Whenever we go back to Boston to visit family, I always look forward to lobster, old-school pizza, and ice cream. But there's one more thing: the Curry Chutney Apricot Cheese Spread from Wasik's Cheese Shop in my husband's hometown. This recipe is my attempt to recreate it using ingredients that are easy to find. Mix together softened cream cheese, jarred mango chutney, curry powder, and dried apricots into a sweet-savory-creamy spread to put on crackers or fancy up a turkey sandwich. While it's not quite the same as what Wasik's makes, this spread will staunch my cravings until our next trip. (Click "Read More" below for the full recipe.)
As much as I enjoy wine, I'm an admitted cocktail girl. I like the seemingly endless combinations of bitters, citrus, tinctures, and boozes. But most of all, I like that you can replicate a fabulous drink if you get the recipe. With wine, I always feel like it's difficult to find that same exact wine you tasted in a restaurant, received as a gift, or bought in a store months or even years ago.
Last week I passed by Cantina, a San Francisco bar specializing in pisco and tequila where I spent many a pre-child Saturday night. I saw the familiar red sign and a part of me wanted to jump off the bus taking me home and sneak in an unplanned cocktail. The next day the memory still haunted me, so I pulled down the pisco to make a chilcano, a pisco and ginger ale drink. But not just an ordinary chilcano- a kicked-up one with spicy hits of fresh ginger and ginger beer instead of ginger ale. This refreshing cocktail is my toast to spring and a way to pretend that I'm back on the leather barstools at Cantina without a care in the world. (Click "Read More" below for the full recipe.)
I've really come to appreciate curries lately - I can cook protein, vegetables, and sauce together, serve it over rice from a rice cooker that I turn on before I leave the house in the morning, and clean only one pan after dinner. Who doesn't love that? As long as I have curry paste and coconut milk, what goes into it is flexible. For me, it's usually determined by what's in season or needs to be used up in the fridge.
This easy, healthy curry recipe has a creamy sauce made of coconut milk and Thai green curry. Note that Thai curry pastes vary greatly in salt and spice level. In my testing, Mae Ploy was dry, salty, and super-spicy (completely blowing out my palate when I used too much the first time around), whereas Thai Kitchen was mild and more paste-like. Whatever paste you have will work, just err on using less in the beginning knowing you can add more later in the cooking after you've had a chance to taste it. Seared tofu, shrimp, and baby bok choy simmer for just a few minutes in the spicy sauce, making this a dish you can cook in the same amount of time it takes to steam the rice you'll serve it over. (Click "Read More" below for the full recipe.)
One of the first things I proudly learned to "cook" in my teens was the hamburger or tuna meals in a box. I was amazed that I could brown some meat, add noodles, a packet of seasoning, and water or milk, then watch turn into a salty, creamy, satisfying meal. And all made in one pan!
I've been on a mission to recreate these casseroles, starting with a hamburger stroganoff. In that recipe, I learned to use a flavorful cooking liquid, a bit of flour for thickening, and egg noodles for quick cooking. This recipe is a grownup creamy stovetop tuna casserole, with a from-scratch sauce and good-quality tuna. Simmer seared mushrooms, onion, and egg noodles in milk flavored with a bit of Dijon mustard. Stir in peas, cheddar cheese, tuna, and sour cream at the end, and if you feel a little nostalgic, sprinkle on some toasted breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs when serving. I love that this homey dish comes together in one pot quickly and that I usually have most of the ingredients in my pantry! (Click "Read More" below for the full recipe.)
I like the biscuit-y, buttery kind of strawberry shortcake, not the bland spongy ones. But here's my weird thing: instead of diving in right away, I like to let the strawberries sit on the shortcakes for awhile so the juices soak in. (I'm also the person whose favorite part of fruit pies is the juice-soaked crust.) So I set out to make an easy recipe that puts the essence of strawberry shortcake into one warm fruit cobbler.
The keys to this recipe are not overcooking the strawberries and having a thick but not gloppy sauce that the shortcakes can happily soak in. Make sure your strawberries are thoroughly dried, and keep them in relatively large pieces so they don't fall apart during baking. The easy shortcake dough is mixed by hand, then formed into cute little discs that sit on top of the fruit. While you can go the traditional route and serve this beautiful cobbler with whipped cream, I find the cream-based shortcake dough plenty rich to serve it as is. (Click "Read More" below for the full recipe.)
I'm a food editor and professionally trained recipe developer and food stylist. You'll usually find me in the kitchen tinkering with new ideas and recipes to share with others.