Isn't it funny how your tastes change over time? When I was little, it was all about chocolate and peanut butter. I was baffled because my Gram and aunts all preferred lemon bars over chocolate chip cookies. There's probably something scientific about it though, because as I get older I just love lemon as well!
Warm out of the oven, and you'll fall in love with these wonderful cookies too! They absolutely MELT in your mouth! The edges are slightly crisp, the centers are chewy and tender. And with the trifecta of lemon flavor - fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and a nice splash of lemon extract, you'll definitely know these are lemon cookies!
I usually use our first rhubarb crop of the season for the first batch of our family favorite jam.
The tender shoots are a beautiful shade of pink, red and tart green, and the first jars of Rhubarb Jam are usually gone within days.
For next batches, as I get a little bit choosier for what to use my rhubarb for, I’ll add fresh raspberries and blackberries. They add nice texture and flavor to this thick, rich and flavorful jam. The combination of berries give it a deep, dark, sweet flavor, and the rhubarb adds just the perfect amount of tartness.
We actually moved all of our rhubarb plants from our fertile garden in Minnesota to Ohio when we moved years ago, and I add another plant to the row every year or so...we never seem to have enough! There is something so innately satisfying about harvesting fruit from plants that have been in the family for generations, I really feel a tug tying me back to my Mom and childhood when I make this wonderful Rhubarb Jam.
Pick your rhubarb early in the morning while the dew is still on it, and early in the season. As the summer months arrive, the stalks will become tough and woody, so you are better picking and freezing if you want to use later in the year.
This refrigerator jam is so stinkin' easy to make. Picking the rhubarb, washing & chopping, a short period of simmering and thickening, and you'll have half a dozen jars of sweet and delicious jam ready in no time.
There is nothing better on a nice sunny spring morning than warm English muffins smeared with butter and Rhubarb Jam!
Never has so much goodness come from such simple ingredients. Easy to chop and prepare, let it chill for an hour or so to chill and flavor deeply, and you have the perfect accessory for your fresh salmon, chicken breasts, or warm tortilla chips. Enjoy!
WOW! Make that UNBELIEVABLE WOW!
The gang was all over this when they saw the mangos and strawberries come out for the fresh salsa, but topped over chicken breasts that had been marinated overnight in a spicy salsa, we had huge bang for our salsa buck.
I've had this over fresh salmon as well, and it is incredibly delicious. So easy to make, and so pretty to serve. You'll get rave reviews just like Mama V did!
There wasn't a single piece left, but I think it would be pretty tasty sliced and added to a spinach salad the next day, just add some fresh sliced strawberries and you'll be good to go.
Everyone needs a go-to recipe for basic Oatmeal Raisin cookies, and these are our favorite! Nothing fancy, but just a simple chewy, soft cookie that is full of old-fashioned goodness.
These are the perfect homemade cookie - a soft and chewy texture, plump sweet raisins and tender pecan pieces, buttery brown sugar and cinnamon flavor throughout....perfection!
This cookie dough begins with creamed butter, dark brown sugar and granulated sugar. The sugar is not only for sweetening the cookie, but provides structure to the cookie.
I use slightly more brown sugar than white sugar because it contains more moisture than white sugar, and makes for a slightly caramelized and tender cookie. The little bit of molasses can hardly be detected, but it also adds to the wonderful flavor.
These are perfect warm from the oven with a tall glass of icy cold milk. And if you can pull a container of these out in the middle of a camping or boating trip, you will be a baking goddess!
For a little extra craziness, layer a small scoop of vanilla ice cream between two of these chewy cookies for a wonderful Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich; you can also crumble some of these cookies over butter pecan ice cream for a delicious treat.
Hope that you will enjoy as much as we do!
A few of my girls don't care much for beef, so a nice juicy chicken or turkey burger is right up their alley. This has become a family favorite thru the years - even our big beef eaters love these flavorful burgers for a change of pace.
If you have a hard time finding ground chicken or don't want to grind it yourself, you can substitute ground turkey and have a great tasting burger as well!
What is the first thing to disappear from a summer picnic or barbeque? Yup, our favorite Deviled Eggs! The flavorful creamy filling is best when topped with fresh chives from the garden - I'm just saying!
The rule at our house is the person that peels the eggs gets first dibs from the serving tray - a fair trade for the hardest job in making these treats!
After years of trying to find the secret to peeling hard boiled eggs, and dozens of tried but not true methods, we have finally found the secret, and it all boils down to science. Not baking soda, not cold water and cold eggs brought slowly to a boil, not salt in the water, not vinegar. Not heavy saucepans. Not fresh eggs, or eggs bought a week early and left to sit before making hard boiled eggs that peel easily. And certainly not plastic egg-peeling mechanisms that they sell on television. Not eggs chilled in cold water or in the fridge, or peeled immediately or left to cool for an hour. Yup. It's science.
Have you ever told a little white lie about an ingredient in something you make?
Gorgonzola. Blue Cheese. In a household of cheeseheads, nothing polarizes my family more than these cheeses. Love them, or hate them - it's usually just that simple. I happen to love both, and this spread is one of my favorites!
So I tried a little experiment today. When they asked what I was making, I neglected to mention one simple ingredient. After chilling for a few hours, I served this up with slices of fresh ciabatta multigrain artisan baguette.
Smooth cream cheese, crispy bacon, sweet apricot spread, delicate green onion and creamy gorgonzola cheese blend to make a flavorful and delicious treat. Everyone. And I mean EVERYONE, loved this spread. The platter was empty, and the bowl empty, before I finally shared my secret. My gorgonzola cheese haters were shocked, but it sure didn't slow them down!
Perfect with a glass of white wine, and perfectly wonderful! Bon appetite!
COOKING SCHOOL TIP: Always use fresh and creamy gorgonzola or blue cheese, and it is always better to crumble your own from an aged slice. When you buy pre-crumbled or pre-shredded cheese at the market, most have chemical additives to prevent the cheese from clumping together, which tends to dry out the cheese. Use fresh, creamy cheese to make this dip and other dressings for the best results.
Oh. My. Goodness. I have died and gone to heaven!
I thought this recipe looked interesting, and who doesn't love a nice, simple blondie. This is perfection - tender crust, incredible rich flavor, subtle chocolate and dreamy, creamy caramel, with just the lightest hint of sea salt sprinkled on top.
It took me all of 10 minutes to whip this together and put in the oven, and before too long the most wonderful aroma of chocolate chip cookies was wafting thru the air. I actually had to throw it in the fridge to chill FAST - the natives were getting restless waiting for me to slice this up and get it in their outstretched hands.
The caramel had actually created a surprise layer of caramel coating on the bottom - I was glad that I had lined my pan with non-stick foil before baking. The layers of blondie mixed with the caramel and chocolate brought gasps of delight from everyone that had one of these rich beauties.
If you ask my kids about their favorite fast food restaurant, they will all tell you CHIPOTLE! And part of what makes it so good are the fresh and flavorful ingredients. What's better than sweet caramelized peppers and onions, with an amazing smoky charred flavor? These are just like the pepper and onions you get at your favorite Chipotle Mexican Grill - only better!
And whether you like veggie fajita salads, steak burrito bowls, or a fully loaded burrito, they all have one thing in common - grilled peppers and onions! And to get that perfectly charred flavor with no grill, all you need is super high heat, a shorter cooking time, and uncovered food. The high heat chars the food surface; the shorter cooking time just comes naturally because the food cooks faster over high heat. And most importantly? Don't cover the food while it cooks. The onions and peppers release moisture in the form of steam when cooking, so if the vegies are covered, you'll end up with soft steamed vegies. Stir with a wooden spoon frequently to keep things cooking evenly. And as they char, they turn a delicious golden brown and have the most wonderful caramelized flavor! Tender and sweet - just the way we love them!
These are perfect for kicking off a Cinco de Mayo celebration! Add an icy Margarita, some friends and sunshine, and you're all set!
The filling can be made ahead using rotisserie chicken, and only takes a few minutes to prepare and bake when you are ready to serve.
This is a family breakfast favorite. We returned home from Amish country with loaves of fresh baked bread, the cinnamon cobblestone bread is a favorite for French Toast with its ribbon of cinnamon looping through the bread. When baked as French Toast, the cinnamon swirl melts into liquid cinnamon and tastes like a tender homemade fresh cinnamon roll. It is heavenly with just a light touch of warm maple syrup or dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!
COOKING SCHOOL TIP: Make sure that you lightly dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture if you are using fresh bread. If you are using a harder crust or day old bread, let the bread soak the egg mixture into it on both sides before cooking.
As much as I love the seashore and Northern Minnesota, one of our favorite places to escape to is beautiful Amish country. This week Skipper and I were celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary, so off we drove to one of our favorite cedar cabins in Berlin, Ohio.
We discovered Donna's of Berlin last winter, and looked forward to returning this spring to a cabin nestled into a hillside. A two-story stone fireplace and a bubbling Jacuzzi in a dormer window alcove in the lofted bedroom is everything we remembered. A bottle of champagne, fresh fruit basket and a selection of fresh homemade Amish cookies were waiting for us in our cabin. The trees were budding and spring flowers were just beginning to bloom, and the birds have never sounded happier!
I love cooking, and I love cabins, and we were totally spoiled here. Each morning a fabulous hot Amish home-cooked breakfast was delivered in a basket to our cabin. A mug of hot coffee and breakfast in front of a quiet fire is a wonderful way to start cool spring mornings! By day we pick up fresh produce, cheese and meat at the Amish farm markets and at night I can cook to my heart's content in the full kitchen. A glass of wine on the porch swing to watch the sunset and a candlelit dinner in front of a roaring fire, just the two of us, is about as perfect as it gets!
Skipper treated me to an afternoon of shopping at Lehman's, an Amish hardware and specialty store, that has some of the most fabulous cooking items you'll find anywhere. Pure, simple, honest cooking and baking - the old fashioned way! I usually leave here wanting to bake bread, churn butter AND plant a fabulous fruit and vegetable garden. I know...keep dreaming!
Before I forget...each cabin has a set of journals, and guests leave personal messages about their stay in the cabins. The weekend before our visit a couple was married in our cabin, and a week earlier a couple got engaged here as well. There is just so much ambiance and loving feelings in this cabin, it feels like coming home!
One of the earliest signs of Spring is the tender growth of asparagus spears breaking thru the spring soil. The Amish farm markets already have delicate asparagus spears for sale, and kale and rhubarb are starting to press their tender heads to the warm spring sunshine as well. In the city most folks are putting down lawn fertilizer and weed killer, but in the heart of Amish country the dandelions are young and tender, and being hand-picked for dandelion salad with buttermilk dressing and the beginning of dandelion wine.