Almost the New Year

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday! I did – and I’m so thankful…

Today, my “annual blog report” was released and WOW! Thank you all SO MUCH for your dedication and support for “Blaise the Baker”‬! I’m so truly thankful and appreciative. The stats were overwhelming! I’m viewed in 52 countries and stats are almost 20,000…

My most popular recipe of the year was my “Jello Red Velvet Cupcakes” which can be viewed here…

https://blaisethebaker.com/…/07/08/jello-red-velvet-cupcakes/

Thanks again for a mind blowing 2014 – here’s to making 2015 another incredible year!

Thank you!!!

Blaise

(On a side note: I was made aware today of the fact that I have an impersonator on Twitter. If you see this PLEASE report the person for “SPAM”. I’ve written to Twitter – but I’m not sure what will be done, or when…)

Cookbooking Update – Happy Holidays!

I wanted to take a moment to write and share with you a “cookbooking” update, as well as a Happy Holiday message…

Cookbooking Blaise the Baker Blog

“Greed and impatience may not be considered virtues, but they certainly help me write a recipe and cook.”
-Nigella Lawson

This quote really sums up best my “cookbooking” and recipe development process. It’s been awhile since I’ve given a “cookbooking” update – so I’m doing that here… (and on my blog).

How are things coming along with my “cookbooking”!? Things are going great! Everything that’s worth anything takes time – and this cookbook writing and creation is an exercise for me in that philosophy. I’ve tested and tested and tested the recipes (as well as had several friends and volunteers test) so the processes that I wanted to get done – have all been accomplished. It’s now just an issue of typing it up, organizing, and putting and pulling together themes and sections to make things flow. Photos have been taken and retaken and taken again…

I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your kindness and support. It means everything to me. I’m SO excited to share with you all what I’ve been working on for so long! (And hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.) And yes – I’ve been jotting down recipes and notes for potential follow up books!

Also – this blog will undergo more changes at the start of 2015 that I’m beyond excited to share! Stay tuned for that announcement later…

Once again – THANK YOU for your support… This is only the beginning.

Happy Holidays!!!

Blaise

Chew This – Chocolate Brownie Truffles

Happy Sunday and Happy Holidays! Today is the official publication of my newest “CHEW THIS” column for “The Courier-Times”! I am SO excited to share this recipe with everyone…

It’s quick, easy, delicious, rich – perfect for last minute Holiday gift giving!

Be sure to pick up a copy TODAY and let me know what you think – and be sure to check out my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker) for by “step by step” photos.

Chocolate Brownie Truffles Chew This Blog

Chocolate Brownie Truffles

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/article_1b7de2b4-847e-11e4-be06-b33907dea23b.html

Blaise

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Cookbook Corner – The Kitchn

Today’s “Cookbook Corner” goes to…

The Kitchn Cookbook Corner Blaise Blog

“The Kitchn Cookbook” By: Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

This cookbook is really TWO books in one – dare I say THREE books in one?!

It’s a kitchen manual / how-to / design inspiration AND a cookbook loaded with delicious recipes. Not to mention filled with “tips and tricks” that will really help the most advanced chef – down to those just learning the basics of home cooking.

I really love this cookbook and have several recipes marked to try. But first – let’s break the book down in to its different parts.

Part One is called “The Kitchen” and is filled with beautiful photographs of kitchens, kitchen tools, and a “behind the scenes” look at what should be in our pantries. It talks about “Setting up the Kitchen” (page 13), “Tools” (page 41) and “Caring for your Kitchen” (page 69). I had never really seen a cookbook feature things like this before – and it was really a welcome addition. The photographs are beautiful and remind of me the “Selby” series of books and photos.

I really appreciated page 16 and 17 where it talks about the “kitchen triangle” and also helps answer any questions a person may have about getting a new kitchen, what to look for in one, thinking about one, etc. This book really puts me in the mind of a book you would give a newlywed couple after their marriage. A book to really read, look over, make notes in – and think about your potential new kitchen…

I also liked how there are different people “featured” in this section. You get a “feel” for how they live, what they stock their kitchens with, etc. (For the record: I would LOVE a kitchen like the kitchen on page 35). 😉

The chapter on “Tools” (page 41) really interested me because I always love learning and reading about new tools, the tools that people can’t live without and the history behind them. (I’m still new to this “butter crock” thing – how again does that work!?)

“Caring for your Kitchen” (page 69) is filled with useful tips and tricks and even recipes on how to make your own glass cleaner and oven cleaner. I also appreciated the month chart on page 73 where it gives you daily step by step “chores” to “keep a clean kitchen”.

The book continues with Chapter 4 “Stocking the Pantry and Planning Meals”. I wish I could have a lot of my friends and family read this chapter. People are always asking me what they should keep in the pantries, how they can plan ahead meals, etc. This chapter answers all of those questions – and then some! It even talks about refrigerator staples, freezer staples… very interesting.

Starting on page 107 there are “50 Essential Skills” that are talked about in detail. I loved this part of the book. From the simple things (how to boil water, how to thicken a sauce) – to the more complex (how to knead dough, how to whip egg whites and cream) – it covers these techniques beautifully and really gives the at home cook a lot of useful information that will help them tremendously in the kitchen.

Page 129 is where the book starts with its delicious recipes. I’ve marked several to try including “Everyday Granola” (page 139), “Quick Drop Biscuits with Quick Berry Jam” (page 145), “Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze” (page 149 and FIRST on my list to try…I mean – how amazing do these sound!?), “Clarified Butter” (page 165 – and something that I’ve been telling people is called “brown butter” which is a totally different thing – my apologies…), “Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken” (page 189), “Easiest Beef Strew” (page 218), “Grilled Caesar Salad” (page 229), “Smashed Potato Salad” (page 236), and the delicious looking “One-Bowl Birthday Butter Cake with Double Chocolate Frosting” (page 250) – all of these recipes have my Post-It flags attached – just waiting for me to dive in.

I also loved the “How to successfully frost a cake” on page 251 because it’s no secret to those who know me – that this is my constant struggle… Ha! 😉

It’s also no secret that I’ve also marked the lemon bars and the brownies to try…not sure why I felt the need to admit this – but there it is…

Anyways, the book ends with “Gathering” and it really wraps it up nicely. It talks about entertaining and makes it relatable to everybody – and I like that.

All in all – this book is an excellent resource of not just recipes, but kitchen tips and tricks. It is also a wonderful resource for kitchen questions and answers…

To learn more about “The Kitchn”, please click here…
http://www.thekitchn.com/

To buy “The Kitchn”, please click here…
http://www.thekitchn.com/books/cookbook

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – The Big Book of Sides

Today’s “Cookbook Corner” is perfect and just in time for the approaching Holidays…

The Big Book of Sides Cookbook Corner Blog

“The Big Book of Sides” By: Rick Rodgers

I honestly wasn’t for sure (at first) if I would like this cookbook… I mean, a cookbook about ALL side dishes?! How many different side dishes could a person create!? (And – I’m a dessert guy…)

BUT – I was seriously blown away by this book… I LOVE IT!

The book doesn’t have photographs for every single recipe…but with this book, I’ve really found it doesn’t matter. The descriptions (as well as the recipes) more than make up for lack of photos.

(And I’m a picture person too – and I didn’t seem to miss them with this book…) Don’t get me wrong though – there ARE photos…and the photos that are included are absolutely gorgeous!

The book is sectioned off into several different chapters…

Getting It to the Table: which gives tips and tricks on baking, cooking, deep frying, etc. This section also provides sample menus to give inspiration to your Holiday planning.

Eat Your Vegetables: (I like how Rick goes into detail here about each vegetable and when it’s in season, what you look for in choosing one at the market, and even how to store it – genius!) One of my favorite recipes from this section is the recipe for “Warm Shaved Asparagus With Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Basil” (page 25). I would have never thought about “shaving” the asparagus into ribbons – I love this idea! How perfect to add to salads, etc. I admit that I skipped the pine nut addition to this recipe – and it still turned out wonderfully!

I also enjoyed “Retro Green Bean Casserole” (page 37) just for the simple fact that he included it here. I love “retro” recipes that remind me of my childhood, of my Grandma and of simpler times.

Speaking of “retro” I also really enjoyed Rick’s “Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole” (page 49). I’ve been making a version of this for years and years – and enjoy it immensely every single time. It reminds me of my Mom’s broccoli and cheese casserole that she still makes to this day… Perhaps that is why the lack of pictures don’t really bother me here with this cookbook – because I have my own “visual memories” when reading along to these recipes…

In this chapter you will also find recipes for Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, French chard, corn, eggplant, kale, wild mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, butternut squash, and on and on and on… It’s easily one of my favorite chapters in this book. And it’s about vegetables – imagine that! Ha! 😉

But I’ll tell you – I WILL “eat my vegetables” if they all taste as good as these recipes make them out to be. Yum!

From The Root Cellar: this section is about – you guessed it…root vegetables. Beets, carrots, celery, leeks, potatoes, etc. fill this chapter with delicious recipes. Some of my favorites!? “Buttermilk Onion Rings” (page 165) and my ALL TIME FAVORITE from this book (for right now – that might change the more recipes I try…) is Rick’s recipe for “Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole” (page 179). What’s not to love about mashed potatoes that you can make ahead and pop into the oven when guests arrive?! And they have cream cheese, butter and sour cream in them! Sounds like one of my recipes – and perfectly wonderful… 😉

I also loved his “Classic Scalloped Potatoes” (page 185) and his simple recipe for “Classic French Fries” (page 205). I’m a huge fan of potatoes (who’s not?) and these recipes make my mouth water.

A Hill of Beans: honestly – I’m not that big of a fan of beans – but I have a feeling this chapter might just change my mind. Example – the “Beer and Maple Beans” (page 228) and “Root Beer Baked Beans” (page 230). I have both marked to try – and may try the “Root Beer Baked Beans” this Holiday season, to add to the table.

Righteous Rice and Great Grains: I love rice and this chapter is filled with amazing recipes such as “Spiced Basmati Rice” (page 252), “Classic Spanish Rice” (page 256) and “Wild Rice with Shallots and Thyme” (page 265). This chapter also contains recipes for polenta and grits – 2 of my favorite foods! I have 2 recipes I’m going to try soon. The first is on page 269 “Cheese and Grits Souffle” (which I’m so excited about!) the other is on page 215, “Lemon Sweet Potatoes with Meringue Topping” – because I mean – how amazing does that sound!?

Anyways, the chapter continues with a recipe for “Crisp Quinoa Cakes” (page 279) that I would really like to try – and think sounds perfect serve along a pork dish of some kind.

The Side Salad Bowl: This chapter contains delicious sounding recipes for cold salads, coleslaw’s, original salads, warm salads and even bean salads! “Blue Ribbon Potato Salad” (page 282), “Loaded Potato Salad with Sour Cream, Bacon and Cheddar” (page 285 – and I will make WITHOUT the bacon…), “Coleslaw with Apples and Poppy Seeds” (page 289), “Bean Salad with Avocado, Grilled Corn, and Red Pepper” (page 299), and recipes for green beans salads, cucumber salads, pasta salads, apple salads and so much more…

The chapter also continues with recipes for salad dressings – which sound amazing. “The Best Ranch Dressing” (page 344) and “Thousand Island Dressing” (page 345) are both marked to try. I may also have to try the “Raspberry, Chipotle, and Poppy Seed Dressing” (page 342), just because I’m wanting to know how the heat plays against the raspberry.

Pasta and Friends: The recipe found on page 349 “Stovetop Macaroni and Pimento Cheese” is worth the price of the book – there I said it! It is AMAZING! I have several other macaroni and cheese recipes in this chapter to try – and they all sound delicious! How about “French Macaroni and Cheese with Leeks” (page 350) or “Baked Ziti with Broccoli and Gorgonzola” (page 351)!? Amazing, right!?

The chapter continues with noodle recipes, orzo recipes and even covers couscous – which I LOVE!

The Bread Basket: I love bread, and this chapter contains amazing recipes for all types of bread! Cornbread, biscuits, yeasted dinner breads, quick breads, muffins and more! I particularly liked the recipes in this chapter for “Stuffings and Dressings” – perfect for Holiday time!

On page 401, it evens gives instructions for how to roast chestnuts – which I’ve always wondered!

Pickles, Relishes, and Sauces: I’m not that big of a fan of pickles, but the chapter part that was focused on relishes and sauces are amazing. Pesto, salsa, ketchup, marmalade, mustard, mayonnaise, gravy, and pan sauces fill this chapter beautifully.

All in all – this book is beautiful and I highly recommend you pick it up – and not just for the Holidays! It WILL BE the perfect book for the Holidays – yes – but you will find yourself using it a LOT more that just around the Holidays. You’ll find yourself picking this book up a LOT for recipes and inspirational ideas.

To learn more about Rick Rodgers and to buy his book please, click here…

http://www.rickrodgers.com/

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. I received this book from “Ballantine Books” for this review. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Chocolate Chip Cookies Tips

Today I’m making chocolate chip cookies – and I just had to share a couple of “tips” for the process…

Blaise the Baker Chocolate Chip Cookies Blog

1. Always mix the chocolate chips with a little flour to avoid them sinking to the bottom of the cookie.

2. Always chill the dough for at least a couple hours (if not overnight).

Makes the difference!

What’s YOUR favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!? Share with me – either here in the comments or email me! (blaisethebaker@gmail.com)

What’s mine!? My own recipe for course! 😉 And if you want my recipe…you’ll have to wait until my cookbook comes out – I’ve made sure to include it!

Blaise

Chew This – Shrimp Scampi and Angel Hair Pasta

HAPPY SUNDAY! Today’s the official publication of my “CHEW THIS” column in “The Courier-Times”! I’m SO excited to be sharing this delicious, quick AND easy MEAL with all of you!

Be sure to pick up a copy TODAY and let me know what you think of my “LESS than 30 minute meal…”

For STEP BY STEP pictures (to show you how quick and easy it really is, visit my Facebook page – http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker)

Chew This Shrimp and Pasta Blaise Doubman

Shrimp Scampi and Angel Hair Pasta

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/article_77f329a8-7b11-11e4-9034-ebd262ce1f0e.html

Also – let me just send out a big SHOUT OUT to everyone for the AMAZING responses I got from my last column about Thanksgiving traditions! I loved hearing and reading about all of your favorite traditions and recipes! Keep that wonderful feedback coming – I thank you for it!

Blaise

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Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

I found a similar recipe to this on a Facebook posting, and had to try it. The ingredients – only 3 – could be found in any cabinet, and the directions couldn’t be any simpler!

I tried it…and loved it! And I think you will to. I DID make some changes to the original recipe, but there are still only 3 ingredients needed.

If you’re not a fan of cherry, use apple, blueberry…any type of pie filling will work! Use your favorite…

Slow Cooker Dessert Blog

Slow Cooker Cherry Cobbler

1 box “classic yellow” cake mix
1 can of pie filling (I used “Comstock” brand)
1 stick of butter, melted

Start by spraying your slow cooker liner with a non-stick cooking spray.

Empty the cake mix into the prepared slow cooker liner and add the can of pie filling and melted butter. Stir everything together until well combined.

Place lid on slow cooker, turn on “high” and bake for 3 hours.

Enjoy!

(This recipe really depends on the SIZE of your slow cooker… I baked mine in a slow cooker with the capacity to hold for eight. If your slow cooker is less than this – adjust the bake time accordingly.)

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Cookbook Corner – The Girl Who Ate Everything

Today’s “Cookbook Corner” goes to…

The Girl Who Are Everything Blog

“The Girl Who Ate Everything” By: Christy Denney

I found out about Christy Denney through her “The Girl Who Ate Everything” Facebook page. (You can follow here – https://www.facebook.com/GirlWhoAteEverything) I immediately fell in love with her delicious photography first, and then her amazing (and easy) recipes after….

After searching her website (http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/) I found out she wrote a cookbook – and couldn’t have been any more excited! I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to dig in! And dig in I did… 😉

I tried several of the recipes (everything turned out beautifully) and highly recommend this book for those who love quick and easy recipes that are full of flavor!

The first recipe that I tried was the “One-Hour Rolls” (page 38) and I’ve been making them ever since! They are so quick and so easy – super delicious! They’ve replaced the old recipe I used to use where it took 5 hours to make homemade rolls. They are not only faster – but better!

One Hour Rolls Blog

Ok – so mine didn’t turn out as beautiful as the ones in the book (please keep the comments KIND) but they were amazing!

One Hour Rolls 2 Blog

BUT you can see by the above picture – they turned out perfect! 😉

The book is divided up six different sections.

Appetizers, Breads / Rolls, Breakfast, Main Dishes, Salads / Sides and Desserts.

The book contains several delicious recipes but some of my favorites (besides the one I mentioned earlier) are “Peanut Butter Cheeseball” (page 24), “Outrageous Banana Bread” (page 44), “Jelly Roll Pancakes” (page 60), “Snickerdoodle Muffins” (page 71), “Nacho Beef Casserole” (page 86), “Pizza Mac” (page 115), “Corn Souffle” (page 154), “Cookie Crusted Chocolate Chip Cake” (page 168), “Sugar Cookie Bars” (page 172), “Chewy Blondies” (page 184) and “Buckeye Dip” (page 190).

Next on my list to try is her “Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake” (page 188) and I can’t wait! My Grandma is also a big fan of this book – and she doesn’t just endorse any book! Ha! 😉

I highly recommend you check out Christy’s website (link above) and if you like some of the recipes you see – BUY THE BOOK! You will be so glad you did…

To buy “The Girl Who Ate Everything”, please click here…
http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/my-cookbook

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Jenny’s Best Cookbooks 2014 List

My friend Jenny has put together a list of “The Best Cookbooks” for 2014. I highly recommend you read through her list to see what titles you may have missed this year – that you MUST add to your collection! ALSO – this list would be a perfect place to start for Holiday Gift Giving for your “foodie” friends!

Click here to see her blog posting and list…

http://madrantingsofamiddleclassmom.blogspot.com/2014/11/best-cookbooks-of-2014-christmas-round.html

Blaise