Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Banana chocolate chip bread pudding, for the morning after (also known as 'Better than make-up sex' bread pudding)

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Update, April 2020: I've made banana chocolate chip bread pudding more times than I can count since this post first appeared a decade ago. It's getting us through our COVID-19 quarantine at the moment. The first time I made this recipe it was a peace offering. Now it's our ultimate comfort food. Enjoy.

Husbands and wives argue. It's just one of those things - a given of marriage, a by-product of sharing so many of the important issues and ho-hum mundanities of life. A little irritation leads to big words. Stubborn begets stubborn. Heels dig in. Movement and compromise seem unnatural, uncomfortable, even impossible. You reach a level of exasperation where you wonder how you ended up in this life and wildly consider all the possible avenues out of it. And then you leave the room, slam the door, hold your head in your hands, and fume. Or weep, depending on the particular situation and your particular personality.

Married people out there, I see you nodding your heads. And for all you smug singles who think this will never happen to you and your future spouse...I think you know what I'm going to say, so I won't bother.

I've heard the old saying about not going to bed angry, but that doesn't always work for me. When I get heated up, I need more time for my steam to dissipate. But ultimately I'm a peacemaker. Which is why, a few weeks ago, I made banana chocolate chip bread pudding early one morning before heading to work. We'd gone to bed mad, and I meant the bread pudding as my fragrant, sweet, silent apology. Which, fortunately, is how it was received. [April 2010]

Banana chocolate chip bread pudding
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, or brandy
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 loaf challah, torn into small pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced or cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cream, milk, liqueur and salt. Add the bread pieces, bananas, and chocolate chips and toss to combine thoroughly - you want all the bread covered with the custard mixture. Leave the bread pudding mixture in the bowl about 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes to redistribute the ingredients.

Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, then pour in the bread pudding mixture. Bake until the bread pudding is puffed up, golden brown on top and set in the center - when you jiggle the pan, the middle shouldn't wobble. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack at least 30 minutes. It will deflate as it cools, but that's normal, so don't be concerned.

Serve warm or at room temperature. I think whipped cream is gilding the lily, but if you like it, go ahead.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Meyer lemon spaghetti with goat cheese

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Dinner for one: Spaghetti with Meyer lemon and goat cheese

[Update: I originally wrote this post in 2010. It's now a decade later and much of the country is sequestered at home because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, including my family. I pulled out this recipe yesterday to share with my older son, who is across the country holed up in his apartment in Connecticut. I'm sending him a box of Meyer lemons from our tree so he can make this anytime he wants. Stay safe, friends, and STAY HOME.]

When I was young, single and living in New York City, I often ended the day with a simple bowl of pasta. I was working long hours in the publishing business, and while I did have a social life, there were plenty of 14-hour workdays when I'd arrive home at 11pm starving, exhausted and fed up. On nights like that, a bowl of hot pasta with olive oil and garlic was a good friend indeed.

My husband Michael is a protein kind of guy, so my bowl of pure carbohydrate comfort doesn't appeal to him. But today one kid was away on a playdate, and Michael and the other son had gigantic burritos for lunch. When dinnertime rolled around, I was the only one who needed a meal. And I needed a warm bowl of pasta.

This is one of the simplest, yet most delicious, pasta dishes I know. It requires only a few ingredients: spaghetti or angel hair, a lemon, some cheese, a splash of olive oil. If you're feeling fancy and have fresh basil (I didn't), slice it into thin strips and toss it in. Be sure to inhale deeply before you take the first bite - it adds significantly to the pleasure.

Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

Yield: 2 servings
Total time: 10 M
This fragrant, simple pasta dish requires only spaghetti or angel hair, a lemon, some cheese, and a splash of good olive oil. The best comfort food on the planet.


  • 1/2 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 Meyer lemon (you can substitute regular lemon, but don't use as much of the juice or it will be too sour)
  • 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan) cheese
  • 2 ounces fresh, soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


How to cook Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Goat Cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente, and not a moment longer.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, grate the zest of the Meyer lemon into a large bowl. Juice the lemon into the same bowl, then add the cheeses, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a healthy grind of black pepper. Ladle a bit of the hot pasta cooking water from the pot into the bowl. Whisk everything together until it's smooth.
  3. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it to the bowl with the lemon mixture. Toss, grind on a bit more pepper, and eat. Makes dinner for two, or dinner for one plus tomorrow's lunch.
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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Skillet chicken piccata - keto, low carb, paleo, Whole30

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I am very, very excited about recipes I can make in one skillet. Because then I only have one skillet to wash when dinner is over.

This Skillet Chicken Piccata has all of my favorite things: chicken thighs, lemon, capers, olives, and wine. It was ready half an hour after I walked in the door last night. It fits into my keto low carb diet, and if you're eating paleo or Whole30 it works for that too.

And if my husband hadn't been elbowing me out the way, I would have eaten the whole thing standing up at the counter.

I love boneless skinless chicken thighs. They've got all of that amazing chicken flavor, they don't dry out, they're impossible to overcook, and while I do love chicken skin, sometimes it's just easier not to have to deal with skin and bones.

This is my new favorite easy dinner recipe. Enjoy!

Yield: 4

Skillet Chicken Piccata

prep time: 10 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 30 mins
An easy one-pan chicken dinner, bright and tangy with lemon, capers, olives and white wine.


  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon (Meyer or regular), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped olives, any kind
  • 3 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine


  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper liberally on both sides of the chicken thighs. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side.  Turn off the heat. 
  4. Scatter the lemon slices, olives and capers around the chicken, tucking the lemon slices between the chicken thighs. Pour the white wine into the pan and transfer the skillet to the oven.
  5. Bake the chicken about 20 minutes, until the lemon slices are wilted and starting to char, the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, and the liquid in the pan is reduced and syrupy.  Serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lemon herb tahini dressing - keto, paleo, Whole30

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There's a Mediterranean make-your-own-bowl place near my office that makes this incredibly good lemon herb tahini salad dressing I can't get enough of. Here's my homemade version. It's a lot greener than the original, which I suspect is because I use fresh herbs and they use dried.

Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing is the perfect condiment for anyone eating keto, Paleo or Whole30. I like it spooned over roast chicken, fish, shrimp, steak, and lamb chops (OH MY GOD IT IS SO GOOD ON LAMB). It thickens as it sits in the refrigerator, so you can use it as a dip for veggies or chips. It's also excellent on zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, and scrambled eggs.

Basically, everything.

All you need is a blender and a few simple, fresh ingredients. It's ready in less than five minutes and keeps for about 10 days in the refrigerator. It's one of my staples now. You're going to love it!

Yield: 12

Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing

Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing takes five minutes to make and is the perfect sauce for chicken, fish, shrimp, steak, lamb, zucchini, cauliflower, eggs and more. Fresh herbs and lemon give it a bright color and zingy flavor.


  • 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 cups fresh green herbs (any combination of parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, chives, basil)
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water (to achieve correct consistency)


  1. Zest the lemons.  Cut the pith off the outside and discard. Cut the lemons in half crosswise and discard the seeds. You will be using the whole lemon fruit, not just the juice.
  2. Wash the herbs (no need to dry them).
  3. Put the lemon zest, lemon flesh, herbs, tahini and olive oil into the blender. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add water until the dressing has the consistency of heavy cream.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator. Keeps up to 10 days.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Everything bagel roasted pecans {keto, paleo, Whole 30, low carb}

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If you have a container of "everything bagel seasoning" in your pantry, you will want to keep reading. This recipe for Everything Bagel Roasted Pecans takes just a few minutes and is the most addictive healthy snack I've ever made. And bonus: It's perfect for keto, paleo, Whole 30 and low carb diets.

"Everything" seasoning is just a combination of the seeds and toppings that typically grace an "everything" bagel: toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nuggets of roasted garlic and toasted onion, and coarse salt. I always giggle at the name "everything bagel seasoning," since I grew up in New York and have been a fan of "everything" bagels for as long as I can remember.

Most spiced nuts contain sugar, both for flavor and to act as a binder to keep the spices attached to the nuts. I don't eat sugar, so I use lightly beaten egg white to coat the nuts and act as "glue" to bind the seasoning to the pecans. No sugar necessary at all. In fact, this recipe only includes three ingredients! Couldn't be easier. You could use this method with walnuts or almonds, but I like pecans because they get light and crunchy when they're toasted.

I can see these on your holiday buffet table, or packaged into little cellophane bags to give as gifts or stocking stuffers. If you make them, please let me know how you like them! They're disappearing fast in my house. (Scroll down for the recipe.)

keto, paleo, Whole 30, low carb
Yield: 8Pin it

Everything Bagel Roasted Pecans

prep time: 5 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 25 mins
Savory spiced pecans with "everything bagel" seasoning, a mixture of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, toasted onion, roasted garlic and coarse salt. Three ingredients, 30 minutes - keto, Whole 30, paleo, low carb.


  • 4 cups pecans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup "everything bagel" seasoning


  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Crack the egg and separate the yolk from the white. Put the egg white in a large bowl. (Save the yolk for another recipe.)
  3. With a fork, whip the egg white until frothy, about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour in the pecans and toss them around with a large spoon until all the nuts are coated with the egg white.
  5. Sprinkle on the "everything bagel" seasoning and toss to distribute evenly.
  6. Spread the pecans evenly on the lined baking sheet. Try to get them into as close to one layer as you can. If a few overlap, it's fine.
  7. Bake the pecans until they are dry and fragrant, about 20 minutes (but start checking after 15 minutes - you don't want them to burn).
  8. Let cool on the baking sheet. Transfer to an airtight container. Try not to eat them all at once.
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