Apple and Golden Raisin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Early this spring I had a chance to dine at Ottolenghi, an excellent, yet unpretentious restaurant in the Islington area of London. My meal was so memorable that I wrote about it on my blog, mentioning a celestial Apple and Sultana Cake with Maple Frosting.

Back home, I couldn’t get the heavenly cake out of mind, and set out to reproduce it.  After multiple tries, including several failed icing attempts, I had a version close to my remembrance of the original. Then, by chance, I found the recipe for the Ottolenghi cake on line, reprinted from one of the chef’s earlier cookbooks. The British cake was made with olive oil, mine Continue reading

A New Book Reveals the Secrets of French Joie de Vivre

If you would like to learn how to wine, dine, and romance like the French, you will love the new book, Joie de Vivre, written by my long-time friend, Harriet Welty Rochefort. More than thirty years ago, the author, an American from Iowa, arrived in Paris where she soon met and fell in love with a Frenchman. As a wife, mother, and journalist, she spent the next three decades discovering why the French savor their pleasures like no other culture, and how they have perfected the art of savoir vivre.

Would you like to know why Parisian women look so chic and stay so thin, or why they part so willingly Continue reading

Dearie – The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz

I’ve read many biographies of Julia Child over the years, including Appetite for Life, the first, comprehensive one by my friend, Noel Riley Fitch (published in 1997 and reprinted this year with a new intro by the author). My library also includes Alex Prud’Homme’s My Life in France (an account of Julia’s years in Paris and Marseilles in late 1940s and early 1950s), As Always, Julia, (the fascinating correspondence between Julia and her pen pal, Avis DeVoto) by Joan Reardon, and finally Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia (the story of a fledging cook, making her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking I). Now comes a new volume–Dearie-The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spritz. Continue reading

Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating by Brooke Dojny

From the moment I first heard about Brooke Dojny’s new book, Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating, I couldn’t wait to get a copy and cook from it. A long time contributor to Bon Appétit and the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, Brooke, who lives on the coast of Maine, gives readers 55 mouthwatering ways to prepare America’s favorite shellfish. Lobster pasta bathed in a rich tomato cream sauce, pizza topped with lobster and arugula, lobster and corn risotto, and much more will tempt you to pull out your lobster pot! Continue reading

Corky’s Barbecue, Memphis, TN

I grew up in Memphis, considered by many to be the barbecue capital of the South. My husband, a fellow Southerner, raised in nearby Alabama, is as crazy about pulled pork barbecue and ribs as I am. So, for his birthday last month, I organized a party for a few friends and picked up the phone to call Corky’s, the 28-year old barbecue restaurant that has been voted #1 in Memphis more than 22 times! You can order online or call, but either way, you’ll discover an array of products. I always opt for the six one-pound packages of pulled pork that cost $99 (including shipping) and feed 18 to 20. Continue reading

Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom

Guess what’s in my basket this month—my newest book, Sunday Brunch, published  by the wonderful people at Chronicle Books. This is the third in a series and follows Sunday Soup and Sunday Roasts. You’ll find a cornucopia of delectable dishes in this collection that should make you rush to the kitchen and invite friends over for brunch. There’s a chapter devoted to eggs–scrambled, pan-fried, poached, baked, or in omelets—and another that features Continue reading

Markets of Paris Second Edition by Dixon Long and Marjorie Williams

If you or your family or friends have a trip planned to Paris, you’ll want to purchase a copy of Markets of Paris Second Edition by Dixon Long and Marjorie Williams. First published in 2006, this paperback, with insider information on the legendary food, flea, antique, and other markets of France’s capital, has just been reissued with fabulous updates and additional information. Just the right size for travel, this petit livre with gorgeous photos, can easily be tucked into a purse, a tote, or a backpack. Organized by arrondissement, it’s also a snap to use. The authors lead you to Paris’ celebrated outdoor food markets Continue reading

Waring Popcorn Maker available at Williams Sonoma

After downing far too many bags of microwave popcorn, my husband decided we should invest in an electric popcorn maker, so we purchased one made by Waring. And, although this machine does take up extra space in our cupboard, it produces such light, fluffy corn that we’d never return to the microwave variety. The model we chose has several bonuses, one being that it’s easy to use. You oil the base, add Continue reading

Coconut Soup with Chicken, Lime, and Spring Vegetables

A few weeks ago, Diana, my talented assistant, arrived at work with a container of coconut soup with chicken and lime she had just made. Although it was early in the morning, the fragrant aroma of this ivory-hued potage studded with bits of green was so tempting that I took a quick sip. Light in texture yet vibrantly flavored with assertive Southeast Asian accents, it was irresistibly delicious! “Can you share the recipe?” I asked. “Nothing to it!” she replied, promising to email the directions for her new creation. Continue reading

Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck

Maria Speck, a popular cooking teacher who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an avid fan of whole grains, and in Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, she shares her enthusiasm for using them in everything from breakfast fare to main courses and desserts. Whether quick-cooking grains like polenta, buckwheat, and millet or those that need more time, you’ll find an amazing variety of dishes (many inspired by her European upbringing in Greece and Germany) in this collection. “Oat Berries with Walnuts and Gorgonzola” made a delectable and unusual side dish for a meal I served recently. Now, I’m anxious to try “Creamy Continue reading