Food & Drink

Weekly Recipes


Praline Bacon Skewers

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 pound thick-sliced, applewood-smoked bacon

2-3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Ground cayenne pepper, optional

Makes about 12 skewers.

Position the oven rack to the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the brown sugar and pecans, set aside.

Place the bacon on a rimmed cookie sheet (I use a half-sheet pan). Bake the bacon for about 12-15 minutes, until half-way cooked. Transfer the partially cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined surface to drain and cool a bit. Blot the bacon with the paper towels.

Discard bacon dripping in the baking pan (or reserve for another use, as any self-respecting Southerner already knows). Take a single piece of bacon and fold in half, lengthwise. Thread onto a skewer.

Using your fingers, rub a scant amount of corn syrup on both sides of the bacon. Press the bacon in the brown sugar-pecan mixture. Shake off excess. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bacon in a likewise manner. Place coated bacon skewers side-by-side, allowing a bit of space between. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes or so. (If you prefer crisper bacon, bake it a bit longer.)

Remove pan from oven and place on a cooing rack. Let candied pecan coating set-up for a few minutes before transferring from the pan to a serving platter.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Boursin

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 large eggs, beaten well

1 (6-ounce) container Boursin (garlic and herb cheese spread), room temperature

Sea salt or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves six.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil, swirling to coat the bottom and sides of the skillet. Do not let the butter brown.

Add the beaten eggs to the skillet. Let the eggs stand until partially set on the bottom before stirring with a heat-resistant, flexible spatula. Let stand again, without stirring until further set. Repeat, cooking until desired degree of doneness.

Remove skillet from heat and add Boursin. Stir gently into the scrambled eggs.

Whipping Cream Drop Biscuits

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or Kosher salt

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Makes 12 biscuits.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together the first four ingredients. Add the cream and stir just until well blended.

Drop dough into a dozen equal-size mounds onto a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, allowing about 2 inches of space between. Bake in the center of the oven until the biscuit tops are light golden brown and the bottoms of biscuits are golden brown.

Triple-Strawberry Stuffed French Toast


8 ounces mascarpone (Italian cream cheese), softened

8 ounces spreadable cream cheese with strawberries, softened


1 cup strawberry jam

1 pound fresh strawberries, capped and sliced thin


1 loaf challah (egg bread), thinly sliced

1 cup half-and-half

4 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup clarified butter

To make filling: Blend together the mascarpone and strawberry cream cheese.

To make topping: Place the strawberry jam in a bowl and stir well to break up the gel. Stir in the fresh strawberries. Set aside.

To make French toast: Spread filling on half of the bread slices. Top with remaining slices and press together. Arrange in single layer in a shallow pan. Whisk half-and-half and next five ingredients. Pour over stuffed bread. Soak briefly on both sides. Fry slices in clarified butter until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to warm serving platter. Cover. Repeat with remaining stuffed French Toast.

To serve: Top the pan-fried French toast with the strawberry topping. Sprinkle with sifted confectioners’ sugar.


Chicken with Bulgur, Tomatoes, Peppers and Tarragon

1 chicken

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups finely chopped onions

1 cup seeded and chopped red and/or green bell peppers

1 or 2 red or green jalapenos

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper

2 cups bulgur

3 1/2 cups chicken stock

Serves four.

Cut chicken into 8 serving pieces: thighs, legs, each breast cut in half.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy pan on medium heat and cook the onions until they turn almost reddish brown. Remove onions from the pan, add the chicken pieces and saute until golden on all sides.

Push the chicken to one side, add the peppers and tarragon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and reserved onions. Season with salt and pepper. Combine all the ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the chicken mixture is simmering, heat chicken stock until hot. Wash and drain the bulgur.

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate; stir in the bulgur, and toss it with the vegetables and sauce for 3 minutes until it is well coated with the sauce. Add the hot chicken stock, let boil 1 minute, replace the chicken pieces -- except the breasts -- cover, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Add the breast pieces to the pan, remove from heat, and keep covered in a warm spot for 10 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Grilled or Baked Chicken with Dijon Mustard and Fresh Tarragon

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Salt and pepper

2 (3-pound) chickens, halved

Serves four.

About 24 hours before serving, whisk together the mustard, wine and tarragon in a large stainless-steel bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and combine thoroughly. Coat the chicken halves with the mustard marinade. Individually plastic-wrap them and refrigerate for 24 hours before cooking.

If grilling: Season the chicken halves with salt and pepper. Set up the grill for indirect heat. Grill over indirect heat, beginning skin-side down and flipping once, 50 minutes to 1 hour, until done.

If grilling on a grill with no cover: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grill chicken directly over the coals, flipping frequently to avoid overcharring. When chicken looks like it will soon become too charred, transfer to a baking sheet and finish baking in oven, 30-45 minutes, until done.

If baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken halves with salt and pepper. Bake about 1 hour, until done.

If using grill pan: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken halves with salt and pepper. Spray grill pan with nonstick spray and heat on high heat until nearly smoking. Add chicken, skin-side down. Cook until skin has dark grill marks. Flip chicken and place pan in oven. Bake about 55 minutes, until done.

Pork Chops with Mushroom-Tarragon Sauce

4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick and 6 ounces each

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

12 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup white wine (see note)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon (see note)

2 teaspoons butter

Serves four.

Sprinkle pork chops with garlic salt and pepper. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium-high heat, and add 1 teaspoon oil. Sear the pork chops until brown on both sides. Remove pork and keep warm.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, and saute mushrooms and onion until almost tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Combine flour and broth until smooth in a small bowl. Stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened.

Return pork chops to pan and add tarragon. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, until done, 145 degrees for medium rare, 150 degrees for medium or 160 degrees for well done. Stir in butter.

If cooked until medium rare, allow meat to rest 3 minutes before serving.

Note: If you prefer not to cook with wine, use chicken broth.

Note: If you do not have fresh tarragon, use 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon.

Beer-Poached Salmon with Tarragon Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise (low-fat is fine)

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon minced chives

1 teaspoon chopped green onions

1 teaspoon minced parsley

12 ounces beer

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

4 whole peppercorns

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, 1 inch thick

Serves four.

Combine mayonnaise, tarragon, chives, green onions and parsley in a small bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

In a large skillet, combine beer, lemon juice, onion, celery, salt, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add salmon fillets. If the liquid does not cover the fish, add more beer or water to just cover. Lightly simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve fish with a dollop of mayonnaise on each.


Cherry Vanilla “Ice Cream”

2 bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 frozen, pitted cherries

Serves two.

Place bananas in a food processor and blend until a smooth, thick paste forms. Add cherries and vanilla and blend again until smooth. Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency or store in an airtight container in the freezer until serving time for more ice cream-like scoops.

Fudgy Vegan Brownies

2 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

6 tablespoons water

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar or raw sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Optional toppings: Chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, unsalted pumpkin seeds

Makes 12 brownies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a standard-size muffin pan.

Pulse flaxseed meal and water in bowl of a food processor and let rest about 2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and blend about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed, until mixture is smooth. Batter should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting; if it appears too thick, add a tablespoon of water and blend again.

Evenly distribute batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger. Sprinkle with your desired toppings.

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 26 minutes or until tops are dry and edges start to pull away from the sides.

Remove from oven and let cool 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Refrigerate to keep longer.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

11/4 cups canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut or almond butter, room temperature (see note)

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping sides as needed. Stir in chocolate chips. Mixture will be very thick and sticky.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down lightly on the balls so they become small mounds.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft and will not set like normal cookies. They’re best when served warm.

Note: Check the ingredients list and be sure to use nut butter that does not have added sugar. If it also does not have salt, add a pinch to the recipe.

Chocolate Truffles

1 medium ripe avocado

10 ounces dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup cacao nibs

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Makes about 20 truffles.

Cut avocado and scoop out flesh. Use a fork, an electric hand mixer or a food processor to mash the avocado until there are no more chunks. Melt the chocolate chips by microwaving in 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted.

Scoop avocado mixture into the bowl with melted chocolate and mix until well-blended. Stir in cacao nibs, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball using your palms. Repeat with rest of mixture. Put cocoa powder in a shallow bowl and roll balls in the cocoa powder until they’re completely covered.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days, but note that they taste best when served fresh or at room temperature.

Chocolate Ice Cream

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 2/3 cups milk (unsweetened almond, coconut or cow’s milk)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

4 pitted Medjool dates or 8 pitted California dates

Serves two to four.

Stir all ingredients except for the dates together in a medium bowl until completely combined. Stir in dates then chill mixture overnight or at least four hours.

Pour the soaked mixture into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Mixture should be thick and creamy. Transfer mixture back to the bowl and chill until you’re ready to churn it.

Churn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to a lidded container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Note: If left in the freezer too long it will freeze solid and be difficult to scoop without first thawing.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can (16 ounces) coconut milk (not light)

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Chill the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours.

Remove can from fridge and do not shake. Flip can upside down and open immediately. The cream should be concentrated at the bottom; pour off the translucent liquid from the top and reserve, if desired, for another use (it works great in a smoothie).

Scoop the thick cream from bottom of can into a mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and whip using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.

Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (divided)

1/4 cup chia seeds

5 pitted Medjool dates or 10 pitted California dates

2 to 3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of fine-grain sea salt

Serves two.

Pour 3/4 cup of the almond milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.

To make the pudding, add the almond milk ice cubes, the remaining 3/4 cup almond milk and the rest of the ingredients to a high-power blender. Blend on the highest speed until smooth. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge, where it will thicken up even more.