Category Archives: Cookbook Library

Maria Rodale’s Scratch Thanksgiving

scratchThanksgiving dinner is easier than you think. Maria Rodale shares her thanksgiving menu with tips from her  cook book Scratch, which is filled dozens of home-spun recipes. When Maria Rodale cooks her annual Thanksgiving Dinner, nothing comes out of a can or a box, not even the cranberry sauce. Her menu this year includes tried and true dishes from roasted turkey and gravy to fresh cranberry sauce and stuffing. See the recipes below.

An organic activist and chef, Maria is also the CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., publisher of Women’s Health and Organic Life, among many other health and lifestyle magazines.  Maria shares the recipes and recounts her childhood spent on America’s first official organic farm; growing up in a family business that published books and magazines about healthy food, fitness, organic gardening and farming (at a time when they were pretty much the only ones doing it).

This roasted turkey recipe focuses on simplicity. No stuffing, no trussing, no fussing.

Roast Turkey

  • Difficulty: Involved
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Serves 10 to 12


  • 1 whole turkey (about 14 pounds)
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a deep, high-sided roasting pan, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to roast for 2 hours, or until the turkey is golden and cooked through. (Allow 15 minutes per pound of turkey. The internal temperature should read 165°F on a meat thermometer when inserted into the thigh.)
  3. Transfer the turkey from the pan to a serving platter, first making sure you tilt the bird slightly to drain the juices into the roasting pan. Set aside.
  4. Place the pan over high heat on the stovetop and bring the juices to a boil.
    Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Makes 3 cups


  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
  • 2 oranges or tangerines
  • 1 cup sugar (or to taste)


  1. Place the cranberries in a food processor or blender. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and add it to the cranberries.
  2. Trim the ends from the oranges and then coarsely chop, skin and all. Add to the processor and blend until roughly chopped (not smooth).
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add half the sugar, and stir to combine. If it is too tart, add a little more sugar to taste (up to 1 /2 cup). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Pan Gravy

Serves 4 to 6


  • Pan drippings from roasting chicken or turkey
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (depending on how many drippings you have)
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. After roasting a chicken or turkey (which I always do in a high-sided roasting pan), I transfer the bird to a platter, tilting the bird first so all its juices run into the roasting pan. Then place the roasting pan on the stovetop.
  2. In a small bowl or glass, combine the flour and water and whisk with a fork until there are no lumps.
  3. Heat the pan drippings over high heat until bubbling (spoon off some of the fat, if desired) and add the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Make sure you scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (that’s where the flavor is!). Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until golden and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve the pan gravy with the bird you just roasted.

Thank you to Maria Rodale for images and recipes • printed with permission  Follow Maria Rodale on Facebook

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Introducing ‘Melissa’s Tea Room’

‘Melissa’s Tea Room’ – Italy’s Rustic, Traditional Hidden Gem; Owned by a Woman Who Embodies the Spirit of Riviera Culture

Tucked away in the medieval Italian town of Liguria, ‘Melissa’s Tea Room & Cakes’ is a small and cozy oasis that not only oozes the smell of freshly-baked, traditional sweet treats, but also captures a snapshot of bygone Italian history and culture. It’s owned by Melissa Forti – a fearless world traveler passionate about sharing the best of her native Italy. And it’s been a huge success – with visitors from all corners of the globe joining her for a cup of tea, a slice of cake and an experience you won’t find outside of her four walls.

melissas-tea-roomIf there’s any country still known for holding onto its cultures and traditions – it’s Italy. And nobody is more passionate about her country than Melissa Forti – a renowned baker, businesswoman and author who quite possibly owns the most unique tea room in the world.

It’s called ‘Melissa’s Tea Room’, an apt name for this small yet unforgettable café nestled in Liguria on the northwest Italian Riviera. But this isn’t just any old café – it’s an experience that people come from around the world to savour, creating memories they’ll never forget.

“My goal is to embody the world in a single café,” explains Forti, who has travelled around the globe collecting experiences, recipes and techniques that she employs in her tea room. “You experience the best of Italy the second you walk through the door, when you’re greeted by historical and traditional Italian artefacts that have been passed down through the generations, and see my paintings on the wall. If you could show someone one room that captures everything Italy and its heritage stands for, then this would be it.”

Continuing, “And that’s before you even get to the food! I wake up and bake by what inspires me the most on that particular day. It starts with me going out and hand-selecting the freshest, most apt in-season ingredients from local vendors, before locking myself in at the early hours to bake fresh goods ready for sale that day. Everything is always 100% fresh and, if ingredients are out of season or not of the very finest quality, I simply don’t incorporate them. You can taste the freshness of my cakes and other baked goods with every bite – you’re literally tasting everything that’s great about Italy.”

Forti first started to bake a decade ago, starting a cupcake and wedding cake business before opening up her tea room in 2010.

“I can’t believe how things have grown in just six years!” Forti admits. “I never imaged such a small tea room could be so profitable, or become so well-known around the world. As mentioned, it’s also inspired me to travel across continents and oceans to collect inspiration for my “one world” vision for the place. I’ve also branched out, too, into writing. My debut book, ‘The Italian Baker’ is currently being published by Quadrille Publishing in the UK, and shares many of my recipes as well as familial history and cultural showcases. It’s an extension of the tea room and is yet another chapter in Italy’s boundless beauty and heritage.”

Melissa’s Tea Room can be visited at: Domenico Fiasella, 33, 19038 Sarzana SP, Italy.

Purchase her book, here

About the Author:

the-italian-bakerBorn in Rome and having lived in Los Angeles and London, Melissa Forti taught herself to bake and started to collect baking books old and new to learn about the art of baking through the ages and throughout the world. After settling in the magical town of Sarzana, situated between Cinque Terre and Tuscany, she opened a boutique bakery and tea room, Melissa Tea Room and Cakes, where both locals and visitors enjoy her incredible, freshly baked cakes every day.

Content and images provided by Melissa Forti

The Chew: An Essential Guide to Cooking and Entertaining

ABC’s hit show “The Chew” has a new book, The Chew: An Essential Guide to Cooking and Entertaining (on sale: March 29, 2016).

the chewIn this follow-up to the three previous bestsellers, the five hosts of the hit ABC daytime show invite you to enjoy the fun and flavor of cooking without the hassle and expense. Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, Daphne Oz, and Michael Symon provide mouthwatering recipes and useful entertaining tips to make cooking for your family and friends simple, cost-effective, delicious, and fun. In this fourth cookbook from The Chew, the hosts bring their wit, wisdom, and practicality straight into your home.

In Back to Basics, learn how Daphne Oz prepares her Easy Oven Roasted Turkey Breast that is both delicious as well as a time saver.  Clinton Kelly’s Eggs Benedict recipe is a Comfort Classic that will make Sunday Brunch the best part of your weekend.  Michael Symon’s Pizza Rolls are guaranteed to become one of your Feel Good Family Favorites.  In Old Faves, New Flavs, Carla Hall offers up her Cheesy Pull-Apart Pesto Bread, putting an exciting twist on garlic rolls.  And Mario Batali’s Meatloaf with Creamy Shells n’ Peas is the definitive Guilty Pleasure.

And there’s more:

  •  Answers to viewer questions that give you added details and insights from The Chew hosts
  • Delicious favorites handed down from the hosts’ families to yours
  • Mouthwatering meals that can be made ahead of time or in a slow cooker
  • Several innovative ways to put a new spin on a favorite recipe
  • A wide range of recipes from breakfast to dessert, from the lighter side to guilty pleasures, and everything in between

Stay tuned for the official Your Home review!

Available here for Pre-Order here.


NYC Chef, Steve Lindners’ Summer Tomato Gazpacho

Fall is in the air and our bodies are beginning to crave more than light, simple salads. Fields and market bins are heavy with late summer harvests and tomatoes are dripping off laden vines. Now that kitchens are cooler in the morning, it’s the perfect time to can or “put up bounty” and roast vegetables for dishes and meals later in the day.

Summer Tomato Gazpacho

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Summertime Tomato GazpachoIngredients

  • 8 roasted ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 4 roasted local ruby red peppers
  • 2 roasted red onions
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 pinch of black pepper

Garnish Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pigeon peas cooked
  • ½ cup Persian cucumbers
  • 15 yellow grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 10 baby carrots, cut in round slices
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced small
  • Fresh Mozzarella- cut in half and marinate 2 tbsp. diced parsley, ½ lemon zest and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil


  • Roast all vegetables in oven at 400 degrees F until tender
  • Cool vegetables and place in blender and puree
  • Add vinegar and spices to taste
  • Chill and service with garnishes

Recipe provided by: NYC Chef, Steve Lindner, Executive Chef and Founder of Zone Manhattan

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


Splendid Gift Baskets, Secret Ingredient: Beer! By Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

“Oh Crap!!” 

How many times have you been wondering or even scrambling last minute to muster up or buy a gift for a host as you’re just on your way out the door? Hmmm?

Well, if you’ve found yourself in that position, it’s a great season to think ahead and prepare yourself to be caught at the ready. Here’s a plan to help you be a great guest this holiday giving season.

1. Gifts for the host/s are always in order. They’re a show of appreciation, given with no strings and should fit the occasion and recipient.

Give the Gift of Flavor

Give the Gift of Flavor

2. Stock up on simple containers, a variety is a good idea. I like to shop locally at my thrift stores, as you can find very good merchandise, sometimes new, to use for gift containers. Baskets, crates, gift-wrap, ribbon, and an ever-changing assortment of opportunity awaits!

3. Once you have these goodies all set aside in one location, go to the local beer store. Talk with a competent person about helping you choose a wide array of flavors and sizes, price points and brands. There are myriad tastes to be had in cans and bottles for your hosts.

4. Keep the beer refrigerated and then tap into it when you are headed out. Even keeping it moderately cool (basement or garage for example) and dry, out of the sun and UV rays, will help you ensure fresh beer is well managed.

With these gift ingredients handy, you’re sure to be invited back and an appreciated guest! Every host likes a gift. Beer is economical and delicious.

BasketNeed more ideas? Get a few great beer and beer + food books for folks. I’d recommend:

  1. Beervangelists Guide to the Galaxy, Fred Bueltmann, The Beervangelist
  2. The American Craft Beer & Food Cookbook, John Holl
  3. The Best of American Beer & Food, Lucy Saunders
  4. Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle (great read, not a cooking book).
  5. Allagash: The Cookbook

Let’s go with “Oh, Joy!” instead.

Cheers to being a good guest, cheers to gracious hosts, and a tasty holiday to all!

Til the next glass ~


Go Here: Your local stores that reputably have fresh beer: read – it’s been kept cool and protected from direct UV (sunlight and fluorescent). You patronize the brewers and the retailers (as well as the hard working Distributors) and can feel great about giving a gift that people don’t have to keep on a shelf, collecting dust.

Try This: Add glassware to the gift o’beer. High quality glassware will serve the recipient for years, with all sorts of beverages. I suggest brands such as Rastal and Spiegelau.

Gifts for the host/s are always in order. They’re a show of appreciation, given with no strings and should fit the occasion and recipient.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

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

The Cookbook Library presents; She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book, by Julie Reinhardt

She-SmokeShe-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book, by Julie Reinhardt, empowers women to take their place back at the fire. In She-Smoke, Reinhardt gives step-by-step instructions on a variety of barbecue topics, from buying local, sustainable meats, to building the perfect slow and low fire, and smoking a holiday barbecue feast. She includes a host of delicious recipes aimed to teach women technique, with more in-depth instruction than that of a conventional cookbook. Women will learn the elusive history of ‘cue, the difference between true barbecue and grilling, and all about the world of barbecue competition. Featuring interviews with other “smokin’” women and stories about Reinhardt’s family, She-Smoke brings women into the greater community of barbecue.


Julie ReinhardtPhoto Credit: Alex Hollmann

Julie Reinhardt
Photo Credit: Alex Hollmann

Julie Reinhardt, co-owner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle, wrote her book She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book with the hope of bringing more women into the smoke ring. Now she gets to share her passion for barbecue with everyone. She’s appeared on CBS Better Mornings, Good Day Alabama, and was recently a guest on NPR Seattle’s KUOW with Steve Scher. She and her husband pitmaster Eric race between caterings in the park for the restaurant, to play dates in the park with their two children. Julie has worked with food most of her life and is a KCBS sanctioned barbecue judge. She loves to share recipes, technique, and hopefully a few laughs on her blog

Julie is graciously sharing a fantastic recipe from her book, Cocoa Bliss Rub.  I am excited to add this to our pork loin this weekend.

From She-Smoke: A Backyard BBQ Book ~ By Julie Reinhardt

Cocoa Bliss Rub ~ Great for pork loin or ribs. Try it on duck too.


  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano

©She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book, Seal Press 2009

You can find Julie every day at

To purchase her cookbook locally ( Seattle area ) please visit the following locations: 4252 Fremont Ave. North, Seattle  (206) 397-4271  2214 NW Market St, Seattle  (206) 789-5006

On-line my book can be bought at the usual places:, and .

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