It was at a Christmastime potluck where I tasted a little bite of holiday heaven! This party-sized casserole came out of the oven and the entire room was engulfed with the incredible aroma of the season—a rich, tasting soufflé-like casserole of sweet and fresh yams, covered and smothered with a glazy brown sugar and pecan topping. Instantly, we all dove in and devoured. You know me. It took all of one bite and ten seconds for me to track down the owner of the casserole and beg for the recipe. This fantastic party-worthy dish is exactly the reason I think it’s unfortunate that we relegate a yam or sweet potato casserole only to holiday dinners. This dish should be made and enjoyed all winter long! It can be made with either yams or sweet potatoes—choose whichever are the sweetest in season. I’m certain that you’ll enjoy this casserole…. who knows? It may be one of your most requested dishes at your holiday feasts!
I’m the odd woman out when it comes to the combination of chocolate and peppermint.
I know, I know. They go together like chips and dip. Like bread and butter. Like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of dill pickle. (If that last example throws you off, I get it. I couldn’t imagine how a dill pickle can possible partner with a P,B & J, but it really does work! That combination of sweet, salty and sour really wakes up the ol’ taste buds!) But I do understand the obsession with chocolate and mint. The combo just never won me over with three delicious exceptions. Andes Mints, Cerreta’s Famous French Mint Truffles and this recipe for York Peppermint Patty Brownies. It’s a recipe I discovered around 2010 and have loved it ever since! I think I Iike it so much because it’s not just a treat with mint flavoring. You get to sink your teeth into a rich and chewy brownie and along the way you bite into a York Peppermint Patty smack dab in the middle of the tasty chocolaty square.
Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
We are right in the middle of Greek Carnival Season known as Apokries. Greek street foods are, of course, a big part of the celebrations. So this week I wanted to feature one of my favorite Greek appetizers, Kolokithokeftedes. Ok, that may seem Greek to you, but really, they are just delicious deep fried zucchini balls paired here with a fantastic dipping sauce, and pronouncing the word correctly is not part of the recipe, so don’t worry about a thing! (For the record, it’s pronounced Kolo-Keetho- Kef-ted-es.) You’ll love the crunch and the fabulous flavor combination of zucchini, cheese, onion, garlic and a hint of white truffle oil, made even more delicious by dipping them in a zesty red sauce. There’s only one more thing to say about this delightful Mediterranean treat, “Nostimótatos!” ( Delicious!)
Beautiful Brioche. With its irresistible buttery, light and tender crumb, Brioche has holiday written all over it. Breakfast, lunch or dinner always seems a bit more special when rich and slightly sweet bread is served. If you have time to bake this holiday season, give these no knead beauties a try. If not, save the recipe for a rainy day and then serve it up with rich, hot cup of cappuccino!
If you think that bread pudding is just a dessert, I’m about to change your mind in a delicious and surprising way. Imagine a savory soufflé-like bread pudding with a good quality ham (smoked is delightful), the sweet and slightly salty flavor of Gruyère cheese, fresh sautéed spinach and roasted red peppers all baked to perfection. This dish is so appetizing and versatile it can be enjoyed as a main meal or sliced in wedges for the perfect holiday party appetizer. Where did I find this sumptuous selection? In the Sing For Your Supper Cookbook compiled by the Sounds of the Southwest Singers. This 85-plus member non-profit volunteer choir has been singing in the Valley since 2010, performing a variety of music in concerts throughout the year. Members have sung at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, and by the recipes in this cookbook, it’s apparent that this group can cook as well as they can sing! Make this dish and you’ll be singing for your supper too!