Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Wednesday, May 13, 2015
AP PHOTO Grilled red onions and shishito peppers with peanut sauce.

Much as I love my grill for the low-and-slow magic it works with a monster hunk of pork butt or a thick, beefy steak, I find it often shines brightest on more tender fare, such as peppers, corn and mushrooms.

Soft produce such as these blister and brown so nicely under the intense heat of the grill. They absorb the flavors of the smoke and char, and transform from something raw and watery to a savory and robust treat. So to kick off grilling season, I created a simple and fast grilled vegetable dish that would play up the smoke and char.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Not sure about the idea of beets in a cake? Believe it or not, you won't even know they are there. But you will know this is an incredibly moist and rich chocolate cake, and that's what matters.

Mom always said to eat your vegetables. So call this getting even ... Make her vegetables as a Mother's Day dessert.

Or maybe it's just the ticket for letting her know how much you listen to what she's always saying. We took beets and incorporated them into a delicious, moist and surprisingly rich chocolate cake. To up its lovability even more (because hey, your mom loves you) we added sweet-tart raspberries and serve the whole thing with a luscious buttermilk cream.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Mother's Day tea sandwiches.

Some moms want a spa day. Some moms crave chocolate. And some moms just want a little fancy pampering.

If your mom falls into that last category, consider throwing her a tea party this Mother's Day.

And it's so much easier than it sounds.

Brew up some of her favorite teas. Purchase some high-quality sweets some beautiful candies and chocolates, as well as some delicate cakes are ideal.

True to the tea party theme, everything should be small. So if you can't find small pastries, get some that are easily cut and divided.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Vegetarian Taco Cups

Throw the best fiesta around this Cinco de Mayo.

This Mexican holiday, which naturally falls each year on May 5, is a celebration of the day Mexico defeated the French army. It's also the perfect time to enjoy some of the delicious food inspired by that country's cuisine.

QVC's resident foodie and best-selling cookbook author David Venable has the most flavorful Mexican recipes around to celebrate.

Here are some of his favorite finger foods perfect for this year's fiesta.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Homemade vinaigrette dressing really is worth the effort.

Most people reach for prepared salad dressings because they just can't handle the thought of whipping up yet something else.

But homemade dressings are so much better, they really are worth the trouble. In just five minutes you can prep one big batch of dressing for the entire week.

So let's walk through the basics of vinaigrettes.

The standard recipe for a vinegar-based dressing calls for a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar (or other acid). But really that's just a starting point.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Mason jars provide a twist for this satisfying seven-layer salad.

Too often, a salad is served out of obligation. We feel it is something we have to do to make the meal complete, but really don't want to.

And too often that's why the salads we serve aren't all that great. We don't really care about them. Thing is, I love a well-made salad, and for me it is no obligation to either serve or eat one. This salad, for example, a seven-layer creation built in a canning jar. I love how they look. I love how they taste. I even like the process of assembling them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Amy Daderko Alexander dumps a mound of dough onto the work bench for kneading and separating into individually weighed balls.

It was the late Mary Matrician's recipe that started a tradition in the Panther Valley that's been going on since the early 1950s.

In the weeks preceding Easter members of Lansford's Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church gather in the basement to make Paska bread.

Back when they first started, Matrician, who was an active member of the parish, and fellow volunteers would make 25 loaves.

About 25 years ago, Helen Neifert took over the operation and doubled that. Eventually, she doubled it again, to 100 loaves in a day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Welcome spring with Brown Butter Asparagus with Pecans.

Remember the days when you knew spring was coming by the arrival of asparagus at the grocer?

These days, fresh asparagus is available almost all year. But still, my heart leaps with joy the first moment I see asparagus for less than $3 a pound. Then it is officially spring!

When asparagus is in season, I buy it weekly, both because it's so cheap and because it's incredibly versatile.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Go green for St. Patrick's Day

It's easy to be green with help from McCormick.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are a few recipes to help you celebrate.

The best part? You don't even need to be Irish!

Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes 24 servings

1 package (2-layer size) German chocolate cake mix with pudding

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup water

cup unsweetened cocoa powder

cup vegetable oil

1 bottle McCormick Green Food Color

3 eggs

2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Rotini with Creamy Burger Sauce

Sure, we're all trying to lose those pesky 10 or 15 or whatever pounds, but that's no reason to not keep a pint of heavy cream in the refrigerator.

Truth is, a little fat like that can go a long way to turning a basic dish into one that is exceedingly comforting.

Steak, for example, is dramatically improved with a cream-based pan sauce. Pureed vegetable soups taste like indulgences with just a bit of cream.

And don't even get me started about what it does for mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes.