Buttermilk Cornbread

This recipe comes from a blog called the Tasting Table. The blog has all sorts of recipes and tips for foodies across the country. This recipe is from the Carriage House in Chicago. It is baked in a 12″ cast iron skillet but I did not have that size so I divided it between a 10″ and 8″ cast iron pan and it worked out fine. Let it cool before serving and slicing.

Buttermilk cornbread

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal

1 T. baking powder

3/4 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

pinch of cayenne, or more

1 1/2 sticks melted butter plus 2 T. butter for the skillet

Set a 12″ cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until frothy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the buttermilk, sour cream and honey. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne. Stir the flour mixture into the sour cream buttermilk mixture. Stir in the melted butter and mix until well combined. Remove hot cast iron pan from oven, add 2 T. butter and swirl around to evenly disperse the butter. Pour in the batter, even the top of it with a knife of spoon. Bake 25 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese

The perfect comfort food! This is Martha’s recipe via Food 52’s blog. If you haven’t gone to this blog before, check it out. It is chock full of fabulous recipes! I omitted the bread crust as I did not want it! Feel free to do the same, or not!

Macaroni and cheese

Serves 12

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta shape)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter (alternately, melt butter in the microwave). Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and reserve.
  2. Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
  4. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it’s not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This recipe is from Relish magazine that has a ton of great recipes. It is super easy to make. I used a can of black beans and frozen corn. The lime cilantro vinaigrette gives it a very fresh flavor!

Southwestern quinoa

1 cup quinoa, cooked accordingly

1 can black beans, drained

2 cups corn (frozen is fine, cook for 2-4 minutes in water)

1 orange or red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

6 T. fresh lime juice

2 t. ground cumin

1/2 t. chili powder

1 t. salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Let quinoa cool after cooking. Mix drained beans, cooked corn, bell pepper and jalapeño. Add quinoa. Mix lime juice with spices and add olive oil. Pour over salad and add cilantro.

Alice B. Toklas Chicken

This is a wonderful recipe from Peggy Knickerbocker‘s book Simple Soirees! I love the ease of this recipe. The sauce is delicious! I think you could reduce the olive oil and butter in browning the chicken as it is hard to degrease it when making the sauce, unless you have one of those handy grease separator cups. The chicken cooks up to perfection and is super moist! Serve with roasted potatoes and garlic spinach.

Alice B. Toklas chicken

1 medium roasting chicken, about 3.5 lbs


2 T. unsalted butter

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup ruby port or sherry

1/2 cup orange juice

3 T. heavy cream

zest of 1 orange, grated

salt and freshly ground black pepper

When you bring the chicken home from the market, unwrap it and sprinkle it generously with salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. Bring the bird to room temperature before cooking. Do not rub off the salt.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven, warm the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken breast side down for 3-5 minutes, then turn over and do the same on the other side. Place pan in oven and roast for 45 minutes. Pour the port over chicken and baste it. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the orange juice and baste again. Roast for 5 minutes. Chicken is done when the juices run clear and the thigh wiggles easily. Remove the chicken from oven and transfer to a cutting board and let it rest, while you make the sauce.

Skim as much fat off the top of the juices as you can and discard. Place pan over medium heat and add the cream, stirring up the crispy bits on the bottom. Add about half of the orange zest and allow sauce to reduce for a few minutes. Carve the chicken and transfer to a serving platter. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken, transfer the rest to a gravy boat and serve at the table. Sprinkle with remaining orange zest.

The Best Oatmeal Cookies

This comes from a great blog called Whipped. I make the cookies a little smaller than she suggests in the recipe. Anyway you make them, they are delicious!

Uncooked Oatmeal cookies 

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cups raisins
3/4 cups dried cranberries (or use 1 1/2 cups of regular raisins)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine well. In a separate bowl beat room temperature butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and combine. Add the flour mixture little by little, mixing until fully incorporated. Use a large wooden spoon to mix in the oats and the raisins and cranberries.

Put the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare your baking sheets, lining each one with parchment paper. After about 10-15 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and spoon out large scoops of dough making balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Place 6 balls on each pan, no more so they won’t be too close together. Lightly press each ball to make a disk that is about 1/2 inch thick.

Oatmeal Cookies

Baking the cookies for 10-12 minutes, turning them half way through. When you remove them from the oven, the edges should be lightly brown and the inside should look uncooked. Leave the cookies on the hot pan for 10 minutes you take them out of the oven where they will continue to cook a bit firming up the center.

Vietnamese Beef Stew

This recipe is from the WSJ and worth making. The meat is super tender and I love the spices! I could not find lemongrass at Whole Foods (!) so I used some kaffir lime leaves instead and some lemon zest.

Vietnamese Beef Stew

2 to 2.25# well trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks

2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 3″ lengths and bruised with the back of the knife

3 T. fish sauce

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3 T. fresh ginger, minced

1 1/2 t. Chinese five spice powder

1 1/2 t. light or dark brown sugar

1 bay leaf

3 T. canola or other neutral oil.

1 yellow onion or 8 oz. shallots, finely chopped

1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree

1/2 t. salt

2 whole star anise

3 1/2 cups water

1# carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks

1/4 c. cilantro or thai basil, chopped

In a bowl, combine the beef, lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and bay leaf. Mix well and let marinate for 30 minutes.

In a heavy bottomed 5 quart dutch oven, heat oil over high heat and sear beef on all sides. You will have to cook in batches and remove to a plate when finished. Each batch should take about 3 minutes total.. Reserve lemongrass, bay leaf and leftover marinade. Lower heat to medium low and saute onions for 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook 12-14 minutes, until fragrant and has reduced to a paste. If it gets dry, stir in a splash of water. Add beef, marinade and star anise, stir well and cook uncovered 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, lower heat and cover for 1 1/4 hours. Add carrots and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered. Before serving,discard lemongrass,bay leaf and star anise.

Serves 4-6

Fennel Compote with tomatoes and olives

This recipe is from the NY Times and really simple and delicious. The author suggests to serve it on fish, however, I served it on pasta and it was wonderful

Fennel Compote


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel (or 2 smaller ones), trimmed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine, but drain excess liquid)
  • 1/2 cup big, plump olives, green or black or a combination, preferably unpitted
  • 1/4 cup capers, optional
  • 4 servings cooked fish, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


Put the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel and some salt and pepper, and without browning (adjust the heat as necessary), cook it down, stirring occasionally, until it’s quite soft, about 20 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic, and cook 1 minute, stirring.
Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, raise the heat a bit, and cook until the mixture is saucy, about 15 minutes. Serve as a side dish or top with a portion of cooked fish. Garnish with parsley.
4 servings