Tales from the Trenches: Recipes & Stories from Family and Friends
I am no stranger to mistakes in the kitchen. The stories are almost too numerous to count. Dried out roast chicken? Check. Burnt cookies? Done. Forgotten ingredients in soup? Yup, been there. Obviously, I don’t write about all of the mistakes I make in this space. Instead I learn from them and try again before I consider a recipe completed and ready for publication. Sure, I know you’ll all make your own mistakes, too. And that is okay. Even the best chefs and food writers make them! Don’t believe me, you need to read Dana Cowin’s new book, Mastering my Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Different Recipes.
I haven’t done as much summer reading this summer as I would’ve liked. Running around after two kids, working on the next book, and keeping up with the house has taken up almost all my time. However, I had the good fortune of getting a copy of my friend Kathleen Flinn’s latest book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family, and I read the whole thing, cover to cover, in just a few days. I’ll admit, I pushed aside work in favor of reading and it was so worth it.
A few weeks ago The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods by Erin Gleeson landed on my doorstep and I instantly deemed it the most gorgeous cookbook I’d ever seen. Not only is it full of delicious vegetarian recipes, it is a colorful feast of Erin’s watercolors, typography, photography, and more. Each recipe features it’s own watercolor by Erin, a unique layout, and original photography. On top of that, the recipes feature vegetables in ways I haven’t seen before. The butternut caprese, for example, is the perfect twist on an everyday favorite. I also love her cool watermelon “cake”, and ideas for vegetable ribbon salads. The first recipe I made from it was the strawberry salsa, it was such a hit at our block party!
Today I am sharing a great chat I had with Erin, the delicious salsa recipe, and a chance to win a copy of this book. I swear, once you crack the cover you won’t be able to stop reading it and you’ll tab just about every recipe to try tout de suite!
Last year my friend Faith, the incredibly talent editor of The Kitchn, came out with a gorgeous cookbook called Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake and more No-Bake Desserts. I no-baked from it all last summer and just pulled it out again last month. You guys, this it the ultimate dessert summer cookbook. Faith knows what we all like – cool, sweet desserts that range from the traditional to adventurous. And she also knows that we don’t have time for complicated cooking techniques and fancy equipment. Her desserts are all easy and accessible and taste completely fabulous.
To get us all in the mood to turn off our ovens this season Faith has stopped by to chat about her book and generously give away a copy. If you want to see the kind of recipes that are in it you should checkout my take on her Graham Cracker Lemon Icebox Cake – it is soooo good!
Last month my friend Barbara introduced me to a new book, The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits: A Handbook of Etiquette with Recipes, and the authors Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault. It is undoubtedly the whittiest, most fun, informative, and inventive cookbook I’ve read in a long time. Chock full of southern charm, Suzanne and Lee manage to get right down to the brass tacks of eating, entertaining, and house-keeping without seeming overbearing or bossy. To cap it off, instead of photographs the book is dotted with cheeky illustrations reminiscent of New York cartoons.
My personal favorite part of the book are the cheeky observations on entertaining which ring 100% true. Here are a few of my favorites:
I am always a sucker for a good baking book and this week I am excited to share a great one: The Dollop Book of Frosting: Sweet and Savory Icings, Spreads, Meringues, and Ganaches for Dessert and Beyond. At first I thought this would be just be a ho-hum baking book but it really is so much more. Not only are the recipes for spreads and baking goods amazing, they are all different from ones I currently have in my cookbook collection. There really is something for everyone in here, especially if you are looking to add something new to your everyday sweets repertoire. Today I am featuring a fun little chat I had with the author, Heather Saffer and am giving away a copy. I am also featuring one of my favorite recipes from the book!
I am so excited to kick off the New Year spotlighting my friend Megan Gordon and her new book, Whole Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons. I’ve known Megan since we began blogging around the same time. Fast forward four years and now we share an awesome agent, both have books out, and she has transitioned from English teachers to granola entrepreneur. I am so thrilled for her success, if you’ve ever tasted Marge Granola you’ll know her accomplishments are well-deserved. Today I am featuring a fun interview with Megan to give you a glimpse inside her book. Tomorrow I am going to feature my own review and a recipe I made from it over the weekend. You won’t want to miss it!
An interview with Catherine McCord about her book!
Today I am thrilled that my dear friend Lori of Recipe Girl has stopped in to chat about her awesome new cookbook. I have been a huge fan of Lori’s for years. Her website is gorgeous and she is has a truly extensive recipe database. Her new book is equally as wonderful. It is chock full of Recipe Girl favorites, and a whole bunch of new recipes too! If you want your own copy of her book she is generously giving one away…details below!
One of the things I buy the most at our local farmer’s market is berries. Strawberry, blueberries, raspberries, you name it, I love them. Since the season is fairly fleeting in the Northeast I buy as many as I can and preserve a whole bunch for winter. I also freeze a few bags worth, and then eat the rest! Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Alison Sweeney about blueberries and how she incorporates them into her active lifestyle. I really like Alison and her positive, healthy message on behalf of her work with the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council which is why I am sharing it with you today.
As part of my ongoing author series, today I am interviewing my friend Jaime of Sophistimom about her new book, Celebrate Every Day: Recipes for Making the Most of Special Moments with Your Children. I love how she approached cooking and family life as a whole, suggesting music, books, and activities that are both beloved and educational for children in each chapter. Not only were her recipes mouthwatering, she reminded me of a lot of the books I enjoyed as a child as well as a few new ones I need to check out for my daughter. Be sure to enter the give away below so you can win your own copy of this amazing book!
I get a lot of cookbooks in the mail each season. It is always a treat to admire the work of my fellow authors. Every so often one book really stands out and catches my eye. That is the kind of book that I cook from immediately and ends up on my bookshelf for a few years, maybe longer. This spring one of these cookbooks is Modern Mediterranean: Easy, Flavorful Home Cooking by Melia Marden. Her simple Mediterranean dishes are inspired by her childhood summers spent in Greece. The extraordinary color photographs by Lucy Schaeffer pack a stunning visual punch. I am thrilled that Melia stopped by for an interview today and I am even more excited to be giving away a copy of her book!