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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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

Bacon, Potato and Leek Frittata

 

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Breakfast, lunch or dinner is served! I tossed around some other names for this dish: Leftovers Pie, Crustless Quiche, Make-Ahead Magic for Overnight Guests, Zap-n-Go Anytime Meal Slices. Some of these are better than others, but they all would work. Frittata sounded a little fancier – worthy of the leeks I used in it this time, but it’s not a traditional frittata. It’s also not as heavy as a cream-laden quiche, but I think you get the idea. I’ve made similar versions without the leeks – just a lone, leftover baked potato and some bits from the Christmas ham. That was good too! But leeks work really well here and bring a much-needed glimmer of spring to the table. Continue reading

Better-than-Baked-Brie Bites

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There’s a lot to love about a good baked brie – golden puff pastry wrapped around a wheel of creamy cheese and a secret sweet surprise (jam, brown sugar, nuts, etc.), where the cheese and jam meld together and ooze out of the flaky crust when you first cut into it. That’s Baked Brie’s brief moment of glory, though, so you’d better eat fast. When the cheese cools, the once-elegant pastry/cheese package turns into a congealed blob, with soggy dough that contributes little more than calories. Your party guests deserve better!  Continue reading

Mother’s Day Brunch

Sue + Karen

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Karen! If we didn’t live 2,413 miles apart, I’d have her over for Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow. I’d probably make this tomato tart recipe that she first discovered in a Sara Moulton cookbook, along with a green salad and some extra-lemony lemon bars (she’s a lemon-lover).  This quiche-like tart does involve several steps, but it can be partially (make the crust) or entirely made ahead, and then gently reheated in a low oven.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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No-Bake Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta

A coconut-covered lamb cake sure would be cute right about now, but guess who’d end up eating most of it? Moi. So this year for our spring entertaining, I’m thinking about making Greek Yogurt panna cotta with raspberry sauce. These are cute in their own way, and so good for you they almost shouldn’t be called a dessert. The milk (nonfat!) mellows out the (nonfat!) Greek yogurt’s tang, and the gelatin transforms it all into a giggly, eggless custard. Top with a zingy raspberry purée, and I don’t think anyone will miss the lamb cake. (But I’ll keep some chocolate bunnies on hand just in case.)

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“Too Good to Be Healthy” Black Bottom Cupcakes

Lighter black bottom cupcake

Can you have your cupcake and eat it too? With these lightened up, nutrition-enhanced beauties, the answer is yes! You don’t have to tell anyone that you cut back on the sugar, or that you swapped out all the oil for fat-free Greek yogurt and puréed prunes. Just don’t do as I did and eat 3 cupcakes in one sitting; that kind of works against the whole “eating healthy” idea. Continue reading

Holiday Open House 2013

Mini gingerbread cupcakes

For those who couldn’t make my Blog Holiday Open House earlier this month, here’s a little taste of what you missed.

This year’s theme was “Christmas in Paris” – I thought having a theme would help focus the menu and provide décor inspiration. Some of my menu items were legit French (i.e., gougères, or cheese puffs), but most were French-inspired/French-ish. I had fun creating a French Christmas theme board on Pinterest – a great way to organize ideas for a party.

Oui -those are little Eiffel Towers on my apron.

Oui -those are little Eiffel Towers on my apron.

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Blackberry Crumble Bars

blackberry crumble bar

With school back in session and the days getting cooler, summer’s becoming a distant memory. The good news is that this also signals the beginning of baking season (for me, anyway).  With the warm, tart taste of summer’s wild blackberries still lingering in our heads, I thought these blackberry/oatmeal/walnut crumble bars would make the perfect back-to-school treat. Summer sandwiched between layers of fall.

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Corned Beef & Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Corned beef and cheddar biscuits

Got leftover corned beef and need a break from sandwiches or hash? Try adding it to these quick drop biscuits – no kneading or rolling required. Along with a pot of cauliflower soup, it’s what’s for dinner in our house tonight.

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