Our Authors

Stephanie Stiavetti

Stephanie Stiavetti

Writer and Digital Media Mistress

Stephanie is a writer and cookbook author recovering from her former tech-startup life. On the side she's also a media consultant, specializing in all forms of digital goodness: audio, video, print, design, and social media.

After leaving the tech world nearly a decade ago, Stephanie made a career jump to her lifetime love, writing. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, KQED's Bay Area Bites, NPR, and other select media outlets. Her first cookbook, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, is due out in fall 2013 on Little, Brown with coauthor Garrett McCord.

Being a recovering techy leaves an indelible mark, and everything Stephanie does is infused with her deep fascination with digital technology. She has been blogging since 1999, before blog engines even existed and a great readership consisted of a handful of friends who occasionally thought to check out your site. In 2005 she started her first food blog, which she repurposed in 2007 to become The Culinary Life.

Stephanie can be called many things: food writer, essayist, professional recipe developer, cookbook author, social media consultant, videographer, documentary maker, website developer, archivist of life. Despite all of these titles, she most commonly responds to Steph.

  • Website
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Favorite foods: Anything rich and comforting: shepherd's pie, oxtail stew, sweet potato pie, fudgy brownies.
  • Last bite on earth: Farmstead burrata, made that morning, from a farm in Puglia.

Gift Guide: For the Cheese Lover

The holidays are almost here. Stuck on what to get for the cheese lovers on your shopping list? Thankfully cheese people are relatively easy to shop for, and the internet has made it that much easier by providing an endless parade of cheese tools, toys, and treasures to choose from. Below you'll find some of my favorite finds for cheese fanatics, all vetted and enjoyed personally by your resident fromagère. That's me, in case you were unclear. *ahem* More

Serious Cheese: 3 Unusual Goat's Milk Cheeses to Get You Hooked

Goat's milk has a very specific flavor. Many would call it tart, and there are countless simple goat cheeses that play up this personality trait more than anything else. True goat cheese lovers, however, understand that goat's milk can carry with it a symphony of characteristics ranging from grassy to meaty to an especially subtle sweetness that rewards those attentive to its nuanced flavor. It's these traits that we're focusing on today. More

Three Sheep's Milk Cheeses You Must Try

Maybe it's the luxurious fatty texture, or perhaps it's the characteristic grassiness that conjures visions of green pastures and wide-open blue skies. Regardless of your reasoning, the fact remains that when you sink your teeth into a fine specimen of fermented sheep's milk, it can rock your world. Here are three of our favorites. More

Five West Coast Cheeses You Must Try

Unless you're living under a rock where no cheese exists, you're probably aware that the West Coast is home to many of the artisan cheese world's most inspired varieties of fermented dairy. But of all the small-time cheese producers churning out new kinds of cheese, which are the the most reliable favorites? Here are five West Coast cheeses you simply MUST try. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. More

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni with Ham and Cubed Sourdough From 'Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese'

Kagredon - Just to annoy you, personally. :)

Gruyère and Emmentaler Macaroni with Ham and Cubed Sourdough From 'Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese'

Kagredon - Just to annoy you, personally. :)

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Dr Pepper

@samgwells - That's one of the issues with slow cookers - they're not exactly accurate and can range all over the place for temperatures. Did you have yours on high or low?

Serious Cheese: 12 Tips for Cooking with Cheese

@guycooking I think the cheese you're thinking of is "Raclette." :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raclette

Comfort Me with: Rustic Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Olives, and Red Wine

V. Stoffels - Nice one! I wish I remembered more Latin from college. ;)

Comfort Me with: Rustic Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Olives, and Red Wine

ChristopherRobin88 - it's tart, herbacious, and salty thanks to the tomatoes, herbs, and olives.

Comfort Me with: Rustic Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Olives, and Red Wine

Also, we'll work on fixing the link. Thanks for the heads up!

Comfort Me with: Rustic Chicken Stew with Tomatoes, Olives, and Red Wine

elangomatt - you can use a decent cabernet. :)

Funkadelic Cheeses: The Source of the Smell

@AcaciaWildwood - That is Époisses. :)

Eat This Cheese: Délice de Bourgogne

@atetoomuch - It depends on a few factors. How cold is your fridge? What is the cheese wrapped in? How ripe is the cheese when you buy it? I'd say to wrap the cheese in parchment paper and then store it in a less-cool part of your fridge (not where the OJ freezes) for another week or so. I'd also recommend asking the cheesemonger that you bought the cheese from for their recommendations.

Here are some tips:

http://www.shepherdspurse.co.uk/articles/how-to-store-cheese.html

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

Holy smokes! You folks have some expensive cheese and gingersnaps at your local grocery stores. I think my cookies were $2. Zoinx.

It breaks my heart to think of all this good food going to waste. I really hate it when a recipe doesn't work, and I hate it even more watching it happen to other people. :(

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

Also, if anyone wants to cut down on costs a bit, you can substitute half of the mascarpone for an equal amount of cream cheese (or do all cream cheese if you like).

I buy high quality Vermont Creamery mascarpone which costs only $3 for 8oz - that's about the same price as cream cheese where I shop. I'm not sure how people are spending upwards of $30-40 dollars on this cake. I make it for under $20 every time, even using 100% artisan-quality mascarpone.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

Just reporting back - I've made this recipe *three times* today and I just can't duplicate the breaking cheesecake mystery. I've even tried to break it on purpose, purposely overbeating my cheese, using WAY too much butter to grease the pan, etc. Still nothing. This bizarre 1/2-inch of fat on the top of the cake just refuses to appear. The only thing I can think is that the water bath leaked into the pan for some of you. That's the only time I've ever seen a layer of liquid on top of a cheesecake--when the pan leaked. I've adjusted the recipe and headnote to notify anyone who might want to make this cake in the future. See note here:

If you are planning on using a water bath with this recipe, please be aware that springform pans are notorious for leaking. This means that you must wrap your cake tightly in heavy duty and/or commercial foil (link above in special equipment) before setting in the water bath. Heavy duty foil is wider than foil made for home use area, so it goes a long way to preventing water from leaking in through the bottom of the pan since you can wrap the pan in one large piece of foil (instead of using multiple smaller pieces of foil, which will necessarily have gaps between them). The flour in this recipe stabilizes the batter, so a water bath isn't really necessary. If you want to give it a try, do everything you can to guard against water seeping into your springform pan. Also, increase you'll need to increase the baking time to about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

@goblamepandora - Yes, that's a threat when it comes to water baths. There are some leak-proof springform pans, which may or may not be truly leak-proof... I'd be curious to try some out, actually. But yeah, large sheets of commercial foil make for less leakage (though you can still get leakage within the folds of the foil. I'll update the recipe with that advice.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

The only thing I can think is that it's a variance in brands of mascarpone. I use the same brand all the time, so other brands might have different fat contents. I'm going to try making it with another brand of mascarpone, and a second version with half mascarpone/half cream cheese and see if that makes a difference.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

Just talked to another user that this recipe worked just fine for, so I'm completely baffled. Unless there's some weird difference in brands of mascarpone? I'm going to remake this recipe this week with a different kind of mascarpone and see what's what.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

That's so strange. The other person above appears to have had their batter turn out fine, though they're having an issue with bake time.

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

@Cary - Oh. Actually, it sounds like perhaps the foil wasn't sealed around your pan and water leaked in. :( It's actually a common issue with a water bath. Can you snap a photo and PM it to me? I like using heavy duty commercial foil because it's big enough to entirely wrap the bottom of the pan without needing an overlapping piece.

Also, what was the texture of your mascarpone before mixing it in? Was it uniform and firm? Or was there a separation of liquid and solids at all?

Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cake

@Wthaxter - What size pan are you using?
@Cary - I'm totally baffled by your cake separating. In all my years of making cheesecakes - as well as this exact recipe nine or ten times - I've *never* had anything separate. What kind of mascarpone did you use? Brand name?

Saint Agur Blue Cheese Sablés

DrGaellon - you could try Pt Reyes Original Blue, or Buttermilk Blue. If you want something sweeter, maybe Dolcelatte?

Sousaphil - unsalted.

Theemoons - yes, also great suggestions!

Eat This Cheese: Bonne Bouche

@Acacia - Oh god, I had to look. My eyes are bleeding.

Eat This Cheese: Bonne Bouche

@Hedonovore - Duly noted, and corrected. :)

@Lorenzo - Yes indeed, some cheeses are that runny. As Hedonovore recommended, try serving runny cheeses in a bowl to prevent runaway tributaries.

@Fattyboombatty - Yes, the rind is totally edible. I'm not generally a rind person, but I personally adore the flavor of Bonne Bouche's rind - it's not all that strong tasting.

@Artisanmatters - Yikes! Typo. Meant bloomy rind. Fixed!

@Walrus McDoodle - Nope, that's what ripe Bonne Bouche looks like - it will run all over the plate.

@BrooklynChef - AGREED!

Get to Know Your Cheesemonger. Like, Now.

That's interesting, because I've only had about 50/50 luck with Whole Foods cheese staff. There are a few knowledgable at my local WF for sure, but the majority of them don't know very much and are pretty easily stumped with questions.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

At what point in the recipe were you noticing this? Once you add the carrots, it gets quite thick - that's why is says to fold in the carrots, walnuts, and coconut with a spatula. Or was this earlier in the recipe?

Eat This Cheese: St. Marcellin