• 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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French Chicken in Wine (Coq au Vin)

A bowl of coq au vin!

Did you know that today is Bastille Day in France? Similar to our Fourth of July, it is a celebration of the storming of the Bastille fortress/prison in 1789, a symbolic event of the French Revolution. These days the President of France presides at a parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. It may have started as a battle, but it is one heck of a party today!

James and I are going to celebrate (we look for any excuse, you know) by having a French food-filled day. While watching the Tour de France cycling race (James waits all year for the Tour!), we’re having an omelet for breakfast, lunch will be a grilled ham and cheese sandwich (known in French as a Croque Monsieur!), Coq au Vin for dinner, and we’ll top it all off with a nectarine and cherry galette for dessert! Ooh, la, la, baby!  It will be a lip-smacking kind of day!

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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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Smoky Shredded Pork Tacos

I used to have one of the original style Crock Pots. A few months ago I finally bought myself a new slow cooker. I had done tons of research into the various types, sizes, and functionality. While I would have loved one of the super-duper ones, with just the two of us to cook for, it would have been overkill. So I wound up with a great Cuisinart programmable model just right for us. Its small size helps keep me from making enough food to feed an army!

Since then I’ve been going through a lot of my recipes, seeing which ones can be converted to the slow-cooking method. It’s been fun! I love adapting recipes because it gives me a chance to put my own spin on them. When you look at recipes, see if you can figure out other ways to use it. Would it work as part of a different recipe? Would it be a good side dish or could you alter it for a main course? I am always taking a little from one recipe and adding it to another to create a whole new dish.

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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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