by Susan Nye
Warm & Cheesy Focaccia
This is a favorite with guests of all ages. Serve it before dinner as an appetizer. But beware; you may need to make an extra batch to go along with dinner. Use your favorite pizza dough recipe or pick up a pound or two at the supermarket.
- About 1 lb pizza dough
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1–2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Dried Italian herbs
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper or dried chili flakes, to taste
- Grated Parmesan and/or Fontina cheese
2. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Don’t worry about forming a perfect rectangle or circle, the rustic look is fine.
3. Transfer the dough to a nonstick baking sheet. (If you have one, bake the focaccia on a pizza stone.)
4. Drizzle the dough with a little olive oil, and top with garlic and onion. Lightly sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper. Depending on your preference, sprinkle with more or less cheese.
5. Bake at 450º until golden, 8 to 12 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve.
Corn, Tomato, and Arugula Salad
The sweet corn and tomato are a nice contrast to the peppery arugula in this delicious salad.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12–16 oz arugula*
1. Put 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl with the vinegar, garlic, and onion; whisk to combine and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.
3. Add the corn, tomato, cucumber, and oregano to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
4. When you are ready to serve, add the arugula and toss.
* If arugula is a little too spicy for your kids, substitute it with crunchy romaine.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Start a new Halloween tradition with pumpkin cupcakes!
Makes 24 cupcakes or a 9x13-inch sheet cake
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
- Garnish: candy corn
2. Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and oil in large bowl until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin, maple syrup, milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
4. Stir in flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes (or about one hour for a 9x13-inch cake). Transfer the cupcakes to a rack; cool completely.
6. Frost with orange cream cheese frosting and decorate with candy corn.
If you prefer to make a sheet cake, add a little black food coloring to the frosting and create a RIP tombstone cake. Decorate with a few gummy worms, bugs, and spiders!
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- About 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Red and yellow food coloring
2. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until well blended. A drop or two at a time, beat in red and yellow food coloring until you get a nice pumpkin color. Increase mixer speed and continue mixing for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.