FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Elizabeth Karmel

Don’t let corn be a summer sideshow. Grill it for a salad!

The two most common side dishes at a barbecue are coleslaw and potato salad. But as much as I love those, I firmly believe it’s time for corn salad to take its rightful place at the picnic table. Corn is summer’s chameleon. It can take on a sweet and delicate personality when eaten raw or […]

Why order out when mastering great steaks at home is easy?

I have a confession to make. I never order steaks in restaurants. That’s because it is so easy to make an outstanding steak at home. And it isn’t just because I am a professional. With a little knowledge, anyone can make a great steak. While there are several cooking techniques that will produce superior steaks, […]

DIY lamb chops with heavy hitting spice rub for Father’s Day

The hardest thing about grilling lamb chops is buying them. Because once you get them home, the rest is easy. My favorite style of chops resembles lamb lollipops – a long, slender bone with a fat nugget of sweet and tender meat at the end. And they are just begging to be grilled. Most meat […]

June 10, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

School’s almost out, so it’s time to get schooled on burgers

As food goes, it’s hard to imagine anything more American – and that more perfectly captures summer – than a great grilled hamburger. Trouble is, as much as we love a great burger, we’re not always all that great at making them. That’s because there is more to making burgers than serving time at the […]

May 27, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Let’s borrow a lesson from barbecue for a better grilled cheese

For me, a grilled cheese sandwich is just pure comfort. And truth is, even a bad grilled cheese is satisfying. But a great grilled cheese will change your day for the better. Most of us have childhood memories of our perfect grilled cheese. Mine is the classic sandwich dished up at my local drugstore. My […]

April 15, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A fresh take on the classic Easter ham – with a fresh ham

When I think of spring menus, I instantly think of asparagus and the fresh ham that my grandmother made every Easter. The pork was studded with cloves and slathered with brown sugar and mustard before roasting. And it made the entire house smell amazing. But these days, I tend to do most of my roasting […]

March 25, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day? Sure, even if it is bourbon

Here’s a cocktail in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. But you’re going to have to cut me some slack. Why? Because I know what you’re expecting. Any cocktail for this holiday should include either Guinness beer or Irish whiskey, right? Logically, that makes sense. But my whiskey of choice is always bourbon, so I tend […]

March 11, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

An easy, customizable chocolate treat for Valentine’s Day

Sometimes it takes just a few simple ingredients to win my heart. That’s what fellow Southerner Ben Mims recently did. And he did it with candy. Truth is, I’m generally not the sort of person who makes candy at home. It can be a bit fussy and time-consuming and I don’t find the process nearly […]

February 11, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A carefree deviled egg you won’t need to struggle over

For me, it’s just not a party without deviled eggs. Doesn’t matter if it’s a summer barbecue or a winter Super Bowl shindig. I need deviled eggs. And I know I am not alone! Which isn’t to say it’s always easy to make that happen. The last time I made them for whatever reason the […]

January 21, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A simple, healthy lentil salad tastes anything but

When I was in high school, my parents took my sisters and me to Paris. That trip shaped me in so many ways, most of them culinary. So many of the dishes I make even today were inspired by that trip. One night, we went to a small, rustic restaurant in the heart of the […]

January 07, 2015 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A fresh take on the classic Bellini for New Year’s

I’m a firm believer that almost any party — not to mention almost any brunch — can be improved by serving sparkling wine. That’s why when I started planning this year’s New Year’s Day brunch, I didn’t start my planning with the food; I started with a signature drink. My friends and I usually don’t […]

December 31, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A chocolatey rich coconut cream pie for Christmas

Coconut is my family’s must-have sweet during the holidays. Usually we have a fresh coconut cake, but my mom has been known to sneak a Mounds bar – her favorite candy – when the urge strikes. So this Christmas season, I decided to tie it all together with this recipe for chocolate coconut pie. And […]

December 17, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A salty caramel makeover for Rice Krispies Treats

To be honest, I had no idea about Rice Krispies Treats. That is, I certainly knew of them, but I’d never made them. And I never knew just how delicious they could be. The first time I made them, I used the original recipe. It was good, but I felt it needed a little more […]

October 29, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Thin is in for this grilled zucchini with Parmesan

Summer may be done, but the proliferation of zucchini continues. And we might as well make the most of it. Because even though zucchini is available all year, the end-of-summer crop is always something special. When it is fresh from the garden and plump with natural juices, it is sweet and delicate and begs for […]

October 08, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A late summer Southern classic – tomato pie

Tomato Pie is a classic Southern dish made in late summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit, but everyone has had their fill of tomato sandwiches and salads. It is essentially a pie shell filled with fresh sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, topped with mixture of shredded cheese and served with a […]

September 17, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Tequila and ice cream: A delicious pairing!

Here’s a summer fact you need to know – aged tequilas pair beautifully with ice cream. When I discovered this a few years ago, I started making these insanely easy, totally crave-worthy milkshakes. And I’m warning you… You won’t be able to stop at one. And that’s why I often serve these in shot glasses. […]

September 10, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Grill on-the-vine tomatoes for stunning starter

Often, the best dishes are the simplest. A common feeling among chefs is that if you use the best-quality ingredients and treat them lightly, you will be rewarded. I couldn’t agree more. This is illustrated perfectly by this recipe for grilled tomatoes on the vine with burrata. Tomatoes with mozzarella is one of my favorite […]

August 13, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

Homemade bread really is the difference between a good sandwich and a great one. This especially important when contemplating back-to-school lunches. A brown bag lunch should be something to look forward to. And even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich becomes a treat when good bread is involved. But we tend to be intimidated by […]

July 30, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A summer primer to grilling backyard barbecue ribs

It was one of those culinary epiphanies. I realized you rarely get great barbecued ribs from a restaurant. They have to come from backyards. My rib-awakening came during the world’s largest barbecue contest, Memphis in May. All it took was that first bite of a grill-smoked rib for me to recognize the real deal. There […]

July 16, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Keep the grill going for a colorful July 4 dessert

As somebody who spends a whole lot of time thinking about grilling, I love that so many Americans celebrate July Fourth by busting out the grill. So many of us are eating the same thing cooked in the same way, it’s kind of like summer’s version of Thanksgiving. Hamburgers, hot dogs and ribs rule the […]

July 02, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Think thick when tossing asparagus on the grill

Grilling vegetables is magical, mostly because the intense heat caramelizes the natural sugars in them. It transforms vegetables from something you feel you have to eat into something you can’t stop eating! And grilled asparagus is one of my favorites. Not only is it delicious, it’s also easy to make. And you only need four […]

May 28, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Turning raw kale into a salad you will crave

There was a time when kale was just ornamental. Then suddenly it became a culinary superstar! And with good reason. Because once you start eating kale, it will become the “new normal” base for your salads. It has a more robust flavor and texture than lettuce, and is good for you, too. And that’s all […]

April 02, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Warm up with a rich pork, hominy and salsa stew

It all started at my friend Anthony’s house not long ago during the beginning the so-called polar vortex. He is a gifted home cook and a food television producer, so he knows his way around a pot. He also is from Texas and we share a love of tequila, barbecue and anything Tex-Mex! That icy […]

March 19, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Get St. Patrick’s Day spirit with green potatoes

Until I moved to Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t a big event for me. But that first year, I was stunned by the sight of what locals took for granted – a boat slowly traveling the Chicago River depositing a rich green dye into the water. It was amazing to see the water turn emerald. […]

March 05, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A simple jam tart for a simple expression of love

About a decade ago I traveled to Italy to take a cooking class. Of the many things I brought home from that trip, none is more cherished than my recipe for Italian jam tart. I learned it from Judy Witts Francini, an American who teaches cooking classes that capture the simple home cooking of Tuscany. […]

February 05, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

For Super Bowl party, a seriously intense meatball

Supposedly, we all have our dirty little food secrets, those crazy things we’re embarrassed to admit we love. But the truth is, I don’t consider any of my loves to be secrets. If I love something, I am proud to eat it, no matter how trashy or elegant it is. If I was ashamed to eat it, […]

January 29, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Start with celery for a healthy, crunchy salad

I know this will make me sound like some ultra-serious dieter – which I’m not! – but I love raw celery. The humble celery stalk shines in so many ways, from a bloody mary to a snack stuffed with peanut butter or pimento cheese. To me, it’s the cracker of the vegetable world. It’s what […]

January 08, 2014 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

A simple recipe for a sensational party food

Bacon-wrapped scallops are one of the most luxurious appetizers you can serve, not to mention one of the easiest to prepare. And for me, that’s a great combination. I like using big, plump Alaskan sea scallops and apple wood smoked bacon. Because there are only two main ingredients in this dish, you need to make […]

December 25, 2013 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Double the oats for a pleasing holiday cookie

Many people would balk at the idea of eating holiday cookies for breakfast, but this recipe might make you reconsider. These double-the-oats oatmeal cookies are so jammed with oats – making them tender and wonderfully chewy and rich – that I’ve been known to take them on vacation just so I can enjoy a familiar […]

December 18, 2013 | Posted in Features | Tagged ,

Save time and oven space by grilling your turkey

It all started with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line! My love of grilled turkey, that is! Early in my career, I managed and promoted the annual Thanksgiving help line. And every fall, all of the operators would gather together for a training session that would prepare these “cooking counselors” for the nation’s upcoming turkey trauma. Everyone […]

November 13, 2013 | Posted in Living | Tagged ,

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