Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Eating from the Ground Up: A Review

If you've been meaning to add more veggies to your diet, but steamed green beans and boiled carrots just doesn't sound that appealing, Eating from the Ground Up was written just for you.

Author and blogger Alana Chernila (of Eating from the  Ground Up blog) introduces us to the world of spectacularly amazing vegetable recipes, from Caramelized Hakurei Turnips and Millet-Stuffed Tomatoes, to Roasted Radishes with Feta Mint Sauce and Swiss Chard Rolls. The recipes are easy to follow and accompanied by a ton of vibrant, beautifully shot photographs.

I personally can't wait to dive into these healthy, colorful, and deceptively simple dishes that are not only good for me, but are stunning and company-worthy, too!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Power Plates: A Review

Imagine sitting down to a meal at your table and before you is only one plate (or bowl or cup). No sides. No multiple courses. Just one complete dish...on one single plate.

Now imagine that meal being one of the most colorful, healthy, and flavorful meals of your life.

Lucky you, you've just imagined a "power plate" created by Gena Hamshaw of The Full Helping blog! She features 100 of them in her newest cookbook, Power Plates.

I don't know about you, but once I understood her concept (nutritionally balanced, one-dish vegan meals), I couldn't wait to try them out. I'm going to start with the Tofu Migas, Masala Lentil Salad with Cumin-Roasted Carrots, and White Bean Ribollita. Next will probably be Greek Bowls with Lentil Keftedes and Cashew Tzatziki. Then maybe Pudla with Spicy Sauteed Spinach. And last, but not least, Stuffed Peppers with Farro, Herbs, and Tempeh Sausage. 

The book is full of beautiful photography and clear, easy-to-follow directions. 

I know I won't be disappointed--and neither will you.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Kristen Kish Cooking: A Review

I already knew Kristen Kish was a marvelous chef. After all, she's one of the 75 featured chefs in my own new cookbook, Chefs & Company. But when I found out she was also coming out with her own eponymous cookbook, Kristen Kish Cooking, let's just say I was more than just a little excited. I was over the moon, actually! And when I finally had it in my hands, to put it mildly, I was more than thrilled with it.

Kristen's recipes are as elegant and unique as she is. For instance, she features Salmon with English Pea, Artichoke, and Pancetta...Seared Lobster with Foie Gras Sauce, Turnip, and Pickled Radish...Ravioli con Uovo, Delice de Bourgogne, Wheat Berry, and Brodo...Veal with Escargot Ragout, Wasabi, and Sweetbreads...I mean really, must I go on?

And the photography. Oh, the photography! In a word, it's brilliant. Simply brilliant.

So, if you're looking to up your game in the kitchen, on guest nights, or just because, this is the book for you.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Cottage Kitchen: A Review

If you're looking for a gem of a cookbook that's full of feel-good comfort recipes, warmly authentic life stories, and richly hued photography, The Cottage Kitchen by Marte Marie Forsberg is made for you!

Broken down by season (which I always love and is extremely helpful), Marie's recipes lure you into her world across the pond in the English countryside.

For winter, I really want to try Warming Lamb and Cabbage Stew. For spring, I have to try Jansons' Potato Casserole with Quail Eggs. For summer, I'm dying to try Limoncello Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit. And for autumn, I'm definitely trying the Mulled Cider.

Marie even throws in a bonus chapter covering afternoon tea, for which I'm going to try her Orange Cinnamon Knots. 'Nuff said.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cherry Bombe: A Review

A bubblegum-pink cover. A huge, bright red cherry illustration smack dab in the middle. And a title like Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook would be enough to entice anyone to pick up this beautiful tome, which just happens to include "recipes and stories from 100 of the most creative and inspiring women in food today."

Authors Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu are co-founders of Cherry Bombe, the hit indie magazine about women and food. They scoped out many different talents, from pastry chefs and food stylists, to editors, bloggers, and farmers. And they asked them for recipes they treasured. The result is this delightful book.

Names like Heidi Swanson, Chrissy Teigen, Padma Lakshmi, Nilou Motamed, Gail Simmons, and Naomi Pomeroy contributed fantastic recipes that range from appetizers, mains, soups, salads, and sides, to snacks, cookies, cakes, and pies. I'm eager to try the Purple Grain Roasted Beet & Barley Salad, Sinuglaw (Filipino Grilled Pork Belly & Tuna Ceviche), San Bei Ji (Taiwanese Three-Cup Chicken), Goat Cheese Souffle, and Bubbie Smigel Cake. All recipes are accompanied by retro-stylized, full-color photographs.

If you're interested in what today's accomplished female foodies are up to, you'll be tickled pink with this book.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Holiday Cookies: A Review

I'll be totally honest. I simply could. not. wait. to get my hands on Holiday Cookies by the very talented Elisabet der Nederlanden. And to put it mildly, it was even so much better than I imagined!

It is chock-full of the most beautiful, mouthwatering cookies you've ever seen in your life. From traditional classics, to spiced confections, to international favorites, to decorated beauties, there's a recipe for every cookie fantasy you've ever had.

Elisabet also includes extremely helpful tips on how to decorate, package, and store cookies.

Honestly, I can't wait to get started. The problem is, I can't decide which cookie to make first. The Chocolate-Stenciled Shortbread Rounds? The Glazed Eggnog Madeleines? The Austrian Linzer Augen? Or the Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut? Heck, I'll just make them all!

If you're looking for cookie recipes that are anything but ordinary, this is the book for you!

* I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hot to Set a Table: A Review

Funny how a book doesn't have to be big, thick, glossy, or fancy to be great. And that's exactly what How to Set a Table by Potter Style turned out to be: a small, unassuming book that's chock-full of useful and interesting information, helpful tips, and super-creative ideas!


It includes some things I already knew (how to place silverware and the difference between wine glasses). But it also taught me a lot of things I didn't know, like how each person should be given about 24 inches of table space. The different sizes of napkins according to use. And how place cards are typically only used for parties of eight or more.

There are also many other fun extras, such as sample settings for a cookout, potluck dinner, birthday picnic, breakfast in bed, and even overnight guests. 

All in all, I know I'll be turning to this little gem many times over during my future entertaining. And I'll really have fun doing so.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mighty Salads: A Review

Ever since my husband and I decided to lighten up our meals, salads have shifted their place of honor from being a side dish to taking center stage as the main course--which is why I was thrilled to finally receive my copy of the brand new cookbook called Mighty Salads by the popular editors of Food52.

As soon as I started flipping through the pages, I could quickly see that these were not just any typical dinner salads. The ingredients were fabulous. The dressings were exciting. And the combinations were more than just a little tantalizing.

For instance, take a look at some of the featured recipes: Carrot & Radicchio Salad with Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette, Charred Broccoli & Lentil Salad, Grilled Ratatouille & Bulgar Salad, Farro & Golden Beet Salad with Chive-Sage Dressing, Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za'atar, and Chicken & Rice Salad with Poached Radishes and Nuoc Cham. Need I go on?

As you can clearly see, these are not your mother's salads. Rather, they are novel salads that will elevate any meal to a whole new dimension. I can't wait to get started!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dinner, Changing the Game: A Review

Upon the arrival in my mailbox of the much-anticipated newest cookbook by the venerable Melissa Clark, coyly entitled Dinner: Changing the Game, I must say I was doing the happy dance. And I haven't stopped since.

You see, this book is all about recipes for dinner (you probably already guessed that!)...but in a most refreshing and unique way. As the inside book cover says, "Dinner showcases the inventive yet unfussy approach to cooking that will make anyone a better and more confident cook."

To be more specific, Dinner features recipes that are "meant to be dinner--one fantastic dish that is so satisfying and flavor forward it can stand alone--maybe with a little salad or some bread on the side. This is what Melissa Clark means by changing the game."

Whoa! What an awesome concept! Forget making a main entree with two sides. These dishes complete the meal all on their own. And boy do they look fabulous.

Frankly, I can't wait to try the Chicken & Grapes with Sherry Vinegar; Georgian Lamb Kebabs with Dill Sauce; Stovetop Fusilli with Spinach, Peas, and Gruyere; and Skillet Brown-butter Cornbread. With more than 200 recipes, this is a comprehensive resource that will serve me well for years to come.

But don't take my word for it. See for yourself. You won't be disappointed...I guarantee it!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Review

Now here's a novel approach: Gather all your favorite gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo recipes. Arrange them by occasion. And then photograph each special meal with your family in your own home. Which is exactly what Danielle Walker did for her newest blockbuster cookbook, Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations.

Danielle highlights the following special occasions: New Year's Eve, Game Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Birthday, Fourth of July, Summer Shower, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Each celebration features a menu that's not only healthy, but vibrantly beautiful, too! I can't wait to try her Butternut Sage Carbonara, Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Knife-and-Fork Pork Ribs, Mini "Corn" Dog Muffins, and Caramel-Pecan Sticky Buns. Who says healthy can't be decadent as well?

If you'd like to take all the thought, work, and planning out of each special occasion, and still guarantee its success, let Danielle be your guide in this fabulous new cookbook of hers.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for my review. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Inspiralize Everything: A Review

My kids got me a spiralizer for Christmas. And ever since then, I've been excited to try new dishes with it. So when I heard that spiralizer queen and blogger, Ali Maffucci, was coming out with a new book, I just knew I had to get it.  Inspiralize Everything is everything I was hoping it would be--and more.

Ali packs this book with more recipes than I thought possible using this unique machine. She organizes her table of contents by produce, from apple and pear, to beet, broccoli, sweet potato, and zucchini. She even includes some I never thought of, including celeriac, chayote, jicama, kohlrabi, and rutabaga.

Some of the more interesting recipes I want to try are Chai-Spiced Pear Oatmeal; Roasted Carrot Noodles with Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Creamy Herb Dressing; White Beans, Escarole, and Turnip Noodles in Parmesan Broth; and Bell Pepper Taco Skillet. There are tons of beautiful photographs and helpful how-to tips.

If you're committed to healthy eating and colorful dishes full of nutrition, this book's for you.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: A Review

Award-winning blogger and best-selling cookbook author, Gina Homolka, has a really loyal following. I should know, I'm a member. So I knew, just knew, her newest book, Skinnytaste Fast and Slow, was going to be another winner. And boy, was I right!

This book is so full of not only great, healthy recipes, but a ton of other helpful information, too -- including:

  • Icons that indicate whether a recipe is quick (30 minutes or less), vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, freezer-friendly, or uses a pressure cooker or slow cooker
  • Nutritional data (calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, fiber, protein, sugars, sodium)
  • Serving suggestions
  • Helpful tidbits called "Skinny Scoop"
  • Each chapter being divided into "fast" or "slow" recipes
  • And much more!

Some recipes I can't wait to try are "Chicken and Couscous Bowls with Piri Piri," "Fork and Knife Cheeseburgers," "Veggie Stuffed Flounder Sheet Pan Dinner," and "Easy No-Cook Mango Fool." 

For health-conscious meals that are both delicious and beautiful, this book's the one.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nourishing Meals: A Review

With buzz phrases such as "the power of food as medicine," "nourishing meals," "organic diet," "gluten-free whole food recipes," "great first foods for baby," and "healthy lunchbox" peppered throughout the preface of Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, I was intrigued. And I soon became totally hooked, too.

This hefty cookbook showcases 365 recipes that are simple, healthy, colorful, and delicious. Each recipe features icons to specifically indicate whether it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and/or nightshade-free. Most are all of them.

Granted, there aren't a ton of photos. But the ones it does have are both beautiful and enticing.

I'm getting ready to make many of the ones that are particularly appealing to me, including Coconut Rice; Vegetable Mushroom Broth, Carrot Almond Muffins; Blueberry Kefir Smoothie, and Eggplant and White Bean Ragout.

If you're committed to raising a healthy family, this is the definitive cookbook for you.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Martha Stewart's Vegetables: A Review

You can be sure any time Martha Stewart publishes a book, it's going to be extra fabulous. So it comes as no surprise that Martha Stewart's Vegetables does not disappoint. At all.

The chapters are cleverly divided into categories such as Bulbs, Roots, Tubers, Greens, Stalks & Stems, Pods, Shoots, Leaves, Flowers & Buds, Fruits, and Kernels.

The recipes are approachable and a beautiful blend of traditional and creative, from Salt-Baked Potatoes, Shallots, and Chestnuts, to Green-Pea Burgers with Harissa Mayo and Smokey Brussels Sprouts Gratin.

And the photography is stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Since I've been wanting to cook with more seasonal vegetables, this is the perfect book for me. I can choose between making any recipe as either a side or a main course. And I know it will always turn out perfect. Martha wouldn't have it any other way.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Taste & Technique: A Review

For all the hype and anticipation of Portland chef Naomi Pomeroy's premiere cookbook, Taste & Technique, I was expecting a lot. An awful lot. And after I laid eyes on it for the very first time, I can honestly say I was not disappointed. In fact, it delivers all that it promises -- and more. Much, much more!

This book is elegant, picturesque, and chock-full of classic dishes that anyone would want to perfect. But then Naomi goes a step further and adds her own unique, modern twist to them. What a surprise...and a delight!

I personally can't wait to get started on the many recipes I've bookmarked, including Bread Salad with Asparagus, Pickled Rhubarb, and Flat-Leaf Parsley; Fresh Corn and Summer Vegetable Succotash; Quiche with Wild Mushrooms, Gruyere, and Chives; and Pistachio Meringue Cake with Fresh Citrus, Candied Kumquats, and Cardamom Caramel Sauce. Oh, my!

The only (and I mean, only) disappointment was the point size of the type on each page. It is really quite small and a bit hard to read. I imagine the publisher wanted to cram as much as possible in this beautiful tome. Can't say I blame them.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Modern Way to Cook: A Review

This cookbook came just in the nick of time for the type of cooking I'm craving right now: easy, simple, quick, healthy, and vegetarian. A Modern Way to Cook by the talented UK food writer, Anna Jones, is brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Imagine choosing how many minutes you have to get something on your table. 10? 15? 20? 25? 30? 35? 40? 45? Yep, it's broken down that specifically.

Then choose the vegetable you want to cook. Leeks? Celery root? Squash? Kale? Carrots?  Sweet potatoes? Parsnips? Corn? Green beans? Tomatoes? You get the idea.

Then choose the dish you want to share with family and friends. Crispy chickpea and harissa burgers. Bloody Mary salad with black rice. Pan-roasted lime, feta, and chile greens burrito. Charred broccolini with cucumber noodles and peanut sauce. Plantain, avocado, and black bean bowl. Avocado, tahini, and olive smash flatbreads. Yummmmm!

So you see, this book is full of mouthwatering dishes that are healthy, vibrant, and quick to make. What more can you ask for in a cookbook?

Now excuse me for a few minutes while I go make one of Anna's delicious recipes.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Gluten-Free for Good: A Review

Even though I don't have to cook gluten-free, I certainly know it's a healthy way of cooking. And I'm excited to incorporate it into my everyday meals. Which is exactly why I wanted to try Gluten-Free for Good by Samantha Seneviratne (of the popular blog, Love, Cake). Boy was I ever glad I did!

This book is chock full of 100 delicious, easy-to-follow, quick-to-make recipes that don't require a bunch of expensive, packaged gluten-free ingredients that are often hard to find.

There are so many mouth-watering choices, I don't even know where to begin! Do I try Samantha's coconut-lime granola with cashews or her warm carrot and sorghum salad first? Or how about her white pizza with blistered tomatoes or her sweet pea and ricotta ravioli? Or even her caramel walnut clusters or stuffed dates with pomegranate and honey?

The photos are gorgeous and the directions very clear.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get started on one of these (or maybe all of them) right away!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cook Korean!: A Review

I have a confession to make: I've always wanted to learn how to make Korean dishes. But it always seemed so complicated and, well, pretty intimidating...until I read Cook Korean! by Robin Ha.

The super-talented Robin peppers her book with fun, quirky, and colorful illustrations for every step of every recipe. And what a wonderful collection of recipes, from Bulgogi Dupbap and Miyeok Naengchae, to Danpatjuk to Mulnaengmyun! I can now prepare all these dishes (even though I may not be able to pronounce them) with total ease and confidence.

If you've always wanted to try making some healthy and exotic Korean dishes, this is the ultimate cookbook to help you do just that!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Modern Potluck: A Review

I have a confession to make. I've always thought that the next cookbook I'd want to write would be on potluck dishes. Alas, Kristin Donnelly has beat me to it...and she's done such a marvelous job!

In her book, Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share, Kristin offers such a great variety of dishes anyone would be proud to bring to a gathering. They're unique, interesting, colorful, and delicious.

The book is divided into thoughtful chapters that cover snacks, dips, drinks, salads, main dishes, casseroles, sides, sweets, and even condiments.

The directions are simple and clear. The photos are striking. And the information is very helpful.

I plan to turn to this book over and over again, not only for potlucks, but for my own family meals, too!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies & Toddlers: A Review

If you think this book is just about baby food recipes, think again. The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies & Toddlers by Drs. Anthony Porto and Dina DiMaggio (both pediatricians) is an absolutely comprehensive and in-depth guide to just about everything to want--and need--to know about feeding your little one.

Chapters are covered by age range, which is extremely helpful. And just some of the topics covered include:
  • Feeding options
  • Medical concerns 
  • Expected growth
  • Basic nutritional guidelines
  • Common gastrointestinal and nutritional guidelines
  • Allergic conditions and treatments
Any new parent would find this marvelous book to be a real must-have!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Plated: A Review

I had already heard of Plated, the food delivery service my daughter subscribes to in New York City. She is so impressed with them that I couldn't wait to get my hands on their brand new cookbook by the same name. Suffice it to say, I was not disappointed!

The cookbook Plated by Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine is indeed absolutely lovely! It contains more than 125 recipes that are broken down by Weekend Dinners, Great for Leftovers, Make Ahead, Weekend Feasts, For a Crowd, On the Side, and At the End. Wow! Something for everyone!

The recipes are clearly written, beautifully photographed, and very appealing. I can't wait to try the Phyllo-Wrapped Salmon with Spinach and Feta. And the Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout. And their famous One-Pan Roasted Rosemary Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables. This last one actually gives you a list of different vegetables to try, depending on the season. How clever!

I couldn't be happier with this cookbook. And I know it will serve me well for years to come!

* I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Home Cooked: A Review

When I finally got my much-anticipated copy of Home Cooked by Anya Fernald in the mail, I couldn't wait to open it up. I was secretly hoping it would have the types of recipes I would want to try, clear instructions, and photography that would make my mouth water. I wasn't disappointed on any of these counts.

The book is divided into easy categories: Building Blocks; Snacks, Starters & Cocktails; Pasta, Ragu, Risotto & Eggs; Vegetables; Fish & Meat; and Desserts.

The recipes are on the unusual side, which I love. Techniques are clearly spelled out in both written and visual forms. And explanations abound.

Please excuse me now while I go make some of Anya's fabulous dishes from this book. I know I'm going to love them all!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Food with Friends: A Review

I didn't quite know what to expect before I opened the new cookbook by Leela Cyd, entitled Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings. But the title sounded interesting, and the cover was really eye-catching.

Once I started to flip through the pages, however, I was immediately smitten. Absolutely smitten. Every single page had something I would want to make right now. Right. This. Very. Minute.

Not only is the book divided by types of special events (like breakfast & brunch, teatime, happy hour, potlucks and picnics, and my favorite: desserts), but it's also chockful of dishes that are anything but ordinary. 

For instance, there's Blood Orange & Feta Stacks. Lemon-Poppyseed Dutch Baby. Purple Cauliflower Hummus. Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes, Walnuts & Thyme. And Blooming Flower Salad.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more. I would honestly be thrilled to serve any of them at a future function. 

The photography in this also book is beautiful. The instructions are clear. And the writing is very conversational (which I love).

This is a must-read book for any level of cook!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Eating in the Middle: A Review

I had been waiting to get my hands on "Eating in the Middle" by Andie Mitchell for quite some time. I read her earlier New York Times bestselling memoir, "It Was Me All Along," and loved her writing, her outlook, and her story. When I heard she was coming out with a cookbook, I got super excited.

I was not disappointed.

Andie's cookbook is chock-full of reasonably simple, visually appetizing, and extra delicious meals that are overall really healthy. These are meals you'd want to make both mid-week for family or on the weekends for company. The instructions are clear, and the photos are beautiful. There are even helpful nutritional stats included as well!

I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who's serious about getting healthy but not so strict that entire food groups are off limit. When flavor, quality, and simplicity count, this is the book for you!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Malibu Farm Cookbook: A Review

If I wanted to cook an extra special dinner that was super fresh, ultra healthy, and drop-dead gorgeous (yet simple at the same time), I would turn to no other cookbook than Malibu Farm Cookbook by the very talented Helene Henderson.

Named for her restaurant at the end of a pier in Southern California with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, this cookbook is everything I'd hoped it would be. Diverse. Clear. Unique. And visually stunning.

I couldn't decide which recipe to try first. Ricotta and Pea Frittata? Butterfly Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish? Seared Fava Beans? Or Grilled Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce? In the end, I chose all three to create a dinner to-die-for.

I would definitely recommend this beautiful book for either yourself or as a wonderful hostess gift. It will be treasured by whoever reads it!

* I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Around the Fire: A Review

As a grilled-food enthusiast, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Around the Fire by the dynamic culinary duo, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, both of Ox Restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Not one bit.

With uber clear and detailed instructions, breathtaking photography, and bold recipes that are anything but your dad's outdoor grilled fare, this book thrilled me on every level.

I can't wait to try their Coal-Roasted Oysters on the Half-Shell, Grilled Whey-Brined Quail, and Blistered Snap Peas. I'll probably add a dessert like Grilled Banana with Malted Chocolate Semifreddo and Sunchoke Chips. Any maybe even a cocktail like their signature Ox Blood (made from fresh red beet juice and bourbon).

If you're looking for unique, delicious, showstopper recipes that are undeniably beautiful, too, look no further. This book is for you!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Brodo: A Review

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from Marco Canora's newest book, "Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook."

I knew it was a single-subject cookbook. I knew it was written by one of the best chefs in America. And I knew it was on a topic I was curious about and wanted to learn more about: homemade broth.

What I didn't expect was such thorough coverage in such a fun and enjoyable voice.

Yes, it's smaller sized. But don't let that fool you. It's chock-full of informative details on all things broth. From its history and health benefits to its versatility, I learned more than I expected. And that made me love this book even more.

Now I can't wait to try one of Marco's famous broths. The only question that remains is, which one do I start with?

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Fifty-Year Silence: A Review

In "A Fifty-Year Silence" by Miranda Richmond Mouillot, the history, love story, and mysterious estrangement between two brilliant individuals is slowly unraveled. And it is done so by their loving granddaughter, the author.

Mouillot is determined to address the estrangement between her grandparents as she revisits their past, which is also her family's unspoken past.

Written beautifully and sincerely, Mouillot ventures to the very place where the events took place during the Holocaust. She is on a mission to unearth the truth and to perhaps help make a difference. Maybe even reverse history.

You will feel tremendous joy, shed unexpected tears, and share the obvious love that is displayed throughout this entire story. It is a story not to be missed.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Heart-Healthy Cookbook Is That and More!

Admit it. We all need to eat better. For our health. For our well-being. For our future. 

Which is why the newly revised and updated 5th edition of the Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook by the American Heart Association is exactly what the doctor ordered.

With 200 recipes that are not only good for you but delicious, too, there's bound to be something to please everyone--even the pickiest eaters!

Take, for instance, the Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken on page 144. 

This is how the recipe is described: 

"This spicy, heart-friendly alternative to traditional fried chicken surprises your taste buds with a pleasant nip of ginger. Try it with Individual Corn Puddings (page 259), which bake at the same temperature, or with Sauteed Greens and Cabbage (page 261)."

Which is exactly what I decided to make. All three.

Not only was this meal attractive, easy to prepare, and heart-healthy, it really tasted great, too. 

The beauty of this cookbook is that for each and every recipe, it lists such helpful and useful information, from calories and fat grams, to cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and protein. Suddenly, all this data is right at your fingertips. No more guessing or estimating!

The recipes are nicely divided into categories and are even easy to mix-and-match. Oftentimes the headnotes will also give suggestions for pairings, which will make anyone's meal planning a whole lot easier.

The instructions are super clear. The techniques are extremely simplistic. And the ingredients are readily available at most all grocery stores. 

As an added bonus, the book also offers a variety of extremely helpful (and even critical) information, from healthy strategies for shopping, cooking, and dining out, to risk factors for heart disease and warning signs for strokes.

The only downside to this book is the lack of photos. However, the dishes are not so elaborate that it's impossible to picture what they would look like. I'm willing to forego this disadvantage for the wealth of information and quality of great-tasting recipes included here.

So whether you're watching your waistline or simply wanting to cook healthier, this is one of the best cookbook resources you'll find. I know it is for me.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Forgotten Chapter (Plus Bonus Recipe!)

Back in 2011, as the progress of my book continued, there was one chef I was super delighted to work with. Her name was Annie Chiu, chef/owner of Sun Luck Garden in Cleveland Heights.

As soon as I met Annie, I knew I would like her. A lot. She was sweet, feisty, cordial, and kind -- all rolled into one wonderfully talented woman. And boy, did she have a story to tell!

Anyway, after I interviewed her, wrote her chapter, tested her recipes, and photographed her and her food, she dropped a bombshell on me. "I'm so sorry," she said. "I won't be able to participate in your book after all." You see, Annie was uncomfortable with any additional attention my book would bring to her and her restaurant. She was battling health issues at the time, and how can you argue that? I had to say, "I completely understand." The truth was, I was totally crushed.

Annie's recipes were freshly unique and a cuisine I knew my readers would want. But I had to honor Annie's wishes and forge ahead.


...today I decided I would finally like to share Annie's dishes with you. They are just too valuable to leave in an unfinished file folder any longer. I'm sure you'll agree.

So here, my dear readers, is the menu Annie would have showcased in my book. I'm including the main entrée recipe below for your enjoyment. If you'd like the rest, please feel free to leave a comment below with your email address and I'll be sure to send them your way!

Seaweed Soup
Lotus Root Stir Fry
Shrimp-Specked Noodles
Salt-Boiled Edamame
Asian Pear Tart

Wine Pairings:
Austria: Any Region - Grüner Veltliner
Italy: Piedmont - Moscato d'Asti
New Zealand: Marlborough - Sauvignon Blanc
USA: California - Pinot Grigio

4 servings

This is a creative dish Annie says can feature whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator. Instead of the ones listed in this recipe, try substituting red peppers, baby corn, and broccoli. But you may really want to give lotus root a try first. A popular starchy vegetable throughout southern and eastern Asia, it is actually an edible rhizome (not a root) found underwater beneath lilies. It’s long, cylindrical, reddish brown on the outside, white on the inside, and full of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. When sliced, the lotus root reveals a lovely lacy pattern of holes. Its meat, which is slightly crunchy and faintly sweet, can also be eaten raw.

2 ounces dried wood ear fungus (can substitute other dried mushroom)
8 dried shiitake mushrooms (can substitute other dried mushroom)
1 (4-ounce) piece lotus root (can substitute water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, or bok choy)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 small sweet onion, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable stock
Couple drops of soy sauce
Salt and pepper 


  1. Put the wood ear fungus in a small bowl. Add warm water to cover. Let soak for 5-10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  2. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in another small bowl. Add very hot (not boiling) water to cover. Soak for about 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  3. Peel the lotus root. Rinse under cold water. Cut horizontally into ¼-inch round slices. They will look similar to pinwheels. Cut each round slice in half (or quarters, if desired). Set aside.
  4. Heat a dry wok (or deep skillet) on medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the oil. Immediately add the ginger and garlic. Stir very quickly until aromatic (about 3-5 minutes).
  5. Add the lotus root, celery, and onion. Stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
  6. When the vegetables are crunchy to your desired taste (about 10 minutes), the dish is ready to serve.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free DVD Giveway!

There have been a number of memorable foodie films made over the years. Some of my own personal faves include:

  • Mostly Martha
  • Just Desserts
  • Ratatouille
  • Chocolat
  • The Big Night
  • Babette's Feast
  • Like Water for Chocolate
  • Julie & Julia
  • Today's Special
  • Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
  • Tampopo
But in case you hadn't already noticed, this year we were all really, really lucky to have had not one, but two! fantastic new foodie movies come out within just a few months of each other: "Chef" and "The Hundred-Foot-Journey."

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I am thrilled -- absolutely thrilled, I tell you! -- to offer you the chance to win a FREE Blu-ray of "THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY" (which will be available to the general public on Blu-ray beginning December 2).


If you're hungry for a quality film, satisfy your craving with the chance to win a Blu-ray of Disney’s THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY. Fill out the entry here. But hurry! Deadline to enter is November 30.

*Synopsis: When the chill chef proprietress of a Michelin-starred French restaurant in southern France (Mirren) gets wind of a culinary immigrant opening an Indian restaurant just 100 feet from her own, her icy protests escalate to all-out war between the two establishments.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Your Very Own Knife Skills Class -- FREE!

Photo: Corbis
Ask any chef what's needed to become a good cook, and I guarantee you the answer will always, always be the same: SOLID KNIFE SKILLS.

When I started out learning to cook (which, sadly, wasn't until after I was married), I had no clue what I was doing. I just tried and failed...and tried again. At the time, I was absentmindedly using my dull steak knives to slice, dice, chop, and mince. Hey, it worked, ok? Or so I thought.

Fast-forward to today. I now sheepishly realize just how important it is to have the proper tools and skills in order to succeed in the kitchen. Which is what brings me to today's blog post topic.

By now, we probably all agree learning basic knife skills is absolutely vital. But look up any knife skills class at any cooking school, and trust me, they're not cheap! 

So instead of bypassing this crucial skill, you now have an option--a very good option!--because I'm beyond thrilled to offer you a:

Complete Knife Skills

This series of video classes, lasting nearly 2 hours in total, is taught by the one and only Chef Brendan McDermott, a former instructor at New York's Institute of Culinary Eduation who's most famous for his award-winning knife skills classes.

Actually, there are 4 different lessons with several sections each:

  1. "Introduction"
    • About Brendan
    • Four Basic Knives
    • Helpful Hint
  2.  "Essential Knife Skills"
    • Prepping Your Cutting Board
    • Hold to Hold a Chef's Knife
    • Low Cut
    • High Cut
    • Plateau, Julienne, & Dice
    • Cutting Onions
    • Horizontal & Pull Cuts
    • Garlic & Shallots
    • Helpful Hint
  3. "Shortcuts for Fruits, Veggies, & Herbs"
    • Cutting Jalapeño with a Paring Knife
    • Cutting Cauliflower
    • Cutting Citrus
    • Serrated Utility Knife
    • Cutting Tomato
    • Cutting Bell Peppers
    • Cutting Pineapple
    • Cutting Butternut Squash
    • Chef Knife
    • Cutting Avocado
    • Cutting Herbs
    • Helpful Hint
  4. "Sharpening & Honing"
    • The Science of Sharpening
    • Using a Honing Rod
    • Sharpening with a Whetstone
    • Helpful Hint
The beauty is, you can watch this series anytime you want because it never expires! You also get downloadable classroom material, 4 free recipes, and Q&As from your fellow virtual classmates.

All you have to do is:

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Copycat Starbucks Recipes

I told you all about my new part-time job at American Greetings last year. I also mentioned about this great internal area they have called Town Square, which features a Starbucks smack dab in the middle of it.

Let me tell you, that place is extra super popular!

And I have to admit, even though I don't drink coffee or tea, I have been known to go there a few times (ok, a lot of times). Besides great hot chocolate and strawberry smoothies, they also have wonderful desserts (my personal weakness).

After dreaming about some of these delicacies for quite some time (I'm obsessed, I can't help it), I decided to find out if there was a way to make them at home myself. And lo and behold...there is!

So, without further ado, I'd like to share some of my own personal favorite copycat Starbucks recipes--plus a few extra for all you coffee and tea lovers out there. Enjoy! (You can thank me later.)

*Just click on each caption for the recipe.

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Starbucks Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake

Starbucks Banana-Walnut Bread

Starbucks Carrot Cake

Starbucks Gourmet Brownies

Starbucks Cheesecake Brownies

Starbucks Salted Caramel Sweet Squares

Starbucks Oatmeal

Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino

Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Starbucks Pumpkin Latte

Starbucks Hazelnut Mocha

Starbucks Iced Espresso

Starbucks Chai Tea

Starbucks Iced Green Tea