Meyer Lemon Focaccia

You can make this. I promise. Even if you don’t think you’re much of a baker. It’s a golden crusted focaccia draped with whisper thin rounds of Meyer lemon, studded with black olives, and a showered with sliced almonds. The dough is herb-flecked with a generous boost of hemp seeds, and a percentage of rye flour if you happen to have some on hand. It’s the same one I posted to my Instagram feed, and It’s the one focaccia recipe you need! 

Meyer Lemon Focaccia with Hemp Seeds and Herbs

The Pre-bake:

The shot above is what the focaccia looks like prior to baking. I used an enameled cast-iron baking pan, but(!) you can absolutely make the focaccia free-form (just shape it on a standard baking sheet). A third option is a cast iron skillet. I baked the last version I did in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Experiment and have fun with it!

Meyer Lemon Focaccia with Hemp Seeds and Herbs

Focaccia Inspiration

I’ve been on a bit of a focaccia bender lately after making Nigel Slater’s Cranberry Focaccia for New Years Eve (from The Christmas Chronicles). I forgot how simple and satisfying it is to make, and all the different ways you can top it based on what you have around the kitchen. You can adapt the recipe with all sorts of alternate toppings! Have fun experimenting.

Meyer Lemon Focaccia with Hemp Seeds and Herbs

Choosing the Correct Yeast:

This recipe calls for instant yeast, and I’m including a shot of the exact yeast I used for reference below. You can add it directly to the dough. Different than active dry yeast.

Meyer Lemon Focaccia with Hemp Seeds and Herbs

If you make this, or a riff on it, tag me on Instagram (heidijswanson) so I can see :)!

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Three Bento Lunch Box Ideas

I started the school year (our first one!) with literal lists of things I wanted to pack for my son’s lunch. After a few weeks though, I’m starting to get lunch-packing fatigue! I’m sure I’m not the only one. So, I spent some time brainstorming some simple and wholesome Bento Box lunches for kids! My […]

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Welcome Baby Porter!

Gordon and I are so thrilled to announce the healthy and safe arrival of our fourth baby, Porter James Brennan, on Monday, September 16th at 12:55pm. He was a hefty boy, weighing in at 8 lbs, 9 oz but has turned out to be so sweet and calm. He hardly cries and when he’s awake is content to sit still and just look around. All I prayed for during this pregnancy was a healthy baby who would sleep more than Eddie and be somewhat predictable and so far, that’s exactly what he’s turned out to be. My milk has come in quickly, thanks to Porter’s hearty appetite and he has been sleeping 2-3 hour stretches which is all I can ever ask of him at this stage.

Labor and delivery were all sorts of different…unlike any other baby I’ve had. My contractions started up after I walked home from church on Sunday afternoon. They were on and off all afternoon, evening and into the early morning hours of Monday. By then, I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I decided to go to the hospital. I got there around 5:30am and left Gordon home to get the kids ready for school. My doctor was on call which I was thankful for because she is completely competent and I had just seen her in the office a few days before. Anyways, for whatever reason, my body was stuck and not progressing quickly at all, even though the contractions were steady (and painful!). Around 7:30, they started a little Pitocin to see how my body would react. Again, very painful contractions that weren’t doing much of anything at all. Gordon showed up at 9 and by then I was about to get my epidural. Things got significantly better once I couldn’t feel anything. Ha!

Around 11, my water broke on its own and things really picked up. The stronger the contractions got, the more obvious it was that my epidural didn’t end up working on one little section of my right side. At 12:45, the anesthesiologist tried giving me an extra big dose to try to fill the epidural space in hopes it would numb that one section but it just made my left side more numb. That was pretty crummy.

The doctor came in to check me at 12:50 and I was only at an 8, but within 30 seconds of saying that and getting me to roll from my right side to my left I was ready to deliver a baby. I’m not sure what happened with my body or what she saw, but my doctor went from being really calm to kicking things into high gear and getting all her stuff on to deliver the baby. Both my husband and I are like “wait, what? Delivering now?” and four pushes later, he was out. He didn’t come out crying or screaming, just very awake. Gordon and I were so surprised by how much blonde hair he had (swoon!) and how much he looked like our previous first three.

Porter’s actual due date was September 17th, but I had him 11 hours early on the 16th. SO close! But, Gordon reminded me that the first due date we were given at the beginning of the pregnancy was September 16th and then were given an adjusted due date of the 17th a month later. I completely forgot about this so maybe that counts? Regardless, I’m glad to have him out and not be pregnant anymore.

Below are lots of photos from our hospital stay. I ended up staying an extra day in hospital to get a few more sessions in with the lactation consultant and SO glad I did that. Last night was our first night home all together as a family of 6 (!!!)  and it felt so good to be home 🙂

Anyways, thanks so much for sharing in our joy with us. It feels so good to have our family complete.

The post Welcome Baby Porter! appeared first on Lauren's Latest.

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Normande Sauce Recipe

How to Make Restaurant Quality Normande Sauce Normandy is a coastal region of north-west France, just south of the English Channel. Normandy is a gastronomic paradise. A marriage made in heaven of the rich bounties of the land and the sea. The two most archetypal ingredients of Norman cuisine are apples and dairy products. Normandy’s […]

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The Warden of New York Red Sauce

Pietro Mosconi has been making veal saltimbocca with cheap knives and good olive oil at Monte’s Trattoria since 1983. Pietro Mosconi is wearing a corsage of basil that pokes out from the pocket of his white chef jacket. It’s a few minutes after 1 p.m. at an empty Monte’s Trattoria in New York’s Greenwich Village, […]

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How To Make Homemade Breadcrumbs

Bread crumbs add a pop of color, a bolt of flavor, and a crunch that immediately elevates any dish. These easy-to-make savory, crunchy crumbs are a great way to use up bread and add a little pizzazz to weeknight dinners.

Continue reading “How To Make Homemade Breadcrumbs” »

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Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna to feed a crowd! This one is filled with meaty shiitake and cremini mushrooms, spinach, and ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses. Your vegetarian and meat-eating guests will fight for seconds.

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Delicious Candied Pecans

How to make candied pecans at home

Candied Pecans are the most delicious sweet crunchy snack. Pecans are coated in egg whites and simple sugar, cinnamon, and salt mixture then baked until crunchy! 

Perfect for topping ice cream, tossing in a strawberry spinach salad or to grab a handful for a snack, learning how to make candied pecans and keeping them on-hand is a must!

Candied Pecans in glass jar

What Are Candied Pecans?

Candied pecans are pecans that have been coated in a sweet and cinnamony coating and baked until crunchy. They are not as bitter as walnuts and more robust than almonds, making them perfect for baking and cooking!

Whether looking to add something special to a salad or want something indulgent on a bowl of ice cream, candy-coated pecans are definitely what you are looking for! Just the right combination of sweet and crunchy, they are perfect for so many dishes.

Candied Pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet

How to Make Candied Pecans

This recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3! We guarantee you’ll want to make it over and over again!

  1. Whisk egg white and water, coating the pecan halves.
  2. Sprinkle with a cinnamon, sugar and salt mixture.
  3. Bake and voila, homemade candied pecans!

Pecans are not only easy to make, but there are tons of different ways to enjoy them! Use candied pecans for salad, add them to a bowl of yogurt, or fruit! Add them to dried fruit for a super trail mix or just grab a handful of caramelized pecans by themselves for a quick satisfying snack.

closeup of candied pecans or caramelized pecans

How to Store Them

Once cooled, candied pecans need to be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag to keep them fresh. Regardless of where you intend to store them!

  • Room Temperature: If storing the caramelized pecans in the cupboard or on the counter they will last to 2 weeks.
  • Chilled: Store pecan candy in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks for easy snacking.
  • Frozen: Candy-coated pecans will last a couple of months in the freezer. Be sure to store in a freezer bag for best results!

I love to stock my pantry and freezer with items that I love and are useful too.  These Candied Pecans definitely fit this description! So versatile, tasty, nutritious and absolutely delicious, never be without these tasty nuts!

More Pecan Recipes You’ll Love

  • Easy Pecan Pie Recipe – perfect pecan pie!
  • Pecan Christmas Crack – a ritz cracker toffee
  • Glazed Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake – tender, rich & delicious
  • Pecan Coconut Banana Bread – super moist & packed with pecans!
  • Pecan Pie Cookies – made with 6 simple ingredients

Candied Pecans

These candied pecans are easy to make and the perfect addition to salads, desserts or just for snacking!

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 lb pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

  2. In a small bowl combine the first 3 ingredients.  Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk the water with the egg white until airy and light. Add the pecan halves and stir to coat.

  4. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the pecans.  Mix together evenly and spread evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, until pecans are browned and the sugar has caramelized.  Be sure to stir the pecans regularly as they cook.


Candied Pecans in glass jar
Candied Pecans in glass jar
Top photo - Candied Pecans in glass jar. Bottom photo - pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Green Beans Almondine: Elegant but simple!

Green Beans Almondine isn’t your everyday green bean casserole!  Made with green beans, almonds, and garlic this elegant side dish is super easy to prepare! 

It’s a great side dish for a crowd because it’s both easy and inexpensive. So remember this winner when cooking up a Roast Turkey Breast during the holidays, too!

Green Beans Almondine being scooped out of a frying pan.

What is Green Beans Almondine?

Also known as green beans ‘amandine’, this is a simple dish that only sounds complicated. Tender green beans are boiled briefly and then shocked in ice water to stop the cooking and keep their bright green color.

They are then dressed with toasted almonds and butter and seasoned salt and pepper. This recipe is made with garlic for a more savory flavor!

Blanching veggies means to boil them for a short period and then to plunge them into cold water to stop cooking. This makes them perfectly tender crisp!

How To Make Green Beans Almondine

This elegant side dish is so simple to make! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Blanch green beans and then plunge into an ice-water bath and drain (see recipe below).
  2. Saute almonds and add garlic and green beans.
  3. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Green beans in an ice bath.

What to Serve Green Beans Almondine With

This side dish is so universally compatible with nearly any kind of meat or fish! It goes great with meatloaf or a pork tenderloin!

This recipe is also a great side dish for the holidays. Serve it alongside turkey and mashed potatoes.

Overview of green beans topped with almonds in a frying pan.

How to Store Leftovers

Keep your green beans almondine in a tightly covered container in the fridge. They are easy to reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

An extra squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper will freshen the flavors and make it taste brand new again!

More Green Bean Greats

  • Fresh Green Bean Casserole – homemade from scratch
  • Roasted Green Beans – just 3 simple ingredients!
  • Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles – elegant side for any occasion
  • Green Bean Casserole – classic
  • Green Bean Salad – simple & delicious

Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans Almondine isn’t your everyday casserole, it's an elegant side dish that is super easy to prepare! 

  • 1 lb green beans
  • 1/4 cup almonds (sliced)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Trim tips off green beans and cut in half. Prepare an ice water bath.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt. Add beans and boil 3 minutes.
  3. Remove beans and place into ice water.
  4. Meanwhile, cook almonds and butter over medium heat until slightly browned. Add garlic and beans.
  5. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Remove from heat, add a squeeze of lemon and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Green Beans Almondine being scooped out of a pan.
Green Been Almondine being scooped out of a pan.
Top image - green beans almondine being scooped out of a pan. Bottom image - green beans topped with almonds.

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Breakfast Burritos: Make Ahead & Freezer Friendly

Breakfast Burritos are a great way to fuel the entire family first thing in the morning! Especially when you can easily make ahead and assemble before everyone ‘scrambles’ out the door. Even better, make a big batch and store in the freezer!

Like make-ahead egg muffins and banana breakfast cookies, these breakfast burritos are the perfect way to get through the busy weekday mornings!

What’s in a Breakfast Burrito?

Besides the standard breakfast ingredients like eggs, sausage (or ham), and cheese, remember that nearly anything can be added to a breakfast burrito! Jalapeños, mushrooms, even diced tomatoes are great mix-ins!

Create your own breakfast masterpiece with last night’s leftovers and scrambled eggs, cheese & hash browns!

How To Make Breakfast Burritos

For the breakfast burritos with an extra kick, use spicy sausage! For a milder flavor use a regular ground sausage!

  1. Cook sausage & hash browns (per recipe below). Cook eggs just until set.
  2. Warm tortillas and fill each with hash browns, cheese, eggs and a little scoop of salsa.
  3. Wrap burrito style and serve warm (or freeze per directions below).

Breakfast Burrito Additions

Follow the recipe as written or adapt it to your tastes (or what you have on hand). Use freshly scrambled eggs or even egg whites for a lighter meal. The possibilities are endless.

  • Meat: Bacon, ham (cubed or sliced), steak,
  • Hash browns: Shredded or cubed. Use leftover roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes.
  • Veggies: Peppers, green onions, mushrooms, spinach/kale
  • Cheese: Sliced or shredded works. Use whatever you have on hand!

To Freeze Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos are definitely freezer friendly and will keep for a few months!

  • Once they are made allow them to cool completely.
  • Wrapped each burrito in foil and label with dates.
  • Place  them in a labeled zippered bag, remove excess air and pop them in the freezer!

Breakfast burritos rolled and wrapped in tin foil.

How To Reheat a Breakfast Burrito

The best way to defrost and reheat a breakfast burrito is to take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the fridge overnight.

Take it out of the foil wrapper if you plan to microwave it and microwave 2-3 minutes or just until heated through. Microwaves can vary so you may need to test the first one to see how long you’ll need.

Breakfast burritos can be reheated in their foil in the oven. Once completely defrosted, place foil wrapped burritos on a pan and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas

  • Make Ahead Egg Muffins – great for on the go!
  • Morning Glory Muffins – made with carrots & apples
  • Favorite Breakfast Cookies – packed with fruit, fiber, and nuts
  • Easy Banana Bread Recipe – moist and delicious

Breakfast Burritos

A great way to fuel the entire family first thing in the morning!

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage (spicy or mild)
  • 3 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped bell peppers (optional)
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh salsa (Pico de Gallo is best)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 8 12" flour tortillas
  1. Heat a 12" skillet over medium-high heat and add breakfast sausage, crumbling while cooking. Once browned, spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate leaving about 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan.

  2. Add frozen hash browns (and bell peppers if using) to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes or until fully cooked and lightly browned.

  3. In a small bowl combine eggs, milk and salt & black to taste. Whisk until fully combined.

  4. Remove hash browns from the pan and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan if needed and reduce heat to medium low.

  5. Add eggs and cook until just about set, they will continue cooking as they cool.

  6. Arrange 8 pieces of foil with a flour tortilla in the center of each. Divide hash brown mixture, eggs, cheese and salsa over tortillas.

  7. Enjoy immediately or wrap the burritos in the foil and store it in a plastic zip-top bag in the freezer.

To Reheat

  1. Defrost burritos in the fridge overnight for best results. To reheat add to a plate, cover with a paper towel and reheat for about 3 minutes if defrosted or 4 minutes from frozen. Be sure to flip the burrito half way through.

Top photo - Tortilla being topped with breakfast burrito filling. Bottom photo - Burrito filling in a frying pan.
Tortilla being topped with breakfast burrito filling.

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Blackened Salmon with Avocado Cucumber Salsa

Blackened Salmon with Avocado Cucumber Salsa! It’s a mix of spicy (from the seasoning mix) and cool (from the avocado cucumber salsa) and when you put everything together it’s a recipe for success! […]

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Southwestern Lasagna

This Southwestern Lasagna was a weekly occurrence for us growing up in Arizona. We took advantage of a few easy store bought ingredients and layered it up to make the most delicious and easy weeknight dinner! […]

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Apple Cake with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce

Consider this Apple Cake with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce as the perfect fall dessert recipe!

Apple Cake with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce

This recipe begins with a simple apple cake.  It’s spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.  And there are pecans mixed in (if you want them). 

Everyone is into apple desserts in the fall.  Apple picking is a big deal, so people are looking for recipes to use up their apples.  And the stores display multiple varieties of apples since they’re in their peak season.  Apple cake just seems like a good option to bake!

What are the best apples to use for baking?

This is a frequently asked question!  I google it all the time because I can’t ever remember which are the best apples to use for baking. Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn and Pink Lady varieties all work well in baking (and they will all work very well in this recipe).  I like to use Granny Smith apples when I’m baking apple pie.

Apple Cake

You’ll need either a 9-inch square pan for this apple cake recipe, or you can use a 9-inch pie plate as well. The photos share the cake made with plenty of pecans. Adding the pecans is a delicious option, but it’s certainly not mandatory.  My family asks me to bake this cake without nuts! Personally, I like the flavor and crunch of pecans in the cake.  It’s totally up to you whether to use them or not.

How to make Homemade Caramel Sauce:

Making caramel sauce is pretty easy to do, but in order to do it right… you need to allow some time for it.  You’ll combine brown sugar, white sugar and cream and let it simmer at a very low heat for 1 1/2 hours (stirring occasionally). Then you’ll add butter and let it cook for another 30 minutes.  Lastly, you’ll add in a little rum and beat the mixture until smooth.  Then it’s ready for drizzling on your apple cake!

Apple Cake topped with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce

Can you use jarred caramel sauce?

Absolutely!  You can certainly use jarred caramel sauce for this recipe in place of the homemade.  And if you’d still like to make it hot caramel rum sauce, go ahead and put a warmed jar of caramel sauce into a bowl and beat in 1/4 cup rum. It won’t be quite as thick, but it will be delicious on this cake!

Apple Cake topped with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce

Slice up this cake and top individual slices with the caramel sauce. If you have leftover cake (or if you want to bake it a day ahead), just be sure to store it in a covered container.

Apple Cake with Hot Caramel Rum Sauce

A simple apple cake recipe topped with the most amazing caramel sauce.


  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, (cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup rum


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, (well beaten)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium apples ((peeled, cored and chopped))
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans ((optional))


  1. Combine the sugars and cream in the top part of a double boiler and cook over simmering water, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the butter and cook another 30 minutes. (The mixture may look curdled but will smooth out when beaten). Remove from heat, add the rum and beat until smooth.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch pie plate or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in the eggs and vanilla until well mixed. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and salt; blend into the butter mixture. Stir in the apples and pecans (if using). Spoon the the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve topped with the warm sauce.

  • The best apples for baking are Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn and Pink Lady.
  • Nutritional information does not include the (optional) pecans.  Numbers include using ALL of the caramel sauce when serving.  You’re likely not going to use all of it, so the numbers will very likely be lower.

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Blackened Salmon with Avocado Cucumber Salsa

Blackened Salmon with Avocado Cucumber Salsa! It’s a mix of spicy (from the seasoning mix) and cool (from the avocado cucumber salsa) and when you put everything together it’s a recipe for success! […]

Read More…

The post Blackened Salmon with Avocado Cucumber Salsa appeared first on What's Gaby Cooking.

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Southwestern Lasagna

This Southwestern Lasagna was a weekly occurrence for us growing up in Arizona. We took advantage of a few easy store bought ingredients and layered it up to make the most delicious and easy weeknight dinner! […]

Read More…

The post Southwestern Lasagna appeared first on What's Gaby Cooking.

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Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins.

Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins | #sweetpotatoes #healthyrecipes #chicken

Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins.

Keeping things comforting, but healthy with my Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins. Kind of like cheesy nachos, but instead of chips, we’re substituting crisp sweet potatoes skins…so better! Made simply with sweet potatoes, chicken, chipotle chilies, spices, a touch of lime, spinach, and a generous amount of sharp cheddar cheese. Each homemade, oven-baked, sweet […]

READ: Healthy Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Skins.

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Instant Pot Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban black beans might be my favorite food to get in all of Florida. They truly are the food of South Florida. While my family isn’t Cuban, we spent a lot of family celebrations at Cuban restaurants. They were our go-to. And the black bean soup was always a favorite (along my other favorites like ropa vieja and picadillo (recipe coming soon!)). The most critical part of Cuban black bean soup? The sofrito. In this instance it’s a combo of red onions, green bell pepper, garlic and some spices that give the beans some good flavor. This is the simplest way to make black beans because it requires zero soaking of dried beans. And that’s because when you make black beans in a pressure cooker, they don’t need to be soaked—huge timer saver! I sautéed the sofrito in the Instant Pot and a natural release that lasts about 20 minutes, I blended it up the soup with an immersion blender. That’s it! Traditionally Cuban black bean soup is made with a ham hock or pieces of bacon, but I wanted it to be vegan/vegetarian. I’m trying to incorporate more plant-based recipes into my diet and this is a nice addition […]

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Five Minute Tomato Sauce

Let’s talk about tomato sauce. Last week in an airplane miles above the expansive plains of the mid-west, in the midst of a flurry of turbulence, it dawned on me that I’ve never shared with you my all-time favorite tomato sauce recipe. I’ve included the recipe in one form or another in both of my books, but I’ve never gone into depth here on the website about why it is the little black dress of my cooking repertoire.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

How to Make a Simple and Bright Tomato Sauce

I realize many of you have romantic notions of what a good tomato sauce should be. And I realize it is going to be a tough sell on my part to get you to make a break with some of those hearty, meaty, long-simmering sauces. But, I’m going to encourage you to give this ringer of a tomato sauce recipe a shot. It comes together in five minutes flat, and the only chopping required is a few garlic cloves. It is bright and clean, a vibrant red in color, and exudes the essence of tomatoes, in part because there isn’t much to get in the way of the tomato flavor.

Video: How to Make Five Minute Tomato Sauce


A Short Ingredient List

Many of the tomato sauce recipes in this realm (in the U.S. in particular) include all sorts of ingredients. One camp likes to kick things off by browning onions and ground beef for a chunky stew-like sauce, others love to use carrots and celery and all manner of dusty dried herbs and seasonings. This recipe is going to be on the absolute other end of the spectrum – in all the best ways.

You wouldn’t wear a wool coat to the beach, right? That’s what heavy spaghetti and tomato sauces in warm weather feel like to me. This sauce is a relatively pure expression of tomatoes accented with a bit of edge from crushed red peppers, a hint of garlic, and my secret ingredient – a touch of lemon zest which brings its citrus aroma and a bit of surprise to the party.

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

So Many Different Uses!

The first time you make this sauce I recommend spooning it over light, fluffy pillows of ricotta-filled ravioli. Beyond that there are many other avenues to explore. It is transcendent in all manner of baked pastas and pasta-based casseroles (don’t skimp on the zest). Toss it with good-quality spaghetti noodles, a sprinkle of freshly chopped basil, and a dusting of Parmesan – you’ve got a beautiful bowl of noodles.

Beyond the pasta realm, I use it on thin-crust pizzas, in my thousand-layer lasagna, as the foundation for stuffed shells, as a base for soups, and as a way to pull together various “grain-bowls”. For example, quinoa tossed with a bit of this tomato sauce, your protein of choice, and accents like basil and a bit of cheese is simple and satisfying. 

Five Minute Tomato Sauce Recipe

Pictured above on my favorite pizza dough, with some mozzarella, and fresh basil. Be sure to to pay attention to the type of crushed tomatoes to buy in the recipe headnotes. I hope you love this sauce as much as I do, and appreciate it for what it is more so than what it isn’t.


A bit richer. There are times when I’ll add a splash of cream at the very end, totally changing the character of the sauce – it becomes silky with a bit of richness, while still being bright, and without compromising the tomatoes in the lead role.

Sarah noted in the comments below, “Mmm, I love a nice quick San Marzano tomato sauce — mine’s very similar, though I also toss in a few capers or maybe some black olive paste if I have them on hand.” Love this take.

Continue reading Five Minute Tomato Sauce on 101 Cookbooks

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Deviled Eggs

This is a recipe for beautiful deviled eggs, but before we get to it, I’ll ask that you let me tell you about the last couple of days first. I know the eggs are distracting, I mean, look at them! If I could give you one right through the screen, I would.

Deviled Eggs Recipe

These deviled eggs were part of a Saturday night dinner spread – leftover from Friday’s lunch. They made the trip north with me, to visit friends in Bolinas. We had a tasty dinner of mostly leftovers and the eggs were a hit! Let’s talk about what makes them great. The main thing is they’re classic-inspired, simple to make, and updated at the same time.

A box with a platter of deviled eggs, flowers, and salad greens.

Above is my leftover box packed for Bolinas – soup, eggs, Josey Baker Bread, various toppings and condiments.

How to Make Deviled Eggs

The concept is straight-forward, but there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid. The main thing, boil your eggs properly. This is so you don’t ended up with dreaded grey yolks. An ice bath after boiling is your friend here. Cool, peel, halve, make a beautiful filling from the yolks, and you’re on the home stretch.

The Best Filling

It’s all about getting the flavor and texture right here, and I use a little trick. The filling is mixed, mashed, and fluffed into a light herb-flecked dollop. Toasted almonds add the crunch, chive flowers bring the pretty. They’re not technically deviled, as there is no paprika or mustard in this version, but you can always tweak the filling to your liking with a few pinches of either.

Deviled Eggs Recipe

Tasty Variations!

A number of you have made these over the years, and have noted variations and suggestions that I wanted to highlight.

Allyson:  “I just made these for Easter. Coincidently, it was the first time I’ve ever made, or actually eaten, deviled eggs. They were fantastic. I used pistachios instead of almonds, and couldn’t find chervil or dill seed, but they were so much better than I had imagined. My fiance, who loves deviled eggs, declared them the best he’s ever eaten.”

Berndy said, “I make my deviled eggs with pickled eggs for a more interesting taste.” Love this idea, and think they’d be great using these pickled turmeric eggs!

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Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

We are entering what I consider peak bloody mary season. I love making them just as summer winds down, using heirloom tomatoes (after the initial thrill of tomato season wears off). Here you have a vibrant, bold, bloody mary made with fragrant herbs, yellow heirloom tomatoes, shallots, and a bit of kick from the vodka and serrano pepper. It’s the bloody mary I want to drink, and I suspect you’ll love it too!
Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary

A Bloody Mary is traditionally a cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and a combination of spices and flavorings. Herbs, horseradish, celery, lemon or lime juice, garlic, hot sauces – they’re all at home here.

It’s a deservedly beloved brunch beverage, hangover bounce-back, and breakfast blender endeavor. That said, there are tricks to getting it right. A good Bloody Mary is all about balance, and i’ll outline a few things to think about as you dive in.Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

Choosing Ingredients

This version is all about fresh ingredients. If you don’t have fresh, ripe yellow tomatoes on hand, by all means, use red ones. The main thing is making sure they’re juicy, flavorful and at their peak. Your herbs should be fragrant, and absolutely bump up the amount of serrano chile here if you like a bit more heat. Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

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