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After a week's vacation in South Florida, I have tacos on the brain. Fish tacos tempted us everywhere (have you ever tried corvina?), and every menu offered chicken, beef, and carnitas tacos, too. I love the idea of carnitas -- long-cooked shredded pork, crisped up at the end of the cooking -- but I don't eat pork. And then it occurred to me that I could make my own slow cooker carnitas out of beef or chicken, and I could enjoy those burnt edges, too. Use your favorite cut of beef, or meaty chicken thighs, for this recipe; I love brisket, so of course that's what I used here. Give the meat a dry rub, then cook it on low heat in the slow cooker.... Read more →


The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes, by Anupy Singla (2010) Why I've kept it: Recipes for Indian food, which I love to eat, scare me. There, I've said it. Mixing, toasting, grinding, and layering all of the spices makes me feel completely fumble-fingered, and I've always preferred to enjoy Indian dishes in a restaurant rather than tackle them in my own kitchen. Until I discovered this little book. The Indian Slow Cooker opened my eyes to how much simpler Indian cooking can be. All of those complicated spices? Just toss them into the slow cooker with beans or lentils, or chicken or beef, and out comes a delicious curry, or dal, or even butter chicken. The author, a working mom, translates some... Read more →


All along the East Coast from Maine to Florida, you'll find fried fish sandwiches -- made with local white fish like cod or flounder, halibut or haddock -- on every diner menu. You can always order a grilled cheese sandwich at a diner, too. So why not combine the two classic sandwiches into something even better? For this sandwich, you start by cooking the fish, and that means you can do it earlier in the day, or even use leftover fish that you've broiled, pan-fried, or cooked on the grill a day or two before. Add some lightly-dressed shredded cabbage or cole slaw, and a couple of slices of Swiss cheese on each sandwich. These fish sandwiches make a perfect lunch or light supper. Fish,... Read more →


When my husband Ted and I first began dating, oh-so-many years ago, we spent almost every Friday night at Chan's Garden in Dunellen, New Jersey, a small suburban Chinese restaurant, where we splurged on a shared order of house special fried rice. As befit New Jersey Chinese food of the time, it was a bit gloppy, not at all spicy, and always contained shrimp and chicken and white rice, and some sort of cabbagey green vegetable like bok choy along with canned sliced mushrooms and water chestnuts (which I always picked out). It was a treat for two young people on a budget, and we seldom ordered anything else on the menu. Our own house special fried rice also begins with shrimp and chicken, though... Read more →


Many years ago, my husband Ted and I participated in a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Being from out of town, we were asked to bring something easy, carrots and celery for a dip. However, when we arrived, we realized that our celery was the only bit of green on the entire holiday table. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, onions: all brown. No green vegetables, and no salad. Our own holiday menus feature plenty of green along with the traditional bird and sides. We always serve salad, and at least one green vegetable. Here are some of our favorites, to consider as you're putting the finishing touches on your own menu. Two of our favorite green vegetables together, Brussels and broccoli with maple mustard vinaigrette (top photo) brings... Read more →


Julia Child & Company, by Julia Child (1978) Why I've kept it: Who better to see us through the holidays -- through every day -- than Julia? And who better to teach us how to entertain all year long, without getting tied up in knots? My husband Ted and I have tackled some ambitious entertaining dishes in our kitchen over the years. One of the fanciest was a recipe from this book, a chicken melon (boned and stuffed chicken in its own skin, filled with chicken paté, forced into the shape of a melon with a judicious application of cheesecloth and twine. It took two of us to accomplish what Julia made look so easy, but without her gentle voice and encouragement throughout the recipe,... Read more →


For as long as I can remember, I've been a muffin fan. I love that you don't have to share a muffin. I love that you can eat all of the bottom first, and save the top (the best part) for last. I love the built-in portion control. On the holiday table, mini muffins provide just a few bites of sweetness. And nobody has to share. My family loves these apple raisin walnut spice muffins (top photo), which can be made ahead, though you'll have to hide them to make sure they last until the holiday meal. Almost anything with apple has a place on my Thanksgiving table. I serve these instead of bread, as part of the main course, but you could save them... Read more →