Tasty Thursday

Help your little ones make these cute-as-can-be wands to wave when the clock strikes midnight—it may just make for a magical night! This is just one of many precious recipes found in the Pink Princess Cookbook by Barbara Beery.

Magic Fairy Wands 
4 ounces vanilla candy coating or almond bark
Powdered food coloring* (optional)
8 large pretzel rods
Assorted colored sugars, sprinkles, and sugar candy decorations

Melt white candy coating according to package directions. Add powdered food coloring if desired. Stir to blend.

Dip or drizzle pretzel rods with candy coating. Place coated pretzels on a foil-lined sheet pan that has bee sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Decorate with sugars, sprinkles, or candies while candy coating is still warm.

Place sheet pan in freezer for 10 minutes to harden candy coating. Remove and eat immediately or store in an air-tight container for several days.

Makes 8 wands.

*Liquid and paste food colorings cause candy coating and chocolate to seize.Powdered coloring is found in craft or cake decorating stores.


A Rockin' Holiday Party

This year's annual Holiday Celebration at Gibbs Smith began with a delicious turkey-with-all-the-trimmings lunch, followed by an afternoon of rocking out alongside John, Paul, George and Ringo. Isn't Beatles Rockband just the best!?!
Here are some great photos from the celebration...

Muriel (l to r), Brian and Christopher sing along as Jill keeps rhythm.
Looks like Christopher really wants to start dancing!

Megan concentrating on lead guitar.

Jill wielding those drumsticks.

Jared hamming it up on bass guitar.

Recipes for Every Month of the Year

Holly Herrick is at it again! She has teamed up with the South Carolina State Farmers Market to share recipes from her book Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Every month, a new recipe from the book will be featured that highlights a seasonal ingredient. Get your copy of the recipes here and if you like what you see, get the book too!


Tasty Thursday

Throw this dish together tonight and then bake tomorrow for a fantastic Christmas breakfast without all the hassle. Another great recipe from French Toast by Donna Kelly.

Christmas Morning Casserole
2-1/2 cups eggnogg
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large loaf French bread

Cranapple Compote
1/2 cup butter
3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 container (12 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Pour half of the eggnog mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Cut ends off bread and discard. Slice bread into 8 slices, each about 1-1/2 inches thick, and then place in pan. Pour remaining eggnog mixture over top, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and turn each slice over in pan with a wide spatula; bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully turn slices over with a wide spatula and bake 10-15 minutes more, or until puffed and browned. Serve with Cranapple Compote. Serves 6 to 8.

To make the compote, melt butter and saute apples for 2 minutes in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries and sugar and stir until cranberries pop, about 2 minutes more. Stir in juice concentrate, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.


Yee haw!

There doesn't seem to be much common sense left in the world—at least not in the big cities full of people crowding each other out. But if you stop a moment and think of the cowboy way of life, things seem to simplify a bit.

Take Brian Dalton, for instance. He's a busy man as the facilities manager for Gibbs Smith. But he recognizes the importance of taking things in their own time, appreciating small moments.

Now those who want to learn a bit more of cowboy wisdom should take a look at the books right there beside Brian. Common Sense. That's what the display says, and that's what these books offer.

Among the sage advice:
Don't Squat with Your Spurs On (Excellent advice if you ask me.)
Never Ask a Man the Size of His Spread (Plus, I really don't want to know.)
Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hang On (I'm in for a wild ride.)
Cow Chips Aren't for Dipping (If only someone would have told me that sooner.)
Don't Whiz on an Electric Fence (Yowza, that'll sting.)
Just One Fool Thing After Another (You never know when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex.)
Don't Dig for Water Under an Outhouse (Someone ought to tell the planning commission.)

Spread a little bit of common sense this coming year and see if we can't make a difference. If not, it's always good for a laugh.

Now, a cowboy like Brian requires hearty grub. His favorite? Mountain Man Breakfast cooked in a Dutch oven. While Brian uses his own secret recipe, fear not, because 101 Things to Do with a Dutch Oven provides a delicious variation.

Mountain Man Breakfast
Dutch oven size: 12-inch

1 pound bacon
1 pound sausage
2 packages (24 ounces each) frozen southern-style hash browns (not shredded)
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream
4 eggs, beaten
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese

Brown bacon and sausage in Dutch oven. Stir in has browns about 5 minutes before they are done. Cover and let cook 5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through. When done, remove lid and sprinkle cheese over top. Replace lid until cheese melts. Makes 20 servings.

Dig in and enjoy!


From the Gibbs Smith Family to Yours...

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!


Tasty Thursday

Make this holiday season extra fun with a themed cake from Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes for Kids by Melissa Barlow.

Candy Cane
Pans: 1 (8-inch) round pan
   1 (8-inch) square pan

1 white cake mix 
White frosting 
Fruit by the Foot and red licorice ropes or red M&Ms

1. Make cake mix according to package directions. Evenly divide the batter between both pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 27 to 32 minutes and then carefully remove from oven. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes, and then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Cut the cakes according to the diagram below. 

3. On a large serving platter or foil-wrapped board, stack the two round halves on top of each other to create a two-layer cake, frosting between the layers. Stack the two long strips together with frosting in between. Position the strip to make the long part of the candy cane. Stack two of the smaller squares to finish off the “hook.” You can eat or throw away the unused piece. 

4. Frost the entire cake smoothly with white frosting. Press the Fruit by the Foot and licorice or red M&Ms on the candy cane to create the stripes.  

Serves 10 to 12


From the Editor's Desk

Joy in the form of a book

There are some books that capture my attention and don’t let go. I become obsessed, proclaiming my love for this book to all of humanity. Sometimes people don’t listen, and they are the worse for it.

So hear me now: there is a book I’ve fallen head over tailbands for, and my love is unquenchable. The diminutive size of this book says nothing about the pages contained within the covers. Each word, each line, is wonderful, but there is more to it than that. This book speaks to me and asks me to respond.

Today, the advance copies of this book arrived, and I could not contain my excitement. Neither could the author, who screamed, then cried, then did a little happy dance. That excitement is completely justified, as the book is absolutely adorable. I love this book.

In the months I’ve worked on it, my fingers have been itching to get a finished copy. I want to hark back to the days of my youth, remembering my childhood dreams of becoming a princess or a movie star or a singer. So you can probably guess what I’ll be doing tonight: I’ll be taking my crayons and bringing life those dreams.

Some may say this book is for children. Bah! I say. There is some part of me that will always be a child, that will always need to color in my hopes and desires. It is to those of you with similar inclinations that I speak. Let out the inner child! Let your own child be a child! Work together in a frenzy of doodling!

Join me, compatriots, and get your doodle on!

Pocketdoodles for Girls by Anita Wood will hit store shelves in March 2010. Reserve your copy today.

-Michelle Witte, Editor


Tasty Thursday

These cake-like muffins are moist and delicious, not to mention easy to throw together. This recipe from Muffins by Cyndi Duncan and Georgie Patrick is definitely a favorite! 

Maple Pecan Muffins
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-3/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously spray muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice in a large bowl. Stir in pecans.

Whisk brown sugar, butter, milk, syrup, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Make well in center of dry ingredients. Add butter mixture to well; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Makes 12 muffins.



Peter Moruzzi's "Palm Springs Holiday" in the LA Times

Author Peter Moruzzi is interviewed in this video for the travel section of the Los Angeles Times on the historic hotel hot spots of Palm Springs. For the entire article, click here


Tasty Thursday

Warm yourself from head to toe with this spiced cider from Small Parties by Marguerite Marceau Henderson. It's the perfect beverage to serve at any holiday gathering!

1 quart apple cider
1 quart cranberry apple juice
1 can (12 ounces) orange juice concentrate
1 quart water
12 whole cinnamon sticks
12 to 15 whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 oranges, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced

12 to 15 whole cinnamon sticks
12 to 20 orange slices

In a large stockpot, bring the apple cider, cranberry apple juice, orange juice concentrate, and water to a simmer. In a 12-inch-square piece of cheesecloth, wrap the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and allspice and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Place in the pot with cider and juices and add the ground nutmeg and orange and lemon slices. Simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, to allow spices to infuse the juices. Serve the wassail in mugs with a cinnamon stick and orange slice as a garnish. Makes about 4 quarts.


Tasty Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! With cranberries readily available at the market, why not make cranberry cake? This luscious recipe is one of many sweet treats in the Ivy Bake Shoppe Cookbook by Martha Wolf.

Cranberry Cake
4-1/2 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-1/2 cups milk
1 (12-ounce) package cranberries (no need to defrost if frozen)
3 tbsp. grated orange or lemon peel

Cream Sauce
1-1/3-cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup butter

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light; beat in eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, and nutmeg. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Stir in the cranberries and orange or lemon peel. Pour batter into a 9 x 13-inch greased glass pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted  in the center comes out clean.

While cake is baking, mix all the Cream Sauce ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until heated thoroughly. While cake is still hot, poke holes all over the top using a straw. Slowly pour the sauce over the cake, taking time to allow the sauce to be absorbed. Sweet and tart! Makes 12 to 15 servings.


Call for Submissions

The Gibbs Smith editorial team would like to announce a call for submissions of children's activity books.

We're seeking writers with great ideas for activity books for children anywhere from 6–14 years old. Submit a detailed outline of the proposed project and a writing sample (generally the first three chapters) using the online submission page. We will invite you to send the entire manuscript if we are interested.

To get an idea of what children's activity books can include, here are a few titles we've recently published:


Pink Princess Cookbook

Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes for Kids


Pocketdoodles for Girls

Pocketdoodles for Boys

Fun(ny) activities

The Pocket Guide to Magic

The Pocket Guide to Mischief

Just for boys/girls

The Big Book of Girl Stuff

The Big Book of Boy Stuff

Visit the online submission page for further details and to upload your submission. We look forward to seeing your proposals.

Best wishes and good luck!

Please note: We are not accepting submissions for children's picture books or fiction of any kind. We will only contact you if we are interested.


Tasty Thursday

With the busy holiday season fast approaching, everyone needs some quick dinners that are easy and delicious. This recipe from Faster! I'm Starving! by Kevin Mills and Nancy Mills is ready to eat in 20 minutes!

Chicken Chili
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Time-saving tip: Use frozen chopped onions.

1 large onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup beer or chicken broth
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more if needed

Peel the onion and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside. Drain the beans and rinse under cold running water; set aside.

Without adding oil, brown the chicken in a medium-size pot over medium heat, stirring frequently to break the meat into small clumps. After the meat has browned, drain off and discard the fat.

Add the onion, beans, beer or broth, ketchup, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper, and pepper sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Taste to see if the chili is spicy enough. If not, add a few more drops pepper sauce. Serve immediately, or set aside until ready to eat, and then reheat briefly.

Serves 4

Tip: Chicken Chili makes a good filling for tortillas. Sprinkle grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese over the filling, if desired, and roll up burrito style.


Tasty Thursday

This recipe, featured from Betty's Best by Betty Rohde, is the perfect way to sweeten up your Thanksgiving spread!

Candied Sweet Potatoes
4 to 6 sweet potatoes, skins on
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut amaretto
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, thinly sliced

Wash and boil potatoes to crisp tender (not quite done); cool, peel, and cube. Place in a buttered casserole dish, and then pour all remaining ingredients except butter evenly over potatoes. Place butter slices over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until fork tender. May add marshmallows and brown if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Variation: Candied Carrots
Make the same using two to three 1-pound bags of baby carrots. Can be started raw but may need to cook a little longer.


Pumpkin Fromage Blanc Cheesecake
with ginger-pecan crumb crust

(serves 12)
recipe by Maggie Foard, author of Goat Cheese, Gibbs Smith, 2008

If you can’t decide between pumpkin pie and cheesecake for your holiday dessert, then this might be the one for you. It’s has all the flavor of pumpkin pie but dolled up in a little black dress! One of the many great things about cheesecake is that it’s flavor actually improves while it sits overnight in the fridge so go ahead and get it out of the way the day before your holiday event. Plan about 45 minutes to prepare it and then another hour and fifteen minutes to bake it. Chill overnight, if possible.

For the crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon raw or granulated sugar
3-4 coins crystallized ginger
1/2 cup pecan halves

For the filling:
1 pound Harley Farms Pumpkin Spice Fromage Blanc http://www.harleyfarms.com/
(or 1 pound plain chevre, plus 2/3 cup pumpkin puree and 1 T. pumpkin pie spice)
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
4 large, free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is warming, place the nuts on a small, baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Break the graham crackers into the food processor and pulse until you have coarse, fairly even crumbs. Measure out 1-1/2 cups and place in a medium bowl. Place the ginger, the tablespoon of sugar and the pecans in the same food processor bowl and pulse to mince. Add to the bowl with the cracker crumbs. Melt the butter and whisk in the honey. Pour over the crumbs and stir to mix thoroughly. Press into a buttered 9-inch springform. Wrap the springform tightly in foil. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the pumpkin fromage blanc (or the chevre, pumpkin and pie spice) and beat to soften. One at a time, add the yogurt, brown sugar, maple syrup, then the eggs, beating until smooth after each addition. Finally, add the vanilla and the salt. Once the mixture is thoroughly smooth, pour into the slightly cooled crust and bake for 1-1/4 hours. At this point, the cheesecake should be pretty much set in the center. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for another half an hour. Remove from the oven and when completely cooled, place uncovered or loosely wrapped in the fridge. Chill completely; overnight if you have time. Run a knife around the rim before removing the outer ring to ensure a clean edge. Serve with a dollop of whip cream for garnish, if desired.


Tasty Thursday

Try one of the most popular desserts in Southern Louisiana at your next holiday party! This sweet recipe is from the amazing Cooking in Cajun Country by Karl Breaux and Cheré Dastugue Coen.

Bread Pudding
3 eggs
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
4 cups cubed stale French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the eggs, then add the milks, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Add the sugar and mix well. Place the French bread with the raisins, if using, in a 9 x 9 x 2-inch greased pan, covering the bottom. Pour egg and milk mixture over top, making sure bread is thoroughly soaked and covered. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Serves 8


Pork and Apples for the Soul

Holly Herrick is loving the Fall harvest! Watch her as she makes her Soulful Braised Pork with Fresh Cider and Winesap Apples from her book Southern Farmers Market Cookbook. Just looking at it makes me hungry!

Whole Foods and Juice Plus+ in Memphis

Ivy Larson, and Andrew Larson, MD were keynote speakers at a recent Juice Plus+ convention in Memphis, TN. Their speech, on whole foods nutrition was an excellent match to the Juice Plus+ pills that are "whole foods in a capsule." The speech was followed by a book signing (pictured right) where over 1,000 books were sold! The bottom photo is of Ivy pictured with "America's Pediatrician" Dr. William Sears of http://www.askdrsears.com/ who was the keynote speaker prior to Ivy and Andy. It was a very successful endeavor to spread the word about whole foods nutrition.


Tasty Thursday

There is so much you can do with pudding! Try this sweet and luscious recipe from 101 Things to Do with Pudding by Stephanie Ashcraft.

Cream Cheese Spice Cake
1 spice cake mix
1/2 cup pecan gems
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 small box instant cheesecake or coconut cream pudding mix
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make cake batter according to package directions. Stir pecan pieces and butterscotch chips into batter. Pour batter into a 9 x 13-inch pan prepared with nonstick spray. Bake 30–35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, gradually beat milk into cream cheese. Stir in dry pudding mix and then spread over cooled cake. Spread whipped topping over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 15 servings.


Tasty Thursday

This time of year soup always sounds good, and now you can make a huge variety of different soups for no more than five bucks! Try this tasty recipe from 100 Soups for $5 or Less by Gayle Pierce.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups water
1 cup light cream
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Add potatoes, bouillon, salt, cumin, and crushed red peppers to water in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover, with lid slightly vented, and cook 10 minutes. Pour soup into a blender and purée. Pour soup back into saucepan over low heat. Stir in cream and cook 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Ladle into serving dishes. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of paprika.

Serves 4
Calories per serving 271
Fat per serving 11g


Sizzling in Hell’s Kitchen

Carliss Pond, author of Sizzle in Hell’s Kitchen, recently had an event at Ogilvy & Mather in New York where she not only signed copies of her book, but had a featured dish from the book as well. This dish is the Chilean Sea Bass with Coconut Curry Sauce from the Bamboo 52 restaurant. It was prepared by chef Dean Fangopoulous. Similar events will take place every Tuesday starting October 27, so don’t forget to check out Ogilvy & Mather for some great food and a signed copy of the book!

Tasty Thursday

With Christmas fast approaching, you can start planning some fun theme parties using Easy Christmas Cut-Up Cakes for Kids by Melissa Barlow.

Smiley Snowman
Pans: 1 (1.5-quart) glass bowl
           1 (1-quart) glass bowl

1 cake mix, any flavor
White frosting
Yogos Rollers or Fruit by the Foot
Green or blue Peanut M&Ms
1 tube black frosting
1 baby carrot
Black licorice 

1. Make cake mix according to package directions. Put two-thirds of the batter into a greased 1.5-quart bowl and the remaining batter in a greased 1-quart bowl. Bake at 350 degrees F for 26 to 32 minutes and then carefully remove the smaller bowl from the oven. Bake larger cake another 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in bowls for 10 minutes, and then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Cut the large cake according to the diagram below. Place the cakes on a large serving platter or foil-wrapped board to create the snowman.  

3. Frost the entire cake with white frosting. Make a scarf around his neck using Yogos Rollers or Fruit by the Foot. 

4. Gently press the M&Ms into the snowman’s belly for buttons, and cut small pieces of black licorice to make his smile.

5. Use the black frosting to draw the circles of the snowman’s eyes and then stick a small piece of black licorice in each for the pupils. Finally, finish by sticking in his carrot nose and licorice arms.

Variation: You can use chocolate chips in place of the licorice for his mouth and eyes.


Become the Yahoo Yodeler

Yahoo! has announced a new contest, searching for a new take on their original yodel created in 1996 by How to Yodel author Wylie Gustafson. All you need is a webcam or even a cell phone with video. Record your yodel in any style -- traditional country, rock, bluegrass, jazz or punk -- submit it to the contest, and then tell all your friends and family to view your video. The more views, the stronger your chances of winning!

Click here for all the details and start practicing. Grab a copy of How to Yodel for some great tips!


Tasty Thursday

Try this hearty dish from Jon Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine. 

Goat Cheese and Pine Nut-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1/2 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh Texas goat cheese
2 pinches of kosher salt, divided
1 (7-ounce) beef tenderloin fillet
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon canola oil

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry nonstick pan to a light golden brown. Combine the herbs, garlic, goat cheese, and a pinch of salt. Season the fillet with salt and pepper, then sear in canola oil. Be sure to brown each side of the fillet before turning over to really caramelize the outside. If the beef is thick, it may be necessary to finish cooking in the oven. Cook to desired temperature. When the beef is almost finished, smother the top with the herb goat cheese mixture and place in the oven for 1 minute to warm the cheese. Top with the toasted pine nuts and serve.

Serves 1


Tasty Thursday

Today's Tasty Thursday features two recipes from Pizza & Wine by Leonardo Curti and James O. Fraioli—a cookbook filled with mouthwatering pizza recipes and wine pairings. 

Fresh Pizza Dough
(Makes 6 10-inch pizzas)
1 package dry active yeast
2 cups Italian natural spring water (bottled and still, such as Sole)
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In an electric mixer with the dough hook attached, stir yeast and lukewarm water until combined. Add salt and flour until dough begins to form and is not sticky, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Place dough in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Coat the entire dough ball with oil as well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Remove dough from bowl and place on a smooth working surface. Divide the dough into 6 balls, about 6 to 7 ounces each. Place each dough ball on a lightly floured surface and cover with a towel. Let rise about 45 minutes.

One at a time, roll each dough ball on a floured surface until a thin 10-inch round pizza shape is formed. Store extra dough balls by simply freezing in plastic wrap.

Traditional Margherita
(Makes 1 10-inch pizza)
1 (6- to 7-ounce) ball fresh pizza dough (see above)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil

Dust a smooth working surface with flour. Place pizza dough ball in the center. Flatten the dough into a disc shape with your fingers. Next, roll the dough with a rolling pin until it is thin and reaches a diameter of 10-12 inches. Spoon the sauce evenly over the top and sprinkle with the cheese.

Using a metal or wood peel, place the pizza in a wood-fired oven, away from the fire, and let bake several minutes. Turn the pizza 180 degrees and continue baking another few minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle basil leaves on top, along with the oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.

NOTE: If using a conventional oven, cook pizza at 450 degrees F on a preheated pizza stone on the middle oven rack.

Curtis Winery The Crossroad, Santa Barbara Vineyards
The Crossroads is a distinctive blend of Grenache (75%) and Syrah (25%). Enjoy deep red fruit aromas with hints of cola and toasty oak. The palate is long and lively with bright flavors of strawberry cream, pomegranate, plum, and vanilla. Accents of peppery spice emerge on a juicy, harmonious finish.


NAACP appears on Good Things Utah

The NAACP celebrates 100 years in a beautiful coffee table book, published by Utah's Gibbs-Smith, with filled with historic photos ... and you are invited to help celebrate at the Freedom Banquet!

NAACP: Celebrating a Century, 100 Years in Pictures is a 472 page pictorial that captures the first century of the NAACP in pictures and historical highlights. You can purchase this beautiful coffee-table book from the NAACP Salt Lake Branch for $40.00. Copies will be available at the Centennial celebration of the 90th Annual Life Membership and Freedom Fund Banquet at the Little America Hotel, October 9, 2009 beginning at 6:00 p.m. or to order call (801) 250-5088 or email: jdwnaacp@att.net

90th Annual NAACP Salt Lake Branch Life Membership and Freedom Fund Banquet Gala
Theme: "NAACP 100 Years: Bold Dreams, Big Victories"
Friday, October 9, 2009
Reception: 6:00pm
Dinner Banquet: 7pm
Little America Hotel Ballroom
500 South Main, Salt Lake City
Tickets - RSVP by Friday, October 2, 2009
(801) 250-5088
Email: naacpslc2009@att.net

For more information please visit www.naacp-saltlakebranch.org.


Tasty Thursday

With beautiful photos and delicious meals, Culinary Vietnam by Daniel Hoyer is the perfect book to spotlight for this week's Tasty Thursday!

Chicken and Glass Noodle Soup
1-1/2 tablespoons yellow rock sugar, or 1 tablespoon white refined sugar 
     and 2 teaspoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce (or a combination of the two)
4 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup tree ear or other dried or fresh mushrooms, sliced into thin 
     strips (about 5-6 dried mushrooms, reconstituted)
1 or 2 sliced or julienned red serrano, jalapeño, Fresno, or Thai chiles (optional)
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds cooked chicken, shredded or cut into bite-size pieces
Giblets from 1 chicken, cooked and finely chopped )optional)
2 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch sections
12 ounces glass noodles (cellophane), soaked in very hot water until just softened, 
     drained, and rinsed in cold water
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or Vietnamese coriander leaves (optional)

1. In a heavy preheated pot or Dutch oven, add the sugar and caramelize slightly until golden brown; add the garlic and shallots, stir for a moment, and then add the fish sauce and broth.

2. Bring the broth to a boil, then add the mushrooms and chiles. Boil for 1 minute and then ad the chicken and giblets. When the broth returns to a boil, add the scallions and noodles, and bring to a boil again; remove from heat, taste for seasoning, add salt or fish sauce as needed, stir in the herbs, and serve.

Serves 6 as a main dish or more as part of a larger meal


Tasty Thursday

Try this easy and refreshing recipe from 101 Things to do with a Toaster Oven by Donna Kelly for dinner tonight. We know you'll LOVE it!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pinwheels

1 jar (6 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 box (17 ounces) frozen puff pastry

Turn toaster oven to convection bake at 375 degrees (or bake at 400 degrees).

Dice the tomatoes and mix with cream cheese, garlic powder, and Tabasco sauce.

Lay each sheet of puff pastry on a flat surface and spread half the tomato mixture over each, leaving 1 inch around the edges. Roll up jelly roll style starting with the wide side. Cut into 1/2-inch slices and place, spiral side up, on a baking sheet.

Bake in two batches for 12–15 minutes each, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and remove from pan immediately so bottoms won't burn. Makes 24 pinwheels.


Tasty Thursday

What a great idea! Now instead of spending $5 or more for a single serving of dessert at a restaurant, you can make dessert for your whole family using 100 Desserts for $5 or Less by Angel Shannon. We hope you enjoy this week's recipe!

Banana Pie Cake

1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 egg whites
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350º.

Mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

In a separate bowl, blend together the applesauce, egg whites, and nuts; mix into dry ingredients. Add mashed banana and cocoa powder. Bake in a lightly greased Bundt pan for 45-50 minutes.

Serves 10

Calories per serving 297
Fat per serving 4g


Tasty Thursday

Pink Ponies by Barbara Beery is another darling cookbook featuring the animal that all little girls love—ponies! This week's spotlight recipe will really quench your thirst! 

Prancing Pony Lemonade
4 mason jars (1 pint each) with lids
4 lemons
8 tablespoons sugar
4 cups water
4 strawberries

In each mason jar, combine juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup water.

Put on lid tightly and shake well to blend ingredients. Remove lid, add ice, put lid back on, and shake again.

To serve, drink straight from the jar or pour each drink into a glass and garnish with a strawberry.

Makes 4 servings


Southern Farmers Market Cookbook Flying By on the Washington Post Express

Today's issue of the Washington Post Express included an article featuring Southern Farmers Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick and a Blues-busting Blueberry Ice Cream recipe. Read about it here.



Tasty Thursday

Filled with delightful treats to share with friends and family throughout the year, this sweet treat from Cookie Swap by Julia M. Usher is just one of MANY fabulous recipes!

No-Hassle, No-Bake Oatmeal Fudge Cookies
Another wise addition to your after-school repertoire, these creamy no-bake cookies go from mixing bowl to mouth in about 30 minutes. Note: It is especially important to have all the ingredients measured and prepped before you start mixing. Once you reach Step 3, you will need to add ingredients quickly before the mixture begins to get firm.

Prep Talk: Though not essential, a candy thermometer is helpful in Step 2. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week, or in the refrigerator if you prefer a firmer consistency.

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups quick-cook oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

About 2-1/2 dozen pecan halves, lightly toasted (for topping)

1. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt in a medium (3-quart) nonreactive (stainless steel or coated) saucepan. Place over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring as needed to make sure the butter has completely melted by the time the mixture boils. Boil about 2 minutes longer, or until the syrup just registers 238 to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Stir as needed to keep the mixture from scorching on the bottom of the pan. (Avoid boiling longer than specified, or the resulting mixture will harden very quickly and become crumbly and difficult to scoop.)
3. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the cocoa powder, whisking to break apart any lumps. Whisk in the peanut butter and vanilla extract; then stir in the oats, raisins, and pecans. (The mixture should be shiny and loose at this point.)
4. Work quickly to scoop all the dough while it is still loose. (If the dough begins to set as you scoop, the resulting texture of the cookies will be crumbly.) Portion the dough into mounds using a level 15/8-inch (#40) scoop or 1 heaping tablespoon per mound. Place the mounds about 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Top each cookie with a pecan half and press gently to flatten the cookies to about 2 inches in diameter.
5. Freeze the cookies 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely set. (Alternatively, place them on the counter so the kids can watch them turn into fudge. Setting time can vary considerably, depending on the ambient temperature.)

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen (2-inch) cookies


Isn't it time for a Picnic, again?!

CBS Sunday Morning recently re-aired this 2007 segment featuring Picnics.

Watch CBS Videos Online


Tasty Thursday

These mouthwatering burgers from North Bay Farmers Markets Cookbook by Brigitte Moran with Amelia Spilger really hit the spot!

Spicy Cheddar Burgers with Chile Mayonnaise
1 1/4 pounds lean ground grass-fed beef
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chile powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Chile Mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 teaspoon salt

4 Kaiser rolls
Tomato, lettuce, and avocado slices

Heat a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to medium-high for 5 minutes. Combine the beef, cheese, cilantro, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; shape mixture into four patties.

Place in a skillet and cook 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or to desired doneness. Serve burgers on rolls with the Chile Mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and avocado.

To make the mayonnaise, purée together all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Makes 4 servings

NOTE: You can also grill these burgers on an outdoor barbecue.


Harmonic Duo


Tasty Thursday

Full of easy-to-make- snacks, this Thursday's feature, Batter Up Kids: Sensational Snacks by Barbara Beery, is perfect for the kid in your life, or in you!

Chill-Out Cheese Dip
1 cup softened cream cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly grated onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar pimientos, drained

1. Place softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer at medium speed for about 3 minutes or until the cream cheese is whipped and fluffy.
2. Add cheese, yogurt, garlic powder, onion, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients. Fold in pimientos.
3. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use for up to 1 week.

Serving suggestions:
Serve on sandwiches, spoon into celery sticks, or use as a dip for pretzel rods, pita chips, whole wheat crackers, fresh veggies, or fresh strawberries.


Freaky Friday!

Introducing Papier-Mache Monsters by Dan Reeder.

From the Editor's Desk: Fun in the Sun Valley

Sun Valley. The place is synonymous with the rich, the famous, and the elite. Then what, you may ask, were three Gibbs Smith employees doing hobnobbing at the little resort town? We were on a literary and culinary excursion.

First stop in Ketchum, Idaho, was Vintage the most delicious restaurant I have ever dined at. No, I’d say dined is the wrong word. Feasted. Tasted. Enjoyed.

To start were the Spicy Cajun Oysters (for the recipe, see page 37 of Vintage Restaurant: Handcrafted Cuisine from a Sun Valley Favorite). That progressed on to a Flatiron Steak grilled to perfection, covered with wild mushrooms and Vidalia onions sautéed in a wine sauce. It was served with Baked Yukon Gold Gorgonzola Smashed Potatoes (page 137, Vintage Restaurant).

But for dessert, ah, now that was The Delights of the Naked Stranger—a chocolate truffle torte with a toasted pecan crust, drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce, and served with Bachelors’ Berries and a scoop of Mountain Decadence Ice Cream (page 196, Vintage Restaurant).

I’m making myself hungry just thinking about that incredible meal, and even hungrier looking at the sumptuous photos in the cookbook. I’ll have to put that away for now, if only so I won’t drool on the pages.

By then it was time to be off to the concert of the century where you had to have a fortune in the bank, a house in Sun Valley—or an "in" with one of the authors—to attend. That’s right, the only concert of the year featuring The Rock Bottom Remainders happened in Sun Valley last Saturday night, and these three Gibbs Smith employees were privileged to attend as guests of freshman author Sam Barry. His debut book, How to Play the Harmonica and Other Life Lessons, was born that night, so a double celebration was in store.

On hand to honor Sam—and rock the night away for a fundraising gala—were his beautiful wife, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, his brother, Dave Barry, and friends and bandmates Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, and Ridley Pearson, among others. Many songs, dances, and $500,000 raised for the YMCA later, and it was time to rest our heads for a few hours.

The next morning, bleary-eyed but eager for more culinary delights, we headed to Cristina’s restaurant in Ketchum. Smothered in a piquant hollandaise, the Eggs Benedict were marvelous (for the recipe, see page 189 of Cristina’s Tuscan Table). Served alongside seasoned red potatoes and breakfast breads, it was heaven on my tongue.

It was a whirlwind trip by any means, but one that was bursting with fun and excitement. Hmmm. I think I may have to re-create a little bit of that for myself tonight. Now where did I put that copy of How to Play the Harmonica? And those Gorgonzola Smashed Potatoes are sounding incredibly good right now. . .

By Michelle Witte, editor