Thursday, April 17, 2014
     

Comfort and Joy

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
@$:KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  Margherita Pizza ready to go into the oven.

With Good Friday this week, I thought this was the perfect time to unveil my mother's secret weapon.

If she wanted to see any of us, she usually just had to say one word, and we'd all come running.

Pizza.

She didn't order from the local pizzeria, or pick up some premade crust and a jar of sauce.

Everything was made from scratch and it was, in my humble but biased opinion, the best.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Cheesy Peas

This week we go easy-peasy with Cheesy Peas. (Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

This is another of my mom's recipes. It's so simple yet flavorful, I have to wonder why I don't make it twice a week. And it is also one of the recipes that most reminds me of my mother.

It is simple, delicious and loaded with memories which is exactly what comfort food is all about.

Cheesy Peas

2 cans green peas, drained

1 small onion, sliced thin

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Black pepper

One-eighth cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
TOP: Finished Taralli Dolci, fresh from the oven. LEFT: Start with clean countertops and clean hands; no bowl necessary. TOP RIGHT: Very few ingredients are needed for the taralli.

There are certain foods that scream tradition, and this, for me, is one of them.

Easter Sunday morning isn't the same unless I have a batch of my mother's homemade taralli to go along with my colorful, hard-boiled eggs. And while I will continue to eat them after the holiday, until they are gone, we only make them once a year.

My mother would make taralli several weeks before Easter, and then freeze them. We weren't allowed to touch them until Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS

Here's a dish that achieves the fancy quotient for company, but is easy and quick enough for a weeknight family dinner.

We've enjoyed both components of this separately. The chicken is adapted from a recipe my husband saw on a TV show several years ago. With a nice crunchy coating of pecans, it's good all by itself.

The maple reduction (that's just a fancy word for cooking a liquid or sauce at high heat until it boils down to a thicker consistency, intensifying the flavor), is adapted from a recipe I use over the holidays as a glaze on root vegetables.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Mock Mongolian Beef

I am a creature of habit. When I go into a new restaurant, I'll usually order something I'm pretty sure I'll like, and if I do, every time I go back, I'll order it again.

I'm not terribly adventurous. When meeting friends at a Thai restaurant last year, I stared at the menu for a long time, and asked about a million questions, until the waitress pointed out a beef dish that was similar to Sweet & Sour Chicken, which I love.

She tried to discourage me, however, and suggested I be adventurous and try something else.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Lemon Burst Cookies, tinted with a wee bit 'o the green for St. Patrick's Day.

I have to be honest here. This week's recipe is nothing like what it was supposed to be.

My intention was to make a yummy delicacy my mother was known for Lemon Burst Biscuits.

She made them often when she was serving brunch or just as a treat with a midday cup of coffee.

They were light and flaky and very popular.

I have the original recipe on a large index card in my mother's handwriting, stained and faded from many years of use.

It's so faded, as a matter of fact, I had a hard time reading it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Pork Chops, Potatoes and Sauerkraut

I have to be in the mood to eat pork, and even then, there are only a few ways I actually like it.

This is one of them.

The pork is highly seasoned with lots of salt, pepper and garlic powder.

The potatoes cook along with the pork, and the sauerkraut is added at the end. However, if you prefer, you can add the sauerkraut after you turn the pork.

When the pork has finished cooking, remove it and the potatoes, and give the sauerkraut a good stir to pick up all of the flavor at the bottom of the pan.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
@$:KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Secret Recipe is an old family favorite too good not to share.

Shhhhhh!!!!

Can you keep a secret? I can't, because I'm about to share an old family recipe that was so well-kept, it's only name is "Secret Recipe."

Since the name doesn't give it away, I'll also tell you it's a dessert.

My mother made this for years. I don't know where it came from or who it came from, but since she made it from as far back as I can remember, and I'm over 25 years old (ahem) I figure the statute of limitations has run out on this particular secret.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  Chicken Tarragon Salad

Here's a quick recipe that's great for a fancy luncheon or a way to use up last night's leftovers. Tarragon Chicken Salad comes from my friend Meg.

She made it for a baby shower we hosted for our friend Mary, and it was such a huge favorite of mine, we've been making it ever since. If we have leftover chicken, this is my favorite way to enjoy it.

While you can used any type of bread, I find that the stronger taste of the dark pumpernickel works well with the sharpness of the red onion and tarragon.

This is really simple and very, very tasty.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chocolate Mocha Frosting is yummy on yellow or French vanilla cake.

When I think of Valentine's Day and food, my first thought is an obvious one chocolate.

The thing about me, however, is that I like chocolate as more of an enhancement. My favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla. Favorite cake flavor? French vanilla.

That being said, I love my ice cream with a good homemade hot fudge sauce (stay tuned, that recipe will be coming in the near future) and my cake with homemade chocolate frosting.