Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Caramel Marshmallow Cookie Treats and a Giveaway!

Guest post by Jo Packham of Where Women Create

HALLOWEENhow did it start? Do you know?

Halloween is the night before the Celtic Christian Feast of All Hallows or All Saints Day, which is the time of year for celebrating the dead, including saints, and faithful departed believers. For reasons that are mostly personal, it seems that this ancient night of “feasting” is either your favorite celebration of the year or one that you really do not like at all. It is black and orange or whiteno gray zones for the lovers or the naysayers of Halloween.

Win me! Find out how below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For me, I love Halloween! What other day of the year do you have the opportunity to dress up and be whoever you want to be and eat whatever you want to eat … as long as it is all things sweet?

My daughter and her husband live in Ogden, Utah in an old fashioned neighborhood that is lovingly referred to as “The HOOD”. Most of their friends, who all have children, live within a block or two of each other so Halloween for these kids is just like out of a friendly family movie with a happy Halloween ending. Everyone dresses up, all of the yards are decorated, and each door is always open so that everyone is invited inside for dinner, drinks, and treats that just won’t fit into a bag.

A perfect Halloween Party Treat among the “Friends of the Hood” is these Caramel Marshmallow Cookie Treats from Koralee Teichroeb’s book, Everything Goes with Ice Cream. The ingredients can be purchased before the big night and stored in these ceramic jars with chalkboard fronts for labeling. On Halloween morning after the kids are off to school the treats can be made and stored in the refrigerator until goblins, ghosts, knights, and princesses come to call.

For these families this is a holiday of make-believe and merriment and always a … Happy Halloween!

NOTE: These 4 adorable ceramic jars and more can be purchased from

Caramel Marshmallow Cookie Treats

These treats can be made 2 ways: If you can’t find caramel bits you can make your own caramel. (I prefer
to make my own caramel, as this recipe is delicious and easy!) These sweet treats are made even sweeter
when you serve them on a stick.

Makes 6 to 8 bars on sticks

Butter, to grease pan
4½ graham crackers
1 1⁄3 cups caramel bits/Homemade Caramel
2 tablespoons whole milk
½ cup pretzels, crushed
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup salted peanuts
½ cup mini marshmallows
1 cup milk/semi-sweet chocolate chips
Parchment paper
Popsicle sticks

1. Line loaf pan with parchment paper; grease with butter.

2. Place graham crackers on bottom of prepared pan, cutting to fit if necessary.

3. Melt caramel bits or Homemade Caramel with whole milk in microwave; stir until completely melted and
smooth. Pour over graham crackers and top with pretzels, white chocolate chips, salted peanuts, and
mini marshmallows.

4. Melt milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips and spread over top evenly.

5. Let cool completely in fridge before cutting into bars and adding Popsicle sticks. Put back in fridge until
ready to eat, as caramel can get runny.


Everything goes with ice creamyet we understand that the perfect dessert for all of us is not always a big bowl of ice cream. Not everyone loves ice cream, as hard as it is to believe! Which is why Everything Goes with Ice Cream is the book for all of us. It does, of course, have the easy-to-make homemade ice cream, but it also has 176 pages filled with other ideas for making a summertime snack covered in made-from-scratch sea blue candy sprinkles; s'mores and hot chocolate for winter; or an ooey gooey dessert whose magic ingredient is, of course, chunky chocolate fresh raspberry ice cream. Simple projects fill the pages too, including tiny candles made in tea cups, miniature no-sew cake banners, party pom poms, heart-shaped button covers for a special party blouse, and so many more.

Everything Goes with Ice Cream is filled with cute ideas, a fun layout, and fabulous photography to make you as happy as you are on a summer day with your grammy's fresh peach ice cream pops covered in orange frosting sprinkles!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars

Whether you're off to a Halloween party or planning ahead for Thanksgiving treats, this recipe from Heather's new book Paleo Sweets and Treats has you covered. The taste of fall in every bite!

Want to chat more about Paleo recipes and how to bake while following the Paleo diet? Join us at 1 PM EDT today for a #spoonchat with Heather Connell of Paleo Sweets and Treats and the amazing Paleo blog Multiply Delicious. Hope to see you there!

Don't forget to enter our sweet Halloween candy giveaway:

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars
Excerpted from Paleo Sweets and Treats by Heather Connell

Pumpkin pie is a traditional fall dessert that graces most Thanksgiving tables. These bars are a twist on pumpkin pie with the added pecan topping. Just press the crust into a pie plate and follow the directions for the filling.

For crust:
1¼ cups (150 g) almond flour
¼ cup (30 g) hazelnut flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) maple syrup
2 tablespoons (27 g) extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt

For filling:
1¾ cups (429 g) pumpkin purée
2 eggs
5 Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup (120 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons (11 g) pumpkin pie spice

For topping:
½ cup (60 g) almond flour
½ cup (55 g) pecan halves, chopped
⅓ cup (27 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
1 Medjool date, pitted and finely chopped
1 tablespoon (14 g) extra-virgin
Unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon (2.3 g) ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line an 8 x 8-inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes up the sides.

To make the crust: In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, hazelnut flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Using a fork, stir together until a crust forms. Press the crust mixture into the prepared baking dish, forming an even layer across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow the crust to cool completely.

To make the filling: In the bowl of food processor or high-speed blender, place the pumpkin purée, eggs, dates, coconut milk, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Process until smooth and the dates are broken up. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.

To make the topping: In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, pecans, coconut, maple syrup, date, coconut oil, and cinnamon. Mix well, then evenly sprinkle across the filling. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is set. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing from the pan, using the parchment paper overhang. Cut into sixteen 2-inch (5 cm) squares.

Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Before enjoying, allow the bars to come to room temperature.

Makes 16 bars


Paleo Sweets and Treats

The Paleo diet has swept the nation as a huge nutritional and lifestyle trend that many have embraced.

But what is the modern dessert lover to do when traditional baking ingredients such as flours, grains, dairy, and sugar are off the table? Never fear. You can have your cake and your Paleo lifestyle too! Written by Heather Connell, author of the popular blog Multiply Delicious, Paleo Sweets and Treats shows you how to bake delicious treats using fresh, seasonal produce, natural sweeteners, and nutritionally dense, grain-free flours. You won’t miss out on anything with treats such as: Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème with Roasted Cherries, Sweet Potato Tarts, Orange Pomegranate Cupcakes, and Mango Coconut Sherbert.

This Paleo diet dessert cookbook gives you easy-to-make indulgent treats to let you stay the Paleo course. This collection of seasonally-focused recipes gives you Paleo-friendly options for any dessert craving.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Orange Chocolate Truffles

The perfect combination of citrus and chocolate, these truffles are a little too elegant to hand out to trick-or-treaters, but are ideal for snacking on while watching horror movies by yourself. At least that's my plan. The recipe makes 24 truffles, so you might want to just skip dinner. ;)

Orange Chocolate Truffles
Excerpted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets by Kelly Peloza

A cross between a rum ball and a truffle, these dreamy chocolates with a hint of orange are perfect for the winter months.

Yield: 20 to 24 truffles

1/3 cup (80 ml) full-fat coconut milk
1 package (12 ounces or 340 g) vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (28 g) chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup (60 ml) Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon (2 g) orange zest
Powdered sugar

Melt the coconut milk and chocolate together in a double boiler over medium heat, or glass bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth.

Add the cocoa, cookie crumbs, Grand Marnier, and orange zest. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours, or overnight. Sprinkle a large plate with a layer of powdered sugar for rolling. Scoop out chocolate with a tablespoon, roll into balls, and roll around in the cocoa mixture to coat. Don’t worry if the chocolate
is very thick or difficult to scoop; this prevents it from melting into a chocolatey mess while rolling between your palms.

Place truffles in mini cupcake liners. Store in the refrigerator before serving.


Cheers to Vegan Sweets!

This innovative vegan baking book features 125 deliciously fun drink-inspired dessert recipes. It’s a cookbook that takes readers on a delicious tour of cafés, cocktail bars, and lemonade stands, where all the drinks come in dessert form. Imagine your morning vanilla hazelnut mocha re-imagined as a muffin, or relax on the beach with a margarita biscotti, or stop by the bar and order your brew in Guinness cake form. Instead of sipping your drink, now you can indulge in it!

Author and vegan baker extraordinaire Kelly Peloza has carefully formulated each recipe to deliciously highlight the flavors of its drink counterpart. From Apple Cider Doughnuts to Chai Spice Baklava to Gingerbread Stout Cake, you’ll be amazed at how deliciously well your sips transform into sweet, satisfied—and vegan!—bites. And with alcoholic- and non-alcoholic recipes, you’re sure to find something perfect for every party and special occasion.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Corpse Reviver Cocktail

Let's be honest, a lot of those Halloween parties come complete with some pretty fabulous cocktails. Too many of those cocktails, and you'll need one of these. With a name like Corpse Reviver, you may want to try this apothecary cocktail out even if you don't have a Halloween hangover.

(You may also remember our past posts on Corpse Revivers, here and here.)

The Corpse Reviver
Excerpted from Apothecary Cocktails by Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer

Corpse Revivers were designed for a truly horrible hangover—the kind that won’t let you lift your head off the pillow. True to its name, a Corpse Reviver is meant to re-animate the dead—or, at least, the vividly hung over. This potent combination of cognac, gin, apple brandy, and vermouth mixed with falernum—a liqueur sporting a heady mixture of Caribbean flavors, such as almond, ginger, cloves, vanilla, and lime—takes the sting out of even the most heinous of hangovers. Falernum gets its name from an ancient Roman wine called falernian, which, legend has it, was so high in alcohol it could be set on fire. Here, a hearty dose of cognac soothes the pain of the night before, while the fragrant falernum rejuvenates all five aching senses.

3 ounces (90 ml) cognac
2 ounces (60 ml) calvados
1 ounce (30 ml) gin
1 ounce (30 ml) sweet
1 ounce (30 ml) falernum

Fill a Boston shaker three-quarters full with ice.

Gently pour the cognac, calvados, gin, vermouth, and falernum over the ice, and shake briskly for
thirty seconds.

Toss a few ice cubes into a short rocks glass. Strain the mixture into the glass, sit back, and slowly sip
that hangover away.


Apothecary Cocktails Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today

At the turn of the century, pharmacies in Europe and America prepared homemade tinctures, bitters, and herbal remedies mixed with alcohol for curative benefit for everything from poor digestion to the common cold. Today, trendy urban bars such as Apothke in New York, Apo Bar & Lounge in Philadelphia, and 1022 South in Tacoma, as well as "vintage" and "homegrown" cocktail aficionados, find inspiration in apothecary cocktails of old.

Now you can too!

Apothecary Cocktails features 75 traditional and newly created recipes for medicinally-themed cocktails. Learn the history of the top ten apothecary liqueurs, bitters, and tonics that are enjoying resurgence at trendy bars and restaurants, including Peychaud's Bitters, Chartreuse, and Vermouth. Find out how healing herbs, flowers, and spices are being given center stage in cocktail recipes and traditional apothecary recipes and ingredients are being resurrected for taste and the faint promise of a cure. Once you’ve mastered the history, you can try your hand at reviving your favorites: restoratives, sedatives and toddys, digestifs, and more.

Whether you’re interested in the history, the recipes, or both, you’ll love flipping through this beautifully presented book that delves into the world of apothecary cocktails.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Coffee Buttercream

Yield: 1½ cups (346 g), or enough to frost 12 cupcakes

½ cup (100 g) sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) water

½ cup (20 g) loosely packed fresh basil

2/3 cup (160 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy creamer, divided

1 cup (235 ml) almond milk

½ cup (100 g) sugar

½ vanilla bean

4 teaspoons (11g) cornstarch or Arrowroot

1 can (15 ounces or 440 ml) coconut milk

1/3 cup (75 g) vegan margarine

1/3 cup (67 g) vegan shortening

2½ cups (280 g) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

1 teaspoon (5 ml) coffee extract or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Kahlua

1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) nondairy Milk


Combine the margarine and shortening in a large bowl or stand mixer and mix together.

Gradually add the powdered sugar. When almost all the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla and milk.

Continue beating until completely smooth and fluffy, 8 to 10 minutes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Skull Cake Ball and Giveaway

Halloween fun continues with this guest post from our friends at Craftside. Enter their Halloween giveaway!

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Don't forget to enter our sweet Halloween candy giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Guest post by Stefanie Girard

As it would turn out, last week was my birthday and I happen to have a cake! So I thought I'd try the tutorial I feature on how to make cake balls from Decorate Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cookies with Kids: Techniques, Projects, and Party Plans for Teaching Kids, Teens, and Tots. But being that it is Halloween season I thought I'd try making a cake ball skull.

Not too bad, eh?

I followed the directions in Decorate Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cookies with Kids on how to form a cake ball.

Then I went to try melting the candy drops, but as it would turn out they had expired and decided not to melt (not pretty). Then I stood staring at my food cabinet and thought about what else I had that was white?

Light bulb moment-powdered sugar!

I generously covered my cake ball with the powdered sugar. I also adjusted the shape from a ball to more of a skull shape at this point.

To make the eyes, nose and mouth I used raisins. It was kind of fun picking the 2 for the eyes, sculpting a raisin into a kind of triangle shape for the nose and I cut one in half lengthwise for the mouth.

If this looks like fun-sculpting cake, here's the tutorial:


Get the kids involved with Decorate Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cookies with Kids by Autumn Carpenter. This instructional craft book is filled with fun baking and decorating experiences that you can share with your children or grandchildren, while teaching them valuable skills they will use for a lifetime. With adult supervision, kids can learn to decorate cookies, cupcakes, and cakes for holidays, special events, or to share with friends.

Within these pages, you’ll learn baking and preparing of cake, cupcakes, and cookies, starting off with the basics: utensils needed, measuring instructions, and kitchen safety tips. After the basics, the book continues with baking, filling, and icing—50 to 60 techniques in all—with eye-appealing, tasty designs for children to create that incorporate the methods taught. Instructions include piped icing as well as rolled fondant. Additional decorating techniques include edible frosting sheets, products to add sparkle, and using store bought candies to decorate. The last chapter includes instructions on hosting a cake or cupcake decorating party for children. A convenient glossary in the back will be a quick reference for children to discover new culinary terms.

The book is designed with 8-12 year olds boys and girls in mind, and includes instructions clearly labeled for difficulty and time allowance, and instructional pictures that show children using the tools. Kid-inspired cake and cookie themes are perfect for birthdays, seasonal celebrations, and other special events.

Autumn Carpenter is a third generation sugar artist who learned from her grandmother, Hall of Fame sugar artist Mildred Brand, and her mother, Vi Whittington, who owned a retail cake and candy supply shop. Having demonstrated her art throughout the country, Autumn has also served as a judge in cake decorating competitions and has been a member, teacher, and demonstrator at the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) for nearly 20 years.

Autumn is co-owner of Country Kitchen SweetArt, a retail cake and candy supply store that has been in her family for over 45 years. The business caters to walk-in store sales, catalog sales, and an online store,

Autumn has developed her own line of useful tools and equipment for cake decorating and cookie decorating, and sells them online and in many cake and candy supply stores throughout the United States and in several other countries. Her cakes and products have been featured in numerous publications and magazines including American Cake Decorating and Cake Central.

Autumn is also the author of two other books for CPi: The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decoratingand The Complete Photo Guide to Cookie Decorating.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

One of my all-time favorite Halloween treats is chocolate peanut butter cups. I can eat them by the dozen. It's embarrassing, really. So when I saw that Celine and Joni had a recipe for vegan peanut butter cups, I knew I had to include it in my Halloween recipes lineup. After all, once you find out how easy these are to make, you're going to be as addicted as I am.

Don't forget to enter our sweet Halloween candy giveaway:

Peanut Butter Cups
Excerpted from Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

If you, too, share your life with a peanut butter and chocolate fiend, you’ll see that whipping up a batch of these delicious candies is guaranteed to put a grateful smile upon your sweetie’s face.

1 1⁄2 cups (273 g) chopped vegan semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (32 g) natural creamy no-stir peanut butter
Pinch of salt

12 tablespoons (3⁄4 cup, or 192 g) natural creamy no-stir peanut butter
1⁄3 cup (67 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, or sifted powdered sugar (for less crunchy results)
2 tablespoons (10 g) vegan graham cracker crumbs (optional)
Pinch of salt

Prepare a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

Combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 1-minute increments until melted and smooth, keeping a close eye to avoid burning and stirring often. Alternatively, use a double boiler.

Place 2 teaspoons of the melted chocolate in each cupcake liner and with the back of a spoon carefully spread across the bottom and one-fourth of the way up the liner.

Repeat with all 12 liners. Place the chocolate-covered liners on a plate and chill in the refrigerator until firm,
about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a medium-size bowl, stir together the peanut butter, sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and salt.

Divide the peanut butter filling among the 12 liners, about 1 heaping tablespoon (20 g) per liner, pressing down gently to make sure the filling spreads out. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes.
Top the filling with 2 teaspoons of the remaining melted chocolate, spreading carefully so that none of the peanut butter can be seen. Let the cups chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before enjoying. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

YIELD: 12 candies


Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food

[This book was originally published with the title Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (Fair Winds Press, 2011)]

Calling All Insatiable Appetites!

To anyone who’s ever thought “a meal without meat is a terrible thing to eat,” we’ve got news for you: You’re about to sink your teeth into some of the best food you’ve ever eaten. Food that happens to be vegan but is so full of hearty flavor and taste that even your non-vegan guests—and family members—will be left wondering if they just ate a meatless meal or a Thanksgiving feast.

Inside, you’ll be treated to a vast collection of more than 200 “secret weapon” recipes from authors Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, two plant-based pros who know what it takes to wow the socks off of anyone with straight-up great food. From Banana Split Waffles to Ultimate Patty Melts, they’ll show you (and your meat-loving guests) that eating vegan doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor, but rather enhancing it using the natural flavors found in fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, herbs, and more.

Recipes include:

- Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes
- Hearty Breakfast Bowl
- Chocolate Stout Chili
- Sweet Potato Po' Boys
- Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Crispy Burritos con Carne
- Garlic Truffle Fries
- Sun Dried Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Flatbread
- Strawberry Cream Pretzel Pie
- White Chocolate Almond Bars
- Peanut Butter Rocky Road Pound Cakes

Whether you’re looking to impress or indulge—or both!—Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food is your ultimate source for mean and mouthwatering eats at every meal.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to Make Your Own Hummus

With the holidays quickly approaching (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's), you're going to need a great potluck dish to bring to all of those parties. After all, you don't want to be the person who shows up with a bag of Tostitos and some store bought salsa, do you? I didn't think so.

Enter Erin Coopey and The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook.

One of my favorite recipes from Erin's book is her hummus. Quick and easy to make and easy to do a variation of, this recipe is perfect for wowing everyone at all of those parties.

If you want to know more about how Erin comes up with such amazing recipes, why not just ask her? She'll be our featured author on #spoonchat today at 1 PM EDT. Be sure to join us by logging into your Twitter account, searching for #spoonchat, and joining in on the fun. The best question will win a copy of The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook. Hope to see you there. Tell your friends! :)

And don't forget to enter our sweet Halloween candy giveaway:

Excerpted from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey

I don’t even consider buying premade hummus anymore. This is so much better than the packaged brands.

Yield: About 3 cups (740 g)

1 cup (200 g) dried chickpeas (see Note below)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 g) tahini (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons (28 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Minced fresh parsley (optional)

Place the chickpeas in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Cover with water, stir in the baking soda, and let sit overnight. Drain the water the next morning.

Place the beans in a large saucepan. Cover with fresh water. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add the salt and allow the beans to cool in the pot for 1 hour. Drain the beans, saving at least 1/3 cup (80 ml) cooking liquid.

Discard the bay leaf.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and 1/3 cup (80 ml) reserved cooking liquid. Purée until smooth, about 3 minutes. Check the consistency of the hummus. Do you like the texture, or is it too thick? If it’s too thick, add more bean liquid, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time. Finally, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue to purée until it is fully incorporated.

Taste the hummus and add a little extra sea salt if desired. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and minced parsley. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or vegetables.

Note: Although I prefer the texture of chickpeas that I cook myself, you can substitute canned chickpeas for this recipe. Use two 15-ounce (425 g) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (reserve 1/3 cup [80 ml] bean liquid for the hummus) and cut back on or eliminate the salt. Canned beans are pretty salty.


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus—Add 1/4 cup (45 g) diced roasted red pepper when puréeing the hummus. Then add 2 tablespoons (22 g) diced roasted red pepper to the top of the finished hummus as a garnish.

Roasted Garlic Hummus—Omit the 2 cloves of fresh garlic and substitute 6 cloves of roasted garlic while puréeing. Roasted garlic is sweeter and more mellow than fresh, so you can add more without overpowering the dish. If you’d like, mince a couple more roasted cloves to use as a garnish on top of the finished hummus.

Tapenade Hummus—Mix 2 tablespoons (16 g) tapenade into the finished hummus. Stir to combine. Garnish the top with an additional tablespoon (8 g) of tapenade along with a drizzle of olive oil

TIP: Adding a little baking soda when soaking dried beans helps soften the skin of the bean and speed the cooking process.

Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)

Yield: Makes 1/2 cup (120 g)

3/4 cup (109 g) hulled white sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
2 tablespoons (28 ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

Warm a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds. Toast the seeds, tossing or stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until they begin to turn golden brown.

Be careful not to let them burn.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the toasted sesame seeds onto a large sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper to cool.

Form the parchment paper into a funnel and pour the cooled seeds and a pinch of salt into a spice mill, coffee grinder, or mini food processor. Pulse until they are ground into a fine paste. When the seeds have formed a paste, add the sesame oil and olive oil. Keep pulsing until the paste is smooth and creamy. Scrape the paste into a sealable container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Note: Due to the high oil content in sesame seeds, they are prone to rancidity and should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.


The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook

Tastier, Healthier, Homemade

You work hard to make dinner—choosing the best food, mastering preparation techniques, and picking the perfect recipes. But what about the unsung staples, the ingredients and condiments that build and accompany your meal? Too often, the store-bought versions are loaded with extra salt, sugar, allergens, and preservatives, and they end up bland and uninspiring. But you don’t have to limit yourself to the same tastes and the same plastic bottles. With Kitchen Pantry Cookbook you can create your own staples—fresh, delicious, and just the way you like them. Chef Erin Coopey shows you 90+ recipes and variations to personalize your pantry. You’ll never go back to the bottles.

Stock your kitchen pantry with:

· Condiments: Everything you need—Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Ketchup, Steak Sauce, and more

· Nut butters and spreads: The classics and the creative—Homemade Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Vanilla Chai Pear Butter, and more

· Salad dressings: All your favorites, from Balsamic Vinaigrette to Honey Mustard to Sesame Tahini

· Stocks: The basics to have on hand, including Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, and Court Bouillon

· Relishes and refrigerator pickles: Delicious and easy—Bread and Butter Pickles, Pickled Peppers, Sauerkraut, and more

· Chips, dips, and dunks: Snacks that hit the spot, from Homemade Potato Chips with French Onion Dip to Tortilla Chips with Tomatillo Salsa

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sally's Baking Addiction Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs

We are so incredibly excited that Sally has a ooey-gooey delicious baking book coming out in 2014. You can only imagine what we'll be up to the moment that book hits the shelves.

To celebrate her new book deal, we thought we would share one of Sally's Halloween recipes from her blog Sally's Baking Addiction. Thanks to Sally for letting us share this one :)

Want to get your hands on a copy of Sally's upcoming book? Pre-order your copy today!

Don't forget to enter our sweet Halloween candy giveaway:

Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs
Recipe courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction 

An easy, quick Halloween treat. This recipe makes however many you want. Store pretzel hugs in the refrigerator.

Circle or square-shaped pretzels
Hershey 's Kisses Hugs (or any flavor Kiss)
Candy corn


Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C or gas mark 1/2).

Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Align pretzels on the sheet. Unwrap Hugs and place one on each pretzel. Stick in the oven until the Hugs begin to melt down (mine took about 4 minutes; it depends on your oven).

While the Hugs are melting in the oven, get your candy corn ready because you will have to move quickly once the pretzels are out of the oven.

Remove pretzel hugs from oven and gently press a candy corn down on each one. The Hug should flatten out when you press the candy corn on it. If it is not flattening out, place the pretzel hugs back in the oven for 30 more seconds.

Let the pretzel hugs cool completely and let the chocolate set for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Enjoy!


Sally's Baking Addiction

Named by Huffington Post as one of the “Top 10 Food Blogs to Watch” in 2013, Sally’s Baking Addiction has skyrocketed in popularity since its inception in late 2011. Baking addict and food blogger Sally McKenney loves to bake. Her famous Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies won Nestle’s Dark Chocolate contest in 2013, and now, in her first cookbook, Sally shares her baking secrets with fans everywhere. Try her No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Pie, her delectable Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cupcakes, or her yummy Marshmallow Swirl S’mores Fudge. Featuring a brand new selection of desserts and treats, the Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook is fully illustrated an offers 75 scrumptious recipes for indulging your sweet tooth—including a chapter of healthier dessert options for those who follow a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle. With dozens of simple, easy-to-follow recipes, you get all of the sweet with none of the fuss!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sea Salt Caramels

Halloween is quickly approaching. It's one of my all-time favorite holidays. Fun, silly, spooky, and filled with sweet treats. This year, I'm all about baking and candy making. Since this season seems to be all about salted caramel everything, I thought these sea salt caramels from Elizabeth LaBau's book The Sweet Book of Candy Making would be an ideal place to start. Sweet and salty, these caramels are great for a Halloween party, trick-or-treating candy, or just for an evening alone. :)

And because you can't have Halloween without a giveaway... here's one you'll want to tell ALL of your friends about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sea Salt Caramels
Excerpted from The Sweet Book of Candy Making by Elizabeth LaBau

Yield: 2 pounds 10 ounces (1176 g)

True confession time: I rarely leave these caramels unadorned. While I love the combination of salt and caramel, I think both flavors are greatly improved with the addition of dark chocolate. When I make these caramels—which is on an alarmingly regular basis—I usually can’t resist dipping them partially or completely in a coating of melted chocolate. If you want to follow my lead, leave off the final dusting of flaked sea salt until the caramels are dipped, then sprinkle that pinch of salt on top of the chocolate.

1 pound or 2 cups (470 ml) heavy cream
5½ ounces or ½ cup (154 g) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces or ½ cup (120 ml) water
1 pound 6 ounces or 2 cups (616 g) light corn syrup
14 ounces or 2 cups (392 g) granulated sugar
4 ounces or ½ cup (112 g)
Unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
Flaked sea salt, for finishing

Line a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23-cm) pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and salt. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a low boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid to keep warm. In a 4-quart (3.6-L) saucepan, combine the water, light corn syrup, and granulated sugar. Place the pan over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a boil. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Insert a candy thermometer and continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it reaches 250°F (121°C). Once it reaches this temperature, add the cubed butter and the warm cream and carefully stir everything together. The mixture will bubble and splatter a great deal and the temperature will drop.

Cook the caramel, stirring frequently to avoid scorching, until it reaches 245°F (118.3°C) and is a golden brown color, about 30 minutes. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, but don’t scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the caramel set at room temperature until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once set, remove the candy from the pan and peel off the foil from the back. Use a large sharp knife to cut the caramels into small pieces. Sprinkle the top of each piece with a pinch of flaked sea salt. Wrap each individual caramel in waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together or losing their shape.

Store Sea Salt Caramels in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.


The Sweet Book of Candy Making

Create your own delicious, gorgeous, and professional-quality candies with The Sweet Book of Candy Making. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned candy maker, you will find mouthwatering recipes and expert tips to inspire you—and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Inside, you'll find:

—Candy-making essentials: all you need to know about equipment, ingredients, and techniques, including step-by-step lessons on pulling taffy, rolling truffles, filling peanut butter cups, and more

—More than 50 recipes for sugar candies, fondant, caramels, toffee, fudge, truffles, chocolates, marshmallows, and fruit and nut candies

—Troubleshooting tips for each type of candy

—How to perfect the classics you love, from English Toffee to Chocolate Fudge to Peanut Brittle

—Try your hand at something new: Pistachio Marzipan Squares, Passion Fruit Marshmallows, Mango-Macadamia Nut Caramels, Lemon Meringue Lollipops, and more

—Decorating techniques to show off your tasty results

Get started in your kitchen with The Sweet Book of Candy Making!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sweet and Sour Mango Ketchup

The more I read The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook, the more I want to experiment with different flavor combinations. I know mangoes aren't in season right now (in New England anyhow), but I definitely want to give this recipe a try. This ketchup recipe combines sweet and sour for a truly unique condiment.


Mangoes have an intensely sweet and luscious texture that is hard to resist—so don’t!

Cinnamon gives the mango a contrasting flavor component compatible with both savory and sweet applications. Adding vinegar tweaks the flavor just enough to elevate this combination to delicious heights.

The application recipe prepares a unique tangy mango ketchup. For another option with these components, purée them for a chilled soup (add additional juice to the application recipe). The flavors taste great with seafood and chicken, as well as fresh ginger and cardamom.


Its juice is a thick mouthful. Use it fresh for clarity of flavor in salads and relishes. Cooking softens the texture and brings out its natural sugars. When dried, it becomes sweeter and its shelf life extends. For less than perfectly ripe mango, consider waiting a few days before using it or roasting it with orange juice to bring out the sugars.


The application recipe uses ground cinnamon as seasoning and toasts it to accent its flavor. Use sticks rather than ground cinnamon to infuse the flavor into liquids with more subtlety and less visual impact. Grind your own cinnamon by chopping the sticks roughly with a knife and then grinding in to a spice grinder or cleaned-out coffee-bean grinder.


Stick with light vinegars for this combination—Champagne, rice, or sherry—although a basic white vinegar works as well. Avoid red wine or balsamic vinegars here (they’re great for other combinations), as their strong tastes and dark colors will overwhelm the combination.

Sweet and Sour Mango Ketchup
Excerpted from The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook by Robert and Molly Krause

Use this condiment the same way you would use tomato ketchup. It is especially good on crab cakes or spread on a BLT.

1 tablespoon (8 g) chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons (5 g) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10 ml) canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 mango, peeled, flesh chopped
1⁄4 cup (45 g) chopped tomato
1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) pineapple juice

In a large, dry, nonstick skillet, toast the chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin until fragrant and beginning to smoke. Add the canola oil and stir in the garlic, mango, and tomato. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Add the vinegar and pineapple juice. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 cup (240 g)


The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook

The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook is an indispensable guide to fantastic, unexpected flavor combinations for home cooks. Filled with more than 100 extraordinary combinations, The Flavorful Kitchen Cookbook will make you rethink the way you approach food. Each flavor trio is accompanied by an inspired recipe as an example of how to use it. You'll learn how to cook more innovatively by adding an unexpected note such as chili to a traditional flavor combination such as pineapple and mango. You'll cook more intuitively by learning which flavors work together and how to balance different flavor profiles such as sweet, sour, savory, and spicy. You'll get more excitement from cooking as you taste how flavors evolve during the cooking process. Most importantly, you'll get more pleasure out of the flavors and ingredients you use every day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making the Perfect Pizza

I got a pizza stone for my birthday, so when my friends from work decided we should get together to try out some homemade pizza recipes from the upcoming book Kitchen Workshop--Pizza, I was thrilled. After all, what's more fun than making (and eating) pizza with friends? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Let me tell you one thing right off the bat. I am never going back to:

a) store-bought frozen pizza
b) making pizza with pre-made dough
c) eating anything but pizza (okay, maybe not totally... but still)

We tried four pizza recipes from Ruth Gresser's new book (publishing in February 2014) and each was simply amazing. What I was astounded by was how easy it was to make each pizza. I figured it would take a long time to perfectly craft four unique pizzas, but the time went by in a flash and the pizzas were simply gorgeous.

Want to check out all of our pizza exploits? I put up a Facebook album with all of the photos so you can enjoy. Hopefully each picture will help you get motivated to come up with some unique and amazing pizza recipes of your very own. If you do, please share. :)

And without further ado, here is a sneak peek recipe from Kitchen Workshop--Pizza. Pre-order your copy today!

The Paradiso Pizza
Excerpted from Kitchen Workshop--Pizza by Ruth Gresser

This dough and sauce have joined to create the pizzas at Pizzeria Paradiso for more than twenty years. I hope you find this pizza as irresistible as our customers do.

Paradiso Dough

Pizzeria Paradiso’s bready and robust pizzas rise from this dough. Both crispy and chewy, it can star in a pizza of few toppings or perform the supporting role for your elaborately topped pie. While you can make this dough in an electric mixer, food processor, or bread machine, I have chosen to teach you the simple method of hand mixing using only your fingers and a dough scraper as your tools.


1 pound (455 g) white bread flour, plus more as needed
1 1⁄4 cups (285 ml) warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon (15 g) kosher salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

1) Mound the flour on a clean countertop and make a large well (about as wide as your outstretched
hand) in the center of the flour. Add the water and yeast to the well and let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast.

2) Using the index and middle fingers of one hand, mix the salt and oil into the water. Again using the index and middle fingers, gradually begin to draw the flour from the inside wall of the well into the water, being careful not to break the flour walls.

Continue mixing the flour into the water until a loose dough is formed. Using a dough scraper, continue gradually mixing in the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball.

3) Using even pressure, begin kneading the ball of dough by pushing down and away with the heel of your hand.

Next, take the far edge of the dough and fold it in half onto itself.

Turn the dough a quarter turn. Push down and away again with the heel of your hand. Again fold the dough in half and turn. Continue kneading (pushing, folding, and turning), adding flour as necessary, until the texture is smooth and springs back when you press the dough with your fingertip, or upward of 10 minutes.

4) Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

5) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.

6) Place the dough balls on a floured plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature for room temperature dough or 2 to 3 hours at room temperature for cold dough. Or let rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight. (At this point, you may freeze the dough. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.) Allow refrigerated dough to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

Winter Tomato Sauce

MAKES 2 1⁄2 CUPS (565 G)

2 cups (484 g) canned diced tomatoes (about one 28-ounce, or 800 g, can)
1⁄3 cup (60 g) canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
2 large fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

I call this “winter” tomato sauce because when tomatoes are out of season, you can still make this sauce and
enjoy a bright tomato flavor. Uncooked and chunky, it has little in common with most tomato sauces. The chunks of tomato become both sauce and one of the pizza toppings. At Pizzeria Paradiso, we use a combination of diced canned tomatoes and crushed tomatoes; for the latter, we use Pomi brand.

1) Drain the diced tomatoes and place them in a large bowl.

2) Stir in the remaining ingredients.

3) Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.

The Paradiso Pizza


4 ounces (115 g) fresh cow’s milk mozzarella
1 ball Paradiso Pizza Dough
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
3⁄4 cup (170 g) Winter Tomato Sauce
Kosher salt to taste
Olive oil, for drizzling

While we have 11 house pizzas with various combinations of toppings on Pizzeria Paradiso’s menu, the Paradiso proudly sits at the top of the most frequently ordered pizza list. Many of our customers embellish this iconic tomato-and-cheese pizza, but we think it stands on its own: simple flavors perfectly married.

1) Cut the mozzarella into 1⁄3-inch (about 1 cm) dice. You should have about 3⁄4 cup (115 g).

2) Place a pizza stone on the top rack of a cool oven. Set the oven to broil and preheat for 30 minutes.

3) On a floured work surface, flatten the dough ball with your fingertips and stretch it into a 13-inch (30 cm) round.

4) Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal and lay the pizza dough round onto it. Spread the tomato sauce onto the pizza dough, leaving 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch (1.2 to 2 cm) of dough uncovered around the outside edge. Scatter the cheese on top of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil.

5) Give the peel a quick shake to be sure the pizza is not sticking to the peel. Slide the pizza off the peel onto the stone in the oven. Broil for 1 minute and then turn the oven temperature to the highest bake setting and cook for 5 minutes. Quickly open the oven door, pull out the rack, and with a pair of tongs, rotate the pizza (not the stone) a half turn. Cook for 5 minutes more.

6) Using the peel, remove pizza from the oven. Cut it into slices and serve.


Kitchen Workshop--Pizza 25 Hands-on Cooking Lessons for Making Amazing Pizza at Home

With help from Kitchen Workshop—Pizza you’ll be a pizza expert in no time! This easy-to-navigate book is a complete curriculum for making your own pizza using a regular home oven. Level 1 contains lessons on how to make different crusts, including New York, Chicago, Neapolitan, whole grain, and gluten free. You’ll also learn a variety of tomato sauces, from slow cooked, to chunky, to roasted. Top them off with the right cheese, be it shredded mozzarella, Pecorino, or vegan mozzarella. Level 2 introduces you to the Italian standards: Margherita, Marinara, Quattro Formaggio—there’s even a calzone recipe! Put a twist on your pie with the creative innovations in Level 3: how about a Moroccan or shrimp pizza? And finally, design your own pie in Level 4, with lessons on sauces, proteins, vegetables, and accents.

From dough to delicious, Kitchen Workshop—Pizza is sure to inspire both novice and expert home chefs in the timeless tradition of pizza making.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Six S's of Evaluating Wine

It's Wednesday... and that means some of us working folk have hit the proverbial wall and are dreaming of the upcoming weekend and (for many of us) what we're going to drink. Ever since my recent trip out to San Francisco, I've been trying to become a better wine connoisseur. Enter Dan Amatuzzi and his new book, First Course in Wine.

Here are some tips I think everyone will find helpful.

Evaluating Wine
Excerpted from A First Course in Wine by Dan Amatuzzi

Below is a step-by-step guide to evaluating wine.


A wine’s appearance can tell you more than you think. Young wines are usually more monotone than
older wines. White wines range from straw yellow to green to slightly opaque. Red wines run the
gamut from bright cherry to dark purple and garnet. Wine color is determined by grape variety, the
length of time (if any) the juice and skins macerate prior to fermentation, the type of fermentation
vessel, and the type of maturation vessel (if any). As wines age, however, these colors change in the
bottle as the pigments break down. White wines take on darker yellow colors and eventually yield to
brown. Red wines take on colors of crimson, brick, and eventually brown.

Some terms used to describe a wine’s appearance: light, opaque, brilliant, browning, cloudy, dirty,
hazy, inky.


Swirling the wine in the glass helps aerate the wine. When interacting with oxygen, the wine releases
its aromas and aldehydes. No need to vigorously swirl the wine; a gentle swoosh will help the wine
release what’s hiding within. It is best not to pour the wine up to the brim, thereby ruining any
chance of swirling. Rather, fill the wine up to no more than halfway to the top; this will enable you
to swirl freely.

Be careful with sparkling wines. While it is okay to swirl a bit to release some aromas, over-swirling
can cause the wine to go flat and lose its signature carbonation.


The first sniff won’t make or break the experience, but it is a good way to get a glimpse at what’s
in there. Inhale and think about what jumps out at you first. Fruitiness? Earthiness? Alcohol? Are
there aromas that you’ve smelled before? Some grapes, such as Syrah or Grenache, have a vast array
of aromas, depending upon the winemaker and the region where it is from. Other grapes, such
as Sauvignon Blanc or Muscat, show similar aromas despite where and by whom they’re crafted.
Identifying these patterns helps establish a solid memory base of grape profiles. Once you’ve analyzed
the first smell, go in for a second dive. By now the first smell should have eliminated any residual
aromas in the air that were trapped inside your nostrils. This second sniff should be clearer, and
you’ll be able to build upon your first impressions.

Some terms used to describe a wine’s smell: earthy, woody, nutty, herbaceous, fruity, spicy, floral,
vegetal, chocolate, savory, mineral, animal.


This is the stage where we further build upon our thoughts from smelling the wine. Does the wine taste like it smells? Does it smell like it tastes? What is most obvious about the taste? Is it the fruit? Is there an oaky or wood component? Acidity has been mentioned a few times throughout this book, but here is where it plays its most important role.

Acidity is the most crucial and least credited aspect of a great wine. Acidity is the tingling sensation in the back of your cheeks, and this is the component of wine, especially whites and sparkling wines, that helps break down food particles and gives wine its unique food applicability. It also keeps a wine in check over the life of the aging process, and the best older wines in the world still have a zippy, balanced flavor. Wines are called “flabby,” “fat,” or “dead” when the acidity is either non-existent or overwhelmingly drowned out by higher levels of sugar, fruitiness, tannin, or alcohol.

Some terms used to describe a wine’s taste: astringent, approachable, austere, balanced, big, bitter, bright, chewy, closed, creamy, crisp, delicate, developed, dry, earthy, elegant, fat, flabby, flat, fleshy, fresh, green, hard, herbal, hot, light, long, maderized, mature, meaty, metallic, moldy, nutty, oaky, off, oxidized, rich, seductive, short, soft, stalky, sulfuric, tannic, tart, thin, tired, toasty, woody, yeasty, young.


KF Note: When I was in San Francisco at a wine tasting, I tried to slurp and ended up sending my wine shooting across the table at some friends. Be careful with your slurping, but don't let an embarrassing moment deter you from enjoying your wine! :)

See, it all worked out. Only slightly embarrassing! lol.
As you taste the wine, breathe in through your mouth, forcing air over your tongue and maximizing exposure to the olfactory bulb in the back of your throat. This is the main sensor that sends signals to your brain, determining whether you like or dislike what you’re tasting. By breathing in, you maximize the exposure of the wine to the back of your throat.


The final step is to continue enjoying the wine while admiring its transformation, as it never ceases to evolve in the glass. As long as it is exposed to oxygen, the wine will change accordingly.

Some Additional Thoughts

The streaks that form on the side of a wineglass, trickling down and retreating back into the wine, are described as a wine’s legs. Some people mistakenly think that legs are a sign of quality, believing the larger and more robust the legs, the better the quality of the wine. Not true. The legs of a wine are an indication
of its alcohol content. Light and subtle legs indicate the wine is low in alcohol, while heavier and more viscous legs suggest higher alcohol content.

Feel free to move the glass around your nose and take in every corner of the glass because each nostril can detect different smells. There may be a lot to process; in 2004, two Nobel Prize-winning scientists determined that there are more than 10,000 different aromas we can detect.

An unofficial seventh step, spitting, is a common sight at formal wine tastings. Since the throat has neither taste buds nor flavor receptacles, there is no need to swallow the wine.


A First Course in Wine

Whether you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or you like to have one every night with dinner, Dan Amatuzzi’s A First Course in Wine will provide you with everything you need to know about how to smell, taste, and enjoy fine wines. With stunning imagery and helpful diagrams throughout, you’ll learn:

*the science behind winemaking
*how to interpret wine labels without stress
*how to identify flavors in your wine
*how to pair wines with foods
*what to look for on restaurant wine lists
*glossary of terms and a pronunciation guide
*detailed information about vineyards and more

Life is too short for wine you won’t enjoy. Once you’ve taken this first course, you will read your restaurant’s wine list with confidence and browse through the wine selection at your store with the knowledge that you’re going to walk home with the perfect wine in hand.

Dan Amatuzzi was the wine director at Mario Batali’s OTTO before he became Eataly’s beverage director. He studied wine production in Florence and was chosen to Zagat’s inaugural class of New York’s rising “30 under 30” culinary stars.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Absinthe Shortbread Cookies

When I first stumbled across this recipe from Kelly Peloza, I immediately stopped and read through the entire recipe. I have been fascinated with absinthe since I first watched Moulin Rouge (and probably before that) and have since crafted a few intriguing abstinthe based cocktails.But cookies? I had never even conceived of the idea of creating absinthe-inspired cookies... that is until I saw this recipe for Absinthe Shortbread Cookies. Why not, right?

If you're like me and want to ask Kelly where she came up with this fabulously intriguing recipe, then join us for a special #spoonchat TODAY at 1PM EDT. Log into Twitter and have your questions ready. The best question wins a copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets!

Absinthe Shortbread Cookies
Excerpted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets! by Kelly Peloza

Modern-day absinthe consumption hearkens to 19th- and 20th-century Europe, where the drink became wildly popular, notably among writers and artists. To serve, a slotted spoon with a single sugar cube is placed on top of a glass containing the bright green liquid. Ice water is slowly dripped into the glass, dissolving the sugar cube, diluting the spirit, and creating a chemical reaction that turns the absinthe a milky green color. Wormwood is one of the three main ingredients of absinthe, but might be difficult to track down and prepare for baking, so two of the three ingredients of “the holy trinity” of absinthe will have to do.

3/4 cup (168 g) vegan margarine
2/3 cup (80 g) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
lime green food coloring
3 whole star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (2.5 g) finely chopped fresh fennel leaves
1 3/4 cups (219 g) flour

In a large bowl, beat the margarine and powdered sugar together. Add the vanilla and food coloring (the amount will vary depending on the intensity of your food coloring). Start with 4 to 5 drops of liquid or a pea-sized amount of gel color and mix thoroughly.

Crush the star anise with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Remove any large pieces that wouldn’t break up so no one bites into them.

Add the salt, anise, and fennel leaves, then gradually mix in the flour, stirring after each addition until a dough forms. It should be soft but not wet and sticky. Gradually add additional flour if necessary to reach the right consistency.

Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a log 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Wrap with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).

Unroll the parchment paper and cut the dough into ½-inch (1 cm) slices. Line a cookie sheet with the parchment paper then place the slices on the sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes.


Cheers to Vegan Sweets! 

This innovative vegan baking book features 125 deliciously fun drink-inspired dessert recipes. It’s a cookbook that takes readers on a delicious tour of cafés, cocktail bars, and lemonade stands, where all the drinks come in dessert form. Imagine your morning vanilla hazelnut mocha re-imagined as a muffin, or relax on the beach with a margarita biscotti, or stop by the bar and order your brew in Guinness cake form. Instead of sipping your drink, now you can indulge in it!

Author and vegan baker extraordinaire Kelly Peloza has carefully formulated each recipe to deliciously highlight the flavors of its drink counterpart. From Apple Cider Doughnuts to Chai Spice Baklava to Gingerbread Stout Cake, you’ll be amazed at how deliciously well your sips transform into sweet, satisfied—and vegan!—bites. And with alcoholic- and non-alcoholic recipes, you’re sure to find something perfect for every party and special occasion.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nutella Souffles

I have always been slightly terrified of souffles. Perhaps because they seem tricky and temperamental and just plain scary. My goal in 2014 is to master the souffle. I know, I'm setting goals early, but I think it's worth giving myself some extra time. I think the first recipe I'll start with is this one for Nutella Souffles. After all, go big or go home, right?

Nutella Souffles
Excerpted from Nutella by Ferrero

A quick and easy (KF note: I disagree) dessert to make using the world-famous hazelnut chocolate spread; it will tickle the tastebuds of young and old alike!

Makes 6 souffles
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

200 g (7/8 cup) Nutella
6 eggs
40 g (1/4 cup) cornflour/cornstarch
120 g (2/3 cup) caster/superfine sugar
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla sugar
15 g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
Icing/confectioner's sugar, to decorate

Melt the Nutella in a bain-marie or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.

Break the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Sieve the cornflour/cornstarch into a bowl and mix with 60 g (1/3 cup) of the sugar.

Add the egg yolks, two at a time, to the melted Nutella, followed by the vanilla sugar and finally the cornflour/cornstarch and sugar mixture.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F/gas mark 7). Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then fold in 50g (1/4 cup) of the sugar. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the Nutella mixture but do not work them together too much.

Grease 6 moulds or small souffle dishes and dust with the remaining sugar. Pour the mixture into the dishes and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the souffles with icing/confectioner's sugar and serve.


Nutella The 30 best recipes

From irresistible macaroons to tasty cheesecakes, discover new ways of using, cooking, and enjoying Nutella with 30 mouthwatering recipes.

Thirty delicious recipes in a Nutella-shaped book for all the fans of the famous spread:
- little individual sweets: from a revisited version of bread with Nutella to Nutella and banana tartlettes
- generous Nutella cakes to share: cake roll, Twelfth Night cake, or even a Nutella charlotte.
- creamy, ‘must have’ recipes: mousse and little cream
- surprising recipes to impress both young and old: macaroons, caramelized hazelnut stuffed truffles, little mango egg rolls

Friday, October 11, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Sausage and Curly Kale Chowder

Sadly, this week is our last farm share, so I thought I'd share one last farm share recipe with you. Perfect for warming up on cool fall and winter days, this soup is a great way to use up any curly kale you get in your last few CSA farm shares. If you're not a farm share member, don't fret. You can easily pick up curly kale at your local supermarket year round.

Sausage and Curly Kale Chowder
Excerpted from Great Homemade Soups: A Cook's Collection by Paul Gayler

Any type of sausage works for this soup: I like to use a mixture of smoked and fresh. The choice is yours. Available from September to March, curly kale is a hearty winter brassica with frilly leaves that have thick central veins. Make sure you buy your kale fresh and crisp.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
300 g (10 ounces) chicken sausages
100 g (3 1/2 ounces) cooking chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into 1cm (1/2") slices
150 g (5 1/2 ounces) Kielbasa sausages, cut into 1cm (1/2") slices
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
2 celery sticks, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
750 ml (1 1/4 pints/3 cups) white chicken stock
2 spigs of thyme
250 g (9 ounces) new potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300 g (10 ounces) curly kale, torn into small pieces
100 ml (3 1/2 fluid ounces/scant 1/2 cup) single cream
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of chili  pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the chicken sausages. Reduce the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the sausages are cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into 2 cm (3/4 inch) slices.

Meanwhile, add the chorizo and Kielbasa sausage slices to the pan and fry for 2 minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly colored. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery to the juices in the pan, cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Pour the stock over and add the thyme and potatoes. Stir, then cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.

Add the kale and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the kale is cooked. Add the cream, return all the sausages to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Discard the thyme.

Divide the soup between 4 individual soup bowls and serve immediately.

Varation: Sausage and Mixed Bean Soup
Proceed as for the basic soup, but replace the kale with a can of drained and rinsed mixed beans. Omit the cream.


It is often said that a cook’s reputation hinges on the quality of his or her soup. Perhaps that is why many of us shy of making our own. With this book, Paul Gayler proves that making your own soup is easy and the results are nutritious and satisfying. Add to that the fact that soups are also an economical way to eat, whether you are using easy-to-source seasonal produce or expensive ingredients, which will go much further when made into a soup. Great Homemade Soups includes 100 recipes, ranging from the tried-and-tested classics to soups from farawayVietnam, Colombia, Japan, Sardinia and Spain, to name just a few. There are broths and consommés, smooth and creamy soups, hearty and wholesome soups, traditional favourites, wild and exotic soups, and chilled soups. In addition to these, the book is sprinkled with Paul’s Soups Masterclass lessons, which explain key techniques using clear step-by-step photographs. And if this weren’t enough, Paul has invited contributions from some of his favorite world-class chefs, who have added their best-loved soup recipes to this tasty collection.