Guest Blogger – Donna Cronk – White Cloud World Teas

I am so excited to announce that “Blaise the Baker” has joined “White Cloud World Teas” to bring you some of the most fabulous teas – and new and delicious recipes – that I know you will go crazy for! Check out http://whitecloudworldteas.com for more information, ordering information and more – and follow us along on social media for new and exciting things coming soon!

First up!? My very dear friend, Donna Cronk, as a special GUEST BLOGGER for Blaise the Baker, discussing her reactions to the fabulous tea presented by White Cloud World Teas! Shoutout and special thanks to Donna Cronk for being a part of this journey as well as providing excellent feedback and gorgeous photographs!

Take it away Donna…

“Flavorful scented sips on an early spring evening” By: Donna Cronk

If there is the slightest nip in the air, no matter the month of the year, you can expect to find me sipping a cup of hot tea on any given evening in my home. Or, when visiting someone else’s home overnight or even when staying in a motel. It’s a favorite ritual.

So when I got home from work one Tuesday recently, and I discovered that Blaise had sent me not one but two delicious teas to try from White Cloud World Teas, the timing was perfect; the agenda set.

It was a damp-and-chilly early April day here in Indiana so following supper, I headed to the bathtub for my other favorite evening ritual – a hot bath.

As soon as I warmed up in the soapy soak, I put on my most cozy animal-print jammies and headed for the kitchen. First up was the intoxicatingly scented Lavender Vanilla Earl Grey. This stuff smells so great that it would make a fine potpourri if it weren’t meant for sipping.

Oh, but a cuppa tea was in the plan. Nothing quite relaxes me or finishes my day like a delicious tea. For Christmas, my husband Brian bought me an electric kettle. It quickly boils my water and then into a ceramic teapot it went, along with a teabag filled with the aromatic blend.

I could hardly wait the couple of minutes required for a good steep to try the finished brew. The scent was lovely and the color a golden brown. The steaming cup of tea hit the spot! The flavor was subtle. Better have a second cup. I liked it even better after a few more minutes of steeping as I prefer a stout tea.

Like a kid on Christmas, I couldn’t wait to try my second offering of the evening. But I wasn’t about to waste the rest of my pot of tea. So I poured it off into a glass, covered it with plastic and tomorrow I’ll make an iced version of the brew.

Then I went through the quick and easy process of brewing a pot of my second featured flavor – Lavender Berry. This one had a fruity scent that reminded me of summer. The flavor echoed that thought as I sipped and let my mind wander to the spring and summer nights to come, and in particular, the ones where I’ll warm up from my husband’s over-zealous cooling of the house with an evening brew. This would be delicious iced as well!

I’ll be checking out http://www.whitecloudworldteas.com and seeing what other flavors and goodies are available. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the last sip from this evening’s samples of fine teas. Thanks for the taste, Blaise and White Cloud World Teas!

Donna Cronk is a community journalist and author of two inspirational novels. She and her husband are empty nesters who live in Indiana. Check her out on http://donnacronk.com

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White Cloud World Teas

THE SECRET IS OUT!!! I am so excited to announce that Blaise the Baker has joined White Cloud World Teas to bring you some of the most fabulous teas – and new and delicious recipes – that I know you’ll go crazy for! Check out http://whitecloudworldteas.com for more information, ordering information and more – and follow us along on social media for new and exciting things coming soon!

(photos provided by White Cloud World Teas)

Blaise

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! I am SO EXCITED to finally be able to announce that for the past 18 months I have been working on my SECOND COOKBOOK!!! There are SO many more recipes and stories that I CAN NOT WAIT to share with all of you! I am talking with a publisher now and my cookbook will be released later this year! I AM BURSTING with excitement and have SO MANY new and fun ideas planned for this one but will keep the surprises secret – for now! Stay tuned HERE and to http://facebook.com/blaisethebaker for updates! I am so thankful for this opportunity and I am so thankful for all of YOU who have made this journey possible! ROUND TWO – here we goooooooo!!! AND yes – you will still be able to buy my first cookbook for those wondering – which is officially in a NEW PRINTING SEASON!!! So thankful and grateful. Love you all!

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – At My Table

I am thrilled to announce my newest “Cookbook Corner”…

Cover

“At My Table” By: Nigella Lawson

I LOVE anything Nigella Lawson and this book is no exception! It does not release in the United States until April but I go an advanced copy from “Flatiron Books” I could not be anymore excited or appreciative! Shoutout and special thanks to them for making one of my advanced copy dreams come true! I highly recommend you preorder this cookbook!

This cookbook is charmingly written and photographed, as with all of her fabulous previous other cookbooks, and is quickly becoming one of my Nigella favorites! I love Nigella’s way of writing, her use of words that evoke thoughts and food feelings like nobody else and like nobody else ever will. Even if you are not a cook, or a baker, buy this book and read it cover to cover like a novel. You will be glad that you did!

I was so excited to hear, when Nigella first announced this latest book, that she was going to focus on “a celebration of home cooking”! I too am a food writer and recipe developer – as well as a home cook! I have no interest in becoming a chef, or knowing the proper ways to hold a knife or lemon juicer. I do not have anything against chefs, professionals, but that field and way of thinking is just not for me. Props to those who do and props go out for those who know what they love to do and do it well!

Just some of the fabulous recipes that line this book are…

Egg Tortilla Pie, Golden Egg Curry, Chili Cheese Garlic Bread, Parmesan French Toast, Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes, Meatballs with Orzo, Carrots with Fennel with Harissa, Potato Waffles, Smashed Chickpeas with Garlic Lemon and Chili, Sweet Potato Tacos, Chopped Salad, Red-Hot Roasted Salsa, Salt and Vinegar Potatoes, Coconut Shrimp, Lime and Cilantro Chicken, Roast Duck, Cumberland Gravy, Lamb Shanks, Apple Pork Chops, Roast Top Round with Caramelized Onions, Chocolate Olive Oil Mousse, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Butterscotch Pots, Passionfruit Ice-Cream Cake, Cumin Seed Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee Buttercream, Vanilla Layer Cake with Ermine Icing, Scented Citrus Cake, Coconut Snowball Cake, Forgotten Cookies, Dirty Lemon Martini and Grapefruit Margarita. Plus so many more fabulous recipes!

Here are some of my favorites and some of the ones I tried…

Toast

Catalan Toasts (page 37) I LOVED this quick and simple snack of toasted bread, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and sea salt. I think it would also be good with some type of Italian ham, which I will try sooner rather than later. This recipe brought back memories of making something similar in my French class; where you rub tomatoes and garlic on toast. It is delicious and the perfect snack or appetizer. The crunch of the bread with the flavors of the tomato and garlic and paired perfectly with the sprinkle of salt.

Eggs

Deviled Eggs (page 24) I think this may be my favorite ways of making deviled eggs – and I have had my fair share of them believe me! The olive oil really makes all the difference and yes, mine are not the prettiest! I did not have the time, or the patience, for a piping bag that was suggested so I simply skipped that step. Let me tell you though, nobody seemed to mind as these were gobbled up fast! I did not have any chives on hand to sprinkle on top either so I placed a little black pepper on top. Delicious! I really like how Nigella walks you through the steps of boiling eggs too – something that I know from experience not a lot of people know how to do! Her technique works perfectly.

Cake

Warm Blondie Pudding Cake (page 214) I loved this cake and so did my taste testers! The almond flour that Nigella uses is really something that I may experiment with again in the near future. There is a certain taste, a texture, that is welcome here. This cake is delicious served with cold vanilla bean ice cream. Nigella recommends serving with cream and fresh raspberries, which would be equally as delicious as the ice cream! The taste of this cake evokes vanilla and white chocolate tastes and is fabulous!

Brownies

Emergency Brownies (page 233) My favorite recipe in the book! This recipe basically makes 4 (or 2) large brownies! I went out and bought a ton of 7x4x2-inch aluminum foil baking pans because I had a feeling I would be making this recipe a LOT and guess what? I have! It is so quick and easy to throw together and makes one of the best chocolate brownies I think I have ever had! The first few batches I left out the walnuts but lately I have been adding the recommended 1/2 cup and let me say – fabulously delicious! In the cookbook, Nigella also recommends to throw on some ice cream – just right on top – eat out of the container – and guess what? Done! Delicious and perfect for late night cravings. Also perfect for those times when you want to indulge, but carefully.

Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cheesecake (page 206) This recipe is a keeper! This cheesecake was very easy to put together and had wonderful flavor! I love white chocolate and I love gingersnaps and the combination of the white chocolate filling and the gingersnap crust was really a flavor to be remembered! This is the perfect recipe to make ahead, chill in the refrigerator and bring out and serve to your entertaining guests.

I am highly recommending this cookbook for those who love Nigella Lawson of course, but to those who are proud “home cooks” and for those who love and appreciate good food, good flavors and simple recipes. This is one of my favorite cookbooks!

To preorder “At My Table”, click here – https://www.nigella.com/books/at-my-table

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 Flatiron Books and Nigella Lawson for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

FOUR YEARS

FOUR YEARS TODAY I officially launched my website “Blaise the Baker”! Thousands and thousands of followers, hundreds of recipes, so many extraordinary opportunities, my “Chew This!” column, my cookbook “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” and all of your amazing feedback and dedication has made this one awesome journey!!! Through everything – new things, changes, difficult decisions, surveys, taste and recipe testers, and on and on – your dedication and unwavering support and feedback has meant everything to me! Thank you to my friends, my fans, my readers, my followers, my subscribers and my family. Thank you for everything. I am SO EXCITED for so many projects I have open and going at the moment – most I can’t really talk about yet – I think the best is still yet to come and without you – none of this would have been possible.

THANK YOU for everything – I truly love you all!

Blaise

My Cookbook – Refresher

COOKBOOK REMINDER: My cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First” is still available to purchase in a variety of ways! I’ve been getting lots of questions / emails about this so I’ll post a refresher –

You can also order my cookbook directly through me by sending $15 total ($12 for the cookbook / $3 shipping and handling) to Blaise Doubman / Box 47 / Kennard, IN 47351. You can also pay online through http://paypal.com Use the email blaisejdx@gmail.com when sending money. You can also send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a copy along with an invoice that would need to be paid 30 days after receiving your order. If ordering 4 or more cookbooks – shipping and handling is FREE!

My cookbook is available for purchase in a retail setting in the following shops –

“The Book Nook” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 1325 G. Ave. Call ahead for hours – 765-521-2188

“Carousel Flowers and Gifts” in Shirley, Indiana. Located at 205 Main Street. Call ahead for hours – 765-738-1500

“Glen Oaks Health Campus” in New Castle, Indiana. Located at 601 W. CR 200 S. Visit Room 112 and buy your copy from my Grandma Deloris. She loves seeing everyone and selling them for me. She’s a good business woman! Ha! Stop in and chat awhile and taste test some of my fresh goodies while you’re there.

“Warm Glow Candle Outlet” in Centerville, Indiana. Located at 2131 North Centerville Road. Regular hours are daily 9am-7pm. Come and find me in their “Artisans and Java” storefront area.

“Temptations” in New Castle, Indiana. Temptations is located at 535 N Memorial Drive and open Monday through Friday 11-2.

All copies available to purchase outside of my personal address are already pre-autographed with my signature as well as Grandma Barbra’s and Grandma Deloris’. Copies can be personalized by request.

Message me, text me, call me, email me for any further questions. Thank you all again for the dedication and support!

Blaise

What kind of recipes are inside my cookbook?

Take a look below –

Kourtney’s Sheet Pan Suppers

A friend of mine, Kourtney, shared on her Facebook page some simple and delicious looking “Sheet Pan Suppers” awhile back and I told myself I was going to share them with everyone as soon as I got the chance to try a few of them myself! Let me tell you, these are fabulous! You can literally take any raw protein you want, Kourtney goes back and forth usually between pork and chicken, and any raw vegetable and make a complete one baking sheet meal that is not only healthy and nutritious but delicious as well! The possibilities with this meal are endless! Shake on any seasoning or flavor combination you want!

Kourtney’s Sheet Pan Suppers

Take a 9×13-inch baking sheet and wrap up well with aluminum foil. Spray gently with a non-stick cooking spray. Place your prepared raw protein into the middle and fill both sides with the prepared raw vegetables of your choice. Melt butter and garlic and pour over evenly. Simply top with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning blend. Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated 425 degree oven for one hour.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: https://pin.it/r6hb5yaex6dgoc

Pasta Fagioli

We are entering cold weather season here in Indiana and nothing to me says “welcome cold weather” like a big bowl of warm and comforting soup! Pasta Fagioli – which basically means “pasta and beans” – is quickly becoming one of my favorite soups! It is hearty, warm, cooks up in no time and is only 4 ingredients! FOUR! Can you believe that? Print this out, save it, bookmark it, whatever you want to do – just keep this recipe and make it this weekend!

Pasta Fagioli

1 jar “Ragu Chunky” pasta sauce with tomato, basil and garlic
2 cans (19 oz each) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed but not drained
16 oz ditalini pasta, cooked and drained
4 cups reserved pasta water
4 cups water

To prepare the spinach: microwave the frozen spinach in a microwave safe container for four minutes. Using a fork, cut up and separate. Do not drain the spinach.

To prepare the pasta: cook in a large amount of salted boiling water with a splash of olive oil added. Cook according to package directions.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, combine the pasta sauce, prepared kidney beans, prepared chopped spinach, pasta and reserved pasta water. Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.

Add in four cups of water and simmer, stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Enjoy!

PIN IT: http://pin.it/ae9jOnv

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 

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