Year: 2014


Luly’s Banana Bread

Did you ever grow up thinking what you knew to be something was completely different than what the rest of the world considered to be something? Was that too deep for a Monday? I’m talking about banana bread.  Could you tell?  No? My grandmother Luly, has made this banana bread for as long as I can remember.  It’s unlike any other banana bread I’ve ever had.  Ever. The outside develops a dark brown, sticky exterior and the inside is more like a moist cake than a quick bread.  The smell of it in the oven is something I recognize instantly and brings me right back to being a little girl; licking my little fingers while watching Saturday morning cartoons at her house. I thought everyone’s grandmother made banana bread the same way.  I can remember trying banana bread at bakeries and friend’s houses and being utterly confused.  I learned no two banana breads are alike.  I’m firmly in Luly’s camp. This bread is really more of a dense, moist cake in the shape of traditional …

Sugar Shack Maple Themed Winter Dinner Party // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Sugar Shack Dinner Party

I’ve officially added eating at a Canadian sugar shack to my bucket list.  Sadly, most of them are a 15 hour drive from my current location. BUT!  My parents are currently in the process of moving to Connecticut and visits to them would put me within 5 hours.  Completely do-able and completely happening. Sugar shacks are somewhat of an institution in the Quebec.  During the harvest time for maple sap (usually February through April), sugar shacks open their doors and dish out amazing comfort food in a communal setting.  Given the pomp and pagentry of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the dead season that occurs after the holidays and before spring finally appears can be downright dull.  The concept of spending the day in the woods, perhaps on a sleigh ride, learning and watching syrup being made, and sitting down to a hefty meal seems downright divine and the perfect cure for some serious cabin fever.  If you’d like to read more, the New York Times has a great article here. I first learned of these “cabane …


Thank you, Shirley Temple.

The sight of a bright pink glass studded with fizzy bubbles and plump, maraschino cherries sliding across the bar towards me always made me feel like “one of the adults” no matter how childlike and fluorescent my glass was.  With short, little legs swinging, I would belly up to the bar and confidently order my Shirley Temple the way other gents ordered their scotch.  The number of maraschino cherries was absolutely proportionate to the size of the smile I flashed to the bartender too.  One cherry and I felt like I’d been stiffed.  Your first Shirley Temple was almost a right of passage in childhood. According to Shirley herself, she had nothing to do with the mocktail whose origins are somewhat disputed.  Several Hollywood restaurants claim to have created the drink in the 1930s.  Regardless of where it started, most variations of the beverage include either ginger ale or lemon-lime soda (sometimes both), with a  splash of grenadine syrup and maraschino cherries. Growing up, our overnight sitter was a wonderful woman named Jackie.  She was …

Main Dishes

Seared Elk Ribeye Steaks with Maple Mascarpone Grits

Begging to stay up late, scouring the JC Penney catalog for replica athlete wear, and dreaming of witnessing sport history in the making.  Two weeks every two years were completely preoccupied with Olympic obsession when I was a kid. And I did rock that pink, purple, and white track suit from the ’96 Atlanta games proudly. Not much has changed as an adult.  I’ve traded in my loud-and-proud track suit for more subtle USA mittens but the obsession is the same. I made a huge check on my bucket two years ago when I was lucky enough to attend the London 2012 games and while the summer games will always be my favorite, there really is something to be said for the winter games as well. The artistry of figure skating and hoping this year I’ll learn what a triple salchow is; the knee-gripping excitement of moguls, and the anxiety over the heights reached in ski jumping.  I eat it up. While most parts of the country are exhausted over the snow and cold we’ve …

Bourbon Pecan Pie//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Top Recipes in 2013

What a year 2013 was!  Below is a list of the top recipes on the blog last year.  It’s fun to look back and see what resonated with readers…and make me crave warmer temperatures seeing summer photos! I’ve got a lot planned for the blog this year and want to say again how grateful I am for each and every one of you.  Here’s to 2014! 10. Fall Sangria with Apple Brandy 9. The Man Burger 8. Grilled Steaks with Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce 7. Fat Elvis & Priscilla Beehive Pancakes 6. Mexican Skirt Steak Tacos with Lime Crema & Queso Fresco 5. Cider Smoked Brined Turkey 4. Easy Peasy Rustic Bread 3. Homemade Marinara Sauce 2. Bourbon Pecan Pie 1. Mimosa Sorbet