Friday, July 27, 2012


lemon garlic chicken
This is my go-to chicken recipe, especially for cookouts.  Used for over 40 years, it’s a tested crowd pleaser, and it’s great hot or cold.  When we lived in semi-rural Long Valley, New Jersey, we had cookouts several times a year, and this dish was always on the menu.  If we left it off, guests would be very disappointed. 

(TIP:  If you like to make things ahead, you can combine the marinade and chicken pieces in freezer bags up to a month ahead of your event and simply thaw the bag(s) overnight in the fridge.)

The lemon flavor that infuses the chicken is from the natural oils in the lemon rind.   It not only adds amazing flavor to the chicken, it also tenderizes it.   You can either slice the rinds thinly, or you can finely grate the zest.  Either way, you’ll have the best chicken you ever ate.

Grilled Meditteranean Lemon-Garlic Chicken
Rating:  10 out of 10

3 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced (about 1-1/2 tsp.)
1-1/2 tsp. dried Mediterranean oregano, crushed
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 lemons, halved then sliced into thin strips (or grated zest and juice from 2 lemons)
2 tsp. fine sea salt or Diamond kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 whole frying chicken, about 3 to 3-1/2 lbs., cut in half, backbones removed for soup

In resealable plastic freezer bag, combine garlic, oregano, basil, oil, juice and lemon strips or zest.  Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper on both sides, rubbing into chicken.  Place chicken into bag with marinade; seal bag.  Marinate several hours (overnight for best flavor).
You can also freeze the bag for up to a month, then thaw overnight in fridge.
lemon garlic chicken (2)
Heat gas grill to hot (400-425F).  (If your grill has more than one burner, try turning one burner off, or at least on the lowest heat.)  After desired temperature is maintained for 5 minutes, remove chicken from marinade, discarding bag and marinade.  Place chicken on turned-off burner grate, skin-side up, and grill it with the cover closed.  If the burner is turned off and none of the chicken is over a lit burner, you can just check it periodically to be sure it’s cooking properly.  (If you only have one burner, then start the chicken on 400-425 for about 5-10 minutes, then lower temperature to 325-350 and continue cooking,  while rotating chicken to prevent burning.  Always cook with skin side up – do not turn the chicken over.)   Grill for 30-45 minutes, or till thermometer registers 165F and juices run clear.  Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.  (TIP:  Place chicken on a platter in a closed, turned-off oven.)

Yield:  4-6 servings

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Peaches are here, and if you’re wondering what to do with them, I’ve got thirteen ideas for you, ten sweet and three savory.

My all-time favorite peach recipe is Peach Frangipane Tart.   The almond custard that sits underneath those peaches is just divine.frangipane tart
Almond Liqueur Peach Pie is one of the best peach pies I’ve ever eaten.  Cooking the liquids down intensifies the peach flavor.almond liqueur peach pie
Peach Cream Pie Glace is a favorite from an old cookbook.  A cookie crust and cheesecake filling are the base for glazed, sliced peaches – absolutely delicious.peach cream pie glace (5)

Looking for a show-stopping dessert?  Ricotta Cheesecake with Almond Liqueur-Glazed Peaches is just as delicious as it is beautiful.  ricotta cheesecake
Williams Sonoma is the source of this great peach cobbler recipe.  Instead of biscuit topping, this one has an amazing crust that I love.  I even have a Limoncello-Almond version you may want to try.peach cobbler
If you’re a fan of biscuit crusts, try this Georgia Peach and Berry Cobbler.  Self-rising flour and cornmeal make for an interesting and flavorful biscuit topping.peach berry cobbler

Old-Fashioned Peach Pie with Berry Sauce ranks right up there with my top faves.  Those old-time recipes are hard to beat.peach pie with berry sauce
Roasted Peach Butter Spice Cupcakes are deliciously different.  The roasted peach butter is easy to make (recipe included), and tastes great inside and on top of the cupcake.  You can use leftover peach butter to top your toast or bagel.peach butter cupcakes

If muffins are your thing, try these great Low-Fat Peach Cobbler Muffins.  A crunchy streusel topping elevates these.MUFFINS
Peach preserves are not hard to make, and you don’t have to load the peaches with tons of sugar.  Try my low-sugar version.

My Chipotle Ginger-Peach Barbecued Chicken with Grilled Peach-Cucumber Salsa didn’t win a prize, but was rated 5 stars by

Or try Betty Crocker’s Grilled Chicken with Chipotle-Peach Glaze, also good.chicken

Grilled Tuna with Peach or Mango Salsa are perfect marriage partners.  The flavors of the salsa go perfectly with mild tuna (or chicken). 

There you have it – thirteen fabulous recipes to help you use up your peach bounty.  Happy cooking and eating!

Monday, July 23, 2012


There is a notable difference in the taste and texture of fresh wild-caught salmon versus frozen and thawed.  I buy salmon all year long, so I'm not against frozen and thawed, so long as it's US (preferably Alaskan) fish. I never buy farm-raised salmon.  Besides the higher PCB count, it's also been fed antibiotics.  And, anyway, it doesn't taste anything like wild-caught salmon.  Wild-caught salmon is delicate but full of flavor.  (True disclosure:  Wild-caught salmon is started in a controlled environment, then released to the "wild" at puberty so it can be "caught."  While it is not as nutritious as 100% wild salmon, it's affordable for the masses and better than 100% farm-raised salmon.)  Read more....

Thursday, July 19, 2012


This cookie is a variation of one previously made that I liked a lot for its flavors, ultra-crispy edges and great interior texture.  But this time I used old-fashioned oats instead of quick oats and dark chocolate instead of white.  My favorite crystallized ginger, made by The Ginger People, 028
and a dark chocolate ChocoLove bar with more crystallized ginger were added for some punch.  026

Instead of a fat, crispy-edged cookie, I got a flatter, soft cookie with chewy interior.  The cookies were just a tad too chewy for me -- and I prefer crispy edges -- but others loved them and commented on the “coconut” inside.  As with the original version, the flavors were complex and layered with chocolate, ginger, cranberries, pecans and a hint of orange.

So, you have a choice – if you use quick oats, you’ll get a fat, crispy-edged cookie.  If you use old-fashioned oats, you’ll get a soft-edged, chewy cookie.  Have it your way.  (And, P. S., if all you have on hand is old-fashioned oats but you want the crispy edges, just give the oats a quick whirl in your food processor.)

Oatmeal-Cranberry-Ginger Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt, or table salt
1 cup oats (use old-fashioned for soft chewy cookies; quick oats for crispy puffy cookies)
10 Tbsp. (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used 2 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia) 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used ChocoLove 3.5 oz. Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate bar, 65% cacao) 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries 
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and oats.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars and zest on low speed of electric mixer until smooth.  Beat in egg and vanilla till combined.  Add flour/oat mixture and blend just till incorporated.  Finally, stir in remaining ingredients.  Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart if using old-fashioned oats, 1 inch apart if using quick oats.  Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, till edges are light brown, about 11-13 minutes.  Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Yield:  about 20 cookies

Sunday, July 1, 2012


classic whoopie pies

Whoopie pies, for those of you not from the Northeast, are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition.  Did Amish women make them first, or did New Englanders?  No one knows for sure.  Legend has it that Amish women would bake these desserts (known as hucklebucks at the time) and put them in their children's lunch pails or lunch boxes. When children would find the treats in their lunch, they would shout "Whoopie!"  Maine claims the whoopie pie as their official state treat.  

A true old-fashioned whoopie pie is made with shortening, not butter.  And many older recipes did not use commercially made marshmallow fluff for the filling.  No matter, even though this is not the original whoopie pie, it's as old fashioned as I want to be.  I'll eat butter over shortening any day of the week.  

My first batch, using 1/4 cup batter per cookie according to instructions, made ginormous cookies.  1 level tablespoonful of batter makes a better two-bite size, at least for me.   I’ll have to make these again to get a proper count, but I’m guessing the yield to be about 4 dozen cookies, or 2 dozen sandwiches.  The cookies are chocolatey, soft and velvety, not too sweet, and they go perfectly with the just-sweet-enough filling.  I’ll be making these again, for sure. 
classic whoopie pies (2)

Other soft sandwich-type cookie recipes I love:  Swoon Pies, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies, and Candy Johnson’s Whoopie Pie Cookies.

Almost Old-Fashioned Whoopie Pies
Adapted from
Rating:  10 out of 10


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1 (5.3 oz.) container plain nonfat Greek yogurt + enough fresh coffee to yield 8 ounces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla.) 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg

Heat oven to 350F.  Line sheet pans with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Resift.  In another small bowl, stir together yogurt, coffee and vanilla.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg, scraping down sides of bowl to combine.  Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately mix in dry ingredients and yogurt mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour.  Scrape down side of bowl occasionally and mix until smooth.

Using a level tablespoonful of batter, drop mounds about 2” apart on prepared pans.  Bake in middle of oven till tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, about 9-10 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Transfer cakes to a rack to cool completely.  When cool, dollop a rounded teaspoonful of filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.  Whoopie pies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen or refrigerated.  Yield:  about 48 cookies, 24 sandwiches, depending on size

FILLING: 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
1 tsp. vanilla powder or pure vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla powder.) 

Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add marshmallow fluff and vanilla and continue beating till smooth and light, about 2 more minutes.