Molten Chocolate Cakes 2.0

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so if your true love is chocolate, put away the boxed brownie mix and whip up these oozy chocolate cakes instead. Seriously – you have to trust me on this one. Super easy to make, and guaranteed to WOW. Plus, they can be prepped up to 2 days ahead and baked right before serving. Continue reading

Luscious Lemon-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

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Raise your hand if you love Brussels sprouts but only cook them once a year? That used to be me. For one, I was the only sprouts eater in the house. Then there’s the prep – what a pain it can be trimming the dried ends off all those little cabbage balls! Finally, there’s the issue of getting the texture just right. To me, Brussels sprouts should be soft, no matter what your method of cooking. So many times I’ll see them on a “Harvest Specials” menu in a restaurant and order them thinking they sound good (i.e. “crispy roasted with bacon”). Then they arrive at the table all hard and unappealing – often tasting of nothing but bacon grease. One day I was rooting around the freezer case at the store, looking for frozen bags of brown rice, when I discovered the answer to all my Brussels sprouts issues: Continue reading

The Best Margarita

The best classic m argarita

Last December at the Ritz Carlton Cancún, we discovered the secrets to a perfect margarita. This arduous task took many nights, and some days, of tedious research and testing. Es un placer to share the recipe with you today, in time for Cinco de Mayo (that’s May 5th for my non-Spanish-speaking readers).  Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

 

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with ArugulaTrue story: Back in my Didn’t Know Better days, I used to whip up cauliflower tempura in my tiny studio kitchen on a near-weekly basis. It was always a huge mess – cornstarch dusting every inch of formica and vinyl, Wesson oil splattered all over the white Hotpoint stove. It was indulgent, and totally worth it. I especially loved the browned bits of cauliflower that would sometimes show up, having slipped out of their batter blanket and been allowed to sizzle directly in the oil. If only I had known about roasting cauliflower! I could’ve had that same caramelized delicacy with much less mess and many fewer calories.

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Cauliflower “candy”

Roasted cauliflower is the star of my new favorite salad, which I adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking. It’s full of contrasting-yet-harmonious flavors and textures, and is dressed with my super-versatile lemon garlic vinaigrette. I use this same dressing for Caesar salad, and even as a marinade for chicken and shrimp. But back to the main event: Even if you don’t make this salad (though you should!), you owe it to yourself to try the roasted cauliflower. Now we all know better. (And yes, the same can be said about perms, blue eye shadow and shoulder pads.)

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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

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