Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Sweet Potato Hand Pies

Today we're making creamy and dreamy sweet potato hand pies! These are lightly buttery, lightly sweet and with just a hint of warming spice--they really let the sweet potato shine and this is going to become your new favorite pie. It's perfect for when that pie craving hits and, thanks to a lovely store bought puff pastry, a lot quicker and easier than many pies.

𝐁𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐒𝐮𝐠𝐚𝐫 𝐂𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐒𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐏𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐨 𝐇𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐏𝐢𝐞𝐬

𝘠𝘪𝘦𝘭𝘥 4 Hand Pies



1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato, mashed
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt


1 package DuFour Classic Puff Pastry
1 egg beaten plus 1/2 teaspoon water


Preheat the oven to 400f. Roll out the puff pastry lightly. Cut it into four even rectangles. For each hand pie spread 1/4 of the filling across half of each rectangle, asking the width (narrower side). Brush along the edges with egg wash, then fold the pastry over the filling. Push down all abilities the edges with a fork to seal. Brush all over with egg wash. Cut small splits in the top to vent. Bake for 20 minutes, basting the pies with a second coating of egg wash halfway through. Remove and dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm. Each pie will yield 3 small slices and can be reheated in the oven at 375f for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thanksgiving Day Master - Fabulous Sides and Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving Sides Compendium

Are you like me, in that you look forward to Thanksgiving partly for the Homemade Cranberry Sauce?

Perhaps you'd like a fancy version of mashed potatoes, like my Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes

Or a fancy vegetable? In that case, you're going to love these Honey Cognac Roasted Carrots

For something different, but amazing, try this Peruvian Sausage Stuffing

And of course, the best Green Bean Casserole is the From Scratch Green Bean Casserole

For a fancy, delicious and complex brussels sprouts dish, try this Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Dressing, Candied Pecans & Chevre.

Don't stop with these handy recipes! We have two years' worth of Thanksgiving issues of our magazine: November 2021 & November 2020 (under a different name)

Whatever you choose, I hope you have a marvellous holiday with the ones you love!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Pickled Smacked Cucumber Salad (Ottolenghi Inspired Recipe)

 I usually write about what inspired the dish I'm sharing. In the case of this glorious salad it was nothing more complicated than happening upon the video for a very similar dish from Yotam Ottolenghi's test kitchen. I was instantly impressed by the quick pickles, the way the chef broke up the cucumber (hence the word smacked in the title) and the clever use of salt to draw the excess moisture from the cucumbers…to then use that moisture to season part of the dish.  The techniques were remarkable, the flavors fabulous, and I knew I had to try it for myself.

Pickled smacked cucumber salad with couscous is a play on the glorious recipe from Ottolenghi’s test kitchen. It was tart, it was fresh and so lovely from the herbs and lightly pickled vegetables. I’m very thankful for this great idea!

Pickled Smacked Cucumber Salad



1 large cucumber

1/4 cup filtered water

1/4 cup vinegar (any kind)

1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 dried chili pepper (any type; I have dried cayennes)

1/2 Tablespoon pickling seasoning (which I highly recommend as a pantry staple, and which consists of mustard seed, coriander seed, lightly crushed bay leaves, peppercorns, spice clove and crushed red pepper flakes) 

One peeled garlic clove, lightly crushed

2 green onions, whites and greens, sliced on the bias

1 shallot, thinly sliced

Pinch salt

2 ish Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon chopped or torn mint leaves 

1/2 Tablespoon dill fronds

1/2 cup cooked couscous


Smack the cucumbers well with something thin and dense (think the handle of a rolling pin or of a wooden spoon), then tear into bite sized pieces. In a bowl, cover the cucumber pieces with salt and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (to extract water and also to add extra, concentrated cucumber flavor to the salad). Meanwhile, make the brine: over medium heat combine the water, vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, dried chili pepper and pickling spice (if using). Cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved and take off the heat. Set aside to cool. Now slice the shallots thinly and tear or chop your herbs up. When the pickling liquid has cooled, strain it. Add the shallots to the cucumbers and pour the water/vinegar (brine) mix over them and allow to sit for 5 - 20 minutes (however much time you have patience for). Add in couscous, herbs and scallions. Drizzle with olive oil and mix to combine. Serve with yogurt or feta.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Pickled Red Onions


Do you love taco night? Perhaps you also want to up your sandwich game, or maybe you just love pickles? In any of those situations, making your own pickled red onions at home, a super easy task, is just the thing for you! They’re great with tacos, wonderful over tostadas, nachos, fried eggs (especially with crema or cotija) and with quesadillas. They’re also fabulous on a sandwich with a nice sharp cheese and roast beef or deli turkey. On a hot dog. Equally delicious over rice bowls. A really versatile pickle that you will love to add to your favorite condiments. If you have leftover brine, it can be used to pickle any fresh vegetables you want to use up. Some ideas are asparagus to green beans, cauliflower, carrots, radish or cucumbers.

Pickled Red Onions

Yield 2 (8oz) jars


For the Brine

1 cup vinegar

1 cup filtered water

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

2 ½ Tablespoons sugar 

For the pickles & aromatics

1 red onion, sliced thinly

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings (see notes)

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, divided

2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)


In each of your jars place 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 clove garlic, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 jalapeno. These are your pickling aromatics. Over the pickling aromatics, pack in 1/2 sliced red onion (for each jar). In a small saucepan, heat the brine ingredients until the salt and sugar has fully dissolved. Allow to cool until warm, then pour equally over the contents of each jar until the onions are fully submerged in brine. Cover. Once the jars are cool to the touch, refrigerate. After one hour of steeping (between cooling down and refrigeration) they will be ready to consume. They will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you spot any white, black or other discolored spots, discard immediately. This recipe is for quick (refrigerator) pickles and cannot be safely canned.


If you prefer less spicy pickles, make sure to remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapenos. They can be omitted or, if you like spicier pickles, swapped out for hotter chilies. If you have and are comfortable using a mandoline slicer, it slices the onions quickly and evenly.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Chicken Shawarma Spiced Sheet Pan Dinner with Roasted Carrots

On those days where you need an easy recipe with little clean up, one pan chicken shawarma spiced dinner with roasted carrots is a perfect meal! Serve it with couscous, rice (you can get long grain rice fully cooked in the freezer section…shh, we won't tell) or a sheet pan of baked fries. Don't forget the tahini to drizzle over it all!

Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma Dinner with Spiced Carrots

Serves 4

2.5 lbs bone in skin on chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
3 Tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 1/2 Tablespoons shawarma spice mix (recipe below)
1 lemon, juice & zest
1 1/2 cups carrots, scrubbed and sliced into short sticks
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Shawarma spice mix

1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon smoked (sweet) paprika
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container

Carrot spices

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin


Preheat oven to 425c. In a bowl combine 2 Tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, shawarma spices and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Rub spices, oil and juice all over each thigh and if you can get it under as well as on top of the skin. Lay chicken thighs in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes initially. While chicken is roasting toss carrots in the spices listed, the remaining Tablespoon olive oil and another pinch of salt and pepper. After 15 minutes roast time for the chicken, remove pan from oven and add carrots in between the chicken. Roast for another 20 minutes, or until chicken registers 165 on a meat thermometer. Serve drizzled with tahini and accompanied by rice, potatoes or couscous.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Pickled Beet Devilled Eggs

Spring has sprung and Easter is around the corner. The season for beautifully dyed eggs. You may think there is no unique way to serve dyed eggs. After all, Easter egg salad is fairly ubiquitous now. I’m here to tell you there is yet one more way to add some pizzazz to your egg dishes this holiday: pickled beet devilled eggs. Using the bright fuschia brine to dye the outside of your boiled eggs will lend them only a hint of sweetness, which the sprinkle of minced pickled beets will complement well. Mainly we will use the brine for aesthetic purposes. But in the end you’ll not only have gorgeous and unique devilled eggs, you’ll also have a couple of jars of fabulous pickled beets. In their brine in covered jars they will keep for up to 4 months. They are great with lightly bitter greens, such as arugula or radicchio. Fabulous with tangy or salty cheese. Really great as an accompaniment to any stuffed pita or Mediterranean dish.  For more culinary uses for pickled beets, see notes.

Pickled Beets


2 lbs beets, washed, peeled, & cut into bite sized chunks (see notes)

1 cup filtered water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup white vinegar

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole cloves

2 bay


1 teaspoon gently crushed black peppercorns

2 peeled whole cloves of garlic

2 - 3 large sprigs dill


Have sterilized jars at the ready, complete with lids. Fill jars with the aromatics, evenly divided, and chopped, boiled beets. Bring water, sugar, vinegar, and salt to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved, then pour over beets in jars. Allow jars to steep at least one hour before using the brine to marinate your boiled eggs.

Pickled Beet Devilled Eggs


6 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Pickled beet brine to cover (see notes)

2 Tablespoons pickled beets, minced 

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 Tablespoon dijon mustard

A tiny pinch paprika

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


Marinate whole peeled eggs in brine for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 24 hours (the longer they marinate the thinner the white will become, so the best length of time for marination shouldn’t exceed 8 hours). Remove eggs and pat dry. Slice in half lengthwise and remove yolks. In a bowl mix yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper, until it forms a smooth paste. Set egg whites on your serving platter, cut side up. Over the mouth of a tall glass, put a pastry bag or ziploc bag, open. Aim one of the corners of the bag at the bottom of the glass. Fill the bag with yolk mixture, cut off the corner, and pipe into the cavity of the egg whites. If you have piping tips you can use them on the bag (place in the corner before the bag is filled and the corner is cut); they will make the yolks look a bit prettier. If you don’t have piping tips it will still look gorgeous. When you have used up the yolk mixture/filled all the egg whites, sprinkle the finished dish with minced pickled beets and serve. Best served fresh. Anything with mayonnaise should not sit around in warm temperatures.


To boil beets, trim off tails and tops, place in a pot of boiling water (add 2 Tablespoons or so acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to prevent color bleeding) to cover. Boil until a knife can be inserted easily into the beets, 25 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Remove from water. While still warm, rub the skins off with a tea towel (the skin will come off easily).  

This will make 1 1/2 to 2 pint jars full of pickled beets. They are great in salads, especially salads with soft tangy cheeses. They are also great chopped into a relish, with couscous, with falafel, great in egg salad, on their own and would likely be great to replace some of the beets in a borscht. For marinating the eggs, the amount of brine needed will depend on the size of your marinating dish.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Kale

I am so excited to realize a long term dream of mine and finally branch out into making cooking videos! I’ve now got a TikTok account and will also be adding a YouTube channel in the near future.Of course I have watched loads of these short form cooking videos, to learn the most popular format (also because I can’t resist learning about new foods). 

Lately I’ve been seeing a fabulous trend: creamy, silky pumpkin pasta sauce. In some instances this is created by combining pasta water with pumpkin puree and in others the puree is thinned by cream. I’ve decided to go the cream route, as well as incorporating some white wine. To balance the sweet I’ve added kale and to heighten the decadence of the rich, creamy sauce I’ve added mild Italian sausage. The anise in the sausage brings out the lightly sweet notes in the kale and is a fabulous compliment.  If you like a bit of crunch you could  add toasted pine nuts over top of the finished dish.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Kale


6 ounces chopped kale, stems discarded

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup (reserved) pasta water (see method)

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

1 lb thick spaghetti or bucatini

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

For serving: 

Fresh parmesan

Chopped Parsley

Toasted chopped nuts


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and sausage. Once the water is boiling add pasta and cook according to package directions. Break up sausage into small bits and saute until thoroughly cooked, scoop out sausage into a bowl and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan. In the fat saute shallots until starting to brown, then add kale. Saute until kale begins to crisp lightly, then add wine and pasta water to deglaze. Once kale is cooked to your liking, scoop it out into the bowl with the sausage, leaving liquid and fat in the pan. Turn heat to low, add pumpkin and cream, stirring to combine. When the pumpkin is combined, reintroduce kale and sausage and add pasta and toss to combine thoroughly. Serve hot topped with grated parmesan, chopped parsley and toasted nuts (if desired).