Since both Summer and my birthday are officially over, I've been a little down. There's nothing that makes me feel more excited and happy than a party on the horizon, so to celebrate the arrival of Autumn, I'm planning a simple lunch. The meal will honor the season and its most prominent ingredients. I'll start by putting together a small spread of olives, crackers, and charcuterie. When guests arrive, they can savor olives or nibble on crackers. To begin the sit-down meal, I'll serve a spicy green salad with Manchego cheese, pears, and pumpkin seeds. For the main course, a Fall lunch requires something comforting and classic, like a butternut squash and sage lasagna. If you are interested in the recipes to this menu, read more
After the ceremonious reading of the Haggadah, invite your loved ones to join you for a hearty Seder dinner that is both traditional and modern. Start things off with a reinterpretation of the classic gefilte fish: pan-fried matzo-crusted trout. Serve with a crisp green salad. Next move on to rich bowls of piping hot matzo ball soup. Instead of offering the expected brisket, select another tough cut of meat — beef short ribs — and slow-cook in Kosher red wine. A tzimmes, a time-honored Passover stew made from sweet potatoes and dried fruit, is delicious on the side.
For these festive recipes, read more
Recently I received a personal message from a reader asking for advice on what to cook her boyfriend for Valentine's Day. They've been working out together and eating healthy, so she was looking for a menu that wouldn't ruin their diet. Here, I've come up with a decadent dinner menu that won't pack on pounds. To start, serve an appetizer of the freshest raw oysters (if you dislike oysters, opt for shrimp cocktail) with a glass of sparkling wine. For the main course, pair a huge green salad alongside classic cheese fondue. Select dippers that are diet-friendly like crudités, wheat bread croutons, and lean proteins. Instead of indulging in a calorie-packed dessert, splurge on a high-quality bar of dark chocolate and enjoy with a bottle of port.
What menu would you advise for a health-conscious couple? To check out these recipes, read more
This weekend I've invited my seven very best friends to join me at my vacation house in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We'll watch movies, go wine tasting in Murphys, and indulge in nonstop good eats. Naturally I'm planning the menu. Two of my gal pals are pesceterians (they don't eat meat, but will consume seafood), so the food will be vegetarian-friendly. After the long car ride to the cabin, the girls will be hungry for a hearty, soothing meal. An Italian-style vegetable soup served with olive cheese bread is filling and scrumptious. The following morning we'll eat store-bought bagels and cream cheese before we hit up the local wineries for lunch. Saturday night will be "make your own pizza" night.
Each girl can grab a ball of Trader Joe's pizza dough and choose from a variety of toppings — crumbled sausage, prosciutto, caramelized onions, pesto, kalamata olives, mushrooms, roasted red peppers — to make an individual pie. A simple green salad with Dijon vinaigrette finishes up the menu.
Sunday morning we'll have a leisurely brunch featuring a potato and leek frittata paired with oven-crisped bacon. For these recipes, which are perfect for enjoying with your friends and family on any Winter weekend, read more
Every October I look forward to picking out pumpkins. There's a great ranch near my parents house that has a pumpkin patch along with a picnic area and hay rides, so I'm grabbing a group of friends and hosting a picnic at the pumpkin patch! Since we'll be heading out this weekend, I invited everyone by phone.
The menu will be a hearty Fall-themed lunch. I'll start by setting up an assortment of cheeses and fruit. The elements to an autumn greens salad will be packed in separate containers. The greens, apples, and radishes in one, the cheddar frico in another, and the vinaigrette in third.
The salad can be assembled at the picnic table. Thermoses filled with a fragrant ginger, butternut squash soup are perfect for enjoying at the pumpkin patch. For these scrumptious recipes, read more