• 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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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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Grill Recipes for a 4th of July BBQ

If you are hosting a barbecue for friends or having a quiet dinner with your family, here are some recipes that are guaranteed to please everyone! I like to take advantage of the grill when I’m cooking, and make a combination of foods so my guests have choices. Some of my favorites are lemon-thyme chicken, marinated flank steak, and Italian sausages. If there are children coming add hamburgers or hot dogs to the menu. Marinating helps keep meats juicy and tender. The simplest marinade of all is Italian salad dressing! Place your meats in a plastic bag, pour in some dressing and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. That’s it – the easiest and tastiest food you’ve ever barbecued!

Grilled fruits and vegetables are excellent paired with meats. My favorites are pineapple, corn on the cob, onions, and peaches or nectarines. Halve or cut into thick slices, brush both sides with vegetable oil and grill until lightly browned. Watch out, they can burn easily because of the natural sugars. Shuck the corn, discarding the husks and silks. Place the raw corn directly on the oiled grill and cook for a few minutes or until lightly charred. Serve with melted butter.

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Beef Pie with Garlic-Thyme Mashed Potatoes

Serve this meal one night ...

British foods can be somewhat boring. They tend to be bland without a lot of seasoning. To complete our tribute to Wimbledon and England, I thought I would take the very traditional British Shepherd’s Pie and see if I couldn’t spice it up a bit, maybe by putting an American spin on it. I love fun challenges like this!

Shepherd’s Pie, a dish made with roasted meats and vegetables covered with a mashed potato crust, was originally developed to utilize leftovers. Cube the leftover meat and combine with cooked vegetables, add a little beef gravy and voilà, you have the filling! Use the leftover mashed potatoes to create a topping, pop it under the broiler until golden, and you have a filling delicious meal. Finding ways to reinvigorate leftovers is a mother’s chore and a recipe developers delight.

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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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Memorial Day – Grilled Steaks with Spicy Hoisin BBQ Sauce

Grilled Steak and Vegetables with Slaw

Three-day weekends are the best! That extra day makes it feel like a real vacation. What are your family traditions? Do you picnic or go to the beach? Is there a neighborhood softball game, or do you enjoy pool parties. Memorial Day weather in the San Francisco area is usually perfect and it’s a great time to use our grill. While gas grills are convenient and quick, I prefer charcoal fires for the flavor. But don’t use lighter fluid. It makes your food taste like chemicals and it is bad for the environment. If you haven’t already, buy yourself a chimney starter. It is a metal cylinder that you stuff with paper and coals. Light the paper and the concentrated heat is drawn upward, igniting the coals quickly.

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Italian-Style Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with Polenta

Last week I went to San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. In addition to the fresh produce, we have vendors who offer a variety of homemade products and I couldn’t resist buying a package of finely ground polenta. On the way home I was thinking of all the different ways I could use it: creamy with a little Parmesan, grilled squares topped with Marinara Sauce, and then I thought of this succulent recipe from Michele Scicolone.

The slow-cooking method keeps these ribs moist and tender, and imparts a deep, rich flavor. If you like a little spice in your dish, add a dash of red pepper flakes to crock-pot. The sauce is so good you have to serve them with something to sop it up. I decided to make a soft Parmesan polenta. Creamy and rich, it is the perfect backdrop to the ribs. If you have never made polenta before, don’t let it scare you. It really isn’t as difficult as many people make it out to be. Just don’t walk away or answer the phone while it is cooking so you can stir it regularly. If it does stick to the bottom of the pan, don’t scrape it. Finish cooking and pour it into another container, leaving the burned part behind. No one will ever know!

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