Pomegranate Sparklers

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I. Love. Pomegranates. Maybe because they’re only available for a few months out of the year. (Though so are pumpkin spice lattes, and those I really could do without.) Maybe it’s because, like the best things in life, they take a little work. (See below.) Or maybe it’s because they’re beautiful inside and out, as well as irresistibly tangy/tart/juicy/sweet and good for you, too! So there’s a lot to love.

It should come as no surprise, then, that these Pomegranate Sparklers have become my go-to “house cocktail” for fall and winter entertaining (all the way through Valentine’s Day!) A little pomegranate juice, some bubbly prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), and a few jewel-like pomegranate seeds (technically arils) for a fun garnish. Easy and festive!

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Baked Butternut Squash Rigatoni

Butternut squash rigatoni baked

It’s the first weekend of October – hooray! Colder days, but not too cold. Pumpkins, apples, baking. Halloween! However, it looks like the rain this weekend is going to squash my plans to hang spooky skeleton hand lights in the trees, decorate the front porch and go apple picking. Perfect weather for a comforting casserole, though, so I thought I’d recycle a favorite fall recipe from the early days of my blog. After all, sometimes you don’t need MORE recipes, just a reminder of the good ones you already have. Right?

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Smoky Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghannouj)

Baba ghanouj

Love this dip! Easy, healthful and exotic. (My food trifecta!)

If you can find any late-season eggplants at the market, grab’em. Throw them on the grill with whatever else you’re cooking. Let the eggplants get nice and charred, and then wrap them up until you feel like making this irresistible dip. (Even mid-winter, you can make this in the oven with grocery store eggplants.)  Continue reading

What’s for Lunch??

In a lunch rut? We were too, until I discovered Yumboxes.  These multi-compartment bento-inspired boxes are leakproof, so you can even pack ranch dip, salsa or yogurt without a big mess come lunchtime. Added bonus: these aren’t just for kids! I plan on using Yumboxes for our next plane trip, since the hard case will protect food from getting squished in my carry-on bag. The portion control is nice too.

YumBox with Cheez-Its

Cheez-Its, peanut butter, celery and honeycrisp apple slices. Pack a plastic knife for spreading peanut butter.

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Amazing and Easy Grilled Fish with Herb Butter

Cooking amazing fish can be easy and almost foolproof, provided you follow these simple guidelines:

  • Use the freshest fish possible
  • Season the fish with salt before cooking
  • Throw in a little butter whenever possible
  • Don’t overcook!

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Almond Scone by Day, Strawberry Almond Shortcake by Night

Almond Scones

It began innocently enough: Demure almond scones served warm from the oven, with a little jam and maybe some clotted cream – perfectly proper fare for breakfast, brunch or tea. A tad decadent, perhaps, but still a fine way to start the day. Then came word of the same almond scones emerging at all hours of the night, dressed provocatively in billows of whipped cream and a slathering of juicy strawberries. When approached for comment, one scone replied: “I may have a soft spot for berries, but I’m no tart.”

Strawberry Almond Shortcake  Continue reading

The Secret(s) to Quick and Amazing Zucchini

roasted zucchiniBring on the heat! A little oil and a quick char from the grill or hot oven caramelizes the zucchini and enhances its otherwise bland-ish (sorry, zucchini) flavor.  Maybe you already knew that part? (Especially if you’ve tried oven-roasted broccoli.) So the other secret, then, is . . .  Continue reading

Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

flank steak chimichurri close-up

With most of our weeknights this spring consumed with soccer practices, lacrosse practices, Girls on the Run practices, piano lessons and tennis clinics, the question of “What’s for dinner?” becomes all the more pressing. I won’t lie to you – we resort to the blue box mac-n-cheese and frozen pizza plenty of nights. I also make “pizza panini” on a regular basis – panini-maker grilled sandwiches with panella bread and grated mozzarella, cut into wedges and served with marinara sauce for dipping. (Hey – that would make a good blog post! Stay tuned.)

Another regular in our quick-dinner rotation is this red wine, garlic and soy-marinated flank steak. It’s best if you can marinate in the morning, or even the night before, but broiling the steak is quicker than cooking a DiGiorno’s rising crust pizza. Continue reading

Fideyos (Comfort Noodles)

Fidellos

Living thousands of miles away from family is hard. I can’t just pop over to Mom’s with a basket of fresh-baked scones on Mother’s Day, grab a quick latte with my little sister, or be there to support aunts, uncles and cousins in times of need.

What I can do to feel connected to family is cook foods that remind me of home – of childhood memories, family traditions and happy times. The perfect comfort food candidate? Fideyos, or toasted angel hair pasta cooked in chicken broth. My grandma Margaret used to make this ages-old Sephardic noodle recipe for us when I was little, and it was always one of my favorite dishes. (Meant to be a side dish, but for me it was the meal.)

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Margaret

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Margaret

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Time for Fiesta!

¡Hola! In honor of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, I’m reposting links to some of my favorite Mexican recipes. While the outnumbered Mexican army’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 is certainly worth celebrating (unless you’re French, I suppose), any sunny day is good for a Mexican food fiesta. I also included a recipe for my cheater margaritas. They’re not the traditional recipe, but they’re easy to make by the pitcher. (Careful: they’re easy to drink by the pitcher as well!)

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Best black bean salad

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