Raspberry Panna Cotta Cake


When I left Canada to complete a post-doctoral residency in periodontics, my first birthday away was celebrated with this cake made by my dear friend Sylvie, another French Canadian I had met at The University of Pennsylvania.   The cake was so different than anything I had ever had. The very pretty cake was made of two layers: a creamy panna cotta-like layer dotted with luscious raspberries over  a base layer of moist white cake.  Light and delicious, it was a really special confection that made for a memorable birthday.  Whenever I need a celebratory cake, this recipe is one I turn to again and again.   Continue reading

Creamy Baked Chicken Thighs with Pearl Onions, Spinach and Tomatoes


“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.  In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”  Julia Childs

What’s for dinner?  In this house inspiration is usually found in the freezer, fridge or pantry.  This one dish meal recipe came together as a  happy accident  and won rave reviews from the peanut gallery so it’s making it onto  the blog.  Weeknight cooking is often done in a one dish, usually a sheet pan:  minimum prep, quick, easy cleanup.  The formula is usually the same:  a protein, veggies, a starch. Continue reading

Québécois Maple~Mustard Baked Beans


Baked beans are popular additions to summer barbecue buffet tables.  Although classic Boston-style baked beans are in a tomato based sauce and sweetened with molasses, this French Canadian version is more delicate in flavor and seasoned with pure maple syrup, a staple in all French Canadian homes.  Navy beans or any white beans are soaked overnight and slowly baked in a low oven or in a crockpot with onions, mustard and bacon. Continue reading

Great balls of flowers! Amazing Allium


Ornamental allium, cousin of the edible onion and garlic is the firework of the perennial border!  Its stunning flowers soar above other plantings punctuating the garden with floral exclamation marks.  These enchanting flowers always steal the show and never fail to make me smile.  From pure white to soft lilac to brilliant purple, they are easy to grow and are animal proof as their onion taste  is unappealing to animals.  Allium bulbs should be  planted in the fall and will naturalize. Continue reading

Triple Lime~Yogurt Mini Bundt Cakes


When I saw this recipe on the fabulous Domestic Gothess blog, I knew I had to make it!  With yogurt and ground almonds in the batter and only 1/2 cup of flour, this was a healthier cake. The triple lime hit comes from zest in the batter, a lime syrup glaze on the warm cake and more zest to top the yogurt icing ! Continue reading

Chinese Tree Peonies


 “To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”  Beverly Nichols


Close up of a beauty in the local garden of master grower, E’Ni Foo

I discovered Chinese Tree Peonies about 10 years ago at the Philadelphia Flower Show and have been in love with them ever since.  To behold a Tree Peony is to become smitten.  Yet I find they are not known to many gardeners. Chinese Tree Peonies have often been classified as exotic plants but can successfully be grown in many climates. Continue reading



“We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
― Leslie Knope

If you are still reading, you are probably totally intrigued by the concept of a savory waffle like I was.  I started with a recipe in Greene on Greens and turned up the volume on these outrageous waffles by roasting the cauliflower first and in bacon fat.  Aged cheddar and parmesan are added and the whole thing is served with a side of marinara sauce and a dollop of crème fraîche.  Redefines brunch in a totally delicious way.  A fitting celebration of the first outdoor breakfast on the terrace. Continue reading

Honey~Chipotle Grilled Steak with Avocado Black Bean Salsa


It’s Cinco de Mayo and a beautiful night to eat under the stars.  Not being a seasoned cook of Mexican dishes, I turned to one of my trusted sources for enticing recipes, The Frugal Housefrau, who from the name of her blog you would not suspect her to be a master of Fiesta Cuisine. Trust me, she is!  This recipe is great with a cheaper cut of beef because it is tenderized with a marinade.  It is ideal with flank steak, top round or New York strip.  One large steak is grilled then sliced for the table.  Wih a double layering of flavors from first the marinade then a glaze, this steak packs a powerhouse of seasoning.  Ours was served with a Mexican rice with corn and cilantro and a salsa of black beans, tomatoes and avocado(recipe follows). Continue reading

Rhubarb~Yogurt Pound Cake with Rhubarb Glaze


“Never rub another man’s rhubarb.”

Jack Nicholson, The Joker, Batman, 1989

It’s rhubarb season and everywhere in farmers’ markets the gorgeous stalks are awaiting transformation in the kitchen.  This pound cake showcases tart slices of the fruit encased in a batter made with olive oil, yogurt and scented with aromatic cardamom and orange zest.  Each bite still lets the beloved tartness of rhubarb shine.  The result is a moist delectable cake with a gorgeous pink rhubarb glaze. Continue reading