Category Archives: Recipes


Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring


Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours! May your holiday be filled with the warmth of family and friends, and may your tummies be blissfully full with whatever your dinner plate holds.

For my family, Thanksgiving would be just another dinner if it were not for our traditional Cranberry Jello Ring. I am sharing it today, two days before Turkey Day, because if you are looking for an additional side dish, this quick and easy recipe might become a favorite of yours as well.

What makes the cranberry so Thanksgiving-ish?

The lowly cranberry generally gets little attention throughout the rest of the year, but Thanksgiving is its day to shine.

Why? Well, it is thought that cranberries appeared in the earliest Thanksgiving celebrations since they were readily available, being one of just three fruits native to North America. They grow in the wild in sandy bogs or marshes and are primarily found in the Northeast.

Early settlers from England also found healing properties in cranberries, using them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy.

Low in calories and high in antioxidants, the cranberry is thought to ward against several diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

On Thanksgiving we don’t think so much about the cranberry as a healing agent, but more as a pleasing accompaniment to the dinner plate, with its bright red color accenting the muted colors of turkey and stuffing.

My mother began making this dish when I was a child and the recipe was handed down to me and now to my adult children.

With just the right balance of sweet, tart, and crunchy, it is a perfect accompaniment to the meal. I usually double the recipe to serve 12-14.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

2 c. cranberries
1 1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 pkg. cherry jello
1 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced apple
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/4 t. salt

Cook cranberries in water. When tender, add sugar and cook 5 minutes. Pour boiling mixture over jello and stir until dissolved. Chill. When partially set, add remaining ingredients. Pour into ring mold and chill.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring


You might be thinking, jello, ugh. But take my word for it, this is really yummy.

And it looks great on your Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bon appetit!

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How to Help Hamantaschen in Distress

How to Help Hamantaschen

How to Help Hamantaschen

I’ll be honest. I do not have a great success rate at making hamantaschen. Try as I might, year after year, they come out looking pretty mediocre.

What are hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen (ha-men-tosh-en) are cookies that are eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which is tomorrow. Shaped like three-cornered hats, they are filled with preserves, chocolate, poppy seeds or other concoctions. This year I made apricot, raspberry and nutella hamantaschen.

The trick is to make them look uniform, which mine do before they go in the oven. See?

But all too often they spread while baking and come out like this:

How to Help Hamantaschen

Grr! Even Max is sympathetic.

haman max

I have tried many different recipes with varying success. I have tried freezing the unbaked cookies for 10 minutes and then baking. I have tried using an egg wash to hold the sides of the dough together. No matter what I do, chances are about 50-50 that they will come out the way I want them to.

Maybe my hamantaschen-baking readers will have some tips to share.

But this year, thanks to inspiration from My Jewish Learning, I have found the perfect solution to forlorn, misshapen hamantaschen. Melt chocolate, dip the cookies, and then coat with sprinkles. Voila! No one will notice the flaws and who wouldn’t bite into one of these?

How to Help Hamantaschen

This hamantaschen recipe was given to me by my friend Myra and it is my favorite.

Myra Wolpert’s Hamantaschen 

1 cup butter, softened
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 t. vanilla extract
approx.. 2 – 3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder

Combine butter and sugar. Add egg and beat together. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Sift flour and baking powder together and add to butter mixture. Dough should be pliable and not sticky. Form dough into a flat disk and wrap in wax paper. Chill one hour or longer.

Roll onto floured surface, about 1/4″ thick.

How to Help Hamantaschen

Cut in circles. I used a 3″ round cutter but they can be larger. You can also use the top of a drinking glass to cut the circles. Add filling to center of circle and pinch sides together.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes until edges are slightly brown.

Cool on rack.

To finish off with chocolate, melt 1 c. chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet for half of the batch and white for the others) in the microwave, being careful not to burn. Add 1/2 T. vegetable oil and stir to blend.

Dip side of hamantaschen in chocolate and shake off the excess. Dip in sprinkles or other topping (coconut, chopped nuts, crushed candies, e.g.) Let dry on rack. Keep at room temperature for a day or freeze.

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Roasted Vegetable Chili

With the prediction of a nor’easter this weekend that could dump up to two feet of snow in my neck of the woods, I’m doing what is necessary to prepare.

I’m digging through my recipe files for comfort foods.

Nothing like an impending storm to bring out the nesting impulse. This will be fun! Snuggled at home with my family and the dog and cat, we will watch movies and eat popcorn and watch the snowflakes from the warmth of our cozy abode.

And comfort food will be prepared.

Whether it’s soup or a stew or chili, something flavorful and filling needs to be burbling on the stove, sending tantalizing aromas through the house. That’s key to the snowed in experience.

I pulled out a recipe that perfectly fits the bill. It is so tasty and so healthy, you can feel virtuous as you eat it. Your tummy will get all nice and warm, too.

Roasted Vegetable Chili

Roasted Vegetable Chili

1 large red or sweet onion, coarsely chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 yellow squash, chopped

1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and chopped

1 medium eggplant, cubed

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound mushrooms, any kind, chopped (I used a mixture of cremini, button and portobello)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can vegetable broth

Roasted Vegetable Chili

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine chopped onion, zucchini, squash, pepper and cubed eggplant and add to baking sheet.

Roasted Vegetable Chili

Roast 30-45 minutes until veggies are soft, stirring several times.

Meanwhile, add 1-2 t. olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook 5-10 minutes, then add chopped garlic and chili powder. Stir.

Add tomatoes, beans and vegetable broth and stir til combined. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cover pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Stir in roasted veggies and cook 10 more minutes to combine the flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Excellent served alone, or with rice, or if you really want to be healthy, over spaghetti squash.

Roasted Vegetable Chili

Wishing everyone a nice weekend, and if you live in the path of the blizzard, stay safe!


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Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup

When I was just learning how to cook lo these many years ago, one of the first things I mastered was the art of making soup. For a newbie, this is a very good place to start.

Soup is really easy to make.

Not only that. Soup tastes good and is good for you. Soup warms your insides when it’s brrrr cold outside. Soup can be made in big batches so that you can have some now and freeze the rest for another day.

Soup can be a repository for the kinds of vegetables your children wouldn’t otherwise eat and might not notice if pureed: root vegetables, kale, okra. All really, really nutritious.

You should feel virtuous eating soup and serving it to your family.

And perhaps best of all, did I mention? Soup is a cinch to make.

Roasted Carrot Soup

Over coffee with my friend Trish this week, we got on the topic of soup and beets (we both love the former and hate the latter). We also wax rhapsodic about parsnips, but that’s neither here nor there.

Trish mentioned that she was making her Roasted Carrot Soup and my ears perked up. “It’s so good and soooo easy,” she enthused. “You throw everything in a pot and puree it when it’s done. So simple!”

Well, this sounded great to me. I asked if she would send me the recipe, and Trish being Trish, the recipe popped into my inbox just an hour later. I couldn’t wait to run out for the ingredients so I could get this pot o’ soup going.

Roasted Carrot Soup

I didn’t expect it to be anything other than delicious, given that Trish is an amazing cook. Yes, this is one seriously fine soup.

And with Trish’s permission, I am sharing the recipe with you.

Roasted Carrot Soup

2 lbs. carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
2 parsnips (peeled and cut into chunks)
1 large sweet onion (peeled and cut into chunks)
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used a little less)
fresh grated ginger, about a teaspoon or to taste
1 cup + 7 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp. butter
Place all ingredients in a roasting pan (or Dutch oven), cover and cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Puree the contents and add 7 cups of chicken stock to puree and reheat.
Garnish with sour cream and scallions if you like.


Now that the calendar page is turning to November, my soup hankering has kicked in and won’t subside until spring. I will pull out my recipes for the usual suspects — pea soup, chicken soup, lentil soup, black bean soup — and now, thanks to Trish,  I have a new one to add to the rotation.

Bon appetit!

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The Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

It’s mid-August, and I can’t ignore the signs of summer’s imminent demise. My fall perennials are perking up, the cicadas’ late-summer drone is relentless, and the days are noticeably shorter. It makes me sad.

And SAD. I have suspected for years that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. As the days grow darker, so does my mood.

So I am heartened that my friends and I have a summer tradition that takes place now, during the dog days of August, precisely when I need a jolt of fun. For almost 20 years, my husband and I have shared a crab dinner with two other couples, and it is a highlight of the summer.

It definitely makes me feel less crabby.

None of us can remember how this tradition began, but my friend Janet, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., is a crab maven and offered to teach us how to crack them open and eat them the right way. If you’re wondering how, and you don’t have a Janet to demonstrate, here is a video tutorial.

That first dinner was so much fun that we vowed to do it again the following summer, and voila, a tradition was established.

Crabs 101

After so many years, we’ve got it down to a science. Our crab dinner is pretty much farm-to-table and is casual, healthy, delicious and fun. Plus, the cleanup is a cinch.

If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh hard shell crabs, consider hosting your own crab dinner. Here is how we do it.

We alternate hosting.

This year it was at my house. What did I do to prepare? Nothing! You can see how low-key it is with our newspaper functioning as a table cloth.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

Everyone contributes.

We divide the responsibilities so that someone picks up the crabs, another person gets the local produce and the third makes dessert.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

We keep it simple.

We buy the crabs already cooked. Whatever we prepare ourselves is done simply and no-fuss.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

The menu stays the same.

Crabs, corn on the cob, cole slaw, local tomatoes, wine and beer, ice cream, cookies. This year I had some local cucumbers so I chopped them up and threw them in a couscous salad with basil, parsley, green onion and lemon. Janet brought these amazing home-grown tomatoes.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

We use the right utensils.

You’ll need mallets. They look like this.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

A seafood fork and/or lobster cracker are optional. Crabs are not as resistant to cracking as lobsters.

Napkins are unnecessary.

Forget napkins. You’ll need plenty of paper towels. This is a very messy meal. Also, don’t wear jewelry or any clothing that you really care about.

Dinner must end with something sweet.

Elise brought ice cream and her delicious homemade cookies.

Best Summertime Dinner: Crabs

 The cleanup couldn’t be easier.

Wrap it up, toss it out.

Best Summertime Dinner: CrabsHow about you? Do you enjoy crabs?


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Summer Fruit Tart

Summer Fruit TartWhoever came up with the idea of combining luscious summer fruit with a flaky pie crust and vanilla pastry cream has my gratitude. A summer fruit tart is one of my favorite desserts and hey, it’s mostly fruit, so it’s a healthy dessert, right?

When our local berries come into season I eat gobs of them by hand, but I also make pies and tarts. Fruit just tastes better — much better — when it is grown locally and available shortly after picking. Even an undiscerning palate can taste the difference.

Summer Fruit Tart

The pastry cream adds a delicate vanilla flavor and a nice texture, but if you opt not to use it, you can melt a couple of tablespoons of apricot or raspberry jam and spread that on the crust instead. The coating will keep the crust from getting soggy after the fruit is ladled onto it.

I like adding kiwi for a pretty contrast to the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Of course, if you want to go all July 4th, use just the red and blue and you’ve got the perfect dessert to bring to the barbecue.

Summer Fruit Tart


¼ c. sliced almonds
1 t. grated lemon rind
¾ c. flour
1 ½ T. sugar
½ t. salt
6 T. cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
3 T. ice water

Place the almonds, lemon rind, flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and process until almonds are ground. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water and pulse until mixture begins to come together.

Summer Fruit Tart

Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and transfer it to a 10″ tart pan. Pat the dough evenly so it covers the bottom and sides. Trim the edges.

Summer Fruit Tart

Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven, remove foil and let cool.

Vanilla Pastry Cream:

1 ¼ c. whole milk
½ vanilla bean, split, or 1 t. pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
¼ c. sugar
2 T. flour
2 T. cornstarch
½ T. liqueur (Grand Marnier, Kirsch, e.g.), optional

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean until bubbles start to form around the edges. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and add to the egg mixture, mixing until smooth.

When the milk is ready, remove it from the heat and add slowly to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. You don’t want it to curdle. If it does, you can stain the mixture. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, adding them back into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk for another 30-60 seconds until it gets thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the liqueur if you are using it.

Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the top with plastic wrap — right on top of the mixture — to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature before using, or refrigerate until needed, up to three days. Whisk before using to break up any lumps.


When pie crust is cool, spread with a thin layer of vanilla pastry cream (if using), enough to cover the bottom. Wash and prepare whatever fruit you are using and arrange decoratively on top. Just before serving, sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top.

Summer Fruit Tart

Happy Fourth of July!


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Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

My children have an uncanny knack for coming up with the perfect gifts for me. For my birthday this year, my son and daughter-in-law surprised me with a day-long cooking class, and I was delighted.

In what seems like another lifetime ago, I was intensely into cooking. In fact, I had a catering business of my own for several years and when the business grew I added a partner, my friend Alyse. We named our company Fête Accomplie.

We catered both residential and corporate parties, almost always on the weekend, and since we were moms with young kids this worked out well. We got to spend the weekdays with our family, and our husbands took over on the weekends when we had catering jobs.

It was tons of fun. But eventually the physical demands became too great and we sadly agreed to disband the business and went on to less backbreaking careers. I sometimes still miss the catering days, but my back thanks me for moving on.

Now, with the kids grown and out of the house, I don’t cook nearly as much. Consequently, my skills have gotten rusty.

Cooking is still a passion of mine.

So I was excited at the prospect of  learning some new techniques and recipes at Walnut Hill College’s Restaurant School cooking class.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian StyleThe class was just six students — a perfect size, I think — and we were set up in working spaces in the industrial kitchen similar to what you would imagine being in most large restaurants. Chef started out by giving us an overview of Italian regional cuisine.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

Then each of us was given a recipe to prepare, under Chef’s tutelage. At the end of the day we dined on an incredible Italian buffet in the school’s cafe that really makes you feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

I chose a recipe with lentils because I know my son and daughter-in-law like them. Cotechino is a pork sausage made in the Modena region of Italy. If it is unavailable, you can substitute a garlic sausage in this recipe.

Cotechino with Lentils and Balsamic

3 T. olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, brunoise (in small dice)
2 T. shallot, diced
1/2 c. onions, medium dice
1/4 c. celery, medium dice
1/4 c. carrots, medium dice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 c. lentils, rinsed (any color will do but the red looked really pretty)
1 c. red wine
2 c. brown stock (if you don’t have it, use unsalted beef broth)
1 lb. cotechino or garlic sausage
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar, lightly reduced

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Render the pancetta over medium-low heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots and saute for one minute.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian StyleStir in onions, celery, carrots and garlic and saute an additional minute.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

Add the lentils and combine thoroughly.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

Add the red wine and cook down til almost dry. Add the brown stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook lentils til firm and about halfway cooked. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put lentil mix in a casserole dish and top with sliced cotechino (or crumbled garlic sausage, if that is what you are using).

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian Style

Cover pan and put in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook approximately 15-20 minutes.

While that is cooking, reduce balsamic vinegar by half in a small saucepan with a pinch of sugar.

When the casserole is done, sprinkle with the reduced balsamic and serve.

Cooking Up a Storm, Italian StyleMy review? Molto bene! It is earthy, full of flavor and if you close your eyes you can imagine savoring it, accompanied by a hearty red wine, in an outdoor cafe in Bologna.

Mangiamo! And thank you, Marina and Evan!
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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Of course you were aware that today,  May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day, right?

Me neither, until social media alerted me earlier in the week, and you bet I put it on my calendar. This is the kind of celebration I can get on board with. Say no more!

You might say I bake excessively with am obsessed with am a fan of chocolate chips since they seem to show up in most desserts I bake.

I have shared some of my favorite chip-studded recipes, such as Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip M & M Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Brownies, but National Chocolate Chip Day called for something new to be created in its honor. I put on my apron, got out my Kitchenaid mixer, and let my creativity take over.

What would be the magic combination that would do justice to this auspicious occasion? I started out with chocolate chips, of course, and since nothing goes better with chocolate chips than peanut butter, I threw that in.

To make this cookie even more decadent, I reasoned, why not add Nutella, and finish it off with a swirl of melted chocolate?

Success! If you are as much of a chocolate chip-oholic as I am, I think you will adore these fudgy, peanut buttery chocolate chippy cookies.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

2 sticks butter
1/2 c. peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/2 c. Nutella
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
2 T. milk or cream
1 c. chocolate chips
extra chocolate chips for optional topping, about 1 c.

Cream butter and peanut butter. Add Nutella and blend in. Add sugars, then eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and blend into peanut butter mixture. Add vanilla and milk and blend. The mixture will be fairly thick.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Stir in 1 c. chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. I always use parchment paper.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then use spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

You can serve them as is, or drizzle them with chocolate as I did. Melt the remaining cup of chocolate chips and pour in a pastry bag. Pipe the melted chocolate on top and let cool until set.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

You could also use white chocolate as a variation.

Enjoy, and Happy National Chocolate Chip Day!

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Chocolate Chip Brownies

Happiness is a warm brownie.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

What’s not to love? Brownies are the chocolate equivalent of a hug; a little square of comfort food just perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth and making you feel good inside at the same time.

When I smell brownies baking in the oven I have an instant flashback to my childhood. My mother’s chocolate chip brownies were our ultimate dessert fantasy. She didn’t make them frequently, but when the occasion called for a chocolate dessert, this was it.

The whiff of chocolate-y wonderfulness emanating from the kitchen would filter up to my bedroom and I knew right away what goodness was to come. A warm brownie with a cold glass of milk. Is there anything better?

Many a brownie have I baked over the years, and many have I loved. But the recipe I always come back to is this one from my childhood — my mother’s Chocolate Chip Brownies.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Now, these are not fancy shmancy brownies. No bells and whistles. They’re fairly sedate as brownies go, but the thing that makes them unique is the chopped nuts are sprinkled on the top only. If you are allergic to nuts, obviously this won’t work for you. You could simply omit the nuts and the brownies will still be wonderful (although I must confess I have never tried them that way).

Erev Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, is tomorrow evening, and many of my Jewish friends and relatives are busy cooking. It is traditional to serve an apple dessert since apples represent the sweetness of the coming year.

But a little chocolate sweetness couldn’t hurt, either.

Who couldn’t use some extra sweetness? I say bring it on.

May the coming year be sweeter for all of us.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

 Chocolate Chip Brownies

4 sq. bitter chocolate
2 sticks butter
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. cake flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 6 oz pkg. chocolate chips
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Melt chocolate and butter; cool. Beat eggs well. Add sugar gradually. Continue beating and add cooled chocolate-butter mixture gradually.

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add gradually. Remove from mixer.

Add chocolate chips and vanilla and mix by hand. Place in large oblong pan which has been greased and floured. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top only. Bake at 350° for 35 min.

Chocolate Chip Brownies


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Book Buzz: Burnt Toast

Some kids dream of being a doctor, an airline pilot, a teacher.

Me? I wanted to be a farmer.

Like a country mouse in the city, I felt out of place in our suburban neighborhood. My destiny was to live on a farm, of that I was certain. A farm with horses and cows and chickens, where I would get up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows and muck out the stalls. I would gather eggs from the hen house and bring them to my mother (Maw) who would scramble them up for a hearty breakfast with homemade biscuits and strawberry preserves to top it off.

I begged my parents to ditch the suburban nonsense and move to the country. Also? We needed to grow our family. Look at any farm family, I told them. You need a passel of kids to help with the chores. So we needed to adopt a few, and a big sister would be much appreciated. They listened patiently, but it was only cute for so long. When my beseeching disintegrated into petulant whining they either changed the subject or sent me to to my room.

A life on the farm was not in the cards.

Burnt Toast

However, my fascination with farm life has remained strong, and that’s why I enjoyed reading “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family.”

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

Author Kathleen Flinn, who has written two previous books on her fascination with the culinary world, including the New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,” has penned this homage to a childhood short on luxuries but long on farming, love … and home cooking.

Good cooks and food enthusiasts run in Flinn’s Swedish and Irish family, and this memoir is chock full of anecdotes related to the joy of eating. From foraging for morels to fishing for smelt and preparing Grandpa Charles’ chili, each chapter is a page of Flinn’s childhood, recounted with charm and a sense of fun.

I was amazed to learn how voluminous a family farm operation can be. From the bounty of their garden Flinn’s mother canned 80 quarts of applesauce, 120 quarts of tomatoes and 80 quarts of peaches each year. And that was just the beginning.

Because money was tight in those early years, her mother learned how to stretch a dollar while making wholesome, tasty food for her growing brood. Flinn has compiled many of the family favorites and each chapter ends with a recipe, such as this one for Apple Crisp.

Apple Crisp from Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

If you’re wondering why the title is “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good,” it refers to Flinn’s grandmother’s phrase used to get a picky child to eat. Grandma Inez had other memorable quotes, like this:

Grandma Inez from Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

I’ve already tried one recipe and can’t wait to try more. I made these rolls this week and they were a big hit with my husband. They are best hot from the oven with a dab of butter.

No-Knead Yeast Rolls from Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

Aunt Myrtle’s No-Knead Yeast Rolls

Makes 2 dozen

1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 c. boiling water
1 large egg
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit 10 minutes.

In a different bowl, combine the shortening, salt, sugar, and boiling water. Let cool slightly. Add the dissolved yeast, egg and flour and mix well; the dough will be slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least two hours and up to 24.

Coat a muffin pan with cooking spray. Pinch off dough and fill each muffin slot about 1/3 full. Brush the tops with melted butter. Let rise for about two hours in a warm place, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until they rise up firmly and are slightly browned. Let cool slightly before removing from the pan. Store leftovers in an airtight container.


Maybe I’ve still got some of the farm girl in me. I’m hankering for some homemade strawberry preserves to go with those rolls. I’m going to learn how to make it myself.


I am delighted to be able to offer a copy of “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good” to one of my readers. Please leave a comment below and the winner will be contacted next week. Only US addresses eligible.

Disclosure: I received a copy of “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good” from Viking and Penguin Books for an honest review. Which this is.

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