Sugar and Spice, And Apricot-Ginger Cookies That Are Oh-So-Nice

Start your ovens, people. It's cookie time.

Start your ovens, people. It’s cookie time.


Say good-bye to turkey, and hello to cookies.

With Thanksgiving over, it’s now the serious start of cookie baking season.

What better treat to get you in the mood, too, than “Big Chewy Apricot and Ginger Cookies”?

Nothing says winter holidays quite like the fragrance of cinnamon, ginger and molasses wafting from the kitchen. And this cookie has ginger in spades. Three kinds: ground, fresh, and crystallized. It’s ideal for a ginger fanatic like myself.

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Forget Black Friday; Make It A Brown One (As In Chocolate) Instead

Yes, this is pretty much how I ate this fantastic spread.

Yes, this is pretty much how I ate this fantastic spread.


See that hazelnut spread above?

I’d like to tell you that I came up with all sorts of inventive ways to use it in baking. But the truth is that I ate that entire jar of Nuubia Hazelnut Spread simply by the languid spoonful, day after day, until it was emptied.

I’m not ashamed. Because it was that irresistible.

So forget braving the malls today. Just do yourself a favor and go Nuubia’s online site to order a jar instead — for yourself or your chocoholic friends. Or take a trip to the Nuubia store/cafe, which just opened this year in the lobby of the Twitter building in San Francisco, or to its Pleasanton headquarters that has an artisan kitchen.

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Crazy For Cauliflower With Cumin, Turmeric and Lemon

Golden cauliflower with curry spices.

Golden cauliflower with curry spices.


You have to love a woman whose mantra is: “Be naturally suspicious of any food which is not home-cooked. Always take your own food with you wherever you go, even if you’re not going far.”

Given that, it’s not surprising that Meera Sodha has written an Indian cookbook that celebrates the best of Indian home-cooking.

She acknowledges at the start that cooking Indian food can be quite intimidating to make at home. So often it necessitates special trips to Indian markets or even ordering online to find the necessary ingredients.

Not so with her “Made In India: Recipes From an Indian Family Kitchen” (Flatiron Books), of which I received a review copy. A best-seller in the United Kingdom, her cookbook was published in the United States for the first time this year.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Peter Rudolph of Madera Restaurant For A Macy’s Cooking Demo


Restaurants with the best views don’t always boast the greatest food.

Not so with Menlo Park’s Madera restaurant,which has one of the prettiest dining rooms around, and a most talented chef in East Bay native, Peter Rudolph.

Get a taste of his elegant, farm-to-table cuisine when he joins me for a cooking demo, 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

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Joanne Weir’s Easy, Elegant and Festive Endive Salad

The salad you need to make this holiday season.

The salad you need to make this holiday season.


Holiday dishes don’t get better than this.

It’s festive, chic — and unbelievably effortless. In short, everything you want when you want to impress, but are loathe to break out in a sweat to do it.

Leave it to the Bay Area’s Joanne Weir to come up with this dazzling “Endive Salad with Lemon Creme Fraiche and Salmon Roe.”

It’s from her new cookbook, “Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories From A Lifelong Romance with Food” (Oxmoor House), of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook is filled with the dishes that most influenced the life of this long-time PBS cooking show host, who cooked for five years at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, and now owns Copita in Sausalito.

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