[Even old dogs can learn new tricks, and I've learned to love sweet potato latkes, even though I never ate them when I was growing up. If your family is open-minded, too, please enjoy this recipe (originally shared in 2007) from the archives.] For the most part, I don't believe in "one size fits all," because I am a size and shape that one size never seems to fit. And while in my pantry I have half a dozen types of flour -- surprising, given that I'm a notorious bake-o-phobe -- the one I reach for more often than not is "one size fits all," also known as all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is a blend of hard (high-protein) and soft (higher carbohydrate, lower protein) wheats,... Read more →


[First published in December 2009, this is our family's go-to latke recipe. Even though we associate latkes with Chanukah, they're a crowd pleaser at any time of year. Make small ones for your Sunday football parties, or large ones for a vegetarian dinner main dish. Kids love latkes smothered with sour cream or apple sauce. Please enjoy this post adapted from the archives.] Rudolf Diesel had a dream. When the German inventor and Utopian idealist demonstrated his new engine at the 1900 Paris World Exposition, it ran not on petroleum, but on peanut oil. In the perfect world, Diesel believed, renewable biofuels like peanut oil could power farm machinery and automobiles. In our imperfect world, my car still drinks gasoline, but peanut oil powers my... Read more →


[You can never have too many cookie recipes on hand at this time of year, and I've collected some of my all-time favorites. Please enjoy this post from the archives.] 'Tis the season to make merry, and to make cookies. And to swap cookies, and decorate cookies, and pack cookies in tins and send them to friends and family far away. For me, there are only two types of holiday cookies: ones with chocolate, and ones without. Of the hundreds and hundreds of cookie recipes I've seen on food blogs, here are 40 of my favorites. Cookies with chocolate Chocolate spice cookies, from The Perfect Pantry (pictured above) Chocolate ice cream cookies, from The Perfect Pantry Oreo white chocolate pudding peppermint cookies, from Two Peas... Read more →


Just when it seems I've fed my husband Ted every imaginable variation of beef stew, I hit on another flavor combination that becomes a new favorite. So it is with this sweet and sour beef stew, made easily in the slow cooker. The seasonings for this stew draw on Moroccan tradition, cinnamon and allspice paired with dried fruit (raisins, though you could substitute dried apricots). Brown sugar boosts the sweetness, and apple cider vinegar provides the sour. Overall, the combination is lighter than my traditional wine-based stew. Carrots and butternut squash are the perfect addition, because they, too, become sweeter with long cooking. Serve the stew over pasta, as we do, or couscous or rice. Like most stews, this one freezes well, and is even... Read more →


When it comes to egg and cheese casseroles, I'm all in. No matter the filling, the mix-ins, or the variety of cheeses, I love them all. If I had the discipline, I would make a casserole every Sunday, cut it into squares, and eat one square for breakfast every single day of the week. Egg and cheese breakfast casseroles make satisfying suppers, or impressive brunch dishes, too. This recipe features one of my favorite combinations, broccoli and bacon, and I used creamy, mild muenster cheese plus sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano for the "glue." You could substitute fontina or goat's milk gouda, or even Swiss cheese, for the muenster. Vegetarians can omit the bacon, or substitute a vegetarian bacon which will still add some smoky flavor to the... Read more →


For someone who suffers from appetizer anxiety like I do, these little bacon, lettuce and tomato skewers couldn't be easier. The only cooking is the bacon, and you actually have to undercook it to be able to thread it onto the skewers. And, who doesn't love a good BLT? I love to serve these little bites with wasabi mayonnaise, which really packs a punch, and adheres somewhat to the spirit of a traditional BLT sandwich. You can mix up any dipping sauce you like, with mayonnaise as the base. Instead of wasabi, try adding Sriracha sauce, or some of the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers. Don't want spicy? How about stirring some basil pesto into your mayo, or garlicky Green Goddess salad... Read more →


Some people create beautiful appetizers -- elegant, interesting, the memorable appetizers, perfectly arranged on a perfect platter, that take you by the hand and lead you into the meal. Not me. I have perpetual appetizer anxiety. I want to zoom right past them, to soup or an entreé. Sometimes, however, a host must serve apps. Thank goodness for mini phyllo shells. They are the little black dress of appetizers. Any filling you can imagine looks better in a one-bite cup of phyllo dough. They come in packages of 15, ready to eat as is, or to bake for a few minutes. I've filled them with sweet fillings, and savory ones. Easy, easy, easy. These no-bake pesto cheese bites are savory, and the filling takes about... Read more →