Barley & Avocado Salad with Clementines, Almonds & Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Yesterday, I received the latest issue of Fine Cooking, so of course, first thing this morning, I was browsing for something new to try. I decided to make a version of Quinoa & Avocado Salad with Dried Fruit, Toasted Almonds & Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette, with the ingredients I had on hand – barley and fresh clementines instead of quinoa and dried fruit. I will definitely be going back to try this recipe with the quinoa and dried fruit in the future.

The “salad” was light and fresh with just a hint of lemon. It would be prefect for a summer picnic, but it is a dish I will keep around all year.

Barley & Avocado Salad with Clementines, Almonds

& Lemon-Cumin Vinaigrette

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 103, p. 47

Serves 3-4 as a side dish


  • 1 c. uncooked barley
  • 1 avocado, diced or cubed (whatever your desired size)
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, diced
  • 1 clementine, pealed & segmented
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika

Note: You can cook the barley during the day. Prepare the vinaigrette and remaining ingredients just prior to serving.

Cook the Barley: Rinse the barley. Combine 4 cups of water and 1 cup of the rinsed barley in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 30 minutes. Drain any remaining water. Rinse with cool water and drain again. Set aside.

Make the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the zest of the lemon and 1 Tbs. of lemon juice. Stir in olive oil, cumin, coriander, and paprika.

Finish by tossing barley, vinaigrette, scallions, avocado, and clementine sections.

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

As a kid, we always got Golden’s potato pancakes and Mrs. T’s pierogis for lunch. We all had our favorites – I preferred the pierogis while my brother liked the potato pancakes. This year for Christmas, he requested homemade potato pancakes.

So, Mom & I turned to our never-fail Fine Cooking magazines for a recipe. After a brief lesson for Mom about how to use her food processor attachments (she thought we’d be grating 5 lbs. of potatoes by hand instead of using her grating disc, similar to this one), we got down to business. The one thing I would recommend, that was not in the original recipe, is to use a cheesecloth to further squeeze the water out of the potatoes. If too much water remains, the potatoes won’t adhere together and you’re potato pancakes will fall apart.

As usual, Fine Cooking didn’t let us down – we doubled the recipe even though there was only 5 of us for Christmas Eve lunch, and everything was gone.

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Adapted from: Fine Cooking No.  89, p. 53

Makes 16-18 potato pancakes


  • 2-1/2 lb. Idaho potatoes (4 medium), peeled and cut lengthwise into 2-3 strips
  • 2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. corn oil
  • 1-1/4 c. diced onion (1 medium)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Make Pancakes: Using a food processor fitted with a medium (4mm) grating disc, grate potatoes. Transfer to a colander. Sprinkle with 2 tsp. salt and allow to drain for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

After potatoes have drained, wrap them in a cheesecloth and squeeze out more excess water.

Rinse out the food processor and replace grating disc with chopping blade. Combine 1 Tbs. oil, onion, flour, baking powder, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt. If your food processor is large enough to fit the potatoes, then add the potatoes, pulsing until coarsely chopped (you’ll probably have to stir mixture a couple times). If your food processor is smaller, pulse the mixture until just combined and transfer to a separate bowl. Add potatoes and then a bit of the egg/onion mixture, pulsing until coarsely chopped. Transfer for a bowl and repeat until all potatoes and egg/onion mixture have been coarsely chopped. Stir to combine.

Cook the Pancakes: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1/8 inch of the remaining oil until hot. Using a large spoon, drop mixture into oil and gently press down to flatten. Pancakes should be about 3-inches in diameter, and oiling should be bubbling gently.

Cook pancakes, 3-4 minutes per side until a deep golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Continue cooking, adding oil as necessary, until batter is  done.

If making ahead of time… Heat the oven to 250°F. Transfer pancakes from plate to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Fried pancakes are also freezable – freeze on baking sheets; transfer to freezer bags; and reheat on a baking sheet at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

To Serve: Sprinkle with salt and serve with sour cream or apple sauce.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic & Parsley

Mushrooms 004-1

Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic & Parsley

Source: Fine Cooking No. 81, p. 81 or online here

Serves 8


  • 5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. white or cremini mushrooms; washed; trimmed; and quartered
  • kosher salt
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 Tbs.)
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley


Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp. kosher salt.

Let mushrooms cook undisturbed until liquid released from mushrooms evaporate, 5-7 minutes. Mushrooms will be golden brown. Stir; and continue sauteing and stirring until the mushrooms are browned, 3-5 more minutes.

Lower heat slightly and add garlic. Stir.

Add vinegar. Stir, scraping the pan to release the bits stuck to the bottom. Vinegar will evaporate.

Remove mushrooms from heat. Toss with parsley and season with more salt, to taste.

Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters 4

This was my husband’s one request for his birthday party (I know, a bit weird, right?). However, it ended up being easy to make (I made them during the day, and heated them up in the oven when everyone arrived) and served them with chili. They weren’t as fluffy as the photos in the magazine, but almost all were gone, so I guess they were a hit!

Corn Fritters

Source: Fine Cooking No. 100


  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt; more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. fresh corn kernels, coarsely chopped (from about 1 large or 2 small ears of corn) — I used canned corn, drained
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, and eggs.

Add the egg mixture to the flour and cornmeal mixture, stirring with a rubber spatula until combined. Stir in corn.

Corn Fritters 1

Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes, while you heat oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat… Oil should be about 1/2 an inch deep.  (If you need to keep the fritters warm, preheat oven to 200°F.)

When oil is hot (it should sizzle when you drop a bit of batter in the oil), use a tablespoon (or mini-ice cream scoop) to drop balls of batter in the oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan – Fine Cooking recommends 3-4 fritters at a time, I cooked 5-6 at a time. Stove should be set to medium-low heat so the fritters cook gently. When browned on the bottom (1-2 minutes), flip the fritter over (using a slotted spoon) and cook another 1-2 minutes, again until golden brown.

Corn Fritters 3

Transfer fritters to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and allow to keep warm in the oven while cooking others (I didn’t keep them warm while cooking the others, but heated them up later

Transfer the fritters to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with salt, and keep warm in the oven. Continue to cook the remaining batter in small batches, adding more oil as needed to maintain the 1/2-inch depth.

Corn Fritters 4

Crown Roast of Pork with Apple Stuffing & Cider-Bourbon Sauce

Crown Roast of Pork with Fennel-Apple Stuffing and Cider-Bourbon Sauce

Crown Roast of Pork 2

Source: Fine Cooking No. 89

Everything from Fine Cooking is so good that we usually stick pretty close to the recipe, as we did here. We did prepare almost this entire dish several hours ahead of time — the stuffing was finished and ready to go into the oven about 3 hours prior to actually baking. The sauce was reduced, about 5 hours prior to serving, so that all there was to do was reheat and add the vinegar & sour cream just prior to dinner.

The meal got off a little late, so be sure to check the size of your roast against cooking time. Our butcher said we need about 20 minutes per pound, which was right on the money. Our 11lb roast took 3 hours and 30 minutes to cook.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 2 c. bourbon
  • 2 c. low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the stuffing:

  • 1 lb. crusty artisan-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (8 to 9 cups)
  • 8 oz. bacon (8 to 10 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 medium-small yellow onions, diced (about 2 c.)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, diced (about 3 c.)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 c.)
  • 2 Tbs. bourbon
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly chopped or pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 to 2-1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

Ingredients for the roast:

  • 16-rib crown roast of pork (8-1/2 to 9-1/2 lb.), chine bone removed and bones frenched (ours, for 10 people, was 11 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

The day before: Dice bread and allow to sit out overnight on a baking sheet, to dry out.

Make the sauce: Combine cider, bourbon, and chicken broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and maintain a simmer until sauce is about 1 1/4 cups, about an hour.

Make the “stuffing base”: Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. When brown and crispy, transfer bacon to a large mixing bowl. Pour fat from skillet and return to stove. Add 3 Tbs. butter and melt. Add onion, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions and fennel have softened, 10-12 minutes. Add to bowl with bacon. Return skillet to stove.

Melt remaining 2 Tbs butter in skillet. When melted, add apples, stirring until slightly browned but still firm, about 5 minutes. Mix bourbon, apple cider, and 3 Tbs. of water and add to pan, scraping sides and bottom of skillet to loosen any bits stuck to pan. Cook until the liquid has reduced and coats apples, about 1 minute. Add apples to mixing bowl with bacon, onions, and fennel. Add spices and stir to combine.

Crown Roast of Pork 1Cook the roast: Let the roast sit out at room temperature for 1 hour prior to cooking. We let it sit out in the roasting pan that we were going to use — a roasting pan (or heavy duty rimmed baking sheet), with a rack at the bottom. Be sure to oil the rack before putting the roast in the pan (it was interesting trying to lift the 11 lb. roast in order to oil after the fact!). Just prior to popping in the oven, season the roast generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oven to 500°F. Cover bones tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a very large mixing bowl (or stock pot, combine stuffing mix (onions, fennel, apple, and bacon) with dried bread. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth over mixture and stir to combine. “If the bread immediately sucks up the liquid, add the remaining 1/2 cup broth. The bread should be moist but not soggy.”  Season with salt and pepper.

Remove roast from oven after first 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Remove foil from bones and fill center with stuffing, to just below the top of the bones. (The stuffing never completely fits, so have a spare baking dish ready. Cover stuffing in aluminum foil and set aside.) Cover the bones and stuffing and return roast to oven.

Set oven timer for 1 hour. When the timer goes off, put stuffing in the oven with the roast. Reset the oven timer for 30 minutes. When that goes off, remove foil from roast and from stuffing wrapper, so that stuffing can crisp up.

Again, reset the oven time, for 15 minutes. When that goes off, check for doneness – an instant-read thermometer, inserted between two bones (without hitting the bones) should read 155° F. Be sure to check in a couple places. For a 9 lb roast, the cooking time will be 2-1/2 – 3 hours. According to my butcher, the cooking time will be 20 minutes per pound.

With a wide spatula under roast to keep the stuffing in, transfer roast to a cutting board or serving platter. The recipe calls to cover the roast loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes, but since we were running late, we skipped this (and the meat was perfect – still nice and juicy). Continue to bake stuffing until top is crisp. Stuffing can stay in the warm oven (turned off), until ready to serve, if necessary.

Finish the sauce: When almost ready to serve, rehear sauce in a small pan. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar and sour cream. Season with additional salt, pepper, and vinegar, to taste.

Apple Stuffing Crown Roast of Pork 2