Cookbook Sundays

  • David Lebovitz’ Best Sweet and Spicy Party Mix Ever David Lebovitz’ Best Sweet and Spicy Party Mix Ever

    David Lebovitz’ Best Sweet and Spicy Party Mix Ever

David Lebovitz’ Best Sweet and Spicy Party Mix Ever

  This party mix saved my life this holiday season. Whether my husband forgot to tell me people were coming over, whether I needed a last minute hostess gift, whether I forgot to eat a meal and needed a quick snack, this sweet and spicy pretzel and nut mix was there to save the day. Really, though, you’ll want to save this all for yourself to nibble on over a chilled glass of wine as your coq au vin simmers away. (That’s the scenario in my dreams, anyway.) It was so quick to whip up, so delicious, that I have already made nearly two-and-a-half pounds of it in total.The first time I grabbed a handful, still slightly warm from the oven, I told myself this was the best thing I’d ever made. Maybe I’ve said that one or two or three times, but this is no regular nuts and bolts […]

  • Nigella’s Christmas Cornflake Wreaths Nigella’s Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

    Nigella’s Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

Nigella’s Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

  Growing up, Rice Krispie squares were an exotic treat. Celebratory desserts, at our house, were more likely to be baklava, or kenefe (a sweet cheese pastry made with kadaif), or perhaps melomakarona (Greek honey cookies). So, I will admit that I have never ever made Rice Krispie treats and the prospect of making these Christmas Cornflake Wreaths was a bit daunting. These aren’t your typical melted mallow-and-cereal treats, though, these are Rice Krispie treats all grown up.I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook Nigella Christmas, but you can also find the recipe here. Yes, these are a little kitschy but I think that’s half the charm of a holiday dessert. Despite all the effort I put into Martha Stewart’s chocolate gingerbread house petits fours, these are the treats that got rave reviews when I took them into work. Crunchy, gooey, and the addition of the sesame seeds offset the syrupy […]

  • Hazelnut-almond financiers redux Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

    Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

Hazelnut-almond financiers redux

  I am a micromanager at the best of times and one of the ways that manifests itself is my obsessive checking of my blog stats. I can’t help but wonder – who keeps misspelling my surname as Nercessian to come to this blog? And who are the readers in Afghanistan? Also, are financiers molds really that hard to find that so many people find my blog by Googling those keywords? (Please, for the love of all things chocolate, reveal yourselves!) In fact, they are hard to find and I bought my silicone financiers molds at eBay from a purveyor in New York City. And after many, many, many months I used them.Many moons ago I used the recipe from Clotilde Dusoulier’s book to make financiers and blogged about it. I followed the recipe almost exactly last time, and they were delicious and impossibly moist, but I couldn’t help but think […]

  • Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon crunch and bourbon-maple whipped cream Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon crunch and bourbon-maple whipped cream

    Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon crunch and bourbon-maple whipped cream

Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon crunch and bourbon-maple whipped cream

  I have to admit I was wary when making this pie from Bobby Flay’s new book “Throwdown!”, which features recipes from his cooking challenge show on Food Network. For one, whenever he is challenged on his baking skills, he is nervous because he knows baking is not his forte. Second, even he acknowledges taking the easy way out by making a graham cracker crust rather than making a pastry crust. Third, he admits the “Throwdown” show audience booed him for using pumpkin puree from a can. Well, he won the challenge. So when my co-worker and I agreed to bring pumpkin pie leftover from our Thanksgiving celebrations, and be judged by our peers in an informal “Throwdown” of our own,  I was feeling pretty unbeatable. After all, I’m the more domestic of the two of us – married with a kid and I bake all the time, while my competitor […]

  • Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

    Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

Dorie Greenspan’s Nutella Tartine

  Where a North American after-school snack might be a glass of milk and cookies, the French goûter is often a pain au chocolat. Sometimes, Dorie Greenspan says in her new cookbook “Around My French Table” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) it might even be an open-faced chocolate sandwich. This may seem ridiculous to Canadians, and Americans, but it’s not unusual in Europe where Nutella is as popular as peanut butter is here. Even in the Netherlands, my good friend Elsbeth served me chocolate shavings on toast for breakfast when I stayed with her in Utrecht. This recipe is French pastry chef Pierre Hermé’s interpretation of the after-school treat (you may know him as the master of macarons).I still need to review Greenspan’s book, which came to me via the good people at Thomas Allen, but in the meantime I am imploring you to make this, eat this, even if you make nothing else off […]

  • Nigella’s chocolate banana muffins Nigella’s chocolate banana muffins

    Nigella’s chocolate banana muffins

Nigella’s chocolate banana muffins

  This recipe comes to us from Nigella’s latest behemoth cookbook “Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home,” which I will be reviewing in short order so stay tuned. In the meantime, though, this was one of the first recipes I marked after leafing through the book at a galloping pace. I leave for work so early during the week I don’t get to have breakfast with my son so I try to make him something special for breakfast on the weekends. On this particular weekend, my son was boycotting any and all fruits so I decided to sneak some bananas into his diet by way of these muffins. He’s not much of a chocolate fan, so I was taking a risk.In her recipe, which you can also find online, Nigella says these muffins are so darkly delicious they are begging to be served as a dessert alongside coffee […]

  • Giada’s Zuccotto Giada’s Zuccotto

    Giada’s Zuccotto

Giada’s Zuccotto

  Lately I feel like all I have been doing is making excuses, friends, but I have a very good reason for being slow to blog. I’m officially back to work. Yep, my maternity leave is over. You know what that means, no dreamy walks in the park, no bonbons, and definitely no Young and Restless. Not! (Don’t read on if you are pregnant and can’t handle the truth.)Heck, the truth is I am finally drinking hot coffee again! But, truth be admitted, there is scant time for blogging in the evenings. My kid is more clingy since I’ve returned to work, and I don’t blame him. After a day at work, it’s all I can do to run through the door and scoop him up. The beauty of this recipe, however, is that it is so easy you can make it even when you are a working mom. In fact, I bet […]

  • Giada’s pea pesto crostini Giada’s pea pesto crostini

    Giada’s pea pesto crostini

Giada’s pea pesto crostini

  It’s my unspoken mandate to write mainly about baking and pastries, although I do veer off track now and again, and this is one of those times because I just can’t resist. While planning for a barbecue at our house this summer, I decided to add something new to the tried-and-true mix of hummus and kebab that appear at every gathering. I made hummus, yes, but I also made Giada’s pea pesto crostini. I had all the ingredients on hand and I was able to whip it up in a jiffy even though I also had to make several other dishes for our lunch.And you know what? I had loads of hummus left over, but only two of the pea pesto crostini weren’t wolfed down.I made this recipe from Giada’s book “Giada at Home”, which I reviewed here, but you can also find it on the Food Network website […]