Food52

Photos by Clay Williams – claywilliamsphoto.com

You may have noticed it’s been quiet around here for the past week. I have been one busy bee. I just got back from Camp Blogaway and tomorrow I’m headed to Eat Write Retreat followed immediately by a trip to California to work with CA Strawberries. It’s a very hectic time and I love it. I am one lucky girl to be traveling to all of these cool events. Before I head back out of town, I’m eager to tell you about a very special trip I took last week to New York. I was lucky enough to be selected by Anna Curran from Cookbook Create to attend a special tour of the test kitchens at Bon Appetit, The Daily Meal and Food52[Read more...]

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Eat Your Books

I’ve always had this weird relationship with cookbooks.  As soon as I walk into a bookstore I make a beeline for the cookbook section and can lose hours of my life as I peruse individual titles.  It feels like certain books call out to me; they glimmer on the shelf and catch my eye. They beg me to bring them home and I’m always tempted even though I know I can find a much cheaper price online.  Usually temptation wins. I love the smell of a brand new cookbook; the shiny crisp new pages filled with bright beautiful food photos and incredible sounding recipes.  I love the instant gratification of a book store. When I know I want a particular cookbook it becomes like an obsession.  I must have it.

So as you may have guessed, I’ve built up a pretty sizable collection of cookbooks. But here’s the thing. When I’m looking for a recipe, I rarely turn to these gems I’ve spent so much time collecting. Why? You probably know; the internet is so much faster. I mean talk about instant gratification. When I need a recipe for banana bread I can type it into Google and voila! I have hundreds of options, often rated by users, within seconds.  How can you beat that?  So I use my internet recipe while my poor neglected cookbooks remain on their shelves, lonely and longing for attention.

At least, that’s how things were a few months ago.  Everything has changed now.  A few months ago I was driving home from an appointment while listening to NPR (my standard driving music these days). I can’t remember what show I was listening to but they were discussing cookbooks.  Someone called in to the show to ask if anyone on the panel had tried a website called Eat Your Books. I’d never heard of it and listened with curiosity.

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Boozy Malted Hot Chocolate Milkshake ~ Savory Simple

This boozy malted hot chocolate milkshake is total dessert heaven.  As you may have noticed, I love sweets and one of my favorite desserts happens to be ice cream (and yes, I eat it year round. Hooray for heated homes!) You know what makes this dessert even sweeter? Knowing that the ingredients comes with a Fair Trade Certification.

Are you familiar with fair trade?  It’s worth a bit of research if the concept is new to you.  I didn’t learn about it myself until about a year ago when I heard a piece on NPR.  Buying fair trade is a simple way to give back (and what a wonderful gesture during the holiday season).  The primary goal of fair trade is to improve the lives of farmers and those who process raw materials for the foods we enjoy.  In addition to guaranteeing ethical pay for labor, fair trade funds are specifically designated for social, economic and environmental development projects.  You’ve likely heard about unfair labor practices in overseas clothing factories. Well, the same problems exist in the food industry but only now is the information becoming more mainstream (you might remember my post this summer on slave-free tomatoes). Want to know more?  Visit this link for more details about fair trade and why it’s important.

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Slow Cooker Meatballs and Marinara ~ Savory Simple

A few years ago while channel surfing I landed upon PBS, a station that up until that moment I only associated with shows from my youth such as Sesame Street and The Electric Company.  That day I watched in awe as Julia Child and Jacques Pepin worked their magic with eggs. An entire show that was dedicated to the simple beauty of eggs.  I was enthralled. I think I lost the entire day as I watched shows hosted by Eric Ripert, Ming Tsai and Lidia Bastianich. At that very moment I became hooked on PBS, the other food network.  PBS has a lineup full of fantastic chefs demonstrating the kind of techniques I often find lacking on cooking shows. And it was while watching PBS that I first discovered America’s Test Kitchen. It’s not just a clever name; America’s Test Kitchen is an actual 2500 square foot test kitchen with more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Each recipe is tested countless times until the best, foolproof results are created. Their methods really do work.  When I want a dependable fail-safe recipe I now turn to the experts who are also responsible for Cook’s Country and my favorite magazine, Cook’s Illustrated.

America’s Test Kitchen was kind enough to send me two of their cookbooks to review, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook and The America’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook. I am so in awe of these books and all of the wonderful recipes.

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Date-Filled Cookies ~ Savory Simple

Today I’m joining several other bloggers to take part a virtual potluck hosted by Kitchen Play.  We’re all preparing recipes from An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky.  I was tasked with making date-filled cookies, a recipe that I’ll admit was a bit outside of my comfort zone.  Up until now I’ve had zero experience with preparing Middle Eastern cuisine.

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