Deep, Dark, Chocolate Mystery

The Deep, Dark Chocolate Mystery cake in Frances Schultz's California Cooking and southern Style is one of the superstar recipes by Chef Stephanie Valentine, who calls it her "secret weapon cake." The secret is the spicy hint of anise and the best quality chocolate possible. Photo Deboray Whitlaw Lewellyn

Love is a deep dark mystery…and chocolate. Hence this cake. But unlike the truly madly deeply often messy love, this one freezes beautifully, so you can make it now to please you later…This is sexy chocolate, the chocolate you want, crave, desire, deserve…

Gorgeous Potatoes

Pan Fried Potatoes with Lemon and Rosemary, from California Cooking and Southern Style Photo Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

What new can you do with the plain old potato? How about pan fry with lemon and rosemary? The potato is the culinary Kate Moss. Unadorned it is plain. But embellished in just the right way–not too much–and baby you’ve got a yum-dinger. Try Chef Stephanie Valentine’s Pan Fried Potatoes with Lemon and Parsley. Or… Continue reading Gorgeous Potatoes

The Most Brilliant Hors d’Oeuvre You’ve Never Heard of

Bagna Cauda in all its olive-oily-garlicky glory. Recipe and photo by Stephanie Valentine.

An easy, do-ahead hors d’oeuvre full of rich, buttery, garlicky goodness–delicious and different and everyone loves it. Drum roll please…Bagna Cauda, or “hot bath” in Italian. It’s also a Christmas Eve tradition in Italy’s Piedmont region. Perhaps it will become one for you?

Get Saucy! Brilliant Olive-Caper-Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette for Fish or Chicken

“Brilliant” is a strong talk for a simple sauce and not used lightly. I definitely don’t use the sauce lightly. I double the recipe and eat the leftover with a spoon. Olives, capers, herbs, lemon, olive oil and vinegar, boom. No cooking. Make it in advance. Make it at the last minute. Make it for your friends. Just make it.

Happy Anniversary, Honey! Scenes from the Rehearsal Dinner

I did promise you pictures of the wedding, and here they are a year later. Didn’t want to rush you. Yes dear readers one year ago today my sweetheart and I were fixin’ to get hitched…

The Best Lemon Pie in Your Life (Not Exaggerating)

A while ago I heard about a lemon pie, a North Carolina lemon pie, that changed my life.Well not really but I wanted to get your attention. It is that good. “A North Carolina Pie That Elicits an ‘Oh My God’ Response” ran on NPR’s All Things Considered’s Found Recipes series courtesy of Katie Workman, who is fab…

Possibly the Best Pasta Ever

I have eaten this pasta for 3 of the last 4 days and still want more. So dang good and not one of the same old recipes. This one, oh, this one will make you want to slap your grandma. It’s a smokey-sweet-savory mixture of sausage, caramelized onion and fennel, asparagus, artichoke hearts, spinach, olives, a… Continue reading Possibly the Best Pasta Ever