Category Archives


  • All
  • Tuscan Bean Soup

    Tuscan Bean Soup

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Black pepper, to taste
    • 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and rinsed
    • 5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
    • 4 cups baby kale or baby spinach, stems removed if tough
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, for garnish
    • Olive oil, to serve
    • Extra grated Parmesan, to serve
    1. Cook the vegetables: In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the vegetables look softened and the onions are turning translucent.
    2. Prepare the beans: On a plate, mash 1/2 cup of the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the vegetables in the pot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
    3. Simmer the soup: Add the remaining beans to the pot and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with the lid placed askew, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the liquid is flavorful.
    4. Discard the oregano sprigs; the leaves will have fallen into the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
    5. While the soup simmers: Sprinkle bowls with olive oil and cheese.
    6. Add the greens to the soup: Add the kale or spinach to the pot and simmering for another 2 minutes, or just until the greens wilt.
    7. Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with oregano and more olive oil, if you like, and serve with Parmesan toasts and extra Parmesan for sprinkling.
    The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you.
    You can achieve this by cooking the dried beans from scratch, of course. Or you can skip the long simmer and pop open a can!
    Bean soups have the distinct advantage of tasting terrific either way. Today’s soup uses canned beans to make a 30-minute meal that tastes like it took all day.
    When you start this soup, sauté vegetables first to give the soup lots of flavor. Let carrots, onion, and celery cook with sprigs of oregano, then stir in the beans and chicken stock.
    To make sure your soup has that appealing “simmered all day” quality when using canned beans, just mash some of the beans before they go into the pot. This will give your soup the slightly distressed texture that a good bean soup should have.
    Simmer the soup briefly, then add baby kale or spinach for their pretty green color and texture. Parmesan toasts are an easy side dish to make while the soup is simmering and they give your dinner plenty of crunch.
    Sprinkle the bowls with olive oil and more Parmesan. You’re done in less than half an hour, but your soup will taste like an afternoon’s effort.

    Read more:

  • Eggnog Rice Pudding – Yum!!


    Eggnog Rice Pudding

    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup Jasmine rice
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 strips lemon zest
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup eggnog
    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Stir in rice, salt, and lemon zest. Turn the heat to low and simmer the rice, covered, until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the lemon zest.
    2. Over low heat, add 3 cups of milk, nutmeg, sugar, and vanilla extract to the cooked rice. . Bring to a low boil, stirring often so the milk doesn’t burn. Stir often, until the milk cooks down and the rice is creamy, about 20 minutes. Add the eggnog and cook for 10 minutes more, until thickened. Place in a large bowl or serving dishes to cool. Serve cold or at room temperature. Garnish with ground nutmeg.
    Check out the bowl by Michael Kifer! 
    The rice pudding would look wonderful in one of these dishes.  


    Brightly colored ceramic serving bowls by Michael Kifer

  • Cookie recipe Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

    Cookie recipe

    Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Shortbread Cookies



    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 3 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted


    1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add butter, vanilla, and egg yolk and process until mixture comes together into a moist ball. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
    3. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Lightly flouring the bottom piece of parchment paper. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round or heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out dough and use a thin spatula to transfer cookies to the prepared baking pan.
    4. Bake cookies until firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks.
    5. Melt milk chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, heating for 30 second intervals, removing the bowl to stir the chocolate and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
    6. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt or sprinkles and allow to rest for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

    By Joy the Baker


  • The Fearless Baker’s Brownie Pie

    The Fearless Baker’s Brownie Pie


    Give the pie a cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  I love this pie just warmer than room temperature served with ice cream piled high.  Coffee ice cream is wonderful. Brownie Pie!  It’s an unexpected and absolutely joyful dessert. 
    Serves 8
    For the Pie
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • pinch of fine sea salt
    • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
    For the Brownies
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 canola (or other neutral) oil
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% or so), chopped
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1 cup chopped toasted almonds
    coffee ice cream or whipped cream for serving
    1. To make the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes, tossing them through the flour until each piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your palms or your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces.
    2. Continue to work the mixture together until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas.
    3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix to incorporate. Then add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue mixing just until the dough comes together. As it begins to come together, you can knead it a few times to make sure it’s evenly combined. It’s important not to add too much water to the dough, which should never be sticky. It should hold together easily in a ball but still feel almost dry to the touch.
    4. Form the dough into an even disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
    5. Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough to a circle 1/4-inch thick. Start in the center of the disk of dough and push away from you using even pressure. Return to the center and repeat, this time moving towards you. Continue rotating the dough and reflouring the counter as needed to prevent sticking.
    6. Transfer the dough to the pie pan. Trim away the overhang, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang all around. Tuck the excess dough under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes.
    7. To parbake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the pie pan.
    8. Prick the chilled dough all over with a fork. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust until the edges barely begin to turn golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
    9. Take the pan out of the oven and remove the parchment and weights. Return the crust to the oven to bake for 2 to 4 minutes until just lightly golden.
    10. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the bottom of the crust with a thin layer of egg wash. The residual heat should cook the egg, but if it looks wet, throw it back in the oven for 1 minute more. Cool the crust completely before filling it.
    11. To make the brownie, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
    12. In a medium, heat-proof bowl, combine the butter, oil, and bittersweet chocolate. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (with the bowl not touching the water) and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully melted and combined. Let cool slightly.
    13. Add both sugars to the chocolate mixture and mix well with a spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is fully incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix well to ensure there are no flour pockets, but do not overmix. Fold in the semisweet chocolate and almonds.
    14. Pour the batter into the piecrust and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with moist, clumpy crumbs, 45 to 50 minutes. Do not overbake! Let the pie cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. I love this pie served with coffee ice cream.
    By Joy Wilson, Joy the Baker and Erin McDowell,Adapted from The Fearless Baker
  • baked brie cheese with pistachios and honey Baked Brie with Pistachios and Honey


    Baked Brie with Honey and Pistachios


    A simple, yummy appetizer that is quick and easy –
    plus designed for a handmade ceramic baker.  
    1 (6-8-ounces) round Brie or Camembert
    1/4 cup lightly salted pistachios
    (about 2 ounces), shelled and roughly chopped
    2 tbl honey
    1.  Using a sharp knife, score top rind of cheese in a cross-cross pattern, spacing cuts about 1 inch apart. 
     2.   Remove the packaging and place in ceramic baking dish.  Put cheese and dish into a cold oven.  Set the temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake until top is soft and runny, about 25 minutes.
      3.  Top with chopped pistachios and drizzle with honey.  Let rest 5 minutes, then Enjoy!


  • sweet and sour bean recipe Piney’s Sweet and Sour Beans – a family favorite

    Piney’s Sweet and Sour Beans

    This recipe was given to me when I got married in 1980.  Edie Swart was my second mom for most of my life.  Edie’s husband was my mother’s business partner.  This bean recipe was much loved whenever it was made.  Last week, a friend asked about bean dishes and I remembered this one. Mom made it for lots of summer gatherings and other family events over the years.  Let me know how you like it.  Happy almost Labor Day Weekend! 

    sweet and sour bean recipe

    • 8 slices bacon
    • 4 lg onions
    • 1/2 – 1 c. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp dry mustard
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 c. viegar
    • 2 can lima beans
    • 1 can green beans – drained
    • 1 dark red kidney beans
    • 1 – 1 lb. 13 ou size of canned baked beans

    1. Brown Bacon, remove from pan.
    2. Brown onions in the bacon fat.  Mix other liquids and spices in this mixture.
    3. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
    4. Combine the beans in a baking dish.  Pour the liquid onion spice mixture into the beans.  Add the bacon (torn into pieces).
    5. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour.

  • Summer Succotash Salad


    Summer Succotash Salad

    We wanted to lighten up stodgy, old-school succotash by using fresh vegetables and minimizing the flavor-dulling cream and butter.
    For a summer succotash salad recipe that lightens up succotash with fresh vegetables, we cooked all the vegetables in the same pot of well-salted simmering water, staggering their cooking times to ensure they all finished at the same time. Once the vegetables were tender, we rinsed them under cold water to stop their cooking and conserve their bright color. Most succotash salad recipes call for finishing the dish with butter or cream, but we opted for a light vinaigrette spiked with lemon juice, red onion, and basil.
    3 tbl olive oil
    1 ½ tbl lemon juice
    1 tsp honey    
    ½ onion, red (small and minced)
    ¾ lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half crosswise
    2 ears corn, kernels removed from cobs
    ½ lb frozen lima beans
    2 tbl chopped fresh basil
    1. This salad can be kept covered and refrigerated fro up to 1 day. If making the salad in advance, add the basil just before serving.
    1. Stir oil, lemon juice, honey, red onion, and salt and pepper to taste together in small bowl.
    1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and green beans and cook for 1 minute. Add corn and lima beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain vegetables into colander and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain vegetables well and transfer to serving bowl.
    1. Toss vegetables with dressing to coat evenly. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
    From the Cook’s Illustrated magazine,
  • Avocado and Lime Shrimp Cocktail


    Avocado and Lime Shrimp Cocktail

    makes 4 large or 6 smaller servings
    1 pound chilled peeled, deveined and steamed shrimp and tails removed
    2/3 cup ketchup
    2/3 cup Pico de Gallo
    1/3 cup fresh lime juice
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons hot sauce (like Tabasco or Crystal)
    sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
    1 ripe avocado, sliced into chunks
    1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
    tortilla chips for serving
    lime wedges for serving
    In a medium bowl, stir together ketchup, Pico de Gallo, lime juice, olive oil and hot sauce. Taste a bit of the mixture and add more hot sauce, salt and pepper to your taste.
    Add the steamed and chilled shrimp, the avocado, and the cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Taste again and season accordingly.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Serve chilled with crisp tortilla chips.  
    Recipe adapted slightly from The Hot Sauce Cookbook by Joy Wilson
  • Easy Grilled Sweet Potato Pizzas


    Perfect for Summer Holidays


    Easy Grilled Sweet Potato Pizzas

    Prep Time: 10 mins, Cook Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 25 minutes
    Yield: 2
    1 large sweet potato
    1/3 cup organic marinara sauce (OR 1/4 cup pesto)*
    1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    fresh basil
    1. Preheat grill to 375ºF (alternatively you can use your oven).
    2. Slice sweet potatoes length wise (about 1/4 of an inch thick), rub with olive oil (or spray with olive oil cooking spray) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Lay a piece of tin foil onto the grill and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
    4. Place sweet potatoes onto tin foil and grill for 10 minutes or until you’ve created beautiful grill marks on your sweet potato slices. Then, flip.
    5. Add 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce (or 1/2 tablespoon of pesto) and one tablespoon mozzarella cheese to each sweet potato slice and grill for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
    6. Remove from grill and top with fresh basil.
    *We wrote the recipe to serve 2, but know that you can easily double or triple this to serve more.

    Author: Lee Hersh, 

    Find it online:

  • Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

    Cauliflower Rice Burrito BowlCauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl

    Makes 2 bowls

    1 small head of raw cauliflower, any color, cut into medium florets (or Trader Joe’s frozen  Cauliflower Rice)

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    salt and pepper to taste

    1 cup black beans, warmed

    2 cups kale or spinach, wilted and sautéed in olive oil and garlic

    2 spoonfuls spicy salsa

    2 small handfuls shredded cheddar cheese

    1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into chunks

    pickled jalapeños

    fresh fried corn tortilla chips

    fresh cilantro leaves


    For the Cauliflower Rice:
    (Like any rice, this cauliflower rice takes on any flavor that you’d like.  Feel free to add sautéed onions, garlic, or fresh herbs to this rice.  Below are the bare bones of cauliflower rice.)
    1 small head of raw cauliflower, any color, cut into medium florets
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    Purchase Frozen Cauliflower Rice from Trader Joe’s (this is what I do.).
    For the Burrito Bowls:
    (Divide and heap each of the following onto two large shallow bowls, or two plates.)
    2 large portions of cauliflower rice
    1 cup black beans, warmed
    2 cups kale or spinach, wilted and sautéed in olive oil and garlic
    2 spoonfuls spicy salsa
    2 small handfuls shredded cheddar cheese
    1 ripe avocado, sliced or cut into chunks
    pickled jalapeños
    fresh fried corn tortilla chips
    fresh cilantro leaves
    To make the cauliflower rice, place florets in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.  Process until cauliflower is ground into fine bits that resemble bits of rice or couscous.
    Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add the cauliflower bits to the heated pan and toss to combine.  Allow to cook until the cauliflower rice has softened slightly and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Add any other flavoring, herb, or seasoning you might enjoy.  Remove from heat and spoon into two large bowls.  If you have any excess rice, store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    To make a burrito bowl, start with a large shallow bowl or plate.  Spoon cauliflower rice onto the plate.  Spoon warmed black beans next to the rice.  Spoon sautéed kale next to the beans.  Top generously with hot salsa, shredded cheese, ripe avocado, pickled jalapeños, fried tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro leaves.  Enjoy!
    From the Blog of Joy the Baker.