Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2014

Holiday Must Haves 2014

The winter holidays are fast approaching and it's time to start shopping for friends and family.  OK, it's also time to treat oneself to some gifts to brighten up the season.  Many of you will be shopping over the weekend by visiting stores or by going online to a favorite outlet.  If you are making any holiday purchases online, I have a few suggestions you might be interested in.  These are a handful of products that not only catch my eye, but those which will greatly enhance your home.  I'm all for having things in my house that are built and made to last.  Quality is much more important to me than quantity.   Let's face it, I'm not Oprah, but I do know what I like and I do know what makes my life easier and more enjoyable.  This holiday, I'm going to be turning to some of my favorite finds for gift giving, because they are quality products that will last for years.  These five must-haves for 2014 will undoubtedly carry over through 2015 and beyond.  I wo

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful and thankful for what we have in our lives.  Many of us will either be hosting a traditional dinner or will be traveling to someone's home for this time-honored repast.  Remember to thank your host(s)! I want to wish you and your loved ones good health, happy eats and safe travels.   Happy Thanksgiving! ~David

My Thanksgiving Checklist

We all want to entertain with ease this Thanksgiving so that we can actually enjoy the company of our family and friends.  In order to accomplish this and avoid any mishaps or a day full of stress, having a to-do list mapped out in advance is a must for every host.  The easiest part is making up the guest list and trying to figure out who will actually show up.  The most challenging aspect for anyone hosting this dinner is the menu itself, with the numerous side dishes and the perfectly roasted, plump turkey as the main attraction. Perhaps the most fun thing to do, at least for me, is the table setting and the decorations that go into making this day memorable.  Now is the time to take out the best of the best and all of the season's finery to impress our guests, but whether one sets the table it in a modest way or in an over-the-top lavish way, it's best to establish a tone and mood based on who we're inviting.  No guest should ever feel out of place at the holiday

Pumpkin Cornbread

The idea of mixing pumpkin and corn is nothing new.  At my house, cornbread is the bread of choice for the stuffing on Thanksgiving, and true to my predilections, it has to be homemade.  As I was thinking of the stuffing for our turkey this year, I decided to change it up a bit from previous years by adding delicious pumpkin puree to the cornbread.  Not only does pumpkin add flavor to anything it touches, but it makes baked goods uncommonly tasty.  I'm pleased with the results. After conversing with a good friend of mine from the south, we both agreed that one ought to add sugar to any type of cornbread.  I don't mean that it has to be sweet bordering on cake, but there should be just enough to give it another dimension.  Again, it's the combination of sweet and salty.   What emerges from the oven is a thick cornbread that you'll be proud of bringing over to the holiday table for your guests.  The bread can be cut into squares of equal size or it can be lef

Squirrel, Acorn, Bat and Turkey Cookies

Giant squirrel, turkey, bat & acorn cookies that are delectably iced in hues of green, brown, orange and yellow icing, undoubtedly bespeak autumn.  Who doesn't love the furry cuteness of a sugar squirrel as it jumps across the lawn with a mighty acorn in its mouth or the hooting of an inquisitive owl perched high up on a tree in the distance this time of year?  The plumage of heritage turkeys is a sight to behold, but when it takes the form of a cookie, anything goes.  What matters here most is that you, the baker, have fun when making memorable cookies. My Martha by Mail copper cookie cutters which have now become iconic, get used throughout the year for baking.  The ones that I chose ( Sugar Squirrel & Mighty Acorn ,  Chubby Pumpkin & Tom Turkey  and  Owl & Bat )  are among my favorite.  I wanted the cookies to be specific for gifting to individual friends, so I didn't use every single cutter from these sets.  Admittedly, there are no green squirrels

Williams-Sonoma and St. Jude Children's Hospital

I am truly honored to be an integral part in the fundraising campaign at Williams-Sonoma for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this December. The management at Williams-Sonoma have kindly asked me to host two cookie decorating events for customers on December 7th and December 14th, at the Ardmore, Pennsylvania location to benefit St. Jude Hospital.   St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is a leading center for pediatric cancer treatment & research in the United States.  Every December, Williams-Sonoma joins in the campaign to raise funds for the hospital by donating monies from the sales of select cooking and baking tools.  The moment I heard about this I immediately agreed to donate my time, expertise and my baked goods.   The December 7th demo will cover Hanukkah cookie decorating for customers and the December 14th will encompass Christmas cookies.  With the help of a few generous friends, patrons at the Ardmore location who donate to St. Jude upon che

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Pumpkin hand pies are an easy alternative to the more traditional pies for Thanksgiving.  Growing up, mom would begin her pie baking as soon as Halloween came to an end and she would spoil us with mini pumpkin hand pies that were baked by the dozen.  Tucked into a Pyrex bowl covered with a towel, my brothers and I would steal them when she wasn't looking. Actually, I think she knew what we were up to, but since these were handmade with all-natural ingredients, mom didn't care how many we gobbled up. It's been years since I've enjoyed one made by mom, so I took it upon myself to create a version that was true to her original.  I must admit that they weren't quite what I remember, but nonetheless they were impeccably light, flaky, spicy and truly delicious.  Imagine a pumpkin filling that is slightly sweet and lightly spiced, covered in a flaky crust that is mouthwateringly good. My mini Pumpkin Hand Pies made their debut at the Williams-Sonoma demo this pas

The Best Pie Crust

What is your idea of a good pie crust?  Some say it is one which is so flaky and tender that it shatters into numerous shards of delicate pastry when you cut into it.  Others may tell you that a good pie crust must have the unmistakable flavor of butter in order to be delicious.  For me, a good tart or pie crust must possess all of these essential qualities in order to meet with my approval for baking.  The good thing about pie crusts made from scratch is that they are not difficult in the least to prepare.  There is no need to settle for store bought once you've mastered the basics of pie crusts. I've long been fascinated with pie crust recipes calling for the addition of vinegar, so in my quest to come up with my own recipe for Good Things by David, I searched as many as I could find, and I tested.  After consulting with my pastry chef mother on her opinion regarding eggs in pie crusts, she said that at least one egg is essential for a basic pie crust.  Mom goes on t