Deep Dish Cranberry Apple Pie

November 18, 2023

This bright gem of a fruit pie perfectly balances sweet and tart. Cranberries and apples nestle together in lovely symbiosis:  The apples turn pink from the deep red of the berries. And the berries become less sharp, mellowed by the sweetness of the apples. Enhancing both, the pie is seasoned with fresh orange zest and juice, and seasoned with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Continue Reading…

One-Dish Meals

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Ground Turkey & Rice

November 10, 2023

The want for hearty/healthy chill-weather dishes has me celebrating casseroles and bakes. Using ground turkey instead of beef in these satisfying roll-ups seemed smart, as did the use of a few canned ingredients (crushed tomato and diced green chilies) along with leftover cooked rice to speed the prep. The filling is delicious—so good, you may be tempted to spoon it up on its own. But once the dish is finished in all its tomatoey glory, you’ll be glad you went through with the cabbage leaf tuck-roll-and-bake. So good. Continue Reading…


Pheasant Ballotine with Sausage, Herb & Pistachio Stuffing

November 8, 2023

As a youth, a friend of mine used to travel to South Dakota where his older brother owned a spread of land perfect for hunting game birds. “In the Fall, I’d go with my father for the opening of pheasant hunting season,” he recalls. Now with five sons of his own, my sports hunting friend keeps up the tradition in the Midwest, saying: “It’s quite a thrill to bring home several pheasants after a hunt, dress them and make a meal.” In fact, it’s his family’s Thanksgiving tradition to feature wild game they’ve hunted on the holiday table.

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Hand Pies

Roasted Tomato, Garlic, Herb & Cheese Pies

July 23, 2023

Because I love them so, herbs dominated my vegetable garden this year—dill, oregano, lovage, lavender, parsley, French tarragon, lemon balm and lemon thyme, plus many kinds of basil, rosemary, and sage. Yes, all of those lovelies, plus a few veg essentials: including tomatoes! Waiting for the red globes to reach their peak, I first made these delicious savory hand pies with plump and pretty store-bought Campari (sometimes called “cocktail”) tomatoes, later switching to homegrown. Camparis are the perfect size for the recipe (less fleshy that big tomatoes, and less fiddley than cherries to slip the skins off of after roasting ) but the recipe works with any size of the fruit. (If you use big tomatoes, just cut them into eighths.)

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Fish Dishing

Wild Caught Alaskan Cod with Fresh Sorrel Sauce

June 7, 2023

I’ve been singing the praises of lovely, lemony sorrel for a while now. The culinary herb—related to both buckwheat and rhubarb, is a perennial that grows in my garden from Spring to Fall.  Loaded with potassium and immune-boosting vitamins A and C, I use it in soups, stuff it into spanakopita, and make sauces with it. Paired with fish, sorrel sauce is a French cuisine classic. A few years back, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay featured the sauce with seabass. I’ve since prepared it deliciously with more affordable wild-caught cod. Continue Reading…

Salad Days

Brown Derby Cobb Salad

June 2, 2023

From Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant and named for its owner, Robert Howard Cobb, the Cobb Salad is to Americans the original chopped salad.  If you had it at the restaurant, you know it was a mix of very finely chopped watercress, curly endive, Romaine and iceberg lettuces topped with crisp bacon, hard boiled egg, tomato, chive, chicken breast, Roquefort cheese and avocado,  served with a house-made “French” dressing that was more akin to red wine vinaigrette than the sweet orange goo labeled “French” on a salad bar. Our home-cook version is chopped less fine, but features all of the original ingredients.  We’ve just updated the dressing, however, to make it less oily.

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Bowl Food

Thai Glass Noodles, Shrimp + Veggies

May 27, 2023

One of my dear friends–blonde, blue-eyed Becky, grew up in Thailand, and didn’t even visit the States until well into her teens. We met at college on a hot summer afternoon. I was photographing the shadow-play of bamboo trees on the street behind my dorm, and Becky agreed to step in to a few of the frames. Not long after that, she cooked my first Thai meal, explaining in her lilting, song-like Thai, the names of the ingredients and dishes. It was a fantastic introduction.

In Thailand, Becky explained, there is no actual word for “salad,” but tossing fresh vegetables, proteins, and noodles together with a dressing is the commonplace equivalent, called “yam.” (I quickly learned to say, “Yum!” to yam.) This dish—glass noodles with shrimp, cilantro, Thai chilies, a bit of ground pork, fresh matchstick vegetables and sugared chili-lime-garlic-fishsauce dressing, is a classic known as Yam Woon Sen. Continue Reading…

Savory Pies

British Picnic Pie

May 20, 2023

These British-styled picnic pies put me in mind of a Wind in the Willows repast with loyal Moley, adventurous Ratty and the always intractable Toad.  Both elegant and transportable, the pies are perfect for your picnic hamper, or impressive to set out with sharp aged cheddar, whole grain mustard and pickles at your next party. Filled with minced ham, pork tenderloin, sage and parsley, they are packed with flavor  

The pies do take time to make, but keep well, so I prepare them ahead of time. You can space things out to fit your schedule, preparing the filling and stock one day, and then baking the pies the next. I use bone-in ham to make these (the bone for the stock; the ham minced in the pie.) If you’re not familiar with a traditional hot water crust: It’s easier to make (and more forgiving) than a pie crust, and goes back to early medieval times. But while 6th century hot water crusts were made with lard and intended primarily as casings to be discarded in favor of the tender meat inside, my crusts are made with butter and bacon fat and while sturdy, taste great. This recipe makes six individual 3 ½-inch pies. (Or, you can do 3 of the little pies and one small rectangular loaf as I have done in the lead photo.) 

As each pie bakes, the meat pulls away a bit from the sides of the crust, leaving a little air pocket surround. To seal this, you’ll pour the hot stock you’ve made into to the vent hole at the top. As the stock chills, it will firm up into a sparkling jellied aspic that adds flavor and helps the pie keep longer.And if you are a savory pie fan, try our Melton-Mowbray styled British Pork Pies next! 

Cookie Kitchen

Date & Cardamom Spiral Cookies (Kleicha)

May 19, 2023

Kleicha (various spellings) is ubiquitous at religious holidays and special occasions in the Middle East. There are many variations of recipes for the pretty roll-ups of crispy yeasted dough around a smooth date filling. But the cookies always include dates, cardamom, and sometimes nigella (often labeled Black Seed or Kalonji in Middle Eastern grocery stores.)  I love the savory pop of nigella seeds, so included them here. And while some kleicha recipes start with date paste, using pitted dates cooked to jammy consistency yields best flavor.

But which dates to choose?

At the recent TuttoFood exposition in Milan, Italy, I was delighted to find that dates were the featured ingredient in the expos creative cooking competition. Talking to representatives from  Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Palms & Dates I learned that while Continue Reading…