• Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Favorite foods: Chocolate. Peanut butter. Bread. Cheese. North Carolina barbecue. Greek food, Mexican food, Thai food. Breakfast. Cake. Coffee.
  • Last bite on earth: A huge spoonful of Nutella.

Bake the Book: Seriously Bitter Sweet

Chocolate Ganache Cake (recipe adapted from Epicurious).

Bake the Book: Desserts for Every Season

Nothing beats a spring dessert made with the first sweet strawberries. Shortcake, pie, homemade ice cream...all better with strawberries!

Bake the Book: Say It With Cake!

Epicurious' Chocolate Ganache Cake. Best chocolate cake ever, hands down.

Bake the Book: Glazed, Filled, Sugared, & Dipped

I adore a chocolate-glazed cruller. But sometimes a simple bag of hot and fresh doughnut holes, dipped in butter, and rolled in cinnamon-sugar really hits the spot.

A Sandwich a Day: Parisienne French Dip at The French Pantry in Jacksonville, FL

I just moved to Jax, and the French Pantry has been an oasis in a culinary desert. Their bruschetta variations are all delicious, and I'm seriously considering making a slice of "Wedding Cake" my birthday lunch this year.

Cook the Book: 'Kitchen Garden Cookbook'

Anything. I have the world's blackest thumb. You could give me the most beautiful kitchen garden ever, and I'd manage to kill everything in it within days, guaranteed.

Open Thread: What's One Food You Wish You Liked?

Seafood. I love shrimp, but just about anything, thanks. Some of it's a textural issue (ie: scallops, oysters), some is a taste issue (ie: crab, even lobster...I just don't see what the big deal is at all). But I do wonder sometimes if I'm missing out..

Giveaway: Win A Limited Edition "Zelda Collection" from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Mojito, White Russian...maybe Pimm's Cup?

Bake the Book: Old School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned To Cook

Soup, when it's cold outside. Mac and cheese. Brownies. Peanut butter.

Bake the Book: La Boulange Bakery: Cafe Cooking At Home

Pain au chocolate. Macarons. Opera cake. Things that are labor intensive that I rarely have time to make myself.

Bake the Book: Mad Hungry Cravings

Chocolate. And Mexican food.

Heading to Nashville

I've lived in Nashville almost 9 years...completely agree with @goochybird about the Pancake Pantry. Marche or the Silly Goose (both in east Nash) for brunch/lunch. The Pharmacy or Burger Up for burgers, Mas Tacos por Favor for Mexican (as authentic as I've ever tasted), Pied Piper or Jeni's for ice cream, Patterson House for drinks, Crema or Barista Parlor for coffee. And yes, by all means, you MUST go to Las Paletas and get popsicles dipped in Olive & Sinclair chocolate. (I'd stock up on O&S bars while you're in the city too.)

Bake the Book: Nigellissima

Cook the Book: 'Classic Snacks Made from Scratch'

Zingers! Oreos, too.

Bake the Book: Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Bread pudding. Or a root beer float with homemade ice cream.

Cook the Book: 'Stewed'

This Mexican chicken soup from the taco hole-in-the-wall joint in my city. Guaranteed cure-all for the common cold, hangovers, and the winter blues.

Bake the Book: Bouchon Bakery

Creme brulee. Or chocolate crepes.

Bake the Book: Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook

Reese's Pieces and Peppermint Patties. Not together.

Bake the Book: The Epicurious Cookbook

My triple-layer mint chocolate cheesecake. It was featured in a Southern Living cookbook one year, so that's gotta be a good sign, right?

Serious Holiday Giveaway: The Baking Steel

Ham, pineapple, banana peppers. Perfect blend of salty, sweet, and spicy.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Camp Bacon Gift Box

BLT. Crispy bacon strips, with slices of fresh summertime tomatoes and avocado, on thick-cut sourdough bread. Perfect sandwich.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Counter Culture Coffee Subscription

Dash of vanilla soy creamer, no sugar. French pressed if I have time.

Ideas, Please - for Wednesday Dinner Before Thanksgiving

My family always gets pizza from the NY style place down the street. We're in North Carolina now, but my parents grew up in Queens, and they both swear this pizza is the real deal. We usually have some leftover, but that's not a bad thing...comes in handy during those times over the weekend when you can't stand the thought of another turkey sandwich.

Bake the Book: Vintage Cakes

Dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting - specifically this cream cheese frosting made with browned-butter and brown sugar.

Bake the Book: The Brown Betty Cookbook

Homemade ice cream made from my dad's old-fashioned, hand-cranked churner.

Birthday lunch in London

I will be spending the day after my birthday in London, and will be going to lunch with friends to celebrate. Later that evening, we'll be attending one of the Paralympic events in Olympic Park, so we are planning on grabbing a quick dinner from a street vendor then. For lunch, though, we'd like to go somewhere where we can sit and enjoy a nice meal. Any type of cuisine and atmosphere is open to possibility. As for price, I plan on spending a little (I realize London is pricey), but I'd rather not break the bank completely. Also, we will not be dressed for anything extremely fancy. Any suggestions?

Need Amazing Dinner Roll Recipe Please

I will be making an Italian-themed dinner for Christmas this year, and I want the perfect dinner roll to go with it. I'm looking for something buttery, soft, and tender....flavored with Italian herbs and/or cheeses....or at the least, a plain roll that could easily be adapted. Any recommendations or recipes, anyone? There are so many recipes out there, but I want one that blows people away! Thanks in advance.

Need new cookie sheets

So I'm in the market for new cookie sheets, and I'm willing to spend for high quality ones that will last. Any suggestions, anyone? Any specific brand anyone likes? Bad experiences with other brands? Do you prefer ones with a lip on one side, no rim at all, or a jellyroll pan? What about the finish - aluminum, non-stick, insulated...? I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but I much prefer cookies that are chewy/cakey as opposed to crunchy. I appreciate any input anyone has!

Are phyllo dough and puff pastry interchangeable?

So I went to make a Brie en Croute a few days ago, only to discover that what I had in my freezer was actually phyllo dough. Since I eventually found a package of puff pastry as well, I went ahead and used that, but I wonder...could I have have used the phyllo? What about in other recipes such as pie/tart crusts, napoleons, etc.? Any recipes (other than baklava) where I shouldn't use one in place of the other? I know they handle differently, and that phyllo tends to dry out more quickly, but other than terms of flavor, texture, and storage, is there anything else of which I should be aware in case I ever decide to substitute?

Amelia Island/Jax/ St. Augustine recommendations?

Hi all ~
I am leaving in about a week and a half to go visit a friend in Jacksonville, Florida, and we are trying to decide on a great place for dinner one night. We'll specifically be on Fernandina Beach, but we don't mind driving a little ways away. Any cuisine/atmosphere/price range is open to possibility. Thanks!

I wanted crispy biscotti ... not rock hard

So I made biscotti yesterday afternoon, and although they turned out alright, they aren't exactly what I was hoping for.

I used Sara Moulton's recipe (although I think she got it from Gourmet magazine), and subbed macadamia nuts for the hazelnuts, and added white chocolate chips as well. (The exact recipe can be seen at:

Anyway, the flavor is good, but they are much crunchier & harder than I'd like them to be. I know biscotti are supposed to be that way to an extent, but I was hoping for a more tender, delicate crumb that resulted in something a little lighter and crispier.

I seem to remember seeing several recipes that do not call for any butter at all (this recipe had 6 tablespoons, if I remember correctly), and I'm wondering if this makes a big difference? Any experienced biscotti-makers out there, I'd really appreciate your thoughts and/or recipes!

What to do with leftover arborio that's NOT risotto

So I made butternut squash risotto for part of my Christmas dinner, and it was fantastic. Problem was, apparently I had caught some vicious stomach bug that showed up a few hours later, and now I'm not sure I'll ever be able to eat butternut squash or risotto ever again. Sad, I know. But now I have about half a box of Arborio rice left over, and no idea what to do with it. Know of any recipes that call for Arborio that aren't risotto? Or does anyone have a risotto recipe that is so different (and good), it won't remind me of how I spent Christmas night?

So I have these leftover herbs...

I have a good bit of fresh thyme & sage leftover from celebrating Thanksgiving last week. So since I really hate to see perfectly good ingredients go to waste, I'm looking a recipe that calls for a lot of either one or both of these herbs. Any ideas? It doesn't matter what course it's for, or what kind of food it is. Just looking for something yummy.

Cake flour vs. AP flour

I have been asked to bake a Tres Leches cake for a Mexican-themed birthday party for a friend later this week. Now while I love these cakes, I've never actually made one before. I have a recipe I want to try (sort of a combination of two very similar recipes), but one calls for 2 cups cake flour, and the other for 2.5 cups AP flour. I personally like to use cake flour in a lot of baking recipes because I think it makes a more tender crumb, but since I have never made this recipe before, I'm hesitant to just swap them out. At this point, I'm contemplating using 2 cups cake flour and an additional half-cup AP flour. Thoughts, anyone?

Best apple for pie?

Now that fall has officially arrived, so too has apple pie season. I, for one, am totally excited about this, and my guess is that many of you are too. With that in mind, what brand of apples do you feel is the best for pie? I've tried various kinds over the years (some with better luck than others), but I'm on the hunt for which one is perfect. Do you use only one kind, or do you mix several? I've got a recipe I generally use, so now I just want the perfect apple to complete it.

Which spice to use in Mexican chocolate dishes?

Lately I've been having a craving for anything chocolate with Mexican influences - drinks, cookies, truffles...anything. But in looking at a lot of recipes, I've become confused over which spices to add. Cinnamon is easy enough, but some recipes call for ground red pepper, some for black pepper, some for cayenne pepper, some for chili powder, and some for any combination of the above. Does one really taste different than another, or are they interchangeable? And if there are discernable taste differences, is one better than the other?

Where's the Barefoot Contessa?

Does anyone know if Ina Garten, aka the "Barefoot Contessa," is still filming her show for the Food Network? Or is she on any other channel? I know the FN airs her show nearly every day, but I haven't seen a new one in quite awhile. In fact, I don't know that I've seen one with a 2008 copyright date. Just wondering...I miss Ina!

Freezing Bechamel Sauce?

I recently made a bechamel-cheese sauce (mainly due to having a rather large amount of both milk and several different cheeses that needed to be used), but am now left with more sauce than I can possibly consume on my own. I would like to freeze some of it, but am unsure as to how the consistency will be once it's thawed. Any ideas on whether or not this is a good idea?

Healthy Substitute for Whipped Cream?

Does anyone have any ideas for healthier substitutes for whipped cream, other than Cool Whip (which apparently most Serious Eats readers seem to really dislike...)? While I love the taste and texture of real whipped cream, and will use it for special occasions, I don't particularly like how high in fat and calories it is. And while I don't personally have an issue with the taste of Cool Whip (or any other whipped topping), I don't like the use of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup in it. So any ideas on how I can have my cake (or in this case, whipped cream) and eat it too?

The Food Lab: Hasselback Potato Gratin (These Might be the Best Potatoes Ever)

I woke up in the middle of the night the other day with an idea: what if I were to combine the concept of a Hasselback potato—that array of crisp ridges at the top—with a creamy potato gratin, the king of all casseroles? I went into the kitchen and got to work on the first batch of what would end up being my favorite potato recipe in years. More