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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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I met MyThy at Sister Pie, where she works prepping pie filling and mixing dough for cookies, scones, crumbles, and pie crust. Plus, she has a killer Instagram account and blog. Like Lisa, who owns and operates Sister Pie, MyThy also has a creative culinary mind and bakes amazing cookies and breads. This is why I asked her to submit a recipe to Michael’s blog.  When she is not in the kitchen you can find her saving lives as an ER nurse at a local hospital in Detroit. She cares for people during the day, saving lives on- and off-hours. She nourishes people by feeding them her latest concoctions. MyThy then takes leftovers back and feeds her coworkers baked goodies to boost morale for those with grueling ER shifts. The staff call them “Mighty Treats!” MyThy is a Southern Californian native, transplanted to Michigan, aka the Mitten State (which plays Read On »

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Cranberry-Sauce

I’m reposting this Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch from November 21, 2012, because they’re every bit as good now as it was then: My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, Read On »

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Turkey-Dressing2

I’m in the Miami airport, Cleveland bound, having been a part of the amazing Miami Book Fair to promote my new collection of novellas, In Short Measures, love stories. Met some hero fiction writers, such as Elizabeth McCracken, whose “Thunderstruck” is one of the best short stories I’ve read in years. Also Mary Gaitskill, who scares the shit out of me, Rick Moody, who does not, Mary Karr, on whom I crush, and new writer friends Les Standiford, John Dufresne, and Cindi Chinelly. What a great fair, thanks to Mitchell Kaplan and Books & Books. Reposting the following for those looking for a delicious and simple Thanksgiving dressing: The nice thing about blogging as opposed to newspapering is that I don’t feel the obligation to always come up with a new way of roasting turkey Read On »

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Braise-roasted-Turkey

I received the following email today from my beloved cousin Ryan, husband to the smarter-than-he-is Tesse, father of a toddler with another on the way, and they’ve just moved into their first house: Michael, I am undertaking my first thanksgiving and have responsibility for all the cooking.  I am starting to think I am a bit over my head and was hoping you could help me get things under control.  I’m not even sure where to start?  Other than turkey. Ryan Dear Ryan, First, make a list of everything you’d like to serve, write it all down on a piece of paper, then make a plan for cooking it. (The last thing you want to be doing is entering a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. You’re smarter than that.) Have plenty of onions and carrots Read On »

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