Thursday, July 24, 2014
     

Comfort and Joy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Roasted Garlic Onion Jam Pizza

Whenever we go to Maine I usually make a pilgrimage to a number of favorite places, such as the Portland Head Light (my favorite place) and L.L. Bean's in Freeport.

I also make an annual pilgrimage to the Old Port in downtown Portland, where I always visit the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store.

I make a lot of my own jams and jellies, but there are some that they offer that I just can't reproduce.

They also have delicious salsas and sauces, not to mention a host of kitchen and cooking-related items.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  This Turkey BBQ is packed with flavor.

Where I grew up the word "barbecue," as in barbecued beef or barbecued chicken, implied the use of a sweetened, tomato-based sauce, and I was all in.

Fast forward to 1998 when I came to work at the Times News. Each day my friend Debbie and I would take a walk to pick up lunch.

One day, she seemed excited to see that one of the nearby establishments had turkey barbecue on the menu. I'd never had it, but as a barbecue sauce aficionado, I thought I would probably like it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Jim's Homemade Guacamole (with bacon).

When my husband first made his version of guacamole, I was surprised to see that he added bacon.

"That's not guacamole," I insisted.

He likewise insisted it came from a long-ago friend, who was Mexican. Over the years, when we'd eat in a Mexican restaurant, or have guacamole in other places, I would be quick to point out: "See. No bacon."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS  This cake is ready for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. Use your imagination and colored sanding sugar to create your own masterpiece.

This week's recipe isn't a recipe at all, but it is fun.

What you see in the photo is actually a birthday cake my daughter made, but the star and the red, silver and blue sanding sugar made me think it would be perfect for a July Fourth celebration.

You can use any size or shape cake, and any flavor. This was a chocolate cake with white icing in the center (a few spoonfuls of red and blue sanding sugar was mixed in to keep it festive). The icing is Chocolate Mocha.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chicken Murphy

Although my dad had been a professional chef when he and my mother married, he didn't work in that field while we were growing up. He cooked at home sometimes, but not as much as my mother, so we grew up thinking she was the real talent in the kitchen.

Truth is, they were both terrific cooks. The recipe I'm sharing here today comes from my dad, and it's one I first had when he put it on the menu at a restaurant where he worked before he retired. I loved it and I've made it ever since.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Kalua Pork

Ever been to a luau? Me neither. My husband, however, lived in Hawaii for many years and as a result we often use recipes he brought back to the mainland with him.

This dish is called Kalua Pork, and is an indoor version of the popular Kalua Pig, which is usually an entire pig buried into a deep pit and cooked underground.

I have no time or patience for that kind of thing, and I know for a fact that if I saw an entire pig cooking, I wouldn't eat pork for quite some time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS ABOVE: Still hot and bubbling right from the oven, Chicken Parmigiana is an easy weeknight dinner that's also perfect for company. BELOW: Our grandson Kyle is the latest family chef in a long line of cooks.

All of the men in my family are wonderful cooks.

My dad was a professional chef, my husband learned at his mother's knee and my son began making traditional family dishes when he was only 10 years old.

It's no surprise then that with our grandson Kyle visiting us for a few weeks, he would want to learn how to cook.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Grown-up Egg Cream

When I was a kid we would visit my mother's family in Bayonne, New Jersey, several times a month.

One of the things I looked forward to was visiting my Aunt Francie, because if I was really good, my cousin Grace would often take me across the street to the corner luncheonette for a chocolate egg cream.

I can still picture the lunch counter where we would sit on the tall metal stools with their thick padded seats, standing on our tiptoes to reach the tops of our straws.

Every few sips we might take a spin around on our stool until we were almost dizzy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Mimi's Hot Fudge Sauce

When I was in my early teens, my best friend Toni and I would often take the bus from New Brunswick, New Jersey, into Manhattan where we would go and visit her grandparents Mimi and Pampaw.

We'd arrive around suppertime on a Friday evening, and as soon as dinner was cleared away the ingredients were always waiting for us to make hot fudge sauce. In the freezer there was always a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream.

Never in my life have I had an ice cream topping that was this delicious.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Oven-Roasted Vegetables are super easy and super tasty.

We love vegetables, so figuring out ways to serve them so that my kids would eat them was never an issue.

Boiled, baked, fried, sautéed it didn't matter.

Which makes me wonder how it is, that up until a couple years ago, I had never had them roasted.

I don't know exactly why roasting vegetables makes them taste even better, but it does. They are sweeter and the flavors are just more intense. All you really need is a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper, and you have a terrific side dish.

This is perfect for feeding a crowd because it goes a long way.