Tomato Sauce for Winter

Makes 5 C.


1/4 C. olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 C. finely shredded carrot

1 T. finely chopped thyme

2 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushed

Kosher salt


1. Heat oil in saucepan until hot. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring, until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown (about 10 minutes).

2. Add carrots and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add tomoatoes and their juice sand bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until thickened and reduced to about five cupts (maybe 30 minutes).


Coconut Crusted Shrimp

This lower fat recipe serves four. Really delicious and not so hard to make.

 3 T. vegetable oil

1 ½ C. panko or homemade breadcrumbs

½ C. sweetened shredded coconut

½ C. Dijon mustard

½ t. curry powder

2 lg. egg whites

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tail left on

1 lime cut into wedges

1. Preheat oven to 375. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a medium skillet, heat oil. Add panko and toast, stirring, until golden (about five minutes). Transfer panko to bowl, stir in coconut. IN another bowl, whisk together Dijon, curry powder, and egg whites.

3. Dip shrimp into Dijon mixture, then coat with panko, pressing gently to adhere. Place shrimp on rack and bake until opaque through, 10 -12 minutes.

Serve with lime wedges.

Best Burger (So Far)

I’ve adapted this from a more fancy Epicurious version that involved brining, chanting, and  cooking the burger when there’s a full moon (jk). This is simpler (providing you have a decent butcher) and delicious.

1 1/2 lbs. well-marbled beef chuck top blade steaks (get your butcher to grind them using a meat grinder fitted with a 3/16 or ¼ inch die).

1 ¼ t. kosher salt

4 burger rolls, split

Vegetable oil for brushing burgers

Freshly ground pepper

Gently form the meat into 4 three-quarter inch thick burger patties (each patty should be four inches in diameter. Chill the burgers until ready to grill.

Lightly brush some oil on one side of each burger and season the same side with pepper. On a medium hot fire, grill the burgers, oiled and seasoned side down until nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Season the other side with pepper, then turn and continue to grill (covered) for about 4-5 minutes longer.

Strawberry Bread Pudding

This one’s from Chowhound. Use neufchatel rather than creme fraiche for the topping. Just as good.

For the bread pudding:

  1. Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk to break them up. Add the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until the mixture is evenly combined. Add the bread and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place a large piece of aluminum foil on the rack to catch any juices that may overflow from the dish while baking.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the bread mixture from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Generously coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter and set it aside. Wash, dry, hull, and cut the strawberries into medium dice.
  4. Add the strawberries to the bread mixture and fold gently until they’re evenly combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it into an even layer, pressing gently to compact it slightly.
  5. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place the dish on the foil in the oven and bake until the custard around the outer inch is set, about 1 hour. Remove the foil covering the dish and continue to bake until the surface of the bread pudding is browned in some spots and the center is just set, about 45 minutes more.
  6. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, make the whipped crème fraîche.

For the whipped crème fraîche:

  1. Chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients until medium peaks form, about 5 to 6 minutes.) Serve immediately with the bread pudding.

Spinach Tart with Olive Oil Cracker Crust

This was amazing — I especially liked the crust, which would work well with a variety of fillings. Also, very easy to work with.

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds spinach, stems trimmed, rinsed well (about 14 packed cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds

Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stir in oil and water, then knead until a ball forms. Roll out dough into a 12-inch round and fit it into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim any excess length. Prick bottom all over with a fork and bake until crust is golden brown and crisp, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Filling: Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place spinach in a large pot (if spinach is dry, add 1/4 cup water) and cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, wrap in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl. Wipe pot dry and heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with spinach. Add feta, eggs, and salt; stir until combined.

Pour filling into crust and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake tart until just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with red-pepper flakes.

Mini Cheesy Meatloaf

Cheesy Meatloaf Minis

  • 1 ounce fresh breadcrumbs (about 1/2 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces white cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs; cook 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.
  3. While breadcrumbs cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Combine onion mixture, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup, and remaining ingredients. Shape into 6 (4 x 2-inch) loaves on a broiler pan coated with

This recipe originally ran in Cooking Light January, 2011 and was updated for the November, 2012 25th anniversary issue.



Tony has always loved tiramisu, but it’s usually so rich that I’ve been reluctant to make it. But then came along this recipe from Cooking Light (March 2013) and I’ve had to rethink my repertoire.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup ground dark roast coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua, divided
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 24 crisp savoiardi ladyfingers (1 [7-ounce] package)

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, and remove from heat. Add coffee; cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

2. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon Kahlua in the top of a double boiler, stirring well with a whisk. Cook over simmering water, whisking constantly, until thick and candy thermometer registers 160° (about 9 minutes). Remove from heat; refrigerate 10 minutes.

3. Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until medium peaks form. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 250°. With mixer on low speed, carefully pour hot syrup over egg whites. Gradually increase speed to high; beat for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Peaks should be stiff, otherwise this dish will be soupy and gross.

4. Combine egg yolk mixture, cream cheese, and mascarpone cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture; gently fold remaining egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture.

5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon Kahlua to coffee. Quickly dip 12 ladyfingers into coffee mixture; arrange in the bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish. Spread half of cream cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Sprinkle with half of chocolate. Repeat procedure with the remaining ladyfingers, coffee mixture, and cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

  • 2 Meyer or regular lemon
    11 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
    1/2 cup half-and-half
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    1 1/2 cups reduced-fat buttermilk
    Cooking spray
    Mint leaves and lemon rind strips (optional)

I found the original instructions kind of confusing, so have rewritten to make them a bit more clear. This is a great do-ahead dessert – tangy, tasty, and light.

Remove rind from lemon using a vegetable peeler, avoiding white pith. Squeeze 3 tablespoons juice from lemons.

Combine rind, 1/2 cup milk, half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat (do not boil). Remove pan from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Discard rind.

Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 3 tablespoons milk in a small bowl, and let stand at least 10 minutes.

While you’re doing that, return the half-and-half mixture to medium heat; cook for 1 minute or until very hot but not boiling. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring with a whisk until dissolved (about 1 minute).

Stir in the buttermilk. Then add the 3 tablespoons lemon juice. If the mixture curdles at all, run it through a strainer before continuing.

Divide mixture among 4 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Run a knife around outside edges of panna cotta. Place a plate upside down on top of each cup; invert onto plate. Garnish with mint and rind, if desired.

Chocolate Coconut Sheet Cake

Thank you, Martha Stewart!


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dish
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm strong brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups finely shredded dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup warm strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and toasted large-flake coconut, for serving


Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; line bottom and 2 long sides with parchment, leaving an overhang. Butter parchment, and dust with cocoa powder. Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Gather flour mixture into a mound, and create a well in center. Pour eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla into well, and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour batter into dish, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Topping: Meanwhile, melt butter for topping in a small saucepan. Combine confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and coconut in a large bowl. Stir coffee and vanilla into butter, and pour over coconut mixture. Stir to combine, and immediately spread evenly over warm cake. Let cool completely on wire rack.

To serve, use parchment to transfer cake to a cutting board. Cut into thirds lengthwise, then cut into quarters crosswise, and then cut quarters into eights. This is a very rich cake. You can serve with whipped cream and toasted coconut, although I’d skip the former.

Cake can be refrigerated in dish, wrapped in plastic wrap (do not let plastic touch cake), up to 3 days. Once, when Mrak was literally locked out of the kitchen (floors were being redone), he ate a piece that was six days old. According to him, “It continued to be moist and tasty.” 😀

Eve’s Modest (and Flourless) Chocolate Cake

This recipe came from the friend of a friend. It’s amazing.

1 1/2 C. semisweet chocolate (1 bag chips)

1 can Garbanzo beans (rinsed well)

4 eggs

3/4 C. sugar

1/2 t. baking powder

1 T. powdered sugar for top (can also use cocoa powder)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Butter a 9 inch cake pan. Dust it with cocoa powder.

3.  Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler

4.  In blender or food process, blend beans and eggs.  Make sure that the mixture is really smooth before adding other ingredients. Add sugar, baking powder, and chocolate.

5.  Pour into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, invert, and cool.

6.  Sprinkle w/powdered sugar and serve with raspberry sauce (1 pkg. frozen raspberries, 1 T. lemon juice, sugar to taste, pureed in blender).



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