We love roasted leg of lamb. Gathering for Christmas in 2017, Mark’s brother Doug and his wife Allie joined us, bringing all the ingredients artfully arranged in a beautiful basket, making it feel like unwrapping a Christmas present.
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Hoppin John is a Southern tradition. The peas represent coins, and the greens represent dollars… and serving with cornbread symbolizes gold. Eating it on New Year’s Day is believed to ensure luck and prosperity for the whole new year. This year Mark and I officially became Southerners with our first batch of Hoppin John! We made it the night before to enjoy it first thing in the morning.
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This recipe makes enough peanut brittle to share with family, friends, and coworkers. I have been tweaking this recipe ever since I thoroughly failed my first attempt in 1995. I was at my sister Jaque’s house for our annual Christmas Cookie Day, and neither of us realized that her candy thermometer was broken. As I waited and waited for the magic 300°F hard crack stage, the concoction suddenly turned into a solid mass of charred sugar.
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My family loves cinnamon rolls and kept putting in the requests. “Could they be bigger?”, “Can you add more cinnamon?”, “Could they have more frosting?” There is no way to know how many times I modified this recipe before it got the stamp of perfection from my family. Now they just ask “Can you make more?” I like that kind of question.
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When testing Sweet Potato Pie, I asked for feedback from my southern friend, Bernard, who knows how sweet potato pie should really taste. One of the first ingredients to go was cloves. I made adjustments and baked off little ramekin samples until he assured me that it was just right. It’s southern goodness in a crust. Thanks, Bernard!
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No one enjoys dry braised pork loin, and yet many recipes call for a blazing hot oven that shrinks the flesh, leaving it mealy. I prefer a gentler approach, first searing on the stove top, and then covering for a gentle braise in the oven. We use seasonings that rev up the overall flavor while allowing for various condiment pairings. Our personal favorites are red pepper onion relish, orange marmalade, and Kansas City-Style barbecue sauce. The relish and the marmalade are particularly wonderful if warmed before dressing the meat. Decorative and delicious!
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