Celebrating Good Books: International Book Week

Celebrating Good Books: International Book Week

In celebration of International Book Week, I thought I’d share five favorite books on cooking, food and delicious inspiration.  These are the books that I use, read and refer to quite often, which is why they made the list.

Entertaining by Martha Stewart
I always keep my hardcover first edition (found at a vintage book shop) handy and refer to it often.  I think these are her best recipes ever!

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
A must-have for anyone in the kitchen, no?


I took this photo of Ming Tsai goofing off in Takashi Yagihashi’s kitchen

French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle
I laughed and delighted my way through France via Mr. Mayle’s humor and good wit.


Simply Ming: One Pot Meals by Ming Tsai
I love the simplicity and freshness of a quick stir-fry and breakout my woks whenever I can.

Mexico: One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless
His recipes and techniques are so good, so detailed and so easy to follow.

Obviously, there are many, many more great food and cooking books out there…. These are just the top five that came to my mind.  Feel free to share your favorites!

Celebrating Summer Vegetables

Celebrating Summer Vegetables

Cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime

My goodness, I do love Summer vegetables!  On the grill, in a salad, or lightly sauteed — I can’t seem to get my fill.  This week I have not one, but three recipes to share with you, all of which feature delightful vegetables of the sunny season. 

The first comes via my dear friend Michelle, who made the most sumptuous Pink Vegetable Lasagna on Sunday night.  Rather than use two sauces, Bechamel and Marinara, she created a pink sauce, a delightful mixture of the two — and the tangy, rich tomato cream danced with two types of squashes, baby spinach, sweet onions, a mire poux medley and lots of melted cheese.

Skirt Steak Torta - fabulous!

The second comes from the fabulous Rick Bayless who has a wonderful skirt steak torta recipe.  In his recipe, he says you can choose to grill skirt steak or zucchini — honestly, I like both, so I grilled both and pressed them together into a savory torta.  Topped with avocado cilantro mayonnaise, cumin flavored black beans and spicy chipotle sauce, it was by far one of the best meals of the season.

Finally, I share my recipe for Summer Fennel with Lemon and Braised Chicken.  This is such a simple and light dish, because the flavors are zesty and bright. When paired with pearls of cous-cous or a cucumber salad, it creates a very welcoming plate.  Something that says come and stay for awhile.  And that’s exactly what Summer is.  Happy Eating.

  1. Michelle’s Pink Vegetable Lasagna

    Michelle's Pink Vegetable Lasagna

Twitter vs. Traditional Media

Twitter vs. Traditional Media

This morning, I met a journalist that refused to participate in new media.  He said he was a “traditionalist” and it really showed.  He walked around with pencil and paper (forget an iPad or tablet) has never worked on a Mac and his mobile phone was completely outdated.  He admitted that in the rare instance when he sends text messages, he spells everything out and never abbreviates.

Rather than roll my eyes, I decided to talk to him.  I told him that Twitter was basically a text message — except that you could text the world.  His eyes widened.  I explained that new media is more than just social networking, it is bringing mobile apps, online video, mapping technology and a host of other informative and nifty things together into a global conversation.

When asked to give an example, I said that Chef Rick Bayless sent me a tweet last night.  He was surprised — THE Chef Rick Bayless?  Yes, I told him, that Chef Rick Bayless.

I made his Lomo de Puerco en Salsa Verde (Braised Pork Loin in Roasted Tomatillo Sauce) and it was so good, I took a picture of it.  Then I posted that picture on TwitPic, gave a shout-out to Chef Rick (@Rick_Bayless) and he sent me a direct message.  That’s pretty Twitter-ific if you ask me!

I went on to explain that in a “traditional” sense, Chef Rick would never sit down at a computer, look for my photo and then send me an e-mail.  Who has time for that?

But through the ease of Twitter, Chef Rick gets a little ding and with the push of a button, it all comes together.  If he wants to acknowledge me (which he did) all he has to do is send a quick text message through his mobile phone – and it’s done in less than ten seconds.

In turn, I get Chef Rick’s message on my mobile phone, tell all of my friends, post it on Facebook, blog about the entire experience and deliver one key message: that Chef Rick Bayless is pretty damn cool.  Now, my friends are going to follow Chef Rick on Twitter, my friends that don’t know of him are going to learn and I have a great story to tell every time I make this recipe.

I asked the journalist if he ever had that kind of reaction to one of his stories?  Then, I told him to take my reaction and multiply it by a thousand (at least) because that’s what the power of one tweet can do.  The journalist was amazed.

I went on to say that aside from cooking, Twitter comes in handy for me when I travel.  I use it to communicate with airline customer service, report on hotel stays and also get restaurant recommendations.  It’s so much easier than using the telephone!  On a daily basis, I use Twitter to share news articles, online videos and other announcements I find worthwhile.  It’s pretty amazing to think about the number of people online that are willing to share information with you, or to exchange in conversation with.  I think it has to do with how easy it is, and especially, how little time it takes.

I asked the journalist how much time he spends tracking down sources.  He admitted it took a lot of his time.  He shared that he is currently working on a story about a missing teen.  I told him that if he went onto Facebook, he’d likely find a lot of leads. Why?  Because everyone’s on Facebook!  And he could develop story leads through Facebook, write the story, then tweet about it as soon as it was published.  (Yes, I realize that he could use a lot of other cool tools, apps and services, but let’s stick to one thing at a time).

An hour later, the reporter acknowledged I was right.  And he told me this through a tweet.   Mission accomplished!