Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Strawberry Jam Bars

We made these Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Strawberry Jam Bars five times in the last two weeks. Each time we swore to ourselves it would be our last. But then another picnic would pop up on the calendar. Each time we turned to the jars of crimson hued roasted strawberry rhubarb jam perched in the fridge, tempting us. And so another batch of Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Strawberry Jam Bars would hit the oven, followed by much happy gobbling.

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Strawberry Jam Bars

Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus & Feta

We love outdoor eating, and as temperatures rise in Northern Indiana, we've been honing our pasta salad line-up for the picnic season. Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta is an edgier alternative to the traditional picnic classic. In our pasta salad, we replaced the larger pasta with small rice shaped orzo, added crunchy asparagus, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, and tossed it with an assertive garlicky lemon vinaigrette, herbs and feta. Enjoy this early picnic season with Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Feta.

For other grain based picnic ready salads try our Hearty Quinoa & Chickpea Salad, Spring Buckwheat Grouts Salad, Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus.

Spring Picnic Orzo Salad with Asparagus & Feta

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth is Paul's non-traditional adaptation of the famous aromatic Daokou chicken from Henan province, China, near the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Already a deft broth maker, Paul has honed his technique and varied his flavor profiles during my pregnancy, in empathic response to my near-daily nausea. I love this broth's bold citrus aroma and flavor, subtle honey sweetness, and rich background spices. Its a great broth on its own (Paul's favorite), or with fresh steamed veggies and rice (the way I like it best). This recipe is adapted from Carolyn Phillips' wonderful new Chinese cookbook All Under Heaven.

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth

Roasted Rhubarb Strawberry Oven Jam

Every year, in the hot months of summer, my Oma would make oven jam. My Opa would buy her bushels of fresh apricots and plums from the farmers markets, and she would slow roast the fruit until they caramelized and the juices thickened, creating silky fruit jams that she tucked into layers of her torte cakes for celebrations throughout the year. In the years since she died, I find myself craving the custardy texture, and caramelized fruit taste of her jams. I started experimenting with my own oven jams recently, and found them to be simple, fail-safe, and delicious. My favorite is this tangy spring rhubarb strawberry jam, with rhubarb fresh from a friend's garden.

Roasted Rhubarb Strawberry Oven Jam

Birthday Joy

I turned 31 today, ate cookies, watermelon pie, and ribs, and I had to change my clothes three times because our daughter's outdoor play got unusually messy! It was a great birthday. Two years ago on my birthday, Rebecca and I were living and working in Pittsburgh. Last year we were new parents, in a new country, in new jobs. And this year we are expectantly waiting. Rebecca is pregnant, and due to a complication in the pregnancy, we are both working remotely from the US during this last trimester. If all goes as well as it can, our baby will be joining us about a month ahead of schedule towards the end of June.

Birthday Joy

Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs

It's 80 degrees in northern Indiana today. The sky is blue, the trees are budding, and our daughter is happily smeared from head to toe in the mud she's dug out of the backyard. To kick off spring, I whipped up these Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs. These spareribs are easy to make, don't require a smoker or any complicated equipment, and are absolutely delicious! These ribs forgo the traditional tomato-based sauce, and bring to center stage the fresh maple syrup Rebecca was given a few weeks ago from a local Amish farmer. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs. 

Maple Black Pepper Oven Spareribs

Asparagus with Fresh Herb Sauce Gribiche

Paul and I started dating 12 years ago, and quickly found that we had some pretty distinct food preferences. At the time, I professed to hate red meat, Paul loved it. I obsessed over salty briney flavors, which caused Paul to shudder. Time has made converts of us both. In fact, one of the first things I craved on a trip back to to North America from Haiti was a perfectly grilled steak. Paul's tastes have changed as well. Half a dozen years ago, when I first started making tangy sauce gribiche, I was on my own eating it. No longer. We like to make a big pile of asparagus and slather on this winning mustardy, eggy, French sauce gribiche. For the French cooking enthusiasts out there, I will note that this is my own, non-traditional version of the classic sauce gribiche.

Asparagus with Fresh Herb Sauce Gribiche

The Last Salad of Winter & A Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette

Paul and I are nuts for winter fennel salads, and it turns out that our 14-month old daughter is a big fan as well... that is until we upped our game and added this amazing caramelized apple vinaigrette. Madeline ignored the salad completely and licked the vinaigrette off all the salad components, all the while loudly commenting "mmmmmm." We realize that a 14-month-old cannot be our barometer of good food, but darn it if we don't love this salad combination ourselves, and want to lick the vinaigrette off the bottom of our plates. The tart green apple, crisp fennel, sweet blood oranges and sweet and sour notes of this wonderful caramelized apple vinaigrette make this a winner.

The Last Salad of Winter & A Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette
Paul Shetler Fast

Easter Round-Up

The time of feasting will soon be upon us, and we've put together 12 of our favorite sweet and savory spring-ish dishes that we hope inspires your Easter and spring cooking:

Paul Shetler Fast
Easter Round-Up

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes

The smell of roasting potatoes makes my mouth water every time. These golden brown orbs of puffed potato deliciousness have been my dish of choice this past month. And I think the addition of rosemary and lemon makes the house smell like Sunday dinner. Happy roasting!

Rosemary Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Potato Crusted Quiche with Bacon & Caramelized Onions

Rebecca and I have been traveling a lot recently, often improvising, cooking in new kitchens and without access to our own pantry supplies. This Potato Crusted Quiche with Bacon and Caramelized Onions is a slam dunk for these situations. It is a reliable crowd-pleaser built on a simple shredded potato crust and easy pantry staples (milk, cream, eggs, onions, and bacon). The result is a sublime quiche with caramelized onions, a creamy custard, and smokey bacon. This recipe is also very adaptable...add cheese for extra richness....take out the bacon to make it vegetarian...or substitute your favorite topping.

Potato Crusted Quiche with Bacon & Caramelized Onions

Simple Lemon Butter Salmon

We've tried to expose Madeline to a wide taste palette, including some foods that kids find tough to love, like fish. In Haiti, her favorite fish dish is pan fried local Woz fish with a key lime butter sauce. While back in North America, we have adapted Madeline's favorite fish recipe, and make this Simple Lemon Butter Salmon. Madeline likes this Lemon Butter Salmon so much her hands shake with enthusiasm in between bites, and quite frankly, we adults aren't too far behind her! 

Simple Lemon Butter Salmon

Roasted Garlic & Buttermilk Potato Leek Soup

It’s a soup day here in Indiana Northern Indiana. While Madeline and I count down the weeks until we return to warmer weather and our home Haiti, we are eating for the cold weather with the toasty flavors of roasted garlic, tangy buttermilk and mellow nutty leeks. This Roasted Garlic & Buttermilk Potato and Leek Soup is a winter winner!

Roasted Garlic & Buttermilk Potato Leek Soup

Spiced Moroccan Carrot Salad

When the winter chills set in, this colorful tangerine hued salad, with its bright splashes of pomegranate, feta, and cilantro is a full flavored pick you up. This is a long-standing recipe in our repertoire, with a captivating citrus and spice vinaigrette. 

Spiced Moroccan Carrot Salad

6 Winter Salads

For us, a good meal involves contrast, vibrant vegetables and meatless mains, even in the coldest months. We’ve put together a collection of 6 of our most popular hearty winter salads to inspire your winter salading. 

1. Wild Rice & Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms & Asparagus

2. Kale Cobb Salad with Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

3. Roasted Vegetable Fattoush Salad

4. Crisp Apple Fennel Salad with Tangerine Vinaigrette

5. Beet & Goat Cheese Salad

6. Slow Cooker Lentil Salad with Roasted Squash

6 Winter Salads
Paul Shetler Fast

Coconut & Buttermilk Layer Cake with Strawberry Filling

For us, the end of January is a birthday time of year, with family celebrations today for loved ones and Madeline's 1st birthday coming up this week. We think birthdays calls for cake (even if Madeline is too young to enjoy it), and were craving the flavor of coconut and strawberry when we first started to experiment with this remarkably light and fluffy cake before Christmas. 

Paul Shetler Fast
Coconut & Buttermilk Layer Cake with Strawberry Filling

Thai Peanut Sauce Smoked Chicken Wings

Christmas in Indiana this year had as hankering for these Thai Peanut Smoked Chicken Wings. Given the challenges of finding both chicken wings and a smoker in Haiti, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to chow down on an old favorite while back in the US. This pungent Thai sauce is chock full of vibrant flavors, tangy lime, creamy peanut butter, garlic, and spicy jalapeno. For those without a home smoker, the recipe includes an easy adaptation for oven roasting.

Thai Peanut Sauce Smoked Chicken Wings

Beef Stroganoff

We are well into January now, and all of those New Year's resolutions to subsist on green smoothies and sorghum grain bowls may be looking more aspirational then realistic at this point. Enter Beef Stroganoff, a rich and sumptuous cold weather hit packed with umami meatiness, the tang of sour cream, and the piquant brightness of white wine and mustard. Beef Stroganoff is the perfect old-school counter to the self-flagellation that too often accompanies the new year, and beats the joy out eating. This New Year resolve to eat food you love!

Beef Stroganoff

Food and Thoughts of 2016

We catapulted into 2016 in a new country, jobs, and language. Learning Haitian Creole together had moments of both frustration and hilarity. We practiced our new vocabulary at the maternity clinic, when two months after we arrived in Haiti, we became parents! Paul reflected about becoming a father to a daughter, pondering some of the global challenges that girls and women face. Madeline could not have a bigger ally in her proud papa. This year, our first as parents, we have felt deep gratitude and joy for our little daughter. Along the way we also started trying our hand at Haitian cooking, learning to make some of the iconic sweetsavory & spicy dishes we had learned to love. And through it all, our little baby kept growing, and so did we...

Food and Thoughts of 2016

Buttermilk Popovers with Quick Strawberry Jam

For my father's family, Christmas Eve, Heiliger Abend, is the heart of Christmas. It is a magical dark and cold night, where old hymns are sung by memory in German, acapella, by candlelight. My sister and I would look forward to the special appearance of traditional Christmas sweet and savory foods made by my Oma for Christmas Eve snacking. For Heiliger Abend this year, our young family of three is once again together. We will start new traditions as a family, and borrow from the past. Tonight we will be making my Oma's roast meat filled pastries, fleisch pieroshki with pickles. As a nod to our ravenous little eater's current favorite breakfast, will crank up the oven Christmas morning to make a batch of these airy buttermilk popovers with homemade strawberry jam, before an afternoon Christmas feast with our family. We will be thinking of our family and friends far away this Christmas as we celebrate, Merry Christmas! This recipe is inspired by Jenny Rosenstrach and adapted from King Arthur Flour.

Buttermilk Popovers with Quick Strawberry Jam
Rebecca Shetler Fast

Chocolate Berry Trifle

This sumptuous dessert is my go-to for potlucks and large holiday crowds, and is pretty much the gooey mother load of comforting desserts. Despite its many layered parts, Chocolate Berry Trifle has a special spot in my small repertoire of slam-dunk, crowd-pleasing desserts. The trifle, for those not familiar, is a brilliant British concoction that layers cake (traditionally a sponge cake) with fruit, alcohol, cream and pudding. The great thing about this dessert is that you can make it entirely from scratch or buy all the components and assemble them for a creation that is much more then the sum of its parts. 

Rebecca Shetler Fast
Chocolate Berry Trifle
Rebecca Shetler Fast

Haitian Spiced Hot Chocolate with Coconut, Chokola Ayisyen

Chokola Ayisyen, Haitian Spiced Hot Chocolate with Coconut is a spicy, thick, and comforting drink. In Haiti, Chokola Ayisyen is both served for breakfast, and also as a sweet, liquid reassurance during troubling times. In this season of post-Hurricane hardship for many in Haiti, we make and share Chokola Ayisyen in warm solidarity with our Haitian sisters and brothers.  Join us.

Rebecca Shetler Fast
Haitian Spiced Hot Chocolate with Coconut, Chokola Ayisyen

Lemon & Parmesan Scrambled Eggs

Despite living in the city, our small courtyard here is full of life. We have mango, coconut, key lime, sour orange, moringa, and papaya trees, a small herb garden with lemon grass, chives, and basil, and maybe, most importantly, two chickens. For me, having a daily source of beautiful backyard eggs is hard to beat. Since Madeline is an early riser, she and I often go out just as the dawn is breaking and collect fresh eggs for breakfast. Madeline knows what comes next and will crawl excitedly across the kitchen floor to her high-chair and stand babbling waiting for her breakfast to be ready (often two scrambled eggs and fresh fruit). These Lemon and Parmesan Scrambled eggs are quick and easy to make and packed with flavor. The generous parmesan adds richness and umami, while the lemon brightens up the dish and gives it a light tropical spin.

Lemon & Parmesan Scrambled Eggs