Comfort Food and Easy Entertaining

As a private chef, caterer and cooking instructor I am often asked "What do you enjoy cooking when you're at home on a weeknight or entertaining guests at your table?" I started this blog to answer that question. Here I will share with all of you the recipes that I find delicious and comforting. Many of the recipes are my own versions of classic dishes, some are contemporary twists on old ideas, and some are discoveries I made while perusing my grandmother’s vast collection of cookbooks dating back to the early 1900’s. Please enjoy these videos. I have also included links to some of the published articles I have written recently. Please feel free to comment here or email me directly with any questions, comments or general thoughts. My email address and information on my catering, private chef and private cooking classes can be found on my website:

Homemade Cherry Ice Cream

Cherry Ice Cream

1 ½ cups half n half
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cherries (or any kind of fruit)

Warm half n half and cream with sugar on the stove. Temper in egg yolks. Split vanilla bean and scrape into mixture. Add chopped fruit. Warm gently until sugar has melted. Pour into 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or any other container (the Pyrex just makes it easier to pour into the ice cream maker later). Stick in the fridge and chill thoroughly.

When you're ready to make ice cream, put the freezer bowl into the ice cream maker, pour in the cold mixture, press the button and 30 - 40 minutes later you have outstanding, fresh ice cream!

Potato Salad with Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

• 2 egg yolks
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon sugar
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 4 to 5 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
• 1-1/2 cups olive or other salad oil
• 4 teaspoons hot water
Blender or Processor Mayonnaise Place yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper, and 3 teaspoons lemon juice in blender cup or work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, and buzz 15 seconds (use low blender speed). Now, with motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil (use moderately high blender speed). As mixture begins to thicken, continue adding oil in a fine steady stream, alternating with hot water and remaining lemon juice. Stop motor and scrape mixture down from sides of blender cup or work bowl as needed.

Makes 1 ½ cups

The BEST Potato Salad

2 lb potatoes, quartered - boiled until "fork-tender"
1 large can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together with warm potatoes and cover and place in refrigerator. It is ready to serve the next day... or when cooled.


Ancho Barbeque Sauce

If you're in a hurry - here's one that's delicious!! It goes very well with grilled pork tenderloin just rubbed with salt and pepper and basted with a little butter, vinegar and sugar.

Ancho BBQ Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons chili peppers packed in adobo sauce (about 3 large peppers, finely chopped into a paste (make sure you wash your hands afterwards)

To make the Ancho Barbecue Sauce, combine the sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, sesame oil, molasses, soy sauce, and chili peppers in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it starts to become syrupy and dime-sized bubbles form, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and it's ready to serve.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Thai Chicken Wings

If you love good Thai food this one is for you. Serve it with my recipe for Glass Noodle Salad (found in the column of recipes to your left) and with cool cucumber sticks and cilantro leaves to tame the heat.

• sea salt and fresh ground pepper
• 1 cup fish sauce
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 8 garlic cloves, minced (divided)
• 3 pounds chicken wings
• 3 tablespoons butter
• zest and juice of 1 orange
• 1/4 cup sambal oelek chili paste (more or less to taste)
• oil for frying
• 1-2 Thai chilis, finely minced (optional, for additional heat)
• 1 cup chopped cilantro, garnish

1. Season the wings with a pinch of sea salt and a crank of fresh ground pepper. In a large bowl whisk together the fish sauce, maple syrup, orange juice, and half of the garlic cloves. Add the wings and toss to coat. Transfer the wings and marinade to a plastic bag and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight (I’d go overnight or as long as you can).
2. Drain the wings over a medium bowl to reserve the marinade. Heat the butter over medium heat until melted and add the remaining garlic; cook until the garlic is golden brown, being careful not to allow it to burn. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the reserved marinade, orange zest and juice, chili paste, and minced Thai chili if using. Continue to cook the dressing until it reduces to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes, and then remove it from the heat. Place the warm sauce in a large bowl.
3. Heat the oil to 350F. Working in batches, fry the wings until crispy, about 5 minutes per batch. Drain on a cooling rack set over paper towels, allowing the oil to drip off. When all of the wings have been fried, toss them in the dressing (you may need to work in batches). Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

*After the frying step you may also hold the wings in a warm oven–this helps if you are doing large batches. Just be aware of drying out the wings or losing crispness if held for a long period of time.

**For additional sweetness in the sauce, palm sugar may be added to taste.