Pepper Vodka (and More) from “Beyond The North Wind” by Darra Goldstein

(Written before COVID-19 quarantine) When I received notice that my friend Darra Goldstein had unsubscribed from my NewsBite newsletter, I reached out to learn, "why?" and learned she wasn't unsubscribing, just eliminating duplication as she was getting it twice. During our email interaction, she had mentioned the upcoming publication of her latest book, Beyond the North Wind, another tome exploring Russian food. Darra is the founding editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture. She's also the Willcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit Professor of Russian, Emerita at Williams College. I was looking for a simple recipe to share. She suggested the Pear and Carrot Relish, one of her favorite easy [...]

By |2020-06-04T09:25:02-04:00July 1st, 2020|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

“Nostalgia on a Plate” Meatballs For My Nephew’s Recipe Book

For newlyweds, I assemble a baker's dozen favorites from my syndicated columns and out-of-print cookbooks as the start of their recipe collection. For one of my nephews, I wanted to include his grandmother's potted meatball recipe. I had taken notes watching her make those famous sweet & sour meatballs. I did make them once from those cryptic notes yet never "kitchen-tested" a written version. Having warned him of such, my insides smiled when he wrote to me after making them, "Nostalgia on a plate." (Meatball photo by my nephew.) Hilda’s Sweet & Sour Meatballs Makes 6 to 8 servings. "I’m writing this recipe from notes I had from talking to [...]

By |2020-06-04T09:24:41-04:00June 23rd, 2020|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

A Favorite One-dish Meal: Jambalaya

There are as many recipes for jambalaya as there are cooks. I add chicken and andouille; you might add duck, shrimp or other seafood and different smoked sausages. My hot-and-spicy version is based on the one in my first cookbook, “Rice,” published in 1991, Harmony Books, co-authored by Joanne Lamb Hayes. We lucked out, having Harriet Bell as our editor. Make this your own by adjusting the quantities and types of ingredients. Jambalaya is my favorite dinner-party meal because I can do most preparation ahead. I do so through the addition of the broth, finishing to that point shortly before my guests arrive. While everyone is enjoying a cocktail and [...]

By |2020-06-04T09:24:03-04:00June 15th, 2020|Entrees, Recipes|0 Comments

Choose Your Ingredients for This Macaroni Bake

On a Zoom call recently, someone mentioned baked ziti, which sparked memories of what Connecticut soccer moms' served when feeding a huge crowd of players and parents. That thought inspired me to create this recipe. Baked ziti can be quite forgiving, allowing you to vary the kind and quantity of ingredients. For this version, I cook the pasta in the sauce, lessening the cleanup.  If you have a large enough oven-proof skillet to fit all the ingredients — with space for the pasta to expand — use that. If not, use a 9 x 13-inch pan. For meat, I used the ground pork and andouille purchased at Union Square Farmers' [...]

By |2020-05-27T12:23:24-04:00June 1st, 2020|Entrees, Recipes|0 Comments

River Cafe Pasta With Cloumage

Trolling online for recipes to use the Cloumage® I received from a fellow Les Dames d'Escoffier board member, I tripped over one purportedly based on an entree from the River Cafe. If you've never been, the River Cafe at 1 Water Street at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, is magical in setting, food and service. Like most restaurants, it is now temporarily closed. The lushness of the entrance is reminiscent of entering a country club. Luxurious and green. Inside affords you breath-taking views of Manhattan.  From what I had read, their tagliatelle was made with lemons, crème fraîche, arugula and Parmesan. It's simple: you just combine the crème fraîche (or substitute) [...]

By |2020-05-24T11:22:40-04:00May 24th, 2020|Entrees|2 Comments

One of My Favorites: Greek-Style Rice Salad

My dear friend Amy Hoopes, president of Wente Vineyard, texted to say "I was on your blog and got inspired. We added cukes to your Greek rice salad and then paired it with Roasted Shrimp and a nice glass of Murrietas Well The Whip. Delish! ” The recipe she texted about is my Greek Rice Salad from  “Rice,” my first cookbook with Joanne Lamb Hayes. That recipe is posted here and on It’s one of my favorite warm-weather salads. Try it as a delicious accompaniment to grilled meats, or as a light spring or summer meal, especially when tomatoes are ripe. Serve along with some crusty bread. Here's a [...]

My Favorite Fudgy Brownies

With all the ingredients on the counter ready to be used, you can whip up a batch of these irresistible fudgy brownies in 7 minutes. (Plus, of course, baking time!) Now that I'm living alone, I don't make these unless I'm entertaining (a pre-COVID-19 happening!) or have room in my freezer to store them. They are that addictively good. My Supermarket Sampler cohort, Carolyn Wyman to the rescue. She offered to bake and photograph these for me. Thanks, Carolyn!  The group shot comes from a previous post, the close up is hers. This brownie recipe comes from my cookbook “365 Great Cookies and Brownies” co-authored with Joanne Lamb Hayes. [...]

By |2020-05-12T12:25:57-04:00May 5th, 2020|Endings, Recipes|3 Comments

Minestrone: A Clean The Fridge Soup

Minestrone is an Italian vegetable soup with beans, pasta and veggies that's finished with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. The kinds of veggies and amounts are recommendations, which is why I call it a "clean the fridge" soup. Don't be put off by the length of the ingredient list. It's just a variety of herbs, beans and veggies. In this recipe, no need to pre-soak the dry beans as they will hydrate during cooking. That is if the beans are fresh. If you haven't a clue when you purchased them, the dried beans are still fine to use — but may take longer to rehydrate. You might soak those before beginning the [...]

By |2020-05-12T12:22:12-04:00April 29th, 2020|Entrees, Recipes|0 Comments

Roast Pork Tenderloin + Mise en Place; Juicing Lemons; Deglazing

Before starting this or any recipe, be sure to have all the ingredients on the counter. In French, this culinary phrase is mise en place meaning "set up" or everything in place. It's getting organized. Gather your ingredients, utensils and equipment and then pre-prep the ingredients (wash, peel, cut, chop, measure) before you begin. If you're missing something, you can figure out a substitute before you begin, not in the middle of cooking. Since you're heating the oven for the pork, might as well roast some veggies or potatoes at the same time. Check out: Crispy Fingerling Potatoes that can cook at the same temperature. QUESTIONS about this how to do [...]

By |2020-04-18T14:56:46-04:00April 21st, 2020|Entrees, Recipes, WOW|0 Comments

Braised Cabbage and Rice Soup

Since we're sheltering, we all have time for braising the cabbage for 1 1/2 hours as in this recipe, inspired by one of Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan's recipes for this dense soup. Instead of soup, you could just enjoy the cabbage just braised. If you do so, add a generous grinding of Parmigiano Reggiano to each serving. Braised Cabbage Soup 4 servings 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 tablespoon) 1 pound shredded cabbage (about 6 cups) Salt Black pepper, freshly ground 1 tablespoon wine vinegar (I used apple blossom) 2 cups broth (homemade or purchased) 1/2 [...]

By |2020-04-15T09:56:49-04:00April 18th, 2020|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Irresistible Chocolate Chip Banana Bread or Muffins

Eric and Cole (my grandson) made the banana bread for me so that I could have some photos to share. They opted for muffins. While sheltering, I'm trying not to bake and am asking others to prepare my goodies and photograph them for me. When made with overripe bananas (black), the flavor of this cake is irresistible. Be sure to have your ingredients at room temperature before beginning. Although I use a food processor to prepare the batter, you can use a wooden spoon and bowl. Chocolate Chip Banana Bread or Muffins Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf or 12 muffins Prep Time: 7 minutes Cook Time: 45 to 50 [...]

By |2020-04-12T18:50:05-04:00April 15th, 2020|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes|0 Comments

Greek Salad With Leftover Pork Tenderloin

Based on a salad recipe from my daily syndicated column, Express Lane Cooking (ELC),  which I'm proud to share was the world's first daily syndicated food column. It was gaining steam until 9/11, which was its demise like many others. In ELC, I divide the ingredients into Necessities (what you need to purchase or have), On Hand (ingredients generally in your pantry) and Not So Necessary (ingredients that you can add if you want to, yet they are not necessary for the success of the recipe). I thought of this recipe when looking for ideas for leftover pork tenderloin that I cooked earlier in the week. You can also make [...]

By |2020-04-12T08:51:44-04:00April 13th, 2020|Entrees, Recipes|0 Comments

Golden Portuguese Bean Soup + “Taste and adjust seasoning”

When living in Connecticut, I often had a soup party.  It was the way I found to serve a large crowd during winter. I'd have soup pots spread throughout the first floor kept warm on hot plates and on the stove. Each pot was surrounded by appropriate accouterments. Guests would have a mug to sample each of the soups. This Portuguese Bean Soup was always included. It's delicious and nutritious as its chockful of beta-carotene (vitamin A). And it's even better the next day. It's based on my recipe in “Beans” by me (Bonnie Tandy Leblang) and Joanne Hayes, Harmony, 1994. As in most soups, the quantities of fresh ingredients [...]

By |2020-04-18T14:43:25-04:00April 9th, 2020|Entrees, Recipes, WOW|2 Comments

Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes

Here's a simple recipe for those who love crispy potatoes.  Use any small potatoes; I tested it with fingerlings. Crispy Smashed Fingerling Potatoes Makes 4 to 6 servings 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes Kosher salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons smoked or regular paprika Kosher salt Place the potatoes into a large pot, cover them with water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook just until the potatoes start to soften but are not cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Place back into the hot pot to dry a bit or pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.  [...]

By |2020-04-13T14:06:18-04:00April 6th, 2020|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes|0 Comments

The Best Blueberry Cake + Folding

I adapted this recipe, published in "The Weekend Kitchen" by me (Bonnie Tandy Leblang) and Joanne Lamb Hayes, Harmony, 1992. It called for wild blueberries, which aren't in season now (other than in Florida), so I substituted regular ones. I find this irresistible, especially the crumb topping; so do all my friends and relatives who now make this. My son Eric began baking before he was in kindergarten with — of course — parental supervision; this was one of his favorites. Now his niece Deli, who just turned 3, assists her mom Andrea in making this additive cake. Measure out the ingredients,  let your child add each to the bowl [...]

By |2020-04-18T14:43:51-04:00April 5th, 2020|Endings, Recipes, WOW|0 Comments

Stocking Your “Pantry” During COVID-19 + Lentil Soup with Sausages

Wanting to feel both useful and helpful during this world-wide pandemic, I'm donning my RD (registered dietitian), cookbook author and former food editor hats to share shopping and cooking tips with you as we're all sheltering in place. I am also including a couple of already posted pre-quarantine and not-shared yet restaurant reviews when I send the NewsBite just for your reading and viewing pleasure. We all need diversions. To start, here's a list of what to buy at /order from the supermarket to keep on hand. Shelf-stable items (meaning they don't need refrigeration). Rice Beans and lentils (canned and dried) Grains, whole grain preferred (amaranth, barley, bulgur, farro, freekeh, quinoa, [...]

By |2020-04-05T11:29:35-04:00April 1st, 2020|Big Apple Life, Entrees, Rambling, Recipes|0 Comments

Goat Cheese Roasted Pepper Bruschetta

Here's a simple, partially make-ahead colorful hors d'oeuvre. To do ahead, I "toast" the bread and marinate the peppers. As company arrives, I spread the toast with the goat cheese, top with the pepper mixture and garnish with some microgreens. Easy! Goat Cheese Roasted Pepper Bruschetta 1 baguette, sliced on the bias about 1/2-inch thick Extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red, yellow and orange peppers* 1 shallot, minced 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh Salt and pepper to taste A large pinch red pepper flakes 3 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley 6-ounce log fresh goat cheese, [...]

By |2020-02-09T07:40:01-05:00January 18th, 2020|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Holiday Gift for a Bread Baker: Living Bread by Daniel Leader

Bread Alone's Daniel Leader is at it again. His latest book, Living Bread ($40) is out now in time for holiday giving for the serious bread baker on your list. His other books — Bread Alone and Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers — are award-winning ones. This latest tome pays tribute to traditional ways, offering a comprehensive picture of bread baking for the home baker. It also provides a look into the way break baking has evolved and continues to change. I was able to get the  Baguette de Richard Ruan from the publisher to share with you.   Baguette de Richard Ruan Ingredients [...]

By |2019-12-04T16:37:34-05:00December 17th, 2019|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes|0 Comments

Make-Ahead Challah French Toast Casserole and Maple-Glazed Bacon

After attending an amazing brunch spread at Letty Gochberg's home, I requested her Challah French Toast casserole. This recipe is my version inspired by hers. It's a make-ahead dish — best done the night before serving — that just needs baking before company arrives. I served it at book group one evening along with some addictive Maple-Glazed Bacon.  I recommend for brunch or a light evening meal. Challah French Toast Casserole Butter for greasing the dish One 1-pound loaf challah, crust on, cut into 1-inch pieces 6 large eggs 3 cups half-and-half 1 cup milk 1/3 cup light brown sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 [...]

By |2019-05-24T10:32:54-04:00June 4th, 2019|Entrees, Recipes|2 Comments

Rosemary Spatchcock Chicken from Hero Dinners: Complete One-Pan Meals That Save the Day

My food-friends Marge Perry and David Bonom — a hubby-and-wife team who develop recipes for magazines — just released Hero Dinners: Complete One-Pan Meals That Save the Day. The cookbook offers 100 recipes using a sheet pan or a skillet so you're not left with a sink full of pots and pans after making dinner. This Rosemary Spatchcock Chicken recipe uses a large skillet. Don't be put off by the seeming length of the recipe. It's really quite simple! This team just tells you everything you might need to know to prepare this with fabulous results. "We just love saying the word spatchcock," they wrote. "We know, it almost sounds [...]

By |2019-03-18T15:58:58-04:00April 10th, 2019|Entrees, Recipes|0 Comments