Bread!  I love to bake it almost as much as I love to eat it.

This month, Saveur took me to Eastern Europe to reveal the origins of beloved staples of Jewish delicatessens around the world.  Challah, a Jewish braided egg bread, was one of the featured items.  I have eaten Challah on numerous occasions but had never attempted to make it myself.

I then made a quick trip over to Wikipedia and discovered entirely too much information about this tasty treat.  The bread is rich in custom, history and symbolism.  But to me, it is just delicious egg bread enjoyed in sandwiches, with soup, as French toast, or just by itself.

All in all, it was a relatively easy task, with minor difficulty points for the braiding.

Challah.  Holla! Here is the recipe



Filed under Breads, Savory

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Guess what?  M now likes chocolate.  For years, I have avoided baking chocolate treats because he was opposed and because he told me so.  And now, it seems, he has forgotten all that, claims it was never said, and wants his chocolate!

I’ll bake anything, chocolate or not, and turned to my subtle friend Martha for an over the top recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies.

These are dangerous.  Dangerous in that you can’t eat just one and dangerous for the other obvious reasons which start and end with an awful lot of butter. Here is the recipe…


Filed under Cakes, Cookies

Winter Solstice Cocktail

This just in and just in time for New Year’s Eve…

We had our annual holiday dinner a few weeks ago and searched long and hard for the perfect cocktail to kick things off.  Aptly named for the time of year, this rosemary-infused pear and brandy libation will warm you right up in the cold of winter.

The only problem with it is that they tend to disappear quickly so make sure you have plenty on hand. Cheers and Happy New Year! Here is the recipe…


Filed under Alcoholic, Beverages

Apple-Pecan Tart

Apple pie or pecan pie?  Better yet, how about both?

Apple pies take too long for my liking and pecan pies are way too sweet in a corn syrupy way. This tart only uses one crust and maple syrup takes the place of corn syrup.

The end result is lighter than a pecan pie, easier than an apple pie, a great combination of two great fall desserts and solves the dilemma of which one to make.  A must try. Here is the recipe…


Filed under Pies and Tarts, Sweet

The Cheesiest Macaroni and Cheese Ever

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?  It reminds me of my childhood and was one of the first things that my mom let me prepare on my own.  Kraft made it so easy for me back then and even went the extra step by including a silver envelope of fake orange powdered cheese that just had to be mixed with a little milk. It was “nice and cheesy and really pretty easy,” or so I used to sing thanks to those wonderful commercials.

That was then.  This is now!

We rarely eat such over the top decadent cheesy pasta dishes.  Having said that…this may well be the best macaroni and cheese ever.

Three kinds of cheese — Gruyère, sharp cheddar and Brie!  Whole milk, whipping cream, butter! Fresh breadcrumbs scattered on top.  It’s too much, really.  But too much in a “I want it again and now” sorta way.

And now, a little trip back to “then.”

Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Side dishes

Cipollini Onions

I love onions but I had never had the cipollini variety until this Thanksgiving. I have walked past them many times in the grocery store and decided to finally give them a try.

Cipolline in hand, I now had to figure out what to do with them. Thomas Keller has a few very labor intensive recipes but they were just too much for this occasion. After some deliberation, I settled on a recipe in Joyce Goldstein’s Italian Slow and Savory cookbook.

Red wine and sugar combine with butter and olive oil to make a sweet and savory, jammy sauce that is accented with toasted pine nuts and a cranberry raisin mix.

Aside from being delicious, this particular dish is a great way to add a little cranberry to your plate, without actually making (or opening) cranberry sauce. Here is the recipe…

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Filed under Condiments

Chunky Banana Bran Raisin Walnut Muffins

M’s (and now my) good friend Karyn came to town and I decided to start off the visit with some Chunky Banana Bran Raisin Walnut Muffins.  And where else to turn for such a decadent recipe than Ina Garten?

A few years ago, I was given the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook by a very special friend and I have turned to it many times, and especially when company is coming.  Ina is not known for her restraint in the kitchen and this is what makes most of her recipes great for special occasions.

These muffins contain bran, walnuts, bananas and raisins and all that healthiness definitely outweighs the other not-so-healthy ingredients.  But the best part about these healthy sounding muffins is that they actually taste good too. Here is the recipe…


Filed under Breads, Sweet