Being the son and grandson of two excellent home and professional bakers, my mother and grandmother, I probably have a unique perspective on the Christmas season. As I've shared many times before, beginning in the first week of December those two wonderful cooks started their holiday baking, an expression of their philosophy that you could never...Read more
A gift of wine this holiday season is special on its face because it's personal. It's also a minefield for those choosing the gift. Those with little wine experience will have doubts about the quality or the price. Even those who know what they like in a wine might be reluctant to assume others will share their enthusiasm.
I will attempt to ...Read more
I love making food presents to gift my dear friends as the year ends. I've made caramelized nuts, all-purpose seasoning salt and cakes galore. This year I'm going for cookies. You, too, can make these recipes for a cookie exchange or as a gift. Look for small, airtight, holiday decorated canisters, or pile them into a food-safe cellophane bag ...Read more
Layering the ingredients in this coffee cake recipe right into the pan lets you skip the steps of making the batter and the nut topping separately. To make this healthy one-bowl dessert so it can be served like "pull-apart" rolls, dollop 16 equal portions of batter over the nuts. If you don't want to fuss with that, dollop the batter on top ...Read more
Blended soups are perfect when it's cold outside. And I especially love soups with a hint of spice to tickle the throat. Not only is this soup simple to make, but it also freezes well, kids love it, and it goes well with one of my favorite foods: toast! Best of all, if you have a bunch of ...Read more
If I could bake just one thing during the holiday season, it would be this coffee-spiked chocolate cake topped with a sea of crushed peppermint candies. It's a humble cake that couldn't be easier to whip up on a weeknight. It has a balanced richness and a pillowy-soft texture, and it's right...Read more
We all know the history of Funfetti, a rainbow-hued twist on a boxed cake mix, thanks to the folks at Pillsbury way back in 1989. It was revolutionary because, instead of using the packet of sprinkles to decorate the outside of the cake, bakers were instructed to mix them into the batter.
When I was little, I attended a Catholic grade school. I learned about St. Nicholas Day from the nuns. I brought my new-found knowledge home to my mom and she went right along with it.
I was really into gifts (still am), so when the nuns told me you were supposed to put your shoes by the front door and gifts would appear the next morning, I was...Read more
Macaroons are simple to mix, quick to bake and gluten-free. They're easy to wrap, to stack and drop at Temple Sinai Synagogue, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, a few blocks from the Tree of Life. Hard to know how many will show up for the first Shabbat since the Oct. 27 shootings that left 11 dead. But bakers are guessing a lot. ...Read more
Many Italian foods are so familiar they almost seem like American foods.
If you ask a child where pizza is from, he is likely to say the United States. And the same goes for spaghetti and lasagna. Gelato, too.
No wonder Italian food is still the most popular ethnic food in America.
So it was natural -- inevitable, really -- that I would wrap ...Read more
You can never have enough sparkling wine -- in any month, let alone December. Besides New Year's Eve, you also have Christmas, Christmas Eve, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Winter Solstice, Bette Midler's birthday, the 200th anniversary of Illinois statehood, and probably a bunch of other important events I am leaving out. Plus, think of all ...Read more
One of the annual class projects at the Midwestern boarding school where I grew up was making maple syrup. After collecting sap from the local stand of sugar maples, we'd stay up all night, boiling the stuff into syrup in a wood-burning contraption we'd set up near the decrepit tennis courts. Then we'd celebrate the season's haul with a pancake ...Read more
DETROIT -- Planning on doing some holiday baking? Don't overthink the recipe and do what you can ahead of time.
That was the resounding message delivered Nov. 18 at the third annual Whisked: A Holiday Baking Event presented by the Detroit Free Press and the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers.
The sold-out event drew a crowd of more than 120 to the ...Read more
SEATTLE -- Melissa Miranda, the Filipino-American chef at Bar del Corso, never understood why her mother and grandmother, great cooks both, never wrote down their recipes.
Other immigrant parents didn't either, she realized.
They never wrote recipes on index cards and assiduously filed them, like those stolid Midwestern Lutheran mothers. They ...Read more
If you want something crunchy that isn't bad for you, these green pea snack crisps are the perfect thing to reach for. The first ingredient is green peas, so they have to be healthful, right? They actually are. They are low in fat and sugar and have no cholesterol, 130 calories and 5 g protein per serving. The flavors of garlic and Parmesan are ...Read more
Hanukkah has one particular distinguishing characteristic to its traditional celebration foods: They are cooked in oil. That pays homage to the one-day supply of oil that miraculously kept the sacred lamp burning for eight days after Jewish patriots recaptured the temple in Jerusalem back in the 2nd century B.C.
This traditional ...Read more
Chances are good that sometime over the next month or so, someone will put a glass of bubbly in your hand and offer up a Champagne toast.
What's in the glass might be Champagne. Or maybe not. No matter; it's all good. 'Tis the season, after all. What's important is the festive spirit inspired by sparkling wines served during the holiday ...Read more
I am big on fried potato pancakes (latkes) to celebrate Hanukkah. They never disappoint! But because they're fried, I like making lighter desserts for the holiday; and this quintessential American bistro dessert is a snap to prepare.
Sometimes called a galette in French cooking, this free-form tart has endless variations, and I ...Read more