It took a long time for me to learn to cook. My mother always wanted to teach me, but I was always either busy or uninterested. Does that sound like a lot of you? Don’t you wish your mom or grandmother had written down the recipe for the dish you remember and love so much? Oh, if I had that time back! 

Luckily, I did get some time to learn with my mother. I think she was surprised and happy when I finally showed an interest in cooking. I like to think of this blog as an homage to my mom, she would have enjoyed it very much. I know there was so much more that she could have taught me; I think I could have taught her a few things I have learned as well. Like roasting potatoes and vegetables. Her meals always took a long time to cook, so she would have enjoyed learning a few wonderful quick tricks.

Roasting anything is my favorite fast and easy way to get dinner on the table. It also brings out the full flavor, with a depth of caramelization which will delight your taste buds.

The potatoes in this recipe are coated with fresh oregano, infused with lemon zest and juice, and topped off with Parmesan cheese. Have I got your attention yet? I hope so, because they are just that wonderful. They are roasted to perfection and come out of the oven with a beautiful golden crispy outside and a tender, delicate inside.

This is definitely one of those recipes you will preparing again and again. It is full of fresh flavor and you may even find you will be eating more potatoes than you planned to! Put this on your “short on time” repertoire and thank me later.

This recipe will feed about 4-6 people who will be thrilled with it’s caramelized, cheesy goodness! Definitely A “must-try”.

Ingredients for Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

5 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges or large cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. oregano, or 4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Put potatoes in a large bowl. 

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Drizzle in oil.

Place 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese in and toss well  to combine all ingredients.

Spread potatoes in a single layer in a 2-inch deep pan or a large aluminum pan.

Roast potatoes in oven until they are golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. (You want to make sure they are well browned on top).

Take out potatoes and sprinkle the remaining amount of Parmesan cheese on top.

Place back in oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

It’s that simple!

Through my research, I found that cornbread is made very differently in the North and South. Northerners tend to make their cornbread very sweet, with a high flour content. Southerners prepare their cornbread with cornmeal, very little sugar, and is made in a skillet and finished in the oven.

Interesting! Who knew?

So now, I know I made a “southern” cornbread. When my husband tasted it, he told me he loved it because it “wasn’t too sweet”. Who would have thought those words would have such a significant meaning? When it comes to sweet “northern” cornbread, I prefer it as a muffin. Southern cornbread is great to eat with your meal as southerners do, to soak up any gravy or sauce from your plate. It is also wonderful as a snack, or to take for breakfast. I would also definitely have some after dinner as a dessert, though I would not technically call it a “dessert”. Oh whatever, I would eat this bread anytime! It was so easy to make.

I do know that both kinds are equally delicious. It is pretty much a matter of personal taste. Which kind of cornbread do you enjoy? Please send me an email or write me on my Facebook page. I would love to know.

This recipe is courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli and will serve 8 to 10 people who will enjoy it so much they won’t care if it is northern or southern!

Ingredients for Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs.

Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter.

Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven.

Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

It’s that simple!

Everyone has their “go-to” recipes when dinner has to be on the table in a short amount of time.

I know I have mine! It is usually a main dish with a vegetable that is roasted simply with some oil, garlic and lemon. 

From the time my oldest son was a child until he was a teen, he would only eat pizza or pasta with butter and parmesan cheese. My younger son was more adventurous, and would happily try anything. When you are raising two different kids, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My kids, who are adults now, still enjoy my ‘go-to” recipes and ask me for them often. But now I do my best to change it up a bit and diversify their palettes. Of course, starting this blog helped a lot, and I am happy when I see them trying something new.

This recipe is perfect if you want to brave and introduce something special. The caramelization of the cauliflower after roasting gives this dish a wonderful depth of flavor. The raisins add lovely texture, and a sweet surprise. The capers compliment it with a salty jolt, and the breadcrumbs bring it all together to make this dish as wonderful as it is unique.

This recipe is courtesy of Epicurious, and will serve 8-10 people who will love this extraordinary combination of flavors.

Ingredients for Cauliflower with Capers, Raisins, and Breadcrumbs

1 large head of cauliflower (2 pounds), cut into 2″ florets
6 tbsp. olive oil, divided in half
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. salt-packed capers: soaked, rinsed and patted dry
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425F.

Toss cauliflower florets with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl; season mixture with salt and pepper.

Divide cauliflower mixture between 2 large rimmed baking sheets, spreading out in a single layer.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is golden and crispy, about 45 minutes.

*Do ahead: Cauliflower can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Reheat before using.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until they are just golden, about 4-5 minutes.

Add capers and cook until they start to pop, about 3 minutes.

Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat.

Cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden, 2-3 minutes; transfer breadcrumb mixture to a plate and set aside.

Add chicken broth and anchovy paste (if using) to same saucepan.

Bring to a boil.

Add golden raisins and white wine vinegar and cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes .

Remove from heat and set aside.

*Do ahead: Breadcrumb and raisin mixtures can be made 2 hours ahead. Rewarm raisin mixture before continuing.

Transfer warm cauliflower to a serving bowl. Scatter raisin mixture over, then toss to distribute evenly. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle cauliflower with breadcrumb mixture and parsley.

It’s that simple!

It is so cold here; I really could spend all of my time indoors just cooking. But there are errands to run, people to see and things to do. So, each day I’ve gone out and the thought of spring coming soon has carried me through.

It’s not that I hate winter, I actually love snow, but this kind of cold is not for me. One of my new obsessions is hot sauce. Not only does it go great on eggs, chicken, vegetables and seafood, a little spice also helps me warm up on days like these.

So, I decided to make a sauce that I could use to coat cauliflower and bake in the oven.

I didn’t want to make the sauce too hot, as my other family members have a low threshold when it comes to spiciness. By combining a red chili sauce with a sweet chili sauce, I made a new flavoring that is delicious and can be enjoyed with any vegetable. What’s really great about this recipe is you can use as much hot sauce as you would like!

By dipping the cauliflower in panko crumbs first, you will have a dish that is crunchy, spicy and sweet, all at the same time. It should be roasted in the oven at a high temperature for 25-30 minutes, ensuring a thoroughly crispy outcome. The result will be an oven-baked, healthy side dish, perfectly flavored with a delicate, yet savory sauce. These tasty, crispy morsels of goodness are impossible to resist. 

This recipe will serve 4-6 people who may become serious hot sauce lovers.

Ingredients for Hot and Sweet Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 large eggs, whisked
2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha sauce
1 tbsp. honey
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. lime zest
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.

Dip the cauliflower pieces in the egg.

Roll cauliflower pieces in the panko.

Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, sriracha sauce, honey, garlic, lime zest and juice. (Depending on how much cauliflower you have and how much sauce you want, you may want to double the measurements)

Twirl the cauliflower pieces in the sauce, making sure to evenly coat them.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet.

Place sheet in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

It’s that simple!

Farro is an ancient whole grain, similar to barley and quinoa that has been eaten for many generations. Commonly found in Mediterranean, Ethiopian and Middle Eastern cuisines, farro has recently gained popularity as a great source of nutrition because it is fat-free, cholesterol-free, but not gluten-free. It is also a great source of iron and high in fiber and protein. Similar to barley, farro has a mild taste and chewy texture and is just plain delicious. Have I convinced you to try it yet?

Like other whole grains, farro is easy to cook. You may want to soak it overnight to shorten the cooking time, but you really don’t need to. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes if you soak it, and 25 to 30 minutes if you don’t.

I loved this particular recipe because of the different textures that were combined. The lemon zest added a tangy flavor and the crushed red pepper further enhanced the flavor with just the perfect amount of heat. You could also add some grated cheese or toasted pine nuts. Any way you make this recipe it will be wonderful! I am now a farro-lover and I think you will be too.

This recipe is courtesy of Michael’s Genuine Food. It will serve 4 people who may indeed, become farro lovers too!

Ingredients for Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Farro, Crushed Red Pepper, and Lemon

1/2 cup farro
2 pounds broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves. minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon 

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the farro, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover.

Simmer until the farro is tender and the grains have split open, about 30 minutes.

Keeping the cooking water in the pot, remove the farro from the pot with a spider strainer or mesh sieve, put it in a colander, and rinse with cool water.

Set aside.

Bring the cooking liquid back up to a boil and season again with salt.

The farro will have soaked up much of the original seasoning.

Boil the broccoli rabe until just tender, about 3 minutes.

Drain in a colander.

Set a large skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.

When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to soften.

Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Toss the rabe to coat with the oil and cook until tender, roughly 5 minutes.

Add the drained farro, tossing to combine, and sauté for another minute until heated through.

To serve, place the broccoli rabe and farro on a nice platter.

Finely grate lemon zest over the top, preferably with a Microplane.

It’s that simple!