Elizabeth Passarella's Recent Articles
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Recipe: Wheat Berry Salad with Blood Oranges, Feta & Red Onion Vinaigrette
In my recent pantry reorganization, I found a bag of wheat berries I’d been meaning to use. A simple salad with some winter citrus and salty feta seemed like a good idea, and it all turned out very tasty. Light yet satisfying, this makes a perfect lunch or dinner side salad this time of year. The textures of this salad are good. There’s the juiciness of the blood oranges, a crumbly creaminess from the cheese, and the chewiness from the wheat berries.
Mar 25, 2015
How To Make Easter Egg Cakes
When we were growing up, my sister and I always got Easter egg cakes on Easter. They came from a bakery and had our names across the tops in delicate icing script. I insisted on chocolate frosting, which meant mine was always a very un-Easter-like dark brown, while hers was pink or yellow. But that egg cake was The Thing in our house. Now, I see them at New York City bakeries for an unforgivable amount of money.
Mar 24, 2015
Recipe: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Bread, Cheese, and Bacon
I have Dorie Greenspan to thank for this recipe. Last year, I wrote about her Pumpkin Filled with Bread and Cheese, a recipe I’ve since seen updated in Fine Cooking. Thing is, I’d rather eat squash than pumpkin — and I only needed to feed two people. So I swapped out the pumpkin for a more modestly sized acorn squash, along with a few other tweaks, to make this into a weeknight meal — including an all-important step for getting that delicious, caramelized crust on top!
Mar 2, 2015
Recipe: Cream Cheese Danish Bread
Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes the house smell better than sweet holiday loaves just out of the oven. It’s a siren call to the kitchen, even for those of us most devoted to sleeping in on a chilly morning. These lovely loaves are made from a simple overnight dough that gets folded around a sweet cream cheese filling — essentially, cheese danishes in the form of a sliceable, shareable breakfast bread.
Dec 2, 2014
Dinner Party Reminder: Put a Pitcher of Water on the Table
Whether you’re throwing Thanksgiving dinner this week, or just looking forward to cozy parties this winter, take a tip from us: Don’t forget the water! So simple, and yet we rarely take the time to do it. We make sure the wine bottle is on the table, for goodness sake, but a pretty carafe of ice water? Hardly ever. We love restaurants that leave a bottle of cold water on the table after the waiter fills our glasses.
Nov 24, 2014
Recipe: Quick Turkey Meatballs Over Greens
Consider this your spaghetti and meatballs without the spaghetti. I was craving some hearty, saucy meatballs but wanted something less weighty than the traditional bowl of pasta. So I made delicious little turkey meatballs and piled them on a green bed of kale. Who needs spaghetti? This was surprisingly quick and easy, and you get your veggies too. Meatballs are a great main dish, with or without pasta, and my family and I didn’t miss the spaghetti one bit.
Oct 15, 2014
Recipe: Basic Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce
We moved on from bottled salad dressing in my house to our own homemade versions years ago, but for some reason, BBQ sauce still came from the store. And there’s no reason for that when it’s so easy to make it from scratch. Here’s the sweet, tangy, smoky sauce I’ve worked on and tweaked over the past few months. I’m finally happy enough with it to make it worth sharing! I’m partial to sweet BBQ sauce, so this has plenty of brown sugar and molasses in it.
Jun 3, 2014
Recipe: Stuffed Peppadews with Salami & Parmesan
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Who has sweet peppadew peppers just hanging around the kitchen?” Point taken. But these little guys (sometimes also called “sweet piquante peppers”) are on every olive bar we see. They are crunchy and sweet with a tiny bit of heat, and they come already hollowed out — in other words, ready to stuff and absolutely perfect for a quick appetizer or simple snack.
May 22, 2014
Recipe: Asparagus & Prosciutto Crostini
I love asparagus just about any way I can get it: roasted and eaten straight from the pan, chopped into a hearty lunchtime salad, or even simply blanched for a quick side dish. But for a change of pace, this time I thought I’d go creamy. Quick and easy to prepare, these two-bite bruschetta toasts make the perfect start to Easter dinner or Mother’s Day brunch — or both!
Apr 16, 2014
4 Tips for Rolling the Perfect Spring Roll
Nothing is sadder than a poorly-rolled spring or summer roll, but judging the right amount of filling to put in each roll can be difficult. Too little, and it’s all wrap, no flavor. Too much, and you fight to keep the fillings inside. Here are a few tips for rolling the perfect spring roll every time. Start with less filling than you think you need. You can always add more.
Feb 28, 2014
A Simple Way to Soften Hard Brown Sugar in a Hurry
What do you do when you pull out the container of brown sugar and it’s a perfectly formed, rock-hard brick? This happened to me the other day, which sent me on the hunt for some effective solutions. Here’s one that worked in a matter of minutes. If you have time to spare, putting a slice of bread or some apple slices on top of the sugar, sealing it up, and letting it sit for a day are a couple hands-off ways to soften brown sugar.
Feb 7, 2014
Recipe: Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Garlic
This recipe is a classic example of cooking by feel. I had some goat cheese left over from an appetizer, and I found fresh, green garlic at the farmer’s market. So I came up with a way to use them together — stuffed inside some bone-in chicken breasts. It’s really remarkable the way a little garlic and goat cheese can transform a plain and unglamorous chicken breast! I often roast bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts when I’m not up for handling an entire bird.
Jan 15, 2014
Quick Dinner Recipe: Greek Pasta with Lamb, Zucchini, and Feta
Actual Greeks would probably take umbrage at our title here. We’re throwing some olives and feta in our pasta and calling it Greek? Well, sort of, yes. Have you ever made pasta with ground lamb? When I buy it, it’s almost always for meatballs. But I decided to throw it into some leftover macaroni (you could use any short, fat pasta), and it was delicious. Lamb is not that expensive, either, and adds a really nice richness.
Nov 12, 2013
Recipe: Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Basil
This is one of those versatile recipes that can serve more than one purpose — dip, sandwich filling, pasta sauce — and it makes use of all those beautiful eggplants that are in season… Credit goes to my dad for creating this caponata, which he calls “the eggplant dip,” although we’ve tweaked and fiddled with it over time. It’s a traditional, stewy mix of eggplant, pepper, onions, and tomato with some salty olives and a dash of vinegar.
Sep 19, 2012
Recipe: Chipotle Chicken Fajitas with Creamy Black Bean Spread
Fajitas taste best when the meat and veggies come straight off the grill, no question. But don’t let that stop you when it comes to getting your fajita fix. I make this recipe entirely on the stovetop, where the spicy chicken picks up a touch of char from the grill pan and the peppers cook until they are completely tender. Add a dollop of creamy black bean spread and we have dinner.
Sep 17, 2012
You-Won’t-Believe-They’re-Whole-Wheat Blueberry Muffins
These muffins from Gourmet are made with whole wheat pastry flour, which as we know from this post has a low protein content. That means you get a healthier muffin with a slightly richer flavor without the dense texture that you might think of when it comes to whole wheat. And there’s one other fantastic thing about this recipe…We love that the batter makes exactly one dozen (full-size) muffins.
Sep 14, 2012
Recipe: Sautéed Rainbow Chard with Raw Beets and Goat Cheese
We showed up at the tail end of our CSA distribution this week and got a little more than we bargained for. Namely, a generous, extra helping (or four) of leafy greens. In trying to use up most of them, I combined a big pile of rainbow chard and all of our beets, and made this lovely little dish. It’s dressed with a light vinaigrette and served room temperature, and the leftovers made an excellent lunch the next day.
Jul 23, 2012
Summer Recipe: Peach & Ginger Hand Pies
If there’s anything better than homemade pie, it’s a petite and crusty hand pie that you can claim as your own and nibble at leisure. And if there’s anything better than a hand pie, it’s one that’s filled with jammy summer peaches and just a touch of spicy ginger. Don’t you think? These hand pies are just the thing to take to summer picnics or even slip into a lunch box as a special treat.
Jul 2, 2012
On the Pros and Cons of Grill Pans
We credit Rachael Ray and other TV cooking hosts for the popularity of the stovetop grill pan. They can “grill” food on camera without having to move the entire production crew outside. Brilliant. But we’re apartment dwellers with no outdoor space, as we know many of you are, and let’s be honest. A pan with raised ridges does not a grill make.
Jun 14, 2012
Tips for Grilling Delicious Artichokes
We’ve offered ideas in the past for eating artichokes while they’re in season. Faith showed us how to cook them in the slow cooker, and we gave you three ways to stuff them, which is one of our favorite vegetarian meals. Grilling them (which we briefly talked about here) is incredibly easy, and it may make the big, unwieldy artichoke more approachable to a novice.
Jun 12, 2012
Recipe: Pork Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
Stir-fries aren’t usually the well-edited dishes you think about and shop for in advance. They are frequently renegade, use-up-what’s-in-the-fridge meals, which is part of their charm. But not so with this recipe. I chose these particular ingredients deliberately, picking up pork tenderloin for a mid-week treat and adding lots of fresh spring vegetables for crunch.
Apr 30, 2012
Flying with Kids: What Snacks to Pack for the Plane
My child is two years old, and I’ve flown with her more than a dozen times. I’ve gone from declaring breast milk to bribing her with candy, and these are my tips for what to pack to keep young kids (babies to toddlers) happy.First, a few general guidelines:1. If you’re flying with a cranky, crying child or one who’s still sitting on your lap (i.e. taking up a lot of room and kicking the chair in front of her), offer to buy your seatmates a cocktail or a snack pack.
Apr 26, 2012
Popsicles in Prosecco: A Colorful, Bubbly Adult Dessert
Have your booze and eat it, too. It’s cold outside in New York, but if it were sunny and warm and we were planning a party, these would be on the menu. We’d call them tipsy popsicles—they tipped right into our glasses of prosecco, whaddya know.We pinned this image from Southern Living a long time ago and forgot about it (for shame!).
Apr 24, 2012
Wipeable and Cheap: My Favorite Round, Everyday Placemats
I think everyone in my family has some version of these placemats, and I resisted for a long time. Do you really need them, anyway? I had pretty linen ones for dinner parties. And setting a plate on a bare table seemed just fine for nightly dinners. But I bought finally bought some, and here’s why I love them.1. They’re round. The circumference is no taller than an average rectangular placemat (from top to bottom), but they’re not as wide.
Apr 19, 2012
Easy Cake Decorating: 4 Ideas for a Pretty Party Dessert
Consider this cake decorating for dummies—foolproof ways to make a layer cake look super impressive without a lot of fancy tools. Two even use store-bought candy.One of these designs requires a piping bag of sorts, although we’re sure a Ziploc would work. And number 3? Malted milk balls! How mod and futuristic does that look? And you could be as sloppy as you wanted with the frosting underneath.
Apr 12, 2012
Party Menu: A Make-Ahead Meal You Can Cook the Day Before
Or two days before, if you need to. All of these dishes are flexible and actually benefit from sitting around in the fridge for a bit. The lineup: tacos, slaw, sorbet. You can make them the day before the party or the morning of—either way, all you have to do to serve dinner is pull out some tortillas and pour one of these.This is the perfect menu for a party when you’ll be out all day or rushing home from work. It is literally zero-prep.
Apr 10, 2012
Classic Party Food: 3 Takes on Spinach Dip
Every chain restaurant has one, and for good reason—spinach dip is a crowd pleaser that’s delicious and feels virtuous just because it’s green. (FYI if it’s bubbling and cheese-crusted, it’s not.) Here are three versions: One hot and gooey, one cold and healthy, and one adorably served up in mini bread bowls.1. Spinach and Artichoke Dip, from the Kitchn. Nealey’s version of a Southern staple, using fresh (not frozen!
Apr 3, 2012
Salty & Sweet: Pretzel-Crusted Brownies
We like a nut in our brownie—something toasty and crunchy to break up the texture and add a little extra oomph. But pretzels are even better! Salty, crispy, and a perfect complement to gooey chocolate. A couple of these recipes throw in some peanut butter for good measure.Number two even uses a boxed mix, if you have a favorite and just want to amp it up.
Mar 27, 2012
Look! Grilled Cheese Hard-Boiled Eggs
We’re totally charmed by how easy and delicious this is—a simple breakfast food turns into a bubbly, cheesy lunch with just two ingredients. It’s also a genius way to use up leftover Easter eggs. Want to see how to do it?Camilla Fabbri at Family Chic has such cute, creative ideas (like this and this). She says her kids love these grilled cheese Easter eggs, and they couldn’t be quicker to make.
Mar 15, 2012
Moneyballs, Jugo, and Fig Bites in ParisOscar Party Food 2012
This year’s Oscar nominees are making it tough on those of us trying to come up with clever puns that still sound good enough to eat. Last year we had True Grits! And Blackened Swans! But never fear. Where there are moneyballs, there’s hope. Also, go find yourself some Pop Rocks.As we’ve done since the Academy started nominating 102 films for Best Picture, we focus on that category, with a few lead actors thrown in where appropriate.The Artist• Stuffed Peppys.
Feb 23, 2012
Mardi Gras Recipe: Pepper Weenies with Smoked Bacon & Vidalia Onion Marmalade
Mardi Gras is on Tuesday. Do you have plans? We’ve got a fun, super easy recipe for an impromptu party—hot dogs! But they’re gussied-up hot dogs, boiled in a spicy broth and served with saucy onions.This recipe comes from chef David Guas, a New Orleans native who owns the Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. David says these spicy dogs are a classic Mardi Gras food; people serve them along the parade route or at parties.
Feb 16, 2012
Chicken Lasagna: An Alternative to the Original (That’s Not Vegetarian)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy) We started out by calling this a lighter version of classic lasagna. But let’s be honest: Despite the fact that you’re switching out ground beef for lean chicken, this recipe still has heavy cream, butter, and plenty of cheese. And yet it’s nice to have an alternative lasagna up your sleeve that isn’t spinach or veggie.
Jan 24, 2012
So Hungry, I Could Eat a… Horse Spaghetti Measure from Iceland
For those nights when even a double helping just won’t do.This mostly useless kitchen gadget cracks us up. Who knows what your cost threshold is for kitchen items that simply make you laugh (or serve as fun gifts), but if it’s around $16, here you go.AND it isn’t all quirk. There’s a measure for small and large portions, too, if you’re into measuring your pasta portions.It comes in green and white plastic and stainless steel.
Jan 19, 2012
Try This! Put a Cup of Mayonnaise in Your Next Chocolate Cake
We’ve been on a chocolate cake bender around here. Last week Leela shared her decadent Double Chocolate Sour Cream Birthday Cake, and now we’re talking about another intense chocolate cake from Serious Eats that we made last week. It’s also to die for—thanks to 1 1/4 cups of, yep, mayonnaise. Has anyone ever tried a mayonnaise chocolate cake?
Jan 17, 2012
Better Egg Salad: Add an Avocado, Use Less Mayonnaise
Did any of your parents try to dye eggs green when you were little as a nod to Green Eggs and Ham? The results were always gross. These green eggs, however, we’ll take any day—a simple egg salad with mashed avocado mixed in. Turns out it’s healthier than the original, too. You use half the mayonnaise.
Jan 12, 2012
Slice it Thick: A New Way to Cook Cauliflower Bon Appétit
One of the first steps in any recipe involving cauliflower is almost always “cut into bite-sized florets.” It’s what we do when we want to toss it with pasta, sausage, and breadcrumbs or bake it with broccoli and cheese. Florets, florets, florets. But what about cutting thick, hearty slices and sautéing them like a chicken breast? Or a filet?Bon Appétit has a great recipe in its January issue that does just that—and what a simple, healthy, beautiful dish it is.
Jan 5, 2012
Real Simple’s Kristin Appenbrink’s Bright Brooklyn Kitchen
Kristin Appenbrink is one of those funny, welcoming friends with an enviably big kitchen and impressive homemade ice cream skills. She recently threw a little party for the ladies of Pantry Confidential (a great new site we’ll explain below), and while we’re happy to get a sneak peek at her space, we’re a little jealous we didn’t get to go.Kristin, who is an editor at RealSimple.
Dec 13, 2011
Nutmeg, Cardamom, Cloves: 10 Spiced Cookies
Are you up to your elbows in icing and ganache? Got silver dragees in your ears? We love all the sugar and frosting, but we also love a simple, sophisticated cookie with deep, warm holiday spices. These recipes are full of ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon (bonus: they’re easy to pack for travel!).TOP ROW: • 1. Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies. Buttery shortbread with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and grounds nuts. • 2. Molasses Spice Cookies with Orange Sugar.
Dec 8, 2011
Cheap Trick: Clean Stainless Steel with a $2 Product
We’ve spent far too much money on bottles of stainless steel cleaner that claim to wipe out smudges. We haven’t had much luck—only buyer’s remorse. But did you know you can use a super inexpensive product from the drugstore that does a better job? Several of you smarty pants mentioned it in this post.It’s…. baby oil.We read about this trick on a website a while ago and haven’t yet tried it, but a family member swears by it.
Dec 6, 2011
Oyster Stuffing: Is it Worth All the Shucking?
We’ve never had oyster stuffing. Have you? Whoa, it’s a lot of work if you’re talking about shucking dozens of fresh oysters to chop and bake with your bread cubes. But the payoff (we hear) is that the bread soaks up the oyster liquor, and you get a richness that’s beyond what sausage or a little chicken broth can offer. As for the origins of oyster stuffing… it’s complicated.
Nov 22, 2011
What’s the Deal with Heirloom Lettuce?
We hear plenty about heirloom tomatoes and heirloom beans, but lettuce? Not so much. We’re seeing it pop up in more and more places, from chain restaurants to mainstream grocery stores, and we’ve become big fans.We find the heirloom lettuce from Earthbound Organic to be especially good. In addition to the petite heads (left), they sell a mix of heirloom leaves. If you like a mix of crunchy and tender bites in your salad, you have to check it out.So, what is heirloom lettuce?
Nov 10, 2011
Serving Others: Do You Cook for Your Neighbors?
We’re not talking about taking a meal to a new mom or a sick friend—both wonderful in their own right. We’re going a little deeper. Do you notice the elderly man who lives alone in your building? Or the person at work who’s been caring for her sick mom? It’s the time of year when we all think about helping—feeding—those less fortunate, but we’re usually serving strangers. We might need to serve those closer to home, too.
Nov 8, 2011
Keoke Coffee & White Hot Chocolate: 11 Fall DrinksSunset
Sometimes a warm, sweet (or spicy) drink after dinner is even better than dessert (bonus if it has a little you-know-what in it). We’ll take a good hot chocolate any time, but if you’re in the mood for something different—warm apple pie cocktail, anyone?—take a look below. There are even a few that would make great Thanksgiving cocktails.This roundup from Sunset really runs the gamut.
Nov 3, 2011
Flatten that Bird: Have You Butterflied a Turkey?
We read this quote from Tyler Florence in the November issue of House Beautiful: “Roasting a whole turkey to get a perfectly cooked breast is the equivalent of cooking half a cow for a nice filet mignon.” It’s true—how often do we douse our breast meat in gravy because it’s dried out? Well, this is one solution.You’re giving up the ta-da of presenting a whole, hulking bird on a platter, but honestly, he gets carved up pretty quickly.
Nov 1, 2011
Pears! 7 Common Types and How to Use Them
If you’re browsing your local farmer’s market, you’ll probably see more than seven types of pears. You may even discover a totally new (and vaguely unpronounceable) variety that becomes your favorite. But for now, let’s talk basics. What’s the difference between a Bartlett and a Bosc? And which one should you pick up for your afternoon snack? These seven types of pears are what we see most often at the grocery store.
Oct 20, 2011
Pretty for a Party: Fall Salad Served in Apple Bowls
Want a sweet little presentation for a simple autumn salad? Get out your melon baller.We saw these beautiful salads served in apple shells over at Yummy Mummy. It sounds pretty easy—slice off the top of the apple and scoop out the flesh with an ice cream scoop or a melon baller, leaving a thick edge.The salad inside is so colorful and lush, a mix of avocado, blue cheese, apple, and pomegranate seeds.
Oct 18, 2011
Meals for the Family: The Supper Club by Susie Cover
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy) We are big believers in eating together as a family and feeding our children wholesome, not-dumbed-down food. But good intentions can easily get sidetracked when there’s a toddler underfoot or a picky six-year-old who will. not. touch. the. kale. Susie Cover has vast experience cooking meals that everyone (everyone!) will like, and this book offers more than 100 recipes that aim to please.
Oct 13, 2011
10 Easy Pasta Dishes with Bacon
Other than headlining a BLT or lying beside a pile of scrambled eggs, this may be our favorite use for bacon. It adds so much flavor to pasta, pairs well with so many vegetables (green peas, broccoli, butternut squash), and—if you chop it into pieces first—cooks in no time.Plus, it leaves all that liquid fat in the pan, and you know what that’s good for: sautéing onions, garlic, and vegetables.
Oct 11, 2011