Currently viewing the tag: "cookbook"

pumpkin scones

My littles are on Brightly today, making Pumpkin scones from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. If you haven’t been to the Brightly site yet please check it out! The space is a resource for parents to help create lifelong readers, something I’m passionate about. Launched in partnership with Penguin Random House, Brightly features book recommendations from all publishers for every age and stage, reading tips and insights, seasonal inspirations, author essays, contests, gift guides, and more. There are so many great book lists and ideas here.

pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

pumpkin scones

pumpkin-scones

You can get the recipe for the Pumpkin Scones here. These scones are a family favorite, and might be what we wake up to this Christmas morning. “If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.” —Lucy Larcom

 

brownies
I have two exciting things to share with you: this giveaway, for a Vanilla Bean Baking Book apron and tea towel, and a recipe for my favorite brownies found in my cookbook. Yah!

I had some lovely help with these photos; my daughter above, and Ms. Molly Yeh, Melissa Coleman, and Zoe Francois. I got to hang out with them this weekend at Pinch of Yum’s amazing studio to celebrate Molly’s new book, and they were kind enough to let me take a picture of them in my pretty pink apron.
molly apron

melissaa

zoe
FIRST THINGS FIRST, THE GIVEAWAY
To Enter: Pre-order THE VANILLA BEAN BAKING BOOK and enter for a chance to win an apron and tea towel designed to go with the book! 12 winners will receive these lovely and practical (I had to make sure that the aprons have pockets!) kitchen items. Everyone who has pre-ordered my cookbook previously or places an order through Wednesday November 6th is eligible to participate. (Sorry, US and Canada only!) Simply go to this google form here and fill it out.

Extra Entries: Share my photo about the giveaway on Instagram to receive an extra entry! Make sure to use the hashtags #vanillabeanbakingbook and #vanillabeangiveaway to help me track all entries. Thanks!
apron

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smores cake

First of all, I want to say thank you, oh my goodness thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I had so many kind emails and comments and tweets yesterday;  your support of my upcoming book is overwhelming. I wouldn’t have this book without that support, and I am forever grateful to you, dear readers. Thank you for following along here, and for being so wonderful.

And, here’s a recipe from the book! Today happens to be my birthday, one that I am slightly freaking out about, as I seem to be getting close to large numbers I didn’t think were possible. I will be celebrating today, however, with this S’mores Ice Cream Cake. It’s fairly simple to put together (especially if you go the store bought ice cream route), with a layer of toasted graham cracker crumbs, vanilla ice cream, more graham crackers, chocolate ice cream, and then a pile of meringue that is lightly toasted. An indulgent way to enjoy the fading of a near perfect summer vacation.

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The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

It’s finally time: The Vanilla Bean Baking Book is available for pre-order!

This cookbook is brimming with over 100 baking recipes and nearly 200 photos; everything from Mixed Berry Muffins and Creme Fraiche Scones to Ganache Cupcakes with Basil Buttercream and Cherry-Strawberry Slab Pie. It can be purchased early now, and will be sent out or available on bookstore shelves November 8th. This also happens to be Election Day, so depending on whether your candidate wins or loses, you could find it useful for either comfort baking or celebrating. I’m hoping to celebrate, with my Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (found in the Party Cakes chapter).
vanilla bean baking book
I spent almost two years working on this book. When Avery approached me, I had never taken on a project this big before, or one with multiple deadlines. It required figuring out how to balance both work and home life, which was quite a challenge initially. My work space, the kitchen, is the center of our home, and a place that is needed for more than just recipe testing. My family came to find the sink and dishwasher were forever overflowing with bowls, whisks, knives, measuring cups, and spatulas. The noise of the mixer was a consistent background hum, the refrigerator always packed full, and the oven made our kitchen a constant blazing furnace. I would frantically text my husband at work with grocery lists: butter, chocolate, sugar, flour, eggs, and more butter! It was a struggle at times for all four of us to flow well with evidence of the cookbook piled everywhere, but eventually I managed to find a rhythm to testing recipes and writing. I baked all day while the kids were at school, and then wrote each night, after they were tucked into bed. It helped to have a supportive family during these months; my husband and kids encouraging and helping me.

I must admit I am feeling many different emotions presenting you with this sneak peak; excitement and nervousness, mixed with joy and fear. I worked so many hours on these recipes: testing and retesting, then retesting again. I don’t know how many times I made my All-Butter pie crust, or Easy Danish Dough. So many I can’t count them. My husband told me the brownies were perfect after months of testing, but I made them six more times anyway, trying to get them just right. I finally did. My father-in-law came over every day to pick up cookies and pies and cakes and bars, my husband brought the same into work each morning. If there hadn’t been a deadline in place, I might still be in my kitchen, making that Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake ‘just one more time.’ But now I’m here, on the other side of the work, with a collection of recipes and photographs on printed paper. I’m so excited, and (dare I say) proud, to share this book with you. My hope is for this book to become a trusted, go-to reference in your kitchen, well-worn and used; pages earmarked, smudged with chocolate and cake batter, and filled with your pencil marks and notes.
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

The Vanilla Bean Baking Book
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book is divided into seven chapters: Morning Baking; Quick Breads, Muffins, and Everyday Cakes; Party Cakes, Pies, and Tarts; Cookies and Bars; No-Churn Ice Cream; and Homemade Staples. Recipes range from simple to complex, but there are visual guides to help with recipes that are a bit more work. Some of my favorites from the book are: Pumpkin Scones, Apricot Danish, Ginger Chocolate Bread, Honey Cake, Blackberry White Chocolate Cake, Peach Caramel Pie, my new and improved Chocolate Chip Cookies, and S’mores Ice Cream Cake (which I am bringing to you tomorrow, so stay tuned!).

The Vanilla Bean Baking Book is available for pre-order! You can order from the links below, as well as from major retail stores:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BAM / IndieBound /Amazon.ca / Indigo.ca /
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

You can also follow along on Instagram! My hashtag for the book is #vanillabeanbakingbook

The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

Chocolate Tiramisu Cake
Cake is my downfall.
I can refuse
a glass of wine,
push away
an opened box
of handmade chocolates,
spurn a toffee from the tin
and turn my nose up
at a HobNob,
but I can never,
ever resist
a slice of cake.
-Nigel Slater
chocolate tiramisu cake

Layered Cookbook
I have to agree with Mr. Slater; it’s hard to say no to a good piece of cake. I recently received Tessa Huff’s (Style Sweet CA) new cookbook Layered, which is packed full of every kind of layer cake you can imagine, plus baking and decorating tips and techniques. It’s beautifully photographed, with both classic and inventive cake recipes. I mixed and matched two recipes from Tessa’s book to come up with this Chocolate Tiramisu Cake, but next on my list are the Lemony Carrot Cake, Riesling Rhubarb Crisp Cake, and Banana Cream Cake.

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meringue

‘We live in a world where twists and turns are applauded. I’ve had my share of bacon-, avocado-, and cheese-flavored ice creams – most of which I could do without. And a whole year once passed when I didn’t eat a scoop of vanilla ice cream. When I finally did, my taste buds, wiped clean of their memory of vanilla, experienced something new. I felt like I was drinking fresh water after a lifetime of wine. ..

Real innovation is not about chasing the fashionable, but having an inherent beauty. It’s not about a sampling of cleverness, but honest consideration for what works well. That’s vanilla ice cream. If you haven’t had it for awhile, take a bite of a truly delicious scoop. It’s the one flavor that proves itself to be not just a passing fancy, but an eternal romance.’  – Dominique Ansel The Secret Recipes

_____________________________

I am resurrecting my Silent Sunday posts – a quote or reflection from something I’m currently reading. I’m highly enjoying Ansel’s cookbook; so much wisdom and food for thought among its pages.

chai tea latte | the vanilla bean blog
This week I took part in a ‘mini-cleanse’, which was much needed after weeks and weeks of baking and recipe testing. Recently the editors of Martha Stewart Living put out Clean Slate, a cookbook and guide focused on clean eating. The book describes clean eating this way: “Start with fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins; prepare them simply, and take the time to share and enjoy them.” It also involves “focusing on every aspect of our meals – turning away from our screens and devices and avoiding other distractions, so we can savor the process of cooking and eating.” I like this mindset, and while I do cook a majority of our meals from scratch, they tend to be focused on dairy and carbs, especially in these cold winter months.

The book has a great variety of recipes; everything you’d need to get through the day. It also has a 3-day plan for a ‘mini-detox’ and a 21-day action plan. I started with three days, although I must admit I cheated a bit. The book has a serious detox that involves the same meals for each day, but I knew without some variety I would quit early. So I made smoothies each morning for breakfast (blueberry-green tea from the book, and this strawberry-basil one), soup for lunch (a pot of this Buckwheat Noodle Miso Soup with Bok Choy was perfect all three days), and Ginger-Scallion Chicken in parchment was a favorite for dinner. Afternoon snacks were also a must! Chai lattes with almond milk were perfect alongside chocolate bark, and garlic-herb yogurt cheese was the best way to enjoy a little dairy. Overall I thought the recipes were great, and I also felt great eating so well.
clean slate cookbook

Bok choy and shiitake mushrooms in miso-lime broth | the vanilla bean blog

Ginger-scallion chicken in parchment | the vanilla bean blog

garlic-herb yogurt cheese | the vanilla bean blog

chocolate bark with cacao nibs + fleur de sel | the vanilla bean blog
The kind folks at Martha Stewart Living are giving away a copy of Clean Slate, as well as a bottle of the Martha Stewart Essentials Women’s Mutli-Vitamin and the Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins! To enter the giveaway: leave a comment with your name and email address below.

The Martha Stewart Everyday Entertaining Collection is available exclusively at Macy’s.

Although I was provided with a copy of Clean Slate, all opinions are my own.

sunday suppers gathering
This past weekend I hosted a City Picnic in celebration of the Sunday Suppers, Recipes + Gatherings Cookbook by Karen Mordechai. I stumbled upon Sunday Suppers a few years ago on Instagram; a gorgeous feed filled with pictures from Karen’s Brooklyn studio. There I saw many of my favorite food bloggers and photographers hosting and participating in gatherings and sessions. I tried not to be envious, wishing plane tickets weren’t quite so expensive. But they are, so I looked on from a distance, happy to watch others partake.

When Karen asked me if I’d like to host a small gathering for her cookbook launch, I replied ‘yes!’ with no hesitation. A few months later I found myself on the lawn just outside the Gutherie Theater in Downtown Minneapolis, sharing a lovely city picnic with a few good friends and all our little ones. The sun was blazing but we were tucked under trees, basking in shade and a perfect menu, straight from the pages of the book. My children asked me all week long if we could ‘go back to the picnic again’, which I took as a sign of a really good day, tucked away in their memories. It will be in mine.
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
sunday suppers gathering
City Picnic Menu:
Nigella Chicken Pies with Baby Carrots
Rice, Zucchini, and Feta Frittata with Fennel Pollen Yogurt
Burrata Salad with Spicy Cauliflower Relish and Crostini
Fennel Slaw with Pickled Red Onions, Raisins, Hazelnuts, and Mint
Tomato and Cantaloupe Salad
sunday suppers cookbook

chocolate pots de crème with lavender and sea salt | the vanilla bean blog
Back when I worked at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse, I spent a lot of time making banana bread. It was one of my daily tasks, and after weeks and weeks of mixing and mashing I could have made the bread in my sleep. However one Friday afternoon, after making it had become more routine than pleasure, I had four loaves that sunk in the middle and tasted terrible. I had no idea how it happened, as this recipe was etched in my soul for all eternity. Larry (the coffeehouse owner) walked over to my prep table to take a peek at the wasted loaves, and I’ll never forget his words. “The kitchen gods are always watching,” he said. “You may think you have a recipe down, and that you can never make it wrong, but the minute you feel you own a recipe, or have pride approaching your workspace that lacks any form of humbleness for your ingredients and movement, the gods will remind you, and teach you respect again.” He said it in all sincerity, and in such a strong, kind voice, that those sentences have never left me in my own kitchen.

Which brings me to chocolate pots de crème. It was Thursday. I was just going to ‘whip these up, easy,’ while also interacting with two little ones who were officially on summer vacation and were already bored, working on three other things in the kitchen for blog posts and our own evening meal, and trying to clean my house for dinner guests. I rushed around, unfocused on what I was doing: the chocolate looked completely melted, it must be. I didn’t bring the eggs to room temperature, but they will be fine. But what came out of my oven, 30 minutes later, was not creamy chocolate pudding. The top was bubbly and the darkest brown, and the bottom almost gray with tiny flecks scattered throughout it. I didn’t stop to really notice this, however, and threw them in the fridge to cool. “They’re fine! How bad can pudding taste?” Actually very bad, as my dinner guests and I found out later that evening. Grainy, gray pudding is not what one wants to serve new friends who just finished asking you questions about your food blog. Larry’s words came to mind as our guests graciously finished their cups and said kind things. I had forgotten to take that moment to breathe, feel my ingredients, linger in the whisking and melting and pouring. I had served myself humble pie (or, pots de crème, I guess), aware of the gods above.

Later that week I made the dessert again, taking my time to get things right. I’m happy to report it is delicious: creamy and dreamy, as I knew it would be. I offered up thanks to the heavens, grateful for hard lessons that eventually bring beauty.
chocolate pots de crème with lavender and sea salt | the vanilla bean blog
chocolate pots de crème with lavender and sea salt | the vanilla bean blog
Vibrant Food Cookbook
chocolate pots de crème with lavender and sea salt | the vanilla bean blog
Months ago, Kimberley Hasselbrink from A Year In Food asked on Facebook if anyone would be up for testing recipes for the book she was working on. I immediately emailed her; I had been a fan of her site for such a long time. A few weeks later she sent me some to test: Cornmeal Pancakes with Kumquat Syrup, Autumn Breakfast Bowl, and Summer Berry and Peach Crisp. I knew right away this cookbook was going to be on heavy rotation in my home.

One thing I love about The Year In Food is Kimberley’s unique, yet unpretentious recipes. I always leave her space wanting to make something; I may have to pick up an ingredient or two, but the recipes are beautifully simple and never boring. So here’s another cookbook to add to your wish list: Vibrant Food.

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A few weeks ago I was sent a review copy of America’s Test Kitchen‘s latest cookbook, D.I.Y. Cookbook. I was terribly excited about this because I’m a huge fan of the Test Kitchen, and over the last few years I’ve slowly been making more ‘staples’ from scratch: bread, granola, sauces, vanilla extract, etc. This cookbook is right up my alley with over 100 such recipes for me to experiment with. There are chapters on stocking the pantry, canning, pickling, making cheese and yogurt, curing meats, brews and spirits, and snacks and sweets. It’s a wonderful little book.
We started with some fun things, candied ginger, marshmallows, granola bars, and ketchup. They were all A+. I’ve never cared for marshmallows OR ketchup, and after making them at home I fell in love with them. Everything was so much better. Next up on our list is going to be peanut butter, goat cheese, maple cream, and root beer.
And, aren’t you lucky! The Test Kitchen is giving away one copy of D.I.Y Cookbook to my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below and I will pick the winner Sunday evening. Good luck! The winner is Caley from caley en casa!

 

Purchase my cookbook!

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / BAM / IndieBound

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