Peanut Butter Easter Eggs

Peanut butter Easter eggs

Peanut butter and chocolate. You know the combination. It's one of the best there is. And I can't get enough of it. No one needs to know the amount of Reese's products I have consumed in my lifetime. I used to eat the Fast Break bars for breakfast in college. Let's just leave it at that.

Around Easter, Reese's comes out with its signature peanut butter cups in the form of peanut butter eggs. I'm usually all over them, but this year I decided to make my own. My family has long made peanut butter squares and peanut butter balls to adorn cookie plates at Christmastime, so I took that recipe and rolled with it -- or rather, made Easter eggs with it.


Spring Petits Fours

Spring petits fours

When we moved into our house, there was a box labeled "muffin tins" that I gave Jeff a hard time about. He had done all the packing for our move, and while I appreciated everything he did, there were definitely things I would have done differently -- like not packing my iPod away. So when I saw the muffin tins box, I questioned whether an entire box was truly necessary for muffin tins. Well, apparently it was. I had an open-mouth-insert-foot moment when we opened the box and found two regular muffin tins, two mini muffin tins, a pumpkin cakelet pan, an acorn cakelet pan, mini Bundt pans, mini tube pans, a popover pan, and my petits fours pan. Who knew I had so many muffin tins? The crazy thing is that I use them all too. I love breaking out my petits fours pan in the spring. Something about the flower-shaped cakes it produces just seems perfect for this time of year.


Dark Chocolate Fudge With Cadbury Mini Eggs And Sea Salt

Dark chocolate fudge with Cadbury Mini Eggs and sea salt

Cadbury Mini Eggs are my absolute favorite Easter candy. Instead of just eating them straight out the bag as I usually do, I decided to make an Easter treat with them and came up a rich dark chocolate fudge that pairs nicely with the crunchy shells and milk chocolate centers.


Whole Grain Sampling Day Giveaway

Did you know that April 3 is Whole Grain Sampling Day? What is that, you ask? It's an opportunity for consumers everywhere to try more whole grains, as supermarkets, manufacturers, restaurants, and other foodservice outlets all pitch in to lower the barriers to sampling whole grains.

Whole Grain Sampling Day was created by Oldways and the Whole Grains Council to show consumers how delicious whole grains can be, to encourage chefs to make whole grains an everyday offering, and to give manufacturers a chance to tout their whole grain goods.


Trying Joan Nathan's Brisket Recipe

Joan Nathan's brisket recipe

My first experience with brisket (besides corned beef brisket, which I've eaten every St. Patrick's Day for as long as I can remember) was the first time Jeff brought me home to meet his family. It was Rosh Hashanah (back in 2008). This was also my first time experiencing a Jewish holiday, potato kugel, and homemade challah bread. I won't say the evening wasn't intimidating -- Jeff has two sisters and a brother, and all of them have significant others and kids, so there were a lot of people there -- but I look back on that day and remember it as the first day I met my now in-laws and am amazed at how life just happens.

But anyways, back to the brisket. My mother-in-law had made brisket as part of dinner (I've come to learn that she makes it for every holiday and it's always popular), and of course I had to try it. She makes hers with mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, and onions, and I really enjoyed it. These days, I'm right there with everyone fighting for the platter when it gets set on the table.


Taste Of The Nation Returns To Boston

One of the best food events of the year is coming up: Taste of the Nation Boston. Taste of the Nation is a culinary benefit that raises critical funds needed to support Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, which is dedicated to ending childhood hunger. One hundred percent of the ticket sales goes to this cause.

Taste of the Nation is held in cities across the country, including Boston. In the past Taste of the Nation Boston, which features Boston-area restaurants, has been held at the Hynes Convention Center, but it will be at a new location this year: Cruiseport Boston at Black Falcon Pier. The Cruiseport is a waterfront venue with amazing views of the Boston Harbor.


More Breakfast For Dinner: BLT Biscuit Bar

BLT biscuits

After making the chicken and biscuit waffles from Breakfast for Dinner, I had leftover buttermilk, so I decided to make another biscuit-based recipe: BLT biscuits. Now I love BLTs, but Jeff isn't a huge fan -- he loves the B but not the L and T. So I put my own spin on this recipe, and after I cooked the bacon, I put a pounded-thin chicken breast on the same sheet pan and baked it in bacon grease (yes, I really did that), and then I used my biscuit cutter to cut pieces of chicken that would fit perfectly on the biscuits. Since I was making this modification, I thought it would be fun to create a BLT biscuit bar, as opposed to pre-making all the biscuit sandwiches as instructed in the recipe. This way we could each put whatever we wanted on our own sandwiches. I think this would be a really fun serving idea for a "breakfast for dinner" party. (People have those, right?)


Breakfast For Dinner: Chicken And Biscuit Waffles

Chicken and biscuit waffles

Do you ever eat breakfast for dinner? Jeff can eat pancakes any time of day, and I find a hearty omelet or a cool, crunchy bowl of cereal to be the most satisfying meal some nights. When I heard about Breakfast for Dinner, a cookbook featuring breakfast-y main dishes, sides, starters, cocktails, and desserts all meant to be served for dinner, I was definitely intrigued.

Breakfast for Dinner is written by husband and wife team Taylor Hackbarth and Lindsay Landis, of Love & Olive Oil. To come up with a variety of recipes for the cookbook, the couple said they tried to keep an open mind about what constituted something "breakfast-y," and they also tried to incorporate dishes from different cultures and types of cuisine. This is evident throughout the book, where you'll find recipes for everything from egg and chorizo burritos to Greek baked eggs to frozen sunrise margaritas to Vietnamese iced-coffee pops.


Touring With City Wine Tours

Now that you've read all about the wine tour I took with City Wine Tours, do you think you'd like to a take a wine tour too?

To recap, the tours run on Saturdays and Sundays in the North End, South End, Harvard Square, and Back Bay. The tours are led by knowledgeable wine ambassadors. Each tour has three stops and includes multiple pours of wine as well as some small bites to eat.

Not only can you take a tour but you can book a private event with City Wine Tours too. They do bachelorette parties and wine and cheese parties and can even work with you to plan a unique event. Visit the website for more information.

If you decide to book a City Wine Tour, you can use the code "DeliciousDishings" to get $10 off your tickets.

Full disclosure: City Wine Tours provided me and a friend with a complimentary tour and I am part of their incentive program.


South End Wine Tour With City Wine Tours

A couple of weekends ago, my friend and I went on a South End wine tour through City Wine Tours. Have you heard of City Wine Tours? They pair well-known restaurants, great wines, and educated tour guides to provide fun progressive wine tours in Boston (and Cambridge) neighborhoods. There are tours in Harvard Square, Back Bay, the North End, and the South End, and the tours run on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.


Ponte Family Estate Winery, Temecula, Calif.

Ponte Family Estate Winery, Temecula, Calif.

About a month ago, Jeff and I flew out to California for a wedding. The wedding was in Laguna Beach, but we were lucky enough to have a little extra time to spend in Temecula with my aunt and uncle and cousin before driving out to the wedding.

Temecula is known for its vineyards (I'd actually gone to a few several years ago), and my aunt asked if we wanted to have dinner at one of the wineries while we were in town. It turned out that the best day for dinner with our schedules was Valentine's Day. As my aunt and I checked menus, we realized that a lot of the wineries were hosting formal Valentine's dinners with set menus, and that wasn't what we were looking for. So we changed our plan to a late lunch.

My aunt suggested Ponte Winery, and I loved the menu there, so she made a reservation. The day we went there, it was sunny and around 70 degrees, which was wonderful since all the seating is outside.


Visiting Cape Cod During The Off-Season, Part 2

Herring Cove, Cape Cod, Mass.

After my mom and I tasted wines at Truro Vineyards, it was finally time for our picnic lunch on the beach. We got to Herring Cove and learned that the wind had other plans for us though.

Herring Cove, Cape Cod, Mass.

We sat in the car, watched the ocean and the seagulls, and enjoyed the sunshine while we snacked on the goodies we'd purchased at Main Street Wine & Gourmet and Truro Vineyards. We had Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries, Robinson Farm Hardwick Stone (a tangy, semisoft cheese made in Hardwick, Mass.), Moser Buure Weichkasli (a soft, buttery cheese), Fastachi mixed nuts, Iggy's cranberry pecan and olive rolls, and a couple of kinds of crackers. It was quite the spread. The Moser cheese was amazing on the olive rolls.


Visiting Cape Cod During The Off-Season, Part 1

I've long thought of Cape Cod as my home away from home. I've gone year after year for many, many years now. While I love spending a summer week on the beach, I most appreciate Cape Cod during the quieter, milder off-season. My family usually spends Columbus Day Weekend there, but, well, someone (no names) decided to get married last Columbus Day Weekend, so my whole family was otherwise occupied.

Instead, my mom and I managed to sneak in a getaway one weekend last November. (Jeff and I had just found out that our house closing was once again delayed, and I just needed to escape and not think about it.) We booked a room at The Whale Walk Inn & Spa in Eastham and hit the road on Friday after I got out of work.


White Chicken Chili Bar, Palomas, And Mazola Corn Oil

White chicken chili

We had been trying for about a month to have a couple of friends over to see our new house. They had just bought a house and were spending their weekends doing renovations and we were running around with various house errands every weekend ourselves, so we finally realized a weekday, after-work get-together would be best. We went back and forth over whether to just pick up a pizza or some other takeout for dinner or to cook, and finally I decided I'd find an easy one-pot dish that I could prepare after work.

After thumbing through cookbooks and flipping through magazines, I finally decided to make the white chicken chili from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. The recipe requires chopping peppers and onions, browning chicken, throwing some ingredients in the food processor, simmering everything together in a Dutch oven, and shredding the chicken and reincorporating it with the rest of the chili. And the cooking time was short enough that I knew I could have dinner on the table by about 7:30.


Re-Creating The Olive Oil Coppetta At Otto

Olive oil coppetta with tangerine sorbet, candied kumquats, and blood oranges

One of the last most memorable desserts I've had -- besides all six courses at Harvest and the affogato at Steel & Rye -- was the olive oil coppetta at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York. The coppetta or "cup" offered a balance of creamy, savory olive oil gelato; fresh, bright tangerine sorbet; tangy-sweet candied kumquats; and vibrant blood oranges. Upon finishing the last bites of the dessert, I knew I wanted to re-create it at home, and I knew I wanted to do it when winter citrus was still abundant.