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National Rum Day

I’ll always say that vanilla is my very favorite flavor, but lately I find myself reaching for Baileys, Kahlua, rum or other liqueur as flavoring when I bake. Recently, for instance, I splashed some into my coconut macaroons, the filling of my strawberry tart and soaked many, many raspberries in it. I have plans for other spiked treats – but then I always have a long ... Read More »

Easy Grilled Flatbread

pile o' grilled flatbread

 The great thing about grilling is that you can cook your entire meal outside on the same surface. Everything is quick, there is little cleanup and you don’t heat up the house on a hot day. Meats and veggiesare standards at any cookout, and it is increasingly common to do desserts on the grill, as well. But baked goods don’t get much grill time - unless ... Read More »

Is butter better for greasing a pan?

One of the most often repeated phrases about baking these days is that butter is better, or even that butter is best. It is flavorful, moreso than shortening or vegetable oil. It has the interesting property of being a solid at room temperature and a liquid when put into the oven, where the water in the butter vaporizes, creating tiny little puffs of steam that ... Read More »

Lose weight, get paid!

No, this isn’t the tag line for a fad weight-loss drug. And if it is, I can assure you that it isn’t what I’m talking about here. Roughly 35% of Italians are overweight or obese, according to EU statistics. Concern about the growing obesity rate is prompting some Italian officials to try and take action on a local level. The government of the town of ... Read More »

Spruce up your stove

notmartha's mirrored stove

Raise your (virtual) hand if you often find yourself wishing your kitchen could look as elegant or as fun as the ones on TV. Who wouldn’t love a state-of-the-art kitchen outfitted with shiny stainless steel, or finished with flush wood panels that hide the appliances with the rest of the cabinets? And whether you like Rachael Ray or not, you have to admit that the ... Read More »

Weirdest kitchen gadgets

The best way to outfit your kitchen is to go for well-made, versatile utensils that will work well in a variety of situations. For instance, you might choose a pair of large kitchen tongs that can be used to turn over a roast, pluck artichokes from a pan of boiling water or to flip meat and veggies over on the grill. But human creativity is ... Read More »

Bittersweet Mexican Chocolate Torte

chocolate torte slice

Sometimes you just need something really chocolaty. Or if you don’t really need it, you might simply want it. This chocolate torte is a good choice for satisfying those chocolate cravings because it is easy to make, versatile and quite decadent. And, of course, it is very chocolaty. One of the signatures of mexican chocolate is that it frequently utilizes spices with a darker/more bitter chocolate, just as ... Read More »

The Essential Baker

the essential baker

While I like single-subject baking books – cupcakes, cookies, breads – for the amount of detail and the number of variations on a theme they inevitably offer, comprehensive/compilation cookbooks are often far more interesting. These cookbooks give you a chance to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, tempting you with a picture or a description of a dish you might not ... Read More »

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