Gretchen McKay

Teacher with cystic fibrosis gears up to run Pittsburgh Marathon

Hannah Camic gets a look when she’s running that flies in the face of the chronic lung disease she was born with. She doesn’t smile so much as she glows, as if lit from within. This is no small feat when you’re double digits into an early morning workout that could include as many as […]

Lidia Bastianich gives a lesson in Italian cooking

Lidia Bastianich has written a dozen cookbooks since arriving in America more than 40 years ago, introducing at least two generations of Americans to the delights and intricacies of regional Italian cooking. Rather than simply dazzle like so many celebrity chefs, she keeps it simple. Ms. Bastianich’s persona on TV and in print has always […]

Simple, easy tips for rolling out Christmas cut-outs

Dough for a pie crust isn’t the only mixture of flour, sugar and fat that gives home cooks pause during the holiday season. Cut-out cookie dough also can be a source of baking anxiety, especially when you’re pressed for time and have tiny helpers who want to be part of the action. If you add […]

A few ideas for those Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving dinner takes so much time, energy and planning to prepare, and then everyone’s done eating in what feels like five minutes. It’s enough to drive a conscientious cook crazy. Thank goodness, then, for the meal’s many leftovers, which give those of us who prepare the holiday feast a second (and maybe even a third) […]

Stunning, reliable cranberries are steeped in Thanksgiving’s heritage

BROWNS MILLS, N.J. — Love ’em or hate ’em, cranberries have long been part of America’s culinary history. Even before Gen. Ulysses S. Grant gave orders in 1864 for the tart ruby berries to be given to Union soldiers as part of their holiday meal, cranberries were common on the table. Native Americans ate them and […]

Saying good-bye to Pittsburgh’s beloved thumbprint cookie

Pittsburghers are passionate about their cookies. So when Macy’s announced last month that the Arcade Bakery would be closing along with its Tic Toc Room on July 31, a kind of panic ensued.  What’s a holiday, or for that matter, any day of the month or week, without the bakery’s signature thumbprint cookies? Piled with […]

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt explores the science of home cooking

A self-described science nerd, and proud of it, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt planned a career in biology when he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1990s. He was the type of kid who chose Nickelodeon’s “Mr. Wizard’s World” over ABC’s “Full House.” The only problem was, much as he loved science, he absolutely hated working in […]

Chasing fall’s colors in Virginia’s picturesque Shenandoah Valley

LURAY, Va. — Some years ago, fresh out of college and poor as church mice, my husband and I set out on our great honeymoon adventure. Our three-day drive from Pittsburgh to jobs in Miami would take us through Virginia’s picturesque Shenandoah Valley. To humor my father, we agreed to stop at Luray Caverns. Good call, […]

All-star Thanksgiving: Roast turkey parts instead of the whole bird

Every year on Thanksgiving Day, the same scene plays out on countless American dinner tables. You score with the holiday bird’s thigh meat (so moist and juicy) but its breast, most unfortunately, is a dry and stringy epic fail. Thank goodness for gravy. Or maybe it’s the reverse. The breast meat carves into tender, magical […]

A gluten-free Thanksgiving

Cooking for someone with a wheat allergy or sensitivity is never easy, but it’s particularly trying during the holidays. So much of what we love to serve at our Thanksgiving table is chock-full of gluten — from the buttery crust on the pumpkin pie, to the giblet gravy, to the fresh-from-the-oven bread and rolls that are […]

Let’s eat: Pan-seared corn and quinoa salad

So you’ve been asked to bring a potluck dish to a Memorial Day cookout this weekend, and you’re thinking a salad might be an easy way to go. How about one that highlights one of late spring/early summer’s first crops, sweet corn? If you love the vegetable boiled or grilled on the cob, you (and […]

Tart it up with rhubarb

Locally grown veggies are starting to show up in area grocery stores and farmers markets. Many of these early offerings — spinach, baby lettuces, peas, asparagus — are sweet, tender and green. Rhubarb — that brightly colored, perennial veggie we old-fashioned souls love to fold into pies, cakes and jams — is starting to poke […]