Worldly Recipes with a Trader Joe’s touch

Imagine creating a cookbook with the idea of using products from Trader Joe’s Well, that’s exactly what Cherie Mercer Twohy has done.  And while TJ’s is not associated with the project, Twohy has done an admirable job of creating a full slate of international recipes using TJ’s items. Chapters include the expected stuff  like Italian, Chinese and Mexican recipes, but Twohy also includes chapters like ‘Island Flavors,’ ‘Middle East Magic,’ ‘African Adventure’ and ‘Greek Idyll.’ They all sound tempting and are enhanced by beautiful photos. I’d like to try the Banh Mi, which includes TJ’s Truffle Mousse Pate and their
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Cake Pops. What a concept.

I love being a food writer for many reasons; one of them being that people send me things for my “inspection.”  After checking things out, I pass the items on either donating them to charity or giving them to someone I know will make good use of them.  Such is the case with the second bake book I received from Ulysses Press a few weeks ago (see my previous review of “Mini Pies”.)  I plan on gifting them both to my boss at my day job as she loves to bake. The second book is called, “Crazy for Cake Pops.”
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Little Pies; Big Tastes

Miniature desserts are all the rage these days, and with good reason. What better way to satisfy a sweet craving with the worry of overindulging? And so when the people at Ulysses Press sent me a copy of  “Mini Pies”,  I was intrigued. Written by Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth of Seattle’s Mini Empire Bakery, this tiny baking book is chock full of pretty little treats.  You’ll find recipes for everything from bottoms to toppings. Fruit pies, cream pies, savory pies, nut pies, a variety of crusts and some interesting toppings are all part of the package. The photos are
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OMG! A great guide for novice cooks.

Learning to cook can be a little intimidating even for a young foodie. But a new cookbook published by Tate Publishing  – www.tatepublishing.com  –  takes a little of the fear and trepidation out of the process. “OMG – Oh My Gosh! I’m In College and I Never Learned to Cook” is written by Hollis Ledbetter,  a mom who knows what it means to send your kids off to school armed with book smarts but maybe not the skills it takes to create meals like they had at home. The majority of the recipes are pretty simple, many of them with
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Kringles – Sweet Treats from the heartland

I know sweets aren’t exactly what one thinks of when it come to food that’s good for you, but quality baked goods in moderation are good for the soul. I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, a city known for its bakeries, Danish bakeries to be specific. Sticky buns, kolaches, napoleons, breads all are a part of the action. But the signature item is something called kringle. Kringles are a little hard to explain, but once you’ve has one you’ll never forget. Basically a kringle is buttery layers of thin, sweet dough filled with any number of goodies; fruit, nuts, chocolate,
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Talk About Your Local Color!

For the month of May it was undeniably purple! I’ve still been enjoying my bi-weekly visits to the local farmers’ market and loving how simple a start it makes menu-setting for my weeks. If I had to state a downside, the only one I can think of is that if our plans get juggled and we push a day or two off, sometimes the produce just doesn’t last long enough! But, hey, it’s a smallish price to pay for just-picked goodness. I’m even starting to make friends with a couple of the farmers! As spring began we were excited to
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Olive oil and other Italian goodies on line.

As I mentioned in my last post, I love getting food in the mail. These days all it takes is a couple of clicks and in a few days there is a package filled with goodies at your door. I’ve ordered mail food for years but recently I’ve become a regular at several great food websites. One of my ultimate favorites is Fratelli Carli, an Italian based online store that features olive oil and other Italian specialties. They’ve been in business for 100 years, so that tells you something. I regularly order the six pack of Extra Virgin olive oil,
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A Peek in the Pantry

Not long ago, a new friend asked me a question that I did not have a ready answer for: How do you stock a pantry? The question stumped me because a) I hadn’t (ever?) given the matter much thought–it was just something that we did–and b) it really depends on how you cook. Still, as the week went on I thought more and more about pantry basics and what tips I could offer her. And if I’m going to answer the question for one person, maybe there are more out there who could benefit from my answers. Let’s take this
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Farmers’ Market Follow-Up

If there’s one thing I retained from 3 years as a Brownie it’s “Be Prepared.” In fact, I might be a smidgen compulsive on the research front, wanting to know as much as possible about a situation before heading into it. So it was that I asked for helpful hints in advance of my first trip to the local farmers’ market this past weekend. Armed with my new-found knowledge I approached Saturday’s blustery market with my own shopping bag, plenty of 5s and 1s and a fresh dose of optimism. I started with a circuit around the pavilion to get
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Farmer’s Market Etiquette

Now that the dust has settled from the holidays, it’s time to get back to routines–both old and a few new. We moved just before Christmas and, among other things, our new location puts us within 5 minutes of a local Farmer’s Market–possibly the best in town–so one of my new habits, this year, is to start shopping there for produce before heading to the grocery store for the rest. Starting next weekend. But as I think about it more, some questions come to mind. Being a researcher by habit and knowing that some of the best sources may be
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