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It's Simple: The best recipes of Ann Heller

We're dipping into our archives to reintroduce sought-after recipes from Ann Heller, the Dayton Daily News' restaurant critic and food writer for 31 years.

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Newspaper to re-introduce former food critic’s most popular recipes online
Use the palm of your hand against a chef’s knife to loosen the husk of the garlic clove. STAFF PHOTO / JIM WITMER

Updated: 12:23 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013

When former Dayton Daily News and Journal Herald food editor and restaurant critic Ann Heller tested recipes for her long-running “It’s Simple” column, she applied the same exacting standards to her own cooking as she did to the Dayton area’s restaurant chefs.“There were plenty of rejects,” Heller recalled in a ...

Flank steak ready in minutes

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014

One of the most attractive cuts of beef, from a health-conscious point of view, is lean, virtually fat-free flank steak. It is not a cut of meat for those who like their meat cooked well done because, without any fat, the flank steak gets tough if cooked more than medium ...

This pasta recipe tastes like pizza!

5:55 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014

If you’re hungering for the taste of pizza but don’t want to go out, there’s an easy alternative — pasta alla pizzaiola. The Neapolitan sauce, made with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions and seasoned with oregano, has the pizza taste. And you can improvise, adding your favorite pizza ingredients — ...

Make this soup in only 5 minutes!

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013

While the kettle of soup simmering on the back of the stove has romantic appeal, quick soups are my cup of tea these days. My sister whips up what she calls 5-minute soup. As she explains, pretty much anything can go in it — leftover meat or chicken, quick-cooking vegetables ...

Potatoes and sausage make an easy one-dish supper

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

One of the easiest one-dish suppers I know is this robustly flavored mixture of potatoes, peppers, onion and sausage. It’s easy to fix after work and before whatever is scheduled that evening and will feed a family of four nicely. It can easily be cut in half to serve two. ...

Apple Walnut Torte deceptively simple

5:23 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013

I grew up in a family where the gathering of black walnuts and hickory nuts was a ritual of fall. We always went to fields near Fort Ancient about the time the leaves began to turn. Dad hulled the walnuts and throughout winter would sit by the fire and crack ...

Baked cheese can be made ahead of party time

11:06 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013

The Danes were always a hit at food editors conferences that used to be held in Chicago. The people who came to promote their cuisine were lively and the food was always wonderful.One year the hit was an appetizer of Danish cheese baked in puff pastry with herbs. I introduced ...

Guests will eat up these Bourbon Pecans

4:55 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

Anyone can open a jar of olives and a can of nuts and set them out for a party. But that’s so boring; it tells your guests you don’t think much of them. By getting a head start, you can offer such temptations as bourbon spiced nuts and marinated olives. ...

Make tasty Tuscan Bean Soup in a jiffy

3:16 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, 2013

The defunct “Cook’s” magazine once did a taste test to measure the quality of canned beans against dried beans soaked and simmered for hours. The conclusion was that canned beans are an acceptable, time-saving substitution. I thoroughly agree. Beans are one of the few canned products I keep on hand, ...

Mashed potatoes that fool the eye and save the waistline

12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Buttery rich mashed potatoes are the essence of comfort food, but great quantities of butter make me nervous these days. Now I’m not about to mash potatoes with water and resort to Butter Buds. I still want the real thing, so enter the world of illusion. These mashed potatoes look ...

Asian pears, ham a perfect match in salad

Updated: 7:44 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013

Asian pears … can be eaten as is, but are good in winter salads. In this one, the saltiness of the ham pairs wonderfully with the fruit. ASIAN PEAR SALAD Makes 6 servings 3 Asian pears 6 green onions 1/4 pound ham, sliced 1/8-inch thick* 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar ...

Easy pork loin recipe as good as bacon

Updated: 10:56 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013

One of my favorite Spanish recipes is this incredibly easy seasoned pork loin.The pork is slathered with a mixture of paprika, garlic and herbs and left to marinate for several days.This is a wonderful piece of meat to have on hand, and it can be kept refrigerated for several days. ...

Triple-chocolate tart is absolutely sensuous

5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013

If it’s true that one great recipe makes a cookbook, then Ronald Johnson’s “Company Fare” is a winner. That’s because Johnson has a recipe for a make-ahead, have-on-hand, freezer-to-oven, triple-chocolate dessert that’s sinfully rich and positively sensuous. He calls the recipe, attributed to the defunct restaurant Rakal in New York, ...

Curried Pumpkin Mushroom Soup

5:54 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013

You can throw out any other pumpkin soup recipes you may have clipped out to try. This one is the very best. We created this soup (originally from Turback’s restaurant in Ithaca, N.Y., and obtained by Gourmet magazine) to precede a wintry wild game dinner, and both cooks and guests ...

A simple pie with an amazing taste

3:59 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013

This is the era of fancy chocolate desserts, but I’m always drawn to homey desserts such as Ohio sugar cream pie or this old-fashioned classic called buttermilk pie.I used to hate the thought of buttermilk — because of the way it looks in the glass when someone drinks it — ...

With zucchini, less is more

5:17 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013

All the French chefs and their sauces sometimes can’t improve on nature’s bounty. Take, for example, zucchini. Whole cookbooks have been dedicated to the subject of the prolific vegetable. I realize that boredom has prompted most of the innovation, but this is one subject where less is more. The delicate ...

Barbecues better with this corn salad

11:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2013

When the main course is going to be barbecue and the event is potluck, what are you going to bring? I gave it some thought when invited to a “pig out” in Cincinnati. The host promised succulent roast pig, prime rib and chicken. A pig roast is no time for ...

Try this cold sauce on hot pasta

12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013

Sometimes when I start to cook dinner I remember, vaguely, a recipe I’ve read, or a restaurant dish I’ve eaten, or merely a concoction I’ve heard described. One I repeatedly read about was pasta with an uncooked sauce of chopped tomatoes, sometimes with basil or bits of cheese. Cold sauce ...

Sweet, sour and a little peppy: Thai Cucumber Salad

12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013

A sweet and sour cucumber salad is a traditional accompaniment to satays, the grilled, skewered snacks served in Thailand. Depending on who you talk to, it may be spiked with hot pepper, but it’s not necessary. In this country, the salad is also a good accompaniment to grilled chicken and ...

Bell pepper recipe too good not to share
Use the palm of your hand against a chef’s knife to loosen the husk of the garlic clove. STAFF PHOTO / JIM WITMER

12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

I have never refused to share a recipe and am suspect of those who do. But I was tempted once. The dish was an unusual, dramatic and intensely flavored saute of red bell peppers, flavored with, among other things, almonds, garlic, one anchovy and cilantro. I immediately passed the recipe ...

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