Icelandic Chocolate Cake

The recipe is simple and like all good food, the quality of the ingredients determines the outcome of the finished cake. Do splurge on the chocolate and the Irish butter. Shhh--only the baker needs to know that this is a melt-in-the-mouth, six ingredient, ten minute to mix cake. 

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Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Pesto

 It is gratifying to to cook root-to-leaf and it showcases unimagined flavor possibilities. Roasting root vegetables such as carrots at high heat and serving them topped with their own gorgeous greens, these roasted carrots, inspired by Diva Bakes, a café in Kinsale, Ireland, are good for the earth, beautiful to look at, and good for you.

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Blueberry Cassis Galette

A specialty of Burgundy, France, crème de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur made from crushed woodland blackcurrants that are mixed with sugar and left to infuse in a neutral tasting spirit such as vodka. Natural companions, think of blueberries and cassis as the melody and harmony in this not too tart, just sweet enough galette.

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Autumn Muffins

A tribute to leaf peeping season, these fall pumpkin spice muffins are a gorgeous burnt orange color and fill the house with the spicy warm scent of autumn baking. Perfect for the Thanksgiving table, perfect as a snack, and perfect even when craved in February, this is an easy quick (under 5 minutes to mix up) bread recipe to be shared for generations among friends and family.

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Bavarian Pretzels

The perfect Oktoberfest pairing:, pretzels and beer. While the Germans are busy pouring steins of Hefeweizen and Kölsch, Americans prefer their pale ales and luckily, they all taste even better when accompanied by a perfectly textured salted home made pretzel. Tying the pretzels into the traditional form of a child crossing his or her arms in prayer (pretzels were, after all, invented by a Monk in 610 A.D.), is one of the many ways to enjoy this savory snack. A simple braided pretzel stick is also worthy of a gathering treat heralded as a sign of good luck, spiritual wholeness, and a sign of marriage prosperity.

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Honeycrisp Apple & Manchego Salad

Apples and cheese have been best friends for a very long time. This salad takes advantage of the pairing by combining the two amigos in a way in which it is difficult to tell the difference between the color and texture until both are delightfully in your mouth. Honeycrisp apples are juicy and sweet and perfect for biting into raw. If you can wait, this salad might just win you power and influence among your food loving friends. It is particularly gorgeous nestled like a birds nest on a small Boston lettuce leaf. 

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Girl Pizza

Any creative way to disguise salad as pizza deserves applause. Pizzas are a great way to use up bits of this and that in the refrigerator. Arugula is a tough sale at many family tables--that is until it becomes pizza. Dubbed "girl" pizza because teenage boys think teenage girls eat a lot more "rabbit food" than they do. Nonetheless, these Girl Pizzas are served two at a time and eaten with the same gusto by all as a meat lover's pizza. 

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Concord Grape & Fig Brie

Concord grapes, also known as fox grapes, have dark-bluish, purple skin, perfectly round globes, and a heady aroma that makes these jewel-toned grapes gorgeous culinary companions. Simmered and sweetened, Concord grapes burst into an autumn garnet shade. Served alongside their fall harvest companions, roasted figs, these grapes transform into a season worthy celebration beginning plate to serve alongside some grower's champagne.

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Portuguese Cockles

Cockles are literally the sweet hearts of the shellfish world. Heart-shaped ribbed mollusks, they are prized for their petit, sweet, tender meat. A simple broth backdrop of parsley, garlic, and white wine proved just the right base for sopping up cockle flavored juices. While any dry, white wine may be substituted, a young slightly effervescent Portuguese  crisp, full-bodied, wood-aged white wine from the Vinho Verde region makes this bivalve dish authentic.

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Veronica's Thyme Peanut Chocolate Bark

Taking inspiration from her organic kitchen garden in the verdant Portuguese countryside, Veronica sprinkles organic bittersweet chocolate bark with lemon thyme and hand harvested sea salt. An after dinner treat featuring a delicate texture and gentle saltiness, this is a decadent, grown-up and nostalgic sweet thing.

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Summer Corn Soup

Americans have a love hate relationship with corn. Since Michael Pollan began educating consumers on the complex relationship between corn and most items on supermarket shelves, its reputation has suffered. This simple, delicious recipe rescues corn from complete bad boy status and puts it back in good graces—at least when consumed in moderation and only during its short summer season when local corn is in abundance.

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Basil Pesto (Nut Free)

Who would ever guess that basil is a member of the mint family? Mostly eaten as as a tomato and mozzarella enhancing herb, its medicinal qualities abound. Purported to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antibacterial culinary supplement, it certainly sounds like something truly good for you. Serve slathered on grilled bread, drizzled over roasted vegetables, stirred into pasta, or baked with eggs. This dish is summer at its peak. 

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Strawberry Jalapeño Champagne Soup

During the dog days of summer,  nothing beats a chilled, light, bright seasonal fruit soup. Local strawberries have a fleeting, short season, but are one of the most soul satisfying when eating at their sun kissed peak straight from the farmer's field or backyard garden, and onto the spoon.

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Zucchini Lattice Tart

A vegetable gardener's favorite, the prolific zucchini plant produces two edibles,  flowers and fruit. Picked when young and still relatively small, courgette is at its sweetest peak and flavorful best. Long, narrow ribbons of zucchini are easy to work with and make for a stunning lattice presentation for a savory tart with a combination of mild cheeses coaxing out the summer squash's sweet flavor.

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Huckleberry Jam

In the acidic mountain soil of the northwestern United States and Canada, the tiny, bluish-purple huckleberry fruit begins to ripen mid-August. The picking season might stretch for four weeks unless the bears beat you to them. Unlike its blueberry cousin, huckleberries must be hand-picked, and attempts to cultivate them have been unsuccessful. A pound of fresh huckleberries sells for about $20, the same price as filet mignon--huckleberries are a treat and, unless you plan to visit the alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains in late August, finding them fresh is next to impossible. Flash frozen berries, however, are available year-round and perfect for making jam. Beware! The intense sweet tart flavor of the huckleberry may spoil the senses. It just may become more than a once a year obsession.

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American Flatbread Salad Dressing

American Flatbread Pizza Company in Warren Vermont is one of the first to speak out about the importance of  food integrity and sustainability. It also happens to make the best wood fired pizza in America. No meal is complete without a healthy serving of the one salad on the menu. Thank you, George, for sharing this recipe nearly twenty years ago. 

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