Please pardon any overly exuberant, bordering on childish moves you may see adults participating in this spring. (Cartwheels anyone? Outright cheers of joy?) After all, it's been a long, hard winter.
It was my son's birthday recently, and he requested a specific dish alongside his steak: lobster mac and cheese. Say what? Well, the way I look at it, on average we all get only 80 to 90 birthdays in a lifetime. So if you ask me to cook you something on your birthday, and you are a friend or family member, consider it done.
Based on the French pastries called palmiers (pronounced palm-YAYS), these two-bite treats are a savory delight. To double the fun, our recipe features two kinds of filling - broccoli, ham and Cheddar, and tomato, pesto and mozzarella. Although the result looks like a sophisticated party appetizer, the brushing, sprinkling and rolling steps are simple enough for kids to help with or do entirely on their own.
Also known as a German pancake or a Bismarck, a Dutch Baby is a tasty treat of plus-size proportions. According to legend, the first version of the pancakes, based on a traditional German recipe, was created by the owner of Manca's Cafe, a once-popular Seattle eatery. Their small size inspired the cafe owner's daughter to call them Dutch Babies - a moniker that stuck and has become the name of puffy, baked pancakes both large and small. We've used apples in our recipe, but pears, peaches, and plums also make delicious additions.
Pastry expert Kristina Petersen Migoya and the Culinary Institute of America offer more than 120 recipes in the cookbook, "Pies and Tarts" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99), to make from scratch right in your kitchen.
It's hard to imagine a time when party planning required hours of brainstorming. To think, prior to Pinterest, people were forced to Google party ideas, purchase magazines, or (you better sit down), check out a library book to come up with the perfect party agenda. Now all it takes is a click and "pin" to offer a party host limitless inspiration.
Terroir: ter-WAHR. Dictionaries say it's the environment, particularly soil and climate, in which wine grapes are grown. Wine fans insist it's much broader, much deeper.
Wine of the Week: 2012 Stolpman Vineyards 'La Cuadrilla' red wine
Winter is the time to enjoy seasonal root vegetables such as parsnips. They resemble carrots without the orange color and have a slightly more complex and sweeter herbal flavor. The two vegetables taste great together, and nearly any recipe calling for either carrots or parsnips will produce lovely results if you use a combination of the two.
How do they bake up? We put 6 brands to the test.
If there ever were a food marriage made in heaven, it'd have to be milk and cookies.
I grew up with the English muffin; I know its habits. It comes from the grocery store, lives in the fridge, and has a thing for the toaster. It's quirky: brown spotted, fork split, craggy faced. I didn't pry.
As the hard-working husband of a hard-working wife and father of a very busy first grader, I'm lucky if I ever get a single hour to myself. It sometimes happens, as it did one recent night when my wife took my son to music lessons and I happened to already be home from work. I had an hour all to myself, to do whatever I wanted!
Typically, wine clubs have had about as much coolness factor as the old Columbia Record Club. No serious wine drinkers would have ever considered joining such a club. But now a handful of new wine clubs is changing the game with selections focused on Santa Barbara wines, grand cru Burgundy or natural wines.
Using sherry as a cooking liquid produces moist and tender chicken. Mushrooms and a little cream finish the sauce. It takes only minutes to make. This dish can be made ahead and re-warmed.
Andrea asked for the recipe for Chicken Kiev that came from a set of cooking cards McCall's magazine published in the 1970s. She had made the dish for her dad when she was a girl, and he had asked for it recently for his birthday dinner.
The slow cooker is a favorite kitchen tool for getting dinner on the table, but the comfort food dishes it helps to prepare can make for some heavy eating.
With this nonstop cold weather, I'm hankering for food that sticks to the ribs. How better to sate those cravings than with the official casserole of Texas, tamale pie? Typically made with ground beef, this recipe cuts the fat and calories by substituting lean turkey. I didn't find the dish spicy enough, so next time I will probably increase the cumin and cayenne and also add a little chili powder.
Fresh shrimp in a spicy, tomato sauce is a classic New Orleans dish. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook. There are several brands of quick cooking-brown rice available. Their cooking time ranges from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. I find the 30-minute rice has more flavor, but any quick-cooking rice will work for this dinner. It also works well with microwaveable brown rice.
Dear SOS: I had dinner at Lucques a few weekends ago for my birthday. The blueberry beignets with orange zabaglione and yogurt sherbet were amazing. I would love the recipe for the yogurt sherbet.
PUT PIZZA CRUST PREP ON A ROLL
Q: Is cheesecake a cake or a pie?
Maybe it's time for brunch to make way for brinner.
Fans of all-American cooking can travel the countryside through "The American Cookbook, A Fresh Take on Classic Recipes" ($25, hardcover, DK Publishing) by Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and Caroline Bretherton.
If you've resolved to eat more healthfully in 2014, think soup.
Sophie Filippetti from Santa Rosa, Calif., was searching for a recipe for Italian king's cake. She said her mother-in-law used to make it often and even won first prize at their county fair some time ago. She has lost the recipe and wanted to be able to make it for her family again.
I first heard about chia seeds at a vegan class taught by Colorado Springs, Colo., cookbook author Alan Roettinger. He extolled the virtues of using the seeds in dressings and noted that when they are soaked in water, they swell up and become gelatinous.
Aiming to give Americans the tools to make healthier dietary choices, the Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a revamped version of one of the nation's most recognized graphics - the "Nutrition Facts" box that appears on the back or side of packaged foods and beverages.