A Recipe for Success

Friday, March 31, 2017

Teri Turner has always been on the cutting edge of new ideas.  From a precocious 4-year-old who sold water at her daily lemonade stand in the small town of Deerfield, Illinois, Teri moved on to become a passionate foodie way before it was hip. Then she rode the height of the Facebook wave with 200,000 followers and recipes that went viral. Today, this high-energy food blogger has blazed a path for many to follow as she inspires hundreds of thousands with her daily Instagram stories and instructional videos from her home kitchen in Chicago.

Rhubarb Crumb Pie

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

One of the things I've told people about being raised in a Mennonite home is that I learned how to cook for thirty at a moment's notice. While this may be a slight exaggeration, in reality it's not far from the truth. The Amish and Mennonite culture is one built around hospitality and frequent (often unannounced) visits to each other's homes. Uncle John and his family coming to dinner? No problem, there's canned beef in the cellar to be fried and turned into a browned butter gravy. There's potatoes in the pantry to be peeled, cooked and mashed. There's a garden where the fixings for a salad are within easy reach. And for dessert, there was usually an extra pastry crust in the freezer which could be made into a fresh pie.

Making things ahead of time and in large quantities was essential, whether canning and preserving garden produce for winter months, making extra loaves of bread on baking day or preparing ready-to-bake pie crusts and storing them in the freezer for last minute dinner parties. The women in my family took pride in their hospitality and in the flavorful meals they served at the table. The food was simple and well-seasoned, the servings generous.

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Thyme Custard Meringue Pie

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Last night while cozying around a bar table in the posh Art Deco atmosphere of the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, I realized several things: friends who will laugh and cry with you are worth hanging on to, and if they also see your potential and pull out the very best in you, they are solid gold.  Life can be illuminated with mountain top experiences where we feel the sky is the limit and there is no diminishing our dreams for the future. But there are also valleys we trudge through where the hope of reaching a vision-filled summit seems illusive.

Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring, and yesterday's mixture of sun and rain seemed like the perfect day to make cookies. Besides, I had been wanting to make this recipe by friend Rebecca from Displaced Housewife because olive oil in cookies sounded too interesting to pass up.

Let me tell you, these are decadent. Rich, gooey chocolate melts in your mouth even as your taste buds pick up the hint of olive oil making them a most satisfying accompaniment to coffee, ice cream or milk, though they stand perfectly well on their own.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My first real job at age 17 was working as a waitress in an Amish restaurant where we assembled cream pies every morning. By 10 AM, we had refrigerator shelves filled with Banana, Coconut and Peanut Butter - ready for the noon lunch crowd who bellied up to the bar and filled every table in the small town restaurant where the pies were as famous as the Amish who drove their buggies past the big windows overlooking Main Street. And then there were the fruit pies, stunning in their own right with sugary golden crusts holding cherries, apples and peaches. Pecan pie was there, too, along with pumpkin and custard, but it was the Peanut Butter Cream that stole my heart.

Cornbread and Bluegrass

Saturday, March 11, 2017

"You can't separate the South from cornbread made with buttermilk," Ricky Skaggs, the bluegrass legend who is now my daughter's father-in-law once told me. And that is God's honest truth. In fact, cornbread is almost as synonymous with the South as the music whose roots stem from its hills and hollers. And the love for these classics reaches all the way to Ohio where my husband was raised on Corn Pone and the sound of Skaggs' mandolin coming from the small radio in the garage where his father tuned in to the Opry each week.

Minny's Chocolate Pie

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

If you have ever watched The Help, a 2011 Oscar-winning drama written by a young journalist depicting African American maids working for white families in the 1960's, you'll understand my obsession with this chocolate pie. Throughout the movie, this signature pie baked by Minny shows up in tempting food scenes that leave one salivating for a taste. It culminates with an epic moment where Minny seeks revenge, causing the pie to stand as an icon for this civil rights film.

Jam is Her Jam

Friday, March 3, 2017

Amisha Gurbani knows what it's like to hustle. Hailing from Mumbai, with its frenzied energy, noisy bazaars and masses of people ranging from financial geniuses to Bollywood film stars, this Bay-area blogger packs a lot of productivity into 24 hours. A full-time engineer by day, Amisha also runs a small business known as The Jam Lab selling organic, artisanal and seasonal jams created in the kitchen of the home she shares with husband, Raj, and their two children. Additionally, she is a contributing editor for The Feed Feeda crowd-sourced digital publication for the foodie community where she manages the content for  Jam, Jellies and Chutneys Orangesand Gin.

Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie in a Cast Iron Skillet

My daughter and I spent the afternoon with my mother-in-law in the kitchen of her Ohio home rolling out pie dough. She is my kids's only living grandmother, and it was such an honor to stand by her side, gleaning tricks from these dear hands who have made more than their share of pastries in a lifetime.