How culinary school and gaming helped former teacher Mannah Kallon land a career in coding

It was Mannah Kallons love for food and gaming that ignitedthe former chefs career in coding.

During culinary school and on atour of the South (which hell discuss in our latest episode of breaking into startups),the longtime gamer played A LOT of video games and even taught himself how to make an onethat could potentially get kids excited about learning Math.

The onetime culinary school attendee, became excited about prospects in education and embarked on a career teachingin New Yorks famous Harlem neighborhood. Other educators at the school wanted to learn his secrets for getting students excited about math.

Their interest sparked his own passion for coding and gave him the insight that his Philosophy major and passion for symbolic logic, could be put to a differentuse in the technology industry.

So Kallon left education behind, became the coder he wanted to be by taking classes at DevBootcamp and took a job at the personal shopping and style service, Stitch Fix.

Part of the reason why we started the Breaking Into Startups Podcast was not just to share these stories, but also to provide you with an unbiased page of resources that we recommend for you to use at your own discretion and you can go tobreakingintostartups.com/resourcesto get discounts when you apply to bootcamps like Dev Bootcamp and similar programs.<

Ifyou want to prepare yourself before you apply, make sure you sign up to our 5 step challenge atbreakingintostartups.com/challenge.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/21/how-culinary-school-and-gaming-helped-former-teacher-mannah-kallon-land-a-career-in-coding/

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Why I (And So Many Other Moms) Suffer From Dinnerphobia

The time is usually around 4:45 in the afternoon, in cities and towns all across the country, when, almost like clockwork, theres a universal shift in consciousness that happens in the psyche of mothers in kitchens everywhere.

It usually starts sometime after our kids get home from school, as the afternoon starts to wane, and the high from their granola bar and string cheese has worn off.

Its then that we become acutely aware of the position of the sun in the sky, and start obsessing about the inevitability that is dinnertime.

This is when things get dicey and moms everywhere start feeling the telltale symptoms of the daily phobia that grips most of us every weekday afternoon. That nagging sensation that the day isnt quite over yet, that theres still something big and involved and time-consuming looming out there that we ultimately have to pull together. The feeling that prompts light sweating, or a slight tension headache behind their eyes or a combination of lightheadedness and nausea that makes us just want to crawl under our comforter, knees up in the fetal position and disappear.

Refrigerator

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Yes, Im talking about dinnerphobia.

Its when our pulse gets quick and our breath gets shallow and our upper lip starts to bead with sweat. All because we know that mouths need to be fed and yet another dinner needs to be prepared and were on deck.

Again.

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You know, dinner, that unavoidable time of the day when everyone descends on the kitchen, utensils in hand, their gastrocolic reflex fully stimulated, ready for food. And as the mom (or maybe the dad), its our responsibility to satisfy them. Weve got to be ready. Because its our obligation, as parents, to come up with unique and appealing and delicious and, when possible, supremely colorful meals that everyone will enjoy. And for the average parent, that responsibility can feel like an extra fifty pounds of stress strapped to our backs unless were Giada De Laurentiis with a fully-stocked fake kitchen and a camera crew.

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Now, even though there are plenty of different ways to pull off dinnereating out or ordering take-out or heating leftovers or cooking an actual meal with actual ingredientsthere are still some logistics involved in making it happen, regardless of how we get it done.

Weve still got to decide on a restaurant and get there or choose which menu to order from or heat up the meatloaf or shop and prep and cook the meal or open the cereal box and pour the milk.

And day after day after week after month after year, that pressure to orchestrate dinner builds into an ugly bundle of stress that moms have to relive every single day.

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OK, granted, some of us feel more stress about cooking than others. Like the parents with historically picky eaters or moms who despise cooking in general or parents who work full time and just dont have the extra bandwidth to plan and shop and cook, for those guys, its tough. Really tough. So its understandable why dinnertime can be stressful.

For others, who dont have those issues but maybe just arent fans of cooking, dinner may not be quite as intimidating, but its still something that needs to be considered every single day. So its just another thing on an already crazy-long to-do list.

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And for an even smaller minority, like myself, who actually do enjoy the art of cooking and love discovering and experimenting with recipes, it still represents a chunk of time that we have to account for as we plan our day. And even that can be a buzzkill sometimes when you just feel like sliding onto the couch and watching a Cops marathon with a bag of popcorn. Alone.

So, even though there are varying degrees of dinnerphobia, we all have our moments when we just cant stomach the thought of another dinner to prepare.

But the reality is, weve all gotta eat. And as parents, weve gotta suck it up and do the best we can, as often as we can, to plan ahead and be prepared and get the job done. And when we cant, we have to cut ourselves some slack and not get too wrapped around the axel when the best we can do for dinner is a PB&J or a couple of sunny side-up eggs or a bowl of oatmeal.

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Dinnerphobia is real, people. And it lives in the minds and kitchens of moms everywhere. Every day. And the only way to manage it is to remember that our fear of making dinner cant hurt us, only starvation can.

So, get it done. Whatever way you can. And remember that there are plenty of meal replacement bars on the market that have 20+ grams of protein in them. And no ones judging.

For more from Lisa Sugarman, visitLisaSugarman.comandTwitterandclick here for an exclusive offer to pre-orderher upcoming book Untying Parent Anxiety.

Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/fear-of-dinnertime-for-moms/

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13 Pioneer-Era Recipes That You Should Still Serve Up Today

Americans making their way to settle in new areas of the country back in the 1800s had little to rely on when it came to meals. They had to get creative with the meager options,but you’d be surprised how many pioneer-era recipes from back in the day still look scrumptious today.

That’s why looking back at how folks survived in that era, and again later during the Great Depression, is the perfect wayto find budget-friendly, yet still delicious, dining options for you and your family. In fact, you might even recognize a few of these as staples in your kitchen thatwere passed down in your family through the generations.

Either way, I wouldn’t mind chowing down on several of the pioneer-era recipes listed below! I also wouldn’t recommend looking at them on an empty stomach unless you want to hear your belly growl.

Have you tried any pioneer-era recipes that we missed? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

[H/T: The Chronicle Of The Old West, LDS.org]

1. Corn Dodgers

Pioneer

Similar to hush puppies, these were a great side with beans or to carry around for a snack while traveling.

Ingredients:
2 cups cornmeal
2 Tbsps. butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp. baking powder

Instructions:
Start heating oil in a Dutch oven while you cook thecornmeal, butter, salt, sugar, and milk in a saucepan. Once it’s all mixed together, set the saucepan aside and allow to cool for five minutes, then add baking powder. Drop tablespoon-sized portions into the oil and let fry for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Spotted Pup

Pioneer

This sweet dish might have a strange name, but it’sa great treat that will stick to your bones.

Ingredients:
Cooked rice
Milk
1 egg
1 dash salt
Sugar, to taste
Raisins
Nutmeg
Vanilla

Instructions:
Place the rice into a Dutch oven andpour enough milk to cover the grains and add a well-beaten egg.Next, add a dash of salt and as much sugar as you’d likefor sweetness, then the raisins, nutmeg, and vanilla. Cover with a lid and allow to heatslowly until the egg is fully cooked.

3. Soda Biscuits

Pioneer

These are a bit more dense than the fluffier biscuits we tend to make today, but just as delicious.

Ingredients:
3 1/3 cups of flour
Milk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Instructions:
With flour in a large bowl,add one tablespoonof milk at a time until the dough is stiff. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the baking soda into one tablespoon of milk, thenpour into the dough and mix. Add the salt and mix again, then roll the dough out into a thin layer. Use a cookie cutter to make circles and fry in a Dutch oven or bake in a standard oven until dough is cooked all the way through and the edges are brown.

4. Molasses Stack Cake

Pioneer

This super sweet cake should totally make a comeback, especially for birthdays and special occasions!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
2 cups flour
Applesauce

Instructions:
Mix the buttermilk, shortening, egg, molasses, and baking soda, and add nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Once fully combined, add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to make circles, then bake on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Serve with applesauce between the layers and top with more molasses.

5. Mud Apples

Pioneer

Yep, this recipe uses actual mud. Butdon’t worry we would obviously never recommend that you consume dirt. You actually might want to substitute cinnamon and keep the skins on for a sweeter version.

Ingredients:
4 large apples
Mud

Instructions:
Cover the apples in mud and place them directly onto the coals of a fire for about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the fruit from the flames and scrape away any coal. Knock the mud off and discard the apple skins for a sweet, mushy treat.

6. Winter Red Flannel Hash

Pioneer

This was often made with leftover corned beef that wasn’t enough for a meal on its own.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups chopped corned beef
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked beets
1 chopped medium onion
4 cups chopped, cooked potatoes

Instructions:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and heat in an oiled skillet until the bottom is browned and forms a crust. If it’s dry, you can add a little beef broth for moisture.

7. 1876 Cottage Cheese

Pioneer

Folks back in the day found the perfect use for milk that was about to go totally bad so it didn’t go to waste.

Ingredients:
Milk
Heavy cream

Instructions:
Let the milk clabber, or sour and curdle slightly, and skim the cream off the top. Place the clabbered milk over very low heat and cut into chunks. Use a colander to press out the whey and wipe it away. When the clabbered milk is firm, rinse with cold water and squeeze out the liquid while forming it into a ball. Crumble into a bowl and add thick cream.

8. Chuckwagon Beans

Pioneer

This protein-rich dish was a staple for fireside meals that kept you full for long rides.

Ingredients:
16oz. dry pinto beans
9 cups water
2large chopped onions
2 tsps. salt
1/2tsp. oregano
1/2tsp. garlic powder, or 2cloves sliced garlic
1/4tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. brown sugar or molasses

Instructions:
Wash the beans and boil them in six cups of water for five minutes, then turn the heat off and let them sit for an hour. Add three more cups of water and bring to a boil again, then add the rest of the ingredients saving the sugar or molasses for last and adding more if you have a sweeter tooth. Let it cook for an hour before serving.

9. Jerky Gravy

Pioneer

Since it was obviously difficult to keep fresh meat while traveling, it was often cured into jerky that could be used in various dishes.

Ingredients:
Chopped jerky
Fat or grease
Flour
Salt
Pepper
Milk

Instructions:
There are no measurements for this as it depends on how much gravy you’d like or ingredients available. Fry the jerky in a skillet with fat or grease, then remove from heat and add flour, milk, salt, and pepper and stir until thick.

10. Velvet Chicken Soup

Pioneer

You may love chicken soup, but this “velvet” versionwas a pioneer favorite.

Ingredients:
3 to 4 lbs. chicken
3 qts.water
1 Tbsp. salt
6 peppercorns
1 small chopped onion
2 Tbsps. chopped celery
2 cups rich milk or cream
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter
Salt
Pepper
2 well-beaten eggs

Instructions:
Clean the chicken and cut into chunky pieces. Put in a pot with the water and a pinch of salt, then bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the chicken is tender. Remove from the pot andseparate the meat from the bones, saving it for other dishes.

Place the bones back into the pot and add the peppercorns, onions, and celery. Simmer until it has boiled down to about a quart of stock thenstrain. Add the milk or cream and bring to a boil again. Mix the cornstarch with cold water and add to the pot, followed by butter. In a separate bowl, pour one cup of the stock over well-beaten eggs, then pour that mixture back into the stock and allow to cook for two minutes while stirring constantly.

11. Currant Bread

Pioneer

Settlers from Wales brought this popular pioneer bread over the pond with them in 1856.

Ingredients:
1 yeast cake
1/4 cup lukewarm water
9 cups flour
2 cups shortening
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. dried currants
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 halves candied lemon peel
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. salt
3 cups warm water

Instructions:
Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water to soften, then mix the shortening and flour. Add the rest of your ingredients, including the yeast but not the warmwater yet. Once it has been fully mixed together, add the warm water. Let the dough rise overnight, form into loaves, and allow to rise for another couple of hours. Bake at 350 Ffor an hour and a half.

12. 101-Year-Old Pastry

Pioneer

This recipe was the best way to make tons ofyummy dough without depleting too many ingredients. And though the name is “101-year-old,” it certainly was used much longer ago than that.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp.salt
1 cup lard or shortening
1 beaten egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Cold water

Instructions:
Mix the shortening with the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add vinegar, then fill with cold water. Add about four tablespoonsof the mixture to the flour and shortening and save the rest for another batch. Mix until doughy and you’ll have enough for two nine-inch pie crusts.

13. Norwegian Fruit Soup

Pioneer

Scandinavian settlers shared this spin on tapioca pudding when they arrived during the 1800s.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 prunes
1 Tbsp. dried currants
1 Tbsp. raisins
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 1/2 tsps. quick-cooking tapioca

Instructions:
Place water in a pot over heat and cookprunes, currants, raisins, and cinnamon until tender. Then add the sugar, vinegar, and tapioca and bring to a full boil before removing from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

Did we miss any recipes from back in the day that you’ve tried? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/pioneer-era-recipes/

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Take Breakfast To The Next Level And Cook Your Eggs In Spaghetti Squash Nests

Breakfast is vital to our health, so starting the day with a delicious and protein-packed meal is an essential way to fuel your body and jump-start the day!

Of course, no delicious breakfast is complete without Eggland’s Best eggs. For those of you who are tired of the same old breakfast fare, it might be time to add a little twist to your morning meal.

Being able to start the day off on a delicious note makes it so much easier to wake up and not be tempted to hit the snooze button, right?

A fresh new recipe to add to your morning routine is bakingEggland’s Best eggs in a nest of spaghetti squash. This dish is not only scrumptious, it’s also packed with the healthy proteins, vitamins and minerals we need.

Eggs and squash go so well together once you have a bite, you’ll wonder why you haven’t already been cooking breakfast like this!

Plus, spaghetti squash is a delicious way to fit veggies in for breakfast.

This might be one of the tastiest breakfast dishes I’ve whipped up in a long time. It’s now a staple in my household because it’s such a quick and satisfying way to properly start the day.

Check out the video and recipe below to see how its done, and then try it yourself. Print out the recipe to have it handy while you prepare the dish!

Cook: 60 min
Prep: 10 min
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 1 34 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 6 Egglands Best eggs
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 18 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsps. chickpea flour
  • 13 cup Parmesan, grated
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • Bake spaghetti squash for 45 minutes.
  • Place the cooked spaghetti squash in a bowl.
  • Saut onions in a pan for about 5 minutes.
  • Add onions to the bowl with the spaghetti squash, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chickpea flour and Parmesan cheese. Mix well.
  • Scoop 1/4 cup into each tin. Create a nest. Bake 18 minutes.
  • Crack 1 Eggland's Best egg into each tin. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Eggland's Best Nests 10 minutes 60 minutes 70 minutes Serves 6 http://www.littlethings.com/app/uploads/2017/01/recipe_card_EB_SpaghettiSquashCups-850×416.jpg 1 3/4 cups cooked spaghetti squash 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, minced 6 Egglands Best eggs 1 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. kosher salt 18 tsp. ground black pepper 2 Tbsps. chickpea flour 13 cup Parmesan, grated Preheat the oven to 425 F. Bake spaghetti squash for 45 minutes. Place the cooked spaghetti squash in a bowl. Saut onions in a pan for about 5 minutes. Add onions to the bowl with the spaghetti squash, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chickpea flour and Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Scoop 1/4 cup into each tin. Create a nest. Bake 18 minutes. Crack 1 Eggland's Best egg into each tin. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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Read more: http://www.littlethings.com/baked-eggs-spaghetti-squash-nests/

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I Make Mirror Glazed Mousse Cakes

I make one of the most popular mirror glazed mousse cakes. It takes three days to make one mousse cake due to very unique and rare techniques used to produce them. They are made of natural ingredients, real cream, milk, fruits and berries, premium chocolates and top-class biscuits. It is all made from scratch. If it is made correctly and covered with mirror glaze, which is also based on chocolate, then you can even see your reflection in the cake.


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I also teach how to make mousse cakes, mirror glaze and much more of my recipes and techniques. My master-class videos include entry level (no experience required) as well as advanced levels, and you can find everything at my website.

 

#1

 

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/mirror-cakes-ksenia-penkina/

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Rachael Ray and other chefs share cookbook gift ideas

(CNN)Chef Michael Solomonov’s gorgeous cookbook “Zahav” is taking up too much space on my dining room table, but his family stories, recipes and photography keep me from shelving it. And I want to make his hummus.

 
Ruth Reichl’s “My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life,” her post-Gourmet memoir tale of recovery, kept me going during recovery from outpatient surgery. I also want to make her shirred eggs with potato puree.
 
“The Food Lab” from food science expert J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is helping me answer all those food science questions that my child and I ponder as we mix salad dressing, make burgers and cook lots of pasta. (Recipes are included.)
And those are just three of this year’s cookbooks and food memoirs to gift a food lover this holiday season.
“There are so many new cookbooks this year, it’s hard to narrow the list down,” said Amazon senior books editor Seira Wilson, who nonetheless picked her top 10 cookbooks of the year for CNN.
 
There’s also a new Thug Kitchen (vegan) cookbook; “Paleo Takeout,” the latest Paleo book by Russ Crandall; and YouTube baking star Rosanna Pansino’s take on baked goods in “Nerdy Nummies.” I want her Periodic Table for Cupcakes.
Prefer to stay away from trends? If you want to give a classic cookbook to your loved one this holiday season, you’re in luck. Today’s food stars were inspired by some of the cooking greats, and they’re happy to share the books that made them fall in love with cooking.
Check out their classic recommendations below, and click through the gallery to see Wilson’s 2015 picks.

Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse and author of ‘My Pantry’

Favorite cookbook: “One of my all-time favorites is ‘French Country Cooking’ by Elizabeth David. She had a huge influence on me in so many ways, and I return again and again to her books but especially this one.”
Inspirational cookbook: “Diana Kennedy’s ‘Cuisines of Mexico’ has always inspired me, as it has so many! The tortilla recipe in my new book is inspired by Diana’s. She never really leaves my mind. One of my all-time favorite recipes from that book is Flor de Calabaza Para Quesadillas (pumpkin blossom filling for quesadillas).”

Ruth Reichl, author of ‘My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life’

Favorite cookbook: “French Cooking in Ten Minutes” by Edouard de Pomiane (the English translation, with a forward by Elizabeth David). “This is, in many ways, a perfect book. It’s encouraging. It makes cooking seem simple and natural. But what I like best is that I find it almost impossible to read the book without racing into the kitchen and beginning to cook.”
Inspirational cookbook: “Asian Ingredients” by Bruce Cost. “In the ’80s, when Bruce Cost (of Ginger Ale fame) originally published this book, it inspired me to fill my pantry with what were, at the time, arcane ingredients. Over the years, I’ve cooked so many dishes from this book, but the one that has been a constant staple is Chinese Egg Noodles with Pork and Hot Bean Sauce. I always have the ingredients on hand, you can make it in 10 minutes, and it might be my husband’s favorite dish.”

Rachael Ray, cookbook author, television host and magazine editor

Favorite cookbook: “My favorite cookbooks are those of Marcella Hazan, Jacques Ppin and Julia Child. It’s impossible to pick a favorite recipe from anybody’s book. I don’t play favorites when it comes to food. Marcella taught me that measuring is like putting a bird in a cage. Jacques and Julia taught me to not take food too seriously. The point is to have fun and to share.”
We agree and know that Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” is spectacular. Try her simple tomato sauce. It has just four ingredients: tomatoes, onion, butter and salt. A grand celebration of the friendship between Pepin and Child are the companion books to their PBS series, “Julia and Jacque at Home.”

Michael Solomonov, chef and author of ‘Zahav’

Favorite cookbook: “My favorite cookbook is ‘Taste of Israel’ by Avi Ganor and Ron Maiberg. It really gets Israeli food, the different influences and cooking techniques.”
Inspirational cookbook: ” ‘Mourad: New Moroccan,’ by my friend Mourad Lahlou, is a book that really inspired me. It is a book I turn to time and time again. My favorite recipe is for couscous. I love the time and attention he gives to a simple ingredients!”

Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, ‘Thug Kitchen Party Grub: For Social Motherf*ckers’

Favorite cookbook: “It’s really hard to pick a favorite ever, but we’ll keep it old-school and say the classic ‘Moosewood Cookbook.’ Mollie Katzen has been helping budding vegetarians out for decades and deserves more love.”
Inspirational cookbook: “Recently, we’ve been into the ‘Crossroads’ cookbook. Chef Tal (Ronnen), Chef Scot (Jones) and the rest of the crew there cook more high-end food than we do, so it’s been inspiring as hell to cook their stuff at home and learn some new tricks. Plus their Linguine with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms in Tomato-Basil Butter Sauce has been haunting our dreams since we first made it.”

Russ Crandall, author of ‘Paleo Takeout’

Favorite cookbook: “For me, a cookbook should be informative, entertaining and faithful to its source material. One of my very favorites is Julie Sahni’s ‘Classic Indian Cooking.’ Its system-based approach to one of the most mystifying (to me) world cuisines covers everything from the basics to advanced steps of Indian culinary arts.”
Inspirational cookbook: ” ‘James Oseland’s ‘Cradle of Flavor,’ which covers home cooking from Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, is incredibly inspiring. Written from an outsider’s perspective, James is able to capture authentic Southeast Asian tastes while making recipes that are easy for any home chef to replicate. This book inspired me to take the same approach with ‘Paleo Takeout.’ My favorite recipe is his Beef Rendang (a dry curry from the Minangkabau people of West Indonesia), which just bursts with flavor.”

Dale Talde, chef and author of ‘Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn’

Favorite cookbook: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.” “This book came out while I was cooking for Jean-Georges. Seeing it in print was crazy. These were the same dishes I would make every day in batches of 50, and suddenly it’s batched out for six. It was so cool.”
Inspirational cookbook: “Recently, it’s Jenn Louis’ ‘Pasta By Hand.’ She does kale strozzapreti that looks delicious. It makes me want to make it, which is exactly what a cookbook should do.”

Logan Guleff, age 13, winner of ‘MasterChef Junior’ season 2

Favorite cookbook: It’s no surprise that Logan, whose cooking skills wowed “MasterChef” judge Gordon Ramsay, chose a cookbook by renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, “Nobu: The Cookbook.” Logan has the chops for it.
Inspirational cookbook: “I just love Martha Stewart’s cookie book,” specifically “Martha Stewart’s Cookies: the Very Best Treats to Bake and Share.” Not a bad choice for the holidays, either.
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Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/11/living/holiday-gift-guide-cookbooks-2015-feat/index.html

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Dominique Crenn: The chef who puts poetry on a plate

(CNN)On a wall near the back of San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, a small oil-and-canvas painting tells you everything you need to know about the restaurant.

This story complements the Culinary Journeys TV series, airing monthly on CNN International. See more of the show here: www.cnn.com/journeys. Share photos of your own Culinary Journeys on Instagram with the hashtag #CNNFood for a chance to be featured on CNN.
It’s a simple painting, unframed, depicting a pretty scene along northwest France’s Brittany Coast.
Beneath a dramatic blue sky with wisps of white clouds receding into space, two gentle arms of land reach in from either side of the frame to embrace a placid bay. A solitary speck of boat bobs on the water, tacking into a gentle breeze with its single white sail.
 
It’s not clear whether the boat is coming or going, but whoever’s at the helm is in the middle of a magical moment.
The painting is the work of Allain Crenn, a French politician and artist, who died in 1999.
 
Allain Crenn is the father of Dominique Crenn, widely celebrated in culinary circles as the innovative chef and owner of Atelier Crenn.
Located on a typical San Francisco neighborhood street — a bike shop, salon, chiropractic clinic and dry cleaner are some of the neighbors — Crenn’s restaurant represents not only what she calls an homage to her father, but an homage to her childhood.
More broadly, it’s a place that aims to recreate an idealized vision of childhood, of vacations by the shore, the company of family, the safety of familiar places, the ubiquitous tang of salt air.
 

 

 

 

 

Crenn

John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson might agree, but in case her fans don’t, Crenn makes sure the fresh local produce she uses gets superstar treatment.
Tonight’s trout marmitako — her spin on the classic Basque stew — includes fish that’s been precisely dried for three days, heirloom tomato that’s been skinned and dehydrated for 24 hours (to intensify the flavors) and made into compote, dried parsley, kombu and exquisitely thin garlic chips (also dehydrated).
Like so many of today’s wonder chefs, Crenn mixes methods and flavors with the precision of a lab tech then uses them to create something that resembles art.
The result tastes like a combination of food and free verse and is often just as impossible to accurately describe.
You have to experience it.
 

Feel the dune

Crenn says her restaurant’s biggest fans are “open-minded people who trust what we do.”
“They’re people from around the world, or who have traveled the world. They go to Denmark, Sweden, France, Spain, Japan, China, South America, Mexico and they eat.”
They’re also the types who can appreciate a chef whose disdain for convention — “I never liked writing menus” — is less about thumbing her nose at the establishment than it is the return to a mindset that barely understands what establishment is.
“I had an incredible childhood,” she says. “Spending time on the farm in Brittany with my uncle. I knew it was special.

 

"Anything

“Maybe not consciously, but I conceived of this style (of cooking) early.”
In a private dining room in the back of the restaurant — staff eat and prep here before the dinner service begins — you can follow another of Crenn’s poems around all four walls of the room, upon which her words are hand-painted:
Sitting on top of the dune, feeling beach sand under my toes, looking so far at the blue sea …
The sun beating fiercely on my raw heart.
I remember we used to sit here together during those memorable summer days listening to your stories and laughing at your jokes …
With a little imagination — and a lot of help from Crenn — you can sit with those people on that faraway dune and experience a perfect feeling of summer.
At some point during the meal you might ask Crenn which dishes she learned to cook from her father.
“Nothing,” she will say. “He was a terrible chef.”
Did he cook anything well?
“No! He could not cook.”
Then she’ll laugh at the family joke and cast a glance at the painting of the gentle bay and lonely boat on the back wall before returning to the kitchen to check on the next verse.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/03/travel/cj-dominique-crenn/index.html

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