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!
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.
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 Food.com, or pick up a batch at Williams-Sonoma which comes in a festive holiday tin.
Everyone loves a cocktail party but sometimes it’s more work than you expect it to be. Mouth.com, 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Preheat the oven to 425°F if using cooked ribs, or 450°F if using uncooked ribs.
Combine the dry mustard, salt, Dijon mustard, vinegar, honey, molasses, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Whisk well.
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.
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 blue cheese, toasted pecans, and chestnut honey vinaigrette
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
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
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
Additional pairings for the cheese: honey, panforte, dried apricots
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 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.
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 Saveur.com, 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.
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.
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 – 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.
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
Mince the onion and garlic, then smash them together a couple times with the back of a knife or with a mortar and pestle.
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 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.
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
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
Place the cherry tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, and zucchini in a large bowl.
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.
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 – 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8x8-inch baking pan with the oil.
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.
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.
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
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.
Author Kathleen King is the creator and owner of the nationally acclaimed Tate’s Bake Shopin the Hamptons, known for her delicious baked goods made with wholesome yet elegant ingredients.
BAKING FOR FRIENDS isa 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)
**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! HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
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 hangouts : twitter, facebook, pinterest, google +, 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!
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.
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
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
To make the dough:
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.
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.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
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.
For the filling:
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.
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.
It’s that time of year again as Summer is ending and the weather is changing, perfect time of year for game day parties, Labor Day parties and heartier fare for a crowd. When I think about the perfect food to celebrate early Fall with friends and family, Savory Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork comes to mind.
Last week I was invited to a special Pork-a-Palooza! event in Chelsea sponsored by The National Pork Board– I had the opportunity to hear Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan – food writer, recipe developer and author of the popular website The Kitchn, speak about her love for Pork and all the simple delicious ways you can make it just by throwing a gorgeous Pork Shoulder (or any cut you choose) braised in the oven, grilled or in a Crock Pot with your veggies, seasonings and marinades and letting it cook slow and low until you get juicy, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
We sampled three different varieties of Pulled Pork (Chili Rub Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, Savory Rub Grilled Pulled Pork, and Herb Rub Oven-Braised Pulled Pork) and got creative by whipping up some tasty Pork dishes for ourselves such as Pulled Pork Soft Tacos, Fried Rice, Caesar Wraps, Quesadillas, Egg Scrambles, Pizzas, Baked Potatoes, Tostadas, Salads, Sliders, and Grilled Cheese. Talk about an inspiring delicious event!
1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder or sirloin meat
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and place the pork in the pan. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, salt and cayenne. Rub the mixture all over the sides of the meat, pressing to adhere (if the meat is tied together with twine or netting, just rub the seasoning right over it). Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker.
Add the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the pork is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Moisten/season with cooking juices to taste.
Serving suggestions: This recipe is only mildly spiced, so if you like things with a kick, try adding more cayenne to the rub or add some of your favorite hot sauce to the finished, shredded meat. Use the pork to make a traditional pulled pork sandwich, with barbeque sauce and slaw, or enjoy it in your favorite chili reicpe or on top of a Tex Mex Caesar salad.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 1/4 to 8 1/4 hrs
Serving size: 8 to 10 servings
*THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND OUR WINNER IS YOLANDA BARAJAS SMITH! CONGRATULATIONS!
I am giving away one (1) copy of Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan’s cookbook,Good Food to Share, to one lucky person, drawn by random. If you haven’t seen this cookbook, you absolutely need to! It’s hardcover, and full of gorgeous food photography and recipes for entertaining with family and friends. Sara has amazing menus for planning a simple supper or an impromptu dinner party with fresh and flavorful ingredients and gives great tips for cocktail, beer and wine pairings for whatever occasion you are planning to have with friends.
All you need to do to receive one (1) entry, is to leave a comment on this post what is your favorite way to prepare and eat Pulled Pork.
For additional entries, tweet this post, pin it, share it on Facebook (you’ll get separate entries for each!), and let me know in separate comments on this post that you’ve done so. For even more entries, follow Artful Gourmet on Twitter and Facebook and also let me know you’ve done so!
The giveaway begins on Friday August 31st and will end on Sunday, Sept 9th at 11 pm EST.Please leave your email with your comments (this will not be made public) so that I can contact the winner of the giveaway and send the cookbook. Good luck! I hope you enjoy the recipes and make some fun, creative Pulled Pork recipes yourself!
I recently had the opportunity to attend a special press dinner in support of the upcoming launch of Jackson Landers’s book, ‘Eating Aliens’ and of Matthew Weingarten and Raquel Pelzel’sbook, ‘Preserving Wild Foods.’The dinner was a preview of some of the recipes from their upcoming book launches this Fall with Storey Publishing, held at the lovely cooking school and event space at Haven’s Kitchen in NYC. I met the Chefs and Authors, publishers and other journalists from the food media world. We learned about invasive species and foraging wild foods as well as the philosophy behind sustainable eating, hunting and cooking and sampled wild and amazingly delicious dishes from their books.
So what kind of wild food did we actually eat? Delicious food it was, but stuff you wouldn’t normally think of or hear about or see on a restaurant menu for a Saturday night dinner out on the town. We ate Dandelion Jelly Toasts, Pan-friedSnakehead (a large, black, meaty invasive fish that is absolutely delicious and tastes like swordfish!), Lionfish with Furikake Seaweed Salt (my favorite dish of the night, see recipe below), Chinese Mystery Snails, Fiddlehead Ferns, Wild Ramp Pesto, Pickled Garlic Scapes, Pickled Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms with Crostini (another one of my favorites! see recipe below), Homemade Sausage, and Duck Prosciutto, Mulberry Shortcakes and more delicious wild, foraged foods.
This event was a great learning, tasting and meet and greet experience with other foodies and talented chefs, hunters and cookbook authors. They made this wild food taste so good it made me want to start foraging my own wild mushrooms, ramps and berries and start canning and pickling my own gourmet creations, while supporting sustainably and reducing the amount of invasive species around the world all at the same time. I can’t say I’ll be hunting my own game or diving to catch fish with my bare hands anytime soon – I’ll leave that to the masters that I met that evening…
Award-winning writer Raquel Pelzel has collaborated with professional chefs on thirteen cookbooks, including the James Beard-nominatedDamGoodSweet and Masala Farm. She is a former editor at Cook’s Illustrated and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Check out Raquel’s website for more info on her background, cookbooks and recipes.
Toast the spices over medium-high heat until fragrant and the fennel seeds take on a bit of color, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup kosher salt. Stir in the salt and continue to cook until the salt is warmed through, another 1 minute.
Pour the salt and spices over the mushrooms and herbs and set aside while you make the pickling liquid. In a medium saucepan, boil
2 cups water
1 cup fruity olive oil
1/2 cup aged sherry vinegar
1/4 cup dried currants
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
Pour over the mushrooms, tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the liquid is at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours.
Sterlize the jars and divide the mushrooms among the still-warm jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Clean the rim of the jars with a clean kitchen towel before covering with the lids. Fasten the lid and band. Set up a hot water bath and submerge the jars placing gently on a canning rack, covering with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
When processing is complete, use the canning tongs to transfer the hot jars to a kitchen towel-lined surface. Listen for the pops of the seals as the jars cool.
The next day, test the seal by pressing on the center of the lid (it shouldn’t bounce back). Simply put the jar in the fridge and use right away.
Store in a cool, dark, dry place preferably between 50 and 70 degrees F, for up to a year.
Eat alone or serve on an antipasti platter with smoked, cured meats, cheeses and vegetables with crusty bread or crostini and crackers.
Makes 2 pints (four 8 oz jars).
Furikake Seaweed Salt (Fish and Meat Seasoning)
Furikake gives a blast of umami to the most ordinary of meals. Sprinkle it on plain sticky rice and any type of noodle, simply prepared steamed veggies and lightly grilled or pan-seared meats and fish. The sesame seeds reduce the amount of salt in the seasoning and the mineral-rich seaweeds ensure that you’re body gets what its craving when you hanker for a salty snack.
In a small bowl,
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
and set aside. Heat a medium skillet over medium-low and pour in
1 cup sesame seeds
Toast the sesame seeds, stirring often, until they are golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the salt-sugar water over the sesame seeds. The liquid will bubble violently; once it calms down, stir the sesame seeds so they don’t clump. Reduce the heat to low and continue to toast the sesame seeds for 30 seconds. The pan will be almost dry at this point. Watch the seeds, as you don’t want the sugar to burn. Remove the pan from the heat and crumble in
2 sheets nori
1 (6-inch) sheet dulse (or 1/4 cup dry dulse flakes)
Set the pan back over low heat and stir the dulse and seeds. The seaweed will soften up a bit, and then become fragrant and dry. Once the seaweed is crisp again and dry to the touch, after about 30 seconds, remove the pan from the burner and turn out the seasoning onto a large platter to cool. Put the furikake into a glass jar or shaker and use to season anything that needs a wake-up call. (This is the seasoning we sampled on the Pan-Seared Lionfish – it was absolutely AH-MAZING!!!!)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
All photos credited to Kristen Hess, The Artful Gourmet. Copyright 2012. Please do not share or distribute any of the photos or videos on this website commercially or for personal use without permission from the respected owners.
I recently had an opportunity to meet an amazing author/chef/blogger/photographer at a recent book launch party at Candle 79, Michael Natkin. If you haven’t checked out Michael’s award-winning vegetarian blog, Herbivoracious, then you absolutely must. His creative vegetarian dishes are colorful, fresh and vibrant, and he recently published his first cookbook named after his blog. I had the opportunity to meet Michael at the party and get a signed copy of his cookbook which I absolutely adore (even though I am not a vegetarian) and loved the recipes so much that I wanted to share a few with you and offer a chance for you to enter to win a copy of the amazing cookbook yourself, giveaway courtesy of Harvard Common Press.
The cookbook is full of 150 recipes and global dishes that he has created based on inspiration from his travels around the world: Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia are some of the main areas of influence on his cooking, which has led to his unique dishes full of taste, texture, aroma and gorgeous presentation. Appetizers and Small Plates, Soups and Salads, Sandwiches and Tacos, Pasta and Noodle DIshes, Side Veggie Dishes and Desserts are all colorfully presented in this beautiful cookbook.
Whether you are an omnivore, herbivore, vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian (or just love fresh veggies, salads and healthy recipes) – I know you’ll love this cookbook as much as I do! Michael has also graciously given me two recipes from his cookbook to share with you: Over The Top Eggplant Parmesan and a cool and refreshing Watermelon, Radish and Watercress Salad (see recipes following). Enjoy!
***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, SHEA ROSS OF ATLANTA GA! STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE COOKBOOK GIVEAWAYS
Here’s how to enter to win a copy of the cookbook (open to US/Canadian residents only):
Comment on this post: Tell me what is your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish, or simply why you would like to win the cookbook to receive one (1) entry;
Share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Pinterest with your followers & get an additional entry for each post;
*** VERY IMPORTANT! ***Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.For example, leave your first comment about your favorite vegetable or vegetarian dish and why you want to win the cookbook, then add another comment to say “I follow you on Twitter”, another to say “I follow you on Pinterest”, etc. If you already follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.
*NOTE: Please make sure to provide your current email address (which won’t be visible) so I can reach you if you win.
I will randomly draw one lucky winner on Sunday, June 10 at 11 pm EST. Good Luck and enjoy the recipes from Michael’s book below!
Over-the-Top Eggplant Parmigiana
SERVES 6 1 HOUR (40 MINUTES ACTIVE)
For this no-holds-barred eggplant parmigiana, the eggplant is breaded with panko and pan-fried, layered with fresh mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce, finished in the oven, and then topped with a dice of fresh heirloom tomatoes. It makes a satisfying entrée, and you need only add a green salad to make a celebratory dinner.
I don’t salt and drain eggplant for most uses, but it is worthwhile in this recipe. Extracting some of the liquid makes the eggplant fry up firm yet fork-tender. You don’t want any mush factor in your parmigiana.
Here’s a great tip for breading. Use one hand to put the eggplant in the flour, egg, and bread crumbs. Use the other hand to toss the eggplant in the bread crumbs and into the skillet. By keeping one hand for the wet stuff and the other for the dry, you avoid getting your hands breaded along with the eggplant!
The finest canned tomatoes for Italian dishes come from the area of San Marzano; look for that name on the can.
3 large or 5 smaller globe eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups panko bread crumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
12 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1⁄2 cups diced vine-ripened tomatoes (only truly good, ripe tomatoes will do here; don’t use those supermarket ones ripened with ethylene gas)
1 handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the eggplants and slice lengthwise into planks a scant 1⁄2 inch thick. Layer in a colander with a heavy sprinkling of kosher salt between each layer, top with a plate, and weight with some cans. Set aside on a plate to drain for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off excess salt with a paper towel.
Heat the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, while you make the rest of the recipe. Don’t add salt, because the eggplant will still have residual salt from the draining process.
Set up a rack or baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining the fried eggplant. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and preheat the oven to 400°F.
Set up for dredging, with plates for the flour and bread crumbs and a shallow bowl for the eggs. Heat a good 1⁄4 inch of vegetable oil in your biggest skillet over high heat. Working with two slices of eggplant at a time, pat them in the flour until they have a dry coating, then drag through the egg, and finally press both sides in the bread crumbs, covering thoroughly. Place them in the skillet, where they should start sizzling immediately. Don’t pack them in too tightly in the skillet; leave yourself some room to work. Flip when brown, about 2 minutes, then brown on the other side. They should be fork-tender at this point (the oven time is just to melt the cheese, not cook the eggplant). Transfer the eggplant to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more vegetable oil as necessary.
To assemble, set down your first layer of eggplant in the prepared baking dish, and top each slice with a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce, a piece of mozzarella, a bit of Parmigiano, and a bit of basil. Build up three layers, finishing with cheese.
Bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted, about 20 minutes.
To serve: Toss the diced tomatoes with the basil and a pinch of salt. Put an eggplant stack on each plate, and top with 1⁄4 cup of the tomato salad and a grind of fresh black pepper.
Watermelon Radish and Watercress Salad
This delicious salad is driven purely by its beautiful ingredients; all you have to do is take a little care to arrange them nicely.
Watermelon radishes are green on the outside, but when sliced you see that they are intensely red in the middle, looking much like tiny watermelons. If you have a mandoline, use it here: It is excellent for slicing them thinly and evenly.
If you have difficulty finding watercress, check the refrigerated produce section of upscale markets. They often carry hydroponic watercress, making this peppery green, once strictly seasonal, available year-round. Look for bright, fresh leaves with no signs of wilting. The tart cress makes a great foil for the sweet figs and pomegranate seeds (or more technically, arils).
1 large watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 handfuls watercress, rinsed and dried
4 ripe fresh figs, halved
1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds
16 shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano or other hard aged cheese
12 toasted walnut halves
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Arrange a circle of watermelon radish slices on each of four chilled plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Toss the watercress with a bit of the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place a fluffy handful on each plate. This is the critical step to making the salad look nice—aim to make a tall, high mound in the center, and don’t let it spread out.
Add 2 fig halves, 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds, 4 cheese shavings, and 3 toasted walnut halves to each plate. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve immediately.
Herbivoracious is also available in an enhanced e-book edition, with 25 videos featuring Natkin touring ethnic markets, introducing ingredients and showing how to choose them, and preparing recipes from the book. The e-book will also offer social media functionality for sharing recipes, photos, and video on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
I stumbled upon this handmade cheese-making mecca a few weeks ago while on a stroll to the Union Square Farmer’s Market in the Flatiron District in NYC and was blown away by the impressive facility and store/restaurant as soon as I walked in. Founded by Seattle cheese makerKurt Beecher Dammeier, Beecher’s offers customers a full range of handmade cheeses and gourmet artisan foods and wines with a cafe, coffee bar and store. There’s a huge window as soon as you walk in where you can watch the cheese makers, well, making fresh cheese in their in-house facility all day long. You can also visit their cellar and taste a glass of wine and check out their “cheese cave” where rows upon rows of cheeses are being aged to perfection. They also have three cookbooks with their signature recipes, and are famous for their “World’s Best” Macaroni and Cheese recipe which is in the book and you can also purchase pre-made in their shop or cafe. The retail store offers a bountiful, well-curated selection of the “best of” American artisan cheeses and charcuterie. While visiting, they’ll introduce you not only to their favorite cheeses and meats but also to the talented producers they know and love. You’ll also be provided with fantastic accompaniments- antipasti, crackers, honey, pickles, etc- for your carefully chosen cheeses and meats, all true to their mission of natural, additive-free foods.
I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for 7 years and haven’t been to this amazing place until last weekend when I stopped in for brunch. Veselka is a hopping little place in the East Village that specializes in Ukrainian foods and I had to stop in to sample their potato pancakes. Coming from a German-Polish family, my Mom used to make the best potato pancakes served with apple sauce and sour cream so of course I had to size these babies up to see if they compared, and I have to say they did. I had the brunch with a cheese omelette, a piece of their fresh made Kielbasa, rye toast and of course the pancakes. Bummer I forgot to order some of their famous Pierogies, Stuffed Cabbage and Beef Stroganoff – more family favorites I grew up eating..oh well, maybe next time! I’ll definitely be back for another foodie excursion to this yummy place. In fact, I just may grab a copy of the Veselka Cookbook to make some of these noms at home!
Veselka Restaurant was started in 1954 by Wolodymyr Darmochwal who had recently emigrated from the Ivano-Frankovsk region of Ukraine. In the early days Veselka was a humble neighborhood candy store and newsstand that had a small counter and a few tables where a small selection of Ukrainian dishes were served. The popularity of these homemade dishes helped Veselka to grow over the years and become a full fledged restaurant serving a large variety of homemade Ukrainian and American dishes. Some of their signature dishes include: Cabbage Soup, Pierogies, Kielbasa, Potato Pancakes, Ukrainian Borscht, Beef Stroganoff, Bigos (a hearty Ukrainian Hunter’s stew made with Kielbasa, Sauerkraut, Pork and Onions served with a side of mashed potatoes), Ukranian Meatballs, Veal Goulash, Stuffed Cabbage, Soups, Salads, Burgers, Brunch…the list goes on! The atmosphere is buzzing and busy, and the kitchen is open in the front near the fresh baked goods and desserts counter which you also should not miss.
I don’t get out to Brooklyn as much as I’d like to and especially Williamsburg – a funky creative foodie part of town that has some great restaurants. I stopped in to Roesling Tea Room after visiting a photographer friend of mine looking for a small bite to eat and a glass of vino after our meeting. I ordered at the bar and sampled a side of their luscious Macaroni and Cheese which was oooey gooey layers of cheese and shells with a dash of hot sauce topped with some fresh parsley. It was the perfect size for a small bite of goodness and was only $10 to boot. Their cocktail menu is pretty cool too with unique drinks such as “The White Witch” made with Flor de Cana and Creme de Cacao and Cream, or the “Way Too Early” made with Earl Grey tea, Gin, Lemon and Champagne.
They do have a full dinner menu (see link below) offering Apps such as Grilled Razor Clams, Raviolo with Garlic, Ricotta, Chili and Squid and a hearty Lamb Ragu over Vermicelloni with ground hazelnuts. If you’re hungrier and want a full meal, try the Steak Tartare, “Cock-a-leekie” Chicken, Grilled Hangar Steak or Softshell Crab. The atmosphere is dark and moody, with an open wrap around bar and is perfect for a quiet, intimate dinner with friends or a date. They also serve lunch and brunch with burgers, eggs, salads and fresh sides and offer room for parties and events in this impressive cool space and location.
If you’re ever in Chelsea in NYC, this is a must-see destination. The ultimate “Festival of Shops”, Limelight Marketplace is a theatrical and fun shopping experience, located inside the restored Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion of 1845, and the infamous swanky Limelight Nightclub that was hoppin’ in the 70’s and 80’s. Redesigned by Henry Bendel, it re-opened its doors in 2010 to reveal a 3-story grand emporium filled with shopping, food, fashion, restaurants, art and home furnishings, decked out with grand arched ceilings, and the recently uncovered huge stained glass windows and limestone arches from the original church architecture. Inside you’ll find some cool bars and restaurants like the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, Cava Wine Bar (Italian Meats, Cheeses, Wines), Jezalin’s (artisan soups, sandwiches, salads and chartucerie) and soon Cross Bar. Upstairs on the top floor you can’t miss the Marie Belle Cacao Bar and Luxury Chocolates. They also have an outdoor garden atrium (which is currently decorated with Indian tents) where you can chill out and enjoy a coffee or just stare at the amazing grand old architecture in awe.
Funny story how I ended up here in New Haven, CT for Cinco de Mayo…last Saturday I was supposed to go to the Foodstock Festival up at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT to see a great lineup of speakers and check out some amazing food vendors. So I rented a car online, took an early 2 hour train ride up to New Haven Union Station to pick up my rental car. Well, apparently even if you’ve pre-paid for your car you still need a credit card to give them to take the car for the day. All I had was my camera, a Mastercard debit card and some cash – no go. Needless to say, my day in New Haven wasn’t all that bad. I walked around the beautiful campus of Yale University, went to the Yale Art Gallery, cruised around Chapel Street to grab a coffee and checked out the cute shops and boutiques. On my journey around town, I started getting really hungry for some Mexican and discovered a cool little place called Geronimo’s Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some margaritas and food.
I had a couple of margaritas since they were only $5 for Cinco de Mayo, and tried their Chicken Tortilla Soup which had huge chunks of white meat shredded chicken, fresh veggies and crunchy tortilla strips on top. The chips were handmade, and the salsa super fresh and chunky with lots of cilantro, just how I like it. For an entree I ordered the Pork Quesadilla which had shredded roasted pork bathed in a Chimayo chile sauce with chihuahua cheese and scallions; topped with fresh grilled corn salsa salad. Delicious! warning: just be super careful if you sample their homemade habenero pepper sauce – its super tasty but super HOT, believe me you only need a smidge to taste the heat!
My waitress was super cool and was patient with me as I ran around the restaurant taking pictures of all their cool Southwestern artifacts and cool interior design inside the restaurant. Chef Timothy Scott (Connecticut native who studied with Anne Willan at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy, France) and I chatted for a while as he showed me around the restaurant and told me about all the local, organic ingredients he uses and the South Dakota farms he visits to source all of his meats for some of their unique dishes as the Smoked Buffalo Brisket Tacos and Elk Chili. The menu has your typical Mexican dishes but they are infused with a “Santa Fe” New Mexican flavor, using traditional foods and flavors of the Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-Americans that settled there. Its primary ingredients consist of corn, beans, chile peppers, rice, tomatoes, avocados, pork and bison. Slow-stewed meats and chilis, and natural heat from various chile peppers give the cuisine here a bold, rustic flavor that is distinct from other Mexican cuisine. Don’t miss it if you’re ever up visiting Yale or just cruising around New Haven for a day.
There’s a new kid in town – an amazing organic grocery market and restaurant called Forager’s City Grocer in Chelsea, sister to the Dumbo Brooklyn location. Everything inside the market is sourced from their local farms and made fresh daily on premises. They have a meat counter and prepared foods kitchen with fresh soups, salads, roasted veggies, house-cured pastrami, roasted chicken and herb-roasted porchetta (to die for!). Cruise towards the back and you’ll find a lovely cheese section, olives, cured and fresh butchered meats, and a full line-up of local, and more organic dairy products like yogurt, cream, butter and milk. They have plenty of spices, honeys, jams, imported pastas and other cool gourmet items. And in the front, you can’t miss the coffee bar and dessert counter where they have freshly baked cupcakes, croissants, and unique-flavored glazed donuts like Hibiscus and Blood Orange…Oh my.
The restaurant inside the market has a clean design with an open kitchen and bar, high tables and stools and lots of natural lighting. The cuisine has an Asian flair, offering lunch, brunch and dinner. All the menu items are created with local, organic ingredients, house-cured meats and fresh veggies straight from their farm. They have great salads such as Raw Dayboat Salad with Yuzu Koshu and Crushed Lemon Oil, or Fermented Tea Leaf Salad with Dried Shrimp, Sesame, Peanuts, Crispy Garlic and Split Peas. Or try the Wok-Tossed Berkshire Pork Short Ribs or Crispy Whole Prawns with Chiles, Prickly Ash and Green Onions. Brunch is a new thing, serving up fresh omelettes, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, cinnamon french toast, house smoked pepper bacon and house made quinoa granola with fruit. And don’t miss the Forager’s wine store attached to the market next door where you can find organic wines from grape farmers all around the world.
The Chelsea location has also launched the debut of their expertly handcrafted cocktails along with a menu of beers and eco-minded selected wines on tap. The new, eclectic cocktail menu was designed by head bartender Aaron Polsky (also of Amor y Amargo). The menu is heavily influenced by the market’s hyper-local foraged produce and seasonally inspired house-made syrups and infusions. Some of the cool new cocktails to try are:
Gordon’s Healthy Lunch – made with Dorothy Parker Gin, Foragers Farm spicy baby lettuce juice, lime, meyer lemon oleo saccharum
Doug’s Spring MP – with Tequila Pueblo Viejo Blanco, rhubarb, tarragon, raspberry shrub, soda
I recently went on a search of some pretty cupcakes for a photoshoot I am working on, and found this cute little place called The Cupcake Cafe in Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and 40th Street near Times Square. It’s a quaint little place with a tiny kitchen in the back where they bake and design their pretty floral cakes and cupcakes with great detail. Anne Warren, co-owner, also designs custom wedding and personalized birthday cakes and offers cake decorating classes and film catering. The interior has a cute bench, a table and a few stools where you can sit and enjoy a coffee and a luscious buttercream-frosted flowery cupcake, just because. No frills, just a cozy spot to indulge.
While on my journey around town in New Haven, I stopped into this cool, colorful store on Chapel Street called Metaphore -Eurostyle. I met the owner and artist, Liza Clayson, who showed me around her store full of custom art andgorgeous hand-painted furniture, shower curtains, linens, dishes, glassware, French pantry gourmet items such as sea salts, oils, honeys, vinegars, mustards, jams, teas, and cookies. We had an even more colorful conversation about the town, restaurants, blogging and marketing and who knows what else. I couldn’t help but start dreaming up all the cool photography and food styling sets one could design with her pretty hand-painted and imported goodies. Liza also has plenty of unique and unusual European-imported goodies in the store, thus the name “Eurostyle”. Many of her items are things you won’t find here in the U.S. – she has customers that come in the store from all over to buy her unique things. You just have to check it out for yourself. If you can’t make it to New Haven, you can call her directly and place a personalized order. Now that’s pretty cool.
If you like fried chicken like I do, great – but this is no ordinary fried chicken – this is Seoul, Korea-style fried chicken and a tasty one at that. Located on Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building, KyoChon came to NYC from Korea, opened its flagship store here and never looked back. KyoChon has become a cult-like obsession with New Yorkers (including myself) with its fresh, crispy, juicy fried chicken and tasty dipping sauces. The Soy Garlic and Hot & Sweet Chile sauces are apparently are secret recipes that founder Won-Kang Kwon and his wife whip up in a secret room in the basement of their production facilities in Seoul. They claim to use only fresh, not frozen, chickens, and hand-trim and hand-brush each piece, which is apparent when you taste a piece of their crunchy chicken. This ain’t no Chicken McNugget, folks. They also have sandwiches, salads and wraps filled with fresh veggies and fruits and the interior is pretty cool looking too, with its bright red spiral staircase and clear acrylic Jetson-style chairs and tables. Oh, and the Sweet Potato Fries ROCK.
After living in Atlanta for almost 12 years, it was refreshing to find a honky-tonk fun place in NYC that reminded me of the South.Rodeo Bar & Grill is probably one of the ONLY places in New York that you’ll find local and regional country and blues musicians playing live, where you can sit and enjoy a Margarita and some chips and salsa. This Tex-Mex bar and grill is located on 3rd Ave in Murray Hill and serves a kickass portion of chile con queso and chips, and other Tex-Mex specialties such as Enchiladas, Slow-Smoked Texas BBQ, Quesadillas, Tacos and a nice selection of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers and soups and salads. The live shows are on pretty much every night with different artists, until midnight during the week and late on weekends. They have a great happy hour from 4-7 pm offering half price margaritas and bar food like wings, nachos and sliders. Grab your cowboy boots, get yourself some tequila and some live country and blues – too fun.