Category Archives: Book Reviews

{Things I Love} :: Summer 2016

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My {Things I Love} list is back for Summer 2016 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, recipes, photography, food and drinks that I’m currently crushing on – not necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a huge shoutout for their awesomeness in my opinion…until next time, Happy End of Summer, and Bon Appetit!

fresh fish cookbook

Fresh Fish Cookbook

Jennifer Trainer Thompson‘s new cookbook has gorgeous photography, amazing seafood recipes and great stories of her living along the New England coast, all the while demystifying how to cook fish simply and deliciously. You’ll find recipes for soups and chowders, shellfish, fish entrees, side dishes, desserts and beachy cocktails for your next Summer seaside feast.

Jennifer is the author of over 20 books, a self-professed hot sauce maker and chicken chaser, and author of the blog Jump Up and Kiss Me, where you can find more of her food stories and recipes.

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coconut rose petal ice cream

Coconut and Rose Petal Ice Cream w/ Cardamom Crumble

Not only is this a beautiful Summer dessert, it’s vegan, made with coconut milk and vanilla, fresh rose petals and a cardamom and oats crumble topping.  A dream come true.

Linda Lomelinos of Call Me Cupcake Blog

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Ken & Cook NYC

It’s currently #NYCRestaurantWeek, and we all know what that means. Bingeing on some of the most delicious food and drinks in NYC, without guilt of course, at $42 per person for dinner and $29 per person for lunch including appetizers, entree and dessert. I recently visited Ken and Cook with a friend for dinner the other night and I had a glorious feast of Ahi Poke Tuna, Seafood Ceviche, Filet Mignon with Basil Pesto Mashed Potatoes with a Chocolate Lava Cake w/ Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Tiramisu for dessert. With unlimited Prosecco on the house, at that. The atmosphere was lovely, the staff super attentive and gracious. In a great location in SoHo on Kenmore Street at the best table in the house. Must try – 100% delicious!

nora luther

Nora Luther Food Photography

Being a food stylist and photographer myself, of course I’m obsessed with all things food photography. I discovered Art Director Nora Luther’s food photos from another food blog I visit frequently and was blown away by her photos of food literally flying in the air.  So creative and very cool way to present food in a unique way.

blackberry crostata

Blackberry Chocolate Italian Tart with Coffee Creme Fraiche

OK. I absolutely love fruit tarts in the Summer. But blackberries and chocolate in a whole grain coconut flour crust? Topped with coffee infused creme fraiche? And what a gorgeous presentation at that, by Valentina of Hortus food blog. yes, please. 

pereg flours

Pereg Gourmet Alternative Flours

We all know that gluten-free is all the rage, and Pereg Gourmet just launched a new line of alternative flours this year to give consumers more cooking and baking options for gluten-free diets. They have 6 new varieties including Almond flour, Banana flour, Buckwheat flour, Chickpea flour, Coconut flour and Farro flour. All are gluten free except for the Farro, and are 100% natural, non-dairy and certified kosher. I was fortunate enough to get some samples myself, so it’s time to experiment with some fun recipes for Fall – hmmm, I’m thinking pizza, tarts and pies, homemade pasta..let’s see what I can come up with – stay tuned!

fried chicken gravy poutine

Fried Chicken and Gravy Poutine

O.M.G. – 5 words: fried chicken. gravy. fries. cheese curds. BACON. #yum

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The Capital Grille #GenerousPour Summer Promo

My friends and I visited The Capital Grille the other night on 42nd St in NYC to take advantage of NY Restaurant Week (yes, once again!) and to partake in their #GenerousPour Summer promo. For only $28, were able to taste a variety of 3 whites and 3 reds, handpicked by The Capital Grille to accompany our dinner menu. We had the Clam Chowder (super good!), Dry Aged NY Strip and Grilled Shrimp, Beef Tournados, and Pan-Seared Salmon (all amazing!) with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes (to. die. for.) and an amazing Creme Brûlée (my favorite!!) for dessert.

My favorite wines were the Provenance Sauvignon Blanc from Napa CA, and the Beaulieu Vineyards Tapestry Cabernet (a bordeaux blend), also from Napa. We managed to stay for a few hours with full bellies and lots of generously poured vino and escaped for less than $100 each, including tip. Now that’s a delicious steal.

peach burrata salad

Peach Burrata Salad

This fresh summer salad is the perfect recipe for a light lunch or side dish for dinner. The saltiness of the prosciutto with the subtle heat of the red onion and the creaminess of the burrata is a seriously magical combination. And it’s stunning to look at too, is it not? I’m thinking a side of sparkling rose would just top it off beautifully.

french country cooking cookbook

French Country Cooking Cookbook

Another lovely cookbook from one of my favorite food bloggers, Mimi Thorisson of Manger. Filled with gorgeous as ever French styling and recipes and photos that will make your mouth water and wish you too were living in the countryside of France. Available Oct 25, and for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online…can’t wait to get my hands on it!

lobster tails

Lobster Tails with Mojo de Ajo & Grilled Corn Salsa

I love anything grilled, and this recipe absolutely screams Summer. Grilled lobster tails with garlic, chipotle, cilantro and lime marinade and a side of grilled corn salsa with more spicy flavors like jalapeño, onions, and basil. Sounds divine. Must make tonight.

caprese mac and cheese

4 Cheese Caprese Mac and Cheese

O.M.G. Pasta. Heirloom tomatoes and basil. All baked into a bubbly pot with 4 melty cheeses – cheddar, havarti, mozzarella and brie. Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest does it again. Gorgeous and delicious as always.


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Top 10 {Things I Love} :: Winter 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Winter 2015 with some fun and interesting objets de desir, places, people, books, food and drinks that I’m currently crushing on – not necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a huge shoutout for their awesomeness in my opinion… Happy Holidays and New Year 2016! 

magpie cookbook

Magpie Cookbook – Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique is a popular pie shop in Philadelphia, owned by Chef Holly Ricciardi. This book is full of her famous pie recipes, both savory and sweet – from luscious quiches, pot pies and hand pies, to fruity, creamy and nutty pies like her bourbon-infused Butterscotch Pie recipe passed down from her Grandmother. Great for any pie-obsessed person and includes tons of great techniques on how to make different types of crusts and decorative touches for a gorgeous handmade pie. Ah, PIE.
Get it on Amazon

aria wine bar

Aria Wine Bar, NYC – This trendy cozy place has 2 locations: one in the West Village, and another in Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. Offering Venetian-style Italian Tapas, the menu has a plethora of delicious small plates, appetizers, pasta dishes, and salads all created for sharing. They have a great wine list, and the atmosphere is romantic and buzzing and the best part is the wine list offers the fruits of the world’s foremost lady vintners. Try the Mini Meatballs drenched in homemade sauce and melted cheese, the Sautéed Mussels in wine, or the Truffle Mac & Cheese. You won’t be disappointed! Another NYC fave not to miss.

bacon jam

The Bacon Jams Bacon Spread – Who doesn’t love bacon? Well now you can have it anytime on the fly. This delicious Bacon Jam is made with real bacon, brown sugar, and onions with three varieties that can all be simply spread on crackers or bread, elegantly spread to elevate appetizers, grilled sandwiches, pasta or to add bacon to any of your favorite dishes. Try the Original, Black Pepper or Red Chile and Garlic. Delicious!

Trimino Protein Water

Trimino Protein Water – With the popularity of vitamin waters and fruit waters abound, there’s a new and improved kid on the block. Trimino Still and Sparkling waters are infused with 7 grams of protein, are caffeine and sugar free, and only 28 calories. And lots of fun flavors too! Strawberry Lemonade, Mixed Berry, Coconut Pineapple, Peach and Watermelon. Perfectly light and refreshing for and after workout drink or as a base for a fruity beverage or cocktail.

Gala Pork Pie

Parker’s British Foods – Brits Victoria and Damian Parker have a serious love for British food, and learned the crafts of butchery, meat curing and pie making from some incredible British butchers, combining those skills with the best meats and recipes the British Isles had to offer. Then they got married, packed their bags and set off for a new life in America. Now based out of Buffalo, NY, they offer genuine British food like Pork Pie, Sausages, Proper Fish and Chips and a variety of British sweets, condiments, drinks, snacks and gifts for sale in their online store. Check ’em out, Mate!

extra virgin nyc

Extra Virgin NYC – Extra Virgin is a great little neighborhood spot located in New York City’s West Village. They offer delicious Mediterranean food in a buzzing dimly lit atmosphere with a fantastic wine selection and different varieties of extra virgin oils from around the world. Try the Fritto Misto – lightly fried calamari, zucchini and shrimp as an’s light and crispy and perfectly fried to perfection. The Prosciutto-wrapped Sea Scallops are equally delicious, served over Cauliflower Puree and Porcini Sauce with a Apple and Celery Salad on the side. The Short Ribs are to die for, and literally melt in your mouth, served over Truffled Mashed Potatoes (try these with a side of Grilled Broccolini..super delicious!) They also have a great Sunday brunch and lovely desserts..Another NYC fave, don’t miss it.

Jan Burtz Gold Luster Plates

Jan Burtz Luster Ceramics – Offered exclusively at ABC Home in New York City, these ceramics have a handprinted metallic border that lovingly outlines their natural and irregular forms. Made by hand from creamy porcelain and homemade glazes, these pieces bring us back to the basics, accentuating the fluidity and grace of hand-formed wares. Made in Jan Burtz’s Connecticut studio, no two pieces are alike. Also offered in silver and a variety of bowls, trays, platters, vases, plates and sizes. Adds an elegant rustic touch to any table!

Get them on ABC Home

Maple Syrup Cookbook

Maple Syrup Cookbook – I recently got this cookbook and absolutely love it! Why? Because I’m in love with maple syrup and everything in here has a recipe made with it. I made the French Canadian Maple Sugar Pie with Walnuts and the Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving and they were both delicious hit at the table! If you love maple syrup as much as I do you can’t miss this cookbook..get it! Immediately.
Get it on Amazon

Raised Bloom Baking Set, Anthropologie

Raised Bloom Baking Set – Who doesn’t love a little bling for the holidays, and better yet who doesn’t love Anthropologie??? This adorable baking set is made of carved stoneware coated in a lovely iridescent glaze including a rolling pin, pie server, measuring spoons, pie plate, whisk and a muffin tin. Almost too pretty to bake with!
Get it on Anthropologie

cranberry sauce

Colors of Nature Cranberry Sauce with Rum and Orange – Colors of Nature is a small, family owned company based out of Brooklyn NY that makes beautiful small batch sauces, jellies and cakes full of fresh ingredients and flavors. Try the Cranberry Sauce made with Rum and Orange – perfect for the holidays!

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Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

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Maple Recipes for the Holiday

Well it’s that time a year again…the holidays are here, and we all know what that means…PIE. And lots of cooking. With lots of yummy Winter comfort food and ingredients, like maple syrup.

maple syrup cookbook

Every year I try to make a new pie and experiment away from the traditional pumpkin, cherry and apple pies. I got a new cookbook title The Maple Syrup Cookbook with some awesome recipes in it and was inspired to make some of them for Thanksgiving this year with the family.

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

This French Canadian Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie is super delicious and was a hit at the table this year!

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

It’s similar to Pecan pie but has a touch of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar along with a big mess of chopped walnuts, brown sugar, brewed tea, and eggs all baked in a lovely crust. It has a nice balance of sweetness and tartness with lots of crunch and a gooey filling – super #delish!

Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

I always make Brussels sprouts for the holidays, but this year I made Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts from the cookbook, using a touch of maple syrup for sweetness to the recipe instead of the balsamic drizzle I  normally use with the bacon, shallots and vinegar.


They both went great with our Thanksgiving dinner and were absolutely divine with some lovely Riesling wine to go with.

Thanksgiving Dinner

I’m definitely a big fan of this cookbook and these new recipes and I hope you try them too – I’m thinking I’ll make the Maple-Bacon Bread Pudding that’s in the book this year for Christmas Brunch! Stay tuned for that one on the blog soon!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Holidays! xo 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts


  • Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
  • 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or frozen)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brewed tea
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (or substitute shallots)
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional, I did not use)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


  1. Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
  2. Prepare the pie shell according to the directions and line a 9-inch pie plate with the pie pastry and refrigerate or freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Whisk together eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup, butter, tea, vinegar and salt, whisking until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Place the pie shell on a heavy baking sheet and pour in the filling.
  4. Bake on the center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 25 minutes longer until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp with whipped cream or ice cream. Also good cold.
  5. Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
  6. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
  7. Add the butter and onions to the skillet, and saute over medium heat until translucent, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken broth.
  8. Cover and braise the Brussels sprouts until not quite tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the mustard, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Continue to cook uncovered, until sprouts are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup just before taking off the heat, and transfer to a serving dish and top with the cooked crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
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Top 10 {Things I Love} Summer 2015

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My Top 10 {Things I Love} list is back for Summer with some fun and interesting things/places/foods/drinks that I’m currently crushing on – they aren’t necessarily ordered in terms of my favorite – but are all worthy of a shoutout in my opinion… Happy Summer everyone 🙂

Herriot Grace Cake Pedestal

1. Herriot Grace 

Herriot Grace is a father and daughter-run company from Canada who makes a gorgeous variety of hand carved and handmade wooden objects: spoons, bowls, pedestals, candy dishes, serving boards, rolling pins, plates and mortar and pestle sets. Each one is uniquely made from salvaged chemical-free wood and they’ve also introduced a select line of exclusive porcelain dishware. The ceramic pieces are cast in small runs, and boast the rustic, tactile beauty for which their brand is known.

Cooking Class Cookbook

2. Cooking Class Cookbook

Of course being an advocate of fun, healthy cooking for kids myself as the host of Cooking with Color 4 Kids TV Show in NYC, I was impressed by this new cookbook by Deanna F. Cook. I love the visuals and step by step instructions and fun inventive ideas to make cooking for fun for kids!

It also teaches basic cooking techniques in kid-friendly language and offers recipes for making dozens of favorite foods from scratch, including French toast, granola, pancakes, sandwiches, smoothies, muffins, biscuits, applesauce, fruit leather, goldfish crackers, tortilla chips, Buffalo chicken fingers, pizza, sushi California rolls, pudding, and more. The recipes use fresh, healthy ingredients and feature imaginative presentations that kids will love to prepare (and devour), such as egg mice, fruit flowers, mini-meatballs, mashed potato clouds, and carrot coins. Includes fun stickers and other activities, and is super cute and fun for anyone with kids who love to cook or want to learn how to cook.

Get a copy on Amazon

Fig & Olive Oysters

3. Fig and Olive Restaurant NYC

My friend recently came for a visit from LA and wanted to try out some great food in the city while she was here. So of course, being the foodie tour guide extraordinaire that I am, had to find some cool new place to take her to. I found a place called Fig and Olive which I am absolutely in love with…the food and service were both amazing and I am definitely going back for more! They have an olive oil tasting served at the table you when you first arrive in all different flavors from different regions.

They specialize in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and have tons of great choices on the menu including a Crostini Bar where you can choose from all different varieties to accompany your figs, cheese, olives and other small bites. We ordered the Lobster Bisque and fresh raw oysters for  starters, then had the Lobster Risotto and Seafood Paella for our main. Everything was beautifully displayed and tasted amazing. A must visit if you love Mediterranean food and are visiting in NYC..and they also have locations in LA, Newport Beach and Chicago.

Coney Island Cheesecake

4. Coney Island Confetti Cheesecake

All I can say is – how fun is this? It’s a super cute confetti cheesecake I found on How Sweet It Is blog that was originally created by Rosie of Sweetapolita.

This gorgeous creation is colorful and sweet and made out of cheesecake, sprinkles, ice cream cones and nuts…just like a fun Summer day at the beach hanging at the amusement park.

Get the recipe:


5. Viniq Shimmering Liqueur

When Summer arrives, I love to experiment with fun, fresh and new cocktail recipes. I received a sample of Viniq, which is a gorgeous  shimmering liqueur (yes, it shimmers when you shake the bottle)! A fusion of Premium Vodka, Moscato, and Natural Fruit Flavors, it’s refreshing and perfect for a cocktail out on the patio. I mixed the Ruby flavor with some Pomegranate Sangria Seltzer, a dash of fresh lemon juice and topped off the concotion with some fresh raspberries. Totally delicious and a great addition of sparkle for my 4th of July celebration. Comes in 2 flavors and lots of great recipe ideas on their website. Delicious!

Lemoncello Restaurant

6. Lemoncello, Rochester NY

Everyone loves Italian food right? Well at least I do – it’s definitely one of my favorite foods to cook and eat on the planet. There’s an awesome spot in Upstate NY (East Rochester) called Lemoncello which is easy on the eyes as well as on the palate. Try the Veal French, a lightly egg battered fillet of veal (4 to be exact), with a gorgeous silky lemon butter wine sauce over linguine. Another specialty is their Lemoncello Veal (or Chicken) which is another light pasta dish served with sauteed veal, olives, artichokes, spinach and pasta in a lemon cream sauce. TO DIE FOR.

Chef Silvana Formoso is from Sicily which is reflected in their awesome menu. You can find a variety of salads, gourmet pizza, and delicious appetizers like Artichoke French, Calamari Fritti, Beef Carpaccio and Sauteed Greens and Beans. There’s plenty of amazing main dishes on the menu to choose from too – Cioppino, New Zealand Rack of Lamb, Pork Osso Buco, Stuffed Eggplant, Chicken Marsala and Milanese, Grilled Rib-Eye, Homemade Lasagna, Ravioli and Manicotti, Risotto and more. They even have BYOB on Tuesdays with no corkage fee, and you can enjoy the Summer weather on their outdoor patio and live music in the Summer. The decor is quaint and cozy, and the service is impeccable. They have a great wine list and all their bread is shipped in from Toronto and fresh baked in house every day so it’s still warm and crispy when it gets to your table! Owner Massimo Albano even gave us a shot of Limoncello for dessert on the house. Love this place and will definitely be back for more next time I’m in town! #delicioso

nature charm bracelet

7. Keith Lewis Studio

I recently went down to State College PA for a huge Summer Arts Festival at Penn State with some friends. It’s an annual show with amazing art, food, music and all the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, handcrafted gadgets and accessories a girl could want. One artist that stood out to me was Keith Lewis – he makes gorgeous handcrafted jewelry out of pearls and metal and precious stones that will make your eyes water out of pure lust.

Flying Tiger camera bag

8. Flying Tiger Copenhagen

I recently discovered this groovy store a few weeks ago when I was strolling around the Flatiron District in NYC. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it but it reminds me of a cross between Target, IKEA, a boutique home / gadget store and flea market all in one space. They have all kinds of stuff for your office, home, kitchen, games, kids toys, party supplies, travel supplies and a million and one cool as can be highly designed, inexpensive gadgets. There’s only one store in NYC but you can always catch a flight to Copenhagen or Iceland or Japan if you feel the urge. If not, check out their cool stuff online. Unique, savvy and super fun.


crisco coconut oil

9. Crisco Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is all the rage these days, because it’s great for cooking in high temperatures, it’s a good fat and has a gorgeous flavor. There’s a new kid in town from Crisco and I had the opportunity to sample some of their new organic coconut oil. It’s perfect for frying and roasting veggies, meats, and can even be used in baked goods.

Check out some of their recipes and videos online to get some creative ideas on how to use it and cook with it!


10. Redpack Tomatoes

Redpack is one of the top tomato producers on the market and I had the opportunity to sample some of their Petite Diced Tomatoes with Garlic & Olive Oil and their regular Diced Tomatoes. Because they are fresh picked and canned immediately, the flavor is always fresh and juicy and the tomatoes are pre-cut right in the can, making them convenient to use in all of my recipes.

Redpack Tomatoes

They also offer canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes and Redpack Tomato Sauce which are great for making all kinds of dishes like salads, sauces, pasta dishes, tacos, casseroles and more.

Redpack is one of many premium quality brands under the Red Gold Umbrella, which opened its doors in 1942. Today they produce over 100 different styles and flavors of tomato products in 20 different sizes and containers.

Check out all their product varieties online and get some great recipe ideas there too while you’re at it!


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Top Ten {Things I Love} :: Holiday 2014

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Things I Love-holiday 2014

These are a few of my favorite things…food, wine, cooking tools, home and barware, recipes, cookbooks, etc…just simply places and things I love that I think are notable and worth a big shout out for their awesomeness! And they make great gifts for the holidays as well..Happy Holidays everyone! 

Kitchen in France Cookbook

1. A Kitchen in France: A year of cooking in my farmhouse – cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

This is a gorgeous full color cookbook by Mimi Thorisson of Manger, one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s full of beautiful photos by her husband and lovely recipes from her farmhouse in France. Enough to make you want to quit your job and move there and bake tarts all day long.

Grab a copy on here.

west elm pillows

2. West Elm Velvet, Metallic and Mongolian Lamb Pillows

These beautiful pillows by West Elm are a great gift idea for that person who has everything – a little indulgent, but so pretty and festive for the cold Winter months.

Pick up a few of these beauties online here.

english toffee

3. English Toffee

English Toffee is one of those things I absolutely crave during the holidays! It’s rich, buttery, crunchy and chocolatey and makes the perfect gift, whether you make your own or get some pre-made it’s absolutely delicious and addicting. In fact, I’m planning to make some myself this year for stocking stuffers!

Here’s a great recipe for it on, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.

photo: Delicious as it Looks

holiday cocktail party set -

4. Holiday Cocktail Party Collection –

Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than  you expect it to be., a specialty indie food store has a Holiday Cocktail Party set that has all the essentials packaged up by local food producers to get your holiday party in gear. It comes with a variety of cheeses, Ginger Caramels, Old Bay peanuts, Vanilla Pickled Cherries, Sesame Lavish Crackers, Dark Chocolates and more. YUM.

Pick one up online here, and check out their other fun collections while you’re at it!

beaded table linens Neiman Marcus

5. Capiz Shell Beaded Table Linens – Neiman Marcus

Absolutely love these gorgeous Capiz shell beaded table linens by Kim Seybert at Neiman Marcus. It comes in a table runner and placemats with matching napkin rings. Festive enough to feast at Christmas like Queen Victoria. LOVE.

Get them online here.

Il Buco Vita

6. Il Buco Vita 

Il Buco Vita is a hidden gem, above the Il Buco Italian restaurant in NoHo NYC. It’s a showroom full of gorgeous handmade Italian and Mediterranean ceramics, linens, glassware, home furnishings and antiques that will make you swoon.

Visit their store online here and their showroom at 51 Bond Street, NYC

Swedish Meatballs

7. Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs are one of those appetizer dishes perfect for a holiday cocktail party. My Mom makes them every year for New Years Eve and I just can’t get enough of them. Try this recipe by BBCGoodFood, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. For a cool twist, try this recipe for Nut-and-Seed Crusted Sausage Meatballs with Mustard Sauce. Totally indulgent and pure YUM.

Caramel Chocolate Tart

8. Dorie Greenspan’s Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart

I love making tarts during the holidays, especially luscious ones made with caramel and chocolate. Dorie’s has a simple recipe for making a perfect tart dough, and the filling is perfect too, with melted bittersweet chocolate lining the crust with a silky, creamy homemade golden caramel on top. Divine.

Get the recipe here

foodie dice

9. Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice

As foodies, I know we all love to cook. But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and need a boost for some new creative ideas for our cooking. Same goes for cocktails – we drink the same old thing and how fun would it be to toss a few dice and get some fresh ideas for your mixology? Check out the Foodie Dice and Mixology Dice – with just a simple toss, you’ll get suggestions for making your own fab creations with fresh ingredients and combinations of your own.

Get ’em online here.

vintage champagne flutes

10. Vintage Etched Champagne Flutes – Williams Sonoma

What kind of holiday celebration would it be without some bubbly? Get these gorgeous vintage etched champagne flutes from Williams-Sonoma for the party, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up some bubbly to fill them with! If you’re in the mood to splurge, try a vintage 2004 Dom Perignon ($160), or try a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little less expensive than Champagne made in a Brut Rose, but just as tasty and bubbly ($24). Or try some sparkling wine (Blanc de Blancs) as an option- Gloria Ferrer has a great one from Sonoma CA.


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Seasonal Cooking with Honey :: Recipes from the Fresh Honey Cookbook

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The Fresh Honey Cookbook
The Fresh Honey Cookbook

I love cooking with honey – not only in the Fall or dead of Winter, but all year around. It’s such a nice substitute for regular sugar and gives a warm, homey flavor to almost all types of recipes. I recently picked up a copy of The Fresh Honey Cookbook, by Beekeeper, Caterer, Chef and Spokesperson for The National Honey Board and Café owner Laurey Masterson of Asheville NC.  I fell in love with her vibrant recipes using different varieties of honey throughout all 12 months of the year – she offers honey-tasting tips and recipes featuring seasonal ingredients for dishes both savory and sweet.

Each chapter is organized around a specific honey for the month including orange blossom, tupelo, avocado, eucalyptus and blueberry honey and more. In January, she has a recipe for Meyer lemon and Honey-Marinated Chicken Skewers, Pork Tenderloin with Orange Blossom Honey Mustard and Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic. In the Summer, she features delicious fresh recipes for Grilled Garlic Shrimp with a Fresh Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Vermont-Style Summer Squash Casserole, and Broiled Peaches with Sourwood Honey.

She also goes into detail about her experience as a beekeeper and teaches readers how bees make honey, how it’s harvested, what they can do to help the bee population and what is going on in the hives throughout the year.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from the book for the chilly months of the Winter season. Enjoy!


roasted delicata squash with tuscan kale

Serves 8–10

Delicata squash is naturally sweet and pairs so nicely with the kale and the other tastes of Italy and the Mediterranean. This recipe calls for pine nuts, which are quite expensive these days, but the buttery texture and flavor is so delicious that I am reluctant to suggest an alternative. This dish is great as a lunch salad or as a warm side dish. She recommends pairing this with her Deviled Beef Bones recipe made with Eucalyptus Honey (recipe follows).


3 Delicata squash (about 3 pounds total)
Extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bow-tie pasta
2 bunches Italian (Tuscan Lacinato) kale
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into 1-inch chunks (there’s no need to remove the edible skin). Arrange on a baking sheet and spray or brush with olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Roast 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool.

3. Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.

4. Remove the leaves of the kale from the stems and cut into large pieces. Set up a steaming basket over boiling water, and steam the kale just until bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and keep them bright green.

5. Toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until light brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (Stay nearby while you’re toasting. Left unattended, they can easily burn.)

6. Combine the pasta, kale, squash, and pine nuts in a large bowl. Toss, and then add the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Enjoy!


deviled beef bones

Serves 8

Laurie grew up with these wonderful beef bones, which were leftovers from the standing rib beef roast served at her Mother’s Blueberry Hill restaurant. The fat rib bones have a lot of meat and are enough to make a substantial meal out of them. They are served in a barbecue sauce that is a dark, wintry mixture featuring Eucalyptus Honey, which resembles molasses or Louisiana cane syrup. It is then combined with mustard and served as a delicious sauce for the beef bones.

Eucalyptus Honey varies from light amber to very dark brown, depending on where the eucalyptus is growing. It has a stronger taste then the lighter honeys, but is very pleasing to folks who have a more adventurous palate. This dark honey is perfect for the chillier days of Autumn and Winter.


1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon eucalyptus honey
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6-8 whole beef rib bones, cooked


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F if using cooked ribs, or 450°F if using uncooked ribs.
  2. Combine the dry mustard, salt, Dijon mustard, vinegar, honey, molasses, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Whisk well.
  3. If your ribs are already cooked, place them on a baking sheet, brush with the barbecue sauce, and cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish them under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes until crispy.
  4. If your ribs are not cooked, place them in a baking pan, brush with the barbecue sauce, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F. Brush the ribs again with the sauce and return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes longer. Remove the ribs once more and brush with more sauce. Turn the heat to broil and broil for 5 to 7 minutes, until the ribs are crispy (but not burned!!). Serve warm.


Pears with Bleu Cheese

pears with blue cheese, toasted pecans, and chestnut honey vinaigrette

Serves 8

I get excited by the proliferation of pears in the market in the winter. I imagine what it would be like to live in Washington or Oregon. And so, though they are not local to me in December, pears are available and abundant and become the foundation for this delicious salad. Sweet, salty, bitter, and sour: All four tastes are in this salad, which makes it a memorable one for your guests.

This recipe uses a Chestnut Honey, which is one of the stronger honeys prized in Tuscany as a local taste. Italians appreciate many more bitter flavors than we do, and it has a big taste explosion for your palate. The color, flavor and smell of Chestnut Honey varies depending on the source of the Chestnut trees. Descriptors go from light and slightly pungent to extremely strong, breathtaking and lingering.


For the vinaigrette

2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey, preferably chestnut honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

¼ cup pecan pieces, toasted
4 ripe but firm pears
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (Maytag)


1.  To make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl and stir with a wire whisk until well mixed. Drizzle the oil into the bowl in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. To make the salad, toast the pecans in a small dry saucepan for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, watching carefully and tossing often so they don’t burn.

3. Cut the pears in half from the stem to the blossom end. Remove the core, and cut each half in half again.

4. Arrange the pear quarters on individual salad plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and toasted pecans and, just before serving, drizzle with the vinaigrette.


Easy Tarte Tatin

easy tarte tatin

I love tarte tatin, the inverted apple pastry, but I am not the best baker in the world, as I’m not really patient with careful measuring. Frankly, I am much more comfortable cooking than baking. But this recipe will produce a grand result even if you’re not a serious baker. And if you have any leftovers, they make a great breakfast.

Get the best tart local apples you can find. With that start, you’ll do very well.


1  sheet frozen puff pastry
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup honey, preferably eucalyptus or local honey
3 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for the pastry
Ice cream for serving (optional)


1. Following the instructions on the package, thaw the puff pastry. This will take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of pastry. You should be able to unfold it without breaking. Set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the honey. Stir well to blend thoroughly. Carefully arrange the apple wedges in the bottom of the skillet in a decorative pattern, taking special care on the first layer, as it will end up being the top of the tart. Take care, also, to fill in any holes with other apple pieces. Continue to layer the apples until you have used all the apple slices. Since they will shrink as they cook, you want the uncooked apples to be higher than the edges of the skillet, so add more if needed.

3. Cook over medium heat on the stove until the juices bubble up and change from clear to a rich amber color, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the heat and the consistency of your apples. As they cook, press the apples down with a rubber spatula; once the juices are visible, baste the apples with the juices. Keep an eye on them and don’t allow them to burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. Preheat the oven to 475°F.

5. Roll out the thawed pastry on a floured surface, until it is a square that can comfortably fit over the skillet. Lay the puff pastry over the cooked fruit, making sure that the pastry completely covers the apples. Tuck the pastry into the sides of the skillet, sealing in the apples.

6. Bake the pastry-covered skillet in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up and turns a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

7. Place a serving platter on top of the cooked pastry and, holding tight, flip the skillet over so that the tart comes out of the skillet and ends up on the platter, pastry side down. Remove any of the cooked apples that might have stuck to the skillet and tuck them into the tart as needed.

8. Serve with ice cream, if you like, though it is perfect just as it is.

“Excerpted from The Fresh Honey Cookbook (c) by Laurey Masterton, photography (c) by Johnny Autry, used with permission from Storey Publishing.”

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Melt Cookbook: Taking the Art of Macaroni & Cheese to a Whole New Level

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Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese
Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything more delicious on the planet than a big creamy bowl of luscious Mac and Cheese. It’s one of those foods that takes you back to your childhood, bringing a huge dose of comfort on any dreary day.

Welcome the launch of the new cookbook Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by authors Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord – who have taken this classic comfort food to a whole new level. Melt fuses gourmet ingredients with a wide array of pastas and handcrafted cheeses for rich, creamy and elegant comfort dishes that will appeal to all mac and cheese lovers alike and to cheese lovers everywhere. Their recipes are grown up versions made with artisanal cheeses and gourmet pasta combinations that will put your Mama’s Mac and Cheese to shame.

Inside the cookbook you’ll find a whole chapter dedicated to Cheese and another to Pasta: they discuss their research on the history and origins of all the different types of cheeses available and how to choose, prep and pair them with gourmet ingredients, wines and pastas for the maximum amount of flavors. You’ll also find some great recipes for fresh, unique Salads including Asparagus Salad with Ricotta, Fava Beans and Mint and Farfalle or Humboldt Fog with Grilled Peaches and Orzo. A whole chapter of Stovetop Delights has recipes made with creamy, velvety cheese and pasta combinations such as Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles or Moody Blue and Roaring 40s with Honey Roasted Delicata Squash and Sage Butter with Rotini. There’s plenty of Hearty and Satisfying Mac and Cheese recipes with baked combinations full of texture and flavor too: Aged Mahon Gratin with Chorizo, Shallots, Spinach and Cavatappi or Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheddar with Bacon and Stout. They have another recipe chapter dedicated to Sweet dishes such as Sweet Potato Kugel and Fromage Blanc with Chevre, Peach and Ghost Pepper Canneloni.

If you’re a sucker for a creamy pot of Mac and Cheese like I am, you definitely need to try the recipes in this book – it will open your eyes to all the gorgeous gourmet combinations you can create if you just get a little bit creative and think outside the box (the BLUE box, that is!). Definitely a keeper – and great for the chilly months ahead to keep you cozy and comfy with a big old bowl of cheesy goodness.

Check out the trailer below with Stephanie and Garrett discussing the concept behind the book!

Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese – The Official Trailer from Stephanie/SJS on Vimeo.


To celebrate the official release of Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, they are giving away yet another $500 set of Le Creuset cookware and a $100 gift certificate for Murray’s Cheese. No purchase is necessary to enter the giveaway.

Enter to win the giveaway online

Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam
Red Hawk with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk Macaroni with Prosciutto and Raspberry Jam

Red Hawk, perhaps the most popular cheese made by California’s Cowgirl Creamery, is a mellow and complex washed-rind cheese. While it deserves its moment in the spotlight, it doesn’t fare well with complicated pairings; rather, this triple-cream appreciates a modest presentation that allows its pungent, meaty notes to speak for themselves.

For this dish, we decided to let Red Hawk’s heartiness take center stage, accompanied by only a bit of salty prosciutto and a touch of tart jam. You’ll be surprised how these two ingredients accentuate what makes Red Hawk so beloved—an understated intensity that puts it at the top of many cheese lovers’ top 10 lists.

Serves 4

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
1 full wheel Red Hawk, rind intact, chopped into chunks
4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons raspberry jam (plus more per your indulgence)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix pasta, cheese, and prosciutto. Sprinkle with salt and a few good turns of the pepper grinder. Toss until well combined.

4. Lightly oil four 8-ounce ramekins and fill them with equal amounts of the pasta, cheese, and prosciutto mixture. Add a scant ½ cup of cream to each ramekin.

5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place your ramekins onto the sheet.

Slide into oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cream has thickened into a nice gratin. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The cheese is supposed to bubble over the edges of the ramekins—that’s part of the charm of this dish. And it’s why you lined the baking sheet with foil.

6. Top each ramekin with 1 tablespoon raspberry jam before serving. Add more spoonfuls of jammy goodness if you see fit.

Alternative cheeses: Époisses, Langres

Wine pairings: domestic Pinot Noir, sparkling rosé, champagne

Additional pairings for the cheese: honey, panforte, dried apricots

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Penne with Garrotxa, Serrano Ham, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Native to Catalonia, Spain, Garrotxa is a throaty, goaty cheese that imparts an almost Cheddar-like tanginess. A gray mold blankets this pasteurized flavor titan, which gets its smooth earthiness from the lush coastal grasses that feed the goats raised to make it. Cutting away the rind on this firm cheese is easy, and a sharp knife run down the sides will shave off the moldy exterior without sacrificing much of the Garrotxa beneath.

Here, Garrotxa coalesces with two other signature Spanish ingredients, sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham, to create an ethereal cheese gratin polished with just a touch of butter, milk, and crème fraîche. This recipe isn’t your typical melty, creamy macaroni and cheese; rather, it’s a drier dish that allows the ingredients to mingle coyly while remaining somewhat independent.

Serves 2 to 4

8 ounces penne
1 pound Garrotxa, shredded
¼ cup milk
½ cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
6 ounces Serrano ham slices, torn coarsely by hand into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, combine cheese, milk, crème fraîche, and butter. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese is mostly melted and you have a creamy sauce. To keep the cheese sauce from breaking, remove the sauce from the heat before the cheese is entirely melted. Season with pepper, adding more to taste if you like.

4. In a shallow buttered casserole dish, toss pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and Serrano ham. Pour the sauce over the pasta, then stir together until combined. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.

Alternative cheeses: Ibores, Twig Farm Goat Tomme, Bardwell Farm’s Equinox

Wine pairings: Txakoli, Catalonian white wine, Grüner Veltliner

Additional pairings for the cheese: fig jam, picholine olives

Recipes: Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company Photos: Matt Armendariz, Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

About the Authors

Stephanie Stiavetti

Stephanie is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, and multimedia producer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared on KQED, NPR, the Huffington Post, and a host of other outlets. Stephanie can be found most regularly on her food blog, The Culinary Life, where she explores the boundless world of flavor and texture.

Garrett McCord

Living in the city of Sacramento, Garrett McCord works as a food writer and recipe developer. His blog, Vanilla Garlic, looks at how life and food intertwine. His writing has appeared publications such as, The Huffington Post, Gourmet Live, the James Beard Award winning Epi-Log, Cheese Connoisseur, and the Sacramento News and Review and Edible Sacramento. He holds a master’s in English Composition from California State University, Sacramento, where he studied the rhetoric of the Slow Food Movement.

Read more about Melt Cookbook


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Food Styling for Dr. Neal Barnard on the Joy Behar: Say Anything TV Show!

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Kristen on Joy Behar Say Anything TV Show
Kristen on Joy Behar Say Anything TV Show

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to cook and do food styling for a special healthy food segment on the “Joy Behar: Say Anything!” TV Show featuring Dr. Neal D. Barnard, M.D., founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Dr. Barnard sits down with guest host Marilu Henner to discuss how saturated fat makes you sluggish and which colored foods are good for your brain and improve memory. Barnard says, “Greens, foliage — that contributes folate, which is a B vitamin which protects the brain.” He adds, “So when you see the greens, you know that’s good for the brain.” He also goes into discussing what foods to avoid such as heavy carb and fat-laden foods that make us tired and lack energy.

Power Foods For the Brain
Power Foods For the Brain

I was asked to cook and style four of Dr. Barnard’s recipes from his new book “Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory” to display during the TV interview food segment. The recipes were all colorful and healthy and made with Power Foods and all-natural ingredients: Summer Salad made with Rainbow Chard, tomatoes, corn, onions and garlic and pecans, Minted Fruit Kebabs made with a Citrus Lime and Mint light dressing, Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs marinated in a balsamic and herb dressing, and Super Raspberry Protein Brownies made with black beans, raspberry jam, cocoa powder and figs.

Could that glass of milk affect your memory? Is that aluminum can increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease? Can a banana be a brain booster? Everyone knows that good nutrition supports your overall health, but did you know that certain foods can protect your brain and optimize its function?

In POWER FOODS FOR THE BRAIN, Dr. Neal Barnard has gathered the most important research and studies to deliver a program that can boost brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other less serious malfunctions, including low energy, poor sleep patterns, irritability, and lack of focus. The plan includes information on:

  • The best foods to increase cognitive function and boost folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12
  • The dangers dairy products and meats may have on memory
  • The role alcohol plays in Alzheimer’s risk
  • The latest research on certain toxic metals, like aluminums found in cookware, soda cans, and common antacids
  • Plus, 50-75 recipes and timesaving kitchen tips.

Here are the recipes I made and styled for the show. Enjoy!

Summer Salad
Summer Salad

Summer Salad – The more naturally colorful your meal is, the more likely it is to have an abundance of immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals. The same foods that are good for your heart are good for your brain.

Summer Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 2 as main dish or 4 as a side

Calories per serving: 181 calories

Fat per serving: 2 g total fat

Chard’s slight bitterness is beautifully balanced by the sweetness of the corn and grapes, resulting in a surprising depth of flavor.


  • ½ small white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Leaves from 1 bunch chard
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup seedless black grapes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Mince the onion and garlic, then smash them together a couple times with the back of a knife or with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Wash the Swiss chard thoroughly, as it tends to be gritty, then slice it into ribbons by tightly bunching the leaves together and slicing them with a sharp, heavy knife. Place the chard in a salad bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss.

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs
Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kebabs – these are super easy to make and super colorful, and healthy. Marinated in a dressing made with balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, mustard and maple syrup with Italian season before grilling, they are super tasty too.

Marinated Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Serve these savory kebabs over a brown rice pilaf for a satisfying and easy meal.


  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 red onions, each cut into 8 bite-size chunks
  • 2 green or red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into 8 pieces each
  • 16 button mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 8 pieces
  • Marinade:
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 metal skewers, or bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes


  1. Place the cherry tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and whisk well. Pour the marinade over the vegetables and stir to coat. Marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a charcoal or gas grill or your oven’s broiler. Onto one skewer, thread the ingredients in the following manner: 1 tomato, 1 red onion chunk, 1 pepper piece, 1 mushroom, 1 yellow summer squash slice, 1 tomato, 1 zucchini slice, 1 red onion chunk, 1 pepper, and 1 mushroom. Repeat with remaining ingredients and skewers. Place the kebabs on the hot grill or a broiler pan and brush with the marinade. Grill for 7 minutes, or until desired tenderness, turning the kebabs a few times. Serve immediately.

Minted Fruit Kebabs
Minted Fruit Kebabs

Minted Fruit Kebabs – Power up with blueberries and grapes. These “brain berries” get their deep colors from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants shown to improve learning and recall in studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Minted Fruit Kebabs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes 4 kebabs (4 servings)

Calories per serving: 35 calories

Fat per serving: 0.2 g total fat

Fresh fruit makes a striking appearance in these antioxidant-rich kebabs. Enjoy them for a refreshing, light dessert!


  • 8 red or green grapes
  • 4 large strawberries
  • 4 1-inch-square cantaloupe chunks
  • 4 1-inch-square honeydew chunks
  • 4 1/2-inch-thick slices peeled kiwi
  • 4 1-inch-square watermelon chunks
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 10-inch bamboo skewers


  1. Thread 1 grape, 1 strawberry, 1 cantaloupe chunk, 1 honeydew chunk, 1 slice kiwi, 1 watermelon chunk, and 1 more grape onto a skewer. Repeat with the remaining fruit and skewers. Place the finished skewers in a shallow container.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, mint, and vanilla. Pour the marinade over the fruit kebabs, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours) in the refrigerator before serving.


Recipe by Christine Waltermyer

Super Raspberry Protein Brownies
Super Raspberry Protein Brownies

Super Raspberry Protein Brownies – A brownie made with black beans? You bet! Beans are high in fiber, calcium, and protein, making them a nutrition powerhouse. Beans are free from saturated and trans fats. Researchers find people consuming the most saturated fat in their diets have more than triple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Super Protein Raspberry Brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 16

Serving Size: 1/16 of the recipe

Calories per serving: 145 calories

Fat per serving: 1 g total fat

A brownie made with black beans? You bet! Beans are high in fiber, calcium, and protein, making them a nutrition powerhouse.

Beans are free from saturated and trans fats. Researchers find people consuming the most saturated fat in their diets have more than triple the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


  • 1/4 teaspoon safflower oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup all-fruit raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with the oil.
  2. Combine the black beans, dates, jam, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and process again.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top looks set. Remove from the oven and cool completely, then cut into 16 squares. The brownies will keep, refrigerated in a covered container, for up to 1 week.

For those of you who may have missed the show, here’s a video of the food segment that aired on TV last week:

And lastly, here’s a few photos behind the scenes on set at the show that day:








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Published! Food Styling & Photography for Gary Null’s NEW Vegan Cookbook..Hot off the Press!

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Anti-Arthritis, Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: Healing through Natural Foods
Anti-Arthritis, Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: Healing through Natural Foods

Yay! The time has finally arrived – the cookbook I shot and styled for Gary Null Power Foods arrived on my doorstep yesterday, HOT off the press!

I styled and shot this cookbook last August-September and it was a 6-week process with plenty of long days and nights, cooking, styling and shooting, with lots of laughter and intensity, for Gary Null’s new cookbook titled Anti-Arthritis, Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: Healing through Natural Foods. The cookbook has over 270 recipes that are Vegan, Vegetarian and Raw Food based on the premise of promoting a healthy diet while preventing and reversing arthritis, diabetes, cancer and inflammation through eating raw, vegan and power foods.

I worked with Gary and his editorial team throughout the process to interpret the recipes into appealing, fresh and healthy images for the cookbook. I also collaborated side by side with two amazing Chefs; Wes Wobles and William Shear, day and night (literally!) to turn the recipes into beautifully plated works of art which were styled meticulously in the kitchen and by myself on set, to create the perfect final beauty shot.

I’m very proud to have been the stylist and photographer on this awesome project and part of this dynamic project team that made the cookbook come to life in such a short time – it turned out beautifully with full color photos, a clean design and a comprehensive healthy eating program that might turn any meat-loving carnivore into a Vegan or Vegetarian just yet! The recipes are simple and easy to prepare with raw ingredients including grains, fruits, vegetables, and non-meat soy proteins flavored with plenty of fresh herbs and seasonings. There are recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Salads, Soups and Desserts plus plenty of sauces and dips along with healthy appetizers. Gary also explains the nutritional aspects to a Vegan and Vegetarian Raw food diet with an eating plan spelled out and easy to follow.

Light, healthy and fresh is the name of the game in this cookbook, and it’s arrived just in time for Spring to lighten up your diet and get healthy! Who knew eating meat-free could be so tasty? I just might give it a try 🙂

Purchase a copy of the book online

View gallery of some of my fav photos I shot for the book

Kudos to the Cookbook Team!
Kudos to the Cookbook Team!
Kind Testimonial from Gary Null
Kind Testimonial from Gary Null


Fettucine Asparagus

Cauliflower Hummus







Apple Banana Turnovers


Here’s a few of my favorite photos from the photoshoot:

Mushroom Bean Curry with Butternut Squash
Mushroom Bean Curry with Butternut Squash
Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce
Poached Peaches with Raspberry Sauce
Coconut Cherry Ice Cream
Coconut Cherry Ice Cream
Penne Pasta and Kidney Bean Soup
Penne Pasta and Kidney Bean Soup
Stewed Plums
Stewed Plums
Fennel and Pecan Salad with Peaches
Fennel and Pecan Salad with Peaches
Sweet and Sour Bean Stew
Sweet and Sour Bean Stew
Chickpea Burger and Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Chickpea Burger and Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Spaghetti with Eggplant Marinara
Spaghetti with Eggplant Marinara
Sticky Sweet Rice with Papaya
Sticky Sweet Rice with Papaya
Lentil Curry
Lentil Curry
Bulgur and Vegetables
Bulgur and Vegetables
Bammie Cakes
Bammie Cakes
Apple Cinnamon French Toast
Apple Cinnamon French Toast
Bitters Sweet Salad
Bitters Sweet Salad
Millet Coriander Stir Fry
Millet Coriander Stir Fry

And now for some fun behind the scenes shots on set:

Test Shoot
Test Shoot
Chef Wes Wobles in the Kitchen
Chef Wes Wobles in the Kitchen
Kristen on set shooting garden scene
Kristen on set shooting garden scene


Making Homemade Granola
Making Homemade Granola
Making Caramel
Making Caramel
Arranging items on set
Arranging items on set


Plating the dish and prepping the shot
Plating the dish and prepping the shot
Setting up the props for the final shot
Setting up the props for the final shot


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Holiday Giveaway with Tate’s Bake Shop from Southampton :: Recipes from ‘Baking for Friends’ Cookbook

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'Baking for Friends' Cookbook by Kathleen King, Tate's Bake Shop
‘Baking for Friends’ Cookbook by Kathleen King, Tate’s Bake Shop

If you haven’t heard of Tate’s Bake Shop before or experienced their amazing line of desserts and cookies and baked goods, well you absolutely need to. I remember the first time I tried some of their chocolate chip cookies (the ones on the cover of their cookbook), I almost died and went to heaven. They’re light, crispy and thin, and filled with loads of gooey chocolate chips that melt in your mouth for days. They are still my favorite chocolate chip cookies (other than mine, of course), and I can’t resist them any time I spot them at the store.

Kathleen King, Chef and Author
Kathleen King, Chef and Author

Author Kathleen King is the creator and owner of the nationally acclaimed Tate’s Bake Shop in the Hamptons, known for her delicious baked goods made with wholesome yet elegant ingredients.

BAKING FOR FRIENDS is a gorgeous cookbook with over 120 scrumptious recipes and mouthwatering photos.With the holidays just around the corner, this is the perfect cookbook to read for all your holiday baking. The book features recipes that are perfect for both special occasions and everyday baking. Chapters include Scones & Shortcakes; Pies, Tarts & Crisps; Tea Loaves & Quick Bread; Party Cakes & Cupcakes; and Cookies. The book also offers delectable, taste-tested recipes for readers with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, low-fat, vegan, and nut-free. Each chapter also features Kathleen’s innovative baking tips and tricks, designed to help save precious time and energy in the kitchen.

Holiday Cookie and Bar Tower Giveaway! (a $48 value) 

Holiday Cookie and Bars Tower
Holiday Cookie and Bars Tower

**THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS TO TERI TROCKWOOD, THE WINNER OF THE TATE’S BAKE SHOP HOLIDAY COOKIE AND BARS TOWER! (Teri, please send me your shipping address so I can get this prize out to you this week!) ENJOY!**

Just to celebrate the holidays, I’ve teamed up with Tate’s Bake Shop who is giving away one of their Holiday Cookie and Bar Towers (a $48 value)! It includes three 7-oz boxes of cookies – one each of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and white chocolate chip macadamia nut. It also includes two rich and buttery raspberry bars, two chocolate chip and walnut-loaded blondies, and two rich, dense and fudgy plain brownies. Each 7-oz box contains approximately 12 cookies, and the bars are a generous size..and all wrapped in pretty holiday packaging!
All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is tell me your favorite holiday dessert in the comments section below for one (1) entry.
For extra chances to win, follow/like me on all or one of my social hangoutstwitterfacebookpinterestgoogle +, and/or sign up for my monthly newsletter (see box at the top of this page), and tell me that you did at the end of this post. You have to be connected to Facebook to enter comments on this post. If you don’t have a Facebook profile, just send me an email for your entries at kristen (at) theartfulgourmet (dot) com.
The giveaway begins on Saturday Dec 1st and ends on Sunday December 12 at midnight EST, where one person will be picked by random from the comments below. Don’t forget to tell your friends about the giveaway by sharing this page at the end of the post and letting me know in the comments below for extra entries!

Good luck!

A Few Holiday Recipes from the Cookbook

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Chocolate Thumb Print Cookies

Yield: Makes about 6 ½ dozen cookies.

Thumbprint cookies are traditionally flavored with vanilla and filled with fruit jam, but these are chocolate cookies stuffed with more chocolate! They will be a welcome treat on your holiday cookie platter, and they are a perfect hostess gift.


  • Cookies
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups finely chopped pecans
  • Filling
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil


  1. To make the cookies: Heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe medium bowl on Medium (50% power), stirring at 30-second intervals, until fully melted and smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid, but still fluid.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer set on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. One at a time, beat in the egg yolks, followed by the tepid chocolate and the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour mixture, just until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  3. Position the oven racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  4. Using a heaping teaspoon for each, roll the dough into 78 marble-sized balls, putting them in a baking pan or platter. (If you wish, you can cover the balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. One at a time, dip each ball in the whites, roll in the pecans, and arrange 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate the remaining balls until ready to bake. Using your thumb (or, if you have long fingernails, the end of a wooden spoon), press an indentation into the center of each cookie.
  5. Bake, rotating the positions of the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies look set, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and, using your thumb (or the end of the wooden spoon), reform the center indentation in each cookie. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cookies are crisp, about 10 minutes more. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining balls, egg whites, and pecans, on cooled baking sheets.
  6. To make the filling: Heat the chocolate and oil together in a microwave-safe bowl on Medium (50% power), stirring at 30-second intervals, until fully melted and smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until tepid but still fluid.
  7. Using a teaspoon, fill the indentations with the chocolate mixture. Let stand until the chocolate sets (you can refrigerate them to speed things up).


Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 116-118.
Fig Cake
Fig Cake

Hakan's Fresh Fig Cake

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

Monday through Friday, my friend Hakan Ciling designs for the textile and fashion industries. On the weekend, he is an equally talented baker, as this moist, fruit studded cake shows. If you are serving it for an evening dessert, top it with shipped cream flavored with ground cinnamon or nutmeg.


  • Softened butter and all-purpose flour for the pan
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pitted dates or dried plums (prunes), cut in half
  • 1 cup golden or dark raisins
  • 12 ripe figs, tips trimmed and cut lengthwise into quarters (about 1 ½ cups)


  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan with a removeable bottom (such as angel food cake pan) and tap out the excess flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil with an electric mixer set on high speed until the mixture is very pale, about 5 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, followed by vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, dates and raisins. The batter will be very thick.
  3. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange half of the figs in a ring in the pan, pressing them lightly into the batter. Repeat with the remaining batter and figs.
  4. Bake until a long bamboo skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and the tube and lift out the insert. Invert the cake onto the rack, unmold and let cool completely.


Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 56-57.

Blackberry Galette
Blackberry Galette

Blackberry Galette

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

When all the local farm stands are stocked with big baskets of berries, I can't resist buying them. I love the way blackberries cook up and hold their shape, with their sweet/tart taste. And the blackberries against the yellow hue of the cornmeal in the crust make a beautiful presentation. Serve this the day it's made, with fresh whipped cream or ice cream - it's lovely on its own too!


  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal (not coarse or polenta)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling (optional)


  1. To make the dough:
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small pea-sized pieces of butter. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and water. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until the mixture is moist enough to hold together.
  3. Gather the dough into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled but not hard, at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, but let it stand for 15 minutes before rolling out. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  5. On a ligthly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the dough in half, and then reopen on the prepared baking sheet. The dough cracks easily, but just press it back together if it does and don't worry, as the look of the dessert is very rustic.
  6. For the filling:
  7. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour over the dough leaving a 2-inch border all around. Spread the berries over the floured section of the dough. Sprinkle them with the sugar and dot with butter. Fold the uncovered dough up over fruit, pleating it as necessary. If the dough cracks, not to worry - just seal the tears. If you wish, brush the edges of the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water and sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar.
  8. Bake until the crust starts to brown a bit and the fruit bubbles, about 40 minutes. Let the galette cool on the baking sheet. Transfer the galette to a serving platter with a wide spatula or pick up the baking mat and slide it off onto the platter.


Recipe from Tate’s Bakeshop ‘Baking with Friends’ Cookbook, pp 92-94.


Tate’s Bake Shop also has some holiday exclusives (see below) which are super delicious and seasonal, available for purchase online and at the Southampton store location.

Gingerbread Cookies


Disclosure: All opinions expressed here are my own and for participating in Tate’s Bake Shop Holiday Giveaway Promotion, I received a copy of their new cookbook “Baking with Friends”.


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