Category Archives: Books

‘Genesis Project’ Raising a Glass to New Beginnings

True Story.

GenesisProjectOne afternoon about two years ago I received a life-changing email.

A gentleman from a national media firm mentioned he thought I would be a perfect fit for a Seattle company they had in their portfolio. It had the same focus as my online site and they were looking for an editor for a term of 6-months minimum and liked my work enough to bring me into the family. I informed him I wasn’t looking for a job and he tossed out a rather decent dollar amount which had me reconsidering this small point. We chatted a couple of times on the phone, set an interview date with the local office staff and away I went.

Set in the heart of down-town, even the sidewalks were vibrating with the energy of the Seattle’s people. My mood was on hi-beam as I entered the building.

I arrived early, checked out the hip, colorful lobby, chatted with the receptionist and noticed a few employees who wandered in and out of the kitchen. All of them young, in jeans, and one was barefoot with her hair tossed messily on top of her head looking like she just popped in from a pajama party. Cheerily chatting, they pulled lunches from the fridge and headed back to their desks. I noted this was a comfortable, casual atmosphere laden with happy, fresh talent.

After a bit of a wait, I was taken into a small downstairs room to meet with the company videographer. He tossed around the names of a couple Food Network chefs that he had been assigned to in the recent past and all in all seemed pleasant while at the same time just a bit condescending.

He went over the guidelines, walked me through company policies and circled back to my site and my resume. He then looked me directly in the eye and said, “this is good work and this all looks great, I just didn’t expect them to send me someone with so much…experience.”

There it was. That moment. That first realization that I was too old, too seasoned, too experienced to land a job in today’s market. The worst part? I hadn’t been looking for a job. Yet I polished my resume, spent a total of 4 hours’ in traffic and paid for parking to have someone tell me I was too old for a job I didn’t even apply for.

Admittedly I was humiliated and a bit angry, but more than anything it was a wake-up call to self-renewal and reinvention. That one moment became my Genesis Project.

Change can happen quickly and more often than not life takes a turn in the opposite direction we were headed. Re-gaining control of our daily lives is not something we can wait to do. Read my story and take your life by the reigns. Make life your genesis project.  Pre-order for yourself or a gift for the holiday season. $14.99 Pre-order

profile picKarie Engels is an author and founder and publisher of Basil & Salt Magazine. She enjoys a quiet life in a small town in Washington State with her children and two troublesome cats.

She decided to write ‘Genesis Project’ when she realized society thought her too old to be a viable cog in the workplace. Raising a glass to New Begninnings.

Basil & Salt Magazine’s ‘HolidayCheer’ now available for pre order

Planning a dinner party in a way that you’re actually capable of getting it done without panicking is important. It’s bad hospitality for the host to be freaked out.  ~Ted Allen

HolidayCheer Cover Art with Price NEWbasil & salt magazine is pleased to introduce its signature cookbook series.

HolidayCheer is the first in our series and the inaugural issue is a collection of both culinary and cocktail recipes combined with entertaining tips to make your parties and gatherings the highlight of each season.

A small sampling of topics: 

To brine or not to brine? When it comes to the Thanksgiving Day centerpiece, there are discussions each year about which method is best to cook the holiday bird. There are several ways to present Tom and how it is done depends on each individual home cook. How much time do you have to prepare? What supplies do you have on hand? How many guests are you prepping the bird for? We will touch on all of these points, plus a few more with a collection of different recipes and methods.

And more!

  • Shimmering Cocktails
  • Sensational Desserts
  • Glittering Displays and Holiday Decor

Our next 100 copies at $12.99. After our initial print has sold-out, HolidayCheer will be available on Amazon at an increased price. Take advantage of our debut  and purchase early.   Buy Here      




Japanese Whisky – A new book worth reading by Paul Rest

While visiting Japan, I discovered that apartment store basements were combinations of mini-restaurants, islands where you could purchase an amazing variety of foods and liquor stores that sold beers (cans of Budweiser were the most popular), wine (mostly French and a very expensive American wines), Champagnes (French) and, of course, spirits. The most popular spirits were the famous French brands including Chivas Regal. Royal Crown (a Canadian product) was also popular, and some of the more known brands of American whiskeys were present.

Hidden in the corner, not an ideal marketing location, were the few Japanese whiskeys. These were whiskeys made by the distiller, Suntory, the most noticeable brand I spied while there. I remember thinking, “Japanese whiskeys? These folks make sake, not whiskey.”

whiskey-japanNot too long ago, this marvelous book arrived in my mailbox: “Whisky . Japan – The Essential Guide To The World’s Most Exotic Whisky” by Dominic Roskrow and published by Kodansha USA. Diving into this amazing book, I quickly realized my perceptions of whiskey in Japan were out of date and needed to quick jump-start to present time. Roskrow, the author of eight books on whiskey and numerous articles that has focused attention on non-traditional whiskeys—meaning whiskeys not necessarily produced in Scotland or the United States.

The book is eye-opening especially when one discovers that Japan has a one hundred year old tradition of making whiskey. Japan’s romance with whiskey actually goes back to when Commodore Perry arrived and American whiskey that was given to the Emperor as a gift. The author writes that the history of whiskey making in Japan is based on what was learned from Scotland, but as the book explains again and again, what Japan is producing today is uniquely Japanese and is of an extraordinary high quality.

The book is fun to read and is lavishly illustrated with color photographs of the major whiskey producers and their products. There is a delightful chapter titled “Eyewitness” that interviews key players in the growth of the Japanese whiskey industry.  Roskrow asks them each, “What are you drinking?” A great question. Another chapter is about Japanese whiskey bars followed by another chapter titled, “Bars Around the World.” And what would a book like this be without a chapter showing how food and whiskey cocktails can be paired.

There is such a cornucopia of information, interesting insights, places to put on your “To Do” list, it is simply a delight to pick up the book and randomly read what the book opens to. I continue to do this and find it difficult to not turn to the next page and then on to the next page again and again.

WHISKY JAPAN – The Essential Guide to the World’s Most Exotic Whisky” by Dominic Roskrow, Published by Kodansha USA, Ltd., ISBN 978-1-56836-575, Hardcover, Suggested retail price: $34.95

Paul Rest lives in Sonoma County, California. He has been enjoying California wines and foods since arriving in California. He can be contacted at

Written by Paul Rest / Edited, Karie Engels Giffin


Culinary Corner: Annebel Langbein’s Simple Pleasures

Free Range Cookbook IIAnnabel Langbein, New Zealand’s Top Celebrity Chef  released her new cook book, Simple Pleasures in October of last year. Simple Pleasures is the accompanying book to her TV Series which is debuted  the same month across the country.  Through her new book, we now have the opportunity to get to know one of New Zealand’s top Celebrity Chef’s whose style of cooking encompasses her passion of using fresh seasonal ingredients to create simple but delicious meals while bringing the beautiful New Zealand countryside to the states.

The recipes are dazzling in their simplicity, utilizing  so many fresh ingredients they inspired me to update my culinary notebook and redesign my garden blueprint for summer and fall meals.

Stunning photos of the beautiful New Zealand countryside give us a deeper look into the ingredients and with the addition of Scannable QR codes on many recipes that, when scanned with a smart phone, another level is added taking us to an interactive video of Annabel creating the recipe or sharing her tips and techniques.

Additional Information:

Annabel Langbein: The Free Range Cook – Simple Pleasures is all about using fresh seasonal ingredients sourced from Annabel’s own gardens or sourced from local growers.  This cook book is full of exciting topics including: A Harvest Celebration, A French Toast, A Warming Winter Dinner, Make-Ahead Meal, The Ultimate Summer Barbecue, Tex-Mex Autumn Menu, A Seaside Cook-Up, Mediterranean Flavours, Cooking for a Crowd, The Perfect Roast Dinner, Dinner in Minutes and Pulling out the Stops.

  • Annabel has self-published 19 cookbooks which have sold more than two million copies throughout Europe, North America and Australasia.
  • Launched in October, Annabel’s latest cookbook “Simple Pleasures”, is the perfect accompaniment to her second season cooking series.
  • Annabel Langbein: The Free Range Cook – Simple Pleasures is the second season of Annabel’s cooking show. The first season The Free Range Cook and the third season Through the Seasons were broadcast in New Zealand.
  • Get to know Annabel!
  • Links to Season 2 as aired in New Zealand
  • Available on $24.95

Tour the world with Ally’s Kitchen

Ally IAlice Phillips AKA What’s for Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen, is a true renaissance woman and darling of the foodie world. She flits and flies over the foodie blogs at high speed and with agility that I have come to know uniquely as Alice. Sprinkling good cheer and kind words to all she comes across, she draws inspiration from the other cooks as well as tossing tremendous ideas right back at them.

Alice’s posts each day on her blog are filled with cuisine creations that make the mouth water and her dishes are unique as she tends to cook outside the lines. Alice’s signature “Bohemian Bold” style is a culmination of an adventurous spirit, a creative soul and an imagination that craves to explore new cuisines and combinations. I find this label tends to describe her outlook on her entire lifestyle, not just her work in the kitchen.

ally bookAlly’s adventures have taken her around the globe and her cuisine is a direct reflection of her culinary journey. We have watched, read, jotted down and printed out her delicious recipes and now, we are delighted that cooking with Ally has become even simpler. Ally has just published a culmination of her beautiful and most delicious recipes!

Ally’s Kitchen, a passport of adventurous palates is finished and it’s everything we thought it would be. Honest, passionate, delectable and keeping true to her true Boho fashion, this cookbook is a cultural masterpiece.

Pan seared flounder with fresh herb tomatoes

Pan seared flounder with fresh herb tomatoes

Exquisite photography accompanies each luscious recipe and pages are filled with personal anecdotes. This book  gives us a deep glimpse into Ally’s magic carpet world and whisks us around the globe delving into distant cultures, while keeping our feet planted firmly at home in our own kitchens.

Follow Ally’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blog

You can purchase Ally’s Kitchen, a passport of adventurous palates on Amazon and Amazon in UK and Barnes & Noble

Russell Dean Lowell’s, In Search of Duende

Prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime.

In Search of DuendeFor the first time, one of the Northwest’s most celebrated chefs, Russell Dean Lowell, is making his amazing life’s journey, public. He offers us a peek inside his private journal and with the true spirit of a natural-born story teller, Russell takes us on the adventure of a lifetime. Are you curious? You should be.

Whether he is fly fishing in Baja or hanging with celebrity friends in Malibu, Russell’s charmed life and experiences make this book impossible to put down.

Filled with recipes that are sure to delight home cooks and chefs, In Search of Duende gives the reader a chance to experience a journey of epic proportions and create the delicious dish that corresponds with each fascinating story.

  • 12 mouth-watering recipes
  • Celebrity filled adventures 
Russell Dean Lowell

Russell Dean Lowell

About the Author:

Russell Dean Lowell is the Executive Chef and owner of Russell Dean Lowell Premier Catering and two of greater Seattle’s most celebrated restaurants: The Garden Cafe at Molbak’s in Woodinville and Russell’s, a rustic, yet elegant restaurant nestled in the North Creek of Bothell

Russell’s lifelong passion for food began when he was a small boy, exploring the mangrove swamps of Cuba, catching fish and hunting small game. He began his culinary career at the age of 15, cooking under the direction of a French chef in Southern California. Over the next 33 years, he traveled and worked extensively in numerous high-end establishments which lead him to become the executive chef for several well-known restaurants across the nation. In the mid-90s, he launched one of Seattle’s most sought-after catering businesses, serving the most distinguished clients in business, politics, and entertainment. In 2007, Russell’s was selected as Seattle’s host venue for the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Taste America celebration.

Book  now available for pre-order

Follow Russell Dean Lowell on Facebook, Twitter and

Other Articles featuring Chef Lowell


A must for every kitchen; Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher

Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller

Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller

Cookbooks have evolved over the years and definitely for the better.  Our mothers and grandmothers purchased impersonal cookbooks filled with delightful recipes, some with photographs, some without. Today we have a delicious glimpse in to the culinary authors world that gives us a sense of connection.  The days of the generic cookbook are long past.  

Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher gives us more than a glimpse inside her world.  She has thrown the door open wide and invited us in to a busy life filled with family and love.

What drew me in to the cookbook after receiving a copy for review was the phrase “dress them up for entertaining…dress them down for everyday”.   We kick it up a notch for guests and dial it down a bit for our every day fare and Jamie Geller generously lists each recipe with two variations and a suggested pairing.  This is an indispensable kitchen handbook for the hectic daily life of today.

I read through the cookbook top to bottom and loved every inch.  The photographs are lovely, instructions well laid out and the quick tips are an added bonus.  We tested two recipes and will be adding a few more to our holiday menus.

Recipe I:  Creamy Tomato Penne which has a total prep/cook time of 22 minutes and serves 6 to 8.  It is simple, which I love, full of flavor and a must for a busy weeknight.

Recipe II: Cherry Bourbon Hand Pies.  To be honest with you it was the name that caught me.  Since we used Spicebox Whiskey for this recipe, we cut back a tad on the vanilla.  These were exceptionally delicious and fairly simple to throw together.  This delight is now a household staple and the fam will thank Jamie for this recipe every time it hits the dessert table.

You can purchase Joy of Kosher on Amazon in both Kindle and Hardcover.  If you want to connect with Jamie further visit her Facebook page Joy of Kosher and her website where you can sign up for a newsletter to land in your emails inbox.

The Cookbook Library Presents; Daily Decadence by Sherri Dobay

I received an email not too long ago, asking if I would take a look at a book and write a review.  I readily accepted simply on the title alone, “Daily Decadence The Art of Sensual Living”, by Sherri Dobay.  The title most certainly did not disappoint.  Can you fall in love with a book?  Yes, you can and yes, I did.

Cover Art: Sherri DobayPhoto:       Greg Gorman

Cover Art: Sherri Dobay
Photo: Greg Gorman

Like breaking the lock on a diary and reading about the most intimate thoughts and experiences, it’s a tantalizing, voyeuristic view in to her artists soul.  It doesn’t take long to fall into the mystic web she weaves around your senses, as she pays homage to all of the seasons and the bounty that flows from each one.

Immerse yourself in each seductive recipe, followed by an intoxicating wine pairing to enliven the senses that makes you yearn to fire up your stove or grill, pour a drink, cook, laugh, love.  As you ride along with her on a luxurious journey, you catch a secret glimpse in to her natural world and you won’t want to put this book down until you have devoured it to the very last word.  This as a must read for anyone who is  looking to discover their own inner decadence.

For more information or to purchase, please visit Daily Decadence