Pumpkin Black-and-White Cookies

Pumpkin Black-and-White Cookies

 

As Halloween approached, I agonized over whether to join in. Not to be a grouch or anything, but it’s not my favorite holiday. Yet, failing to acknowledge it seemed downright un-American.

My past Halloween posts have been a bit, shall we say, “serious” - healthy snacks (roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin butter) and tips on how to avoid – or get over – a hangover from too much adult-type celebrating. This year I decided to edge closer to the sugary side of the holiday, with a pumpkin version of black-and-white cookies, a sweet that is near and dear to my heart. 

I even like these plain – a light pumpkin-infused snack that goes well with a milk, tea, or coffee. Of course, without icing they aren’t black-and-whites. But if that’s the way you roll, who am I to criticize?

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Cosi Signature Salad (Copycat)

Cosi Signature Salad (Copycat)

Sometimes, great taste is about combinations not fancy techniques. When the combinations are memorable, flavors blend but also contrast, work together and yet remain distinguishable.

My friend Jill introduced me to what she called her “Cosi salad.” I love it because of the combination of dried and fresh fruit, soft lettuce and crunchy nuts, and the savory-sweet contrast of fruit and blue cheese. She named it after the Cosi Signature Salad, which she tasted and loved. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted the Cosi salad, but I definitely did a take-off on Jill’s version. So if she copied Cosi’s salad and I adapted hers, you can decide what that makes mine – I call it delicious.

The recipe below provides specific ingredients and measurements so that you can understand how the salad gets “built.” However, creativity and using ingredients on hand are the order of the day in making this salad. In my book, some type of blue cheese is essential because of the tart "bite" it provides, especially when mixed with the oil and vinegar, but my husband prefers it without; in the fall I use grapes but in summer, I’ve been known to switch them out for strawberries.

Cosi Signature Salad (copycat)

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Guacamole and Latkes - a Love Story

Guacamole and Latkes - a Love Story

These days I expend most of my creative energy on this blog. Whether it's dreaming up recipes, writing about them, or learning to photograph food, Mother Would Know takes up most of the space on the right side of my brain's hard drive. Still, I do enjoy occasionally spreading my creative wings (so to speak) a bit.  

This summer, I took time away from the blog to research and write a story for the Washington Post about Nick Vaccaro and how he operates the 100+ year old family cannoli-making business started by his great-grandfather. It was a delightful assignment and I learned a tremendous amount about cannoli, the Vaccaro family, and the values that guide the business. Someday I hope to make cannoli at home. But if I never do, I can still say that I've tasted freshly made ricotta cream (out of this world!) and helped to chocolate dip pastry shells. 

More recently, I became a contributor to the Jewish Food Experience, a project that "brings people together through the universal language of Jewish food."

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