This time of year local fresh asparagus begin to pop up at grocery stores everywhere. Because they’re in season, the price is right and those long sturdy stalks are just the right size for little hands to grab. But, the shining star is asparagus with lemon ricotta “mayonnaise”. A whirl in the food processor with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt yields a smooth and silky dip just like mayonnaise but so much better.
Ahhh strawberry blueberry Pavlova. Named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet dancer, perhaps because it’s a light and elegant dessert. It starts with a meringue bottom that’s easy to make if you know the secrets (you probably already have the ingredients). A topping of fresh strawberries and blueberries makes it the most festive dessert, perfect for Easter, Passover or a welcome celebration of spring.
It doesn’t seem to go together. Asian flavors such as soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil, with fish. But it’s a winner because Asian barbecued salmon is a full flavored fish and can handle these bold marinade ingredients. This recipe for Asian barbecued salmon isn’t cooked on the grill in the traditional way. The addition of brown sugar gives the fish a barbecue glaze and the secret is to cook it in a hot, dry pan with no added oil or butter. No added fat and full of flavor score one for the home cook!
No peek chicken is a one-dish dinner that you can throw together in 10 minutes…then bake for several hours. The secret? No peeking. Keeping the oven closed produces tender, falling apart chicken that is worth the wait. Cooking “low and slow” is a win-win for even the pickiest little eaters. The ingredients of a few cans of soup (no kidding!) are what keeps the chicken juicy even for several hours in the oven. It’s also a great dinner recipe for team dinners, sleepovers, Sunday night supper and yummy leftovers.
If there were ever an all-purpose multi-tasking vegetable recipe, slow roasted grape tomatoes would be it. Available year round, not too pricey and oh so good, all you have to do is heat the oven on low, toss with a few ingredients you probably already have and forget about it. The secret is to let the tomatoes shine through and you will be rewarded with little pillows of savory caramelized goodness.
Remember seven layer bars? Always a hit at bake sales because it has seven sugary layers of chocolate, butterscotch and toffee chips, among other delights, baked together creating a mishmash bar of indiscriminate sugar. But, there’s no reason to languish in the past with this recipe. You can update the ingredients with high quality bittersweet chocolate chips, dried tart cherries and unsweetened coconut to balance out the flavors. Ingredients like these were always hard to find, but in 2013 they’re available in almost any supermarket. This particular recipe breaks all the rules by adding an eighth delicious layer of pretzels (shocking!). The result: sweet, salty, chewy and crunchy, so good it’s dinner party worthy.
Before there was chicken broth in a box (which lasts forever) or chicken tenders that really don’t look like chicken at all or cooked chicken in shrink-wrap (which almost lasts forever), there was plain old chicken. It’s hard to believe that back in the olden days a string of dinners started with one whole chicken. Home cooks are not the wasteful sort, so roast that chicken and save the carcass for the easiest, tastiest and thriftiest homemade mom’s chicken noodle soup ever.
There’s nothing wrong with last minute Valentine’s if you don’t mind spending a few minutes in the kitchen whipping up the best homemade salted caramel sauce ever. Not only is it tasty and luscious poured on almost any sweat treat, there are only four ingredients and you probably already have them in your kitchen. So, don’t delay.
When it comes to a good old-fashioned garlic roast chicken, there really is no other option other than making it rustic. That is quit simply allowing the chicken to do the work with very little intervention. The chicken’s natural fat acts as a baster while the cavity is perfect for aromatics. Nudging whole cloves of garlic under the bird is nothing short of genius. The end result is an all-natural delectable garlic spread, perfect for slathering onto every delicious bite.
For a home cook, baking banana bread is sacred. Recipes are passed down in families and baked proudly through the generations. Everything banana bread is something you probably won’t order in a restaurant or even purchase in a bakery. It’s authentic home cooking because it’s quick to put together with familiar ingredients and a reliable way to use up spotty bananas. Here are all the secrets to jazz up this old favorite…