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 

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Cookbook Corner – Cake, I Love You

My current favorite cake cookbook!?

“Cake, I Love You” By: Jill O’Connor

I love cookbooks and I especially love cookbooks based on desserts and if that dessert happens to be CAKE – I am all in! I will flag up now though and say that I know the talented author of this beautifully genius cookbook, Jill O’ Connor but my friendship does not in any way sway me one way or another. I am here to give open and honest feedback and that is what I will do. BUY THIS BOOK! Ha! Seriously, do yourself a favor and buy it! Filled with wonderful recipes, mouthwatering photos, beautiful stories and descriptions – what more could you possibly want?

The cookbook is divided into the following categories – Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Caramel and Butterscotch, Citrus, Spirits and Spices, Garden and Orchard.

There is also sections on Baker’s Gear, Baker’s Pantry and Building A Better Cake – which all helped me tremendously when fully wanting to understand the operation known as: baking a perfect cake. I highly recommend reading these sections before you try any of the genius recipes included.

Just SOME of my favorite recipes include –

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Melted Chocolate Bar Frosting” (page 74). Which I made first and everybody LOVED! Here is a picture –

Banana-Brownie Swirl Cake” (page 28)

Salted Butter Pecan Cake” (page 94)

Sticky Toffee Pudding” (page 98)

Luscious Lemon Loaf” (page 111)

Sweet Potato-Praline Spice Cake with Marshmallow Meringue” (page 145)

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cake” (page 169)

In case you are wondering there ARE recipes for coconut cakes but I am not a coconut fan. So – there is that! Ha!

I would recommend reading the first sections of the book, then diving in and making your favorite flavor of cake. Everyone went WILD for her mayonnaise cake and honestly her recipe for “melted chocolate bar frosting” was my FAVORITE frosting of all of 2017. There I said it! It was amazing and I have actually had it on other things other than just this cake! Cupcakes – cookies – brownies – spoons! Ha! And yes – it tastes just like a melted chocolate bar! This recipe alone is easily worth the price of the book. Genius recipe – genius!

I would love to get together with Jill and have a “taste off” of mayonnaise cakes! Maybe one day. I am actually getting ready to finalize a new chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe that I hope to include in an upcoming “Chew This!” column. I will not let anything slip right now, but how does coffee sound with the cake? Ok, no more hints and back to the review.

I love this book and highly recommend it to dessert lovers and cake lovers alike.

To buy “Cake, I Love You” click here – https://www.amazon.com/Cake-Love-You-Decadent-Delectable/dp/1452153809

Shoutout and special thanks to Chronicle Books for the opportunity to review this 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

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. 

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 

Cookbook Corner – Butter and Chocolate

As many of you already know, I also review some of my most favorite, fabulous cookbooks, right here on my blog – or my website as I have been calling it lately. I do not review a cookbook unless it is one that I personally love myself! My tastes may be different than your tastes, that is great! And then again, maybe we enjoy some of the same books? I read and go over hundreds of cookbooks a year, but I only give the ones I REALLY LOVE the honor of making it into my “Cookbook Corner”. Browse around my website, search “Cookbook Corner” in my search engine, or Google “Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corners” for a full list of all of the wonderful books that I have in my collection.

The latest cookbook I am obsessed with is…

butter-and-chocolate

“Butter and Chocolate” By: Sheila G. Mains

Let me start off by saying that this book is FABULOUS! Well, of course it is, or I would not have been giving it center spot in my “Cookbook Corner” feature. I may even go as far as saying it is in my TOP 5 FAVORITE COOKBOOKS OF ALL YEAR – 2016! Yes, I am serious! I love the recipes in this book, I love the format, the photography, the stories, everything! Sheila is a GENIUS and I love her for coming up with such user friendly recipes using butter and chocolate – my two favorite food groups I feel the need to mention.

If you have heard of Sheila before it is perhaps because of this…

brownie-brittle

She is the creator of “Brownie Brittle”! I had not tried this treat until recently and let me tell you – O.M.G.! IT IS DELICIOUS! I am highly recommending everyone reading this post go out and buy a bag (I found mine at my local “Cracker Barrel” store) and TRY IT! Yes, I am going crazy and using all CAPS because IT IS THAT GOOD! Can I tell you a secret? I am buying a bag of this for everyone I know for the Holidays to include in their “Foodie Gift Baskets”. If you have never had it before it is a thin, crisp, flavorful chocolate brownie. Comes in a lot of flavors – the chocolate chip is my favorite. IF you can not find it in your local area, order it here – http://browniebrittle.com/

Anyways, she is the creator of this fabulous treat…so if you have heard her name from somewhere, chances are – it is from this!

Her cookbook is chopped FULL of recipes ranging from BROWNIES (my favorite section) to cheesecakes, candies, donut holes, bread pudding, bars, cookies, cake pops, parfaits and just about everything else you can think of. And – the best part? All of the treats inside use BROWNIE BATTER! Yes, and some even call for her “Brownie Brittle”.

Some of my favorite recipes are…

cookie-dough-brownies

“Cookie Dough Brownies” (page 26) and also featured on the cover. They are a delicious brownie, topped with cookie dough (egg free) and a frosting made from chocolate chips. I served these with family and friends (and some taste testers) and they were blown away! I can not tell you how many times I have made these since I have gotten this cookbook! This recipe will be in my rotation from now on, very delicious and I highly recommend!

Another recipe I am enjoying is…

salted-caramel-brownies

“Salted Caramel Brownies” (page 33). If you love salted caramel (like I do) you will love these! My friends and family went wild for these too! Great flavor and the salt really sets them apart from the other brownies that you may find in the stores.

Some other recipes I have been enjoying are…

“Signature Brownies” (page 19) – This recipe is the base recipe for the other recipes in the book. Some call for this recipe in a smaller size pan, and some in a larger. Sheila will go over which recipe to use, in each recipe these brownies are called for. They are delicious because they combine semi-sweet chocolate chips with unsweetened cocoa powder.

“Red Velvet Brownies” (page 30) – I LOVE anything red velvet – these are no exception.

“Peanut Butter Cup Brownies” (page 34) – If you love the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter you must try these! And of course, use real peanut butter for them!

“White Chocolate Cinnamon Blondies” (page 40) – These are delicious! I love the flavor combination of white chocolate and cinnamon and I can not wait to serve these this Thanksgiving! I think they will be something new and fun added to the table.

“Brownie Filled Donut Holes” (page 51) – The name says it all!

“Brownie Banana Bread” (page 58) – This chocolate banana bread is quickly becoming one of my favorite recipes! I love banana bread and this recipe is really over the top!

“White Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake Bars” (page 74) – I love the incredible combination of white chocolate and raspberry! Think of that combination and add the flavors and textures of a cheesecake – fabulous!

“Brownie Whoopie Pies” (page 87) – A new take on the traditional.

“Pumpkin Pie with Brownie Brittle Crust” (page 102) – I may never make a traditional chocolate crust again! I love her version using her incredible “Brownie Brittle”!

“Cannoli Brownie Bites” (page 135) – A cannoli and a brownie = incredible!

“Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches” (page 150) – Perfect for the summer!

“Lava Cakes” (page 169) – You must try these! Foolproof and decadent…

AND guess what!? I get to SHARE WITH YOU ALL one of my favorite recipes from the book! “Brownie Bread Pudding” (page 62) IS A MUST TRY!

And yes – their photos are so much better than mine! I do not pretend to be a professional food photographer, and until I have a friend who can send me free props, give me lessons, lend me a camera, lighting and professional style tips – you are stuck with MY photos! Ha! Seriously though – if you can help me out with my photos – blaisethebaker@gmail.com Until then, I guess I will have to settle with “food writer, recipe developer, columnist and cookbook author” – I like the sound of that, what about you!?

brownie_bread_pudding-image

Brownie Bread Pudding

Several years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house for brunch. When I asked what I could bring, she replied without even taking a breath, “Why dessert, of course. That’s your specialty!” Wow! No pressure, right? Now, I had to come up with something different, something spectacular. Hmmm, I thought. Bread pudding is pretty popular. I bet if I “brownied” it up a bit, it would pass muster. Well, my bread pudding never even made it to the dessert table. It was served along with the main course, and there wasn’t a crumb left when it was time for coffee and sweets. I took my empty bowl home—with my brownie queen reputation still intact.

YIELD 6 servings
PREP 30 to 35 minutes
BAKE 45 to 50 minutes

Unsalted butter for greasing pan
Brownie Filling recipe (page 43)
12 slices brioche bread or challah, at least 1 day old
PUDDING MIXTURE…
2 cups light cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 °— 8-inch baking dish with unsalted butter.

Prepare the brownie filling according to directions. Spread it on 6 slices of the bread, then top each one with another slice of bread to form 6 sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 6 to 8 pieces and pile the sandwich pieces into the greased baking dish.

Prepare the pudding mixture: Combine the cream, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat until warm. Whisk together the sugar and eggs. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture gradually, stirring constantly to make sure the eggs do not cook.

Pour the pudding mixture over the bread pieces and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil after about 20 minutes and check every few minutes until golden brown on top. Allow the pudding to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

Taken, with permission, from Sheila G’s Butter and Chocolate by Sheila G. Maines. Published by Kyle Books, photography by Tina Rupp. Shout out and special thanks to Sheila G. Maines and Kyle Books.

To see even MORE recipes and to buy “Butter and Chocolate” please click here…

http://www.kylebooks.com/page/detail/Sheila-Gs-Butter-Chocolate/?K=e201607041734251265

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 

Cookbook Corner – Sweet Mornings 

I have been meaning to review this cookbook for weeks now, and can not seem to either get it out of the kitchen long enough to review, or find it – because someone else is always baking from it! This is fabulous…

“Sweet Mornings” By: Patty Pinner”

I am going to start out saying that I am recommending this book to everyone! It is a fabulous book with genius recipes, fabulous family memories, sweet and savory breakfast items – that can also be made into dessert items – and georgeous full colored photographs. And can we talk about Patty Pinner for me a minute!? I just love her! She is the author of, perhaps, one of my all time favorite cookbooks, “Sweets: Soul Food Desserts and Memories” – which is often mimicked, but never duplicated. That cookbook, has really stood the test of time. 

This book is filled with dozens and dozens of recipes, most of which either myself or my Grandma has tried – and loved! My favorite recipe, though, has to be the “Orange Sweet Rolls” (page 162). I can not tell you how many times I’ve made these! They are perfect for breakfast, bunch, dessert or snack! They remind me of some orange rolls that my Grandma Barbra used to make when I was younger. By far the first recipe you should try when grabbing this book! 

The book is sectioned off into two main categories – Sweet Beginnings and Morning Savories. 

Some of the delicious recipes that fill the book are, “Cherry-Filled Coffee Cake” (page 18), “Cousin Vercie’s Snickerdoodle Scones” (page 20), “Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding Squares” (page 34), “Chocolate-Macadamia Waffles” (page 47), “Mama’s Strawberry Coffee Cake” (page 61), “Orange-Filled Crescents” (page 73), “Lemon-Coconut Bread” (page 88), “Southern Tea Cakes” (page 105), “Banana Streusel Coffee Cake” (page 122), “Cowboy Coffee Cake” (page 144), “Blueberry-Cornmeal Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping” (page 160), “Hot Cooked Apples” (page 174), “Blackberry Buckle” (page 182), “Sweet Potato Scones” (page 196), “Apple-Cinnamon Bear Claws” (page 203), “Sunday-Best Sausage Bread Pudding” (page 228), “Fried Green Tomatoes” (page 234), “Daddy’s Griddlecakes” (page 238), “Old-Timey Brunch Chicken Salad” (page 252) and “Miss Ruby’s Table-Talk White Bread”(page 256) – just to name  a few!

I highly recommend you check this book out – as well as Patty’s other titles. 

To buy “Sweet Mornings” and read a “question / answer” with Patty please, click here…

http://www.agatepublishing.com/blog/patty-pinner-q-and-a

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 Agate Publishing for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions. 

Blaise 

Cookbook Corner – The Vermont Country Store Cookbook

I love cookbooks that have not only great recipes and great photographs, but memories and history that go along with each recipe. This cookbook is one of my favorites…and soon it will be yours!

Store Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corner

“The Vermont Country Store Cookbook” By: Ellen Ecker Odgen and Andrea Diehl with The Orton Family

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this cookbook!? LOVE!

The stories – the recipes – the family history – the photographs – the heirloom loveliness that is on every single page brings you a feeling of warmth that no other cookbook has provided for me and I can not recommend this book highly enough! (I am actually buying several copies for some of my friends for Christmas…)

This fabulous book is divided up into eleven “chapters”. I am going to list the chapters, and only some of the recipes (my personal favorites) so you can get an idea of how delicious this book is…

Chapter 1 – The Dairy Barn / Breakfast and Brunch
“Buttermilk Doughnut Puffs” (page 5), “Farmhouse Yogurt” (page 11), “Sunday Morning Frittata” (page 16), “Cranberry-Orange Country Scones” (page 19) and “Blueberry and Zucchini Quick Bread” (page 20).

Chapter 2 – The Kitchen Garden / Soups, Salads and Sides
“Farmers’ Market Gazpacho, Two Ways” (page 27), “Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup” (page 30), “Corn and Cucumber Summer Salad” (page 35), “Roasted Vegetable Platter” (page 38), “Green Goddess Dressing and Potato Salad” (page 43) and “Vermont Cheddar and Spinach Custard” (page 49).

Chapter 3 – Small Family Farms / Chicken, Turkey and Pork
“Roasted Herb Chicken with Lemon” (page 56), “Traditional Roast Turkey with Apple-Sage Dressing” (page 64), “Turkey Burgers with Basil Mayo” (page 70), “Hunters’ Pork Pocket Pies” (page 71), “Grandma Hamilton’s Sausage” (page 77) and “Mildred’s Maple-Glazed Ham with Maple Mustard” (page 78).

Chapter 4 – Streams and Fields / Fish, Beef and Lamb
“Pan-Seared Cornmeal-Crusted Whole Trout” (page 86), “Yankee Cod Cakes” (page 92), “Marinated Grilled Flank Steak” (page 98), “Vermont Shepherd’s Pie” (page 101) and “Maple-Mustard Grilled Rack of Lamb” (page 107).

Chapter 5 – Wilds and Woods / Mushrooms, Quail, Duck, Rabbit, Venison and Berries
“Crispy Wild Rice Cakes” (page 116), “Vermont Glazed Quail with Cranberry Stuffing” (page 120), “Rabbit Braised in Hard Cider” (page 126), “Award-Winning Venison and Apple Chili” (page 129), “Elderberry Shrub” (page 134) and “Blackberry Cordial” (page 135).

Chapter 6 – The Gristmill / Breads and Whole Grains
“German Cocoa Rye Bread” (page 145), “Farmhouse Whole Wheat Honey Bread” (page 148), “Lumberjack Granola” (page 153), “New England Pesto Spiral Rolls” (page 154) and “Quinoa Salad with Pan-Grilled Radicchio” (page 163).

Chapter 7 – Potlucks and Crowd-Pleasers / Dishes and Desserts for Gatherings and Celebrations
“Summer Roasted Caponata Dip” (page 169), “Maple and Molasses Baked Beans” (page 173), “Roasted Vegetable Lasagna” (page 174), “Swiss Chard Phyllo Pie” (page 176), “Old-Fashioned Jelly Roll” (page 178), “Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Custard: Strawberry and Maple-Walnut” (page 185) and “Home Sweet Home Gingerbread House” (page 188).

Chapter 8 – The Pantry / Condiments, Jams and Jellies
“Bread-and-Butter Pickles” (page 201), “Raspberry-Peach Jam” (page 205), “Better Homemade Ketchup” (page 208), “Bryant House Maple Barbecue Glaze” (page 212), “Hot Pepper Jelly” (page 213) and “Green Tomato and Pepper Piccalilli” (page 214).

Chapter 9 – The Cookie and Candy Jars / Cookies, Brownies, Fudge and Brittle
“Grandma’s Best Brownies” (page 221), “Homemade Fig Newtons” (page 225), “Mildred’s Maple Bonbons” (page 228), “Salted Caramel Buttermilk Fudge” (page 231), “Date Nut Squares” (page 237) and “Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies” (page 240).

Chapter 10 – The Cake and Pie Safe / Pies, Crisps, Cobblers and Cakes
“Farmhouse Cider Apple Pie” (page 246), “Summer Fruit Cobbler” (page 256), “Gingerbread with Lemon Curd” (page 258), “Angel Food Crunch Cake” (page 267), “Not Your Grandmother’s Fruitcake” (page 270) and “Mocha Fudge Cake with Mocha Fudge Frosting” (pages 274 and 276).

Chapter 11 – Vermont, a Way of Life
I love this chapter. It ties everything nicely together, while preserving family (and business) traditions.

To buy “The Vermont Country Store Cookbook”, please click here…
http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/
(Do yourself a favor and request a catalog while you’re there!)

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 The Vermont Country Store for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook

I am in love with this cookbook, and I am so happy to be able to share my review and experience with all of you! My “Blaise the Baker” COOKBOOK CORNER is a place where I can share the cookbooks that I love and want to share. It is not about publicity or pushing a cookbook written by a friend of mine or trying to impress everyone with a “first look” or even trying to ramp up “numbers” for a group or a page. That is what I love about my COOKBOOK CORNER. It is a place where I can share what I love – or what I am currently loving – with all of you – my readers! So let us restart things here a bit and dive into…

Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corner

“Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook” By: Sarabeth Levine

You may recognize Sarabeth’s name from a variety of sources. She is the founder of “Sarabeth’s” restaurants and bakeries. She also has an award-winning line of spreadable fruits and specially food products sold nationwide – and abroad. She is also the author (along with Rick Rodgers), of the highly acclaimed and successful cookbook “Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hand to Yours”. She has also earned the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef”. Impressive right!? Perhaps that is where her name is ringing a bell with you. She’s also been featured in a variety of publications.

I remember picking up her first cookbook at my local library and admiring the cover. Simple and classic. I know – do not judge a book by its cover – but realistically we all do it. I opened the book, flipped over it, and decided to check it out.

Eventually I brought the book back – about 2 months late (no judging) and decided I would purchase a copy. Yes, I fell behind in returning the book – but I was an employee at the Library so I had extra benefits. Onto the book…
I baked my way through most of the recipes and was highly impressed. And not just with the recipes, but when Sarabeth’s way of conveying the recipes and stories to you. I absolutely loved it…

And now, I can say…I feel almost the exact same way with this one – her newest cookbook.

Why almost!? Well, I have to confess – I like this book better. Why? I love breakfast…and I got that love from my Grandpa Max.

He loved breakfast, but hated the early hours that came with it. So what did he do!? Had breakfast for dinner most times – and he loved experiencing and finding new recipes. His love for breakfast rubbed off on me because I too, love the first meal of the day and all that comes with it.

If you love breakfast (or brunch) or even having breakfast for dinner – this book is for you! I highly recommend you stop reading – and order it NOW! But – please feel free to continue – because I am about to tell you about one of the greatest breakfast books that I have ever come across…

The book is big in size – and big in flavor. The recipes are big and bold in flavor, and the photographs are beautifully done and polished.

This book is divided into twelve “chapters”, each one bursting with even more flavor and recipes than the one before it. There is also a lovely “introduction” and a very informative section called “Sarabeth’s Pantry”. The chapters are…

Fruity Beginnings / Whole Grains / Pancakes, Flaps and Blintzes / Waffles and French Toast / Muffins, Scones and Cakes / Breads and Yeasted Treats / Sauces, Spreads, Preserves and Pickles / Eggs Every Way / Frittatas and Stratas / Quiches and Savory Pasties / Potatoes, Meat and Fish / Soups and Salads.

Here is a quick glimpse into just some of the delicious recipes that fill this book…

“”Morning Fruit Bowl” (page 10), “Pear, Ginger and Yogurt Parfaits” (page 17), Vanilla Bean Lemonade” (page 19), “Slow-Cooked Steel Cut Oats” (page 29), “Creamy Wheat Cereal” (page 33), “Creamy Polenta with Peaches and Chestnut Honey” (page 36), “Milk Toasts: Comfort in a Bowl” (which brings back memories to me because my Grandpa Max enjoyed a similar concept – page 37), “Granola Bars” (page 40), “Morning Cookies” (page 43), Classic Buttermilk Pancakes” (page 57), “Corn Pancakes” (page 61), “Souffléd Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes” (page 64), “Cheese Blintzes” (page 69), “Buttermilk Waffles with Fresh Berries and Cream” (page 81), “Gingerbread-Coffee Waffles” (SO delicious and page 83), “Fat-and-Fluffy French Toast” (the best recipe I’ve found for French Toast and page 91), “Poppy Seed Muffins” (page 105), “Apple-Hazelnut Muffins” (page 110), “Cranberry Cream Scones” (page 113), “Water Mill Biscuits” (page 118), “Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake” (AMAZING and page 125), “Apple Custard Cake” (page 130), “Sarabeth’s House Bread” (page 140), “Popovers” (page 150), “Honey-Pecan Sticky Buns” (page 159), “Raspberry Maple Syrup” (page 167), “Strawberry Jam” (page 178), “Chunky Apple Butter” (page 181), “Deviled Egg Salad” (page 190), “Ultimate Scrambled Eggs” (page 195), “The Red Omelet” (page 202), “Shrimp and Tarragon Frittata” (page 212), “Vegetable Ricotta Frittata” (page 214), “Heirloom Tomato Crostata” (page 226), “Spinach-Gruyere Quiche” (page 233), “Potato Cake” (page 244), “Apple-Sausage Crumble” (page 248), “Roasted Chicken and Fennel Patties” (page 250), “Crunchy Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce” (A personal favorite and page 257), “Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup” (page 266), “Buttermilk Dressing” (page 271) and “Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Honey-Grapefruit Vinaigrette” (page 273).

How amazing do those recipes sound!? And let me tell you – that is only the tip of the iceberg… Fabulous, full of flavor recipes really fill out this book beautifully.

I highly recommend you buy this book, here…

http://www.amazon.com/Sarabeths-Good-Morning-Cookbook-Breakfast/dp/0847846385

Have a cookbook you would recommend or like to me take a look at!? Email me – blaisethebaker@gmail.com

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 Sarabeth Levine for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – Biscuits

I am in love with this cookbook, and have to share it here with everyone…

Biscuits Blaise the Baker Cookbook Corner

“Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes from the All-American Kitchen” By: Jackie Garvin

I am in love with this new and fabulous book. I remembered seeing this book on one of my late night – insomnia induced – book buying runs on Amazon, and knew from the minute I seen it – I had to have it. Jackie is a beautiful writer, and the book really flows from one gorgeous recipe to the next. The delicious looking pictures really draw the reader in, and demand that they try each and every fabulous recipe.

The book is divided into several sections, and just some of the mouth watering recipes that are included are, “Buttermilk Biscuits” (page 29), “Baking Powder Biscuits” (page 31 and my favorite variety), “Cornmeal Biscuits” (page 33), “Garlic Cheese Biscuits” (page 45 and so much better than a certain seafood chain’s version), “Sour Cream and Chive Drop Biscuits” (page 57), “Rosemary Focaccia Biscuit Bread” (page 65), “Double-Decker Strawberry Shortcake” (page 75 and one of my family’s favorites), “Maple Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Maple Icing” (page 77), “Chocolate Toffee Monkey Bread” (page 81 and AMEN!), “Strawberries and Cream Biscuits” (page 89), “Ham, Egg, and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit Cupcakes” (page 112) and “Hushpuppies” (page 194).

But do not think this book is all about biscuit recipes – there are also some fabulous pizza recipes, soup recipes and salad recipes that are included as well. You did not think Jackie would include recipes for just biscuits did you? No! She has included recipes for biscuits and gravy, and even recipes for jellies, butters, scones and tea cakes!

Do yourself a favor (and those you cook for) and order this book today! Fabulous book filled with delicious recipes. Awesome job Jackie…

To buy “Biscuits”, (and learn more about Jackie) please click here…
http://syrupandbiscuits.com/

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