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We are thrilled to launch our new Readers’ Recipes section. This issue celebrates some dishes made with locally grown produce and a few delicious (if not entirely healthy) readers’ Holiday favorites!

If you have a recipe you’d like to share with us please email it to

Pistachio-Cranberry Icebox Cookies

by Rae K.

I got this delicious, easy cookie recipe out of Yankee Magazine, years ago, and they are still a favorite!

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 2.75 hours

Yield: 2-1/2 dozen cookies

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup coarse decorative sugar

Mix together flour, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of a standing or electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and zest until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture until dough comes together in clumps. Add pistachios and cranberries.

Gather and press dough together. Cut dough in half and place each half on a sheet of waxed paper. Form each half into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.

Square off each log to form a bar (pressing two rulers along the length of the dough is helpful), and wrap each bar in waxed paper.

Chill until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, beat egg. Brush egg over logs on all sides.

Place coarse sugar on a separate sheet of waxed paper.

Roll bars in sugar, coating well.

Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, rotating bar after cutting each slice to keep square shape. (If dough is too soft to slice, freeze briefly until firm.)

Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets. Bake 15 to 18 minutes.

Transfer cookies from parchment to racks and cool completely.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Puree

by Janet Eckhoff

This is one of my favorite side dishes for holiday turkey or ham dinners. It tastes terrific, adds a nice color contrast to the plate and is consistently a second helping item. I usually double the recipe for a crowd of twelve.

I evolved this recipe from one in an old Silver Palate cookbook but I eliminated about 7 tablespoons of butter and all the sugar. I don’t think it impacts the taste and makes it so much healthier.

  • Four large sweet potatoes or yams, (organic if you can afford them)
  • One pound bag of fresh carrots, (organic if you can afford them)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • ½ cup Crème Fraiche – you can find this at Whole Foods or make your own as it is quite easy*
  • Dash of nutmeg

Cut a line in the top of each potato and bake in a 350 degree oven until a fork slides into center of potato easily, about an hour.

Cut carrots into 3-4 inch length and max half inch thickness.

Put into a large saute pan and add water to almost cover and the butter.

Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and cook uncovered until tender and water has evaporated, about 30 minutes.

Mix in batches in your food processor – half the potato (peeled of course) and half the carrots and ¼ cup of Crème Fraiche*.

You want the mixture to be completely free of lumps.

Put into an over proof container and top with nutmeg.

Bake for about 30 minutes until hot.

You can make this a day or two ahead and just pop into the over.

*Cream Fraiche

Mix equal parts of low fat sour cream and whipping or heavy cream.

Cover and let it sit on your counter until it thickens. Then refrigerate.

This can also be added to fresh fruit or pie.

Chocolate Chili

by Claudia Robinson

I simmer this in the Crockpot on busy days so the house smells divine when we come home. We serve this divine dish with quinoa, a warm loaf of crunchy baguette and grass fed butter. It pairs well with meaty, dark red wines.

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • Garlic – the recipe calls for 4 tsp but I used 4 tablespoons! Love garlic!
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • Cumin – 2 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 14.5 oz fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz beef broth
  • 1 cup water

Add coconut oil to the pan. Stir in onion and garlic. Heat until onion becomes transparent.

Add crumbled beef to the pan and begin to brown. If using high fat ground beef you may want to strain the fat off the top before moving on to the next step. Although there is nothing wrong with fat, I find that less fat floating on top improves the presentation of the dish.

Add and mix dry seasonings in a ramekin with a fork. Make sure that they are well combined. The dried oregano can be crushed between your palms to help release its flavor.

Add seasonings to beef mixture and combine well.

Add tomato paste to beef mixture and combine well.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth, and water to the mixture. Combine well. Bring to a boil and let it simmer gently for 2 hours — stirring frequently. The original recipe says that you shouldn’t skimp on the simmer although I simmered mine for 1 hour and received tasty results. Point is, you can play around with it.

You can substitute diced chicken or tofu for the beef!

Mom’s Black Bean Lasagna

by Katie O’Sullivan

  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 32 oz Ricotta
  • 5 oz bag fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cheese (Monterey Jack or cheddar), grated
  • 2 16 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 oz jar pasta sauce
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • lasagna noodles (precooked kind or cook your own)
  • 1 cup cheese (Monterey Jack/cheddar and mozzarella), grated

In a large bowl, beat eggs, mix in ricotta, then add spinach, parsley, salt and 1 cup grated cheese.

In second large bowl, mash the beans with a potato masher. Add sauce and cumin.

Spread thin layer of sauce on bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Layer noodles, 1/3 beans, ½ spinach/ricotta mix, noodles, 1/3 beans, ½ spinach/ricotta mix, noodles, beans. End with last of bean mix on top.

Bake 350 degrees covered with tinfoil. Uncover and sprinkle last cup of cheese (with mozzarella mixed in) on top.

Bake until cheese melts.

Serve with garlic bread.