Seared Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Pea Crust

My first sushi experience was around 1990, and I really had to choke it down while distracting my mind screaming, "Oh gah, I'm eating raw meat! Raw meat! My mom told me not to do this!" The saner half of my mind was saying, "Shhh, come on now, people eat this all the time and they like it - don't think about it, don't think about it, you're eating unicorn bubbles and sun rays and it's ...more

Almond-Coconut Macaroons with Dried Cherries

Every spring a group of friends from my church gets together for a Seder meal, to honor our Jewish neighbors' tradition and experience the kind of celebration Jesus would have had every year. Joe's braised leg of lamb is always a big hit, but this year he did a beef brisket and I decided to try a new dessert. These are just about the easiest cookies you can make ....more

Cajun Spice Mix

Joe uses this spice mix in stews, gumbos, side dishes, and as a rub for meat, poultry, or seafood. Ingredients 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons dried garlic, finely chopped 1 tablespoon dried onion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon crushed cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed 1 teaspoon dried ...more

Chinese Five-Spice Acorn Squash Soup

This is recipe number 2 from Joe's Valentine's Day dinner. I planned to make a fairly healthy soup full of that beta-carotene goodness, and the acorn squash was looking mighty good at the grocery store. The end result was a super-easy, super-creamy soup without the calories that come from cream ....more

Crispy Polenta Wedges with Olive Tapenade

This recipe is one I came up with while planning a special Valentine's Day dinner for Joe. I was serving the wedges alongside duck a l'orange, a rather heavy and a bit sweet main course. The olive tapenade had just a little tart bite and a lot of flavor ....more

Paprika-Spiced Caramelized Carrots

I fell for these beauties as soon as I saw them - long delicate carrots, brilliant orange with their fuzzy tops bright green. I had to have them. We're in a passion over smoked paprika as well, and when I sprinkled the paprika on the carrots and roasted them slow and tenderly turned them, they were a revelation ....more

Fish Stuffed with Spinach and Pecans in Puff Pastry

Every year, Joe's company throws a lavish annual party in Chicago's Loop, and man do we love dressing up and eating well. This year our dinner theme was a Casino Night at the Palmer House. I've only walked through that glorious building, but in January we stayed there overnight ....more

Spanish Spiced Red Pepper Bisque

This recipe caught my eye right away in the January Weight Watchers magazine. "Spanish" and "bisque" are two words that always attract my attention, in fact. Barcelona is next on our world-travel bucket list (Ibiza!...more

Quick Italian Eggplant Towers

This super-quick recipe from my mom is impressive if you have the skills to make it look like a spirally tower (look at how pretty Joe made it look!). This is a go-to recipe if you've got about 20 minutes to make dinner and you really need to eat something healthy. If you're one of the fortunate ones that can splurge on something higher calorie, I highly recommend using one of those ...more

Our Favorite Party Appetizers

I'll be honest, we're not usually Superbowl fanatics, but we love a good commercial as well as anyone. One year, a friend of ours had a source that leaked the commercials to her a week ahead of time. At her Superbowl party, she gave us a little game sheet to play "Guess the Commercial?" Her clues were pretty hilarious, and nobody got up to use the bathroom in the breaks ....more