Oct 25, 2012

‘Pure Vanilla’ is Coming to Chicago!

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Anthropologie
111 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 255-1848
Space is limited for the tasting; call to RSVP

I have to say, the past few months have really blown my hair back. Between new books and new babies and what not, there’s been some great surprises that have come along and smacked me upside the head. One of them was finding out that  Anthropologie, otherwise known as the Mecca of Every Material Good A Lady Could Possibly Want and/or The Curators of Cool, had agreed to carry Pure Vanilla. Apparently they haven’t seen photos of me from the 90s. At any rate, I am positively thrilled to be a part of their utterly inspiring cookbook selection for the season.

And in a twist of the awesome getting awesomer, I am headed out to Chicago for a few days of family time and book-related events, and one of the events is at the Anthropologie store downtown on Chicago Avenue–just a stone’s throw from where I once worked as a touring makeup artist for Bobbi Brown, wondering what the heck I was going to end up doing with my life. This is a fabulous, life-affirming, Oprah-level moment, friends. I really hope you’ll come join me if you’re in the area.

I’ll be doing a brief talk and vanilla tasting (little cookies!!) for the first hour–I’ve gotten word that space is tight for the tasting, so if you’re interested, please call to RSVP. Afterwards, we’ll do a book signing where we can meet and chat and compliment each other’s skin and hair, and you can see how hugely pregnant I am already (bonus!).

Hope to see you there!

Oct 22, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine Bars & Other Big News

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Today I’d like to tell you about two things. They’re both pretty major and somewhat related. The first is that I’ve made a recipe twice in three days, which is highly unusual around here, but once the first batch was demolished, there was a primal need for a second batch. That’s pretty big time. And hey, speaking of second batches, there’s one other piece of exciting news…

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Oct 19, 2012

On Pflaumenkuchen and ‘My Berlin Kitchen’

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Inspiration can be awfully hard to come by, don’t you think? I mean, maybe I’m really just speaking for myself, here–sometimes getting inspired is a serious challenge, sometimes the wheels start turning with a bit more ease with just the spark of a new idea, but overall, the well can run dry far too often. And when it does, it always seems like everyone else is living in a state of eternal Pinterest Brain, constantly ticking off what they want to write or photograph or refinish and paint or who the heck knows what and it can really start to get depressing, seeing all these perpetually creative people out there. I admire you, Constantly Inspired People, and yet I am annoyed by you. Does anybody feel me?

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Oct 12, 2012

Homemade Caramel Apples with Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramel

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First things first–congrats to the five randomly selected winners of last week’s giveaway! The winners have all been contacted by e-mail. Woohoo!

So it’s fall, y’all! I really do love this time of year, don’t you? I’m all up in the fall baking season already. I’ve stocked up on flour, butter, and sugar, washed all my aprons, and have more new cookbooks to flip through than I can even deal with (more on that in an upcoming post–there are some newly released gems out there!).

Along with getting to work through some brand-new-to-me recipes, I’m totally in the swing of book promotion stuff, and one of the best parts about that is getting to revisit recipes in my own dang book. Which is to say recipes that were worked and reworked and obsessed over like potential cancer-curing experiments, and then once deemed publish-able, were put away in the far, far reaches of my mind. With a bit of distance to calm my nerves about some of the more crazy-making recipes, I can now look at them like old friends with whom I share an embarrassing history. It’s like a college reunion, without all the Abercrombie sweaters.

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Oct 2, 2012

‘Pure Vanilla’ Has Landed (with a Giveaway!)

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Well,  friends, today is the day–the birthday of my second cookbook Pure Vanilla! (WHAT?! Unreal.) I really couldn’t be more excited about the whole thing. I thought I’d pop in here right quick to say hello, spread the sweet, dreamy word of the book release, and, most importantly, give you all a little preview, with a shot to win a free signed copy of your own. Hooray!

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Sep 17, 2012

‘Pure Vanilla’ is Almost Here!

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We’ve known each other for long enough now that I don’t need to tell you that I’m a bit of a square. Okay, except for that one summer abroad in college. Other than that, I’m really a square. So it might not come as a total shock when you find out my second cookbook is called ‘Pure Vanilla’. But! Here’s the thing: the world of vanilla is vast. It is rich, complex, and insanely delicious. And as it turns out, every single person who hears that I wrote an entire cookbook about vanilla replies breathlessly “Ooh! I looove vanilla!”. Vanilla rules, people!

The more I dug into the topic, the more I realized that vanilla is anything but ‘vanilla’. It’s not just heavenly on the tongue–the journey of this underappreciated spice from flower (yes, from an orchid, true story!) to market is full of drama and intrigue. This stuff is sexy, people. Trust.

I received my first advance copy of the book a couple weeks back, and am so, so excited about the whole thing. Like Marshmallow Madness!, this book was shot by the completely incredible Leigh Beisch, and we were once again so lucky to have Sara Slavin on board for prop styling and art direction. For my part, I flapped around the studio like a crazy person for several days, prepping and baking and tweaking as food stylist. We’re covering everything from Breakfast to Cocktails and even some savory in this book. It smelled dang good up in that place during the shoot, I’ll tell you that much. The day we shot the Vanilla Cloud Cake was especially epic–it’s once of my favorite recipes in the book, encompassing everything that’s awesome about vanilla. It looks like this and it’s the sort of ethereal thing I’d be happy to attack, alone in a quiet room, wielding a large spoon. Vacant stare, drool. 

The official release date is October 2nd (you can pre-order now–whee!!), and I’ll have more of a preview for you in the coming weeks. But for now, I wanted to check in with you all and see if there are any bloggers who might be interested in nabbing a review copy. The hope is to spread the vanilla love far and wide, so that no one will ever, EVER! shove Vanilla aside for her sexy sister Chocolate again! (Well, you know what I mean. Just get into it, is what I’m saying.)

If you want to check out a review copy, send an e-mail to Eric Smith at Quirk Books–he is adorable and funny and loves vanilla as much as I do. Send him your name, blog name, and URL and he’ll take it from there. 

eric (at) quirkbooks (dot) com

You can also check out my Book page for more info on upcoming tour dates and Vanilla Tasting events! I hope to meet more of you on this tour, so we can wax poetic over vanilla and compliment each other’s skin and hair in person. It just feels so right, doesn’t it? More dates will be listed in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned, friends.

Aug 17, 2012

Sweet Cherries in Spiced Syrup

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I’m not one to dole out lots of unsolicited parenting advice, but hear this: there are very good, fun, smart kitchen projects you can do with small children. Aaannnnd…then there’s pitting pounds of cherries together. My kitchen still looked like a crime scene several days later. Oh, well. I tried. Back to the television for you, offspring!

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