Happy Spring, Happy Sugar Cookie

sugar cookies recipe

“Today me will live in the moment, unless it is unpleasant. In which case me will eat a cookie.” –Cookie Monster

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy, such as a steaming cup of hot tea and a homemade sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and sprinkles. Below are three recipes for sugar cookies, two of which are plain old-fashioned recipes with basic simple ingredients, while the third recipe adds a couple of twists and turns to a basic recipe, giving it a little extra dash of ultimate spring flair! Read more

Good and Glorious Morning Muffins

healthy muffin recipeSpringtime is here, which means it is time to “lighten” the calorie load of winter heavy sticky buns and deep fried apple fritters to Peter Rabbit-like muffins filled with wholesome good-for-your ingredients such as carrots, zucchini, apples, nuts, coconut and raisins.

The three recipes below are filled with superfood ingredients that are bound to add an extra skippety-hippety-hop and touch of sweet to all of your glorious spring mornings! Read more

Springing into March and Maple Syrup Time

pound cake recipe

“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near Spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.” –Thalassa Cruso (known as “The Julia Child of Horticulture”, 1909-1997)

While waiting for the March Lion to turn into a Lamb, for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw, consider baking one of the three cakes below (taken from “The Food52 Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, 2011). Read more

ATG’s Winter Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad recipe

As a tribute to the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City, currently under renovation with plans to reopen with condominiums, we’re featuring our own recipe for a winter Waldorf Salad, along with a few more “official” recipes. A healthy addition to any meal, or even a meal unto itself, we hope you enjoy! Read more

Chicken Piccata, Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, and Chianti for a Cold January Night

Chicken piccata recipe

Inspired by all of the warm-lighted, cozy and down-home, family-run Italian Cafes we seem to stumble upon when traveling about, below is a simple recipe for one of our favorite Italian chicken dishes along with three elegant chiantis to create an “Italian Cafe” meal at home during the cold month of January. Read more

The ‘Key’ to Key Lime Pie

best key lime pie recipeThe Key Lime* – different from Persian or Tahiti limes that one typically sees in the grocery store – was introduced to the Florida Keys during the 1830s by Henry Perrine, a diplomat and botanist who discovered the plant in Mexico.

It is little surprise, then, that the combination of refreshing limes and sweet condensed milk, which was also invented around the same time, eventually evolved to become Florida’s State Pie.

In fact, it was only on a recent trip to Florida that I discovered just how many varieties there are to Key Lime Pie – and how delicious the perfect one can truly be. From light and fluffy to a heavier custard-like filling, one quickly develops a discriminating palate for a dessert that is offered in just about every restaurant in the state. Read more

Late Spring, Early Summer: The Perfect Time for an English Trifle

“A dessert typically consisting of plain or sponge cake often soaked with wine or spirits (as brandy or rum) and topped with layers of preserves, custard, and cream.” –Merriam-Webster dictionary

English trifle recipeI can still remember the first English Trifle I tasted years ago. Its soft airy whipped cream, comforting creamy pudding, fresh sweet berries and crumbly texture made for one memorable, heavenly dessert.

Having scoured my cookbooks (this was pre-internet) for an English Trifle recipe, but failing to find one that reflected the culinary vision I had in my baker’s mind, I set out to create my own.

I had just read Frances Mayes’ 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, in which she shared a Lemon Cake recipe that I had made, served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Deliciously moist and fresh, I decided to make my first trifle with her lemon cake in place of the more typical ladyfingers and sponge cake that one finds in traditional English Trifle recipes. Read more

Springing Green With “All Things Asparagus” and Sweet Spring Dream Cookies

asparagus recipes“I look forward to the spring vegetables because the season is so short. Mushrooms, edible foraged herbs, wild leeks, early season asparagus.”
–David Chang
“The first thing to look at is the tip of the spear or the bud. It should be tightly closed and erect, not open and droopy. The hue of green asparagus should be fresh, bright, and with no hint of yellow. White asparagus should be a clear, even, creamy color. The stalk should feel firm and the overall look should be dewy. Although asparagus, like nearly everything else, is now marketed through most of the year, it is freshest in the spring, from April to early June.”
–Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (1992)

Spring, like life, is short. Celebrate the sprouting of Spring with the recipes below for “All Things Asparagus”, the ultimate Spring vegetable.

For something sweet, enjoy a recipe for Drömmar Swedish “dream” cookies. Read more

Happy Sweet Spring Desserts

easy banana cake recipe

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring…[w]hat is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of the earth’s SWEET being in the beginning…” –Gerard Manley Hopkins from the poem “Spring”

Nothing is more perfect than a slightly sweet, light, ethereal dessert after dining on a plateful of pasta at an old-world Italian restaurant on an early spring evening.

You could say that the Italian dessert “Panna Cotta” is like tasting a bit of spring itself in all of its lightness, sweetness and silky, creamy freshness. A simple pudding-like dessert, Panna Cotta (which literally means “cooked cream”) originated in Northern Italy, where “the earliest recipes mention simmering the cream with fish bones (the collagen would set the cream).” Read more

A Weary Traveler, a Pint of Guinness and a Pot of Stew

Hotel Doolin
“Doolin Ale”
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings*

We arrived at the little inn in the tiny village of Doolin*, near the Cliffs of Moher, in the thick darkness of late evening, weary and hungry from traveling all day in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. With few options for replenishment, we stumbled back into the darkness, down the narrow road and entered into McGann’s, the local pub whose cozy warmth and Irish hospitality would keep us returning for the following two nights.

With the luck of the Irish on our side, we arrived just before the kitchen closed, sitting down at a table side fire and enjoying a magical, memorable evening of nourishing food (the best Guinness Beef Stew we’ve had), thirst-quenching pints of “Doolin Ale” and soulful live Irish music that one can only expect in a town that has been deemed the traditional music capital of Ireland.

In the spirit of All Things Irish, we share three recipes below to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Sláinte! Read more