• 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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Chocolate Monday – Chocolate Biscotti !!

Happy Chocolate Monday! Today’s treat is Chocolate Biscotti! Biscotti (biss-koh-tee) (the plural of biscotto) is an Italian twice-baked cookie. Extra crunchy, they are perfect for dunking in coffee or espresso. You form the dough into logs and bake them most of the way through. Then take them out of the oven, cool slightly, slice and finish baking. The first time I tried to make biscotti, I didn’t trust the recipe and left the cookies in too long on the first bake. When I tried to slice them, they crumbled. Don’t make the same mistake I did!

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Coconut Pecan Macaroon Cookies

When The Bakers’ Dozen, San Francisco organization was compiling their cookbook, I was lucky enough to be a tester for the Coconut Macaroon cookies. It was my first professional recipe testing and I was thrilled. I have tested hundreds of recipes since then, but like anything else in life, your first is the most special! The use of unsweetened coconut is the real secret – the cookies are dryer, cook more evenly, and aren’t cloyingly sweet. They are by far the best macaroons I’ve ever had and I’m certain they will become a family favorite for you too.

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Chocolate Monday! Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes seem like the perfect dessert. Small and easily transported, they work for children’s birthday parties or wedding receptions and they have built-in portion control! Cupcake shops are popping up everywhere, and I am thrilled. I love stopping in and instead of being limited to just one flavor, I can pick several. If I’m having friends over for dinner, I can offer them an assortment of desserts. I like variety and cupcakes are perfect for that! Continue reading

Apple Pie without a Crust = Apple Crisp!

Most people I know are scared of making pie. But when you think of the 4th of July desserts, what is more all-American than Apple Pie! Well, I’ve got the answer you’ve been waiting for … Apple Crisp! You shouldn’t have to worry about dessert when you’ve got a bunch of people coming over. A crisp is a fruit dessert with a sweet crumbled topping, similar to a streusel. It’s an apple pie without a crust!

One of the tricks to a perfect apple pie (or any apple dessert for that matter) is a blend of apples. Some turn mushy when you bake them and others hold their shape. A mixture of the two gives you the best filling with great flavor and texture. Unlike a pie, this dessert holds up well and can be baked ahead. Equally good at room temperature as it is hot, this is good to take to parties or on picnics.

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Old-Fashioned Potato Salad … Everyone’s Favorite!

Fourth of July Salads

When I was growing up I never liked potato salad. I don’t know why because I loved potatoes made every other way. Being Irish, they are one of my favorite food groups, LOL! So it wasn’t until I was in college and visiting a friend’s house that I discovered how much I had been missing. My friend’s mother made us potato salad and I fell in love! It was so simple and easy to make, and SO much better than any store-bought versions I had tried. I asked her to make it for me every time I visited, and it became a joke that she had to stock up on potatoes the moment she heard I was coming.

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Two BBQ Side Dishes You Will Love

For me, when I am throwing a barbecue party, what I cook on the grill is the easy part. I always focus on what I will serve with the main course. Will it complement the grilled flavor? Does it add texture to the plate? Will the plate have lots of color? What kind of starch does everyone like? Am I serving a different menu than the last time they came to dinner? And, if it is a holiday, do I have enough “traditional” foods to satisfy people’s memories. I put a lot of thought into my party menus and try to get a good balance of flavors, textures, nutrients and “favorites.”

My mother used to say that if a plate of food was “pretty” and had lots of color, then it was healthy. She was so far ahead of her time! Today we know that fresh fruits and vegetables are essential for good health and are nature’s rainbow. Just like a leprechaun’s pot of gold, eating fresh produce will give you a happy life!

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