Archive for December, 2012

Simple, hearty, and satisfying – and entirely failproof in the crockpot.  Perfect, even for baby!

 Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.

2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.

4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Yield: 4 servings.

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Simple Ganache Frosting

The easiest, failproof, and decadent frosting.  Simple dip your baked goods in the frosting, or drizzle it liberally for a smooth and silky finish.  Or, for a different texture whip the frosting until airy.  Either way, it is sure to delight.

Simple Ganache Frosting

12 ounces chocolate pieces
1 cup half-and-half

  1. Heat the half-and-half until hot to touch, but not boiling. Pour over chocolates and stir until fully incorporated.

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Teddy’s Apple Cake

Teddie’s Apple Cake
Adapted very slightly from The New York Times, Jean Hewitt, and Teddie

Serves 8

Butter for greasing pan
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced tart apples like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts and raisins and stir until combined.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before lifting out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

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Mac and Cheese

Sad, but true, I’ve never made mac and cheese.  I’ve never had the boxed stuff either.  Just not my cup of tea, or FHE’s.  Rice Kernel has tasted it a few times.  He seems excited by the prospect, but never takes more than a few bites. Recently, there was a PJ party at his school and the only thing left to sign up for – you guessed it, mac and cheese.   I choose Ina Garten’s version – how could you go wrong with butter, pasta, and cheese?  I made it a bit healthier with less butter, but it was still decadent.  The Mom in me wanted to sneak in butternut squash.  My son wouldn’t be the wiser, but I thought of the other kids and I knew better =)



Recipe here.

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Chicken and Corn Soup

Sweet and savory, nothing beats the comfort of an easy soup on a cold day.



Recipe here.

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Hot Cocoa Mix

After making marshmallows at home a few weeks ago, I immediately gathered the ingredients to make cocoa mix.  Of course, the ingredients have been collecting dust since then.  One Sunday afternoon, while Claire was recovering from a bad cold and (thankfully) taking a long nap, I convinced Rice Kernel to help me prepare mix to be packaged in holiday gift bags.  Boy did he have fun scooping, digging, and sticking his little fingers all over the mix – just like the sand box!

This is a simple recipe with few ingredients, so using quality is key.  We found Valrhona cocoa and Nido whole milk powder (which most people seem to agree on).  For a healthier version, you could use nonfat milk powder.  To add some kick, add cinnamon, cayenne, or peppermint.  For serving, hot water is perfect, but milk and a splash of liquor wouldn’t be out of the question – especially for the holidays!

Cocoa Mix


2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Cayenne, cinnamon, peppermint candy, crushed
Hot water

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.
  2. Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry.

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Recipe here.

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