Soup Kitchen

After-the-Party Veggie Soup

March 7, 2020

It happens after every dinner party. The guests head home. I clear away the wine bottles, and whatever fell behind the bar. And then survey the food table leavings. Invariably, there, next to the plate holding one sad, smushed pie remnant, and the half cookie that fell into somebody’s ginger ale, I will find most of a tray of fresh veggies. They are still gallantly cheerful, the brightest color in the after-party glow. It makes me feel they deserve a good send off. Soooo….I came up with this day-after-the-party veggie soup. Simply a saute of vegetables made with the veggie-tray broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots, and celery trimmed down to tiny, plus onion and broth, it’s really easy to make. Add a little crusty bread and some good cheese and you’ve done the lonely, leftover veggie-tray proud–and yourself a big, nourishing favor. Continue Reading…

Bread Box

Portuguese Egg Bread

February 5, 2020

Perfect for your Easter morning! Suzana B. wrote in search of this Portuguese Sweet  Egg-Bread recipe her husband fondly remembered from the late ’70s. With mashed potatoes and some of the water used to boil the potatoes in the mix, it bakes up into wonderfully light-textured loaves with deep-orange-hued crusts. Makes four 9 x 5-inch pan loaves, or, 4 braided or round loaves. Continue Reading…

Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

February 5, 2020

Before there was Michael Douglas, there was Kirk Douglas, Michael’s 1940s matinee-idol father.  If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which my son Noah considers “epic” for its special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my boys as kids would have been unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the ’60s, Kirk was very much top of his game, starring in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and alongside John Wayne in three films, making Kirk much sought after by celebrity columnists. Which is where this meatloaf comes in. Continue Reading…

Holidays 2019

Holidaze! Sweets & Treats

December 20, 2019

The sun is shining in through the windows, lighting up the mixing bowls and rolling pins, cookie cutters and pudding tins on my slate kitchen table. It’s the Friday before Christmas. A “jolly good” time to do some Holiday cooking, don’t you think? If anybody want’s to join me now–or, is looking for some delicious recipe inspiration for Holiday meals over the next two weeks,  here’s a round-up of a few favorites.  There are cocktails: Not A White Russian,  snacks: Cheddar CrackersPub CheeseVintage Tea Sandwiches , savories: Wine-Poached Pear and Rosemary Tart, Sherried Crimini & Walnut LoafAncho-Braised Lamb shanks , empanadas picadillo hand pies,  duck and andouille gumbo, shortrib stroganoff, porkchops with sauerkraut + apple stuffing. There are fruited lovelies: Raspberry Foolwine poached pearsmincemeat tarts . Cakes– Monica’s All-Natural Red Velvet Cake, Melting Apple CakeDouble-Chocolate Bread Pudding with Barley Malt Caramel, Ginna’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake, Apple Almond Cheese Tart, chocolate-covered Amarena cherries, German Chocolate Cake, Dressel’s Chocolate Fudge Whipped Cream Cake , Dreamsicle Cake, vintage no-bake refrigerator cakes, and of course, cookies! Fresh Cranberry BarsGingerbread CookiesJam Tart Bar Cookies, Old-Fashioned Butter CookiesLutz’s Raspberry Nut Bars,  Coffee and Molasses Dream Bars, Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights, Marshall Field’s Chinese Chews, Banoffee Tarts.  As you finish your year with loved ones far and near, remember that food is a love note that lasts. Cheers to you for the meals you create with that in mind. Happy, happy, Holidays, from Monica Kass Rogers!

Baked Treats

Fresh Cranberry Bars

December 19, 2019

From the Oleson-family-owned O&H Danish Bakery, just north of Chicago in Racine, WI, these bars are easy-good. Third-generation baker Eric Oleson was happy to share the recipe which he says has been passed down in his family for close to 100 years. The slices put two good things together: the Danish penchant for butter, with Wisconsin’s bounty of fresh cranberries. The bars only appear at O&H during the Holiday season. “It’s kind of a traditional thing,” says Oleson, who likes to serve these very-moist bars chilled with a dollop of whipped cream.

Continue Reading…

Pouding Chômeur

Sticky Maple Pudding-Cake

December 5, 2019

Rich, sticky, sweet and gooey, it’s really like an upside-down cake, minus the fruit. Simple vanilla cake batter baked in a pool of maple syrup caramel , Pouding chômeur literally translates  as “pudding of the unemployed.”  First created by factory workers during the Great Depression using a handful of ingredients, it was for decades the sort of home-food fare that Québécois kept to themselves. Like Johnny Marzetti, the Cleveland area noodles-and-sauce hotdish that moms customarily put on tables, but most restaurants eschewed, this sticky maple pudding quietly endured out of the spotlight. Continue Reading…



November 23, 2019

They come from far and near, to gather together. Family, friends–and for those who lack either: the community of those with big hearts to share both. Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve gathered here not just the original recipe for Senator Russell’s  Sweet Potatoes, but am also including links for more dishes to grace your giving table. Enjoy!  Jalapeno Creamed Spinach Sunchokes Two Ways , homemade sausage and sage stuffing, Roasted Bone Poultry Gravy , Marvelous Mashed Potatoes Spiced Butternut Squash Pie,  Southern Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate French Silk Pie and Butterscotch Pecan Meringue Pie.

Senator Russell’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Calling down to Georgia’s State Capitol offices and the Culinary History Society of Georgia, nobody could comment on the gustatorial habits of Richard B. Russell, Jr. (1897 – 1971), the famous politician this  much-requested dish is named for. (In case you need a refresher, RBR was in public office for 50 years as a legislator, governor of Georgia and U.S. Senator, was best known as national defense expert, and was proudest of his work advocating for the small farmer and for soil and water conservation. Russell also authored and secured passage of the National School Lunch Program in 1946.) But tracking down this recipe, one thing is sure: Richard Russell had a sweet tooth.  Continue Reading…

On The Side

Boston Baked Beans & Brown Bread

November 12, 2019

Despite the unfortunate  Phaseolus vulgaris moniker—the American Common Bean category includes bunches of beloved, native-to-the-Americas beans: navy, red kidney, pinto, great northern, marrow, & yellow eye, plus garden variety edible-pod beans (string, stringless and snap.) It’s not clear which of these the New England colonists first stewed in a pot, but we do know baked navy beans started with Native Americans. The Narragansett, Penobscot, and Iroiquois wrapped navy beans in deerskins—or put them in earthenware pots, along with venison, bear fat and maple syrup and then baked the lot in hot-stone-lined pits. Puritans eschewed the deerskins, but took to bean-pot cookery because the long, slow cook times meant housewives could prepare the beans a day ahead, and in so doing, stick to Puritanical no-cooking-on-Sabbath rules.

Continue Reading…

Sweet Things

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie (Pumpkin Mousse, Maple-Pecan Brittle + Sugared Pie Crust Twists)

October 31, 2019

There are people out there who don’t like pumpkin pie. (Cue collective Midwestern gasp!) But there are other  pumpkin possibilities. And since making this lovely dessert for my family one Halloween of years past, my boys have asked for it again and again.  Roasted-pumpkin mousse layered with maple pecan brittle and cinnamon sugar “pie crust” twists, I suspect this will be the classiest pumpkin you’ll put in your mouth this Fall.


Continue Reading…

Classic Casseroles

Johnny Marzetti Casserole

October 7, 2019

Johnny Marzetti could very well be America’s best loved and longest standing comfort casserole. A mix of ground meat, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, cheese and noodles, the dish has populated community cookbooks nationwide for decades. It’s been called Salmagundi, Hamburger Hotdish, Elbow Goulash—even Irish Monkey (!) But as the story goes, Johnny Marzetti is both the “real” name of this dish, and, the name of one of Columbus, Ohio’s most prominent early businessmen whose brother Joe and sister-in-law Teresa had a restaurant called Marzetti’s. I just wrote a cover story for the food section of the Chicago Tribune on this : ) Please enjoy the story of the men, the myths, and the legendary dish–and  do try my version! Unlike bland, community-cookbook renditions which often include processed cheese food and canned soup in the ingredient list, my version gets its deep, rich flavors from fresh herbs, garlic, a blend of Italian sausage and ground beef, red wine and the real star: oven roasted and caramelized tomatoes and onions—the best possible way to transform these vegetables into flavor-packed morsels of goodness. Continue Reading…