Planning an Easter egg hunt tomorrow? How about hiding those decorated ovals someplace you’d least expect to find them? That is, unless you’re familiar with the traditional Italian Easter bread called Pastelli di Pasqua (Bread of Easter). Brightly colored hard-boiled eggs are embedded into the braids of this slightly sweet dough, making it one of the more festive Easter heirloom recipes. Not only is the bread fun to look at, but also Pastelli di Pasqua is absolutely delicious when eaten plain or sliced and toasted with a little butter! Greece has it’s own version of the braided loaf called Tsoureki (pronounced too-reki). Both the Greek and Italian varieties are similar in flavor and texture to Jewish Challah bread. Normally, this recipe for Pastelli di Pasqua makes one large braided loaf or round. But in the spirit of Easter time fun, I’ve divided the dough into six braided rings, each one displaying a single colorful egg in the center. This is a great recipe to do with or for the kids in your life. It’s perhaps a new way to play Easter egg “hide and seek” with a recipe that’s centuries old.
They’re too good. Too good for my own good! If you can imagine the perfect ginger snap or molasses cookie—only soft and chewy—these would come as close to the top of the list as you can get! Just my opinion, of course. But I can’t quit making them and I can’t quit eating them! The black pepper in this recipe threw me off just a bit, even though it’s just a half a teaspoon. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but when I sunk my teeth into this moist, full-of-flavor cookie, I realized exactly what the pepper contributed to the recipe—a cookie with a spicy kick and the perfect chew. In doing a little research about the Black Pepper Cookie, I discovered that just about every nationality has its own version on this scrumptious munchy. Now you have a recipe with the description that that is spoken is every language and culture on earth- “Mmmm!”
What makes this the most wonderful time of the year? Well, besides, glad tidings, family and the holiday spirit, it’s gotta be Christmas Cookies! Here are two of my favorites!
Watch my How To Video for Christmas Cookies here!
It’s the universal law of food. Everything always tastes better at someone else’s house. I don’t know why that is. It just is. So when we were visiting long-time family friends in
Nayarit, Mexico a few years ago, we spent the first part of the meal gobbling up a scrumptious Pan-Seared Pork Chop Casserole and the remainder of the time sitting at a tiny wooden table writing down every detail of every delicious morsel. The pork chop casserole has been a regular weeknight meal in the Montez Family for decades and makes for a deliciously flavorful fall dish. Unfortunately, it went the way of many recipes scribbled down in the “gotta-have-this-recipe-right-now” moment. It got forgotten about and lost in life’s shuffle. That is, until this weekend when un-cluttering and re-organizing the kitchen cabinets were on the agenda. Wahoo! Long lost and now loved again. You’ll be lickin’ your chops over this one!
The kids are finally back in the classroom, and when they come home from school or sports they are generally ravenous, right? It’s a pretty good bet that if given a choice between chicken nuggets and anything else, my guess is it’s going to be the nuggets. So, why not make them delicious and perhaps healthier than the fast food version? Plus, kids love to cook these days, and if your young ones are old enough to be safe around the cook top and oven, this might be a great meal that they can make themselves! (Studies show that when kids take the initiative to cook a meal, they enjoy not only eating the food, but are more apt to want to learn how to prepare meals more often.) I discovered that on a field trip a few years ago to a Boys & Girls Club where I was teaching a cooking class. About fifty kids huddled around as I taught a hands-on cooking demonstration. They were mesmerized. Many shared their at-home cooking experiences with Mom and Dad. I was, quite frankly, stunned at their interested in every aspect of cooking, whether chopping and dicing, sautéing and of course, sharing what they had prepared. Back to the chicken nuggets. This recipe is fairly simple and super delicious, and it’s the kind of recipe that may flesh out whether you have a budding Jacques Pepin or Julia Child just waiting to cook up something fun for the family!
If you don’t want another cookie addiction, then maybe you’ll want to bypass this week’s column. If, however, you want to jump on America’s latest cookie craze, then you’ve come to the right place! Swig cookies, with their scrumptious pink frosting and craggy edges, are somewhere between a soft sugar cookie and shortbread, and they have certainly won our hearts! (To date, there are about 41 million search results for Swig Cookies on Pinterest. I’d say we are obsessed with these sweet treats!) The Swig cookie originated in Saint George, Utah in 2010 at the Swig Drive-by Drink Shop. Known for their signature frosty drinks and sweets, Swig has now expanded to multiple locations in Utah and several other states. The minute I heard about them I employed “The Niece Factor.” That’s when I make a big batch of cookies and drive them over to my nieces and wait for their response. With these Swig Cookies I got a text about 20 minutes later (before I even got home!) that the entire batch has been devoured. That’s good enough for me! I think you’re going to like these cookies. They’re fun to make and may even be worthy of a spot on your holiday cookie exchange platter this year.