Chili Without Carne — and chili — is right up my alley

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder but is still flavorful and has great texture from all the vegetables. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Chili Without Carne goes easy on the chili powder, but is still flavorful. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Anyone who knows me knows better than to invite me to a chili cookout. It’s never been one of my favorite dishes, and when I was a food editor I turned down many requests to judge chili contests. (It just wouldn’t have been fair. I would have rated everything C-minus.)

Chili has wonderful ingredients in it — meat, beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes — but the “authentic” chili seasoning just turns me off. I’ve always found it bitter and harsh. So I Continue reading

Berry simple, summery dessert (and gluten-free)

Sugar-and-liqueur-soaked fruit is an easy topper to cake or companion to ice cream. Photo by Laura Groch

Sugar-and-liqueur-soaked fruit is an easy topper to cake or companion to ice cream. Photo by Laura Groch

I recently brought this cool and easy fruit dessert to a warm-weather dinner party, where, I was happy to see, it was polished off, except for the “polite” spoonful left in the serving dish.

With berries and stone fruits in season now, this is a versatile option, especially if some of the guests, as in our group, must avoid gluten.

The dish started as a trifle — layers of liqueur-soaked pound cake, pudding, fruit — but I Continue reading

For hot weather, some cool memories

 Southwestern Tabbouleh Salad

Southwestern Tabbouleh Salad is cool, nutritious, low-fat — and ridiculously easy to prepare. And did I say cool? (Photo by Laura Groch)

Hot, muggy weather of the sort we’ve been having lately makes me want to find cool and easy summer meals. After 25 years of relying on fans, we’ve got A/C in our home now, which is nice, but I still don’t want to heat up the kitchen too much.

Which makes me wonder — what, in those long, hot summer days before widespread air-conditioning, did my mom and her fellow homemakers do to put dinner on the table?

Continue reading