Friday, April 18, 2014

Cooking with your Peeps!

Cakespy: Peeps Fluffernutter

Got marshmallow peeps? Instead of just eating them, put them to work in your kitchen with some fun and creative recipes, like this one for "Peeps Fluffernutter" from! In addition, you can find more fun recipes from, like
PEEPSicles and

How to Make Peepshi = Peeps Sushi

PEEPSHI! So cute!

Or you could make Peep-Infused Vodka from
peep marshmallow vodka
(Sounds gross to me, but you never know!)

And finally, if you don't want to cook with your peeps, you can check out 9 Alternative Uses for a Peep from!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Swiss Chard isn't Swiss!

Swiss chard, the leafy green plant with beautifully colored stems, has been popular in the Mediterranean since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Ranking second after spinach, it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around, aiding in blood sugar regulation, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and with an impressive supply of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K, it is excellent in aiding bone support! So, what's with the name? Swiss chard was named by a Swiss botanist named Koch, who in the 19th century named it in honor of his homeland. Swiss chard is also known as silverbeet, Roman kale, spinach beet, seakale, and mangold, just to name a few. Along with spinach, it is one of my favorite leafy greens.

So when I saw this recipe for "Creamed Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs" tucked modestly on page 37 of the March 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, I had to try it! Don't let the name fool you, this is not the heavy bechamel-laden version of traditional creamed spinach. Rather, it is a lighter version that includes shallots, lemon zest, and crunchy breadcrumbs. Yum! My entire family loved it, even the kids! It was delicious alongside grilled steak and potatoes, but it would also make a refreshing addition to my Easter table and yours! 

Creamed Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs

Serves 4

1/2 cup torn fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches Swiss chard, main ribs and stems cut into 2" lengths, leaves torn into 2" pieces (I would recommend cutting the ribs and stems in half and into 1" lengths, because they were a little awkward to eat at 2" lengths.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, sliced
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Toast, tossing once, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook chard leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and squeeze well in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

Heat butter in a large saucepan (or skillet) over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5-8 minutes.

Add cream; bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Add chard leaves and cook, stirring, until warmed through and coated with cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.

*For more of my favorite recipes using Swiss chard, see Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup and Savory Swiss Chard Tart!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kool sla, Kohlslau, Coleslaw!

Cabbage is low in calories, helps prevent cancer, is thought to aid in weight loss, and is very inexpensive. People have been eating cabbage as far back as the ancient Romans and Greeks. As the Roman empire spread northward, so did the love of cabbage. As cabbage spread, each culture added their own local ingredients to create diverse flavor preferences. The Romans liked it bathed in vinegar, the British liked it quartered and stewed in broth, the Germans liked it shredded and pickled to make sauerkraut, but it was the Dutch who brought it to the American northeast with a boiled cream and flour dressing by the name of "kool sla." Yes, we can thank the Dutch for cole slaw, one of our favorite sides to any barbecue, with sandwiches, and picnics! However, according to Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, by Robb Walsh, "American cole slaw comes from the German kohlslau," and was brought to Texas by a steady stream of German immigration during the 1800s. We can also thank NYC deli owner Richard Hellman, who in 1912, began selling his bottled version of mayonnaise. The classic blue bow bottle became an instant bestseller and cole slaw has never been more popular!

The variations of recipes from country to country is truly impressive, but I like mine Texas barbecue joint-style, which is made in it's purist form. Shredded and simply dressed with vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, salt and pepper. No celery seed, no mustard, no celery salt, no onion, and definitely no peppers! The result is a perfect balance of creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet that tastes exceedingly fresh and surprisingly delicious. I like to serve it with Jerk Pork Tenderloin, Mrs. Ps Cornbread, as well as Memphis-Style Spareribs.

Cole Slaw

Makes 8-10 servings


6 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 head)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*Additions: Shredded carrots are a traditional addition that I like. Shredded apples are a German addition that is particularly good with pork.


Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and allow to mellow in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

Recipe from Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook, by Robb Walsh.