The Secret Ingredient

Inspiration for Everyday Cooking

What’s for Dinner?

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I think people assume because I teach and write about cooking, that I’m making some fabulously fancy meal every night of the week.  I’m sorry to report that’s not really the case.  Yes, I do cook.  And yes, I do make things from scratch most nights.  But I’m not making Coq au Vin, and I’m […] [Read More]

Shrimp Fried Rice at Home

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I read a lot of cooking magazines.  I try a lot of recipes I find in them.  Many of them are very good, but only occasionally do I find one that makes it into my regular rotation.  I recently hit the lotto with this very simple recipe for Shrimp Fried Rice from Bon Appetit.  My […] [Read More]

Carrot Risotto

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Hooray for springtime!  With spring and the Easter Bunny on my mind, I thought I’d share a recipe for new dish featuring carrots!  I heard about a similar dish during an interview of the chef at Dirty Candy, a New York City based  a vegetarian restaurant.  I searched around for the recipe, but everything I […] [Read More]

One Last Stew…

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The only two things I will miss about wintertime are skiing and stew.  As we all start to lighten up for spring, the crock pots get put away for the season along with the heavy ingredients.  I recently found this recipe for Italian Beef and Lentil Slow Cooker Stew in a Weight Watchers booklet.  I […] [Read More]

No-Flip Vegetable Frittata

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A frittata is an Italian-style omelet that is typically flipped, not folded like its American and French counterparts. However, the flipping is usually a disaster, unless the frittata is very small, or you are a very adept flipper. I’ve come up with a simple solution to create a no-flip frittata. One of my favorite ways […] [Read More]

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

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If your kids are anything like mine, any piece of fruit with a bruise, discoloration, or imperfection gets pushed to the back of the crisper drawer in our fridge.  The longer they stay in there, the more bruised they become.  So what does one do with a drawer full of less than perfect pommes?  Make […] [Read More]

Chicken and Stars Soup

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My grandmother made the very best chicken soup — ever. She actually called it “Chicken and Stars Soup” because she opted for the little star (“stelline”) pasta instead of the more traditional “noodles”. She always made the stock from scratch and it was delicious. However, those were different times, and today, most people (including me) […] [Read More]

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

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After posting to Facebook the link to a blog I wrote in early 2011, I’ve had a few requests for it to be re-posted on this blog.  As the weather starts to chill, I love pulling out my crock pot, and I especially love making homey, savory dishes that are reminiscent of my childhood. Comfort […] [Read More]

Fall Bounty Veggies

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One of my very favorite restaurants on earth is in my small upstate New York hometown of Oneonta.  The Autumn Cafe was started by one of my father’s students at the local college and has been going strong since it opened in 1980.  It’s high ceilings and worn wooden floors give it a very airy  […] [Read More]

Panini Night!

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School’s back in session, sports seasons have begun, and relaxing summer dinners are a memory.  For that night when you just don’t feel like cooking and you’re sick of take-out, make it a panini night!  Panini are Italian-style grilled sandwiches, found in just about every cafe and restaurant throughout Italy (and also wildly popular stateside!).  […] [Read More]