• 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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Sesame Chicken Pasta Salad

When the weather heats up I start looking for ways to prepare dinner without heating up the kitchen. My mind wanders to picnics and barbecues with images of friends laughing, sounds of kids playing, and sultry, balmy nights. Salads are always a good choice when the heat takes away your appetite and all you can think about is jumping in a cold pool of water to cool off.

Fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market, prepared ingredients I can buy from the store, pastas and other items that can be served cold are at the top of my list. When you think of pasta salad do you think of sweetened macaroni and mayonnaise? Corkscrew pasta with vegetables? Penne with Italian antipasti? Noodles with Asian vegetables? Pasta is endlessly adaptable – I can toss in any vegetables I have in the refrigerator, change up the sauce and have a whole new meal!

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Enchiladas Rancheras and Chile Rice Casserole

When I was in college, I used to make dinners for my classmates. It was a treat for them and a taste of home cooking was a welcome relief from dorm food. I grew up cooking for a family of six and I missed making those big dinners. Having friends over gave me an excuse to make some of my favorites.

Most of the time when I was growing up, if I ordered enchiladas in Mexican restaurants, they were filled with seasoned ground beef. Not exactly true Mexican, but they were good and filling. One Christmas, a friend gave me The California Heritage Cookbook and as I read through the recipes, I realized that I had a lot to learn about ‘real’ Mexican cooking.

My guests who came to dinner the night I first served these enchiladas were astonished at the flavors, and so was I. This sauce is so far superior to anything store-bought that it is well worth the extra effort. I like to serve the enchiladas with the Chile Rice Casserole, also from the California Heritage Cookbook for a nice change of pace from traditional Mexican Rice. Add a tossed green salad for a balanced meal. And don’t forget the margaritas for sparkling dinner conversation!

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The Aroma of Roasting Chicken Fills the Air

What should I make for dinner? The question we ask ourselves all the time. Why is it usually such a major decision? I start with ingredients … let’s see what I have to work with. I went to the grocery store yesterday, so the refrigerator is stocked, and I know I have a whole chicken to work with. Ah, that will make the house smell wonderful and be welcoming when my husband comes home from work.

There are so many ways to cook chicken. I can cut it apart and make a stew. I can butterfly it and grill it. Or I can leave it whole and have leftovers to use tomorrow. Yep, that’s what I’ll do! The ease of roasting a chicken and the beauty of the golden brown crispy skin is calling to me today.

I struggled for years trying to figure out what the secret was to the perfect roast chicken. Sometimes it was underdone, but most of the time, even though it looked perfect, it was dry and tough. Arrrggghhh!

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