By Garrett McCord, author of Vanilla Garlic
When lemons come into season in the middle of winter I start to go a bit lemonade crazy. Yes, it may still be chilly outside and the car windshield may still require a scraping every morning, but I can never say no to a tall glass of sweet and sour lemonade. Enjoyed in front of a fire with a bowl of aveglemono soup, a favorite book you've read five times before, or a slice of almond cake lemonade always makes life a bit more enjoyable and lets you forget the world for a few moments.
I usually end up using the more common Eureka lemons for my lemonade as I think their intense citric punch is a good contrast against the sugar, but a sweet and orange-y Meyer lemon will be just as happy in a clinking glass filled with ice. I also always toss in the seeds and pod of a fresh vanilla bean - usually Tahitian for its creaminess - as it adds a floral, rich, decadent layer of flavor to the lemonade. Plus, who can resist the comely pinprick speckles of real vanilla dancing in their drink?14 Jan
There is nothing that makes me happier than to have a hot breakfast ready for my family in the morning. While this doesn’t always happen due to hectic schedules and busy lives, when I do have the time, Belgium waffles are at the top of the list. Easily prepared in 10 minutes, the batter can even be made the night before and stored in the fridge for simple preparation in the morning.09 Jan
Beanilla carries a large selection of extracts and flavorings that any chef or home cook would love. From almond to lavender the choices are extensive! Cool, refreshing and a perfect complement to rich chocolate; Peppermint, one of my personal favorites!
Peppermint brownie tarts begin with a base of chocolate fudge brownie, a middle layer of cool peppermint filling and a top layer of rich dark chocolate ganache. They are a small but decadent dessert that is easy to make and guaranteed to disappear faster than you can make them.07 Jan
Whoopie pies are a classic lunch box treat. Growing up it was always a treat to find whoppie pies, swiss cake rolls or oatmeal crème pies in our lunch nestled amongst the frozen juice boxes and the flattened tuna sandwich! (Courtesy of the frozen juice box)
Times have changed; the classics are delicious and bring back happy memories of child hood but parents these days are much more aware and concerned about what their children are consuming. Highly processed snacks and treats are being replaced with whole foods and nutritous snacks. Baking from scratch allows parents and health conscious persons to regulate the amount of refined flour, sugar and fats we introduce into our diets.05 Jan
Warm, soft, buttery snickerdoodles are one cookie my husband just can't resist! I have his recipe written in the front of an address book, although I'm sure he knows it by heart by now. My children love the recipe so much that I have finally transferred it to a digital recipe book for them to take with them when they leave and have families of their own. This year we were able to enhance his cookie by rolling it in a mixture of cinnamon and vanilla sugar.02 Jan
Some days there is nothing quite as nice as cuddling up with a warm blanket, a good movie and a big bowl of freshly made popcorn! I'm not talking about the kind you pop in the microwave with the fake butter substance, no. But, I am talking about good old fashioned cook-on-the-stovetop popcorn. The kind that pops up light and fluffy, begging for a drizzle of real melted butter and perhaps a sprinkle of vanilla fleur de sel.27 Dec
When I think of raspberries, I think of my in-laws. In the early to late fall, there is a beautiful "u-pick" raspberry farm close to their home that has the most delectable raspberries known to man. My mother-in-law introduced me to them a few years ago on one of our visits back home. Picture a long winding drive, a couple of dogs greeting you with excited barks and a middle-aged woman smiling as she tends to her stand. The stand is stocked full of treasures such as homemade breads, jams and the most exquisite raspberry flower honey I have ever tasted. She greets you with a smile and a basket to collect the berries, points you in the direction of the most plentiful bushes and sends you on your way. Once you arrive at the raspberry bushes, you notice how peaceful it is and you begin to collect the sweet red berries. Most of the berries make it into the basket, but a few are so beautiful and ripe, they beg to be eaten right then!22 Dec
A few weeks ago, I posted a homemade Kahlua recipe that was perfect for gift giving! I know that you have put aside a small amount for yourself, so I have created a special drink just for you. So, sit down, wrap a few presents and pour yourself a glass of deliciousness!21 Dec
We recently hosted a holiday cocktail party with a few family members, co-workers and neighbors. Hosting and welcoming friends into my home is one of the greatest joys in my life. I enjoy providing delicious food, lively conversation and a beautiful atmosphere which I have been doing for many years. Over the years, I have learned what works and what does not. With many successes and a few colossal failures, my guests seem pleased and return year after year.20 Dec
In our family, holiday tradition dictates that Santa is left a plate of cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. As parents, we drink half of the glass of milk and take a bite out of a cookie and place it back on the plate. For many children, part of the wonder of Christmas is seeing the half eaten treat that they left for Santa and believing that he was there.18 Dec
You have spent all day shopping for the perfect gifts to give to love ones and family. Upon arriving at home you have to create a perfect dinner for your guests, make the house presentable and, oh yes, you need to end your perfect dinner with a delectable dessert!15 Dec
Certain foods evoke memories of holidays; peeps for Easter, candy corn for Halloween and, of course, candy canes for Christmas. Each year, as Christmas draws near, my son asks to make peppermint bark; a tradition I am more than happy to continue with him. I always encourage parents to cook and bake with their children, and peppermint bark is an easy recipe to create with just about any age child.11 Dec
My husband is not a dessert fan, which always bewilders friends and acquaintances when they learn I am a pastry chef. He would happily eat pizza in place of dessert any day. Me, on the other hand, I could live on sweets and vegetables. One of the few desserts that he loves is chocolate cream pie; I can see the allure that it has for him. Rich creamy chocolate mousse, sweet flaky pie dough topped with sweet whipped cream. What a perfect dessert!10 Dec
There are two different variations of macaroons; French and American. American macaroons are usually coconut based, sometimes dipped in chocolate and are delicious. French macarons are light and crunchy but with a soft interior. They can be filled with just about any flavor of buttercream you can create.03 Dec
Are you looking for a holiday gift for a teacher, personal trainer, landscaper or even your neighbors? Nothing is more appreciated than a homemade gift of cookies. Everyone loves cookies, and the fact that you took time out of your busy schedule to create a gift especially for them makes it even more special.