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Entries in simple recipes (6)


Crayons + Cocktails: Cranberry Cordial

Massachusetts native Sheila Corcoran-Abraham, who is now making a life for her family in the far western 'burbs, has launched a stylish design and lifestyle website called Crayons + Cocktails. Here she shares a recipe for a drink that is about as pretty as it gets. She was inspired to make it by a trip back home.

 Visiting the Cape, I was able to find some local cranberries from P.J. Cranberries as well as a simple cocktail recipe from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association to make a perfect (tasting and looking) holiday cocktail. I admit, I did not have the patience (or space in my refrigerator) to let this sit for a month, so to soften the taste a bit, I added some seltzer water and a sprig of mint.

Photos by Sheila Corcoran-Abraham.

Cranberry Cordial

3 cups fresh cranberries
zest of orange
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups vodka

In saucepan over medium heat, combine first five ingredients. Cook stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and berries pop. Reduce heat to low simmer 10 minutes. Cool. Remove cinnamon stick.

Pour into large jar along with vodka. Store in refrigerator one month, stirring or shaking once or twice a week. Strain through sieve before serving.

A few berries strained from the vodka can be used to garnish pudding or ice cream.

Massachusetts Cranberry Harvest Festival Recipes 1997 | Lorraine Carr


Crayons + Cocktails: New England Buck

Boston native Sheila Corcoran-Abraham, who has been writing about her transformation from a city mouse to a country mouse, has launched a stylish design and lifestyle website called Crayons + Cocktails. Here she shares a recipe for a drink I was very lucky to have her make for me: A New England Buck. I'm not being a brown noser when I say it was one of the most flavorful cocktails I've ever enjoyed!

Leading up to the last few days of packing to leave Boston for Chicago, the thought of crossing the Charles River to get over to Cambridge was out of the question. However there was one restaurant that would have been schlep-worthy. Craigie on Main.

Photo by Sheila Corcoran-Abraham.I had heard such raves about this restaurant, mainly the cocktails. I’ve taken a page out of their bartenders handbook by making a Craigie on Main mocktail fave, a New England Buck. Making the simple syrup infused with juniper berries and sage was easy, it looked like Christmas in a bottle, or maybe a taste home in a glass.

Mixmaster Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli was looking for a way to marry warming winter notes with classic New England flavors and combining sage-juniper syrup with apple cider did just that. The adding of ginger beer is to remind us of the winter months in the tropics, and also give a flavor that in and of itself is hot. Give it a try.

New England Buck

  •    4 oz. apple cider
  •    1 oz. sage and juniper syrup (see below)
  •    1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  •    2 dashes orange bitters
  •    Ginger beer
  •    Ice cubes
  •    Tools: shaker, strainer, barspoon
  •    Glass: highball

Combine all ingredients with ice except the ginger beer and shake briefly to integrate ingredients. Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with ginger beer. Stir and serve.

Sage + Juniper Syrup: 

  •    1 cup sugar
  •    1 cup water
  •     5 fresh sage leaves
  •    10 juniper berries

Heat ingredients in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes, then strain into a glass container. Keeps refrigerated for up to a month.


Simple Breakfast: Honey Nut Granola

We’re changing it up today, featuring a breakfast recipe from one of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter, instead of one of our “Weeknight Dinners.” 

Here's an easy, inexpensive and relatively low-fat granola that is very tasty!  I found the base recipe onAllRecipes.com and modified it, based on reviewers' comments.  I used chopped walnuts in my batch today. Once the granola is cooled, I add in dried cranberries, raisins and even chopped dates and store it in an airtight container.  I hope it lasts a few days before being gobbled up a bowl at a time.  This is a great breakfast cereal, with milk poured over, and works as a crunchy nutty topping to yogurt and ice cream.  Enjoy!

Honey Nut Granola


•          3 cups old-fashioned cooking oats (not instant!)

•          1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

•          1/4 cup wheat germ

•          1/3 cup honey

•          1/3 cup brown sugar

•          1/4 cup vegetable oil

•          2 tablespoons warm water

•          1/2  teaspoon salt

•          1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

•          1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.         Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2.         In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and wheat germ.

3.         In a separate bowl, combine honey, brown sugar, vegetable oil, water, salt, and vanilla. Stir well; then pour into the oat mixture, and stir. Spread out on a cookie sheet.

4.         Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool before serving. 


Simple Recipes: Lentil Soup Keeps New Year's Resolutions Cooking

In place of one of our quick "Weeknight Dinners," today we have a recipe for a delicious lentil soup that is very simple to make but takes a bit of time to come together. It's from one our favorite contributors, Maria Balice. -- Tara

Photo by Emily Barney on Flickr.Eat more healthily. Save money. Cook more meals at home. Check. Check and check.  If these were your New Year’s resolutions, the recipe below for lentil soup fits the bill – it’s cheap, easy to make and exceptionally healthy.  A package of lentils is about a buck, as are most of the other ingredients (besides the olive oil), and the legumes packs a powerful nutrition punch, providing protein, dietary fiber and folate. In fact, southern Italians eat lentil soup at midnight on New Year’s eve because it’s supposed to provide prosperity in the year to come – probably a nod to how economical it is to make the meal. And since one of my resolutions was to write more for Go West Young Mom, this recipe comes at the perfect time.


1 16 oz. package of dried lentils

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

12 cups of water

3 celery stalks – chopped

2 large carrots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – crushed

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

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Attack of the Killer (Backyard Garden) Tomatoes

Bursts of red peeking out from a tangle of green vines: August is just around the corner and that means tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes. Last year I planted way too many tomato plants, about eight, in my small garden, which was my first foray into growing my own vegetables. I canned some, made ratatouille, gave bags away and many committed suicide – falling to the earth before I could pick them.  
I smartened up this year, or so I thought, and planted fewer plants. To my surprise, tomato plants I had not planted started sprouting – I’m told veteran gardeners call them “volunteers,” tomato plants that pop up from seeds of the previous year’s fallen soldiers. I shouldn’t complain. Anyone who has eaten a garden-fresh tomato, whether from your own yard or the farmers market, knows the taste can’t compare to the sanitized blandness of the plastic wrapped varieties at the supermarket.  
So today, here’s a super simple recipe that uses A LOT of those tomatoes up and gets dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.  The great thing about this pasta dish, which is a bit of a variation on a Caprese salad (tomato,  basil, mozzarella), is that if you don’t count the pasta and salt and pepper, it only has five ingredients.

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Meat Takes a Backseat on the Grill: Try Veggies and Fruit 

I’m excited to introduce another Go West Young Mom guest columnist, and this writer is especially dear to my heart. She is my best friend Maria Balice, who also happens to be the best cook I know. The two years I lived with Maria in Lincoln Park after college were the most memorable, gastronomically-speaking, of my life. The great thing about Maria is that while she has been known to spend a whole day creating an amazing multi-course meal, she can also just whip something up in a few minutes based on whatever she has in her refrigerator or pantry. Here Maria tells you why you should be using the grill for more than burgers and steaks this summer.

Grilling is such an easy way to get dinner on the table, but meat is usually the star. However,  with fresh zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and all sorts of yummy vegetables bursting on the scene in either farmer’s markets or your own backyard, the grill is a simple way to bring out the flavor of fresh vegetables and, yes, even fruit. 
Almost any summer vegetable just needs a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper before it goes straight onto the grill.  Grilled tomatoes make a fabulous accompaniment to a burger or a steak.  And if you’re worried about veggies falling through the grate, forget about those fancy grill baskets.  All you need is a disposable aluminum cake pan – 13 inches by 9 inches (you can find them in the household items section of the grocery store or any dollar store). Plop in your vegetables, olive oil, salt and pepper and put the pan right on the grill rack over high heat.  Use some tongs to mix the veggies every few minutes and in about 10  to 15, you’ll have veggies everyone in the family will love.

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