Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Happy Easter

April 4, 2010

May your day be as sweet as this.

Available, with many other yummies, at Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield, Mass.

Thanks, Easter Bunny!


Creative Cooking

July 5, 2008

Meet blogger Elizabeth, who can be found on other days at Wearing Stilettos, Living On a Farm, which is, without a doubt, my favorite blog name of all time. Second favorite might be Not Yet a Girl, Not Yet a Wino, but I digress and this is Elizabeth’s post today, not mine!

* * *

I have kindly been asked to guest blog for Anna while she takes a hiatus from the blogging (and actual) world. I am beyond flattered that I would even be on the list to choose from for guests, and to be asked by Anna herself has pretty much made my week. (It was a week in much need of “being made,” too.)

It seems as though I should be writing about Anna or about our friendship, but in all honesty I didn’t know her very well until after we didn’t work in the same place anymore. I knew her well enough to know that she was a delightful person, a great writer and someone that I should be friends with, but alas, our friendship was virtually created. Literally. (don’t judge me by my puns)

From the beginning of my venture into the blog world, with Hank & Willie as one of my guides, she has commented frequently on my posts and offered supportive, funny, insightful, and just plain kind words. For that I am very grateful.
But enough with stroking her ego.
Let’s talk about the one of the several things we have in common. Food.

I adore Food Fridays. I love reading recipes, cutting them out, adding them to my stacks of recipes (one day to be compiled…yeah…) and thinking about for whom I will make them. I have an entire shelf devoted solely to cookbooks: the must-have Joy of Cooking; Tim Allen’s Food You Love; Alton Brown’s book; sushi, Chinese, Mexican, Italian all with their own books; the Betty Crocker classic cook book (with yellowed pages and all!); Cooking for One; later traded for Cooking for Two (don’t hold your breath for the next installment). I love cookbooks. I love food. I love reading about food and making plans to cook for my husband, my family, & my friends.
Here’s the thing. I don’t EVER use a recipe! I make it all up in my head. I take something basic and doctor the heck out of it until it tastes like it should.
With recipes I get bored. I get distracted. It’s one of the few moments when ADD makes an appearance in my life. And recipes stress me out. Too much thinking! Big “T” vs. Little “t”! AH! It can destroy your entire dinner. I prefer “dashes” and “pinches” and “what does this need more of?” If I’m following a recipe I’m bound to miss that line that says “1/2 c of soy sauce”. Can you imagine? No one would ever trust me in a kitchen.
In fact, I wasn’t trusted in a kitchen for awhile.

To this day, my brother-in-law is a little apprehensive about my cooking and I don’t blame him. I didn’t trust me either for a goof long time after the Great Garlic Bread Fiasco of 1996.
Ingredients included:
1 loaf of Italian Bread cut in half (long ways)
Melted butter
Garlic Powder
Some of the green flaky stuff that is always on garlic bread.
How can you mess that up?
Simple. Assume that Garlic Powder & Garlic Salt are the same thing.
So I think it best to stick with my culinary brain and leave my culinary books for reading and daydreaming. Everyone is safer that way, I’m sure. And not to toot my own horn, but since I gave up cookbooks, my cooking has been amazing. The downside? It’s hard to make the same dish twice.

But that’s just another kitchen adventure.

Food Friday: Liveblogging Recipe Roulette

March 14, 2008

I have NO idea what we’re having for dinner tonight.

When I’m on my game, I kind of have a rough idea what the week looks like, but this week I’ve been decidedly off my game with a big work crunch, so it has been willy-nilly, who-needs-to-eat-anyway all week long.

I feel like I’ve made most of my regulars recently, and while I have a wall full of cookbooks and a computer bulging with recipes, sometime the option to choose is just TOO MUCH. I kind of just need to pick one and be DONE with it.

Welcome to recipe roulette. I’m going to open the closest cookbook to a random page, and make what is on that page for dinner. Here we go…looks like we’re working from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Specials (More than 275 recipes for soups, stews, salads and extras). I never have all the ingredients I need for one of these recipes, but we’ll see…

Chilled Strawberry Soup

“Hard to imagine anything better on a hot summer’s day than this light, rosy chilled strawberry soup.”

And hard to imagine anything less suited to this grey, damp March day. Let’s try this again.

Broccoli Rabe and Rice Soup


I’m not feeling the Moosewood vibe today. I’m going to try 1,000 Lowfat Recipes (Remember, I like to save my calories and fat for dessert.)

Which brings us to Split Pea and Smoked Turkey Soup.

No. Just…no. I’m all for low fat, but replacing ham with smoked turkey?

This is harder than I thought. I will now limit my search to the entree section and…


Chicken and Apple Curry (from 1,000 Lowfat Recipes by Terry Blonder Golson)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (I like Zanzibar Curry Powder by UK spice company Seasoned Pioneers)

1 cup diced tomatoes (can use canned, I will!)

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup raisins

2 tablespoons chutney

3 tablespoons lowfat sour cream

1. Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the chicken until white and in some places brown on all sides, but still pink in the middle. Remove to a plate.

2. Add remaining oil, saute the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Stir in the garlic, ginger, coriander curry powder and cook until the aromas intensify, about two minutes. Stir in tomatoes and apples. Cook until apples begin to soften.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients except the sour cream. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the sour cream and serve. Good over rice.

Per serving:

303 calories, 29g protein, fat 5, fiber 4g, sodium 413mg

Now, tell me what the heck YOU’RE having for dinner!

Food Friday: Some “leftovers” from 2007

January 4, 2008

Food Fridays are back, after some serious slacking in the blogging department from me, or perhaps we can just call it a RESEARCH sabbatical. Which was very productive—oh, the research I did. Thus, before we move into the realm of new recipes for 2008, let’s review a few outstanding points from 2007.

Warm Croissant Chocolate Pudding

After my snide question to the universe—who has stale croissants?—my sister, married to the man who gave me the recipe for this sweet dish, provided me with two boxes of bakery fresh croissants for the express purpose of letting them go stale. And since I had plenty of other holiday things to eat, I looked at them longingly for a moment and then stuffed them in my bread drawer and let them grow stale. And made it last night. DEAR GOD. It is that good.

I did modify it a bit. I couldn’t bear the thought of using FIVE cups of cream, and I didn’t have eight ramekins, so I used Henry’s whole milk and put it all in a casserole dish, baking it for an extra ten minutes or so. I used double-strength Madagascar vanilla from Penzey’s (thanks, S, S & T!) and Guittard’s bittersweet chocolate wafers from King Arthur’s (thanks Santa!). When it is this cold out, these calories go straight to your brain to think of creative ways to survive, so don’t even worry about the calories sticking to your thighs. TRY IT!

Oh, and the brownies

I stand before you a humbled baker. (And like a true PR person, I’m getting out ahead of this story, breaking it on my own terms and on a Friday after the morning news cycle and during a busy news period. That’s just a little joke for my PR friends.)

A third recipe has emerged, and has possibly edged out Hank & Willie’s Triple Chocolate Brownies, according to the data I compiled from my testers at Christmas. My friend Sarah, a Bryn Mawr graduate, has shared with me the brownie recipe of one of her fellow alumnae, the late Katherine Hepburn, and darn if it isn’t good. REALLY good.

It isn’t quite as oozy and gooey as the H & W brownies—which perhaps should just get out of the brownie business and be rechristened as flourless chocolate cake and served in slender wedges with a raspberry and a sprig of mint—but the new brownie is a darn good brownie with the perfect amount of chewiness and a great papery crust. And so easy, I SWEAR, this is as easy as a mix (no melting of chocolate) and they are better. AND I hope you realize the personal growth it takes to crow about brownies OTHER THAN MY OWN.

Without further ado I present to you:

Kate Hepburn’s Brownies

Note: I skipped the nuts, because they interfere with my chocolate experience, and only baked them for 37 minutes because I was so nervous about overbaking. I recommend both.

1/2 cup cocoa

1 stick butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 cup broken-up walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add sugar, flour, nuts, vanilla and salt. Pour into a greased 8×8 square pan. Bake 40 minutes. “Don’t overbake!” says the late Kate. They should be gooey. Let cool (an essential step) and cut into bars.

(Click here for the letter in the NY Times about the recipe and how it came to circulate among the unwashed masses. Best read while eating said brownies.)

And with that, we can finally move on to things that aren’t constructed solely of butter, sugar and dreams. I wouldn’t want you all to get scurvy or anything, and plus, SIGH, it is January and we ought to back off the butterfat for at least a few weeks. Next week, something SAVORY and good for you, I PROMISE.

For the love of Christmas cookies

December 15, 2007

So, I love Christmas cookies. LOVE them. And I plan to enjoy them wholeheartedly this year, because last year? Was Christmas with no egg, no dairy and no soy. And while my family came through with AMAZING substitutions (email me if you need help in that department), I still will be enjoying a healthy, if you will, dose of butterfat this year.

But anyway, that is where you come in, dear readers. I want your cookie recipes.

Please post a favorite Christmas cookie recipe in the comments, or on your site and post the link or if you scavenged it from out there in the interwebs, then share the love and post a link to that. PLEASE.

Consider it your little Christmas present to Hank & Willie, and think of the amazing cookie resource we can create. Bakers of cookies like Granny Annie’s Bourbon Balls, Jayne’s Toffee and Shannon’s Rum Balls, I’m talking to you.

Because I NEED those recipes this year.

Here’s a few on my list:


Photo by Smitten Kitchen

Homemade Oreos from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve had the exquisite priveledge of enjoying these baked by TWO Hank & Willie readers, Clink and Lorraine. Send ’em along if you want me to taste YOUR version. I’m a very appreciative audience.


Photo by Milk & Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies, originally by Martha, as adapted over at the delicious food blog, Milk & Cookies. I agree with the adaptation, because I don’t find much call for milk chocolate in my life.


Peppermint Checkerboards by Julie, via Cookies Unlimited.

Peppermint Checkerboards, as seen in Cookies Unlimited. Version here made by Julie at A Little Pregnant who says, “I modified Malgieri’s vanilla sablé recipe by replacing half of the vanilla with peppermint extract, and then dyeing the holy Christmas shit out of half of the dough.”

And then finally, the mother lode of Christmas cookies, here at Food Blogga — a collection of Christmas cookies from readers around the world, updated daily. You even have a chance to win a dessert cookbook, Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard. So AFTER you post your recipe here, head over to Christmas Cookies Around the World to post yours and enter to win this yummy-looking cookbook. Mmmm….

Here’s what I’m entering over there:


(Recipe and illustration by Susan Branch, Christmas from the Heart of Home)

I’ve been making these delicious, easy butter cookies for YEARS, and if you make no other cookie, make this one. It can be anything—twist this dough into candy canes, roll it out (chill it mercilessly first) and use your cookie cutters, put it in a pastry bag and squirt it through a # 2 star tip, or roll it all into one giant snake, roll it in sprinkles or mini chips or coconut and slice and bake into perfect rounds….you get the idea. The dough does need to be really well chilled to work with, though. All that butter, you know.

Annie Hall’s Butter Cookies

2 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, even the hand-held kind, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla, mix well. Suft flour and salt together and beat into butter mixture until well mixed.

When ready to bake use an ungreased cookie sheet (I use my Silpat liners, but not required.) and place cookies about one inch apart. Bake for about ten minutes, but do not brown them. Remove cookies from cookie sheet while still warm and cool on sheets of waxed paper.

Get thee to a kitchen and start baking, folks! But not before you post what you’re baking here.

Food Friday: Chocolate Croissant Pudding

December 7, 2007

Since I, apparently, am still recovering from a month of daily posts, my sister and her husband have taken matters into their own hands to be sure you all get what you come here for, whatever that is.

So today I bring to you a few historical Christmas tidbits and a recipe for Warm Chocolate Croissant Pudding, four words you and your thighs NEVER KNEW could be used in the same sentence.

And a few more Food Friday details: Shannon has asked for some input on pot roast, and I have a line on that, but need to do some cooking to check it out first, and besides, HELLO, this is December and our chance to ingest as much butterfat as possible. So Shan, we’ll do that in January.

Also, in the brownie department, I have tested the third recipe, and it will be revealed to the H&W readers in due time. Once I see what Casey comes up with to mentor me into making her brownies the right way. We’ll be testing them all at Christmas time at Casa Hank & Willie, so hold off on those January 1 diets for a little bit.

So here you go, from the historians in my family, a few Christmas dinner suggestions from the person who brought Christmas trees into fashion. (Queen Victoria, not my sister).

It is interesting to note that in 1899, Her Majesty Queen Victoria had the following amongst other items for her Christmas buffet:

Baron of beef

Boar’s head

Game pie

Woodcock pie

Brawn roast fowl



And now to wipe that from your palate, without further ado, I present to you Comfort in a Ramekin, also known as


8 stale croissants, cut into cubes
8 squares (1 ounce each) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 cups heavy cream
1 ¼ cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Vanilla ice cream

Grease eight 10-oz glass or ceramic ramekins and place on rimmed baking sheet. Divide cubed croissants among prepared ramekins. Sprinkle chopped chocolate over and around croissants. In a large bowl whisk cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Divide egg mixture among the ramekins, using a rubber spatula to push croissant pieces into liquid so they absorb the mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking sheet on the top rack and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top of the puddings are browned and puffed. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Supposed to serve 8 people, but they better be very, very hungry!

What I really want to know is: who has stale croissants? There might be a fatal flaw in this recipe, but I’m willing to try and make this work.

See you next week for Christmas candy and cookies, yum!



Stuffing, anyone?

November 17, 2007

So I have a fantastic Thanksgiving assignment, and I KNOW you all can help me out. I need to make a fun, interesting stuffing and I don’t think I’ve ever used a recipe, but instead just added things willy-nilly. You know, a little sage here, a little dried cranberry there— and pretty soon you’re talking about something more than plain old bread stuffing. And I take stuffing very seriously, I might even call it the best part of the meal.

So hit me—I might not even have to head to if you all come through for me. Post in the comments or link to a great stuffing recipe for me, wouldya?

Oh, and I am pretty sure I would never introduce an oyster into my precious stuffing, so no need to post those.

(And thanks, Roxy, for the inspiration for today’s post.)