• 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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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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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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