Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Year in Review - 2015

The Year in Review - 2015
And so another year ends. For me, 2015 was mixed. It saw my hard work start to pay off professionally, gave me the ability to work with some amazing people and it's been enormously rewarding. But it was also marred by enough world tragedies, hate and intolerance to last a lifetime. And I lost a friend this year, a fact I still can't quite reconcile myself to.

Joan Hayes, whose ultra popular blog Chocolate, Chocolate and More, was very dear to me. We chatted almost daily, we got each other through some very difficult personal times, were each other's business sounding boards and we gabbed about the things that girlfriends gab about. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the end of October, at the age of 49, and there's an empty space in my heart and in my days now. I miss you, my friend. You made my life sweeter.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter Citrus Champagne Cocktail

Recipe for a champagne cocktail with satsuma oranges, vodka and lime.

It's getting to be almost that time again when we break out the champagne. I actually quite like using it in cocktails although any sparkling wine works the same way. When a drink calls for fizz, why settle for flavorless soda when this adds so much more. So even though it's traditional to drink champagne straight on New Year's Eve, I like creating a special cocktail.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Candy Cane Bourbon Nog

Recipe for a bourbon cocktail with egg nog, white chocolate and candy canes.

With all the holiday baking going on around here lately I've been neglecting my holiday cocktail brainstorming. But now that all my cakes and cookies and gingerbread creations are done I set my mind to creating something special for holiday guests.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Crumb Bars

Recipe for crumb bars filled with peanut butter and topped with pretzel M&M's.

The holiday baking has been in full swing around here for what seems like weeks now. And it's been mostly gingerbread and other ginger and cinnamon spiced delights. I love those holiday flavors but, um, after the umpteenth spiced cake and gingerbread men cookies were baked and packed up for gifts, I was kind of a little over it. Time to switch it up and use some of those fun holiday candies in something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Savory Coeur La Creme with Cranberry and Apple Chutney

Recipe for a tangy Greek yogurt and cream cheese appetizer served with a cranberry and apple compote.

I have a couple of things I wanted to talk to you about today. One is this fancy looking appetizer with the fancy sounding name which is actually so simple to make. The other is the importance of milk.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Elsewhere in...November 2015

Hi friends! This is the little monthly recap of my foodie adventures elsewhere. Here you'll find the recipes I created for my column on The Spruce Eats as well as some great cocktail and gingerbread round-ups from my other writings around the web. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Cranberry Collins and a DIY Cranberry Cocktail Party

Recipe for a gin cocktail flavored with cranberry juice, lemon and club soda.

So, did I ever mention my slight obsession with housewares? Part of it is being a food photographer, of course, but I like them even apart from that. Some women browse in the shoe department but I'm over in the kitchen department eyeing a new casserole dish. Add to that my fondness not just for cocktails but for barware and it can get to be an expensive habit. I've found a decent number of "treasures" in dusty old thrift shops and flea markets but those are hit or miss. The fact is that when I know what I need, I shop at the restaurant supply stores.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tomato and Onion Appetizer Pastries

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Thank you to Hunt's tomatoes for sponsoring this recipe.

Recipe for an appetizer made with sauteed onions, tomatoes and oregano baked in puff pastry.

I love having guests and throwing parties but it can get to be hectic and a bit overwhelming around the holidays. For as much as I try to plan ahead and enjoy putting together menus, sometimes I find myself panicking a little because time got away from me and I didn't get to do my shopping. So my survival guide for holiday entertaining is to keep some basic staples in the house at all time.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Flashback: Oven Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Oven Baked Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

My mother's annual Chanukah latke party was the highlight of my year when I was growing up. Friends and neighbors would come over, help her hand grate mountains of potatoes and then wait while the intoxicating aroma of golden fried latkes filled the house. We ate till we dropped. These oven baked, muffin tin latkes are not meant to be a substitute, just a lighter alternative to be eaten more frequently. Their aroma is still heavenly and they're completely delicious. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Herbed Roasted Potatoes with Sour Cream Dip

Recipe for an appetizer of potato wedges coated in a garlic and basil paste and roasted.

I'm deep in December entertaining menu planning mode these days. But I always get stuck on the appetizers. The meals themselves and desserts are easy as are the fun cocktails. But what to serve with those fun cocktails. Yes, the cheeses, the nuts the chips...I wanted something different but not overly fussy to make and it occurred to me to look in my vegetable bin for an idea.