An ode to figs

I wasn’t very familiar with figs before I studied abroad. I think the closest I’d come was a Fig Newton. As I traveled, I discovered people in Spain and Italy were downright giddy about them. Probably not only because they are deliciously sweet, the word is slang for something Pope Clement XIII liked to cover…

Burning heart chili

My beau loves chili, but too much tomato can cause heart burn for him. So I developed this “lower acid” version with a more diverse vegetable mix to deliver the flavor without relying entirely on tomato for the base. I think it’s much better than classic chili and he loves it. There’s a lot of…

Mashed potato pancakes

Here’s a winning reuse of leftovers that goes great with any gravy or cranberry sauce left from holiday dinners. Serve for breakfast or as a side at dinner. This recipe is super easy. Preheat the oven to 250. Mix 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, 1 egg and 1/4 cup flour. Salt and pepper to taste….

Cardamom bread

Nothing says Christmas season more to me than this classic Scandinavian coffee bread. This bread keeps well and you can enjoy it with your morning coffee for several days. I made three loaves with this recipe, so I can keep one and share the rest with family. I’ve always thought of this as Swedish, but…

Chocolate chip cookies

The classic American cookie. Google tells me this was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938 while she was the owner of the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. This is the original Nestle Toll House recipe, so it’s all making sense. Well done, Ruth! These are easy to make, easy to freeze and a real…

Butternut beef stew

One of my absolute favorite recipes of all time. I first discovered this in Georgeanne Brennan’s 1998 cookbook Holiday Pumpkins. Her books are a great resource for home gardeners and anyone with an interest in herbs or French food. This recipe caught my eye because it’s such an unusual combination of squash, poblano and pomegranate….

Swedish rye bread

I’m not a baker. It requires an exactitude I just do not possess. But when the holidays roll around I feel compelled to try and make the Swedish treats I so enjoyed while growing up. They get harder to find as I grow older and I find it fun making and sharing them with my…