An Unfortunate Affinity to 70s Soft Rock, and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Sweet Potatoes Biscuit Recipe on

Mmmm sweet potato biscuits… /homerdrool

Here’s an annoying fact: I get music from my parents’ generation stuck in my head. All. The. Time. Perhaps it’s because my mom listened to music constantly when I was small, but regardless of the cause, the end result is the vast majority of the 70s soft rock genre has wormed its way into my subconscious like an earwig on a coke bender. Air Supply, Chicago, Bread, the Carpenters, the entirety of the Yacht Rock canon. It’s all very good music, to be sure, but it’s little out of context in the land that is Steph’s Brain… And it’s become one hell of a distraction. [Read more...]

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni and Cheese Casserole with Ham and Cubed Sourdough on

 - This macaroni and cheese casserole is a culinary trinity of Gruyère, Emmentaler, and Black Forest Ham -

Thanksgiving is coming up. Even though it’s later than usual this year – to the degree that it’s magically synced up with Chanukah – it still creeped up on me, sneaking around in little mousy slippers. I love Thanksgiving, but this year I’m just too tired to cook. The book tour for Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese was short but intense, and left me with a lingering cold that thinks it’s found a cozy place to hang out for the winter. (I heartily disagree and am doing all I can to evict said ick – out, damn bug!)  I am so, so glad to be home; I am so, so glad that the cold, reflective season is upon us; and I am so, so beat that the idea of cooking for the holidays makes me want to curl up into a tiny ball and wave the white flag.

But cook I will, because that’s what I do. [Read more...]

Mel’s Choco-Pecan-Yum Pie Recipe

Mel's Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe- Mel’s awesome, excellent, amazing chocolate pecan pie recipe -

I love pie more than words can express, and there are few things more decadent that a truly special chocolate pecan pie recipe. Regular pecan pie is lovely, of course – but if you’ve never had a chocolate pecan pie, well, you’re seriously missing out. Especially when it comes to this particular recipe.

Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for this dish. All kudos should be passed onto my friend Mel, who left a slice of this treasure on my desk at work. I happened to be working at home that day, and an email appeared in my inbox telling me that I’d better get my butt into the office because people were eyeballing my slice of pie. I hemmed and hawed, dragging my feet, until I somehow managed to drag myself back to my desk. After my first bite, I swore allegiance to Mel forever. Let me tell you dear coworkers: if anyone ever needs to get me into the office immediately, this pie is the perfect bribe. [Read more...]

Traditional Shortbread Recipe (Mürbteig)

Traditional Shortbread Recipe (Mürbteig)
I’ve been searching for the ultimate traditional shortbread recipe for ages now. I love shortbread, but a lot of the recipes I find are too crumbly or too fatty for my taste. Ideally, shortbread should be a lesson in tender luxury – light and gently sweet, without leaving a fatty feeling on your palate. Finding the perfect shortbread was turning into an exercise in futility, and this lack of a decent recipe was a particular bummer around the holidays. [Read more...]

Apricot, Cherry, Cranberry and Cardamom Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Apricot, Cherry, Cranberry and Cardamom Hot Cross Buns Recipe- Apricot, Cherry, Cranberry and Cardamom Hot Cross Buns Recipe - 

When I was a little girl, my grandma lived to drive out of her way for something she loved to eat. A food lover above all else, she would drive twenty miles north for her favorite enchiladas, half an hour south for the best gingerbread, and over two bridges to find what she considered a superlative bowl of soup. She appreciated the process of seeking out dishes that made her happy, and the adventure was a savory extension of the flavor she was so looking forward to.

Like any teenager in a hurry to get away from home, I turned 16 and promptly earned my drivers license. Then I because my grandma’s chauffeur, driving in circles around the Bay Area to ease her cravings. I ventured to Hayward for French bread, got lost in Half Moon Bay looking for Christmas cookies, and on a near-weekly basis, braved traffic down 101 to Palo Alto for smoked ribs from a very specific butcher at a very specific Lunardi’s. [Read more...]

Fat Tuesday! Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe – Stand Mixer-Free

 Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe on A Mardi Gras king cake Recipe for your Fat Tuesday pleasure! -

It’s king cake day! Or rather, today is Fat Tuesday, which means it’s time to get your grub on before the Lenten fast begins. Ok, I’m not really going to fast – that tradition died out in my family ages ago. But, in celebration of Mardi Gras, I did dig out my favorite king cake recipe.

If you’re not familiar with king cake, you might be surprised to read that most recipes require you to knead the dough. Dough in a cake recipe, you may ask yourself? [Read more...]

Gluten-Free Vegetarian New Years Eve: Sorghum Tabbouleh Salad

Sorghum-Tabbouleh Salad on http://www.theculinarylife.comThis week’s guest post is compliments of Carol Fenster, author of many gluten-free cookbooks. Most recently, Carole published 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes, a book that caters to a sadly unrepresented demographic in the publishing world: gluten-free folk who eschew meat. Everyone who follows this diet will thank her for this collection of lovely dishes!

Please welcome Carol as she shares with us suggestions for the gluten-free vegetarians in your New Years Eve entertaining plans. You might be surprised how many there are in your midst — or how many people who don’t adhere to this sort of diet will appreciate the healthy options in your buffet.

It used to be that the hostess made the food and the guests ate it. Today, entertaining has become more complicated because not all of your guests can eat everything. About 21 million Americans have a gluten intolerance (3 million have actual Celiac Disease, while another 18 million have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity). Combine that with the 3 percent who are vegetarian and the 23 million who follow a vegetarian diet “some-of-the-time,” (we call them flexitarians) it is quite likely that your New Year’s party will include a gluten-free vegetarian.

What can you serve a gluten-free vegetarian? Actually, there are many good choices. [Read more...]