Archive for the ‘food/recipes’ Category


slice of panforte

Panforte is usually described as the Italian fruitcake, but that would lead you to believe it sucks, which it most definitely does not.  Panforte is indeed a mix of fruit and nuts, but the similarity to weird American fruitcake ends there.

whole panforte

Panforte isn’t really a cake at all or a bread, as its name implies. It’s more like candy–a lovely piece of grown up christmas candy. Sliced very thin and eaten with a glass of red wine or a strong cup of coffee, it’s delicious.

fruit for panforte

The recipe is staggeringly simple and ridiculously adaptable. My mom has perfected it over many, many christmases (all failed attempts were also delicious).  Take whatever dried fruit and nuts strike your fancy and mix them up with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cocoa, black pepper and a bit of flour.

panforte montage

On the stove bring some sugar and a bit of honey to a boil and pour it over everything. Mixing is probably the most difficult part, but your bicepts will thank you for it.  At some point I ditched the spoon and just used my hands to get everything together. Then it goes in whatever round pan you’ve jammed parchment paper into and into the oven.


That’s it. Panforte keeps for weeks. Before you serve it, sprinkle powdered sugar mixed with some spices on top for a snowy christmas look. Small ones make lovely gifts. Or you can do like I do and cut a big one in quarters–makes it easier to keep a bit for yourself. Last year we had panforte with oranges as our pre-dessert (or maybe post-dessert dessert? I can’t remember, but I know there were multiple desserts and cookies and pies were in there somewhere).



(recipe provided by my lovely mother–thanks mom!)

note: I made a double batch, so the amounts you see in the pictures will be different than yours. Also, this recipe doubles easily :)

  • 1 lb mixed dried fruit (you have to have a lot of figs, but other than that most everything is fair game. I used black mission figs, calamata figs, apricots, dates, cherries, and candied orange peel.)
  • 1 lb mixed nuts (about 1/2 lb should be almonds and then, again, anything goes. I used almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspooon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves (freshly ground if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Toast nuts at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Use a different pan for each kind of nut because they all toast at different rates. Check them often. When they are toasty throughout, they’re done!

2. Mix nuts and fruit together. Do not chop! Everything is kept whole.

3. In a bowl mix together cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  Take 1 Tablespoon of the mix out and reserve for sprinkling on top.

4. Add flour, cocoa, and black pepper to spice mix.

5. Add flour/spice mixture to fruit/nut mixture. Mix well.

6. In a saucepan bring sugar and honey to a boil. Boil for one minute.

7. Pour over fruit and nuts. Mix well. All the flour must be hydrated–make sure there are no little floury bits at the bottom.

8. Put parchment in a round pan (a 9 or 10 in springform pan works really well, but anything will work) and butter well.

9. Press the panforte into the pan. It should be no more than 1 to 2  inches thick.

10. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

11. Mix powdered sugar with the reserved spices. Sift over the top.

12. To eat the panforte slice into 1/4 inch (or thinner even!) slices. Enjoy!

slice of panforte


pumpkin pot de creme

pumpkin pot de creme

Getting ready for tomorrow:  a little pumpkin pot de creme in my grandmother’s china.

pumpkin pot de creme

an army of them!

I hope you have a lovely weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!


slow roasted salmon

slow roasted salmon

Here in the Midwest the weather this fall has been a little ridiculous: hot one day, freezing the next, perfect for a while, and then humid? in fall, really? Dinner planning got rather difficult. I would start something warm and stew-y in the chilly morning and would be sweating while I was eating it in the evening. Not all that pleasant.

But then I made this beautiful slow roasted salmon recipe from Suzanne Goin’s book Sunday Supers at Lucques. Now I adapted it to my let’s hurry up and get dinner on the table attitude because Suzanne’s recipes are all day, three course affairs, but I think the salmon is still super delicious. It’s warm, but light at the same time–just right for when the weather can’t figure out what season it is.

slow roasted salmon

with roasted beet and potato salad

heavily adapted from Sunday Supers at Lucques

for the salmon

  • a side of salmon, skin on, about 2 lbs (I used coho salmon and it was a bit cheaper)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons minced tarragon
  • 1 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper

for the salad

  • 1 lb small potatoes
  • 1 lb beets (various colors if possible)
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme
  • salad greens (arugula is nice, but any lettuce is fine)

for the mustard vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Roast the vegetables first: heat your oven to 400 degrees F and roast the potatoes and beets whole for 30 minutes or until a knife pierces them easily. In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the mustard vinaigrette. When the beets are warm slip off the skin and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Cut the potatoes similarly and pour the vinaigrette over both. Toss carefully as the beets can color everything bright purple!

Right after the vegetables come out of the oven turn it down to 250 degrees F. Mix everything for the salmon (except the salmon) in a small bowl. You should have a thick lemony, herby paste.  Place the salmon, skin side down, on a parchment lined pan. Rub the paste on the salmon.  Put the salmon in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Because we are cooking it so slowly, the salmon will not change color much.  To test if it is done, peek between the flakes with a fork.  If it doesn’t separate into flakes, it’s not ready yet.

When you are ready to serve the salad gently toss the salad greens with the warm potatoes and beets.  Squeeze a bit of lemon over the hot salmon and put everything on the table.




fruit salads

tomato peach tarragon salad

For a few summers now my favorite thing to make (and eat!) has been a watermelon, feta, tomato, and basil salad.  Goat cheese is pretty damn good in it too. This summer I thought I’d branch out and make other fruit and vegetable salads. Every single one of them was delicious.

The basic formula is fruit + veg + herb + olive oil + salt.  Here are a few that have been extra good (they all have a glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of good crunchy salt on top):

  • purple cabbage, pluot, red pepper, and cilantro–this is more of a slaw than a salad

  • tomato, peach, and tarragon (pictured)

  • cucumber, mango, mint, basil, and maybe a fresh chili or two  (rice vinegar or lime juice is good on this one)

Got any good ones?

waffles and winners


School starts up next week, so I’m trying to have as many slow, lingering breakfasts as I can before it’s all, where is my backpack; oh crap I forgot to make lunches; just get your shoes on already we’re going to be late! So waffles with yogurt and apricot peach compote it is for a few more lazy mornings.

I never had frozen waffles before and bought some in college to find out what all this leggo my eggo shit was all about. They were kind of a disapointment. Homemade waffles are so much better and, really,  dead easy to make.  So make a batch before it’s all cold cereal and yelling in the morning:

just your basic waffle

adapted from Betty Crocker

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 salt

Fire up your waffle iron. In a big bowl whisk first 4 ingredients together.  Sift in flour, soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix until most of the lumps are gone. That’s it. Bake in the hot waffle iron.  Makes about 8.

If you want to get fancy you can brown the butter first before adding it–makes the waffles a little extra delicious. Also, Betty Crocker has a fantastic footnote in the orginal recipe: “Fresh bacon fat is good in waffles.” Damn straight it is! he compote I made was 2 peaches, an apricot, and a couple Tbls. sugar cooked for a bit and smashed a little.


and now for the winner of the Tea Collection giveaway: comment number #101

sarah says:

your kiddos are about the ding dang cutest things i’ve ever seen. (i mean, except for mine). and your talent is above amazing. thanks for this great giveaway.

Congratulations, Sarah! I’ll be emailing you shortly.