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By Emilia Juocys The Christmas baking season is upon us again and I could not be happier for the cookies that will be coming out of my oven. The usual suspects of chocolate chip, ginger pig, chocolate orange crinkles, cat’s tongues, and dream bars are in the works. Baked treats for my family and friends. The funny thing was that I was so excited for Christmas cookies because earlier this year the Chicago chef and cookie goddess Mindy Segal came out with her cookie book, Cookie Love. I jumped for joy because the book has the most-delicious rugelach recipe ever! So if you are looking for a dazzling cookie book to give to your baker this holiday, sprint to get this one. Every year I mention why I enjoy sharing these tasty morsels and how that brings smiles to Read On »

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  My friend Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.   By Stephanie Stiavetti The holidays are a great time to pull out all the stops in your baking projects, producing incredibly impressive desserts of all types. My past Christmas baking projects have included four dozen handmade brioche cinnamon rolls, an entremet cake with two kinds of cake sandwiched between four different kinds of mousse, and a six-layer pavlova that looked like a decorated Christmas tree at the North Pole. I loved creating these desserts, because they’re a challenge and showcase the pastry skills I’ve built up over the years. But when December rolled around this year, the idea of creating an enormous baking project made me want to punch myself in the face. The holiday season Read On »

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    My friend Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti) writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book is Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.   By Stephanie Stiavetti It wasn’t all that long ago that homemade bread was a regular staple at the table. Two, perhaps three, generations have passed and pushed this skill into the history books. No more warm loaves on the table, or seductive smells piquing your senses. It’s a genuine loss. Bread was one of the first projects I took on myself as a girl, and though my grandmothers didn’t really make bread, I was able to pick up the process pretty quickly. At 10 years old I baked my first bread with only the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook to guide me, and by age 12 I had managed a pretty decent French bread that earned Read On »

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This is a followup to Emilia’s previous post and it makes me want to weep with gratitude. This is one way we can change things. —M.R. By Emilia Juocys Last weekend I went to Columbus, Ohio, to help my friend Tricia Keels run her Backyard Kids’ Restaurant. To see a suburban backyard transform into a restaurant is amazing, and to watch all the children and parents participate in this event is inspirational. The energy level is so high and it’s such a positive affirming experience. Plus, I get to teach both children and adults about food! For this year’s menu we offered house-made Italian sausages, Swedish meatballs, an insanely good Swedish meatball gravy (beef demiglace, sautéed onions, vermouth, cream), cucumber salsa, a jumbo Glad bag of tortilla chips, black beans, pickled okra, lots of grilled vegetables, house-ground flour pancakes, local blueberry Read On »

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I’ve long said the way to help change the way America eats is to teach kids to cook. This is a story from my colleague Emilia in which kids not only cook, but rather take it to a new level, using cooking to bring a community together.—M.R. By Emilia Juocys I met Tricia Keels at Eat Retreat in the summer of 2014. Both from the Midwest (she from Ohio and I Michigan) and sharing a passion for food, we immediately hit it off. She briefly mentioned her nonprofit Souper Heroes and this “kid-run restaurant” her family throws in their backyard once a year. But with everything going on at the retreat, the thought slipped away. Until I got a call from her last August with the words, “I think we need your help.” The Keels Backyard Restaurant was born Read On »

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