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Thank You and Giveaway Results

October 26, 2011

Hello Friends.

First, I want to thank you, very sincerely, for all the comments, emails, phone calls about my accident.  Graham seems to be fine, I am healing, and our car, well, our car will be fixed in a couple of weeks.  My right thumb went from looking like a sausage to just having a big bruise.  I am almost able to bend it without pain.  Physical injuries hurt but I think my soul was crushed more than my body.  After Randy came home early from his high school reunion, I sort of crashed emotionally.  I was very melancholy and all I wanted to do was sleep.  Guilt and fear can do that to you.  Thankfully, after a day and a half of that, I am spiritually on the mend as well as physically.  It helped, very much, to continue getting lovely notes from you all during that rough patch.

Moving on – Who Won the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook??  I have to say, this was a fascinating exercise.  Reading about the recipes you all are trying to find made me want to sit down and email each of you to say, “Well, have you tried this one??”  Some of you I couldn’t help (I’m talking to the pork people and those on a meat sauce quest) but some of you I could.  If you are searching for a chocolate chip cookie, have you tried this one?

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are looking for a brownie, have you tried this one?

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The Baked Brownie

If you are looking for gnocchi, have you tried this one?

Ethan Stowell’s Method for Perfect Gnocchi

If you are looking for Macaroni and Cheese, have you tried this one?

Martha Stewart’s Gratinéed Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes

If you are looking for a scone, have you tried this one?

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Classic Currant Scones

And If you are looking for pizza crust, please do yourself a favor and try Mark Bittman’s recipe.

I’m not saying these recipes are perfect, but I like them very much.  Your comments gave me some wonderful new ideas to try for this blog.  And I also realized that my all-time favorite butternut squash soup is not here.  That will be remedied next week.  More vegetable soups will follow as will gingerbread, biscuits, and a perfect marinara.  Please know that I am on my own quest too.  Thanks for all the ideas.

And without further ado, based on my random generator, the cookbook winner is:

87

Random numbers generated Oct 26 2011 at 10:11:50 by www.psychicscience.org  
Free educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.

Jane!  Jane said she wanted a perfect chocolate cake recipe, but seeing as I posted one, she is now looking for a vanilla cake.  Jane, send me an email so I can get your address.

Thanks again for playing everyone.  I have another great giveaway coming up tomorrow!



Book Larder is Open!

October 13, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Come visit!



Book Larder

September 29, 2011

Friends.  I’ve been keeping a little something from you.  That sounds sneaky, I know.  I never meant to be sneaky.  It started out that I was unsure, then I didn’t want to jinx myself, then I couldn’t believe it was real, then I wanted to make sure you could learn as much about it as possible (i.e. I was waiting for a web site to go live).  What on earth am I talking about?

This.  If you are active in the Seattle food community, then you know that an incredible place is about to open its doors.  Book Larder, our fair city’s very own cookbook shop, will open on October 12th.  A bookstore with over 3,000 titles, a gathering space, a place to attend amazing events, a kitchen in which to take cooking classes…and guess who is working there.

Me.  To say I am excited about this new chapter in my culinary life would be an understatement.  Lara, Book Larder’s visionary owner, and I have had multiple conversations about my role in the store and she is currently calling me Culinary Director.  I love that.  Basically, I will be doing a little of everything – working in the store, helping with events – but also overseeing the cooking classes held in the shop’s cozy kitchen space and teaching classes of my own.  When Lara and I had our first real conversation about a possible role for me there, she asked me what path I saw my career taking.  I told her that although I know it sounded a bit “woo-woo”, I felt like there was something out there swirling around in the Universe waiting to make itself clear to me.  And that thing is Book Larder.  I could not be more thrilled.

So!  If you live in Seattle, please come by the store and say hi.  The doors open October 12th.  Sign up for some events.  Come to some classes!  Just come and hang out!  We will be baking yummy things on a regular basis for sampling.  Check the Facebook page to find out about fun things like that or, if you are on Twitter, follow us.  If you don’t live in Seattle, but are planning a trip in the future, same deal.  Regardless of where you live, you can sign up for the Book Larder mailing list to read all about the amazing upcoming events, cool people who are blowing through town, and classes to take.

How about some preview photos?

The kitchen space. Lara and Spencer watching compostible packing peanuts go down the disposal.

The books have been coming in for a week.  Boxes and boxes of cookbooks.  Some of them I may have petted and rubbed against my cheek.  I may have started a list of things I want to buy.  Already.

Where are they all going to go?  The walls are lined with shelves and the next task is to figure out order and spacing.  That is what post-its are for!

We have many categories.  It makes me happy that one of them is called “Quirk”.

There will plenty for the kids to look at.  This is Spencer reading an adorable book called The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies.

Updates coming soon!



Target Giveaway and Labor Day Ideas

September 4, 2011

If you live in the U.S., you are smack dab in the middle of Labor Day weekend.  If you are not on a camping (or some other kind of) trip, you are most likely either hosting a gathering, or are attending a gathering.  We are hosting two gatherings for which I will be making one ton of food.  I will share some of the recipes later in the week but that won’t help you with ideas for what to make, will it?  Labor Day will have passed.  So, I’m going to remind you of some of my very favorite salads if you need salad inspiration for your Labor Day festivities.  But first, a giveaway.

One of the most challenging things about writing is editing.  Doing your own, or someone doing it for you.  I took a history class in high school where each week we would have a pithy contest.  You had to bring in a current event and talk about it clearly in the fewest words possible.  I think about that contest often when I am writing.  I know I am not the pithiest writer but I could be worse.

I started a post that was, honestly, all over the place.  Cookies, bad cookie cookbooks, back to school, and Target.  It was far from pithy.  So let me just dial it down for you.  Target contacted me recently asking if I wanted a $50 gift card to check out their new food offerings.  Did you know that many Target stores carry more than just potato chips?  Like a full-on fresh food section with beautiful produce to boot?  I didn’t either.  We did our back to school shopping at Target and I was thrilled to be able to get the things I couldn’t find at the farmer’s market in the same place as the pencils and erasers.  One stop shopping taken to a whole new level.

Now.  When I am offered something like this, I always ask if I can have two.  One for me, one to give away.  The Target people didn’t bat an eyelash.  So, who wants a $50 Target gift card?  In the comments, tell me the name of your favorite grade school teacher and (optional!) why he/she was your favorite.  You have until Friday, September 9th at 9am PDT to enter.  And now, salad!  (UPDATE: Contest is now closed!)

Zucchini and Olive Salad could not be easier and it elicits oooh’s and aaahh’s when you bring it to the table.

Everyone loves Greek Salad and in this post, I offer some tips on making a great one.

That old saying, “What grows together, goes together” is exactly what you find here.  Peaches, heirlooms, green beans.  Perfection.

If you are thinking of making a potato salad, why not try something a little different?  Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette.  Be sure sure to use the purples.

I’ve made this salad, Lentils with Capers, Walnuts, Walnut Oil and Mint, more than just about anything in my life.  I love it.  I’m making it this weekend.

Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes.  Think of it either as a salad or a side dish.  Either way, delicious.



Late Summer

August 26, 2011

I’m away from my desk, my kitchen, and my home.  I feel bad leaving you with a spotty August this year – just too many things going on in my life to post regularly.  But!  I did much better in past years so here is a little reminder of what late August can mean to you.  (For me, it seems to either mean travel or party food.)

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Tortellini Skewers are great for any party.  I made these recently and I stuck a cherry tomato on there as well.

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Little balls of food are always welcome at a party, especially if it is marinated mozzarella.

Eggplant Caponata is good for groups large and small.  Serve it with crackers, baguette slices, or your favorite carb.

These little cheese stuffed Peppadew peppers are one of my favorite things to make for gatherings large and small.  I always get raves and lots of comments about them.

If you are a CSA member, chances are you are getting a lot of chard and will get a lot of chard in the coming months.  This tart is a delicious way to make your way through those bushels.

 



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