Tony and Sarah Nasello
Today marks the fifth anniversary of this column, and Tony, Gio and I wish to thank you for being part of our lives for the past five years. Writing this column is one of the best, and most fun, projects we've participated in together, and we love having this opportunity to share our passion for family and food with you. For the past few weeks the focus of our family dinner conversations has been trying to choose our top five featured recipes.
The holidays are fast approaching, and this pre-season lull is the perfect time to start planning your menus for the upcoming festivities. Pomegranates have just come into season, and their signature ruby-red color and bright, sweet-and-sour flavor make them an ideal ingredient for this time of year. With origins in Iran and Northern India, this ancient fruit has become a culinary favorite throughout the Mediterranean, including Italy and France, where the arils (seeds) and juice are used in a variety of dishes.
In my previous life as a cruise director with Clipper Cruise Line, one of my very favorite dishes was the Beef with Barley Soup. Since retiring from shipboard life 17 years ago, I have regretted not leaving with a copy of that recipe. Unlike the canned the variety, where all of the ingredients - beef, barley and vegetables - tend to have the same, soft texture, this soup had great texture and chunks of savory roast beef. After half a dozen attempts, I have finally developed a recipe that satisfies both my cravings and my memories.
Soup season is here, and every fall we hail its arrival by preparing a big batch of Homemade Chicken Stock. Making stock from scratch is easy, affordable, nutritious and a great way to ensure that you have this pantry staple on hand whenever it's needed.
The winter squash season is upon us, and butternut is our personal favorite among the varieties currently in abundance. Butternut is known for its quirky shape, sweet, nutty flavor and versatility. We often enjoy it pureed in soups or roasted in the oven, and this week's pan-sauce recipe for Butternut Bleu Cheese Sauce gives us another way to showcase it in style.
Baking is one of my passions, and I am always looking for an excuse to don my apron, heat up my oven and put my mixer to work. And when that excuse comes in the form of helping others, it's a win-win in my book.
All last winter I kept hearing about this amazing English Muffin Toasting Bread my parents were making while wintering in sunny Florida. Unable to find English muffin bread in any of their local stores, they set upon a mission to make their own version from scratch, with results so good that they couldn't stop talking about it.
A few summers ago, instead of planting our own garden, we joined a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and began receiving weekly boxes of our "share" in the harvest, from June through October. That fall, we received a steady abundance of root vegetables and frantically began searching for new recipes to help us get through our supply.
When our 12-year-old son, Gio, suggested last spring that we should plant potatoes in our garden, I thought he was crazy. Undeterred by my skepticism, Gio hopped online and quickly discovered that all we had to do was to plant something called a seed potato, just below the surface of the soil, and the rest would take care of itself.
Zucchini didn't get planted in our garden until mid to late June this year, and for a while it looked like our plant wouldn't have enough time to produce anything worth harvesting. Fortunately, zucchini is as hearty as it is prolific, and I am now faced with the task of finding ways to use all of our bounty, especially those that have grown beyond a manageable size. Thankfully, this week's Zucchini Apple Bread is not only moist and delicious, but also easy to make - and it freezes beautifully, making it a perfect recipe for this occasion.