Back To . . .

By Marsha Fottler –

ciaoThis is the month of back to… Back to school, back to post-vacation routine, back to work, back to using the oven instead of the grill, back to slacks, back to closed-in shoes, back to car pooling, back to a new season of television shows that look dubious – the list goes on. An annual period of readjustment, that’s what September is all about. Ready or not, it’s here.

The return of some rituals and routines can be comforting (gorgeous apples at the farm stand, that crisp snap in the air when you take your early morning walk or run, Friday night high school football games). Other rituals, like meal planning, food shopping and actual cooking, seem less appealing. New recipes or trying variations on tried and true ones can help. Here are a few that we’ve discovered recently that are easy to make and will be crowd pleasers. Getting back to your kitchen might turn out to be a completely pleasant readjustment.


Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Pan Roasted Pototoes
Pan Roasted Pototoes

(from Ciao Y’all by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola)

Serves 6-8

3 pounds YukonGold potatoes, but into six wedges each

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 large yellow onion, peeled and julienned

2 tablespoons coarsely-chopped fresh rosemary


Preheat over to 450-degrees and place an ovenproof shallow pan or cookie sheet with sides in the over for 10 minutes. Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl and se aside Once the pan is hot, pull it out of the over and spread the herbed potatoes and onions evenly on the pan. Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes with a metal spatula, and cook for another 20-30 minutes until potatoes are cooked through and golden brown. Place in a bowl and serve hot. Great with meat, poultry or seafood.


Apple Coffee Cake

Apple Coffee Cake
Apple Coffee Cake

(from Grant Corner Inn cookbook by Louise Stewart

Serves 12

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

2 cups peeled, chopped apple


1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ stick butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. In medium mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; mix in vanilla. Seat aside. Into a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix flour into creamed mixture alternating with sour cream; stir in apple. Smooth batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with combined topping ingredients. Run knife through battler to “marble” in the topping. Bake at 350-degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand in pan 10 minutes before cutting into squares.


Artichoke Soup

(from The Stinking Rose cookbook)

Serves 6

3 cans water-packed artichoke hearts

2 medium chopped onions

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 whole bay leaves

4 cups chicken stock

Pinch salt

½ cup roasted garlic puree

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese


Cut artichokes in half, place in pot with onions, thyme, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until  artichokes are very soft. Puree the soup, using either a hand-held blender or a food processor. Strain or pass through a food mill. Return soup to pot, bring to a simmer, then add  the roasted garlic, cream and cheese. Whip until smooth and cheese is incorporated. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.


Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew
Brunswick Stew

(from American Lighthouse Cookbook)

Serves 6

1 whole chicken, but into 8 pieces

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 bay leaves

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 cups chicken stock

4 slices bacon, diced

2 onions, diced 4 stalks celery, diced

1 pound red bliss potatoes, cut into cubes

1 can (15-ounce) whole tomatoes, chopped

1 package frozen lima beans

1 ½ cup corn kernels (about 3 ears)

Place the chicken salt, pepper, bay leaves, red pepper and stock into a pot. Cover bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Skim occasionally. Remove the chicken from the pot and add the bacon, onions, celery and potatoes. Bring to a boil and reduced to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. When the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone. Reserve in large pieces. Stir in reserved chicken, tomatoes, lima beans and corn and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Ladle into shallow bowls and serve with warm baguette and butter.



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