up with boxes of steaming pies and two casseroles of corn pudding.  Still skeptical she smiled graciously as she put the first one on the buffet.  I watched quietly as her family members, with exquisite manners, each took a small bite of my corn...

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Have Food, Will Travel

Nov 4, 2011 by

You know how you can do something for a long time- we’re talking decades here – and never really look at the behavior and recognize it for what it is? I finally realized I am Food Transporter. I’ve been packing up food and driving it to other places where I prepare it or share it or demonstrate it since I was in my teens. In high school I took whole meals: vast quantities of chili and cornbread, or chicken casseroles and dessert to my boyfriend’s home where his siblings would greet me with delight. His mother’s cooking was both uninspired and unknowledgeable: she once boiled a prime cut of beef until it truly resembled leather.  As an adult, I realized she might not have really appreciated my feeding her family, since they raved about...

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Veggie Heaven

Oct 21, 2011 by

Growing up at our house (Whitebread Ohio in the 50s) was all about meat and potatoes. Spaghetti was exotic and only came with tons of tomato sauce and meatballs. “Pasta” was a foreign concept. I was married for several years before a friend convinced me that I could make spaghetti at home (with the help of a brand new—to me—product called Ragu!). Today, however, I’m a devoted pasta fan.  I put everything on pasta short of cinnamon and sugar. Lately I’ve been experimenting with “fancy” pastas: lemon-pepper pappardelle, mushroom linguini, basil-garlic fettucini. Spaghetti squash, however, escaped me. I’d tried it and found it bland. Last week at the farmer’s market the display of lemony yellow spaghetti squash was irresistible…as were the eggplant, tomato, garlic, zucchini, mushroom, summer squash, baby gold potato, and onion displays...

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Elevating the Lowly Lentil

Oct 14, 2011 by

Many years ago, during what might be called my ‘Hippy Phase,’ I took a lentil salad to a potluck. A young, intense man approached me, declaring it the best lentil salad he had ever had. That started a brief but pleasant affair. He was a vegetarian who ended the relationship by declaring that meat-eaters smell different than vegetarians. This might be true, and his sensitivity might have been heightened by his daily pot habit.  We parted as friends and I gave him the recipe to share with the vegetarian woman who next caught his fancy. Many years after that, I wrote cover copy for an advertising agency that handled several growers’ associations and learned more about lentils than I had ever imagined. High in fiber and protein, low in fat, quick cooking, they adopt...

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White Trash ‘Toonis

Oct 7, 2011 by

Recently a friend was coming over for Friday martinis. (Everyone knows they can invite themselves over pretty much any Friday. There will be ‘toonis.) I decided to do something a little different so I got out my smaller Kerr jars and made individual drinks. Fun to look at; easy to make. You simply pour vodka over ice (and if you simply must, add a drop or three of dry vermouth). Screw on the lid, shake vigorously. Then, keep in freezer until company arrives. To serve, thread a fresh cherry tomato, a pickled okra pod and a pickled green tomato on a cocktail pick. Wrap a paper towel around the base of the jar with a rubber band, for that extra special touch. On the side, you can offer pimento cheese on saltines (Hey, if...

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Foodie Fall!

Sep 30, 2011 by

Fall is in the air.  No, forget that, fall is here! After an outrageously hot summer, the nights are finally in the 40s and 50s. Time to bring back the comforting things in life: sweaters, flannel sheets, toasty robes, hot spiced cider and meat. Admittedly, I am a meat person.  In the summer I tend to chicken and fish, but with the first taste of fall, I crave “real” meat: soups, stews, roasts, chili, all in the best tradition of comfort food.  A favorite (and this week’s staple) is formally known as Carbonnades a la Flamande. My onion-hating daughter refers to is as “that onion thing”.  Nevertheless, she loves it! There are a couple of secrets.  First, you cook the onions until they practically disappear.  The result is gravy that is nearly the color...

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Fermented Pickles

Sep 30, 2011 by

Were you the kind of kid who liked to save french fries in your dresser drawer?  Do you find yourself wondering why the zucchini you left out looks like an animal now?  Does something in you want to put the molding leftovers back in the refrigerator for another week to see what happens? Do I have a recipe for you! My preserving share this year included 25 lbs of cucumbers, leading to a search for a good pickle recipe.  Pickles can be made in several different ways.  You can brine them once with salt, then rinse and pickle in vinegar.  You can brine them with salt and then vinegar several times over before pickling.  You can even go straight to the pickling and skip the brining.  Each of these methods will produce a pickle...

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My Grandmother’s Pickles

Sep 23, 2011 by

It’s pickle time! Pickling cucumbers, those knarly, hard little cucumbers that always seem dirtier than their large glossy cousins are in my local co-op and at the farmers markets, right next to the large stocks of flowering dill. I’m assembling the ingredients to do my own pickles and have the dill in a bucket by my front door, wafting its unmistakable aroma as I go in and out. My mouth waters just thinking about the kosher dill pickles my grandmother made. And the thought reminds me of my favorite pickle story. When I was in my late teens, I worked briefly as a cashier for a grocery store in Roslyn, Long Island, the New York suburb where I grew up. The pickling cucumbers and dill arrived at the store the same week my grandmother...

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