When the holidays rolled around during my childhood, the festive treat I looked forward to most was quite simple: a mug of hot cocoa with a candy cane in it. The candy cane would dangle into the warm, milk chocolaty liquid, slowly melting away. Some sips were more cocoa-intense, while others were gently infused with candy cane flavor, but the mug always seemed to empty sooner than I expected, leaving me anxious for the next evening’s drinkable dessert.
This ice cream is an ode to those candy cane hot cocoa-filled nights of my childhood, bringing that warm drink to a new, delightfully creamy and frozen level.
Unlike the usual candy cane ice creams floating around there at this time of year, this one is not overloaded with peppermint, which seems to happen when the ice cream base is peppermint flavored or when chopped bits of candy cane are evenly distributed throughout the ice cream.
Instead, my version uses a chocolate ice cream base with a candy cane ribbon running through that base. (more…)
On those beautifully sunny winter days when it’s almost temperate outside, I long for the colorful, juicy produce of summer. In those moments, I often forget about the vibrant fruit available to spruce up winter salads, and I suspect others are guilty of making this same mistake.
Tart pomegranate seeds and sweet pears bring some crunch to this salad, while the pulpy sweetness of persimmons is balanced by peppery arugula the creamy saltiness of goat cheese. Tossed with a sweet, slightly tangy and herby Orange-Thyme Vinaigrette, this salad showcases the best flavors and colors that winter has to offer and gives summer salads a run for their money.
When I’m in the mood for tomato-based Italian pasta that’s a little more interesting (i.e. baked and cheesy) than spaghetti, I often turn to this classic baked ziti. This a great use for my 15-minute Simple Meat Marinara Sauce without requiring too much more effort, as most of the work is done by placing a baking dish in oven for a 35-minute sauna.
The beauty of baked ziti is that each bite features a different flavor, from rich tomato and meat flavors to creamy ricotta and mozzarella, while also providing textural contrasts between the saucy underside and the Parmesan-crusted, slightly crunchy topping. (more…)
I think every cook needs a quick and easy, pantry-friendly, go-to marinara sauce if only for those nights when grocery shopping just isn’t going to happen (and hasn’t happened for over a week). This simple five-ingredient, one-pot, five active and fifteen passive minutes version is mine, derived from one of those oh-shoot-what’s-for-dinner situations that occurs far more often than I’d like to admit.
Made with canned tomatoes, half an onion, a couple garlic cloves, and Italian sausage that I buy fresh and freeze into quarter-pound balls to defrost just for these occasions, this recipe is made up of ingredients I consistently have on hand. In fact, I often double the recipe, freezing a second batch for the next time I’m in an even lazier and more desperate dinner-planning bind.
If I could have only one cookbook, Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page’s The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity would be it. During the year that I have owned this book, it has opened up so many avenues and allowed my creativity in the kitchen to blossom. The book is organized alphabetically by ingredient (also contains seasons and regional food categories), and under each ingredient are listed spices, herbs, meats, veggies, fruits, and other ingredients that pair well with your original, selected ingredient, with textural emphasis placed on more classic pairings. (more…)