Picture-Perfect Meals

The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Cauliflower Gratin with Fontina and Parmesan

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Mashed Potatoes

A few years back when I lived in Nashville, I was invited to a dinner party where there was a sort of interactive cooking demonstration going on with the hosts. Mashed potatoes were on the menu and after one of the ladies peeled the russets, the other one sliced them in very large chunks, added […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Classic Molded Cranberry Sauce

Years ago when my parents still operated their florist, one of my mother’s employees asked her about making fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. “Oh, it’s so easy,” my mom reassured the novice cook, then gave her the simple instructions. When everyone returned to work on Friday, Momma asked her how it turned out. With a […]

Cooking

White Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruit, Nuts and Candied Ginger

 Lost and Found: “Not all those who wander are lost.” –J.R.R. Tolkien Me: Hey, guess what I did today? Adam: I have a feeling I’m going to regret asking. What? Me: (clapping giddily) I saved two ladies from complete and total despair and quite likely from experiencing Western North Carolina Tourism Ruinism. But I may […]

Prep School

Prep School- Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Thanksgiving, notably the most elaborate feast of the year, is a celebration of beloved foods and customs that evokes happy memories of good times shared with our family and friends. It’s a day when we all come together to express through words and the pleasures of a bountiful table, how grateful we are to have […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Fresh Green Bean Casserole

The traditional version of this truly American casserole relies heavily on convenience foods, like frozen green beans and cans of cream of mushroom soup. My updated version of this holiday classic uses fresh ingredients in a rich, mushroom-charged béchamel sauce that gives this sensational side dish the creaminess you expect and the fried onion topping […]

Cooking

Cinnamon Palmiers

Random Acts of Kindness: “But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round…as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts […]

Cooking

Red Velvet Cake

Family Ties: “Sometimes being a brother is better than being a superhero.” – Marc Brown It’s rare for me – Adam – to step out from behind the camera and dare the written word, but it’s a special occasion. It’s my sister’s birthday. She lives in Australia with her husband Darren. I miss her. My […]

Cooking

Cast-Iron Skillet Fondue

Merry and Bright: “Christmas dreams come true when they’re dreamed by two.” -From a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament It’s pretty unusual for me to be blasé about the holidays – especially now, given that we live in the heart of Christmas Tree Country, and people are flocking from all over to choose and cut their very own […]

Prep School

Prep School: Baking – Back to Basics

‘Tis the season for some serious baking! But what some cooks neglect to take into account is that baking is a science and requires precise measuring and careful attention to detail. Here are some of my best tips to help boost your baking prowess and ensure your sweet success this holiday season. Before beginning any […]

Entertaining

Entertaining: Signature Cocktails – Classic Cooked Eggnog

Every year around mid-November, it swoops in as the harbinger of the holidays – the tall quarts lining grocery store refrigerated shelves, gracing us with its presence for a few wintry months. This rich, sugary, boozy blend that beckons us all to raise a frothy glass with this spirited, special occasion beverage. No question about […]

Entertaining

Entertaining: Easy Appetizers – Jezebel Sauce on Brie

Bette Davis received her second Academy Award for her performance in the classic 1938 movie, Jezebel: “From the picturesque glamour of the old south, a great actress draws the scarlet portrait of a gorgeous spitfire who lived by the wild desires of her untamed heart. The story of a woman who was loved when she should […]

Prep School

Prep School: D.I.Y. – Mulling Spices

Every year, as soon as those gourmet tins of mulling spices hit the specialty kitchen store shelves for the Christmas rush, you’ll find my copper pot on the stove simmering and glurping away with the season’s best aromas – orange, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to name a few. But this year, the stop-buying-and-start-making-it-at-home bug hit […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: 10 Great Homemade Food Gifts from the Kitchen

Food gifts from the kitchen are first and foremost gifts from the heart. They’re homemade bundles of love and the care you take in creating something from your warm and cozy kitchen will radiate affection like no store-bought trinket can. So, whether you put them in pretty decorative tins, cellophane bags cinched with a silky […]

Cooking

Crab Cake Bites with Spicy Rémoulade

For Auld Lang Syne: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and new year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot As a self-professed food magazine junkie, it is unquestionably one of my favorite pleasures and pastimes, even though technically, it’s really part of my work and research. (That’s my story and I’m […]

Prep School

Prep School: How to Cook Bacon the Easy Way

I have a dirty little secret – I sometimes use bacon as a culinary weapon. One morning, when I needed my husband up and out of bed earlier than usual, I intentionally cooked some bacon to coax him from his deep slumber. It worked, of course, because there is nothing more enticing, more seductive, than the ravishing […]

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The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

In the 1950’s, a Nebraskan cowboy with big dreams of striking it rich headed west with his high school sweetheart and settled in Santa Barbara, California. Nestled in 120 picturesque acres complete with waterfalls and streams, Hidden Valley Ranch was born. By day, the dude ranch offered hiking tours, horseback riding and fishing; at night, […]

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The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

On a recent trip to Winston-Salem, Adam and I had a nice, leisurely lunch at the perennially-packed Village Tavern. We have never had a bad meal at that busy restaurant housed among the charming shops in quaint Reynolda Village and that particular day was no exception. We ordered a few appetizers for a light bite, […]

Cooking

Real Sloppy Joes

Not Your Average Joe: “A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal.”  -Hunt’s advertising slogan In the grocery store recently, I picked up a can of “Manwich” sauce and the memories came flooding back. Bear with me. I was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up traveling throughout the world. The whys and wherefores of […]

Cooking

Cinnamon Swirl Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Hill: When it comes to baking up a really, really good blueberry muffin, I finally found my thrill. Many of you know that when it comes to my recipe development, I go through rigorous testing, tweaking, re-testing and re-tweaking until I feel it is exactly right before I would ever let it grace this […]

Cooking

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Throwdown: He made, She Made

As Different as Chalk and Cheese: “Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted mostly.” – Robert Louis Stevenson “I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever,” Adam mumbled, his mouth stuffed full with an overly generous bite from the one he had just slid onto his plate as he sat down to the dinner […]

Prep School

Prep School: D.I.Y. – Tortilla Chips

There’s nothing wrong with picking up some restaurant-style tortilla chips at the market for a quick snack with some guacamole or salsa, but there’s something immensely satisfying about making your own. Whether you anoint the tortillas in hot oil or whether you prefer to bake them in the oven, either way, it’ll be real hard […]

Entertaining

Entertaining: Easy Appetizers – Chips and Salsa

I know what you’re thinking. Chips and Salsa, Cheryl…really? But just wait – hear me out. I’m not talking about popping the lid off that jar of chunky stuff made in New York City and dumping it into a bowl. And, I’m not talking about prying open a bag of white corn chips to go […]

Cooking

Beefy Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Roasted Poblanos

Nacho Ordinary Snack: “Leftover nachos aren’t good so make sure there aren’t any.”-Andrew Knowlton Unless you’re stationed in Antarctica or you’re the last person in the free world to not have cable, you and 97 million others will be watching the Super Bowl on Sunday for one of the following reasons: 1.You’re a huge football […]

Prep School

Prep School: Kitchen Tips Every Cook Should Know – Salt

Salt, in my opinion, is a magic ingredient. Salt not only tastes great, but it makes everything else taste better, too. Have you ever wondered exactly why sodium chloride sprinkled onto other foods has the power to unlock the doors to Flavortown? It is inherent in salt’s chemical nature and its incredible ability to heighten […]

Cooking

Easy Wild Mushroom Risotto

Stir Crazy: “Rice is born in water and must die in wine.”  – Italian proverb The first time I had risotto was in Rome, Italy, June 1995, and it was a life-altering experience. Adam took me to Il Buco (“the hole”), a small restaurant he frequented while living in the Eternal City in the 80′s. It was […]

Cooking

Coconut Blondies with Macadamias and Toffee

Blondies Have More Fun: Forget the dumb blondie jokes. Brownie’s sexy sister is one smart cookie. Why, I ask you, should brownies always steal the spotlight? I mean, I love a good brownie as much as the next guy, er, girl. But blondies? These blondies? I could tell you how moist they are. Chewy on the […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Basic Ganache

One of the greatest jewels in a cook’s crown is having a handful of solid back-pocket recipes that can really multi-task. Ganache is one of those workhorses. Although its French name may sound intimidating and complex, ganache is nothing more than a combination of melted chocolate and heavy cream (and a pinch of salt to […]

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The Stock Pot: Sweet Treats – Amaretto Truffles

I’m sorry, but chocolate is just plain sexy. Especially truffles. Even if they are plain, they’re still pretty enticing. But when you’re offered a tray of truffles cloaked in various confectionary wardrobes, well, it’s flat out culinary seduction. For some, it may take all the romance out of the truffle’s mystique as to why we […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Sweet Treats – Best Banana Bread

Confession: I think I subconsciously buy bananas just to make banana bread. I mean, sure, I have every intention of purchasing a large hand of bananas – the really green, underripe ones – with the solid purpose of using them in myriad ways during the week to get a good dose of potassium in my […]

Prep School

Prep School: Key Techniques – Deep-Frying

There’s no question that deep-frying can be a little intimidating. And, for many, frying, to you, only means one thing: fatty, greasy food. But that’s just not true when deep-frying is done properly. If you’ve never anointed anything in a bubbling cauldron of shiny oil, man, you are missing out on some seriously good eats. […]

The Stock Pot

The Stock Pot: Sensational Sides – Beer-Battered Onion Rings

There’s a graduated three-tier wire basket that hangs near my kitchen sink that I keep chock-full of produce. The top basket reverently holds cloves of garlic and, if you dig around, you’ll probably find a few shallots in there, too. The middle one stores anything from a handful of red bliss potatoes to a few […]

Cooking

Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Rosemary

A Bone to Pick: “Always do right – this will gratify some and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain  When I was, I guess, about five or six, I stole a small, plastic blow-up Tweety Bird doll from a Goodwill store, sneaked it home and hid it under my play clothes in my dresser’s bottom […]

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The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Homemade Flour Tortillas

There are a few sacred grocery items that we all have to have on hand at all times. For me, there are several. Eggs. Yogurt. Extra-sharp cheddar and extra-virgin olive oil. Unsalted butter. Good coffee and creamer. Wine, of course. Certain paper products, like paper towels. And flour tortillas. But since we live in the […]