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TIP OF THE DAY: Start A Soup Club

In 2011, four friendly neighbors who, among them, have four spouses, 10 kids and jobs, realized that they could benefit from each others’ home cooking.

They simply had to make and share a bigger batch of something.

They decided on tasty, nutritious, filling, relatively inexpensive, and easy to make and transport soup. And the first soup club was born.

In the manner of holiday cookie swaps but once a month, they cooked and shared soup.

The idea was a success, and three years later they produced The Soup Club Cookbook: Feed Your Friends, Feed Your Family, Feed Yourself.

Once a month, each soup club member takes a turns cooking a big pot of soup, making enough to feed all four families. He or she then drops off the soup, along with garnishes and an optional salad or side, at the homes or workplaces of the three other members.

Share once a month and get the large part of a meal once a week? Sounds good to us! Several of us at THE NIBBLE enjoy soup for lunch, and a small container of quality takeout soup can cost $7.

The Soup Club Cookbook includes 150 recipes for soups and sides, and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week. It’s also a guidebook for starting your own soup club: the logistics, the essential tools and stories to caution and inspire.

Whether for family dinner or workplace lunch, give it a try. You can start by getting the book, available in paperback or Kindle.

Cconsider it as a gift for someone you’d like in your club (or who could benefit by starting a club).

Co-workers, gym buddies, book club members, school friends, neighbors—everyone from students to seniors—can participate.

All you need are four people who want more home-cooked food, and who like the same types of ingredients (vegetarians vs. omnivores, for example).

The idea isn’t to eat together, although that could be a pleasant by-product sometimes.

If you prefer to wing it, start here:

  • Find three other co-workers, friends or neighbors who are like-minded.
  • Have a starter meeting and pick a day of the week when soup will be delivered (the “soup day”).
  • Decide on a soup philosophy. Do you want hearty soups that can be light meals? Low calorie? A different theme every month (vegetable, international, etc.)?
  • Establish preferences. Spicy? No garlic? No gluten?
  • Do you want to include some kind of salad as well?
  • Need a whole meal? Consider adding a casserole, wings, etc.

    Soup Club Cookbook

    Miso Soup

    Salad In Container

    [1] Start your own soup club (photo courtesy Clarkson Potter). [2] Miso vegetable soup, an interesting recipe from [3] Your club can choose to add a salad—green, bean, grain, pasta, etc.—or other side (photo courtesy

  • Discuss the containers you’ll deliver the food in. If everyone has the same type, you don’t need to return the empties.
  • Be prepared to test and refine your process, so that it works for everyone.
    One day a week, when thinking about lunch or dinner, you’ll be able to say: Soup’s on!



    BOOK: The Gefilte Manifesto, New Cooking For The New Year

    The Gefilte Manifesto

    Gefilte Fish Terrine

    [1] Modernize Jewish cooking with The Gefilte Manifesto. Cover photo: parchment-wrapped trout roasted with sliced onions. [2] The new gefilte fish: a two-fish terrine (photos courtesy Flatiron Books).


    Those who don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, can still participate in one of the sweetest treats: sliced apples with honey for dipping. It symbolizes a sweet start to the new wear.

    This year, Rosh Hashanah spans Sunday, October 2 through Tuesday, October 4*.

    If you’re guesting for Rosh Hashanah and need a host/hostess gift, we like the new cookbook from Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, owners of The Gefilteria, a culinary venture that reimagines Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.


    THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, combines respect for culinary tradition with modern culinary preferences.

    The authors—Brooklynites Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz—took more than 100 recipes “pulled deep from the kitchens of Eastern Europe and the diaspora of North America.”

    They re-thought the recipes, taking into consideration modern palates, seasonality and consumers’ desire for easy-to-follow recipes.

    The authors’ variations on time-honored favorites add modern spins to both everyday and holiday dishes. Consider:

  • Fried Sour Pickles With Garlic Aïoli
  • Kasha Varnishkes With Brussels Sprouts
  • Kimchi Stuffed Cabbage
  • Savory Blintzes
  • Smoked Whitefish Gefilte Terrine
  • Sour Dill Martinis
  • Spinach & Leek Kreplach
    You’ll see how easy it is to make home-cured corned beef and pastrami, farmer cheese and honey-sesame chews—just like Great-Great-Great Grandmother did, but with modern conveniences like electricity, food processors and refrigerators.

    Get your copy here.

    Plan B: Bring a really fine honey like Savannah Bee, and a bowl of apples.
    *In the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, the dates of Jewish holidays vary yearly. They are based on the Hebrew calendar, which is not in sync with the Gregorian-Wester-Christian calendar.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Ice Cream & Berries Shortcake

    Ice Cream Shortcake is an easy dessert, simply combining berry ice cream, fresh berries on refrigerator biscuits. It’s easier to put together than an ice cream cake, and even easier than conventional shortcake since you don’t have to whip the cream.

    We adapted this recipe from the Chefs Collaborative Cookbook.

  • If you prefer, you can use only one biscuit half per person; or spread the usually plain top biscuit half with jam.
  • Use whichever berries you prefer, or a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries.
    Because today is National Raspberries & Cream Day, we’re making our shortcake with raspberries.


  • Refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
  • Ice cream of choice (suggested: strawberry, other berry or vanilla)
  • Fresh berries
  • Optional: berry jam or preserves
  • Optional garnish: mint sprig, rosemary sprig, or other decorative herb you have on hand

    1. BAKE the biscuits and let cool.

    2. SPLIT the biscuits and spread the bottom half with the optional jam. If using the top biscuit half, spread with jam as desired.

    3. TOP with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with berries. Place the top biscuit half on the plate (jam side up if using, otherwise top side up) and serve.





    How easy is this? Refrigerator biscuits + ice cream + berries = an impressive dessert. Photos courtesy The Chef’s Collaborative.

    More than 20 years ago, some of the most revered chefs in the world—including John Ash, Rick Bayless, Susan Feniger, Nobu Matsuhita, Nora Pouillon, Michael Romano and Alice Waters—looked at the way Americans were eating and decided that they had to help change it.

  • They had watched while processed foods replaced fresh food in our supermarkets.
  • They saw family farms disappear and huge agribusiness corporations take over.
  • They worried about obesity in children and adults, and the associated illnesses.
  • And they realized that Americans were losing the joy of cooking and eating fresh food.
    In 1993, these visionary chefs founded Chefs Collaborative and vowed to use their influence to educate us, the public, about a better way to nourish ourselves that is also better for the planet.

    Their stated goal: Support small farms, healthy food and sustainable agriculture for everyone. They’ve been a significant force in the food revolution that’s improved the way Americans eat.

    Chefs Collaborative members contributed more than 115 recipes to creating a cookbook: recipes that can be made by the home cook.

    Each section (fruits, meats, vegetables, etc.) also provides information about the principles of sustainability around the ingredient, with information provided farmers, artisan producers, breeders, environmentalists, and activists.

    Get your copy of The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook: Local, Sustainable, Delicious Recipes from America’s Great Chefs.

    It’s also a great gift for anyone interested in these issues.



    GIFTS: Food Books

    For hard-to-buy-for people, a book in an area of their interest is something we fall back upon. Sometimes it’s a combination gift: a book about Champagne, for example, along with a bottle of it, a book on Cognac with a set of snifters, and so on.

    Here we highlight books that would be welcome to people with specific food passions.


    A Year In Cheese, A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook applies the seasonal eating approach to cheese. It was written by Alex and Léo Guarneri, the team behind the renowned Parisian artisan cheese shop and cheese restaurant, Androuet (established in Paris in 1909 and now in the Old Spitalfields Market in London).

    What’s seasonal depends on the grazing cycle of the animal and what they graze on at which time of year. The recipes from chef Alessandro Grano are tantalizing.


    Tracy Zabar celebrates the chocolate chip cookie in Chocolate Chip Sweets: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes. Chefs such as Dominique Ansel, Lidia Bastianich, Florian Bellanger, Daniel Boulud, Maida Heatter, Thomas Keller, Pichet Ong, Jacques Torres, Sherry Yard and other top chefs share their favorite recipes. Brownies, cakes, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches, marshmallows, pies, puddings, waffles and more get the chocolate chip treatment.

    Who could resist this book?

    For people who appreciate fine chocolate, cookbooks from chocolatiers are always very interesting. No one knows chocolate more intimately, or can envision new ways to use it. This year’s chocolatier-authored cookbook is Theo Chocolate Recipes and Sweet Secrets From Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker.

    The authors, Debra Music and Joe Whinney, principals of Theo, worked with leading chefs to develop the more than 75 recipes in this book. They encompass chocolate for breakfast, cookies, cakes, confections, drinking chocolate, frozen desserts and dessert sauces, savory dishes, pies, puddings and tarts. Where to begin? We started with the Chocolate Bread Pudding.


    The next book is for cooks who seek out different ingredients. For anyone who’s bought a bottle of fish sauce for a particular Asian recipe, the challenge is what else to do with it. Open condiments decline over time, so you don’t want to tuck it out of sight. There are also plenty of home cooks who have decided not to buy a bottle for the same reasons.


    A Year In Cheese Book

    Chocolate Chip Sweets Book

    Fish Sauce Cookbook

    In The Fish Sauce Cookbook, 50 Umami-Packed Recipes From Around The Globe, Veronica Meewes has consulted with prominent chefs on using fish sauce as a key seasoning with popular American ingredients. This is the first cookbook to focus on fish sauce, and you can package it with a other fish sauces: naam plaa from Thailand, nuoc mam from Vietnam and numerous others.

    Among those others is colatura di alici, a modern representation of garum, the fish sauce favored by the ancient Romans. Worcestershire sauce is is made with anchovy, a recipe brought back to England by a ship’s captain Captain and first sold commercially in 1837.


    For the aspirational home cook, Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors will be a welcome addition to the cookbook shelf.

    Taking a different approach from classic French and other sauce cookbooks, Susan Volland demonstrates how great cooks all over the world make sauces with impromptu drizzling and splashing. She provides the fundamental principles of great sauces: maximize flavor, manipulate texture and season confidently. Thus armed, you can add your own flair to any sauce.

    There are more than 150 recipes that focus on seasonal produce, international ingredients and alternative dietary choices. She goes over the how’s and why’s of making great sauces. And at the end of it all, she provides a list of remedies for those attempts that don’t come out to your expectations.

    Then there’s The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. Kenji Lopez-Alt focuses on the science behind popular American dishes, providing easy-to-understand explanations of the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. He shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using simple new techniques.

    But it’s also a cookbook, with hundreds of easy-to-make recipes and 1,000 full-color images. you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.


    Mastering Sauces Cookbook

    The United States Of Pizza

    Complete Guide To Sushi & Sashimi


    For people who love really good French Fries, Anne de la Forest’s handsome if slender volume, Frites, spans traditional, trendy, creative and yes, sweet fries recipes. The more than 30 recipes are half potato recipes, and half “other.” The other includes fries made from asparagus, beet, black radish, butternut squash, carrot, celeriac, Comté cheese, eggplant, feta, kohlrabi, panisse (chickpea paste), parsnip, polenta, pumpkin, salsify, sweet potato, turnip, and zucchini.

    The sweet fries include apple, banana, pain perdu (French toast), pear and sweet potato. Savory or sweet, there are recommendations for dipping sauces and recipes for them, too. For those with reaching palates, this book is an inspiration.

    Award-winning Executive Chef & Pizza Connoisseur, Craig Priebe, brings us The United States of Pizza: America’s Favorite Pizzas, from Thin Crust to Deep Dish, Sourdough to Gluten-Free. Chef Craig Priebe has scoured the country to present recipes forthe tastiest pies, from classics to semi-modern (smoked ham and cheddar) to of-the-moment (roasted cauliflower and salsa verde).

    With beautiful photography, it gives the pizza lover a perspective on what’s happening nationwide, and the recipes to make those pies!

    For people who love pizza and have a barbecue grill, there’s Grilled Pizza The Right Way: The Best Technique for Cooking Incredible Tasting Pizza & Flatbread on Your Barbecue Perfectly Chewy & Crispy Every Time. It was written by John Delpha, a 10-time award winner of the Jack Daniel’s BBQ Championship Grilling and BBQing Awards. He’s been grilling pizzas for 20 years.

    Although a paperback, all the recipient will notice are the beautiful photos of grilled pizza. Each recipe includes the technique required to master it. Every type of pizza is represented: brunch, classic, cross-border, dessert, fish and seafood, flatbreads, meat, veggie and “the masqueraders,” favorite sandwiches converted to pizza.

    We want to eat every one of them.

    We’ve eaten sushi and sashimi all of our life, at least twice a week. We’ve taken classes, hoping to make our own at home. If only we’d had The Complete Guide To Sushi & Sashimi, a compendium with step-by-step color photographs. It imparts hundreds of tips and techniques, that, in all of our sushi years, is still new information (and now we can finally cut squid properly!!).

    This user-friendly book, for both novice and experienced sushi makers, has concealed wiro-bound hardcover binding, 500 photos and a whopping 625 recipes, this book is sure now our go-to guide.


    There are more, of course. So many food books, so little time to try recipes from each!

    We just may get around to writing Food Books, Part 2.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Pizza The Right Way

    When you fire up the grill, make a pizza! Grilled pizza is celestial, with a crispy, chewy and slightly charred crust and the light, smoky flavor picked up by the cheese and toppings.

    Grilling caramelizes the crust the way a wood burning pizza oven does. But you don’t need the wood-burning oven—just the backyard grill you already have.

    Some people have tried grilling pizza at home without success. The new cookbook Grilled Pizza The Right Way provides the fail-safe technique to do it perfectly.

    Award-winning chef and barbecue pitmaster, John Delpha, has been grilling pizza for 20 years. He honed his skills at the famed Al Forno pizzeria in Providence, Rhode Island that is credited with popularizing* grilled pizza.

    Loaded with photos, this book of more than 85 grilled pizza recipes gets you started with the right techniques. Hot off the presses, it’s a must-have for home grillers, and a great gift to bring whenever you’re invited over by a griller.



    The book that will change your summer grilling. Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.


    Once you know Chef Delpha’s technique, the grilling combinations are endless, including sweet dessert pizzas (oh, the Bananas Foster pizza!).

    The instructions are easy to follow; you can make the dough and toppings ahead of time for a quick weeknight pizza, or use store-bought dough for even quicker eating.

    Channel your inner pizza chef with varieties galore, from pizza parlor standards to gourmet toppings (goat cheese, lamb and many others) to porting over concepts from other favorite foods—Reuben and cheeseburger pizzas for example.

    This weekend we’re making our own combo of ingredients we had in-house—asparagus, bacon, caramelized onions and corn—plus the book’s recipe for pickled jalapeño crema.

    We’re are also experimenting with toppings of pâté, cornichons and Dijon crema thanks to a gift of luscious pâtés we received from the pâté pros at Le Trois Petits Cochons.


    Beyond pepperoni, here’s a creative grilled pizza and the recipe. Photo courtesy



    Hungry yet? Click over to to get your copy of “Grilled Pizza the Right Way,” plus more for gifting.

    Then plan to throw grilled pizza parties all summer. Guests will clamor for the next flavor to come off the grill.

    Can’t wait for the book to arrive? Start this weekend with a recipe and tips from Jim Lahey of New York City’s Co Pane restaurant and pizzeria.

    His grilled beauty in the photo at left uses béchamel sauce, grated Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, fresh basil and red-pepper flakes, topped with cherry tomatoes and raw corn.

    Find the full recipe at

    *A QUICK HISTORY OF PIZZA: Al Forno didn’t invent the grilled pizza, as often attributed, but reinvented it. The precursor of pizza predates written history, but flatbread topped with cheese and cooked in the fire could date as far back as 5500 B.C.E.

    Melted cheese on bread was common fare for millennia around the Mediterranean, but the tomato didn’t arrive from the New World until the 16th century. The fruit was the size of modern cherry tomatoes and thought to be poisonous; the plant was used as house decor!

    During a famine the 18th century, the starving poor of Naples were reduced to eating anything. They tried the tomatoes, found they were not poisonous but delicious, and began to add it to their cheese and flatbread (often with anchovies!). Thus, modern pizza was born. Here’s the history of pizza plus 12 gourmet pizza recipes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake A Pie, It’s Pi Day Of The Century!

    Mathematically, today is Pi Day: 3.14. As you learned in high school geometry, the Greek symbol is used in mathematics to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, a constant which begins with 3.14159.

    Sorry we can’t show the Greek symbol in these paragraphs: WordPress keeps converting it to a question mark and we couldn’t make any of the help forum ideas work. So we’ve chosen the fetching “pi pie” in the photo at right to help out.

    Today is actually an extra-special Pi Day, the Pi Day of the Century: 3.14.15. The first ten digits of pi, which extends to infinity beyond the decimal point (it has been calculated up to trillions of places), are 3.141592653. There’s more about pi below.

    Thus, 9:26:53 a.m. is the Pi Moment of the Century.

    Some people are obsessed with memorizing as many digits of pi as possible. The Guinness Book Of World Records names the record holder as a man named Lu Chao. He set the record in November 2005 at Northwest A & F University in the Shaanxi province of China. It took him 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite the 67,890th decimal place of pi without a mistake. [Source]

    Congratulations, Mr. Lu, but we’d prefer to eat pie rather than memorize pi. Culinarily, we use Pi Day as an excuse to have a different type of pie each year.



    Since we couldn’t get the Greek symbol for pi to appear in WordPress, we found a photo of a real “pi pie” on GreatMindsOfScience. The pi symbol is in the center and the first 31 digits circle the rim. If you know who created this masterpiece, let us know.

    Yes, Pi Day is celebrated by pastry fans around the world. How about a piece of the award-winning pie below? It won a blue ribbon at the 2014 National Pie Championships.

    Norske Nook is a restaurant and bakery in western Wisconsin that has received 36 blue ribbons in the past 10 years at the National Pie Championship, competing in a field of more than 500 pies.

    The restaurant announces its new cookbook today: The Norske Nook Book Of Pies & Other Recipes. It will be released next month, but you can pre-order it now.

    In the interim, they provided this delicious pie recipe.


    Most icebox pie recipes require no cooking: You simply refrigerate or freeze the completed pie. Others, like the recipe below, need only a bit of time on the stove top or in the oven. This recipe requires a bit of both.

    After you get the pie into the fridge, check out the different types of pies in our delicious Pie & Pastry Glossary.

    Ingredients For An 11-Inch Pie

  • 1 single crust, baked
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 container (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 large egg yolk
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cups hot water
  • Garnish: fresh whipped cream


    An award winning pie for Pi Day. Photo courtesy University Of Wisconsin Press.



    1. MIX the cream cheese and powdered sugar in an electric stand mixer until smooth. Fold in half the whipped topping and mix to combine. With a rubber spatula, continue mixing by hand.

    2. SPREAD the filling into the bottom of the baked crust.

    3. MIX the sugar, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the egg yolks, lemon juice and hot water. Cook until thickened and the center is boiling. Transfer to a plastic bowl and refrigerate until cool.

    4. MOUND the cooled mixture over the cream cheese layer. Top with the rest of the whipped topping or fresh whipped cream. Keep refrigerated.


    Pi is a mathematical constant, a special number that is significantly interesting in some way to mathematicians.

    But why was the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet (it translates to “p” in the Roman alphabet), chosen as a mathematical symbol to represent the constant ratio of the circumference to the diameter of any circle?


    The credit for what turns about to be a great idea goes to a Welsh mathematician William Jones (1675-1749). In a 1706 work called Synopsis Palmariorum Matheseos (A New Introduction to the Mathematics), he abbreviated the Greek word root for periphery, meaning “circumference,” to pi.

    Before Jones used the pi symbol, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle was referred to in this wordy phrase from medieval Latin: quantitas in quam cum multiflicetur diameter, proveniet circumferencia (the quantity which, when the diameter is multiplied by it, yields the circumference). Whew!

    Here’s more about pi.



    BOOK: Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook

    It’s the best-selling flavor at New York’s Magnolia Bakery, L.A.’s Sprinkles Cupcakes, London’s Hummingbird Bakery and other cake emporia. Since 2005, its inclusion on restaurant menus has grown by more than 500%. It has been used to flavor coffee, tea, waffles, doughnuts, even fried chicken. It’s easy to find red velvet truffles, butter cookies, and even hot chocolate.

    Red Velvet is the flavor that came from—where, exactly?—to grab the spotlight.


    “The history of red velvet is not black and white,” says Deborah Harroun, author of the recently published Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook.

    Stories detail its discovery in the 1870s in Canada and in the 1950s in Pennsylvania. Some give credit to the Deep South, where red velvet cake is topped with cream cheese frosting.



    A gift book for red velvet fans. Send it from Photo courtesy Harvard Common Press.

    One claim is that the Waldorf-Astoria’s restaurant in New York City was the first to serve red velvet cake as we know it today. Harroun writes:

    “According to legend, a woman visited the Waldorf-Astoria, tried the cake, and fell in love. She wrote a letter to the hotel, asking if the chef would send her the recipe. The hotel did send her the recipe—along with a bill for $350. In retaliation, she made copies of the recipe and distributed them high and low.”

    That does sound like a legend; and the truth is, we don’t know where red velvet cake originated.


    Before we read the book, we were under the impression that red velvet cake should be a type of chocolate cake with red food coloring. Our mom has baked a recipe called Red Devil’s Food Cake since the 1950s.

    Think again, says Deborah: “The cocoa taste actually appears as just a hint when done correctly. I say that a red velvet cake or cupcakes taste like butter cake with just a hint of cocoa. It may be a hard flavor to describe, but once you’ve had it, you probably won’t forget it!”

    And while many committed bakers deride red velvet for its use of “fake” red food coloring, there are natural ingredients that can be used to achieve the same red hue: cranberries, other red berries, pomegranates. Mom used beets in her Red Devil’s Food Cake.



    Red velvet cheesecake. Photo courtesy McCormick.



    What initially appeared to us as a gimmick has become a bakery staple, like another arrival of the same time, the cake pop. (Their offspring: the red velvet cake pop.)

    In the book, Deborah presents the classics as well as a host of new, inventive uses for red velvet: red velvet biscuits, donuts, cheesecakes, icebox cakes, molten lava cakes, muffins, mug cakes, pancakes and even waffles.

    There are a dozen recipes for bars, brownies and cookies, plus red velvet rolls and breads. Don’t stop there: Make red velvet cannoli, churros, éclairs, snowballs and truffles.

    Even if your favorite red velvet lover doesn’t like to bake, he or she will be entertained just by the recipes and the photos.

    Order yours at




    TIP OF THE DAY: Pudding Toppers, Pudding Party


    Butterscotch pudding with brittle. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.


    Here’s a fun dessert idea, whether for a weekday family dinner or a pudding bar at your next party.

    You can make pudding or buy it. Making it is better and lots more fun. We’ve been spending more and more time with Puddin’: Luscious and Unforgettable Puddings, Parfaits, Pudding Cakes, Pies, and Pops.

    The book, by the owner of a pudding store in New York City, has foolproof pudding recipes, from standards to modern twists. Get your copy here.


    • Banana pudding
    • Butterscotch pudding
    • Chocolate pudding
    • Coffee pudding
    • Lemon pudding
    • Pistachio pudding
    • Tapioca pudding
    • Rice pudding
    • Vanilla pudding
    • Modern puddings: Dulce de Leche, Key Lime, Malted Milk, Nutella, Peanut Butter and many others
    • Seasonal favorites like Eggnog, Maple and Pumpkin Pie puddings

    Cookie & Cake Toppings

    • Brownie crumbs
    • Cake cubes (from any type of cake)
    • Graham cracker crumbs
    • Vanilla wafer crumbs
    • Other cookie crumbs

    Sauce Toppings

    • Caramel sauce
    • Dulce de leche
    • Fudge sauce
    • Fruit sauce: berry, cherry, peach melba
    • Marshmallow creme
    • Whipped cream


    Candies & Nuts

    • Baking chips: chocolate, butterscotch, mint, peanut butter, vanilla
    • Candied nuts (any type, including honey roasted nuts)
    • Candied orange peel
    • Chopped brittle or toffee
    • Gummies
    • Mini candies (malt balls, M&Ms, marshmallows)
    • Mini pretzels, chopped chocolate covered pretzels
    • Reese’s Pieces
    • Sprinkles

    Wild Card

    • Candied bacon
    • Coconut
    • Dried berries: cherries, cranberries


    Puddin-licious: an entire book of pudding recipes. Photo courtesy Spiegel & Grau.



    1. MAKE the pudding in large bowls. Consider adding dairy free (vegan) and sugar free options.

    2. KEEP each bowl on a bed of crushed ice.

    3. PLACE the toppings in smaller bowls, each with its own serving spoon. Refilling topping bowls as needed.



    BOOK: 5-Minute Mug Cakes

    Trending in cakes these days: mug cake cookbooks. With a few ingredients, a microwave and a microwave-safe mug, you can have cake in five minutes.

  • First out of the gate is 5-Minute Mug Cakes, by Jennifer Lee.
  • Mug Cakes: Ready In 5 Minutes in the Microwave by Lene Knudsen will be published on October 7th, with 30 recipes.
  • 20 Microwave Mug Cake Recipes: Perfect for that sweet craving when you only have a few minutes! by Jenny Scott.
    These are books written for us. We often crave a piece of cake, but can’t keep it in the house (otherwise, a portion size becomes half a cake).

    So what better solution than mug cakes, microwaved in five minutes with standard ingredients?

    We have our hands on a copy of 5-Minute Mug Cakes. It has 3-5 times as many recipes as the other two—almost 100—and is a good place to start. You can treat yourself to a different cake every day for three months. Who needs a whole year with Julie And Julia?



    Bake yourself a cake in a mug in five minutes. Photo courtesy Race Point Publishing.


    Every recipe is simple, fast and delicious. In minutes, you’ll be sinking your spoon into the cake you’ve been hankering for, such as:

  • Blueberry Muffin Streusel Cake
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
  • Flourless Nutella Cake
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Salted-Caramel Chocolate Cake
  • S’mores Cake
  • Strawberries & Cream Cake
    There are the basics, of course—vanilla, chocolate and lemon—and the sophisticates, such as Matcha Green Tea Cakes and Chocolate Stout Cake.

    For special interests, there are Breakfast Mug Cakes, Brownie Mug Cakes, 21 And Over Mug Cakes (with alcohol), Holiday Mug Cakes, Savory Mug Cakes, Skinny Mug Cakes (under 200 calories) and Gluten-Free Mug Cakes (and more).

    And if you mix your ingredients right in your favorite mug, clean-up is a cinch!

    The biggest decision: which one to make today. The contenders: Dulce de Leche Brownie Cake or Cookies and Cream Blondie Cake.

    Or perhaps we’ll invest another five minutes and make both!


    BOOK: Dumplings All Day Wong


    A dumpling lover’s treasure. Photo courtesy
    Page Street Publishing.


    We loved chef Lee Anne Wong on the first season of Top Chef.

    She’s out with her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong, focusing on Asian dumplings.

    Says Chef Lee Anne: “Biting into a hot, fresh, juicy dumpling can be a transcendent moment, the kind that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head, and one that can be repeated (often).”

    Yet unless you’re fortunate enough to live near an exceptional dim sum establishment, the dumplings you get at most Asian restaurants are purchased from outside suppliers, and often nowhere as flavorful as the ones you can making at home.

    That’s why this book is such a treasure. “The further you get into the book, the more you will begin to realize that your possibilities are truly endless. As with all styles of cooking, once you master the techniques and basic recipes, you’ll have the ability to build your own dumpling arsenal.”

    And what to do with this arsenal—which can be gluten free, traditional, modern, cutting edge, even technicolor (with colored dough)?

    Entertain! Become known for dumpling cocktail parties and brunches. Be the first one invited to parties (and bring some dumplings, of course).

    Do you have the patience to make dumplings? “While the idea of standing in one place all day making dumplings sounds intimidating or boring, I actually quite enjoy the repetitive motions of hand pleating dumplings. I consider it my ‘me time.’

    Our suggestion: Invite a friend to make dumplings with you. You’ll be able to make more varieties, and have “us time.”

    Then, thrill to your homemade gyozas, har gow, potstickers, shumai, wontons and more, with countless fillings and different cooking methods including baking, deep-frying, pan-frying and steaming.

    Get the book now, on; it’s available in paperback and Kindle versions.



    Ingredients For 60 Dumplings

  • 1 pound bacon, diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 pints (1½ pounds) fresh Brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 60 round dumpling wrappers

    1. COOK the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it is completely cooked and crispy. Strain the bacon and cool on a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat.

    2. PREHEAT a small pot of oil to 375°F. Trim the bottom and outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them, leaving the root ends intact.



    A contemporary dumpling recipe from Dumplings All Day Wong: Brussels sprouts and bacon! Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.


    3. DIVIDE the Brussels sprouts in half and deep-fry half of them in small batches for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves are caramelized and brown. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. Once cooled, chop into small pieces or use a food processor.

    4. BRING a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the remaining Brussels sprouts until tender, abut 3 minutes. Place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Dry the Brussels sprouts with paper towels and chop finely (or in the food processor).

    5. COMBINE the bacon, chopped Brussels sprouts and minced garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cornstarch until well mixed. Sprinkle over the filling, add the fish sauce, vinegar and bacon fat and mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

    6. FILL the dumplings with about 1 teaspoon of filling and fold in a pleat style. Heat a wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place the dumplings in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are gold brown, 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup water and immediately cover the pan. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the dumpling skins have cooked through about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with Fish Sauce Caramel.



  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

    1. COMBINE the rice vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and add the fish sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.



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