The Famous French Onion Soup Dumplings
This is the dish that made Chris Santos famous. The longtime judge on CHOPPED is known for his playful takes on culinary classics, and I was honored to work with him on his first cookbook, SHARE. These morsels are inspired by Chinese soup dumplings, but Chris gives them French flair. Be sure to read the Note at the end of the recipe about the dumpling yield.
Italian Rainbow Cookies
I know cookies. So, when I come across a recipe that makes my mouth water, you can be sure it is a winner. I’ve just finished baking my Christmas cookies, and I’d like to post some of my favorites. Actually, I have so many special recipes to make them all, so I have had to put them in rotation. One that always makes the list is Italian Rainbow Cookies, a recipe that I learned a long time ago.
Spicy Wings for Super Bowl
When the Super Bowl comes around, I was working on Tommy Bahama’s FLAVORS OF ALOHA cookbook, and developing recipes from the Pan-Asian repertory. These wings were a huge hit, and now they are my go-to recipe.
Zeppole for St. Joesph’s Day
Here is my recipe, featured in the new Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook and is perfect for Italian Easter!
Tommy Bahama’s Famous Piña Colada Cake
More than baked ham, more than roast lamb, my must-have Easter dinner tradition is coconut layer cake. Its annual appearance on our holiday table goes back to my childhood.
Lemon Meringue Cake
This cake is NOT fast and easy, but if you are an experienced baker, it will not hold any surprises. In fact, you will be rewarded with a great all-purpose yellow cake recipe and one of the simplest and best lemon curds in my collection.
Salt-n-Pepa’s The Ultimate Super Bowl Spinach Dip
Here’s a dip that pushes all of the right buttons—warm, creamy, cheesy, boldly flavored. Consider making a double batch because any leftovers (which are unlikely to happen) will reheat well.
Limoncello Pound Cake from Frankie Avalon
The Frankie Avalon Italian Family Cookbook (which I cowrote with a man who can truly be called an American show business icon) is jam-packed with wonderful Italian-American recipes to savor again and again. This recipe for a moist and citrusy limoncello pound cake is based on the one from his Mom’s recipe box.
Moist and Cakey Cornbread with Fresh Corn
I often swap (swipe?) recipes with (from?) my dear friend Beth Hensperger, who has written almost as many recipes as I have over the years. OK, we’re neck and neck. But the main reason I bring up the Babe of Baking is cornbread. Both of us were raised on a not-very-authentic version of the Southern classic that used canned corn as the moistening agent.
Berry Meringue Slices
It’s been over a dozen years since I first had this perfect summer dessert while researching my KAFFEEHAUS book in Vienna.. Hans Diglas’s cafe-restaurant is one of the most enjoyable spots for traditional food (including pastries), and it has the advantage of being around the corner from St. Stephen’s cathedral. It was there that I first […]
Portuguese Pork and Garlic
One thing about vinho d’ alhos–the recipe differs from family to family. (It is pronounced something like “vino dosh.”) The basics are vinegar, wine, pickling spices, and garlic. This version (from my book, Cooking with Tommy Bahama: Flavors of Aloha) only marinates pork for a mere day or two, but aficionados often pickle the meat for three or even more days.
Chicken Savoy is a popular dish at many Italian restaurants in my area. How popular? There are people who call it “the unofficial state dish of New Jersey.” Mamma mia! Take that Italian hot dog! (Don’t know what an Italian hot dog is? See * below. I hate ’em.) If you don’t live in North […]
Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding
An old-fashioned custard-style rice pudding that has been in our family for generations.
“Divorced” Sicilian Pizza
Despite an ingredient that I know list looks long, you will have pizza on the table in no time.
Easter Meat and Cheese Pie
Here’s another Italian specialty that I’ve learned to make in the last few years. It is meat and cheese pie, an Easter specialty loaded with cold cuts to celebrate the return to eating meat after a Lent-long fast. My version is based on the one from Patsy’s Italian Family Cookbook. I spent many hours at […]
From-Scratch Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
I belong to a Facebook group of cookbook lovers. Recently, someone there started a post about making green bean casserole–the familiar one made with cream of mushroom soup. There were over a hundred comments in the thread, proving how this dish has become part of the American cook’s vernacular. For my part, I am a […]
Bourbon Gravy 101 with Video
A truly perfect recipe for the best homemade gravy, ready for the Thanksgiving bird and easy to multiply for large batches.
Concord Grape Pie
One of the very best autumn desserts in the world, a double-crust Concord grape pie. Not easy, but crazy good.
Lemon Sweet Potatoes with Meringue Topping
(Recipe from The Big Book of Sides, published by Ballantine Books. Photo by Ben Fink.) Every autumn, I hear heated arguments about the role of sweet potatoes on the holiday table. Some people love the classic candied yams with marshmallows, others hate (revile, despise, and abhor) them. The way most families make them is very […]
Stuffed Artichokes with Romano and Oregano
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, artichokes were everywhere–we even had them growing in my grandparents’ garden. There was a truck farm across the street from my high school, and I remember purchasing them for a nickel each. On meatless Fridays (remember them?), Mom would often serve artichokes with lots of mayonnaise, cracked […]
An excellent recipe for exquisite macarons, flavored with orange and dark chocolate. These homemade cookies are much cheaper to make than buying them, once you have the proper equipment.
Warm Cheese Strudel with Vanilla Custard
A warm cheese strudel (made with frozen filo) baked in custard and served with a vanilla sauce, this delicious dessert is a classic Viennese pastry.
Sachertorte has been famous almost since its conception almost 200 years ago. It made its inventor so famous that he was able to build a hotel, one that is still one of the premier establishments in Vienna, a city renown for its elegance. But I will warn you…Sachertorte isn’t for everybody, and it takes a discerning […]
Seeded Bread Twists
These beautiful soft bread sticks, decorated with savory seeds, will be a conversation piece, both for their looks and their flavor.
Homemade Potato Rolls
When I tell you that these are the fluffiest, lightest rolls on earth, I mean it. Cooked potatoes replace some of the flour, which reduces the gluten to increase the rolls’ tenderness. I don’t make them for every dinner party only because sometimes I don’t have the time to make the mashed potatoes. You’ll see recipes that use leftover or instant mashed potatoes, but don’t be deceived—these big rolls are best with freshly cooked spuds.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple and Bacon
(Photo by Ben Fink.) It is easy to say: “This is the perfect cold weather side dish.” The truth is that there are a lot of perfect side dishes, which is just one reason why they are so beloved. But consider this dish. Roasted Brussels sprout, sweetened with maple syrup, accented by salty crisp bits […]
Baked Ham with Pineapple-Mustard Seed Glaze
Whether you are planning a buffet or a sit-down dinner, baked ham is a great choice for your main course. I have created many a baked ham recipe over the years, but this is my go-to recipe. It touches all of the bases–an easy recipe for a sweet, sticky, and fruity glaze with a little savory kick to balance the salty meat.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Manhattan clam chowder differs from its New England namesake in that it has a tomato base instead of cream. A healthy soup chunky with vegetables and a tomato-y tang suitable for dieters, it’s also a very democratic soup.
The Perfect Manhattan Cocktail
A Manhattan only has three ingredients, so they had better be great, as each flavor is strong. The traditional garnish is a maraschino cherry, and even that can be upgraded. Here’s how I make the best Manhattan around…
Sunday Night Spaghetti and Meatballs
(Photo by Ben Fink.) When the weekend arrives, the “fast and easy” recipes are filed away, and I look forward to a meal that has been leisurely simmered on the stove, filling the house with comforting aromas. Spaghetti and meatballs is the kind of dish whose excellence is related to the time it spends quietly […]
Beef Rib Roast with Blue Cheese Crust
Here’s a way to take a good thing and make it better. I don’t have any blue cheese haters in my group of frequent dinner guests, so this is a big hit whenever I serve it. When you want a show-stopping main course to serve with a great bottle of red wine, I don’t think you […]
Spicy Stout Gingerbread
I offered this stout gingerbread, and the recipe now makes an annual appearance on my Christmas baking list. The caramel notes in the stout work beautifully with the molasses and brown sugar. It keeps forever…but it doesn’t last more than a couple of days in our house. Make it as a single cake, and it is a perfect addition to a holiday potluck.
Sarabeth Levine is known as the Grande Dame of Manhattan bakers. I was lucky enough to work with her on her first cookbook, SARABETH’S BAKERY: FROM MY HANDS TO YOURS, which quickly established itself as a must-have for anyone who wants to learn how to bake her famous specialties. One of the many baked goods that no one bakery makes better is her holiday stollen, a buttery sweet bread studded with rum-soaked raisins, dried fruits, and nuts.
Christmas Meatball Lasagna
When I was on Martha Stewart Radio with my buddy Sandy Gluck, the subject of meatball lasagna came up. What makes Christmas meatball different is that the ground meat not simply added to the sauce, but rolled into small meatballs first. I hadn’t made it since testing for I LOVE MEATBALLS, and my mouth started to water as I described the recipe.
Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Pork with Blackberry Sage Sauce
For a guy who has created hundreds (if not thousands…it’s true!) recipes over the years, it is difficult to choose my favorite recipes. But, this roast pork is up at the top of the list. It is absolutely perfect for the holidays. The roast can be wrapped in the pancetta a day ahead and roasted just before dinner, and the pan deglazed with the pre-made sweet and savory sauce.
Cod with Grapefruit, Avocado, and Fennel Salad
When I want a light dinner, I think fish. This is an easy recipe for mild, flaky cod with a refreshing salad of tart grapefruit, buttery avocado, and crisp fennel. It is simple enough for a weeknight meal, but special enough for company.
The Best Chicken Cassoulet
This bean and meat casserole from southwestern France is brimming with flavor. This is a streamlined version made with poultry.
Great Holiday Appetizer: Savory Cheese Tartlets with Herbed Berries
These savory cheese tartlets with a simple cream cheese crust, topped with berries and herbs, are a fine appetite-rouser, and they look beautiful, too.
Herb-Brined Turkey with Make-Ahead Gravy
Brined turkey first made a splash a few years ago in the pages of Cook’s Illustrated, thanks to a recipe in Jean Anderson ‘s The Food of Portugal (with a few tips from kosher butchers along the way). The brining concept fooled many cooks into thinking that their turkey was juicier, and a new favorite turkey […]
Thanksgiving Meatless Mincemeat Pie
A simmering pot of mincemeat announces the holiday season with its heady, spicy aroma, but this one is meat-less. The suet and beef from the old recipes are gone, and the fruit flavor has been increased with apple juice concentrate, which also acts as a sweetener. A
The Infamous Macaroni and Cheese
The recipe based on one from Comfort Foods, a book that I loved writing. If you are wondering what the chunky brown thing is in the photo, it is a sauteed mushroom–a good addition to the dish if you happen to have them around.