They are most often enjoyed in March during Purim, a Jewish holiday of deliverance as told in the Book of Esther. But at this time of the year, Hamantaschen, with their triangle shape and sweet fillings, also show up on holiday cookie platters. The dough is sweet, delicate and cookie-like. Some of the most popular fillings are made of raspberry or apricot preserves, prune or poppy seed paste and chocolate. I was introduced to Hamantaschen this year for the first time and I promise I’m going to get better at shaping them, which is a bit tricky at first. I made this batch with raspberry preserves and am looking forward to trying new fillings, perfecting the technique and giving them as gifts from my kitchen all year long!
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.
Melted cheese over steamed vegetables has been has always been a popular side dish. But when I came across an old Iowa Farmer’s Almanac recipe for roasted vegetables served in a cheese crust, it turned everything upside down for me and became one of my favorite ways to enjoy seasonal produce. The instructions were as follows…
“Roast over a hot fire, one handful each of four or five vegetables in season. Make a crust of cheese and cornmeal. Use crust as a plate to serve vegetables in.”
I need no excuse to channel my inner farm girl, so I went right to the task of figuring out what kind of heat would equal a “hot fire” and which vegetables would taste best snuggled in a cornmeal and cheese crust. Whether you take my vegetable suggestions, or choose your own combination, you’re going to end up with a delicious festival of flavor in a savory cheese crust!
I would never have thought of putting these two delectable treats together to create one memorable dessert. But that’s exactly what happens when you combine Greek Baklava with New York cheesecake. What you get is a delicious, creamy cheesecake filling in a sweet and crunchy phyllo dough cup. The individual servings can be made in a cupcake pan, but are much more suited for muffin tins. Got a special event coming up? The Baklava Cheesecake Cups, with their sweetened raspberries and sugared rosemary twig garnish will provide the wow factor on your dessert plate both in flavor and presentation!
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?