Cookbook Corner – How to Set A Table

My latest “Cookbook Corner” is not exactly a cookbook as it is a “how to” book that should be in everybody’s kitchens. Read on and let me explain. 

“How to Set A Table”

This fabulous book is small in size but large in information! I have always been fascinated with table settings and I think my curiosity began when I would attend parties when I was younger – probably too young to actually be in attendance – with my family, and or my Grandma, and there would be so many pieces of silverware! I remember looking at everything all displayed so elegantly and wondering why a person would need so many pieces of silverware and trying to mimic the adults and how they were eating and with what.

This book lays everything out in what it takes to set a table. There are detailed instructions, photographs and explanations as to what goes where and why. There are different settings listed, tips on napkin folding, types of glassware, how to mix and match formal, elegant and casual and even a section on coffee tables. This is the perfect book for those who are curious as to how to set a table, would make a perfect wedding present tied in with some table setting pieces or perhaps even just a guide for you to leaf through to gather ideas and inspirations.

To buy “How to Set A Table” click here – 

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

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Apple Dump Cake

Lately I have been obsessed with “dump cakes”. I know, terrible name, but the reason for the name is essentially because you “dump” the ingredients into a dish, pan, etc. I guess it sounds better than a “plop cake” or something like a “throw it in cake”. Aside from the name, I am utterly fascinated by them. I have my favorite recipe for a “dump cake” in my cookbook – it is a cherry and pineapple dump cake that is beyond incredible – but the recipe I am sharing today is incredible in its own way.

I have also been obsessed with “step by step” pictures lately when it comes to recipes – I am blaming Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Mine are not nearly as “professionally done” as her photos but they get the job – and the point across. I have updated a lot of the recipes here on my blog to include my “step by step” photos and here are their links –

https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/04/28/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2016/08/07/chew-this-chocolate-fudge-whoopie-pies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2017/09/29/2-minute-chocolate-fudge/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/06/19/old-fashioned-oatmeal-raisin-cookies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2014/03/13/perfect-hard-boiled-eggs/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/07/13/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2016/09/18/chew-this-homemade-oatmeal-cream-pies/

https://blaisethebaker.com/2015/05/28/kys-chocolate-pixie-cookies/

I will be updating a lot more of them in the future to contain this feature so follow me on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook to get the “updated recipe” alerts.

Oh – and speaking of Facebook, I am currently in “Facebook Jail” for sharing too many recipes! Can you believe that!? Is there such thing as TOO MANY recipes? According to Facebook I guess the answer is yes. What can I do to get out of “Jail”!? Anyone have any recommendations? Email me and in the meantime – try this delicious recipe – and feel free to substitute the apple pie filling for another favorite fruit flavor.

Apple Dump Cake

TAKE IT STEP BY STEP…











Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://pin.it/eu3zens

Cookbook Corner – The Pioneer Woman Cooks “COME AND GET IT!” 

My newest “Cookbook Corner” addition…


“The Pioneer Woman Cooks – COME AND GET IT!” By: Ree Drummond / The Pioneer Woman

I love Ree Drummond – AKA The Pioneer Woman. I stumbled upon her blog after reading a segment about her on Bakerella’s blog and was instantly hooked. I emailed everyone I knew and sent them the link. Fast forward to now, and my friends love Ree, my family and especially my Grandma Barbra. She is Kennard’s number one fan. I have even gotten to the point where – just for fun – I call Ree my “Aunt”! I will be talking to someone and they are like, “Do you watch The Pioneer Woman on Food Network?” or something like that, and I will say, “Ummm, yes! She is my Aunt! Tell me you knew that, right?” It is fun watching their eyes bug out or their mouths drop. I always – always – follow up with telling them the truth – sometimes. Ha! 

Anyways, the reason for this blog post – my “Cookbook Corner”! I am inducting “COME AND GET IT!” into my blog archives because I LOVE IT! I really think this is Ree’s best work. Lots of surprising recipes, lots of familiar favorites that are elevated in someway and lots of recipes that you will want to try as soon as you possibly can! 

The book is beautifully put together – as all of her cookbooks are – and include the familiar “step by step” process that she is known for. CONFESSION: I am trying to do more “step by step” photos myself – because who wants to stop and pause a recipe video? – and they are a lot harder than a person might think! Back to the review – this cookbook is true to the title on the front cover – “Simple, Scrumptious Recipes For Crazy Busy Lives”! Who is not insanely busy anymore? 

The book is divided into the following sections – Breakfast, Lunches on the Go, Apps and Snacks, Under 40, Under 20!, Take Your Time, Sheet Pan Suppers, Meatless Marvels, Sensational Sides, Bread, Baby! AND Sweets, Glorious Sweets! 

See! Something for everyone! AND Ree shares, in the first pages of the book, her favorite 20 pantry items, 12 favorite freezer staples, 15 favorite fridge staples AND her 10 – well 12 – favorite cuts of beef. 

I WOULD list all of my favorite recipes BUT – the book has not been released yet – it is not due out until tomorrow – and besides, there are WAY TOO MANY to list. I may just start and work through the entire book. My Grandma Barbra likes doing that too. 

How did I get an advanced copy? My Aunt Ree sent me a personalized copy! Ha! Kidding. Just so happens a local Wal-Mart put it out early and I snagged a copy. 

So far I have made her “Lemon Bars” (page 358) and they are fabulous! A slightly thicker shortbread base – tangy lemon filling – TONS of powdered sugar – wonderful! 

Here is a picture of my finished lemon bars –


She instructs in the recipe to dust the top with “as much powdered sugar as humanly possible” and I could not agree more. 

I tweeted to her about my lemon bars – and guess what? She responded with a “looks great!” tweet. I hardly got a look at my phone notification before I fell out of my chair! Ha! Here are the receipts – 




HOW FABULOUS is that!? Anyways – all of my friends and family LOVED the lemon bars. Will be making these at least once a week. No seriously. I love lemon! 

I have so many more recipes marked to try that I can not wait to dive into! 

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND BUY THIS BOOK! From Amazon – your local bookstore – Wal-Mart (the edition I got comes with 5 exclusive recipes) or her website – http://thepioneerwoman.com

So happy to add this cookbook to my collection! 

So proud of my Aunt Ree!

Ha! 

Blaise 

Cookbook Corner – Desserts LaBelle

I am LOVING this fabulous dessert cookbook from the one and only Patti LaBelle and I think you will too! Check out my review below AND check out the recipe for one of my personal favorites from the book, Patti’s “Sprinkledoodles”! 


“Desserts LaBelle” By: Patti LaBelle

This is easily one of my favorite dessert cookbooks of 2017! I know you may be thinking – “Patti LaBelle? The woman who served as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association? You mean, Patti the diabetic?” (Part from the introduction) Yes! Also add multi-talented superstar and story teller extraordinaire to your list and yes – you have Patti LaBelle! She is such a talented woman and her talents go above and beyond her vocal range in this standout dessert cookbook!

There are so many fabulous recipes included in this book including “THE Sweet Potato Pie”! You know what I am talking about, right? YouTube or Google, “Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie” – watch, read, learn and thank me later!

Just to name a few recipes throughout there includes – “Jammin’ Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing” (page 17), “Jackie’s Redemptive Red Velvet Marble Cake” (page 29), “Lemon Meringue Cake” (page 43), “Blackberry Corn Muffins” (page 73), “Berry Mini-Cheesecake Cups” (page 99), “The Very Best Lemon Bars” (page 101), “Caramel and Pecan Turtle Brownies” (page 106), “Sprinkledoodles” (page 113), “Cherry Crumble Pie” (page 119), “Patti’s Perfect Pineapple Pudding Pie” (page 129), “THE Sweet Potato Pie” (page 132 and like I mentioned earlier – Google the story!), “Pear and Cranberry Crisp with Oat-Walnut Topping” (page 150), “Lemon Mousse with Blackberries” (page 176), “Mile-High Biscuits” (page 203), and “Fresh Strawberry Pie” (page 223).

Now remember, this is only a select few of the fabulous recipes offered!

To buy your copy and learn more, click this link – https://www.amazon.com/Desserts-LaBelle-Soulful-Sweets-About/dp/1455543403

BUT before you go – you MUST check out one of my personal favorite recipes from the book, “Sprinkledoodles”! They are FUN – foolproof – fabulous – and festive! Not to mention delicious and versitle. Everytime I make these – people go crazy! 


Sprinkledoodles


Snickerdoodles are very easy cookies—make balls of dough, roll in sugar, and bake.They are usually flavored with cinnamon, but I love my spices, so I also add some nutmeg and cloves. The only problem with them is that they look a little plain. So to jazz them up, I roll them in colored sprinkles. Hence, sprinkledoodles. It’s a simple trick, and you can change the colors for various holidays—red and green for Christmas is a no-brainer.


Makes about 3 1⁄2 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar (see Patti’s Pointers)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 2/3 cup multicolored sprinkles (jimmies), for decorating

1. Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves together. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer set on high speed. One at a time, beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.

2. Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Have two large ungreased rimmed baking sheets ready.

3. Using a tablespoon for each cookie (a 1-tablespoon portion scoop works best), shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and freeze until chilled, 10 to 15 minutes. (This trick keeps the cookies from spreading too much during baking.)

4. One at a time, press one side of a dough ball into the sprinkles, being sure they adhere. Reshape the dough into a ball. Place, sprinkle-side up, on a baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart on the two sheets. Bake, switching the position of the baking sheets from top to bottom and rotating front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are barely browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire cake racks and cool completely.


Patti’s Pointers:
This is an old cookie recipe, and before folks could buy baking powder easily in stores, they used a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda as leavening. If you don’t have cream of tartar (and not everyone has it in their pantry), substitute 1 tablespoon baking powder for the cream of tartar and baking soda mixture.

Recipe excerpted from the DESSERTS LABELLE by Patti LaBelle. Copyright © 2017 by Pattonium Inc. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. Shoutout and special thanks to Grand Central Life & Style for the opportunity to review this fabulous book! For any questions, please email me. 

Chew This! Margaret’s Peanut Butter-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I will be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com

My newest column features “Margaret’s Peanut Butter-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies” and I highly recommend you try these! Imagine the most perfect peanut butter cookie – with actual peanut butter filling packed inside! Can you say AMAZING!? I have dedicated this recipe to a dear, sweet, lovable family friend of ours – Margaret Fowler. Her and her family have touched my family and my life in ways we never thought possible. I write all about our special connection in my column this week! Margaret will be so excited to see her picture in the paper! She’s a special lady. 

Also my “Ask and Answer” feature contains tips and tricks when making my “saltine cracker candy” that appears in my cookbook. 

Pick up a copy of “The Courier-Times” TODAY and let me know what you think!


Margaret’s Peanut Butter-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_2b86fff0-4567-51e3-9596-efd5860bd309.html

Enjoy! 


PIN IT: http://pin.it/s8DUVa0 

Cookbook Corner – The Grand Central Market Cookbook

I am going to try and shift around some of my online schedule and online posts to make room for more cookbook reviews in my “Cookbook Corner”. I love cookbooks and love sharing some of my favorite ones with all of you and love even more sharing some of what is inside each one. I have been posting my cookbook reviews in my “Cookbook Corner” for a few years now. Click on the “Cookbook Corner” tab here on my blog / website to be directed to all that I have posted. You can also Google “Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corner” and they will come up that way also.


“The Grand Central Market Cookbook” By: Adele Yellin and Kevin West

What first attracted me to this cookbook was – I am not going to lie – the cover! It is done in a beautiful old world design and color scheme that really wants you to pick up the book. The inside photos and layouts are just as gorgeous. I was really impressed by this cookbook for several reasons, most of all being the local, yet unfamiliar, tasty yet complex and seasonal recipes that are scattered throughout the book. 

First though you have to know a little about “Grand Central Market”. It is located in Los Angeles and has been since 1917. There are 34 “stalls” – booths, sale markets – that make up the totality of the market. It is like a melting pot, or a “culinary quilt” as it reads in the book, of all of the lifestyles, food manners and recipes of the area – and then some. This book visits the “stalls”, collects each of their favorite stories and recipes and shares them in the book with all of you! The stories and history behind each vendor is really magical to behold. 

The book is made up into the following categories – Breakfast / Tacos, etc. / Carbs / Happy Hour / Meat and Fish / Veg / Sweets. Before the recipes though – starting on page 19 – is a history of the “Grand Central Market” that I really recommend reading. 

Let me give you a preview of some of my favorite recipes from each chapter – 

Breakfast – “Eggs Baked in Mole” (page 45), “Meyer Lemon Bostock” (page 47), “Chicken Chop Suey” (page 58) and “Yeasted Waffles” (page 63 and quite possibly the best waffles you will ever put in your mouth!)

Tacos, etc. – “Pork in Chile Verde” (page 92), “Chicken Flautas” (page 98), “Seasoned Pork” (page 104), “Vegan Crunchy Avocado Tacos with Corn Salsa and Chipotle Mayo” (page 106) and “Spinach and Cheese Pupusas with Curtido” (page 108). 

Carbs – “Vegetable Chow Mein” (page 119), “Cold Smoky Ramen” (page 125), “Spaghetti with Sunday Gravy” (page 128), “Sticky Rice” (page 130), “Red Pepper Rice” (page 131) and “Seafood Fried Rice” (page 132). 

Happy Hour – “Deli Dills” (page 148), “Cheese Platter” (page 152), “Oysters on a Cloud” (page 156), “Watermelon Slushy” (page 162) and “Smoked Beet-Sumac Soda” (page 169). 

Meat and Fish – “Poke” (page 176), “Grilled Pork tossed with Celery Leaves (page 182), “Thai BBQ Chicken” (page 183), “Curried Shrimp” (page 188), “Velvet Steak with Chimichurri” (page 194) and “Pork Belly with Apple Fennel Slaw” (page 196). 

Veg – “Pressed Cucumber Salad” (page 204), “Drought Salad” (page 208), “Sauerkraut Salad” (page 212), “Pinto Beans” (page 219), and “Summer Vegetable Stew” (page 220). 

Sweets – “Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 226 and my favorites!), “Salted Caramel Bread Pudding” (page 228), “Cinnamon Ice Cream” (page 232), “Apple Focaccia” (page 238) and “Old Joe Cake” (page 244). 

I mean, how fabulous do all of those sound? I highly recommend this cookbook for those who love great recipes, memorable photographs and beautiful life travel. Pick this up and expand your cooking – and travel – horizons. A great Holiday gift!

For more information on “Grand Central Market” click here – 

http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/

For more information on “The Grand Central Market Cookbook” click here – 

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

Coney Sauce for Hotdogs 

Growing up I was never really the biggest fan of coney dogs, much because I never cared for chili or hotdogs growing up. Over the years though my tastes have complexed and I have grown to love them both. I blame my Grandma Barbra who always has stated that she could “eat her weight” in coney dogs – so I guess my tastes buds had it coming. This is the perfect recipe to make ahead and keep warm in your slow cooker. Top the hotdogs with anything and everything you desire! Including but not limited to, onions, shredded cheese, mustard, jalapeños or crushed Doritos.


Coney Sauce for Hotdogs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 cup water

In a large skillet over medium high heat combine the ground beef and chopped onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked. 

Drain the mixture. Return to the same skillet over medium high heat. 

Add in the white granulated sugar, ketchup, chili powder, light brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir together. 

Add in the water and stir until incorporated. 

As soon as the mixture comes up to a boil, turn the heat down to low medium and cook, stirring occasionally, 60 minutes. 

Taste for seasonings. Serve hot. 

Enjoy! 

PIN IT: http://pin.it/vJX8rUR

Trisha Yearwood!!!

So yesterday my parents and I attended a Trisha Yearwood book signing / meet and greet at the Williams-Sonoma in the Keystone Mall in Indianapolis. We were not sure what to expect but I think we were all shocked when THIS moment happened! I am still SO EXCITED about it! Wow…

SOMEONE PINCH ME!!! No – this is not photoshopped! Ha! Mom gave Trisha Yearwood a copy of my cookbook and she LOVED IT! She turned to me and asked ME for my autograph! Told her I had already autographed it! She said “Good!” Ha! She was flipping over it and talking about how she really appreciated it – said she would read it “like a novel” and said she loved cookbooks! She said she would read it on her tour bus! Someone PINCH ME!!! We chatted for a bit about our mutual cookbook love and then she thanked me again and gave me another hug! She was the sweetest and so friendly! LOVE HER!!!

Blaise

Soft Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips 

I could hardly concentrate on taking a photograph for these cookies because I wanted to dive into them so bad! It took me a few tries to develop this recipe and it was actually almost a recipe for a “bar cookie”. However, the finished recipe of this cookie was very much worth the extra time and effort. These chocolate cookies are soft and the rich and pair perfectly with the peanut butter chips. Print this – bookmark it – PIN IT – save it – whatever – just make these! This recipe was inspired by a recipe that was printed on the outside of a bag of peanut butter chips that I found going over some old recipe files. 

Soft Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

2 1/2 sticks (10 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups peanut butter chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream together the soft unsalted butter and white granulated sugar.

Beat in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract.

Stir in the baking soda, salt and instant coffee granules.

Gently stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder followed by gently folding in the white all-purpose flour.

Finally, fold in the peanut butter chips.

Place teaspoon size amounts of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool on their baking sheets.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570901690256145178/

Recipe Tasters 

People often ask – “when you recipe test WHO eats all of that!? YOU!?” Well that answer depends. Sometimes yes – me – everything LOL BUT when I feel like sharing – AND when I need other people’s opinions – my local and loyal taste testers – I make up and pass out plates such as the one here. Today’s “recipe tasting” sample plate is chocolate chip cookies that are slim, soft and chewy and chocolate brownies with a thick chocolate fudge frosting. I think the perfect brownie has double the frosting as the thickness of the brownie and who doesn’t love all chocolate chip cookies!? Anyways – this plate is headed to my Grandma Barbra and my Grandpa Jr.

Blaise