Posts Tagged ‘4-star’

I’m an especially lucky mom these days. One of my guys adores baking, and if I text him a recipe that has a drool-worthy picture, chances are pretty good he’ll whip up a batch within a day or two.

Such was the case with these decadent peanut butter cookies. They’re rich little treasures, filled with peanut butter cream and mini chocolate chips. I found them in a Food52 post on Friday, and when I got home from a very cool car show with my auto enthusiast son on Sunday, there was a plate of these—beautifully made—on the kitchen counter. Bless his heart!

Generous guy that he is, he made the cookies about three times larger than called…

Sure, chocolate’s the expected choice for a Valentine’s Day dessert, but c’mon, doesn’t this sweet and glossy raspberry dream look festive and romantic too?

A traditional English dessert, Eton Mess is commonly made with strawberries, layered with meringue and whipped cream, and it’s named for the college in the UK where it was created back in the 1800s. This variation, adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, features plump, glorious raspberries. The sweet meringue pieces contrast the tangy berries and add a delightful crispy crunch, and it all swirls together on your spoon with the help of fresh whipped cream.

To top it off, Eton Mess is a cinch to make. The raspberry sauce takes but a few minutes on…

Spicy Tomato Soup

You need to make this tomato soup. It’s bright and spicy and savory and sweet and best of all, easy. In fact, with very little effort, you can bring a smile to a tableful of eaters, especially if you pair it with yummy grilled cheese. I know I did last week!

The key is to adapt the spiciness to your taste by adjusting the amount of crushed red pepper. Start with less and add until you’re happy with the zing. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out. Once it’s got the right degree of heat, blend and strain it, and you’re ready to go.

The soup was so simple to make that…


Ribollita — Italian for “reboiled” — is a hearty Tuscan vegetable and bread soup with peasant origins.  Its name comes from the practical reheating of yesterday’s minestrone soup, throwing in whatever leftover vegetables and stale bread you had lying around, and reboiling the whole concoction. I’m happy just to start from scratch and wind up with the same lovely, warm, comforting soup, since leftovers are so rare with four teenage boys eating us out of house and home!

If I had to pick my favorite cuisine, it would be rustic Italian or French. Nothing fancy, just simple, traditional, slow-cooked, handcrafted dishes that you know are made with a whole lotta love. Ribollita is a perfect example…

California BLTs

Life is nothing short of hectic these days with four teenagers, all on different afternoon and evening schedules. There’s baseball training, newspaper layout sessions, driver’s ed classes, sports broadcasts, Spanish tutoring, yearbook meetings, study sessions, alumni college interviews, guitar lessons, piano lessons, bass lessons—well, you get the idea. Some nights, it’s like Grand Central Station with ridiculously staggered arrivals and departures.

On those crazy nights, instead of wasting time cooking something that will be shoveled down on the fly between activities, I often put together the components for BLTs (or in this case, California BLTs!) and let the troops assemble themselves as time allows. They’re easy and satisfying, and the cool secret is cooking the…

Pico de Gallo

Yup, again with the tomatoes. Can’t help myself—they’re so sweet and ripe and juicy that they enhance every summer meal. It’s quite a love affair I’m having this year.

This time, they’re the star of a cool and tasty pico de gallo, or fresh salsa, that can be enjoyed many ways. You can scoop it up with tortilla chips as a refreshing appetizer with a nice, cold cerveza. You can heap it atop a hot-off-the-grill steak for a bright, tangy counterpoint. You can spoon it over a perfectly poached egg for a flavorful, healthy breakfast.

We used it as part of the delectable grilled fish tacos we made over the weekend. The sweet crunchiness of the…

Every once in a while, I have a stuffed mushroom craving. There’s something so “cocktail culture” about them, and besides being flavorful and a satisfying mix of textures, they’re a snap to make.

While I’ve seen mushrooms stuffed with things like crabmeat and sausage, nothing fancy for me, thankyouverymuch. Just a simple savory breadcrumb stuffing, enhanced with some salty romano cheese, a zippy touch of garlic, and a couple of herbs. It’s the perfect bite every time!

Stuffed Mushrooms Adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis


    • 1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 28…

It’s official: grilling season is underway!

I pulled out one of my long-lost, all-time favorite grill recipes last weekend, and apparently I haven’t made pork tenderloin in years, because the boys told me they’d never had it before. And they were kinda peeved that I had held out for so long because they all loved this easy, yummy entré!

Pork tenderloin isn’t the most flavorful meat on its own, but the simply blender marinade adds some tangy citrus flavor and a hint of spice from the cayenne. Truth be told, I don’t always have both variations of chile powder in the pantry, and I often just double up on whatever’s on hand. It’s always good. The recipe calls for…

Beef & Black Bean Chili

Big football weekend = big pot of delicious chili!

A few cold Sundays ago, knowing it would be an afternoon spent watching football in front of the fire, I had a hankering for chili. It had been in the back of my head since we had seen the chili cookoff episode of Top Chef earlier in the month, and knowing that chili is a process rather than a “yikes, it’s 5:30 on a Thursday…what should I whip up?” kind of dinner, I decided the time had come. I searched for a meat-and-beans version that I could cook all afternoon, and the recipe I chose was from Bobby Flay: Beef & Black Bean Chili with Toasted Cumin…

Swedish Meatballs

When a Swedish Meatball recipe says it serves “4 Vikings or 8-10 regular people,” I know I’ve found a recipe for my crew. Despite the fact that they each devour an entire box of chicken nuggets as an after school snack, my guys are all once again ravenous by dinnertime. And since there’s no telling just how many Swedish Meatballs my bottomless pits would put away, I boldly doubled the recipe. That’s a lot of Vikings!

Swedish Meatballs bring me back to days of groovy plaid bell bottoms, a smokin’-hot Dorothy Hamill ‘do and oversized eyeglasses with stylish side pieces that started at the bottom of the glass frame and made two 90-degree turns to reach my ear….