Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cookie App Updated for Valentine's Day

Martha Stewart Living and Callaway Digital have released an update to the popular "Martha Stewart Makes Cookies" app for the iPad and iPhone. 

The Valentine’s Day update includes 26 tasty new recipes, like trend-setting Glitter Ball Cookies, kid-friendly Heart Sandwich Cookies, and decadent Walnut Truffle Cookies, bringing the total recipe count to more than 90 delicious cookie recipes. The holiday-themed design includes a paper cut-out heart motif as well as doilies highlighting cookies perfect for Valentine’s Day baking. Limited-time holiday functionality will give users a surprise to be revealed on Valentine’s Day and the ability to send virtual cookies to their sweethearts. More creative cookie packaging ideas, including envelopes and boxes, with detailed instructions have also been added to give cookie gifts that special touch. Expanded search functionality makes it even easier to find the perfect cookie for any occasion.

The Martha Stewart Makes Cookies Valentine’s Day update is available immediately and is free for existing users. The Martha Stewart Makes Cookies app is available for $2.99 for a limited time (today through Valentine’s Day) from the Apple App Store on iPad or at the iTunes App Store. The iPhone version of the Valentine’s Day update will be available shortly from the Apple App Store at a special holiday price of $0.99.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Everyday Food Digital Index Updated

Do you remember the recipe for baked macaroni and cheese from Everyday Food but can't remember what issue it's in?  No worries... the updated digital index for Everyday Food is now available!

Subscribers to Everyday Food can now login and download their own copy of the great resource which now lists all the recipes from 2003-2010.  (it's hard to believe the magazine has been available for 7 years now!)

To download your own copy click HERE.  You will need to enter information just as it appears on your mailing label.  You can also login using your account number and zip code. 

Download and save your copy today!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

It was a nice surprise to wake up this morning to discover that my friend, Elaine, from California Living had bestowed upon me the "Stylish Blogger Award."  Thank you, Elaine! 

Elaine's blog is a wonderful place I visit on a daily basis.  She's one of the most thoughtful bloggers I know.. sharing her passions in life, her many adventures (she has the most interesting day-trips!), and is always, always an inspiration to me.  I don't know how she does it, but she always finds the coolest blogs and 'things' that always appeal to me.  I do hope you will check out her blog.  It's well worth making frequent visits!

As part of my acceptance of this award requires me to do a couple things...

First, a big thank you again to Elaine for giving me this award.  I love you dearly. 

Second, I have to share 7 things about myself:

1.  I have had a wonderful partner for nearly 15 years.
2.  We have four cats, Martha, Riko, Cinnamon, Sirius
3.  I'm a news junkie. 
4.  I love to learn new things. 
5.  Patience is not one of my greatest strengths
6.  I fell in love with Upstate New York a couple years ago. 
7.  I love making my own jams and jellies

Lastly, it's my pleasure to recognize other blogs and bloggers and award them their own Stylish Blogger Award: 

A Way to Garden 

Martha Moments

Eddie Ross

Mad Hungry

Living Out West

Perfecting Pru

The Mixing Bowl

Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Moments of Delight

While the preference is that I recognize 15 blogs, I don't follow 15!  I'm always happy to recommend blogs I enjoy most!

I hope you'll visit the blogs I've listed above.  I do on a regular basis and they are always and source of great inspiration!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fudge Coffee Brownies

If you're looking for an interesting twist on a brownie recipe, this is one to try;  Fudge Coffee Brownies. 

What gives this recipe the 'twist' is the addition of cinnamon.  The combination of espresso powder and cinnamon creates an incredible depth of flavor to the chocolate. 


2 sticks unsalted butter
5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
2 T instant espresso powder
2 C sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1 C all-purpose flour
1 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.  Butter and flour (or use a non-stick baking spray formulated for easy cake release) a 9x13 baking pan. 

Melt butter and chocolate with espresso powder in a heavy saucepan over low heat.  (alternative:  melt together in a heat proof bowl over simmering water) Whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. 

Whisk in sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in one egg at a time until the mixture is glossy and smooth. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon and salt.  Slowly add to the melted chocolate/egg mixture. 

Spread the batter into the pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs adhering, 25-30 minutes. 

Cool completely before cutting.  Makes 32 (2-inch) brownie squares. 

These brownies cut very cleanly and would make an excellent 'treat' for your favorite Valentine this year!

Beekman 1802 Teaming With Williams-Sonoma

The good folks at Beekman 1802 are teaming with Williams-Sonoma to get America growing with the Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Garden Seed Collection. 

The collection consists of ten easy to grow heirloom vegetables grown in the beautiful gardens on the Beekman Farm.  The seeds are in their purest form and have not been genetically modified in any way.  All the seeds come from the D. Landreth Seed Company, the oldest seed company in the country.  It is likely that William Beekman sold these same varieties of seeds in his Mercantile which was originally located across from the farm in Sharon Springs, NY.  The seed collection retails for $19.95, a great value!

Beekman 1802 and Williams-Sonoma are looking to create the worlds largest community garden, with over 10,000 people growing the same varieties of vegetables in their own gardens this year.  As part of the community, gardeners are encouraged to participate in the new Beekman Gardening Forum, where hints, tips, questions, and answers can be found for just about any gardening problem. To learn more about the worlds largest community garden and sign up to join the community forum, click here.

New to gardening?  Not a problem!  Sign up for a bi-weekly gardening check list from the Beekman so you can stay on track and discover just how easy and rewarding gardening can be. The checklists will begin in March, just as the weather begins to turn the corner. Sign up now by clicking here.

The new Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Garden Seed Collection can be purchased at your local Williams-Sonoma store or at their website.  Click here to order your collection today!   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Martha Bakes Premieres January 31

The highly anticipated launch of “Martha Bakes,” a Hallmark Channel Original Series based on a lifetime of research and baking techniques perfected by Martha Stewart is just days away. In this new weekly program, the first ever to feature Martha demonstrating one specific culinary discipline, home bakers will get the tools they need to create the finest desserts and baked goods in their own kitchen. The 13-episode series for the “Hallmark Channel Home” block will premiere on Monday, January 31 at 11:00 a.m. and air each Monday at 11:00 a.m. ET/PT, 10C.

After years of experimenting, writing recipes and perfecting them, Martha edits the best of the best for this half-hour program dedicated to the coursework for Baking 101. What distinguishes the series from other baking-related shows is that each half-hour installment, covering themes from pound cake to pâte brisée, will begin with a recipe’s basic foundation then explore how the addition of certain ingredients or the use of a new technique will help to create not one, but multiple dishes. The thoughtfully edited collection of Martha’s personal favorites, from savories to sweets, demystifies everything from how to make the perfect, no-crack cheesecake to how to create the ultimate devil’s food cake.

Commenting on the new series, Martha Stewart said: “I am passionate about baking, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce this extensive and well thought out coursework to viewers at home. I have been asked to do this kind of program for years and felt the time was right to introduce it as part of our terrific block of programming on Hallmark Channel. Given all the culinary choices that consumers have access to in today’s marketplace, it is hard to know which recipes will produce the best results, so this show will certainly be an important resource and will deliver the best information that viewers can find anywhere.”

Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Hallmark Channels, added: “The launch of ‘Martha Bakes’ underscores that Hallmark Channel Home is a destination with a difference. We believe this series is a crucial ingredient to creating an entirely new lifestyle resource for our viewers – a place where they can get the kind of quality entertainment and information that isn’t available anywhere else on television.”

Episode descriptions are as follows:


Yellow cake might be thought of as the “everyman” of baked goods, but only because it’s so versatile; a great yellow cake like Martha’s is the foundation for many memorable desserts. In this show Martha bakes her father’s favorite birthday cake, one she often made for him, filled with orange curd and coated with a delectable chocolate frosting. She makes upside-down cakes with stone fruits, and strawberry cupcakes (baked with fresh strawberries) with strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. She also teaches how to create even cake layers, and the best way to frost a cake.


Martha’s pâte brisée (also known as “shortcrust pastry”) is a must for homemade pie. Martha demonstrates how easy it is to make her pâte brisée perfectly every time: tender and flaky. Then she uses it in her Mile-High Apple Pie, a mountain of apples flavored with cinnamon and sugar. She wraps sweet poached pears in pastry and bakes them for a rustic, yet elegant dessert. She also uses pâte brisée in a savory tomato tart with roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic and Comté cheese.


There’s nothing like good cheesecake, and there’s no cheesecake like Martha’s. She demonstrates how she makes creamy, no-crack cheesecake that comes out perfect every time. She makes classic New York cheesecake with a graham cracker crust; a rustic ricotta cheesecake with orange peel; and individual cheesecakes with plump Bing cherries.


For the best buttery rich pound cake, look no further than Martha’s recipes. Her classic pound cakes rise to a beautiful golden-brown center, and they’re perfect for an easy dessert or even with breakfast. She creates a variation on the classic pound cake by adding Meyer lemon zest to the batter and topping it with a lemon glaze, and also makes a moist pound cake with cream cheese. Finally a recipe she learned while traveling through Asia: Semolina Cake, a unique twist on pound cake made with semolina, vanilla powder, almonds, and orange zest.


Few things intimidate the home cook more than puff pastry. In this episode, Martha de-mystifies this delicacy and demonstrates how anyone can make it with a minimum of fuss. Martha then uses the pastry in some of her favorite recipes: Pithiviers (a glorious round pie filled with almond cream), butterfly-shaped palmiers, cheese straws, and Napoleons layered with pastry cream and fresh berries.


Light and airy, angel food is a cake known for its delicate and sweet flavors. Martha creates a classic version served with fresh raspberries, then gets more creative with a Coconut Cloud: angel food cake filled with Swiss meringue and coconut, and frosted with the same. Finally, miniature brown sugar angel food cakes that have a hint of molasses flavor served with chocolate espresso ice cream and an easy homemade hot fudge sauce.


Martha’s recipes and techniques make it easy to treat yourself to devil’s food cake. She shows how to create it from scratch, moist and full of flavor. She makes the best chocolate cake even better by finishing it with the perfect topping: a delicious, creamy, homemade milk chocolate frosting. Martha uses the same batter for Hi-Hat cupcakes: chocolate cupcakes topped with a mountain of meringue that is then dipped in melted chocolate to create a hard yet delicate shell. Finally she shares her secret for the best brownies: fudgy with a crackly top.


Pâte à Choux is a light dough used for cream puffs and éclairs. It’s simple to make, using only four ingredients, and it is versatile. Martha uses it to create her version of a classic cream puff – filled with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. She also demonstrates how pâte à choux can easily be turned into éclairs, piped full of sweet pastry cream and topped with maple-espresso icing. Finally Martha adds spices and cheese to her pâte à choux to make gougeres, savory hors d’oeuvres that are quite addictive.


Fluffy and sweet, meringue can be crafted many different ways from just a handful of ingredients. Martha has three meringue recipes she loves – and viewers will love them too. First, a treat from Down Under: pavlova, a cake-like meringue which has a crunchy shell and a soft, moist interior, topped with whipped cream and passion fruit. Martha demonstrates the perfect (and easy) way to make the extraordinary French treat ile flottante (“floating island”): an island of meringue drizzled with caramel and served in a pool of crème anglaise. Finally, she makes Huguenot Torte, a crisp meringue baked with nuts and diced apples and topped with whipped cream.


The sweet pastry known as pâte sucrée is what most people know as tart dough. Martha shows us it is easy to create elegant desserts by starting with a fully baked homemade tart shell. She creates the shells and uses them in two desserts: first, a lemon mousse damask tart in a fluted shell with candied lemon peel. Then, a black bottom tart made in a shell brushed with chocolate, filled with custard and whipped cream. Plus, Martha creates a chocolate tart shell layered with homemade caramel and chocolate ganache, finished with a sprinkling of sea salt.


Yeast dough requires a little bit of waiting, but as Martha demonstrates this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to work with. Martha will demonstrate her yeast dough made with butter and sour cream: it’s rich and tender. With whole pecans she turns the dough into sweet and gooey sticky buns. By adding cinnamon and sugar she creates simple but fun sugar buns. And she uses a Bundt pan to turn her dough into sweet, pull-apart monkey bread.


Biscuits and scones are the perfect start to any day, and with Martha’s recipes they’re easy to make anytime. There’s plenty of variety to be had including flaky herb buttermilk biscuits with dill, chives, and rosemary; angel biscuits (made with yeast) which are light and airy; and tender and fluffy cream scones made with two types of flour and flavored with juicy currants soaked in orange liqueur.


Muffins and popovers are comfort foods that are fun to make. Martha demonstrates why as she bakes some of her favorites: blueberry muffins studded with fresh blueberries; classic golden-brown puff popovers, perfect with butter or jam; giant cheese popovers, ideal for filling with her fried eggs, creamed spinach and bacon; plus, Martha will explain how to make the very best blueberry preserves.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Living With Collections - Cake Stands

The February issue of Martha Stewart Living featured a great article, "Objects of Their Affection," the story of collectors and their collections. 

After reading the article (and going back and reading it a couple more times) I started thinking about the various collections I have and enjoy.  One such collection is my collection of cake stands. 

I have never seriously considered the numerous cake stands I have as a "collection."  By that I mean, I never think about 'adding a cake stand to the collection" when I see one I want to buy.  I just see one and like it and think about how I can use it. 

Cake stands are actually quite versatile.  Not only can you do a great presentation of a cake, but you can use them as decorating elements, use them as serving pieces for dinner parties, or as Martha pointed out a couple years ago, you can use one on your counter as a caddy to hold salts, herbs, and other cooking essentials. 

In the coming months, I'll share some of my collections.  For now, here are a few of my cakes stands that line the shelves in my kitchen:

I've grown very fond of white-ware cake stands.  Most of my collection is from Macy's.  This cake stand was the first "limited edition" cake stand from the Martha Stewart Collection. 

This set of cake stands are available at Macy's or on  These stands are a bit different in design.  There is no lip around the edge which makes for very easy serving. 

Two more limited edition cake stands from the Martha Stewart Collection.  The top one was a gift from my friend Elaine.  This stand gets used all the time.  The bottom was never a favorite of mine, but when I found it at a discounted price, I thought I would pick it up. 

Probably my most prized cake stands is this set of four that I purchased from Martha by Mail in the late 90's.  These cake stands became iconic symbols in the Martha empire, even being featured in NY Christmas windows in 1999.  They range in sizes from 12" - 6" 

More white-ware cake stands from the Martha Stewart Collection.  I love the simple design of the bases.  Most recently, I found the very small "cupcake stands" (on the right) at Macy's.  They match their full size siblings perfectly and make for a great presentation of an oversized cupcake or individual dessert. 

David's mother gave me this glass cake stand in 1998.  I love the 'music' design in the glass.  It will always be a favorite. 

This is actually a pedestal tart plate.  An eight inch tart fits perfectly. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

February Living - Inspiration x2

The February issue of Martha Stewart Living is devoted to the love of chocolate. 

While many of us are weaning ourselves off of sweet treats from the holidays, Valentine's Day isn't Valentine's Day without indulging in at least a little bit of creamy, chocolate goodness. 

This issue is chocked full of ideas to make your Valentine swoon this year.  From delightful cards, to delicious treats (with chocolate, of course!), you're sure to be inspired to find a special way to tell that special someone just how much you love them. 

The February issue marks the first regular issue of Martha Stewart Living to be available for the iPad.  Starting with this issue, Martha Stewart Living magazine will be available in print and interactive digital format. Single issue and digital subscription pricing has not yet been released. 

Digital subscribers will experience Martha Stewart Living in a whole new light.  Interactive features, and videos are part of this delicious issue. 

Living produced the first digital issue in November, with the release of a special issue titled "Boundless Beauty" which very quickly became one of the best selling apps for the iPad. 

Whether you love the feel of a magazine in your hand, or prefer the brilliant digital look and feel, Martha Stewart Living will be available in the format you want and enjoy most.  To get a sneak preview of the February issue for the iPad, see the MOBILE page at 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Search of the Spurtle

In recent weeks, I've received several blog comments and emails regarding a kitchen tool that Lucinda Scala Quinn referenced in my interview with her last year; the Spurtle.  Seems that many people are looking for a spurtle!

The Spurtle, is a Scots kitchen tool , dating from at least the fifteenth century.  It was originally a flat, wooden, spatula-like utensil used for flipping oatcakes on a hot griddle. Over time, the utensil changed shape into a stirring stick, being used for stirring soups and oatmeal.  It was thought that the original flat design crushed the oats while stirring, which was undesirable.  The rod like shape was made for constant stirring and would prevent the porridge from congealing and becoming lumpy. 

In the United States, the Spurtle is still thought of as the cross between a wooden spoon, a spatula, and a turner. 

In the early 1990's, "spurtles" made an American comeback as one of the essential kitchen tools.  Today, the term is not as likely to be used as the utensils description. 

I did find a great source (for those that have asked) for hand-turned and crafted spurtles (or also known as "classic stirrers").  Check out the Forest Treasures for more information on their beautiful stirrers. 

For those that have asked, I hope this helps a little bit.  If a hand-crafted spurtle is not to your liking, I would suggest shopping at your favorite kitchen supply store for a similarly designed utensil!