I don’t care what the trendsetters say about whether cupcakes are hot or not, they are—and forever will be—my go-to dessert when I’m entertaining. They don’t take as long to bake and cool as a cake does. Plus decorating a cupcake is a lot less intimidating than decorating a cake—I just need to swipe on a dab of frosting rather than getting all artsy-fartsy with a layer cake. And, for whatever reason, if I’m seeking variety, preparing more than one kind of cupcake seems like a lot less work than baking and decorating two cakes. (Not Intimidated? Try: Banana Cream Layer Cake and More Light and Luscious Spring Cakes.)
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Because I’m a food writer and recipe developer, my friends and family ask me for lots of cooking and recipe advice. More than half the time, those questions are about seafood, particularly oysters, clams and mussels. What should I buy? How do I know it’s sustainable? How do I know if it’s fresh? What do I do with it once I get home? Oh, and do you have a good recipe for it?
I can’t say I blame them. If you haven’t cooked shellfish at home, it can be intimidating the first time. But once you get over that hump, you’ll be doing it all the time. Here’s some...read full post »
Before I went to culinary school, I worked at a recreational cooking school and event center. The center hosted singles parties complete with a make-your-own-appetizer station. At one of these events, we decided to make spring rolls. It’s a popular Thai restaurant appetizer, but we knew many people had no idea how to make them. What better way to get people talking to one another, we thought.
Recipes to Try: Thai Takeout Favorites Made Healthy
We were right, it definitely got people interacting. Those who had made spring rolls before swooped in to save the poor souls who ended up staring perplexedly at a pile of ingredients sitting on top of a dry rice-paper wrapper, wondering what the heck...read full post »
When I was a kid, I loved hunting for Easter eggs and searching for my Easter basket. But now I look forward to Easter for a completely different reason—the leftover ham. After all our guests depart, I slice and dice up the leftovers. Some of it gets transformed into other recipes the following days. I tuck the rest away in my freezer for when I have a hankering for ham. When I feel like firing up the grill, I make Chicken Cordon Bleu Burgers. Ham & Swiss Rosti is a fast and satisfying dinner on a busy weeknight. Broccoli, Ham & Pasta Salad is perfect for potlucks and picnics; leftovers make a terrific brown-bag lunch. Ham & Red Pepper Spread is a tasty snack or appetizer; I like to spread it on cucumber slices or toasted baguette. And don’t...read full post »
While I always do some sort of grand spring-cleaning project, usually involving the basement, garage and my closet, I never think to clean out my pantry. But when my friend Lucy told me that she found a bottle of vinegar that expired in 2006 and boxes of gelatin with a use-by date in 2008 when she cleaned out her kitchen, I thought perhaps it was time to take a look.
Luckily, it was easier than I thought. Here’s how I did it (and if you use these guidelines it’ll just take you a few minutes, since you won’t have to spend time debating whether to keep or not to keep).
• Almost everything in my pantry was tagged with a date and one of these phrases: “Use By,” “Best By” or “Use Before.” I ditched everything that was past its date (see ya, chicken...read full post »