Repurposing Thanksgiving Leftovers and Searching for the Perfect Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Every Black Friday, my husband’s family had the tradition of going Christmas tree shopping. We’d wake up at a reasonable hour (reasonable, that is, for Black Friday), mosey over to the Christmas tree farm together and each pick out that perfect tree for our family’s Christmas décor. Then afterward, we’d enjoy a delicious lunch of…

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Sage

Autumn collects synonyms.  It’s already the only season with two interchangeable names, and from there, its monikers multiply.  It’s also known as pumpkin season, apple season, cider season and more.  But how long has autumn been known as the season for all kinds of pumpkin-spiced food and beverages, from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ravioli to…

Chicken Cacciatore: The “Hunter’s Meal”

When my sister mentioned earlier this week that chicken cacciatore means “The Hunter’s Meal,” I knew I had to try making it again.  I’d first tried my hand at it when I was 22, a grad student freshly uprooted from family, cooking my way through the one cookbook I trusted.  Sometimes good things in life…

Dessert for Dinner: Brie Quesadillas with Peach Compote and Basil

In elementary school, I had a friend whose mom would make waffles for lunch.  Ricotta-cheese-stuffed waffles, topped with strawberries and maple syrup. I loved going to this friend’s house.  It was a magical world.  Outside, in the corner of their yard, you ducked under some wild rosebushes to reach a trail that led over a…

Set the Table for Spring with Cucumber Dill Salad & Black Bean Wraps

Whenever I have a chance to teach English courses, I like to talk about cliches.  “What are some of your favorite cliches?” I ask.  “Or some of the most bewildering?”  We write them down.  “Now, how can we freshen them up?  Make them more unexpected?” Cliches got their start because someone came up with a…

Frittata Time

I first discovered frittatas a few years ago when I needed to use up some fresh sage.  Sage, with its leaves like Lamb’s-Ear, seemed fancy enough for Martha Stewart, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook, a treasure my  aunt had given me for Christmas years earlier, and discovered a lovely sage-mushroom frittata. …

Thai Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce: A New Twist on a Pizza Tradition

I was probably about six the first time I can remember my mom baking her own pizza dough.  After that, it became a family tradition: Friday nights were pizza nights, and her homemade dough, stretched to the corners of a cookie sheet, formed the basis of creations the family sometimes helped to make. This week,…