All posts filed under: Recipes

Christmas recipe fix: Raisin Mumbles cookie bars

Last week, a dear friend of mine sent me a blurry photo and recipe with this hilarious comment: “This recipe is my Christmas recipe nightmare! A favorite of my husband and youngest son but a living mess to make EVERY SINGLE YEAR. My son and my sister-in-law made it this year and this is the debacle. Burned on the edges, underdone in the middle, left the oven a smoking mess, and the dog had a go at it as well. This recipe is very old—handed down from Grandma Betty. It certainly could stand some updating!” She added: “And it’s too many cookie bars! No one can eat an 11 x 15 pan of raisin mumbles!!” (To which I replied, genuinely, “Oh, it’s supposed to be bars?!”) I’ve often said that I love to cook but I don’t really love to bake—baking typically requires precision, not my forte. But cookie bars seemed doable … and  the challenge enticed me. Here’s what happened. Skip to the finished and delicious recipe below! I started by cutting the recipe roughly in half—and …

Homemade chicken stock

Now that you’ve made Perfect Roast Chicken, you’ve got a picked-clean chicken carcass. Don’t throw it out; make your own chicken stock! It’s incredibly easy (and gluten free), saves money, and tastes way better than store-bought broth. If you don’t have time to make stock right away, just toss the carcass and giblets in a zip-top bag and refrigerate the whole thing for a day or two (or freeze) until you’re ready. Ingredients: 1 chicken carcass (plus raw giblets if you have them) Optional but really good: A couple of onion wedges, a couple of celery stalks with leafy tops, and/or a couple of carrots, cut into large chunks 5-6 whole peppercorns 1 dried bay leaf Directions: Place the chicken carcass, plus giblets if you have them, in a pot. If possible, add a few vegetable chunks (including celery stalk leaves, which have a ton of flavor). Toss in a few peppercorns, too, and maybe a dried bay leaf. Add enough water to cover—depending on the size of your pot, that’ll be around 8-12 cups. Bring the pot to …

Roast chicken recipe: gluten-free, paleo, and perfect every time

Perfect Roast Chicken with Caramelized Carrots People often ask me if I have a favorite dish to cook. This is certainly a top-5 contender. The secret, I’ve found, is the high heat (425 degrees) and the timing. If you calculate accurately—15 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes, exactly—you’ll be rewarded with a moist but cooked-through chicken with nice crisp skin. I’ve roasted a lot of chickens over the years, and this is the only method that works every single time. A few more notes: The caramelized carrots are a delicious addition, but if you don’t have carrots, use a small metal roasting rack to lift the chicken off the pan a bit; or if you have neither, skip it. It’ll still cook just fine. If you also want baked potatoes (and who wouldn’t?), put them in the oven at the same time as the chicken. The high temperature isn’t optimal for baked potatoes—the skins get a bit tough—but it’ll work. Or try cubed potatoes: Place in a separate pan coated with cooking spray or olive oil, toss with more olive oil and …

Chicken Oregano recipe: simple, healthy, gluten-free, paleo

This year I’m embarking on a plan to record my simplest, most frequently made, gluten-free, and usually paleo recipes. First up: Chicken Oregano Serves 2-3 This is a great weeknight dish that’s easily doubled to feed more people. I originally got this recipe (like so many) from my mother-in-law, a classic and talented homemaker. I’ve since modified it a bit to reduce the oil and add more garlic salt and oregano. Remember to always wash your hands after touching raw chicken and before touching anything else. Oh, and there’s no need to wash and pat dry chicken or any other meat before prepping it; in fact the USDA recommends against it because it actually increases the risk of spreading bacteria. Cooking, not washing, will kill any potential pathogens. After cooking, use the extra pan drippings to drizzle in a baked potato or over cooked brown rice; you won’t need butter! Ingredients: 1/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin or regular) 2 tablespoons lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed but bottled will work; I use Santa Cruz Organic) 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt (0r garlic …

Wild Duck Pate

It’s finally fall again. And my husband, Dave, is happy because fall ushers in hunting season. I could write a lot about lessons learned while being married to a conscientious, deeply ethical, nature- and animal-loving hunter (in fact, he’s the first hunter I ever met, way back in college). But I’ll save that for another post. Suffice it to say that over the past three decades, I’ve had to learn how to cook a lot of wild game meat — mostly dove, duck, goose, and pheasant. This Wild Duck Pate recipe is without a doubt our favorite game-meat creation to date. It’s a labor-intensive recipe, but trust me, it’s worth the effort. People go absolutely nuts for this when we serve it at parties. One guy recently asked me if I knew its street value. Unfortunately, this recipe does not work with domestic, store-bought duck, which is much fattier and milder than wild duck … so you’ll have to make friends with a duck hunter. Bosley’s Wild Duck Pate 3/4 pound (24 tablespoons, or 3 sticks) butter, …

Mountain strawberry shortcake recipe

One person’s invader is another person’s honored guest. A friend of mine wages war against the rangy “mountain strawberry” plant that creeps into her Colorado lawn every summer. Despite the cute little berries, she considers this native plant an invasive pest and she works hard to eradicate it from her garden. But last week, during my visit to Sun Valley, Idaho, my aunt Sandy delightedly pointed out the very same plant in her garden and rejoiced over the many miniature strawberries dotting the vines. “The French call these fraises des bois,” she gushed, “and they’re considered a real delicacy because of their concentrated flavor. One of my French friends couldn’t believe we had them growing wild on our patio!” That afternoon, Sandy’s gardener harvested a cup or two of the precious berries. I made Sandy’s “best-ever” shortcake recipe, and she whipped up her special version of fresh whipped cream (secret ingredient: sour cream). That night for dessert, we feasted on Mountain Strawberry Shortcake. Shortcake recipe (originally from Bon Appetit, July 2006): 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 8 tablespoons sugar, divided 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 …

Why you should never trust (every) recipe

I’m psyched that a piece I wrote for Sunset magazine’s blog is now on the site! Titled “Why you can’t trust every recipe on the internet,” it’s a lighthearted look at a common problem — published recipes that may or may not work in a real kitchen — plus tips on what you can do about it. Though online recipes are proliferating faster than you can say “gluten-free cupcakes,” the resources for testing those recipes are drying up. As the LA Times asked in a recent article: “Is recipe testing a vanishing art?” I’m afraid the answer is yes. Needless to say, this can be frustrating and costly for the home cook, so I hope the blog gives you some useful guidelines in your own recipe adventures. And please leave a comment about recipe sites or publications that you particularly trust. I can say from experience that Delicious Living and Sunset are both excellent sources.

Why I simply had to make this gluten-free orange cake

I am the first to admit that I am not a happy baker. Baking is too precise. All that measuring just so. Plus I don’t really like cake; I’m a fruit-pie girl. And don’t get me started on trying to figure out high-altitude adjustments. (Boulder stands at 5,300 feet above sea level — enough to make muffins cry.) But when I saw this January 2015 cover of Sunset magazine, I felt an irresistible urge. I had to make this Corn Flour and Orange Blossom Chiffon Cake. My “you’re not a baker” voice tried to talk me out of it. “Are you crazy? It’ll never work.