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Dark Chocolate Brownies with Dulce De Leche

March 20, 2013

sweetened condensed milk

dark chocolate dulce de leche brownies

Do you know what’s better than brownies? Brownies that get better with age. Yup, you read that right – brownies that get better with age. Brownies you can bake the day before the craziness of a dinner party or bake sale and are actually improved by some time resting. Some time for the dulce de leche to mingle with the fudgy chocolate. And in the spirit of getting better with age I’ve waited a shamefully long time to share this recipe with you all. Yes, I’m aware that it looks like I baked these just the other day during the latest New England snow but no, I made these last year. At the time I felt that I was posting a lot of sweet things, so I put this away for a rainy day when life was chaotic and I needed a soft pitch. And between buying a home, planning a wedding, and starting night classes that rainy day of chaos has finally come! So enjoy these brownies and I’ll see you on the flip side with a recipe made in our new home! Read more…

Cheese Plate with Harbison, Valdeon and Riley’s Coat

March 3, 2013

cheese plate

Looking back at our blog’s history, I realize this isn’t at all apparent, but if there’s one thing the Freds are unabashed snobby gourmands about it is cheese. One of us has worked on a few goat dairies and for a while we’ve dreamed about having our own dairy someday. Even when we first met and were both totally broke, we would always find a way to enjoy nice cheese, which sometimes meant going to Formaggio and sampling tons of cheese before sheepishly leaving with only a tiny sliver of a piece. These days we’re lucky enough to be able to purchase cheeses to our heart’s content and we almost always start a nice meal with a cheese plate, or will put one together for a farmer’s lunch in the arboretum. We hope from now on to share our favorite cheese plate pairings with you, starting with this one…

riley's coat cheese

Riley’s Coat, Blue Ledge Farm, Salisbury, VT

A raw milk, natural rind, four months aged goat cheese, named after the dairy’s herding dog, Riley. This is a great, smooth, semi-hard cheese, with mature but mellow flavors. It’s not particularly goat-y, so good for nervous newcomers to goat’s milk cheese or if you’re serving to guests who may or may not have an adventurous cheese palate.

Valdeon Cheese

Valdeon, Leon, Spain

This cow and goat’s milk blue is creamy and somewhat intense in flavor – definitely made for lovers of blue. Wrapped in chestnut leaves, it presents beautifully on a cheese plate. Read more…

Roasted Root Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie

February 24, 2013

roasted root vegetable shepherd pie

I’m not going to lie, this dish is not a snap. This dish is not for a quick weeknight dinner or a last minute meal of any sort. Rather, this is the recipe you should bookmark for when the next blizzard hits and you have nothing better to do than cook and eat and do dishes and then eat again. It is labor intensive, makes lots of dishes and takes a while no matter how much multitasking occurs. However, if you can get over all that you’ll find yourself with a delicious winter meal that comforts those with cold feet and disparaged (because it’s still winter and will be for months more) hearts. Roasted root vegetables are combined with lentils and mushrooms in a thick red wine sauce, then topped with creamy mashed potatoes with gruyere cheese. Paired with a dark beer or full bodied glass of red wine, this dish just screams winter comfort. Which also just happens to make it the perfect post-shoveling reward. Enjoy and stay warm! Read more…


February 17, 2013


I’ve recently added a new goal to my life goals list: to become the Christmas Cookie Lady. To be more specific, I want to be known in the minds of Fred’s family as the Christmas Cookie Lady. In practical terms I will know I’ve achieved my goal when every one else in his family stops bothering to bring dessert at all to the family Christmas gathering because they know that I have dessert covered. Covered with cookies. In years past I’ve taken to this ambition rather passively – baking a few kinds of cookies to endear myself to his family. But this was our first Christmas as an engaged couple, which made me feel like it was really about time that I start establishing which role I want to play in his family, given that in everyone’s minds I’m now a permanent fixture at these celebrations. So I opted to go all out this year – baking Mexican Wedding Cookies, my famous giant chocolate chip cookies, and these gingersnaps in gloriously large quantities. Watching one grandpa stuff one cookie after another into his mouth with no sense of propriety was a good start, but when I heard Fred’s uncle politely pass on a slice of his wife’s famous meat pie with a cool “sorry, I think I had too many cookies,” I knew I was well on my way to meeting my newest life goal!

gingersnaps Read more…

Perfect Braised Collard Greens

February 9, 2013

freshly washed collards

Mmmmm do I love collards! And lucky me, they’re an excellent source of vitamins C, B, K and A not to mention iron, folate, calcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc! In fact, I fully attribute my recent excellent lab results from my yearly physical exam to my copious consumption of collards. This is my favorite method of preparation: a long, slow braising, similar to the method of cooking Musalmani, that yields a slightly spicy, melt in your mouth result that pairs well with most anything. The result isn’t exactly pretty, and in fact I didn’t even bother to photograph the final result for fear its complete un-photogenic-ness would turn you off, but man are they the most delicious thing! Because these take a while to cook, I usually throw them on the stove to braise while I prepare whatever else we’re eating with them. If they’re finished cooking before the main dish you can easily just add a tad more stock or water and continue cooking them until everything else is finished, to no detrimental effect. So enjoy and toast to your good health! Read more…