Orecchiette with Bacon, Corn & Tomatoes

One of my Christmas gifts this year was Giada de Laurentis’ newest cookbook, Giada’s Italy.  As I flipped through it, I came upon a recipe for “Penne with Corn and Spicy Sausage.”  It sounded delicious, but I was more intrigued by the fact that it reminded me of another dish I once had.  A few weeks…

Mum’s Vegetable Soup

My mum prepares this soup every year for our Christmas Eve dinner.  It’s so easy to throw together (seriously, it’s almost entirely dumping the ingredients in the pot and stirring them together), which makes it a perfect meal during the busy holiday season.  Additionally, it’s really healthy—a welcome break from the decadent fare which seems…

Cream Cheese & Pepper Jelly

  Cream cheese & pepper jelly served with butter crackers is a southern classic.  If you are looking for a fast, easy, and flavorful hors d’oeuvre, give this combination a try.  The cream cheese provides rich tanginess, the pepper jelly is sweet and spicy, and the crackers lend a salty, buttery bite.  It may not…

Christmas Morning Bellini

Around the holidays, I am all about the bubbly.  Sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, and Kava can make even the most mundane occasions feel special.  When you mix sparkling wine with fruit juices or liqueurs, you can make a wide array of easy and elegant cocktails which are perfect for festive gatherings. This year,…

Hanukkah Dinner

My husband is Jewish, so to honor him and to teach our son about his cultural heritage, we celebrate Hanukkah each year with a special family dinner.  Not being Jewish myself, I always turn to my favorite Jewish-American cook, Ina Garten, for inspiration when planning my menu. This year, I was unable to buy a…

Water Chestnuts Wrapped in Bacon

Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon are a classic hors d’oeuvre.  My mum was making these for cocktail parties long before I was born.  Happily, she passed the recipe on to me.  Assembly is slightly time-consuming and messy, but tremendously easy and well worth the effort.  Anytime I serve them, they are devoured.   2 (8…

Christmas Decorating, 2018

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year—it’s a season unto itself.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I’m chomping at the bit to get decorating, but due to my “no Christmas until the Turkey is picked clean” policy, I don’t begin decking the halls until the week following autumn’s grand finale. Decorating always…

Chicken & White Wine Stew

As a novice cook, I often turned to Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s Food Revolution.  One of my favorite recipes is his “Basic Stew Recipe,” in which he gives multiple options for meat-and-booze combinations to make a variety of different stews. This is followed by numerous recipes for different stew toppings such as dumplings, pastry, and…

Steamed Artichokes with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce

  With the whole e. coli-Romain lettuce scare that has impacted the country over the past few weeks, my local grocery store rid its shelves of all lettuces, making green-leaf salads a scarce commodity.  In lieu of salads with our meals, I’ve been adding extra servings of vegetables.  One of my favorites is steamed artichokes….

Creamy Marinara Tortellini & Sausage

  I threw this recipe together this evening on a whim and was quite pleased with the result.  My husband is not a huge fan of red sauces, so, when making pasta dishes, I often mix in a little heavy cream to make a pink sauce.  Bulk Italian sausage packs such an incredible flavor punch…