Kitchen Projects

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when in doubt, bake sticky buns

I’ve been busy. It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Head down, trying to make a dent in the perpetual to do list. There has been a lot of cooking, but nothing of any particular interest. Just the old favorites, pantry friendly, quick meals that satisfy and don’t demand. It’s also the time of year I begin to evaluate the previous year of preservation. Will I need more tomatoes next year? Are the pints as useful as the quarts? That urge to pickle asparagus not once, not twice, but three times has resulted in a dozen jars still to go. And asparagus season is only moments away. Lesson learned. Peach jam doesn’t get used, but peach pie filling does. Raspberry jam, plain and simple, is […]

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a dozen lemons and twelve eggs

When Meyer lemons are in season, recipes for lemon curd seem to be everywhere – in magazines, cooking shows and blogs, and every other place you can imagine. It’s citrus season and curds are a natural way to preserve the goodness. A good grapefruit curd is a treat, and satsuma and tangerine are eye-popping in both color and sweet tart Creamsicle goodness. But, Meyer lemon’s herbal tones match beautifully with the rich egginess of curd in a way that Eureka lemons, and the rest of those citrus just can’t muster. Don’t let the citrus season go without making some lemon curd. If you have time, try some other versions, but really, your pantry should not be without lemon curd. You can make curd in about […]

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having a boule with bake together

Abby Dodge is one of the most talented bakers and cookbook writers around. Her (nine!) cookbooks are friendly and supportive companions in the kitchen, from the approachable and incredibly clever Desserts 4 Today (four ingredient desserts that taste like so much more) to The Weekend Baker, a sensational collection of recipes that harken back to Abby’s days as a pastry chef. Now that you know her name, you’ll see her pieces in Fine Cooking and other food magazines, and check out her blog for the  #baketogether project. This easy-going baking project has been swirling around the twitter/facebook world for a few months. I would see people tweeting about it at hashtag #baketogether, but with all the meat-making going on over here, there was no time […]

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slow cooker challenge. i feel good about lamb neck.

I’ve had an on again off again relationship with my slow cooker. I purchased it at a small neighborhood hardware store in Pittsburgh, sometime during my senior year in college (when the dinosaurs walked the earth.) For years, it was my go to appliance, making soups and chilis while I toiled at an office. When I started to work from home, I needed it less, and it was relegated to a dusty shelf in the basement, moving from one house to the next, mostly ignored. From time to time, for big parties, I would bring it out and make chili con queso, using a recipe I made up when it was the perfect food to watch the Steelers win Super Bowls. More recently, the crock […]

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from the depths of the freezer, blueberry cardamom syrup and corny waffles

I’m pleased to report from the front lines of 2012 flavor forecasting. McCormick Spices invited me to a webinar to learn all about the new flavor profiles they’re anticipating for 2012. McCormick Test Kitchen Chef Mark Garcia developed modern flavor combinations – six different trends – with enticing names like Honoring Roots (the Korean flavors look awesome) and  Flavorful Swaps (where a grapefruit/cayenne combo stands in for lemon pepper – cool, right?) It’s the first time McCormick has gone global, and it’s really exciting. The McCormick folks also asked a few bloggers to think about these flavor profiles and how they might influence our menus. Please check out and LIKE the McCormick Spices Facebook site for new ideas and so many great recipes. The blueberry-cardamom-corn […]

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rugelach. naughty or nice.

There are many cookies in my repetoire. Chocolate and ginger, biscotti, florentines, the sort of famous peanut butter cookies. But, rugelach I’ve made for years. It started early with my great-grandmother Agatha, who taught me to roll up rugelach for the Temple Sisterhood bake sales. It was one of those recipes I made all through college, baking in the toaster oven in the dorm kitchen. It’s a great cookie, lasts a long time (sure it does….) and can be mixed, rolled up and baked off without having to go to the store for any special ingredients beyond a brick of cream cheese. In fact, it was a review of the larder and an obvious overload of preserves last year that got me thinking about rugelach […]