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chocolate pimente d’espelette caramels and dreaming of Basquelandia

For the last several years, I have made Laura ‘s caramels (she writes the glorious Glutton For Life blog.) It’s a terrific recipe, just a little spicy, a little salty and perfectly chewy. The most challenging  part of the whole endeavor is cutting and wrapping  250 caramels. This year, I’ve adapted Laura’s recipe (and added a few hints to the instructions) for a chewy caramel that reminds me so much of being in Basqulandia with Kate Hill and sipping hot chocolate at Laia, I got misty eyed. The same pan you use to make jam will probably work perfectly for caramels. At least 5 quart, heavy duty (like Le Creuset). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, don’t attempt these candies. Seriously. But if ever there were a perfect stocking stuffer, […]

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it’s time to make the donuts

Hanukkah, the eight day holiday that began last night, is also called the Festival of Light. For me, it’s the festival of delicious foods. Latkes, fried potato pancakes, are probably  the most well known of all the holiday treats. But donuts should get some love, too. Zufganyot, or jelly donuts, have a place on every holiday table. They are surprisingly easy to make and a show stopping sweet for your celebratory meal. I’m planning a cross-cultural Christmas brunch that will include these delicious donuts filled with my homemade raspberry jam. Zufganiyot (Lemon and Brandy Scented Donuts) with Raspberry Jam, with Chocolate Glaze , and with Lemon Glaze Makes 36 two-inch donuts 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons) 1 tablespoon and 3-½ cups all purpose flour 1 tablespoon and ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 […]

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spiced sugared pecans, hostessing, gifting and signed books!

Dear friends, The holidays are upon us. There’s no turning back. There are a few sure ways to make it the jolliest time of the year. And I’ll tell you about that in just a moment. And about some excellent spiced sugared pecans. But first…. let me help you get a special gift for someone on your list. How about a signed copy of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry? I’m going to be signing and selling and shipping out a limited number of books. Order before December 10 and I’ll mail the book to you or to your giftee. Send me an email  (mrswheelbarrow AT gmail DOT com) with your request, tell me what the inscription should say or who it is going to,  and the […]

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freezing broccoli. an often overlooked way to preserve.

In the mid-Atlantic, it’s been an amazing year for broccoli and cauliflower and brussels sprouts – all the members of the cruciferous vegetable family. I was at a farmers market last weekend and I saw beautiful golden, purple, green and white cauliflower. I wish the photo I took had turned out. One of my favorite farmers recently offered a deal on organic broccoli. We eat a lot of broccoli all winter in stir fries and especially in vegetable pie, one of those easy to the table recipes that satisfies every comfort food need. It’s cheesy, it’s crispy, and there are potatoes. With the abundance of beautiful broccoli, I got to work blanching and bagging up this healthy vegetable  so that comfort food could be delivered even faster. […]

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people are cooking from the practical pantry

One week ago was my book birthday and wow it’s been a crazy seven days ever since. I’ve stood in the freezing wind at a few of my favorite farmers markets, meeting new readers and greeting old friends. I’ve been interviewed by Bonnie Benwick, Deputy Editor of the Washington Post Food Section. I’ve traveled to Richmond and the beautiful new Southern Seasons store. And today, right now, I’m sitting in Toronto (there are still tickets available for tonight’s event.) This is it. I’m off on my official book tour. Thursday, November 13, I’ll be at the 92nd St. Y, in conversation with the brilliant and funny Charlotte Druckman. Tickets are still available. Won’t you come say hi? Next weekend, I’m in San Francisco, after which […]

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Make and Freeze Blueberry Breakfast Cakes

Let’s talk preparation. The holidays are not far away and a little work now will make all the difference. Blueberry Breakfast Cakes will sit happily in your freezer, defrost overnight and in just a few minutes, warm up for a delicious breakfast. No fuss. No trouble. And you look like a genius host. Some foods just lend themselves to freezing. By the time we get to November, I’ve got a few bags of blanched green beans, roasted corn and frozen blueberries ready to get me through the winter months. (If you haven’t stashed away these foods all summer, there are excellent options available at the grocery store, too. Check the ingredients, make sure there’s no sugar or chemicals, look for organic produce, and the term IQF which means Individually Quick […]