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  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    by Deb Perelman
  • Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
  • Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    by Alice Currah
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    by Ree Drummond
  • Bouchon Bakery
    Bouchon Bakery
    by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel


Stacked Pies: Whole Lemon Pie + Blueberry Strawberry Pie from Melissa Clark and SassyRadish

Stacking pies in Karen's family is genetic. I'm not sure if that's a dominant or recessive gene, but I'm pretty damn happy I married into it.

Karen has spent a considerable time on this year. Inspired by Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s PBS show and Who Do You Think You Are (hi, Lisa Kudrow), she's mapped back her roots to England, Scotland, Germany, and France. She says she's a mutt of Europe with some haphazard Dutch, Polish, and Swiss thrown in there for kicks. 

The first time Karen got on, she sat in the same chair for five hours. It's like porn for the historically-inclined.

Her Puritan roots are shocking if you know her (hello, hotness). But she's more than a little proud that her relative, Giles Corey, was crushed to death in the Salem Witch Trials. Since I used to teach The Crucible to high schoolers, I find this mental jag a little hard to comprehend. The old man that got crushed to death in Arthur Miller's play was actually related to my wife? Why couldn't it be the crazy girl who started all the lies? She's way cooler. But I guess old crushed guy is better than nothing.

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Warm Beet Greens & Beet Stems with Whipped Feta

Below is a review we did for the fantastic Cooks&Books&Recipes website, which helps us stay on top of new cookbooks on the market. We wrote the review a few months back, but we've updated it to help you discover a great new cookbook that's exactly what you need for the start of warmer days.

Eating Local has us dreaming of summer. And given this is Memorial Day weekend here in the States, I think we can say Summer is here. This book is the perfect companion all year long, but it's perfect for these days of flavor-jammed locally farmed food.

The stories of farmers are sprinkled throughout and, as reported by Janet Fletcher, are compelling reads, delving into what drives the farmers out into the fields and pastures. Fletcher steers clear of easy sentimentality, sharing the triumphs and the day-to-day challenges of managing a small farm. If we have one criticism of the book, it is that we would have liked a few more of these stories. They are that good.

And finally, there are the recipes. Reading the book feels like walking around our local farmers’ market. The book is divided into three main categories: vegetables, fruits, and poultry, meat, and eggs (the last three bundled into a single category). Each grouping is then organized alphabetically by main ingredient (arugula, asparagus, avocado, and so on). What makes this work so well is that we can go to the market, see what catches our eyes, and rest comfortably that Eating Local will have a recipe for us. We are hoping that watermelon radishes pop up in the summer at our market just so we can try the “Shaved Watermelon Radishes, Watercress, and Fennel” recipe.

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duck meatloaf with creamed spinach and fried onion ring | The New Brooklyn Cookbook Giveaway

When the world ends, I can promise you, without hesitation, that meatloaf will have played a not insignificant role.

Like pudding and green peppers, it is a member of my unholy trinity of abominations. Just the words alone can make me nauseous. A loaf. Of Meat. As horrible as it sounds. Brown and sad, whether covered in ketchup or naked as the day it was ground, I cannot get over the horrible thought of so much ground beef. In a loaf. If it doesn’t creep you out, you have no soul.

But all that changed with The New Brooklyn Cookbook. Remember our grilled hanger steak post from this special cookbook? Yeah, it was a life changer. We make those potatoes early and often. Bordelaise? An intense silky beefy bit of love. So if The New Brooklyn Cookbook could turn our world upside down with the one-two punch of potatoes and Bordelaise, what could it do with meatloaf?

Whenever we try a new cookbook, we always pick the recipe that sounds the most challenging for our personal tastes. Rarely do we find a recipe for meatloaf. But The New Brooklyn Cookbook has a meatloaf recipe. Duck meatloaf. With duck fat added.

Now shut your mouth for just a second. Think about that. Duck. Duck fat.

How could we not love that?

Add to the meatloaf a spinach and celery root puree and top that mother with a crispy hot onion ring.

I believe. I believe in meatloaf. And we believe in The New Brooklyn Cookbook. You want this cookbook. It will change your life. We promise.

After our hanger steak post, we asked Morrow Cookbooks if they had a spare cookbook that we could give away. We love that cookbook so much, we wanted one of our readers to feel the love, too.  They kindly obliged, and of course, we love them for that (so much love).

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Scratch Baking - Milford, CT | And our favorite garlic bread recipe

A bread pudding muffin. Incredible caramelization, crunchy on the outside, moist inside. All around perfect.On Sunday, we packed the kids in the van and drove up to Milford, CT, to visit our own personal baking hero. Lesli Flick opened up her store, Scratch Baking, late in 2010. If you've read our post about Lesli's brownies (which really are the best brownies ever), you know that we are already huge fans of hers. We figured it was time to meet her and taste her creations.

We stepped into her charming store, with the counters to the right filled with shiny brown baked goods, and spotted her right away. The kitchen is open to the rest of the store, so you can see everyone hard at work baking and creating. We introduced ourselves, the kids, and Lesli immediately came around from behind the counter to talk with us. Really, it was like we were old friends, that's how warm and welcoming she is. She stopped to talk with each one of our kids (who were losing their minds trying to be patient, waiting for their mid-morning snack).

Here's the things about bakeries...sometimes what they're selling looks better than how they taste. Not so with Scratch Baking. Lesli and her team are pumping out cookies, bars, scones, cookies, and breads that taste even better than they look, and they look eye-poppingly good.

If you ever find yourself anywhere near Milford, you must stop at Scratch Baking. Or if you're like us, and live in NJ, throw the kids in the car and make the drive. It really is worth it.

Scratch Baking
58 River St, Milford, CT (right by the train station)

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Smoked Paprika, New Mexico Chile Powder, Maple Syrup, and Turbinado Sugar-Cured Bacon plus Truffled Egg and Bacon Sandwiches


Our source of stability these last two weeks has been a slab of home-cured bacon.
We’ve been silent on the blog lately as we plow through life. Normal stuff. Some unusual things here and there. And some giant boulders that we ran into full force. It’s a lot, sometimes. Just everything. It is a lot.

But then there was the giant slab of bacon that we made. All thanks to Charcutepalooza.

We didn’t know there was such comfort in cured meat. A constancy. A heft. An immovable force of fat and muscle, but mostly fat, that reminded us life continues, if changed in ways we can’t quite tell yet, and children laugh and dance and march around the house on your birthday while waving balloons and screaming, “Balloon Parade!” A whirling mix of giddiness and sugar and kisses and slow-leaking helium.

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