Homemade Marshmallows for 4th of July S’Mores


My husband, who is wonderful in so many ways, has a serious flaw.  He does not like marshmallows.  Aside from the obvious concerns this raises about his character, it also means that marshmallows are rarely found around our house.

Approaching Soft Ball Stage

On the opposite end of the spectrum from my husband, I can’t resist marshmallows.   If put in the same room as a bag of mallows, I lose all self-control.  A desire for one or two puffs as a sweet snack results in a sugary crime scene in a disgustingly short period of time.  If you walked in during an episode, you’d find an empty bag and me, out of my mind in a spiked blood sugar haze, with sticky fingers and a terrible stomach-ache.  It’s not a pretty sight and without a partner in crime to help share the burden of eating marshmallows, I’ve found it best to just keep our house free of them.  But this weekend is the 4th of July.

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The 2015 Minced Guide to Summer


Yesterday, I shared one of my favorite summer dessert recipes, panna cotta with mixed berries, with viewers on WCNC’s Charlotte Today show.   This recipe (first posted here) is always a favorite of mine when entertaining, but although berry season is quickly coming to a close, I hadn’t found time to make it this spring and might have missed the opportunity altogether if it hadn’t been for yesterday’s segment.  That would have been a tragedy.

Panna Cotta on Charlotte Today

In an effort to make sure I enjoy all my favorites this summer, I thought now was a good time to do my 2015 Minced Guide to Summer.  Selfishly, this bi-annual tradition (November and June) serves as a good reminder to me of my favorite recipes for the season.  In reading it, I hope that you find it just as beneficial and that it serves to not only remind you of past favorites, but also leaves you inspired to try something new in the kitchen.

So with that, I give you this year’s list.  Travel safely, eat well, and enjoy your summer.  Happy cooking, friends!

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Whole Grain Pancakes with Bananas and Pecans


I’ve always had a thing for pancakes.  Straight from the box or made from scratch, I find them irresistible.  I’d be happy to eat them every morning with only self-restraint, or rather the lack of a short-order cook in my kitchen, holding me back.

Unfortunately pancakes doused with maple syrup and generous pats of butter do not a healthy breakfast make.  For years, urged on by a desire to eat even more pancakes without guilt I’ve been on a search for a whole grain pancake recipe that I’d actually like to eat.   I finally found one.

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Frittata with Greens, Radishes, and Goat Cheese

Straight from the OvenNo matter what type of cook you are (with the exception of vegan), I think that eggs have to be your best friend.  Economical, nutritionally rich, and complementary to so many other ingredients I can’t imagine not having a dozen (or more) of them in my refrigerator.

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Pepperpot Soup and Plait Bread

Pepperpot and Plait Bread

I’ve been preparing for a weeklong survey course on South American cooking at John C. Campbell Folk School for months by researching new ingredients, learning about historical and cultural influences on the food, and testing recipes from arepas to anticuchos.   I’ve cut up beef heart in my kitchen, roasted plantain leaves over my gas burner, and eaten my share of yuca.   It’s been a delicious and interesting couple of months.

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Springtime Risotto

Springtime Risotto with Fork

When my daughter started eating solids, I sought out the freshest organic vegetables I could find, carefully steamed them, pureed them in a food processor, and then, because she has always had a thing about texture, sent them through a chinois mousseline to get a silky-smooth consistency.  The resulting purees, 1/4-cup portions packed with vitamins, minerals, and a mother’s love (not to mention valuable time) were soundly rejected.

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White Bean Bruschetta

White Bean Bruschetta

If you’ve bought a tomato recently you’ve been reminded that while it may be hot outside it’s far from summer.   Though plump and red, it’s only skin deep and the tomatoes that have tempted me into purchasing them lack the flavor of the late summer tomato that I dream about all year.

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