Black Pepper Beef Filet with Horseradish Cream

We’ve been eating dinner outdoors nearly every evening – now that the spring rains have let up – making the most of June weather, with its light breezes and warm temperatures.

The intense heat and humidity is starting, but I’ve still been able to turn on the oven to bake a rhubarb galette or roast a slab of beef and not cook us completely out of house and home.

Today’s recipe is a fantastic do-ahead main dish for a weekend picnic, backyard gathering or a Father’s Day spread this coming Sunday. Just pair it with a salad or tray of roasted asparagus and call it lunch.

[Read more…]

4 tips for welcoming vegetarians to the holiday table (Veggie Pot Pie)

Written by Jan of Family Bites.

For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are about coming together around the table to share a special meal with those you love. I’m sure it’s the same for most of you, and I’m certain you’d agree that when it comes to holiday entertaining, most celebration menus lend themselves to focusing on the meaty main dish. And for good reason too. What’s not to love about a turkey roasted to golden perfection, bacon-wrapped anything, and glazed hams? Turns out a lot, if you happen to be a vegetarian.

Meat-laden meals are great if you’re an omnivore, but are certainly less than appealing if you happen to be a veggie eater. All too often, those who opt for a plant-based diet leave a special occasion dinner feeling as though they’ve consumed nothing more than an assortment of side dishes for their feast. While this wouldn’t bother me (and I’m a meat eater) I know that not all vegetarians feel the same way.

After years of planning holiday parties at a catering company, I would often hear from 1) meat-free guests who wished there had been a main course for them to enjoy at the dinner/party they were invited to, and 2) hostesses who felt fatigued by trying to plan a menu that was welcoming and delicious for all, including those who eat a plant-based diet. In fact, when it came to planning Christmas parties, the number one question I received before the holidays was “what should I serve to my vegetarian guest(s)?”

I eventually came up with a few tips for welcoming herbivores to the holiday feast. Each suggestion is a small way to ensure that what’s being served for dinner can be eaten by whoever is lucky enough to be attendance, regardless of their dietary preference. [Read more…]

A Vegetarian Dinner (Recipe: Leek & Mushroom Bake with Polenta Crust)

We tend to eat at least seventy-five percent vegetarian during the week, yet for some reason when I entertain on the weekends, I often feel obligated to serve up a big slab of meat. It might be a roast chicken, filet of salmon, or lamb curry, but seldom is it vegetarian fare.

As I was assembling this mushroom and polenta gratin, I wondered to myself why I always chose a protein as my main dish and why didn’t I indulge my friends in some of the healthier and more adventurous dishes that we eat day to day?

Whatever the reason – expectations, tastes or tradition – it became apparent as I dished up this gratin around our dinner table that I had created something well-worth sharing. Meat-lovers, or no meat-lovers.

[Read more…]

Paella, Simple Summer Fare

Rising temperatures and backyard parties means – it’s paella time!

So often in the States we think of paella as a gourmet dish meant to be eaten on special occasions or when fine dining. In reality, a paella in Spain is a casual meal eaten outdoors, served at summer festivals and enjoyed as simple midweek meals.

The paella originated in the countryside of Valencia, España, where rice fields were (and are) in abundance. Local farmers and peasants raised chickens, rabbits and collected snails.

After making a rich and nourishing broth, the rice and local meat were combined creating the first paella cooked over an open fire.

This simple peasant’s dish has since influenced the entire world and is now made in many different variations.


All photos by Diana Bauman

A real and traditional paella is made using only a few seasonal ingredients and meant to highlight the rice. The rice is really what makes a paella.

As long as you have a good quality rice and a few other ingredients, you’ll be on your way to an amazing rice dish.

[Read more…]

Weekend Links: Cooking for Others Edition

Lately we’ve been talking about cooking for others, as in bringing a home cooked meal to a family in need. One doesn’t have to look very far to find folks struggling, be it a family in mourning or a couple of sleep deprived new parents.

Curious if this random act of kindness was still alive and well, I posted a Q & A recently,  Sympathy Meals: Do You Give & Receive Them? How thrilling it was to see the answers come in and read how so many of you have been blessed by either giving or receiving a meal.

Questions also arose in the Q&A, which I addressed in my next post on the subject: Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals. I surprised myself with how much I had to say on the topic (plus included wisdom from readers that had written) and didn’t have space to include links for meal suggestions.

So, this extended edition of Weekend Links will feature recipes suitable for delivering to others. They are nourishing, travel well, freeze well, and are ready to heat and serve. Here’s hoping this round-up can be a source of inspiration and that more people will choose to reach out with a hot meal to someone in need.

[Read more…]