Wednesday, January 31, 2007

If you've had enough of Rachael Ray...'ll appreciate this. From the Seattle Times.

Monday, January 29, 2007

These cookies will beat the winter blahs...

A Kalamazoo friend gave me this recipe for blueberry and white chocolate chunk ginger cookies from Eating Well, and I finally had the chance to make them this weekend. I baked these as a special birthday treat for my good friend Em, so I substituted dried cherries (her favorite) for the blueberries. And believe me, all of the kitchen testers around here rejoiced at the results. Crystallized ginger coupled with dried fruit and white chocolate chunks is indeed a magical flavor combination. (And these bad boys are even semi-healthy, or at least not that bad for you.)

A real coup was that someone had given us a package of dried cherries from the Cherry Republic, and I reserve only the highest praise for these Michigan ruby jewels. Up until now I had been completely satisfied using Montmorency cherries from Trader Joe's, but after sampling these, it's going to be very hard to go back. I've always been so proud of the cherries that my home state produces--even Ohio farm stands around here sell them. Go out and bake them into your cookies now.

Or of you're more of the cookie-purchasing rather than cookie-baking type, Cherry Republic is also selling these adorable Valentine's Day cookies.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hot off the press...

A couple of my recently-published stories:
  • My colleague over at Busted Halo has written a valuable book for women who have suffered from abuse. Read my review here.
  • I'm not a dog-lover by any stretch, but I still think Vellus Products is a way-cool company with an owner who's as savvy and sweet as can be. My write-up of her business appeared on the cover of last week's "Entrepreneur" section of Business First.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Eating @ Work

I started a new job not too long ago (yay--it's great!), which means I'm back to packing lunches every day. Eating at work poses a special challenge to the health-conscious, like myself. It's so tempting to jet across the street to Starbucks for a cranberry bliss bar, or to warm up with some lunchtime pad thai. But with a little planning ahead, it's pretty easy to put together a lunch that's not only healthy, but that you'll actually look forward to treating yourself with at lunchtime. Here are a couple of my lunchtime tools that make packing almost fun:
  • A thermal canister from Sahalie--the perfect size for an extra-large mug of hot green tea, a steaming "bowl" of chili, or my dad's homemade, Fox and Obel-inspired mac n' cheese. (Get it now--it's on sale! The thermos, I mean, not my dad's macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately that's all gone as of this afternoon. Thanks, Pops.)
  • A lunchtime tote from Built NY. (Mine is red, and I found it at TJMaxx.) I love it because it not only insulates food, but also streeeettches to accommodate lots of treats. (Very important if you eat a lot like I do.)
  • My copy of The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever. It's co-authored by Melissa Clark, one of my favorite New York Times food writers, and it's got GREAT, healthy recipes for brown-bagging. It's not a diet book, but rather a "how to eat healthy and realistically for life" kind of book.

Anyone else have any go-to lunchtime faves they want to share?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A new

My apologies, dear readers, for the light posting as of late. I've been busy in and out of the kitchen! One of my more exciting projects: I have a new Web site! Check it out in all of its glory at I still have a bit of tweaking to do, but for the most part it's finished! A big "grazie" to my very talented friend Beth for the fabulous design.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Saveur 100

Saveur recently released their top 100 (foods, restaurants, drinks, people, places, trends and things). I was happy to see a few of my faves get a mention:
  • Lady apples-tiny, "precious pommes" that happen to be adorable next to seckel pears.
  • Painter Wayne Thiebaud (whose deli counter paintings hang on the walls of my home office, and whose breakfast table painting is the thumbnail I pilfered for this blog).
  • Dessert-only restaurants. (I don't think this calls for an explanation.)
  • Evan Kleiman and KCRW's Good Food was named "Dishiest Radio Program."

Check out last year's list too at NPR's web site.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's in the numbers--unlocking chocolate's mystique.

Have you ever wondered what all those cocoa percentages mean as you stand in front of a cache of premium bars at the grocery store? Columbusites can read all about them in in my chococentric story in this week's (Jan. 12) issue of Business First. (Sorry, I haven't been able to locate it online.) The article also includes a homemade hot chocolate recipe that Pistachio's Spencer Budros was nice enough to share with me. If you can't get Business First, this month's issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray (I know, I know.) features a nice "by the numbers" guide to choosing chocolate by cocoa content.
In other writing news, I'm about to unveil a brand-new, newly-designed web site for my writing business. Stay tuned! I'll let readers know as soon as it's up!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Food News

As many of you know, Wednesdays are my favorite news days. It's the one day of the week when I actually bolt out of bed to read the paper. Here are my picks from today's food sections. You'll find that many of them have to do with comfort foods. It's finally cold and wintry here in Columbus--though this Michigan girl knows that Ohio doesn't have real winters--it's time to delve into some warm-you-from-the-inside fare. Good food is the perfect antidote to gray cold-weather skies!
  • Stuffed Turkey Burgers from The Splendid Table
  • Tortilla soup with chicken and lime from Betty Rosbottom. (I'd make anything she recommends!) From The Dispatch. I plan on substituting store-bought tortilla chips.
  • A baked German apple pancake from The Chicago Tribune. (They say this puffed pancake is a Chicago tradition, but I've had more than my fair share of fabulous apple pancakes at The Colonial Pancake House and Bibler's in South Bend. Sigh. Those were the days when Notre Dame was always winning their bowl games.)
  • Three chicken soup recipes from The Seattle Times. I'm especially intrigued by the Burmese Chicken-Coconut.

I'm looking forward to the weekend when I'll be able to try some of these recipes--maybe you are too!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Excellent Baking for 2007

If you're one of the few people who hasn't made a New Year's resolution to eat fewer sweets, I've got a book recommendation for you: Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Dorie is a special correspondent for Bon Appetit, and you may have heard her doling out baking tips on All Things Considered in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Having baked with everyone from Julia Child to French pastry chef Pierre Herme, she's a true baking guru!

This book makes for great winter reading if you're looking to update your cache of cookie recipes. I baked the Midnight Crackles and the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops this weekend, and they just made me want to bake MORE of Dorie's fabulous cookies. I've heard the Splendid Table's Lynne Rosetto Kasper sing the praises of the World Peace Cookies, and the Chockablock Cookies are calling my name too!

If it's something other than cookies you crave, you can happily delve into the other sections like "Breakfast Sweets" or "Spoon Desserts." I'm so happy this book was on the shelf at the UA Library last week--it's been a welcome treat.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winter Comforts

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Season's Eatings

I had a fabulous holiday season on all fronts, and of course, ate very well on our sojourns to Kalamazoo, South Bend and Chicago. A few Christmas highlights for this foodie:

Gathering with more than 50 of the dear friends I grew up with, thanks to a soiree that my parents hosted while we were home. They went all out, and all 54 of us enjoyed a fabulous spread (See what I have to live up to?) which is what you see in the photo above.

A Christmas Eve toast with homemade cranberry cordial, delightfully bubbly champagne, and some drunken (vodka soaked) cranberries, all provided as a Christmas gift from some very tasteful neighbors.

Unwrapping my new cookbooks under the tree: Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday (from my p's) and The Bon Appetit Cookbook (from my in-laws).

Lunch with my companion at Chicago's Atwood Cafe. We got to try their brown sugar cheesecake, a signature dessert. I first read about it in Plate magazine, a trade magazine for chefs that I've recently started writing for. It was every bit as scrumptious as I expected!

I don't usually make diet/exercise New Year's resolutions since I eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise, but I did purchase an 18-lb. bag of Texas pink grapefruit as a nod to starting the year off right! Happy New Year everyone!