Category Archives: Recipes

We’ve made some recipes out of our favorite cookbooks.

I Think I Have A New Favorite Cookbook

It’s not surprising that the good things naturally rise to the top.

The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook | CLICK TO BUY IT!


I like to eat out. But, I like cooking for myself just about as much. Another thing. I’ve got a pretty giant cookbook collection. Maybe, not by library standards. But, certainly by any reasonable measure.

These days, it’s just me and my full time dining companion (and wife) sharing our kitchen table. Cooking that family meal seems to be a lot tougher when there is only the two of you. Is it just me or does it feel like most recipes are targeted for the 4-5 person household? That’s not us. Even at our peak we were only three full time diners. Not including pets.

Here’s part of my problem I guess. I HATE throwing good food away. I don’t obsess about it. Still, it makes me sad to do it. No, I didn’t have that “starving children on the other side of the world” thing beaten into my brain when I was young. But, it just seems like a big waste.

Just when I’m getting ready to freeze another 4 pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen (aka Cook’s Illustrated) come to the rescue. Enter The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook. And, just in time

It’s subtitled, 650 Recipes For EVERYTHING You’ll Ever Want To Make. I am happy to report that the reality of what’s inside lives up to the self-proclamation on the cover. Nice for a change.

Here’s a great example.

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Tomato Relish

That was my first crack at one of these recipes. Oven-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Tomato Relish (P.180). In all honesty this plate is actually a combo of two recipes. The asparagus in the background comes from, Salmon with Asparagus and Herb Dressing (P.178). They both seemed so great that I decided I didn’t need to choose.

The main problem with my newfound cookbook love is that I’m mildly obsessed with it. Not in a ugly way. More in a, “what can I make out of this thing next” way. I’ve picked some great ones already. Add to the salmon above, Fennel, Apple and Chicken Chopped Salad (P.71), Cucumber Salad with Olives, Oregano and Almonds (P.68), Foolproof Vinaigrette (P.64) and Pot-Roasted Steaks with Root Vegetables (P.139). When you add it all up, I’ve taken this thing for a pretty decent spin around the block.

Here’s what I’ve come to expect from America’s Test Kitchen. Recipes that work every time! I mean it. Sure some of these may not suit your individual tastes. But, if properly executed they turn out as good or better than anticipated. That’s saying a lot. The last thing you really want is a big investment of your time, money and energy and then have to hunt for a carry out menu. No Good.

There is tons of great and useful info up front. Substitutions, utensils, pantry lists, prep lessons and a bunch more. This book is highlighted with instructive images and smart explanations of many f the recipes. I love the breakdown of ingredients between the main part of the recipe and it’s accompaniments (i.e. sauces, relishes and the like). Plenty of recipe variations. Enough to please most. All bases covered, from soups to cakes and most everything in between. Enough recipe variety to please most. Even veg/vegan.

Should you own this cookbook? Take this simple quiz. Do you have two people in your house? Do you like making delicious recipes that are pretty much idiot proof? If you’ve answered YES to either of these questions then this one is a no-brainer. You need it!


PAGES: 448
DIFFICULTY: 5 (1- Boiling Water, 10-Liquid Nitrogen)

The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook | CLICK TO BUY IT!


Yellow Rice, That’s Mighty Nice


A recipe journey ends in an unexpected place.

Basmati Rice

I have a friend who owns a great Indian restaurant in Sarasota Florida. It’s the kind of place that locals like to hang out. It’s a place where the food says a lot about the people who own it. Warm, comforting, welcoming. It’s an easy place to love.

They have a rice dish on their menu, Cranberry Cashew Pilaf. It’s described as “a rice concoction of sautéed onions, dried cranberries and cashew nuts.” What the description fails to mention is the addictive nature of the dish. At least for my wife. She’s wild about it.

Unfortunately for her, the recipe is a highly guarded secret. It seems a little silly. It’s not as if my non-cooking wife is going to attempt to turn our house into an Indian restaurant. Although, I’ll admit, I wouldn’t mind having that food around all the time.

These days you can find just about any recipe you want on the internet. From Thomas Keller’s famous Oysters and Pearls to a thousand world class meatloaf recipes that any grandmother would be proud of. It’s all there. Well, almost all of it.

A few weeks back we reviewed Bryant Terry’s new cookbook, The Inspired Vegan. Little did I know that contained in the pages would be the rice dish that I had been searching for. Bryant calls it, Yellow Basmati Rice. But, that title didn’t tell the whole story.

I made Bryant’s recipe as part of my cookbook review. One taste told me that I was one step (and two ingredients) away from a breakthrough. So, without further adieu…

Yellow Basmati Rice with Cranberries and Cashews

1 cup basmati rice (soaked overnight in water)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, diced finely
1/2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cashew pieces

Drain soaked rice into a colander. NOTE: I have made this dish twice. The first time through I didn’t have time to soak the rice overnight. So, I just rinsed it well in a fine mesh strainer. This method produced a finished product closer to what I was looking for. Soaking the rice gave it a distinct barley-like texture and feel when cooked. If you like that, then soak away.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and the salt. Sauté until well caramelized. About 10 to 15 minutes. I actually had to turn the heat up to medium to get the onions to caramelize in that amount of time. When the onions are browned add the turmeric. Stir for about 30 seconds to fully incorporate. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes stirring often. The mixture should start to smell nutty and all of the water should be absorbed.

Add 2 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 50 minutes.

When rice is cooked. Remove from heat, add cranberries and cashews. Cover and set aside for about 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Serves 4
Recipe adapted Yellow Rice, Bryant Terry, The Inspired Vegan. Da Capo Lifelong Books © 2012.

Here’s what you’ll end up with. Looks amazing, right?


Here’s the thing. Having the recipe is great. Make no mistake about it. Does it replace the experience you get dining at the restaurant? Not even close. So, I’m pretty certain that I’ll continue to take advantage of the fantastic food and hospitality that only the REAL thing can offer.

FYI – The restaurant that makes that delicious Cranberry Cashew Pilaf is Chutney’s, Etc. If you click here, you can drool over their menu online. If you’re in the area, be sure and stop on by and say hello. You’ll be happy you did.

Looking for a copy of Bryant Terry’s The Inspired Vegan? You can grab your very own by clicking the book cover below.

The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus

Raw Cookie Dough Makes A Comeback!


It’s like your cookie dough “Get out of Jail Free” card.

The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook: Cookies, Cakes, Candies, and More

It used to be an acceptable thing to do. More than acceptable really. More like anticipated and expected. It was like you were getting away with something. But, you really weren’t. It was all a setup. Your mom saw to that. She knew you wanted it.

I’m talking raw cookie dough here. The steak tartare of baking. Like a lot of things, it was “legal” at one point in my life. And, then the food police swoop in and raid the place. No more raw cookie dough. It could kill you. That was the talk on the street. At least the raw eggs inside the dough could. It was the company line and all mothers at the time were toeing it. Bummer.

I guess the last thing a semi-responsible mom wanted hanging over her head for the rest of her life was the guilt associated with bringing an early end to her child’s life. Especially, if that end came via an innocent batch of uncooked snickerdoodles. Talk about years in therapy.

So, the cookie dough gravy train came to a grinding halt. But, now there is a bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And, it comes courtesy of Lindsay Landis. Her new cookbook, The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, takes raw cookie dough from the no-no side of the ledger and moves it firmly into the YES-YES column.

No longer will you get that “stare” (you know the one), when you try and sneak a wad of your favorite flavor. Gone are the days when the threat of an untimely demise hangs over your head with every sweet mouthful. Gone, gone, gone.

Lindsay’s eggless recipes are a stroke of culinary forward thinking. Hhmm, “Why don’t we take out the thing that makes everyone sick and replace it with all kinds of other yummy stuff?” Hey, why didn’t I think of that? Because, apparently, I’m not as smart as Lindsay.

We reviewed The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook a short while back. You can check that out by clicking here. But, what I really wanted to show you was the amazing end result.

My friend Kathy is a baker extraordinaire. I figured she would be chomping at the bit to take a crack at these. And she came through with flying colors. Just take a look at her version of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Mouthwatering, right? I mean these little cookie dough bars were out of this world. If, you’re interested in whipping up a batch, you can get the full recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

So, here’s the message. If you still have that cookie dough craving from time to time, but, don’t want your hand slapped (or risk the grave), there is hope. And it’s in the person of Lindsay Landis.

Corn and the Grill, Perfect Together


It’s something about the grill that brings out the best in the cob.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce

Great sides are a thing of beauty. Most times when I’m planning out a meal, I unintentionally focus on the main course. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because that’s where everyone who is eating will pay the most attention. Maybe because it’s assumed that it should be the centerpiece of the meal. That’s why it’s the main course. Not just a course.

The pressure is on to perform. That is unless there is no main course. A meal where all of the dishes are treated with equal status in the course of the meal. Small plate, tapas, mezze, you can put your own label on it. For me it’s a freeing of the scrutiny that the main course comes under.

Vegan chef/author John Schlimm knows about sides. His great new cookbook, Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ is loaded with amazing ones.

What happens when you put fresh sweet corn, lime and pepper flavored mayo and a BBQ grill together? Answer, a crowd pleasing side dish. And, here’s how to do it.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce

For the corn
2 tbsp. canola oil
¾ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. salt
4 ears fresh sweet corn

For the mayo
⅓ cup mayonnaise (the recipe calls for vegan. I used regular mayo)
3 Tbsp. cilantro or parsley chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
4 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

Shuck corn and remove silk. I cut my ears in two pieces. In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the corn seasoning. Rub seasonings all over corn. I used a brush for this.

Heat your BBQ grill to medium heat. When hot, place corn on grill. Grill 2 minutes per side for a total of 8 minutes or until cooked though and light brown.

In a small bowl mix together mayo ingredients. When corn is cooked remove from grill and slather with mayo mixture. Make sure to coat the corn well. Again, I used a brush for this.


Check out this great grilled sweet corn. As you could imagine, it was a pretty big hit. I love elote. And, although this wasn’t the classic Mexican version. It was a pretty great variation on the theme.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce

We reviewed Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ a little while back. You can check that review out right here.

Recipe Adapted. Grilling Vegan Style: 125 Fired-Up Recipes to Turn Every Bite into a Backyard BBQ, Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce, John Schlimm. Da Capo Lifelong Books © 2012

Old School | Shrimp Toast


Sitting right alongside a pile of old magazines. In a dusty box, tucked away on a seldom used shelf. Or, possibly in a prominent place in your busy kitchen. There they sit. A piece of culinary history. Sometimes taken for granted, other times revered. Your family’s food legacy. This series of articles, “Old School”, aims to take those family traditions out of the recipe box and put them back on the plate.
Let’s enjoy the past together!

My Mom’s recipe box seems like a logical place to start…

Shrimp Toast

My mom was not a gourmet chef. She was a pretty capable home cook. She cooked delicious meals. Nothing flashy, just great home cooked food. She never owned an immersion blender, but, her soups turned out just fine. Her idea of “sous vide” was, Green Giant Boil n’ Bag. But, those veggies always came out perfect. Never fail (OK, maybe a touch on the soggy side).

She had a box of family recipes. As you can tell from the image above they’re well loved. At one point she transcribed them onto the computer and printed them out. She may have been trying to save the original cards. That appears to have been only partly successful.

Like most families, a lot of our traditional recipes revolved around the holidays. A special set for Thanksgiving and then a collection for everything else. Thanksgiving had/has its dishes that you could easily make any other time of the year, but, for some reason don’t. Sure you may cook a turkey from time to time. I know I do. But, the rest of the array of Thanksgiving foods make their appearance just once per year.

One of our turkey day standards was my mom’s Shrimp Toast. I’m sure she didn’t invent this recipe. But, like so many other family food finds, she is the default creator since no other attribution can be found (or admitted to).

Canned Shrimp

My sister has been in charge of making the Shrimp Toast at our Thanksgiving gathering for a while now. She’s a pro. In a blind taste test, four out of five tasters would be unable to discern which person had whipped up this year’s batch. Probably even five out of five. That’s a tribute to how well the original recipe has held up over time (and, to my sisters ability to follow directions.)

Want a try at it? Sure you do. The beauty is, if you make it right now, it won’t have a holiday association attached to it. That means you can make this easy and delicious appetizer year round and still feel pretty good about yourself.

Shrimp Toast

¼ butter, softened
1 can tiny shrimp
1 small jar, Old Tavern sharp cheddar
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
6 English muffin halves

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium size bowl, mix all of the above ingredients except the muffins together. Mix well.

Shrimp Toast Mixture

It should look like this.

Shrimp Toast Mixture

Spread the mixture on the 6 muffin halves. Cut each muffin into 6 pie shaped pieces. If you want to make this ahead, you can freeze the coated muffin pieces for later cooking.

Place pieces on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them on so they don’t burn. Remove from oven and serve immediately. It’s OK to burn the roof of your mouth like you would on a slice of pizza. I was led to believe that’s part of the charm.

Shrimp Toast

Remember, don’t eat too many. You’ll want to save room for your turkey and pumpkin pie!

We would love to show off one of your family recipe cards. Click here. Send us a message and we’ll tell you how we can make that happen.

Is This The Best Short Rib Recipe Ever?


Can you turn a hater into a lover with just one recipe?

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Hater is probably a little on the strong side. Maybe, indifferent, disinterested and unimpressed are better descriptors. Hating would imply an extremely strong dislike. In this case, a general “I just don’t get it” sums things up.

My wife. She’s not a short rib fan. Question: “Why should that matter to me?”. Answer: “It shouldn’t.” But, it does.

When we go out to eat she can order whatever her heart desires off the menu of available dishes. At home, that’s another matter. We usually don’t have a menu of available dishes. It’s more of a what would you like for dinner proposition. I’m the cook, so, it’s me doing the asking. Much to my disappointment, short ribs are never the answer.

I was determined to give one last attempt at winning her over. America’s Best Ribs hit my doorstep early this spring and in it was the perfect recipe for my final assault. Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs.

There’s nothing terribly fancy here. At least from a recipe standpoint. Some marinating, rubbing and a little slow cooking, That’s about the extent of it. There are two very distinct ways to grill short ribs. One way involves taking boneless short ribs, butterflying them and cooking them quickly over high heat.

The other method, the one I chose, roasts the ribs slowly on the bone. Breaking down the connective tissue and fat as they cook. The result should be a tender and delicious almost falling off the bone morsel. I figured this style gave me the best chance at winning over my subject.

Here’s how to do it.

Mustard Slather
1 cup prepared yellow mustard
¼ cup dill pickle juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp course ground black pepper
1 Tbsp granulated garlic
2 tsp white cane sugar

6 beef short ribs, bone in 4 to 5 inches long
BBQ sauce for serving if desired

Outline each of the short ribs with a sharp pointed knife. It just means to free the meat a little from the bone on each end. Combine all of the mustard slather ingredients in a small bowl. Brush the mixture onto the ribs. Make sure and cover all of the meat well. Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub mixture of the slathered ribs. It should look like this.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Heat your smoker or BBQ to 230° to 250°. If you’re using a grill, prepare it for indirect cooking. Oil the rack so the ribs won’t stick. Place ribs over the side with no direct heat. Cover and cook 1 to 1½ hours. Turn over and cook for 45 minutes more. Turn over one more time and cook for an additional 45 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of. 185°. They will hopefully look similar to this.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

You can still see a little of the mustard slather left on the meat. Here’s another look.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

Pretty delicious looking, right? You can see how the meat has pulled away from the bone. That’s where step one pays off.

When the ribs are done remove from the grill and tent loosely with aluminum foil for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also wrap them tightly in foil, place them in a paper bag, close it up and let it sit on your counter for 30 to 45 minutes. The meat will still be piping hot and this will help reconstitute some of the moisture that was lost during the dry cooking process. That’s what I did.

Serve with BBQ sauce if desired. Check out the finished product.

Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs

WOW! That is going to win over even the toughest short rib critic. At least that was my thought.

And, the verdict. Well, let’s just say that my wife is now a tiny bit less apathetic about the whole short rib thing. I wouldn’t categorize her as jumping on the short rib bandwagon. But, maybe she won’t give me “the look” the next time I suggest it. It was a home run for the rest of my guinea pigs that evening. But, I wasn’t worried about them to begin with.

If you’re interested in our review of America’s Best Ribs, you can view that HERE.

America's Best Ribs

America's Best Ribs

Recipe Adapted. America’s Best Ribs, Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs, Paul Kirk & Ardie Davis. Andrews MacMeel Universal © 2012

Grilling and Butter. A Perfect Combination.


Some things are just made to go together.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

I’m going to come right out and say it. Right at the beginning of this post. Just so there can be no confusion. I am not a fan of butter on my grilled food. So much so, that I shun the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain because I can’t come to grips with the butter they top their steaks with. No, it’s not a phobia. It’s just a preference.

I’ve always believed that if something is seasoned properly and cooked just right, there would be no reason to throw an extra glob of fat onto it just to make it palatable. But, something happened this summer grilling season. I am here to tell you right now. With the world as my witness, I WAS WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

All those wasted years, What a tragedy. Hopefully, I some have time left to make it right.

How does such an amazing reversal of taste come about? That’s a damn good question. And after my pronouncement in the first paragraph, I think you deserve a damn good answer.

Does this man look familiar? Look closely.

Steve Raichlen

If you answered BBQ legend Steven Raichlen, give yourself a gold star or a pat on the back (whichever you’re most comfortable with). The man who practically invented BBQ cookbooks for the masses is out with a new grilling product. And, it’s not a gadget, book or guide. It’s butter. Grilling butter to be more specific.

Steven Raichlen and Aux Delices des Bois Grilling Butters

You’re probably saying, “Big deal. I’ve used grilling butter before. That’s old news”. That may be true. But, I can tell you, the butters you’ve used are not like this. These butters are packed with flavor. Overflowing with a rich goodness that enhances the food without overwhelming it. It’s not that glob of fat that I avoided for so long. It’s a dollop of pure deliciousness.

Here’s the dish that turned the tide for me and made me a believer.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

1 lb, salmon fillet
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Steven Raichlen Fine Herbs w/Meyer Lemon Grilling Butter

Pre heat your grill and prepare for direct grilling. Portion your salmon into 3 or 4 equal pieces. I like my fillets about ⅓ of a pound. Drizzle olive oil over fish. Turn to coat completely. Combine salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over flesh side of fish. Rest at room temperature about 20 minutes. Slice one butter pat for each fillet. About ⅓ of an inch thick.

When grill is hot place fish on grate directly over coals skin side down. You can use a fish grate if you would like. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Carefully flip fish, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes depending on your preference. I like mine just done (or just a bit under). When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from grill and immediately place one butter pat on the flesh side of each fillet. Butter will melt onto fish.

Serve with a nice cold summer salad.

Serve 3-4

Here’s how it will look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

Amazing, right? Have another look.

Cookbook Man Grilled Salmon

The butter melts leaving the herbs behind along with a silky, delicious flavor. WOW! The flavors are subtle enough not to overpower the actual food. It is a true enhancement to the dish.

OK, I’ll say it one more time just for good measure. I was wrong. At least on the butter thing. I’m not saying I’m making a res at Ruth’s Chris just yet. But, Steven’s grilling butters have broken new ground for me.

These butters are produced by Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters. You can get more info on them at Transatlantic Foods. These are great to keep in the freezer and pull out when you need them. If you would like to have some for your very own we can make that happen. Just click.

Aux Délices des Bois & Planet Barbecue Grilling Butters

Oh, Aux Délices des Bois also produces some mean charcuterie. More on that later…


These products were provided for our tasting at no cost to us. We were not compensated in any way to write this review. Thought you should know.

Field’s Special Sandwich. Special Indeed


Can the memory of a sandwich live up to the reality?

Fields Clock with Snow by Mike Warot

Summertime meals are different than winter ones. More outdoor cooking. More foods for hot days, including lots of salads. Who really wants a pot roast after a day on the beach? And, of course the occasional dinner sandwich.

In my house that summertime dinner sandwich was one that was made famous not by some one hundred year old deli or secret family recipe. It was made famous by a department store. Marshall Fields and Company to be more accurate.

The sandwich that I’m speaking of is of course the one and only Field’s Special Sandwich. A mountain of a meal that is equally perfect for the middle of July as it is for the day after Thanksgiving. Mine was usually served mid-summer.

I don’t really have early childhood memories of the Field’s flagship store on State Street in Chicago (I do have adult memories). A trip to see the windows at holiday time or lunch in the Walnut Room wasn’t something we did on any kind of regular basis.

chitown 004 by favouritethings

My memories of Marshall Fields are rooted in the south suburban Chicago locations. They start when I was around ten years old. Every few weeks, no matter what time of year, a few of us from the neighborhood would jump on a bus in Homewood Illinois, transfer in Chicago Heights and end up forty five minutes later in Park Forest.

Field’s had a big store there. Big to a ten year old anyway. After pooling our money and buying a small box of Frango Mints, we would ride the escalators from floor to floor carefully avoiding clerks who would rather see us taking in a movie at the nearby Holiday Theater rather than terrorizing the Men’s department.

On many of those trips we would end up in the Field’s cafeteria. Diners would be sitting at neat square tables enjoying a variety dishes including the Field’s Special Sandwich which when served at the store, took up an entire plate. With no money for a real lunch, we would grab a cold drink, make a few more trips on the escalator and then head home.

My Mom was a devoted lover of the Field’s Special. And as such, had perfected it’s construction down to the smallest detail. This included replicating the homemade Thousand Island Dressing which held everything together. Now remember, this was back at a time when a restaurant recipe was generally unavailable in a cookbook. And, of course, no Google. Getting it right was a major achievement.

Every now and then on a warm summer evening my taste buds are calling for one. Now, it’s easy. A quick trip to the laptop or iPad and most any recipe ever created (maybe minus the 11 herbs and spices) can be conjured up. My search took all of about ten seconds.

Rather than reprint the recipe here. I’ll save some space and give you a link to the version posted by Deborah Loeser Small for Lake Magazine. You can get that here.

What I WILL do for you is give you a look at the finished product. Amazing, right?

Field's Special Sandwich

Just look at that monster! Absolutely delicious. I think I was almost caught licking the plate. The recipe was right on, down to the dressing.

Here’s a bonus. With the leftover rye, dressing and turkey you can make a great Turkey Reuben (minus kraut) the next day for lunch!

You can now get a Marshall Field’s Cookbook. It has all of the recipes you loved from the department store.

The Marshall Field's Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Fresh Takes from the Field's Culinary Council
Links and other information
Marshall Field’s information via Wikipedia
Field’s Fan of Chicago
Walnut Room – Chicken Pot Pie Recipe 

Unraveling The Mysteries of Lard


It’s easy to see why your grandmother loved it.

BUY IT!: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother's Secret Ingredient

I don’t know much about lard. My guess is not many people are experts in the field. I don’t remember my Mom ever cooking with it and have no recollections of a jar or carton sitting in our fridge or pantry.

I do know one thing. The common grocery store variety, is not lard. I mean, I guess, technically it is, but, then again, not really. That’s the first lesson I learned after paging through Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient. There is a commercially produced product. And, then there’s the good stuff. We all want the good stuff.

Who in their right mind would author a cookbook glamorizing an ingredient that has been vilified over the past twenty years? Leave it to the Editors of GRIT Magazine to attempt to bring lard out of the doghouse and into our kitchens again. And they make a compelling (and tasty) case.

Here’s an example. Did you know that lard contains only fifty four percent of the saturated fat found in butter AND it is trans fat free when rendered properly? I certainly didn’t. I guess that’s the point here. There’s a lot to learn about this much maligned cooking staple of days gone by.

This book takes the subject seriously. So seriously, that the first recipe you will come across is how to render your own lard. If you would rather take the easy route, the book provides some great online resources for buying lard that has been lovingly rendered for your culinary enjoyment.

There are 150 recipes here ranging from Cherry Pie to Pot Pie and just about everything in between. As you would expect, there are loads of delicious recipes for baked goods. That’s where our featured ingredient really shines. Nothing makes a crust as flaky as lard.


With all of this lard talk you’re probably saying to yourself, “Hey this is great, but, how about an example I can sink my teeth into”. Done! Here’s an amazing fried potato recipe just for you.

Here’s how to do it.

Fried Potatoes Deluxe

4 cups raw potatoes, shredded
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
¾ tsp. salt
Dash black pepper
Dash paprika
2 Tbsp. lard

In a large bowl combine the potatoes and cream. Add the salt, pepper and paprika. Mix Well.

Heat the lard in a large skillet over medium heat until just sizzling. Pour in the potato mixture and spread it evenly in the pan. Cover tightly. Reduce heat to low and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and turn potatoes and cook uncovered until the other side is browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6
Recipe courtesy of Andrews MacMeel Universal. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient, The Editors of GRIT Magazine © 2012

The Bottom Line: Your first inclination is to think that this is a novelty cookbook. Not true. Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient has tons of useful information on a topic that not a lot has been written on. The recipes are straightforward and easy for home chefs of all skill levels. Beautiful food images are sprinkled throughout the pages. Am I going to cook out of it every day? No. Am I going to break it out for that killer Southern Fried Chicken recipe? You betcha.

BUY IT!: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother's Secret IngredientAuthor: The Editors of GRIT Magazine
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-10: 1449409741

BUY IT!: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother's Secret Ingredient

Sunny Side Up

Can something be both a wonder and wonderful? Consider the egg.

Fresh Egg

Here’s a question for you. How many eggs do you think this country produces each year? Think big. No, bigger. Bigger still…

You’re not even close. So, I’ll tell you.

75 billion, yes billion! That translates to 241 eggs per year for every man, woman and child in the country. That’s just the amount of eggs that are produced in the U.S. alone. China is the worlds largest egg producer and their hens lay about four times more eggs than ours. That’s a ton of eggs. Actually, 62.1 billion metric tons worldwide! I think it’s fair to say everyone LOVES eggs.

Fried Egg

What in the world is going on here? Why the egg obsession? For one thing, I don’t think there is anything the egg can’t do, it’s versatile. Think about it. It’s equally as comfortable as an ingredient as it is being the star of a dish. You can cook it in more ways than we have space to list. And, most importantly, they taste delicious.

Jennifer Trainer Thompson has penned an homage to the humble edible orb. The Fresh Egg Cookbook, takes you from “chicken to kitchen”. Contained in the pages is a treasure trove of information on all things egg related. Jennifer raises her own hens. Not all of us can do that. The information on what to look for and how to buy the best eggs is super helpful. You’ll really appreciate it the next time you find yourself at the local farmers market.

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard

The recipes? Yes, there are recipes, lots of them. One hundred and one to be exact. These pages are loaded with great food and great photos.

I figured at this point you might be ready for a dish. Here’s one you may not have come across before, Pickled Eggs.

Here’s How To Do It.

Pickled Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs
3 cups malt vinegar
1 cup water
1 small dried chile, split open
20 black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks, 4 inch
2 bay leaves

Peel the hard boiled eggs and pack them into a sterilized jar with an airtight lid. Leave an inch at the top for the liquid. Heat the vinegar, water, chile, peppercorns, cinnamon and bay leaves in a saucepan until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.

Strain the liquid and pour it over the eggs in the jar. Cover them completely by one inch. Seal the jar and store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks before eating.

Makes 12 eggs
Recipe excerpted from The Fresh Egg Cookbook (c) by Jennifer Trainer Thompson, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

The Bottom Line: Everybody loves eggs. And, Jennifer has put together a great collection of eggcellent (sorry) facts, tips and dishes. These recipes can be easily executed by home cooks of all experience levels. It’s hard not to love Jennifer’s genuine enthusiasm for a topic which she knows so well.

It’s a great excuse to break a few shells. Come on, let’s get scrambling!

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own BackyardAuthor: Jennifer Trainer Thompson
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
ISBN-10: 1603429786

BUY IT! - The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard


If you’re looking for some more egg recipes we can certainly help. Check out some of these titles.

Eggs: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Frittatas, Omelets, Scrambles & More The Good Egg: More than 200 Fresh Approaches from Breakfast to Dessert The Farmstead Egg Cookbook 101 Things to Do with Eggs