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Category: featured recipes

  1. Wednesday, July 9

    Serrano Salsa

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    I’ve mentioned my wonderful neighbor Ari a few times. She is from Mexico and gives me tips for cooking Mexican food that make my life happy. The latest is a recipe for salsa that she got from one of her aunts the last time they visited family in Mexico.

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Ari and I were sitting by the pool and she said, “My aunt made some salsa. It’s my favorite. And it’s soooo easy.” She then told me how to make this magical salsa. I asked her to repeat it a few times and then, of course, emailed her later to ask her to write it down. This is basically what happens every time she shares a recipe with me – I make her repeat it a million times and then have to call her and/or email her multiple times before I get it down. Don’t you wish I was your neighbor? ;)

    serrano salsa by @janemaynardserrano salsa by @janemaynard

    Okay, so, for real, this salsa is easy, simple and delicious! It has a rich, smoky flavor and the perfect amount of heat (well, at least I think it’s perfect). Most of the kids didn’t try it because they were scared it would be too spicy, but my brave little Anna dug in. She described the salsa as hot and then proceeded to tell us how she has a “sensible tongue.” It was so cute. In terms of “hotness,” I would consider this a hot salsa. Depending on the heat of your particular serranos and what your final proportion of tomatoes to chiles is will determine exactly how hot it ends up being, but, even with those variations, it’s a spicy salsa. My dad, my sister-in-law and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. I can’t wait to make this salsa for Nate when we get home from traveling!

    serrano salsa by @janemaynard

    I’m sure you could add onions and garlic and cilantro and yummy stuff like that. But, honestly, the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity, so just go with it!

    Serrano Salsa
     
    Prep time
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    My friend Ari shared this recipe with me - her aunt made it for her in Mexico. Enjoy!
    Author:
    Serves: 1 cup
    Ingredients
    • 3 tomatoes (my tomatoes were a little smaller than normal, so I used about 9 tomatoes)
    • 3 chiles serranos
    • salt, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down in a pan. (I used a non-stick pan and would recommend that.)
    2. Cut off the stems of the serrano chiles and place them whole in the pan with the tomatoes (no cutting or seeding necessary!).
    3. Cook the tomatoes and chiles over high heat to burn them. Ari said about 3-4 minutes per side, but I think it took mine more like 5-10 minutes per side. You will see little brown and black spots on the tomatoes and chiles when they are ready to come off the heat. You cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a pan with the chiles (chiles are complete with seeds). The tomato skins will also start to peel off.
    4. Remove from heat, put everything in the pan in a blender and blend well. Season with salt to taste, probably about ¼ - ½ teaspoon.
    5. As Ari said, "Habemus salsa!"

     

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  2. Tuesday, June 17

    Sweet Tomato Jam is My New Favorite

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    A few weeks ago my parents were staying at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach (the same hotel we stayed at a few years ago and LOVED). My mom was a head honcho for a work meeting they were holding at the hotel, so the Hyatt delivered a cheese and charcuterie tray to the room as a gift. Lucky for my mom we were all there to help her eat it! (Don’t worry, we left her a few bites.)

    recipe for tomato jam from @janemaynard | thisweekfordinner.com

    On the tray was a jar of sweet tomato jam. Between the six of us, the jar was empty by the end of our snacking and, ever since that day, I’ve been thinking about that tomato jam. Then my friend Gaby mentioned on social media that she was going to do a bruschetta bar for a party, which I then decided to do for my lip sync battle party last Friday night, giving me the perfect excuse to finally try a sweet tomato jam recipe myself.

    recipe for sweet tomato jam from @janemaynard | thisweekfordinner.comrecipe for sweet tomato jam from @janemaynard | thisweekfordinner.com

    Not to brag, but the tomato jam I made was just as good as what we had at the Hyatt. And thank goodness since I pretty much constantly crave it now.

    The recipe is really simple but oh-so-scrumptious. The only labor-intensive part of the process is prepping the tomatoes, which isn’t hard, just a little time consuming. But it is WORTH IT. And, for those of you into canning, tomato jam can be canned, although you may want to follow the original recipe on Epicurious that has twice as much sugar and, therefore is more conducive to preserving. (Thanks to commenter Alice and my friend Aimee for input on this!)

    recipe for sweet tomato jam from @janemaynard | thisweekfordinner.com

    So, what is tomato jam good for anyway? Everything! It’s a great topping for bread and pairs beautifully with all kinds of cheeses. It’s also a great condiment for just about anything – sandwiches, burgers, whatever your heart desires! It’s sweet but with a savory flavor to it. It’s basically pure deliciousness.

    recipe for sweet tomato jam from @janemaynard | thisweekfordinner.com

    I found the recipe on Epicurious but cut waaaaaaaay back on the sugar. My jam was still super sweet so I can’t even imagine what their recipe would taste like! ;)

    5.0 from 1 reviews
    Tomato Jam
     
    Prep time
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    Adapted from Epicurious
    Author:
    Recipe type: Appetizer
    Serves: 2 cups
    Ingredients
    • 4 pounds plum or heirloom tomatoes (I used a variety of heirlooms, all different colors!)
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
    Instructions
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make an ice bath in a separate bowl and set to the side. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water in batches, boiling for about 1 minute. Remove tomatoes from the boiling water and place directly in the ice bath. Remove the skins by hand right in the ice water, leaving the skins in the water. I would empty the ice water bowl between batches. By removing the skins in the ice water bowl you cut down on some serious messiness in the kitchen!
    2. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, seed them, then chop into pieces.
    3. Place chopped tomatoes in a large pot. Mix with sugar and stir well. And let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. Bring tomatoes and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook for 15 minutes.
    5. Add salt, pepper and parika and cook until thickened, about 10-15 more minutes.

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. Pictured: The Heritage Small Bowl and the Cool Montecito Tapas Plate. I am as addicted to my Q Squared Dishes as I am to this tomato jam, by the way!

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  3. Wednesday, June 11

    Great Technique for Cooking Flank Steak

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    This past March, Julie from the food blog The Little Kitchen shared a recipe for flank steak with chimichurri butter. As soon as I saw her post I knew I had to make it. In fact, if I remember correctly, I made it for dinner that very night! (PS: Julie is super sweet and cute and I want to take her home in my pocket. And also make her cook dinner for me. Do you mind, Julie?)

    great technique for cooking flank steak perfectly from @janemaynard

    So, Julie’s recipe is wonderful. The marinade was perfect and the chimichurri butter was delish! Be warned – the herbed butter packs a lot of flavor, a little bit goes a long way! Please visit Julie’s site to get the recipe for the marinade and for the chimichurri butter. You will not be disappointed.

    chimichurri butter for flank steakI used Julie’s recipe for the chimchurri butter to top the steak. I didn’t have the Land O’ Lakes butter/olive oil mixture she made it with, so I used half butter and half olive oil and it came out great!

    Today I wanted to highlight the technique Julie used for cooking the flank steak because the steak came out perfectly and the texture was amazing. I know summer has started and we’re all itching to use the grill, but you don’t need the grill for this recipe, which means you can make it any time of year! You do need a grill pan, however. If you don’t have a non-stick grill pan, I recommend it. I love mine and use it all the time to grill chicken!

    great technique for cooking flank steak perfectly from @janemaynard

    So, the flank steak. This technique is pretty much foolproof! I just wish I had taken photos of the steak after I cut it so you could see the beautiful color inside, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was gorgeous!

    great technique for cooking flank steak perfectly from @janemaynard

    Cooking Flank Steak
     
    Prep time
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    I learned this technique from Julie at The Little Kitchen.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Marinated Beef Flank Steak
    • Olive or vegetable oil
    • Grill pan
    Instructions
    1. Marinate the flank steak at room temperature for about half an hour before cooking. If necessary, cut the steak in half so that the pieces fit in your grill pan. Use your favorite marinade! I loved the marinade that Julie used and shared on The Little Kitchen. Scrumptious!
    2. Heat the grill pan on medium high for about 5 minutes.
    3. Drizzle the pan with a swig or two of olive or vegetable oil and rotate pan to spread the oil around.
    4. Add steak to the pan, sort of moving the steak around for a few seconds at the beginning to spread the oil evenly beneath the surface of the steak.
    5. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes. Then, cook on each side for 1 more minute per side.
    6. Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Cut steak into slices, against the grain, and serve!

     

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  4. Tuesday, May 27

    The Perfect Taco Night

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    I have perfected taco night. No, seriously. When you have tacos at my house, they are the best. And, yes, I’m totally bragging. I can’t help it, I am in love with taco night!

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    Let’s begin with a little history. Until I moved to San Diego, taco night meant hard shell tacos, seasoned ground beef, iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, salsa and cheese. I’m not saying those tacos aren’t good. They totally are, in fact, that’s Cate’s favorite kind of taco. But when we moved to San Diego many years ago and started having dinner at Maria’s house, things started to change. Maria is a close family friend and she also happens to be Mexican. And, when we go to her house, she almost always feeds us homemade Mexican food.

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    One of our favorite Maria meals is carne asada, corn tortillas, homemade pinto beans and rice, topped with super spicy homemade salsa (of course!). Needless to say, these tacos are quite different than the gringo version I grew up with! Now, whenever I have corn tortillas and homemade beans, I think fondly of Maria and her kitchen.

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    So, anyway, back to the present. I have finally created the perfect taco night. It’s taken years of cobbling together different recipes, but all of the work has paid off! Thanks to Maria and my new neighbor Ari (also Mexican!) for their inspiration and recipes over the years, I’ve figured out how to create an awesome “taco bar” that will please Mexicans and gringos alike! ;)

    how to cook the perfect taco night by @janemaynard

    Also, I will admit that you do not need ALL of the following ingredients to have a fabulous taco night. But, I will also tell you that when I do spend the time to pull all of this together, it really is magical! (Yep, dinner can be magical in my little world.)

    The Perfect Taco Night

    The Tortillas:

    • Corn tortillas: These are my absolute favorite for tacos of all kinds!
    • Flour tortillas: Even though I gorge on corn tortillas, my family also likes to have flour tortillas handy.
    • (Optional) Hard taco shells: It’s good to have some hard shells handy for the pure gringos in the group, like my daughter Cate and my mom Phyllis!
    • Do you have a tortilla warmer? If you don’t, you should get one! I love being able to heat up a bunch of tortillas, toss them in the warmer and have them ready all at once when we dig in.

    The Meat:

    • Grilled chicken: Whether you cook the chicken in a grill pan with a bit of olive oil on the stove or on an actual grill, simply salt and pepper the chicken prior to cooking and cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs. Sometimes, after I cut the cooked chicken into small pieces, I will toss it in a bowl with about a quarter of a packet of taco seasoning. Super yum!
    • Taco Meat: Everybody still loves good ol’ taco meat! I often use a taco seasoning packet but, if I don’t have that handy, I just season the cooked ground beef or ground turkey with salt, pepper, dried garlic, dried onion, chili powder, paprika and cumin.
    • (Optional) Carne Asada: We hardly ever have this because I’m lazy, but it makes for some darn good taco-ing.
    • (Optional) Grilled Salmon: This is another one that we rarely serve on taco night, but when we do it’s delish! Click here for a recipe for grilled salmon that is flavored perfectly for tacos.

    The Rice:

    The Toppings:

    • Grilled bell peppers and onions (both sliced thin before cooking)
    • Avocado (sliced or cut into chunks) and/or guacamole
    • Lime slices
    • Shredded cheese
    • Beans (pinto, black or peruan are all delish!): You can of course use canned beans, but homemade beans are really, truly easy to make and TASTE SO GOOD. Click here for recipe.
    • Sour cream
    • Salsa
    • Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
    • Chopped romaine lettuce or jalapeño slaw
    • Chopped tomatoes

    Putting It All Together!

    Obviously one taco can’t hold ALL of the yumminess in the list above! Just mix and match your favorite ingredients! Here are my two favorite taco combinations:

    • Chicken taco: corn tortilla, grilled chicken, beans, rice, peppers and onions, creamy tomatillo dressing, salsa, avocado
    • Grilled salmon taco: flour tortilla, grilled salmon, jalapeño slaw, sour cream, avocado

    This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. You will find dishes from the Heritage line, the Montecito line and the Provence Blue flatware set in some of the photos above. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love having Q Squared in my kitchen and that opinion is 100% my own!

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  5. Thursday, May 22

    Easy Homemade Microwave Chips (Yes, MICROWAVE)

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    I’ve done a few recipe roundups for Cosmo featuring chips of all kinds. While digging around the web looking for chip recipes, I discovered a tip that I had never known before – you can use the microwave to make chips!

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    I couldn’t believe it. No matter how many blog posts or articles I read about the technique, I just didn’t think the microwave would actually work for making chips. Of course I had to give it a try and, I am here to attest, that this trick works beautifully! You don’t even have to use oil, making these chips healthier than the traditionally fried (or even baked!) variety.

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    The chips come out really light and crispy. My family loved them, especially Nate and Cate. Nate couldn’t believe they were homemade, let alone cooked in the microwave! You can pretty much use whatever kind of potatoes you like, and you can even use other vegetables, too. I saw plenty of microwave chip recipes out there using foods like sweet potatoes. I haven’t tried anything but potatoes myself, but I think I might have to!

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    A quick note on the preparation: while you can slice the potato with a sharp knife, I would highly recommend using a mandoline slicer so that your potatoes are all the same thickness. Plus, a mandoline is just plain faster. (If you’re looking for a mandoline, my friend Angie gave me the Chef’n Sleekslice handheld mandoline  as a gift and it’s awesome. It’s easy to use, works great and takes up a lot less cabinet space than the bigger mandolines you normally see. I highly recommend it!)

    homemace microwave potato chips from @janemaynard

    One more quick note: the process is a little time consuming. It takes a few batches to cook one potato but, while it takes a little time, the process is incredibly easy. Just have a book or a podcast handy while you are cooking!

    (>> Find out more…)

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  6. Tuesday, May 20

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw

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    I was recently hired by The Salmon Council to develop a salmon recipe. I was trying to decide between salmon tacos or salmon with a balsamic glaze and just couldn’t settle on which recipe to pursue. I took the dilemma to Facebook (as one does) and the votes overwhelmingly came in for salmon tacos, so I decided to give them a whirl!

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    The Salmon Council did not hire me to do a blog post, but this recipe turned out so yummy I had to share it with you! Holy smokes, folks. Deeeeeeeeeeelicious. Seriously, this salmon was flavored beautifully, with a nice balance of salty, spicy and sweet. The texture of the fish was perfect and it paired wonderfully with the slaw on the tacos. Basically just super duper yummy food going on here.

    Grilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynardGrilled Salmon Tacos with Zesty Cilantro Slaw by @janemaynard

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    (>> Find out more…)

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  7. Thursday, May 15

    There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand {Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Recipe}

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    My dad is in town visiting right now, so I thought it would be fun to watch a movie with him and the kids and make a treat to go along with it. As I was trying to think of a fun movie-themed treat, I couldn’t help but think about Arrested Development and the banana stand. But since Arrested Development isn’t exactly geared towards the elementary-school set, I had to get a little creative. Here was my crazy thought process.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    First, my dad grew up in the Costa Mesa-Newport Beach area. Balboa Island is famous for its chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, something Nate and I have gotten with the kids on vacation before. Not only do I have memories of eating frozen bananas with my kids, but my dad has his own memories of eating them when he was growing up, too. (Pssst, my dad has a secret: he never really liked the bananas. We, on the other hand, do!)

    Second, Nate and I were diehard Arrested Development fans when it was first airing. Like, before it was on Netflix and got all trendy and cool. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s on Netflix and I can watch it whenever I get a hankering for a loose seal or two. Plus, Netflix gave us a new season, for which we will be forever grateful!)

    Third, we are having a heatwave right now and I thought a frozen treat would be mighty delicious.

    Fourth, I love the book Jumanji (I even have a first edition as a decoration in our living room) and was super excited when I found out the Jumanji movie was on Netflix (thanks to my sister for letting me know – she was obsessed with that movie when we were kids!). There are lots of monkeys in Jumanji. Monkeys love bananas. I hear they even go for frozen bananas occasionally.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    Where does all this lead to? Homemade chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, of course! I decided frozen bananas would be a great treat to get us excited for watching Jumanji. And, after the kids went to bed, maybe a few episodes of Arrested Development, too.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    This chocolate-dipped frozen banana recipe is super simple, and it is amazing how incredibly cute and professional-looking the bananas come out! Seriously, when I took them out of the freezer, Nate thought I had bought them at a store!

    In addition to being fast and easy, Anna my 6-year-old was a huge help while making the bananas and we had a lot of fun cooking together.

    DIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynardDIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynardDIY chocolate-dipped-frozen banana recipe from @janemaynard

    So, basically, everything went as planned. Anna, Owen and I had a blast making frozen bananas together. We all had fun eating them with Grandpa (who liked the frozen bananas, by the way). And we watched Jumanji! Okay, well, some of us watched Jumanji. Anna totally chickened out and retreated to the bedroom, where she and Nate watched science shows together. But 3rd-grader Cate stuck it out with Grandpa and me. I told her we “had to finish the game no matter what!” when she was freaking out and wanting to run from the room. She told me we weren’t really playing the game. I told her the movie wasn’t really real. Luckily, we made it to the end and declared “Jumanji” in victory! (Okay, so that was Robin Williams, but who’s keeping track?)

    Also, we have determined that there really is always money in the banana stand. The frozen bananas were so cute and so delicious Nate and the kids decided we should start a business. And that we would most certainly make a big fat profit on frozen bananas (there was math involved). And that the banana stand should be called “Jane’s Bananas” (10 points to Nate for the clever name). The whole time they were talking I just kept thinking “This is awesome blog post material.” They didn’t even know that I was going to be writing a post about the bananas we were eating. This post practically wrote itself, people.

    (>> Find out more…)

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  8. Thursday, May 1

    Chocolate Chunk Shortbread and Fair Trade Brunch

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    Today I’m excited to partner with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day through their Moms Make a World of Difference efforts. Today’s post is full of goodies, including a delicious recipe for the Fair Trade Brunch, a really awesome giveaway, and the story of a mother in Rwanda who’s life has been improved thanks to fair trade practices. I studied international relations and women’s studies in college and these issues have long been dear to my heart, so I’m more than delighted to help spread the word!

    chocolate chunk shortbread | celebrating moms who make a world of difference through fair trade | by @janemaynard

    Fair trade benefits all of the farmers it touches, but I can see how it is especially helpful for women. So many women in developing countries are tasked with both supporting their families monetarily and being the primary caregiver for the children. The burden can be great, but I have heard stories time and again about real women in these countries who, through fair and good employment, are able to not only provide for their families financially but also spend more time with their children.

    fair trade usa | quote from rwandan worker and mother mukantelina soline | from @janemaynard

    As I started looking through the Moms Make a World of Difference website, this quote from Mukantelina Soline, a mom and coffee farmer in Rwanada, really stood out to me: “Growing coffee is hard work, but it is work that I love because it helps me improve the lives of my children.” Let me preface my next comment with this – I always feel incredibly blessed and grateful for my work and my situation. But that doesn’t mean that the stress of working and being the primary caregiver in our home doesn’t sometimes get to me. Even though my life and my work is different than Mukantelina’s, reading her words made me feel a kinship with her. It also made me realize that, when the stress starts to get me down, I just need to be grateful.

    fair trade usa | rwandan worker and mother mukantelina soline | from @janemaynard

    As I read more of Mukantelina’s story, I learned that she has three children – one in school, one who can’t go to school due to chronic illness, and a third who joins her as she works each day. By joining the Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative in 2003, Mukantelina has received extra support with the processing and sale of her coffee as well as additional income. Now she spends more time with her family, and she has been able to get electricity for their home and a cow to provide milk for the family. This is why fair trade products are so amazing – when you buy these products, you know that it is making a real difference in real lives.

    chocolate chunk shortbread | celebrating moms who make a world of difference through fair trade | by @janemaynard

    To prepare for the Fair Trade Brunch, Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies from 12 of their partner companies. SO MUCH GOODNESS. I was challenged to come up with a recipe for their online Mother’s Day brunch that uses 2 of the ingredients. I knew I had to use the Guittard chocolate because I’m completely obsessed with their chocolate (theirs are the only chocolate chips I buy and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I can finally get them at almost all grocery stores!). There was also a bag of brown muscovado sugar by India Tree that intrigued me. I thought about recipes that really feature brown sugar and shortbread immediately came to mind. And then I got cooking!

    fair trade guittard baking chocolate and india tree muscovado sugar from @janemaynardfair trade chocolate chunk shortbread from @janemaynard

    These simple shortbread cookies are, quite simply, delicious. The buttery, brown sugar flavor pairs nicely with the little punches of chocolate. These cookies would be a great addition to a brunch – a little something sweet that’s not too sweet. They are also good for just eating any old time. Like right now while I’m typing this post. (I literally just walked into the kitchen to get one!)

    fair trade goodies giveaway from @janemaynardThe winner of the giveaway was Kim, who said, “Your cookies look fabulous!” Thanks, Kim! And I hope you enjoy all your goodies (I’m sure you will)!

    Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky, randomly-selected people will win the same goodie box that I received. Here is what you’ll get!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway! (All comments must be posted by midnight PT on Sunday, May 11 and prize must be shipped to a U.S. address.)

    Now, let’s make some yummy shortbread!

    making fair trade chocolate chunk shortbread from @janemaynard (>> Find out more…)

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  9. Tuesday, April 29

    Fig and Prosciutto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

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    Last summer on Cape Cod we ordered pizza from a restaurant in Falmouth called Stone L’Oven. Every last pizza we tried was delicious, but there were two flavors in particular that really stole my heart. I’ve been meaning to recreate them since July and finally got around to making one of them. (The second favorite flavor will have to remain a mystery until I can get a post together!)

    fig and prosciutto pizza with balsamic glaze from @janemaynard

    Pizza is sort of becoming my thing. The last few times we’ve had guests over it’s what I’ve made. It’s great all hanging out while the pizzas come out of the oven, one-by-one. The cooking and the eating get all mixed up together and it’s a lot of fun. And, not to brag, I’ve gotten really good at making pizza. I am planning to write a comprehensive post with all the tips and tricks I have, but for now you’ll just have to settle for a totally amazing pizza flavor – fig and prosciutto.

    fig and prosciutto pizza with balsamic glaze from @janemaynard

    THIS PIZZA. So good. It almost beats the honey goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza. (I’m coming to realize no pizza will ever actually beat that one, but coming close is an accomplishment!)

    fig and prosciutto pizza with balsamic glaze from @janemaynardfig and prosciutto pizza with balsamic glaze from @janemaynard

    This pizza is the perfect combination of salty and sweet and is drizzled with a delectable balsamic glaze. It’s so tasty you won’t know what to do with yourself.

    fig and prosciutto pizza with balsamic glaze from @janemaynard

    Also, my new trays from Q Squared NYC were perfect for pizza night. I just fall in love all over again every time I use Q Squared’s dishes! We’ve entertained a few times since my dishes arrived – they always come in handy (especially eating outside) and look gorgeous to boot. Love, love, love.

    (>> Find out more…)

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  10. Wednesday, April 23

    The Only Lentil Soup Recipe You’ll Ever Need {Plus More Pretty Dishes}

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    One of the very first recipes I ever made was lentil soup. And it was terrible. It was just not a good recipe and, as an inexperienced young cook, I had no idea how to make it better. Sadly it convinced me that lentils were a bad thing. Then, about a year later, my friend Amy made lentil soup and insisted that I try it. She swore it was the best ever. I was skeptical but gave it a go and, much to my utter amazement, I discovered that lentil soup can be wonderful. I owe it all to Amy. If I ever win a lentil academy award, she’ll be the first person I thank. After the Weinstein brothers, of course, because that seems to be an academy award thank you speech requirement, especially when lentils are involved. (Sorry, I think that was a case of stream of consciousness gone wrong.)

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    The moral of the story is that I have had this lentil soup recipe hidden away on my blog since Day 1, when I added a bunch of random recipes to the site from my recipe box (you know, the real live recipe box with notecards inside). But I’ve never actually written about this recipe because, well, I have no idea why! It’s about time because it really is a gem of a recipe. Plus, the soup looked gorgeous served in my new Q Squared dishes, which I was planning to write about anyway, so it was kismet!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    As you know, I’ve started working with a great company called Q Squared NYC. When I first received my Montecito dishes, I didn’t think I could love any of their other dishes more. But for Easter I decided to use the Heritage line for all of our serving dishes and decorated the table with a blue and white theme to match, including the flowers. The table was simple and so pretty, if I do say so myself. And I really fell in love with the Heritage dishes. I don’t know, I might even love them more than Montecito. It’s just so hard to decide!

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    Last night when I was photographing the orange-hued soup that complemented the blue in the dishes so beautifully, the girls started fighting over who would get to use the fancy bowl. I think I’m going to have to buy more of these dishes because I don’t think I’m the only one who loves them. Even Nate commented on how pretty they were after dinner on Easter and he’s a guy.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    In addition to the color and pattern, the Heritage dishes have a really great texture, with sort of a hammered look to them. I tried to capture this in the photography so hopefully you can see it. The dishes really are stunning and, like the Montecito line, you can tell they are really high quality. I could go on and on and ON about these dishes.

    heritage line from q squared nyc by @janemaynard

    One last note on the recipe: you probably won’t like other lentil soups after trying this one. At least not as much! Honestly, whenever I have lentil soup at a restaurant I just end up disappointed. I now save all my lentil soup-ing for home, it’s just better that way. Oh, and one more last note: this soup is easy to throw together and is done in 30 minutes!

    the only lentil soup recipe you'll ever need from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, I give you the soup! Everyone say thanks to Amy!

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