One way I enjoy fresh cranberries at this time of year.
The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family about a dozen years ago, I made cranberry sauce from scratch.
It was my first time doing so. And my last.
I simmered fresh cranberries with orange zest, sugar and a dash of Cointreau, until the berries started to plump and pop, and the whole mixture thickened nicely.
It was fresher, zingier and more lively tasting than anything out of a can. When I set it on the table, I sat back proudly, waiting for everyone to dig in.
Everyone tried it. Then, everyone asked pretty much in unison, “Uh, where’s the stuff from the can?”
And that is why I have never made it again.
Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.
Imagine a holiday cake that’s rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene.
OK, so it does have chocolate chips, too. Plus a wicked chocolate-coffee glaze.
“Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake” has all that going for it and more. After all, it’s the creation of Chef Tanya Holland, who’s famed for her soulful comfort food at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland.
This cake is from her new cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It was written with former San Francisco Magazine editor Jan Newberry.
You’ll find all your Brown Sugar Kitchen favorites here, including Holland’s legendary Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. All in all, you’ll find more than 80 recipes from everything from Creole Gazpacho to Smoked Buttered Rum. What’s really special about this book, though, is its sense of place. Holland’s restaurant is an intrinsic part of this West Oakland neighborhood. The book celebrates the people that make this area what it is by including profiles of its entrepreneurs, musicians and community leaders.
Nothing can keep me from baking a batch of these scones.
I can be swamped with work…
I can be sleep-deprived…
It can be 100 degrees that day…
But when I feel the urge to bake, I can’t be stopped.
What can I say? It’s my therapy. It’s my relaxation. It’s my treat to myself and others.
So when a review copy of the new “Baked Occasions” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) landed in my mail, I immediately dropped everything else and started leafing through it.
This is the fourth cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the owners of the popular Brooklyn baker, Baked. It includes 75 recipes perfect for holidays, special events and just any day that is an occasion of any sort. Find recipes from “Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise” to “Easter Coconut Sheet Cake” to “Peppermint Chocolate Meringues.”
“Chinese Five-Spice Sesame Scones” caught my eye from the start because I love the intoxicating fragrance of five-spice in stir-fries.
You won’t be able to resist these tender little cakes.
If we do eat with our eyes first, then I must gain 10 pounds every time I lay eyes upon Erin Scott’s luminous food photos.
The creator of the blog, Yummy Supper, serves even up more temptation now with her similarly named new cookbook, “Yummy Supper” (Rodale), of which I received a review copy.
Scott of Berkeley, who as a teenager grew up a stone’s throw from Chez Panisse, describes herself as a “gluten-free omnivore.” She may have celiac disease, but she doesn’t let that define her or limit her ability to enjoy delicious food.
In fact, all it takes is a cursory look at her blog or cookbook of 100 recipes to see that. Both are filled with vibrant, seasonal dishes that carry a fresh California sensibility and aren’t too fussy.
That’s what drew me to the recipe for “Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes.” Well, that and the fact that I love anything with almonds. Or in this case: almond flour.
My new favorite ice cream.
Not only is the color vivid, so is the taste.
“Blueberry Ice Cream” sounds so matter of fact. But it’s quite special.
This is an ice cream in which the berry flavor soars spectacularly.