Tuesday, March 31, 2015
     

Comfort and Joy

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Asparagus Frittata with Ham and Cheese

With spring just around the corner, I wanted to focus on a recipe that featured that cruciferous harbinger of the season: asparagus.

One of my favorite ways to feature seasonal vegetables is in a frittata. Added bonus? It's a one-dish meal.

I found a basic recipe, and as usual, decided to mix it up. It called for a cheese I don't like and a few herbs I also didn't care for. I decided to add some ham for added protein, and Swiss cheese, just because.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS California Chocolate Bark and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Cabernet Merlot is a perfect pairing of wine and chocolate.

A few years ago my daughter and son-in-law went to a wine and chocolate tasting hosted by local wine expert Bart Springer, while my husband and I baby-sat.

When they got back to the house, the two of them were brimming with excitement, and my son-in-law, Chris, who has become quite a decent winemaker since then, couldn't wait to demonstrate some of what they'd learned in the class.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chicken with Soft Rice

My husband, Jim, gets 100 percent of the credit for this recipe. It's another of his winners. He's had lots of those, as well as some real stinkers. (I still shiver when I think of the bacon-flavored spaghetti sauce.)

This is a really tasty dish for a cold winter night, and it really hit the spot.

We had it for dinner Sunday, and I had leftovers twice this week, it was that good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Lemon Chicken

I love lemon. My husband hates it. He ate a green chicken hanging in the open air market in Thailand, but turns up his nose at a nice tart lemon. His mouth even starts to pucker at just the thought of eating a lemon.

Funny thing is, he loves this lemony chicken and the last time we ate it, I didn't see him pucker once.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Cream of Mushroom Soup

When the weather outside is frightful, I think soup is most delightful.

That was certainly the case this past Saturday, and the next few days promise more of the same.

This mushroom soup is another one of my favorites. It's a very rich soup, so we don't eat it too often, but when we do, it pairs well with some nice, crusty bread and a salad with lightly dressed, flavorful greens, such as chicory or arugula.

If you're looking for a more substantial meal, however, you can always have it as your first course.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Left-over Christmas ham baked with pineapples and a simple glaze.

When my husband and I honeymooned in Williamsburg, we brought back with us a smoked Virginia ham. It was wrapped in a cloth bag and we hung it from the ceiling in our small apartment kitchen.

When I unwrapped it four months later on Christmas Eve I was horrified to find out that it not only had spots of mold on it, I needed to scrub it, then soak it overnight, and then scrub it again in the morning with a stiff brush before cooking it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Fred Pattie's Peanut Butter Patties are a Christmas tradition.

I once knew a man whose name was Fred Pattie. His wife's name was Patty Pattie. I'm not kidding.

But wait, it gets better.

Fred Pattie, who was an over-the-road trucker, made the most amazing candy, which he would give as gifts during the holidays.

My favorite? Peanut Butter Patties. This candy tastes just like those iconic, round favorites we all love.

Ever since Fred gave me that recipe, this candy has been a holiday staple in my house, and now my kids even make it, and not just for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

My mother made the same Christmas cookies every year. She might add one or two different varieties, but there were always the ones we could count on: "S" Cookies, Dusan Confections, Caramel Spritz and Cappuccino Flats.

Mom's Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies, however, were everyone's favorite. (Except me, mine are the "S" Cookies.) My kids love them and my friends always ask for the recipe. I think if we didn't have them on the cookie plate on Christmas Eve, there would be a revolt in the house.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Country superstar's new  book an entertaining dream

Things get hectic this time of year. Not only are we looking for gifts, we're also looking for fun, easy ways to entertain.

Because we're so busy, we also want to make simple weeknight meals because other than those marathon cooking days, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, we just don't have time to spend in the kitchen.

I think Martina McBride might have the answer to your problems.

The country singer superstar recently published a beautiful cookbook and entertainment guide that offers an array of recipes for special gatherings and family-friendly options.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Deliciously Decadent Macaroni and Cheese

I've never been one to believe that comfort food has to be rich and fattening to be satisfying. Usually, for me at least, it's all about the memories that food evokes.

I get just as excited about a salad of curly endive dressed with red wine vinegar and lots of garlic as I do about a homemade cavatelli covered in a thick marinara.

But there are days when I want something that will make me feel good, at least when I'm eating it, even though I know the guilt will come soon enough.