Recipe: Lemon Meringue Pies with a Thyme Shortbread Crust
Summary: Herbed shortbread becomes the crust for this classic lemon meringue pie, adding a bit of a twist to an old favorite. These tiny treats will win the hearts of the lemon lovers in your life.
By Dede Wilson
Recipe: “Real Carrot” Cupcakes
Summary: The classic combo of carrot cake and cream cheese icing is given a twist with cookie crumb “dirt” and candy “carrots” that look as though they are planted in the dirt. Kids of all ages love plucking out the carrot, partially because it is not immediately obvious what it is! The key to these are the candy carrots, which can be purchased from specialty baking stores or ordered online. These just might be the easiest cupcakes in the book.
By Debbie Moose
Recipe: Springtime Herb Delights
Summary: These fresh little devils come out looking as pretty as the first azaleas of spring. Don’t let any stems slip in while you’re chopping the herbs very finely—you don’t want to chomp down on a big woody thing.
By Ellen Wright
Recipe: Coconut Cake with an Orchid
Summary: I was introduced to this gorgeous cake by Alison Mesrop, a wonderful chef, who made it for dessert one evening. The people at the table couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and how good it tasted. Remember, the orchid is meant for ornamentation only, not for nibbling!
By Dinah Corley
Recipe: Another Dozen Eggs (For Dessert This Time)
Summary: Imagine cracking an egg and peeling off the shell to find a perfect bite- sized genoise cake inside. This old French truc, or trick, delights everyone who encounters it. This is a very inexpensive gift, and cakes in eggs are surprisingly easy to make; they’re only time-consuming until you get the hang of it. I have made 6 dozen at a time for party favors, box lunches, picnics, tailgates, and Easter baskets. If you write names on the egg shells, they make very special place cards when set on little mounds of moss or inside miniature bird’s nests (found at craft stores). Just think how much money an industrious bride could save on her wedding cake with this idea!
By Dinah Corley
Recipe: Herb-Stuffed Eggs In A Wheat Grass Nest
Summary: Using butter in place of mayonnaise produces a prettier stuffed egg that has a creamier texture and stays fresh longer. Fresh wheat grass adds a lot of organic texture and bright color to the gift for very little money.
Recipe: White Chili
Summary: Developed for the mellower palates of the 1990s, white chili includes chicken, green chiles, and white beans in place of the more robust red beans, tomatoes, red chile powder, and beef. Don’t leave this chili on for hours after cooking, or the chicken will dry out.
Recipe: Indian-Spiced Chickpea-Potato Chili
Summary: The pairing of chickpeas and potatoes is popular in Indian cooking, and the combination is especially good in this chili-type dish seasoned with ginger, coriander, cumin, and other Indian spices. For a soy-free version, use a soy-free vegan yogurt.
Recipe: Tequila Sundown Chili
Summary: Tequila and lime deliver a pungent kick and orange juice adds a subtle sweetness to this party chili. Serve it with your favorite toppings and side dishes, along with a pitcher of tequila sunrises, or maybe some cold beer served in glasses rimmed with lime juice and sea salt.
Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Chili
Summary: This dark, rich chili is so easy to make, and it’s full of flavor, thanks to its long, slow cooking. For dramatic accompaniments, serve over noodles or rice made golden with a pinch of turmeric, and top with some diced avocado.
Recipe: Pinto Bean Chili with Mexican Sausage
Summary: Pinto beans make a delicious chili, although when they are available we use other beans like Desert Pebble, Buckskins, or rattlesnakes. Although we used canned beans here, you can use freshly cooked pinto beans, made the day before, as well. Use a traditional sausage such as chorizo, or substitute a spicy turkey sausage, just being sure to cook it thoroughly before adding it to the chili. Serve in shallow soup bowls or dinner plates with a rim, passing the delicious, colorful accompaniments to guests. Serve with fresh, warm flour tortillas.