Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Baking has always been a hobby of mine. When some people think it would be a chore, I find it fun and relaxing and it helps me to de-stress. Most of the time I just bake and bring it for others to taste. Sometimes, I don't even try a piece. Either way, who doesn't like cake, cookies, something sweet every now and again. And I have to say it is rewarding when friends and family enjoy and appreciate your creation.

This week I am highlighting the MARTHA STEWART BAKING HANDBOOK. This is a great reference book to have on hand for baking anything. I can't say that I have tried every recipe. I'm not sure I want to. However, it's just one of those books that you want to have in your collection in case you need a recipe for scones, biscuits, tarts, pies, cakes, or bread. I guess being a cook and a baker and a librarian, there are just some cook books that you need on hand.......just in case.

Some thoughts on a few recipes.

Tomato Tart: This is a great tart to serve at a brunch especially in the summer when tomatoes have the best flavor. Roasted garlic is spread on the bottom with fontina cheese, tomatoes and basil. Yum!

Linzertorte: All the flavor of a linzer cookie without all the work of rolling out the dough, cutting the tops, cutting the bottoms, baking, putting them together...ugh I'm getting tired just thinking about it. It is less time consuming, has the same raspberry jam with hazelnut flavored crust and is best eaten the day it is made.

New York Style Cheesecake: I would skip this one. Maybe it's me but seven....count them SEVEN 8 oz packages of cream cheese is just way too much! Not to mention what the cost of the cake will be if you don't get the cream cheese on sale. If you decide to make this one, please let me know how it came out and if you had to break your piggy bank.

This weekend I decided to try the Classic Pound Cake.  For one, I almost always have butter, sugar, flour and eggs on hand. Two, I am always drinking coffee and pound cake goes well with a cup of coffee. You can just smell the butter in the batter. My dogs did and came running. They always seem to know when I am finished making a cake batter or ice cream for that matter. And who doesn't like to lick the spatula? It was 7 am and my kids were still asleep so Xavier the GSD and Mr. Chad the greyhound got first dibs.

I brought the Classic Pound Cake to work. Some people liked the buttery taste. Others thought it was good but not as good as other pound cakes I have made. Overall, I think it is a good recipe if you want a dense cake that's not too sweet that you can have with coffee or tea. Plus, you can make it with staple ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. Next time I think I will pair it with fresh whipped cream and strawberries!

Martha Stewart's Classic Pound Cake

  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs

  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside.
  2. STEP 2

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; beat until just combined.
  3. STEP 3

    Spoon batter into prepared pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake until cake is golden and cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto the rack to cool completely. Cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Welcome to my new blog. I have decided to post and review some cookbooks that are tried and true and reliable (that I own)  and others that are new to me. It seems like every time I Google a recipe, I almost always stumble upon someone's cooking blog so I decided to try one of my own. Plus, I actually like to cook and try new recipes (when I have time that is).  I am hoping that you follow my blog and we can share our favorite recipes and cookbooks. And wouldn't it be fun if we started a cookbook club? Wish me luck!

I have to say that The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten is one of my absolute favorites! This book has recipes from East Hampton's "The Barefoot Contessa" gourmet store that made it so popular. An Amazon.com review states that "Any upscale bed and breakfast could have this book in the kitchen and get rid of all others." I think I have to agree since I own a copy myself and rely on it time and time again. What I like about Ina's recipes is that most are elegant crowd pleasers with make ahead ease. 


French Potato Salad:  Its not the typical mayo and potato that we all know. This has a vinaigrette with the herb hints of dill, parsley and basil and can be served room temperature or slightly warm  -the way I like it. 

Turkey Meatloaf:  My kids love it and its since it calls for ground turkey breast its a healthy alternative to traditional meatloaf.

Banana Crunch Muffins:  If you always have bananas on hand like I do,  then try these muffins. There are some extra ingredients like shredded coconut and granola that are not in your traditional banana muffins but they add a nice crunch and you will not be disappointed!


1 pound small white boiling potatoes 
1 pound small red boiling potatoes 
2 tablespoons good dry white wine 
2 tablespoons chicken stock 
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
2 teaspoons kosher salt 
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
10 tablespoons good olive oil 
1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts) 
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill 
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley 
2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh basil leaves 
Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in half (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding. 

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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