My Cookbook Gift List

This is the time of year for gift lists of all kinds. Right now my social media feeds seem over run with cookbook gift list but this got me thinking, what books would I recommend. Not all of my recommendations were not published this year. That’s not what I am going for. I wanted to recommend cookbooks that are well used, well loved, referenced regularly and had a profound impact on my cooking. Continue reading

Decorating for the Holidays Requires a Plan and a Strategy…

Decorating your house for the holidays is something that many of us do. Those who it falls to can often feel like this is a massive undertaking and, well, it is. Year after year it goes up. Most likely we add to it and then it comes down. The following year it’s even more work to put up and that cycle just continues. Heck, there have even been years when I question wether it’s worth all the work. This was almost one of those years it didn’t go up at all but then I made myself do it and you should too.  Continue reading

A Week of Thanksgiving: A Mountain of Cranberries Where do They Belong?

The cranberry is my nemesis. It’s beautiful, it’s vibrant, and it’s quite possibly the only “winter” fruit here in the midwest. But what do you do with it? I have a confession. I have never understood cranberry sauce and in the few places I have tried to make it work in my mind, it never has on the Thanksgiving table. I get the theory, with all those rich, meaty, sweet, and savory flavors you need something to cut through it all so this tart fruit seems like a winner, and hey, if cranberry sauce on a slice of turkey is your thing than great but it just doesn’t work for me. So I have to admit when it found a home on my Thanksgiving table this year in more ways than one I was surprised and delighted.  Continue reading

Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts

Cookbook Bravetart

Anyone who knows me knows I love to bake. My obsession started with cake decorating, then quickly shifted focus to chocolate chip cookies and now knows no limits… OK, well I still don’t sculpt sugar or chocolate. So when a new cookbook comes out about baking I think “been there, done that”. There never seems to be much new in the world of good cookbooks on baking. Sure everyone has their twists but they all seem to offer up the same set up recipes, slightly tweaked. Because of this, I tend to steer clear of cookbooks about baking, that was until Stella Park wrote BravetartContinue reading

Shulchan Orech: Passover Style

One of the things I love about special event dinners is setting the table. I love this so much I have coined the term “tablescaping” primarily because it’s so much more than just setting the table. It’s about height, scale, proportion, theme, and balance of color. So when as Passover was approaching quickly on the calendar I started giving thought as to how I wanted to present my table. Continue reading

Half Sheet, Quarter Sheet, Jelly Roll, or Cookie Sheet… What you need to know.

When trying to stock your kitchen with the essential tools it can be overwhelming. Take cookie sheets for example. This seems like a no brainer but is it? There are so many different types of pans it can feel like you need them all but I have a confession. I only have 2 half-sheets and 2 quarter-sheets. (The sheet pan is what professional bakeries use. They come in full, half, and quarter. They have a lip all the way around and sometimes are referred to as jellyroll pans. You can get them at any kitchen shop but I would recommend getting a couple from a restaurant supply store as they will be MUCH cheaper. Continue reading

A Bouquet of Flours

Back in 2006 Will Ferrell started in a movie called Stranger than Fiction. In it he becomes smitten with a woman who has a bakery. In it there is a scene where he brings her “flours”. It’s a scene that has stuck with me for over a decade. Then a few years back I discovered “Good to the Grain“. A cookbook about baking with alternative flours. You see, I love baked goods and I wanted to see if there was a way to either make them “healthier” or more interesting and that means looking at the flour.  Continue reading