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

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

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

Chicken Soup for the Presidential Soul

homemade chicken soup recipeLife is tough. Whether you are running across the country campaigning for president or running city blocks to the nearest coffee shop early in the morning, the moments of modern day living can sometimes leave one in a spinning, dizzying delirium.

As we come to the finish line of February, perhaps a bit weary from all the running – running to keep up with the 2016 presidential election, running to work, running a business or running a very crazy household – it might do your soul well to sit down for a quiet moment to enjoy a hot steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. Maybe even contemplate a different perspective, such as what life would be like on Mars or back in the days of our Founding Fathers…

Enjoy below: the Winter Citrus Salad for some refreshment, the Homemade Chicken Soup for some comfort, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter chip cookies for some satisfaction. Read more

Celebrate Royally with a Creamy, Spicy, Lovely & Sweet Valentine Dinner

Italian Cream Cake RecipeCelebrate Valentine’s Day royally with some creamy, spicy, lovely & sweet Valentine’s Day recipes. Enjoy a royal beginning with the cocktails below, followed by dinner and dessert! Read more

Christmas Cookies for Christmas Tea

Christmas cookie recipes

“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.” –Chaim Potok (American author and rabbi, 1929-2002)*

In the jingle-jangle, hustle-bustle of this busy, blessed season it is always good to make time for some peace, quiet and comfort with the taking of afternoon tea – accompanied, of course, by a sprinkled assortment of crisp and chewy Christmas tea cookies.

It is with a joyful spirit that ATG shares below an afternoon of tea and cookies with recipes for three very heavenly cookies. Read more

Thanksgiving Favorites: Cornbread, Popcorn Balls & Pumpkin Pie

Popcorn balls recipe In the season of “all things cooking”, when the lights in the kitchen burn from early morning well into the late evening, we celebrate the harvest of Thanksgiving with some very basic and traditional recipes, including three variations of corn bread.

As found in The Blackberry Farm Cookbook, John Egerton writes in Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History, “A properly prepared dish of spoon bread can be taken as testimony to the perfectibility of humankind; a crisp corn bread, dodger, or hoecake, on the other hand, demonstrates another kind of perfection, an enduring strength that has not been improved upon in four centuries of service to hungry people.” Read more