• Jane Evans Bonacci The Heritage Cook

    WELCOME to The Heritage Cook ... we're sharing traditions, one recipe at a time! I learned to cook at my grandmother’s side, watching her create nourishing meals for the family. I love to share the lessons she taught me. I am a recipe editor, developer and tester, a food writer, passionate cook, and baker. Subscribe to the blog and never miss a recipe or the fun of Chocolate Mondays! Creating, exploring, sharing, nurturing ... that is what I love about cooking!

  • Some comments made by readers …

    ... Woo hoo! Mondays just got a whole lot better now that you’re featuring chocolate in some shape or form each week. It’s my favorite food group, after all...

    ... We prepared the “Fathers Day Brunch” on Sunday. It was a big hit! I was amazed at the light and very tasty pancakes. It looks like your recipes are going to keep me busy!...

    ... The [Chocolate Crinkle] cookies look beautiful. First bite brings a sensational experience to the pallet. Slightly crunchy exterior at first, then the moist interior with a burst of chocolate flavor through out my mouth. The flavors lingers long enough that I feel I must have another bite to experience it all again...

    ... This chicken is delicious. So tender, even the breast meat, with a hint of onion and lemon. Definitely a keeper...

    ... Just had my first bite and WOW! I think this is the best homemade brownie i have ever tasted. Great chocolate flavor with the right amount of sweetness. And the fudgy consistency is perfect! ...

    ... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the glossary. I’ve “heard” these terms but never have I seen them in print. Keep ‘em coming! ...

    ... I made this pasta sauce this past weekend...what can I say, it was delicious! I added fresh zuchinni and eggplant for a vegetarian style meal like you suggested. Topping the pasta dish with fresh basil from my "Swiss" herb garden made the sauce perfect! ...

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Grilled Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Sausage

Shrimp and Andouille over rice

Barbecued shrimp is a real treat. I think they are the perfect appetizer for parties and everyone loves them! They are quick to prepare and cook in only a couple of minutes so dinner can be on the table in under 30 minutes. They are versatile and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Steamed, grilled, sautéed, or deep-fried, I love them any way I can get them!

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Italian Pasta Salad

I love main course salads, especially during the summer. They are cool and easy to prepare. I usually have all the ingredients in my refrigerator and can add any vegetables I have left over from my last trip to the farmer’s market. Antipasto is a traditional Italian appetizer platter full of cured meats, olives, pickled vegetables, cheeses and breads. I have incorporated those ingredients and I changed the spelling to amuse myself! This Italian pasta salad is full of big, bold flavors and can be ready in less than 30 minutes. With pasta, salami, garlic, and zucchini, it doesn’t get much more Italian than this!

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Gourmet Game Night – Beef Yakitori

I recently won a contest that Carolyn Jung ran on her site www.foodgal.com. She sent me a copy of Cynthia Nims’ “Gourmet Game Night.” What a fun book! Full of ideas for parties, Cynthia shares recipes designed to be easily eaten without getting greasy fingers. I think her dedication says it all, “I dedicate this book to the name of fun: to kicking back, to getting together with friends, to eating and drinking well, to laughing a lot, and to competing just a bit.” If you want to throw a party, check out this book!

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Spicy Crunchy Nuts

Tonight my sister-in-law came to dinner and, in true Italian style, we served pasta for dinner. Alongside I had a tossed green salad with spiced pecans. I love spiced nuts and will eat the entire bowl if left unsupervised. For some reason, after making the salad and eating twice as many nuts as went in the bowl, I wasn’t very hungry for pasta. Go figure!

Most of the time when I am served homemade spiced nuts they are soggy and not very appetizing. People seem to think that if they add enough cayenne powder no one will notice the texture. For years I thought there was no way to make the kind of nuts I get in restaurant salads. Sweet, a little hot, and really crunchy. And then I found a recipe in Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook, Emeril’s Creole Christmas.

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Fava Beans – The Flavor of Spring

Spring is in the air – finally! This has been an extremely long, wet, winter and I for one am thrilled to finally see the sun shining and warmer temperatures. One of my favorite spring foods is fava beans. When they are young and tender they are creamy, earthy, and sultry. Lumpy and gangling, not unlike a teenager, this ugly ducking turns into a beautiful ingredient. They are the perfect way to say goodbye to the cold, wet weather and celebrate the arrival of sunny days!

I never particularly liked beans; I mean they were OK, but nothing special. Then one night a few years ago, my husband and I had dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. We are so lucky to live nearby and we go occasionally as a treat. That night the amuse-bouche (amooz – boosh) was a crostini topped with a fava bean spread. One of the best things about eating at Chez Panisse is trying foods you normally would never eat. So, with a little trepidation I tried it. I was transformed! It was bright with a touch of lemon, both smooth and crunchy at the same time. I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I went home determined to recreate that bite.

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