Simple Pleasures.

Simple Pleasures.
Irish soda bread on its way up North with Noah.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A New Year....A New Cookbook

Happy New Year to all of you out there! It is indeed that time for the best recipes (I've come across) in 2017. If you want this year's edition of the cookbook, email me at and I'll shoot you a PDF straight away.

I don't know what you've been up to. But I have done absolutely nothing and gone absolutely nowhere over this Christmas vacation. Wrapped in various stretchy stuff, I’ve essentially rotated my time between the gym, this cozy little spot on my living room couch and my kitchen. Not once have I glanced at a news headline.

It’s been one of the best holiday vacations in memory. For these precious days between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve taken a hiatus from the world that perpetually outrages and terrifies me and made a decided effort to relish the sweet gifts in my own immediate life.

That includes the wee-hours goodnight kisses that Paul and I still get from Noah, 18-years-old and home on college break since Thanksgiving. It includes those precious minutes every weekday, sitting sleepy-eyed in the car with Ben, waiting at Watchung station for the 6:55 train to whisk him to his new job in New York.  It includes watching my goofy husband Paul lugging firewood and doing yoga stretches—a virtual miracle after nearly a year of chronic pain brought on by a fall down the stairs. It includes melting into the chocolate brown fur of my 11-year-old standard poodle Ringo, sniffing deep his comforting animal scent (no joke!).

And yes, this glorious week--and the weeks leading up to it--has included copious amounts of time in my kitchen. With my home once again full and in holiday mode, I’ve cooked and baked myself into culinary bliss, force feeding all innocent souls who have crossed my kitchen’s threshold. I turned out crisp-capped pumpkin muffins for Ben (his favorites) and sent Noah and his buds off to ski in Vermont with gooey whoopie pies and sensible Irish soda bread. There was a chilly Sunday spent with my mom and sis, rolling up dozens of rugelach. And the Sunday after that with mom, frying frizzle-edged potato latkes for Hanukah. My mother-in-law Florence and I chopped mounds of apples and pears for Paul’s beloved roasted fruit and I sent her home with crunchy, rosemary-scented currant pecan crisps (boy I forgot how much I love those!) There was the requested sky-high coconut cake I brought to my sister’s on Christmas Eve. The banana mascarpone doozy I will deliver to the Sciarras tonight. And, of course, there were all the fab new recipes I fine-tuned for this year’s book—from Joy the Baker’s oil-braised chickpeas with capers, lemon and feta (my fave recipe of the year) to outrageously crunchy and addictive chocolate chip cookie brittle.

It’s been heaven…cut off from reality, my biggest concern being the amount of butter in the fridge. My greatest disappointment, a cake that sunk at its center. That, of course, will end. Tomorrow, Noah and I will point the Subaru north for the five-hour trip back to college. He’ll be armed with skis, Italian love knots and gushes of love from us all.

And back home here in New Jersey, Paul and I will be armed with renewed energy. We’ll put our noses back to the grindstone at work, return to eating salad and quinoa, and get ready to make our New Year’s resolution real: We’ll take this country back in 2018. Yes, we will!

Despite all the terrible things going on in this country and in the world, I hope you’ve had a good year with those you love. If you haven’t, I wish you better things in 2018.

Peace and good eating,


P.S. The additions to this year’s cookbook are:
Freakin’ Easy Fricos
Gotta-Make-Your-Own Ricotta
Ultra-Summery Melon and Greens Salad
Go-To, Once-a-Week, Oil-Braised Chickpeas with Feta, Capers and Lemon
Best Broccoli of Your Life
Rishia Zimmern’s Chicken
Sam Sifton’s Classic Chicken Provencal
Yotam’s Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar, Lemon and Pine Nuts
Genius Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle
King Arthur’s Almond Bianchis (just so happen to be gluten-free)
King Arthur’s Flourless Fudge Cookies (gluten-free, too)

Party Hardy Texas Sheet Cake


  1. Merry Christmas,
    You are so interesting! I don't believe I've truly read through anything like that before. So wonderful to discover another person with a few unique thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality! If you want to read Christmas Quotes you have to see the link
    Thank you,

  2. Hi,
    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one.Best New Year Wishes I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I truly thought you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.