Alexia Sweet Potato Fries

Growing up in the South, I remember that sweet potatoes were practically a staple at our family table. However, I didn’t keep up the tradition of serving this bold-hued, extra nutritious vegetable in my own kitchen. That is until I discovered Alexia Sweet Potato Julienne Fries. My local Whole Foods stocks them in the frozen food section. On a whim one day, I picked up a package and discovered how Continue reading

Nespresso Pixie

I’ve been a fan of Nespresso electric espresso makers ever since I bought the Essenza model several years ago. However, the Pixie, one of their newest products, is even smaller and more compact than the one I own. This slim machine that stands less than 10 inches tall comes in an array of colors, including bright red, electric blue, apple green, and gray. It’s easy to use too. You simply fill a chamber with water, pop in a Nespresso coffee capsule, and pull a lever. In no time at all, you have a delicious cup of espresso ready for sipping. The Nespresso capsules come in a variety of strengths and flavors, including a decaffeinated version.

Nespresso Pixie available at cookware stores

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

If you’re looking for a cookbook to inspire more vegetables on your menus, look no farther. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, a vegetarian columnist for London’s Guardian and the owner of four eponymous take-away food shops in that city, will make you want to rush to your nearest market and fill a cart with fresh produce. In his introduction, the author explains that his own creativity and passion for shaping recipes always comes from an ingredient, and so he has organized the collection by ingredients starting with “roots” and ending with “fruits and cheeses.” The dishes are all simple, yet stunningly original.

Reading through the book, I found myself tagging Continue reading

Cypress Grove Chèvre – Humbolt Fog!

I am a chèvre aficionado. When a cheese cart or tray comes around, I’ll always pick the goat cheese. In France where I spend part of every year, I’ve tried varieties in every size and shape and indulged in fresh as well as aged cheeses. Some have been covered in herbs or ash while others have been wrapped in leaves. All have brought joy to my palate. But France isn’t the only place where superb goat cheese is produced. An American goat cheese called Humboldt Fog, made by Cypress Grove Chèvre, is my favorite. It’s creamy and soft, with a beautifully balanced, tangy flavor. Each wheel features a ribbon of edible vegetable ash that runs through its Continue reading

Basic to Brilliant, Y’All by Virginia Willis

Virginia Willis, author of the award-nominated, Bon Appétit, Y’All, in which she gives Southern recipes a French touch, has authored a stellar new book, Basic to Brilliant, Y’All. A Georgia native, she lives in Atlanta, but spent many years honing her cooking skills in France. In her latest collection, she offers 150 mouthwatering and innovative Southern recipes, all with a clever twist. Each recipe is presented two ways– as a soul-satisfying basic accompanied by a technique, garnish, or additional step that will transform (with just a little extra effort!) the dish into a show-stopper. What a practical idea for Continue reading

Sunday Roasts by Betty Rosbottom

Sunday Roasts is a collection of more than 75 recipes, including old-fashioned pot roasts, turkeys, racks of lamb, oven-roasted salmon, and much more. There is also a chapter on side dishes and another on seasoned butters, chutneys, and relishes. An incredible kitchen team spent months roasting with me until the recipes were fine-tuned, carefully written, and ready to go out to testers. Then, a group of volunteers Continue reading

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Brixton Bauer

Jeni Brixton Bauer, ice cream maker par excellence, started making ice creams 15 years ago when she was a mere 22 years old. Today she oversees Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a Columbus, Ohio-based company that includes 10 stores and a thriving mail order and restaurant business. Her first book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, includes a cornucopia of unique recipes for artisanal ice creams and sorbets, all prepared with unusually creative combinations of ingredients and written with clear, easy-to-follow directions. Amazingly, her ice creams are made without eggs and include a bit of cream cheese to bind and add Continue reading

Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

The creator of the awarding-winning blog, “101 Cookbooks,” as well as the James Beard award-nominated Super Natural Cooking, Heidi Swanson is a multi-talented member of the food community. For her latest work, Super Natural Every Day, she developed the delectable recipes that feature natural, healthy ingredients and snapped the striking photos that accompany them as well. She’s also a gifted writer whose enthusiasm for cooking naturally makes you want to rush into the kitchen and try every dish. After leafing through this collection, I had a sizable number of recipes tagged. I’ve already made Hard-Cooked Eggs with Dukkah (the latter is an Egyptian spice blend) and Continue reading

St Germain- A French Liqueur

St Germain, a delicious French liqueur scented with elderflowers, is a new discovery for me, but I am already a huge fan. I learned about it from friends in Paris who explained that when combined with champagne, St Germain adds an amazing fresh, floral note to a glass of bubbly. St Germain (that’s the brand name) comes in tall, sleek bottles and is available on this side of the Atlantic too. I had no trouble finding it in my local spirits store. My large bottle was about $37, but small nip-size ones are sometimes available and cost less. Since May is definitely a month of celebrations—graduations, Mother’s Day, spring Continue reading

Meat – A Kitchen Education by James Patterson

A long-time fan of James Patterson’s award-winning cookbooks, I was not surprised by the breadth and encyclopedic details in his newest work. Meat – A Kitchen Education is a tome that all serious cooks as well as inexperienced ones should own. This collection includes more than 175 recipes and over 550 photos (of both recipes and step-by step techniques). You’ll find in it a cornucopia of information about familiar as well as under-used meats. There are entries for chicken, turkey, and duck along with those for quail, pheasant, squab, guinea hen, goose, and rabbit. Chapters devoted to pork, lamb, goat, beef, and veal, with detailed information about Continue reading