Janet K. Keeler, Times Food and Travel Editor

Janet K. Keeler

Janet K. Keeler is the food and travel editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She is an adjunct instructor in the Journalism and Media Studies Department of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, from which she holds a master's degree. Keeler is also the author of Cookielicious: 150 Fabulous Recipes to Bake and Share. She joined the Times in 1992.

Phone: (727) 893-8586

Email: jkeeler@tampabay.com

Twitter: @RoadEats

  1. A gracious cook gives lessons in making pies



    Jackie Garvin is moving the pie dough around like a pro. She rolls it calmly, quickly, assertively. When it sticks, she lets it know who's boss and peels back a corner to shuffle a bit more flour underneath. And then she continues, her grandmother's spirit embodied in her old rolling pin, which Garvin uses faithfully.

    Before long — well before the specks of butter can melt — she's got the dough fitted into a 9-inch pie pan. A bowl of sweetened peach filling is at the ready, and so is another ball of dough that will form the top crust. It all comes together and goes back into the fridge to chill before baking....

    To make it easier to transfer the dough and get it positioned correctly on the pie, Garvin folds it in quarters before she moves it.
  2. Easy weeknight meals: Turkey Kebabs with Tzatziki Couscous Salad and more


    Mon | Meatless meal

    Roasted Veggie Wraps with brown rice and feta get a flavorful boost from fresh mint or basil, whatever you've got on hand. Cut zucchini, onions, green and/or red peppers and mushrooms in similar sizes, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes. While veggies are roasting, make rice. Roll roasted veggies with brown rice and feta cheese in wrap of your choice. Top with fresh mint or basil leave. Feel like you need a sauce? Mix Greek yogurt with minced garlic and drizzle on top of mixture before you wrap....

  3. #CookClub recipe No. 21: The Best of Vermont Burger (w/video)


    Okay, you can say I am a sore loser. I am still bitter that my recipe submission for the 2008 Sutter Home Build a Better Burger contest in California's Napa Valley was snubbed.

    I continue to maintain that my Best of Vermont Burger with maple bacon, thick slices of cheddar and green apple slaw is a winner. I throw it to the #CookClub to be the judge.

    I had never entered a recipe contest before, mostly because many of them bar food professionals. Contest people figure a journalist who writes about food for a living has an unfair advantage. Well, I guess that didn't matter much....

    The Best of Vermont Burger, entered by Times Food and Travel Editor Janet Keeler, in the "Build a Better Burger Contest, sponsored by Sutter Home.
  4. Easy weeknight meals: Mexican Tossed Salad and more


    Mon | Meatless meal

    Mexican Tossed Salad (recipe below) is a twist on your typical green salad, using tortilla chips instead of croutons. The addition of jicama and cilantro are two more Latin flavor boosts. It's a versatile vegetarian recipe that can be augmented with cooked shrimp or chicken for those of other dietary persuasions.

    Tues | Bowl of food...

  5. Readers share packing and money-saving travel tips


    Thinking about going on a trip is exciting. For many of us, getting ready is not. • There is an avalanche of decisions to make. How many shirts and pairs of pants? Which shoes are the most comfortable? Checked baggage or carry-on? What kind of electronics to bring? How much money to take, and in what form should I get it? • Last month, we asked readers to share their travel tips, from ways to save money to packing suggestions. What a resourceful bunch you are — and sometimes picky and even a bit worried, especially about being ripped off. The reader who suggested that travelers should not go out at night lest they risk getting mugged, or worse, has had some terrible experiences, I am betting. • The suggestions reminded me of how differently we all look at preparing for a trip, and how what's important to one person might be left to chance by another. For instance, Anita Faye Glock of Tampa never travels without flip-flops to use as slippers in the hotel, as relief from walking shoes that give her blisters and for trudging through wet weather if it's not too cold. I only travel with flip-flops if I think I'm going to get a pedicure. Different strokes, as the saying goes. • Here's a selection of other reader tips, all of which obviously come from experience....

  6. What do we think of most when we travel? Our underwear


    Now we are going to mention unmentionables. In a word, underwear.

    It's something travelers think about more than you'd think. Especially women. Multiple pairs take up precious space in luggage, they say. Dirty ones even more (unless you're a member of the Thong Generation).

    A recent article in the New York Times travel section suggested that you pack no underwear at all, and buy new undergarments on your trip. The company Exofficio (exofficio.com) markets a magic pair of undies, suggesting that just one might suffice for a long trip. One!...

  7. Easy weeknight meals: Grilled Lemon Chicken With Tomato Salad and more


    Mon | Meatless meal

    Simple White Bean and Fennel Soup comes together so quickly it won't heat up the kitchen much on a hot summer day. To make it, saute 1 diced onion and 1 small sliced fennel bulb in oil until tender. Add 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1 (14-ounce) can each drained cannellini beans and diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until fennel is tender. Discard bay leaf. Add 3 cups spinach and cook until wilted. ...

  8. #CookClub recipe No. 20: Cherry Tomato Focaccia


    I know I might be asking a lot of you, but #CookClub recipe No. 20 calls for making your own bread dough. With yeast. It needs to rise for an hour. Twice.

    But Cherry Tomato Focaccia is worth the effort. It's gorgeous and delicious, plus there's plenty of room for tinkering. You'll know what I mean when you read the accompanying recipe.

    (If you're nervous about using yeast, watch this week's #CookClub video at tampabay.com/cooking. I show you how to make sure the yeast you're using is still good. Dead yeast = flat bread.)...

    #CookClub recipe #20 is Cherry Tomato Focaccia made with homemade dough.
  9. 25 ways to dress up corn on the cob


    There may not be any other food that screams Fourth of July cookout more than corn on the cob.

    It goes with everything — burgers, steaks, chicken, hot dogs — plus it doesn't require utensils, unless you count those cute cob holders. I simply use my hands and just have extra napkins at the ready. Toothpicks, too. It could also be the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal, piled high with grated cheeses....

    Bacon-Cheddar corn on the cob: Once you’ve grilled, boiled or roasted your corn, dress it up. 
A mayonnaise, bacon and cheese blend lends flavor to these kernels.
  10. Easy weeknight meals: Rosemary-Peach Chicken Kebabs With Orange Glaze and more


    Mon | Meatless meal

    Gnocchi With Pesto is a fine celebration of summer and can be served hot or at room temperature. If you're lucky enough to come across a fresh bunch of basil or two, make your own pesto. If not, buy some at the store, usually stocked in the aisle with the pastas and sauces. Garnish the dressed gnocchi — Italian potato pasta curls — with lots of Parmesan cheese. This dish begs for a veggie-ful green salad on the side....

  11. #CookClub recipe No. 19: Jalapeno Chile con Queso


    I'll admit it. When it comes to spicy food, I am a bit of a wimp. For my delicate taste buds, a little heat goes a long way.

    So when the recipe for Jalapeno Chile con Queso called for an entire diced jalapeno pepper, I only put in half. Mistake. Use the whole pepper, because the other ingredients in this decadent party dip can stand up to the heat. In fact, if you are a pepperhead, add 2 minced jalapenos. Wash your hands after handling them. Accidentally rubbing your eyes or touching your lips will be painful if you don't....

    JANET K. KEELER   |   Times
Jalapeno Chile con Queso is a hot dip perfect for gatherings. It's not your typical Fourth of July fare but will be gobbled up just the same. Serve with vegetables or tortilla chip
  12. Easy weeknight meals: Roast Chicken Panzanella and more


    Mon | Meatless meal

    It's too hot to cook, so how about a tasty Caprese Salad as tonight's main dish? Alternate slices of ripe tomatoes with the same width of fresh mozzarella slices. Scatter ribbons of fresh basil over all and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For a protein-packed twist, add slices of avocado. Serve with a selection of green and black olives, plus sourdough bread....

  13. Despite steep prices, London is a wonderful family playground



    It's dripping buckets, though that is hardly surprising. It's London, after all, where it rains on average 10 days of every month.

    There are three of us and only two umbrellas. Not perfect planning but the 18-year-old is spry and can move quickly between drops. It's a lucky break for him, though, because he won't have to carry it later.

    The taxi drops us in front of the British Museum, and he sprints across the plaza toward the Greek Revival building. We are not the only ones who think this repository of 8 million historic artifacts is a good place to spend a dreary day. Students from grade school to college along with their animated tour guides, tourists from around the world and even locals converge on the museum in lousy weather. (There's a healthy crowd there on nice days, too.) ...

    The Horse Guards Parade off of Whitehall in central London is a popular photo op spot. The Queen’s Life Guard is on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when there is a dismounting ceremony.
  14. Easy weeknight meals: Caesar Artichoke Bake and more


    This Stir Crazy column first ran on June 15, 2011. New Stir Crazy columns will resume June 25.

    Mon | Meatless meal

    Open-Faced Provolone and Tomato Baguettes is a simple concept made sophisticated with a side salad of baby greens, thin shallots and toasted almonds dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Don't forget the ice-cold pinot grigio. Split the baguette lengthwise, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with dried thyme and coarse salt. Toast lightly in a 350-degree oven. Remove and layer on thinly sliced tomatoes and slabs of provolone. Return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Slice and serve with salad. ...

  15. When life gives you lemons, say 'hallelujah!'


    When life gives you lemons, you can make so much more than lemonade.

    A sprinkling of zest over strawberry shortcake adds punch to the berries and cream, plus creates an appetizing feast for the eyes.

    Add a squeeze or, better yet, chopped preserved lemons to broccoli, green beans or roasted asparagus and the kids might even ask for seconds. Fresh lemon juice mixed with mayonnaise makes a lighter dressing for summer salads....

    Lemon Chicken Piccata features pan-fried breast medallions topped with a buttery sauce with capers and parsley.