{Gift Guide} 13 Fave Food Gifts

Ho ho ho…ly cow, holiday time is here. Are all the foodies on your list accounted for? FOF Food Gurus recommend the tastiest treats to GIVE gourmands.

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FOF Jill Silverman Hough is a food and wine writer, culinary instructor, and the author of the 100 Perfect Pairings cookbooks.

1. Olive Oils from The Olive Press (starting at $18) in this adorable dachshund cruet set from Velocity Art and Designs, $40
“I’ve tasted lots of different olive oils from lots of different producers and this is hands-down my favorite. The individual olive flavors (arbequena, ascolano, etc.) really come through. Their citrus olive oils are the absolute best, with lots of true flavor and little of the bitterness that sometimes accompanies. The dog-lover in your life might especially like this cute dachshund cruet.”

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2. Salami of the Month Club from Olympic Provisions, $135
“You get one salami delivered each month, for an entire year. I’ve tasted their salami nola, saucisson d’Arles, saucisson d’Alsace, and saucisson sec and loved ‘em all–subtle yet complex flavors, the textures are deliciously creamy and chewy.”

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3. Sweets from Poco Dolce, starting at $16
“Sometimes when trendy chocolatiers get creative it’s just too much savory seasonings and/or not great chocolate. But, with Poco Dolce, a small-batch artisanal producer based in San Francisco, the chocolate itself is really good and the flavors are creative, but subtle. I particularly liked their olive oil bar with its soft, sexy texture and can hardly stop eating their toffee tiles.”

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4. Happy Goat Caramels, starting at $6.99
“Caramels are so hot these days that there are a million to choose from. But these have that slight goat-cheese flavor that makes them uniquely delicious – like dulce de leche in a candy wrapper. There are several flavors – I particularly like the vanilla bean and winter spice. I also like their Scotch caramel sauce, which is wonderfully boozy.”

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FOF Julia della Croce is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian food, with over 13 cookbooks bearing her name. She is also author of the food blog, Fork Tales.

5. Fabbri “Amarena” cherries, $12.99 (8 oz) to $69.95 (7 lb, 10 oz) also available at select Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table stores
“The most superb cherries you’ll ever eat, and they come in a beautiful, opaline jar. The company that makes them was started in 1905 in Bologna by the current owner’s great grandmother.”

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6. Signed copies of Julia’s cookbooks with personalized messages, $15-$35

“I ship them in time for the holidays and offer both my cookbooks in print, or out-of-print, hard-to-find books–as long as they last.”

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7. Livestock for a family in need, starting at $10 for a share

“Heifer International lets you give gifts of livestock, such as baby goats and chickens, to needy families all over the world. In many poor countries owning livestock can mean having the ability to provide eggs or milk to a family or being able to sell the extra to pay for other staples, medicine or clothing. Gifts of livestock can also reproduce, so provide very long-lasting resources. There’s little in the way of middlemen here–your money really goes directly to the people they say it does.”

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8. Harbor Candy, $5.95 (Tea Infused Chocolates) to $54 (Grande Sampler)
“The Harbor Candy Shop, Ogunquit, Maine, is one of the best candy stores in the U.S. My husband and I go to Ogunquit every August, and this amazing shop is one of the reasons. Superb quality; handmade candies and chocolates are made on the premises. My favorites are the caramallows and the orange slices in chocolate. My daughter loves their beautiful marzipan and my husband brings the crystalized ginger home every August for his boss’s wife.”

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Cathy Wheelbarrow is an FOF food guru and brilliant mind behind the fabulous cooking blog,
Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen

9. Canal House Cookbooks, $10-$19.95
“Away from the clamor of food with foam and exotic ingredients, Christopher Hershheimer and Melissa Hamilton have created an oasis of food sanity in their Canal House series. These are elegant cookbooks with simple, exceptional recipes. The first six books in the series were curated seasonally, and beginning with January, the next grouping will be by cuisine, with Italian food up first. A perfect cookbook or series for any cook.”

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10. The Food52 Cookbook, $19.92
“Okay, I’ve got two recipes in this book, but that’s not the only reason I’m suggesting it.  The Food52 Cookbook from Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs collects the best of food52.com’s recipes, gathered from home cooks everywhere. There are cakes and cookies, main dishes, sandwiches, cocktails and more. And every recipe has been tested, so you can be sure you’ll end up with great results.”

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11. Handmade Marshmallows from Eat Boutique, $24.95
“A sweet treat, all ready to float on a cup of hot cocoa that first snow day. Eat Boutique has many lovely food gifts gathered from artisan cooks around the country.”

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12. Picot Platter from Anthropologie, $98
“This lace-patterned, perfectly white serving dish will make your holiday cookies look even more delicious.”

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Meridith Ford Goldman is an FOF food guru, food writer and former Atlanta Journal-Constitution dining critic.

13. An adopted olive tree from Nudo, in Italy, $109
“You can choose from dozens of olive groves, pick the type of tree you think your recipient would prefer and then they’ll reap the rewards all year long–Nudo sends olive oil from their tree to their doorstep.”

Enter to win this adorable dachshund cruet set by leaving a comment below.

One FOF will win.
(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)
Contest closes December 14, 2011 at midnight E.S.T.

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What do FOFs save and splurge on?

Some things are worth a splurge, such as cashmere sweaters, sustainable seafood and tweezers, according to our most savvy FOF experts. But other things, such as drugstore nailpolish, fashion watches and eyeshadow, are better when you buy them cheap.

Intrigued? Flip through this slideshow to see the beauty, fashion, food and home items FOFs splurge and save on. Then, tell us below, do you agree? Is there something you’d add to this list?

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{Poll} FOF celeb chefs: ingenious or insane?

These FOF celeb chefs are a polarizing bunch. Women either love them with a cultish fervor, or love to, well, hate them with a cultish fervor. So where do you stand?  Are they FOFabulous Foodies–or the FOFurthest thing from it?



The good, the fab: Yum-O! Say what you want, but almost-FOF Rachael Ray is one of the most powerful celebrities in the world according to Forbes magazine and one of the top 100 most influential people in the world according to Time. The maven of easy weeknight cooking has three Emmy awards under her belt, her own daytime talk show, a magazine, cookbooks and a product line. Her fans love her no-frills approach: anyone can be a good chef, just grab your “EVOO” and get cooking.

The ugly: Rachael Ray has repeatedly come under fire for “her cooking skills, her overreliance on chicken stock, her kitchen hygiene, her smile (often compared to the Joker’s), her voice, her physical mannerisms, her clothes, her penchant for saying ‘Yum-o’ and so on” as noted in a 2006 New York Times article. Famous for teaching viewers how to make meals in less than 30 minutes, many critics claim that the concept doesn’t include preparation time. I’m “a cook, not a chef,” Rachael once admitted to fellow celeb chef Alton Brown. She has also said that measuring “takes away from the creative, hands-on process of cooking” and instead favors approximations such as “half a palmful.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

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The good, the fab: Entertaining empress Martha Stewart is a nine-time Emmy-award winner, talk show host, magazine editor, New York Times bestselling author, business magnate and pretty much the worldwide personification of perfection. That is, of course, until she went to jail for a highly-publicized insider trading scandal. Critics predicted her fall from grace would trigger the demise of her media empire. Instead, she launched a successful comeback campaign–her company turned a profit again just one year after she was released from prison. In or out of jail, she consistently sets the standard for haute home keeping.

The ugly: This “ice queen,” as she’s been dubbed by editors, viewers and industry insiders, took major heat when she served time in jail. But even before that, Martha was the butt of many jokes. Said Newsweek, “Her detractors say, ‘Sure, I could have made millions teaching people how to make marzipan kumquats–but I’m too busy thinking about world peace.’ Her fans just want the kumquats.” In 1997, an unauthorized biography, Just Desserts, claimed that she once sued her gardener over pennies, ignores her own daughter, plagiarizes recipes and humiliates her own staff. “Naturally, people hate Martha Stewart,” wrote Patricia McLaughlin in a New York Times article. “She’s rich, she’s blond. And now, she’s even thin.”

Is Martha Stewart:

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The good, the fab: Sandra’s semi-homemade cooking method, which involves 70 percent pre-packaged products with 30 percent fresh items, has struck a cord with busy women everywhere. The self-made star (she was raised on food stamps) is now a semi-homemade millionaire. Her show, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking, remains one of the longest-running and top-performing programs on the Food Network. She has written 23 cooking and entertaining books. Kurt Suller of Newsweek even likened her to Julia Child, adding that although her show “is the furthest from Child’s methods,” both women “filled a niche that hasn’t yet been explored.”

The ugly: A “frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker,” Anthony Bourdain once called his fellow celeb chef, Sandra Lee. The goddess of all things semi-homemade has been berated for her rampant use of shortcuts and store-bought ingredients loaded with preservatives. She “seems more intent on encouraging people to create excuses for not cooking than on encouraging them to cook wholesome simple foods,” writes Amanda Hesser of The New York Times. But nothing was more controversial then a episode of Sandra Lee’s show during which she created a “Kwanzaa cake” topped with corn nuts. Critics have called it “an abomination,” “disrespectful” and “offensive.” Even Sandra Lee’s “possible future mother-in-law,” (according to the New York Times) doesn’t subscribe to her semi-homemade theory. When asked by a NY1 reporter about Sandra Lee’s lasagna recipe (which uses Campbell’s tomato soup and cottage cheese), Matilda Cuomo replied, “That’s not how you make a lasagna.”

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The good, the fab: Queen of southern cuisine, FOF Paula Deen, has charmed fans and restaurant customers for nearly fifteen years. Paula is an  Emmy-award winner for her Food Network show, Paula’s Home Cooking. Her restaurant, Lady and Sons, in Savannah, Georgia, was named by USA Today as the “International Meal of the Year.” (It’s famous for it’s buffet which features sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, deep-fried Twinkies, fried chicken and cheesy meatloaf).  Her memoir, It Ain’t All About the Cookin’, published in 2007, shot to the top of the charts and eventually become a New York Times bestseller. Fans love her folksy banter, decadent recipes and slightly bawdy sense of humor.

The ugly: “The mistress of mayonnaise” has been harshly reprimanded for reckless use of butter, mayo and other fattening foods and techniques in her cooking. In a Huffington Post story, called “How Can Paula Deen Sleep at Night?”, author Christina Pirello writes, “In the name of southern hospitality and tradition, she has fried her way into the clogged hearts of America.” Soon after she released Lunch-Box Set, her cookbook for kids, Paula appeared on The View. “Obesity is the number one problem for kids today,” Barbara Walters said to her. “Everything you have here is enormously fattening. You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast… does it bother you that you’re adding to it?”

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Images via Examiner, East Hampton Historical Society, Chicago Now, Huffington Post, NY Daily News, Food Network Fans, Food Network and Deceiver

{Giveaway} Win a 30-minute healthy, sexy body “makeover” from an FOF nutrition guru

FOF nutrition guru, Rosie Battista, of Sleeping Naked After 40, is giving away a healthy, sexy, body “makeover”–a 30-minute, personalized phone session designed to get your nutrition back on track. To enter, ask her a nutrition question here.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.


On the precipice of her fiftieth birthday, FOF Rosie Battista was in crisis mode.

“I had to sell my house in a bad housing market,” writes Rosie on her website. “I had a broken-up relationship, a lost, messy floundering business, topped off with seemingly insurmountable life issues… All of this toxicity evidenced itself in the most obvious symptom of a lifestyle gone awry, an overweight, uncomfortable body.”

In an effort to get her confidence up and her body in shape, Rosie tackled a life goal: compete in a body-building contest. In four months, she toned up, lost 35 pounds and placed in the competition.

How’d she do it? Rosie took on an intensive dieting and training program and developed a system of nutritional “tricks” to keep herself on track.

Read 5 nutrition secrets excerpted from her books Cooking Naked After 40 and Mini-Treats, then enter the contest below to win a 30-minute phone session with Rosie.

Rosie’s 5 nutrition secrets:

1. When cooking and eating, remember these simple rules: The simpler, the less ingredients, the easier, the cleaner, the lighter, the purer — the better.

2. Three things to have in your fridge at all times are: a bowl of leftover brown rice, 3 or 4 baked sweet potatoes, a container of homemade applesauce. It will take about one hour of your time to prepare these items but having them ready will help you get healthy meals together in minimal time. Designate a few hours each week to prep for the next week.

3. Ezekiel breads are the only way to go. Ezekial is one brand of sprouted bread and contains no flour or refined sugars. You’ll find these breads in the freezer section of your grocery store because there are no preservatives or processed flours, making the shelf life short. The bread will last weeks in your freezer.

4. You may think “hippy” when you think “hemp” — but, actually this small seed is a nutrient rich powerhouse and a great source of fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. Use this super seed mixed in to granola, yogurt, soups, smoothies or baked goods.

5. Dark leafy greens are the best and only way to get the phytochemicals and plant nutrients we need for ultimate health. One way to get these greens into your diet is to use collard leaves as sandwich wraps.

Enter to win a healthy, sexy body “makeover,” a 30-minute phone session with Rosie. One FOF will win. To enter, ask her a nutrition question here.

Plus! Get 3 more secrets to a healthy, sexy body after 40 right now, when you sign up for Rosie’s newsletter.

(See all our past winners. See official rules. One winner is chosen at random from all those who ask a question. Contest closes June 30, 2011.)

{Food} 11 shippable summer delights (you wont find in your grocery store)

Real FOFoodies know that the best treats aren’t found in grocery store aisles. Instead, they’re made on vineyards and farms, peddled off at neighborhood farmers’ markets and served at restaurants only locals frequent. Our FOF Foodie Gurus tipped us off to the local delicacies worth traveling for–but, you don’t actually have to travel to try them. From a clambake in a can to ribs from Ohio, each of the 11 items can be shipped straight to your door!

1. Phat Beets and People’s Pickles from Rick’s Picks in New York, NY
FOF Marla H. Bane:
“These are the best pickles. They’re made in NYC by my friend, Rick Field. The Phat Beets are pickled in rosemary, ginger and lemon. I love adding them to salads or to a cracker with goat cheese. The People’s Pickles are another favorite; they taste like classic New York deli pickles but they’re all natural and low-sodium.”

2. Goat Cheese with Cherries Ice Cream from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH
FOF Connie Torgerson:
“I love the combination of sweet and salty with the tang of goat cheese. She has such unusual flavors and uses the best ingredients from the best suppliers. I started reading Jeni’s cookbook last night and I admire her passion and perseverance.

3. Lump Crab from Chesapeake Traditions in Ocean City, MD
FOF Christine Quigley:
“Shipping is expensive because it’s so perishable, but it’s worth it — the crab is top notch!”

4. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce from Stonewall Kitchen in York, ME
FOF Jo Ann Graham:
“It’s absolutely incredible. Forget the ice cream and eat it straight from the jar! So good.”

5. Strawberry Cherry Chipotle Vinegar from Big Paw Vinegar in Campbell, CA
FOF Connie Torgerson:
“I’m in love with this vinegar. I have it shipped to me in six packs. I use it on fresh tuna, as a dressing for my coleslaw and even mix it with sparkling water for a great-tasting drink.”

6. Cape May Clambake from The Lobster House in Cape May, NJ
FOF Deborah Rogers:
“The Cape May Clambake includes lobster, clams, corn and all the makings for seaside dinner anywhere. It is shipped in a can and when you open it, you are transported to the Jersey Shore.”

7. Raspberry Jalapeno Jam from Petals and Produce in Washington, NC
FOF Cindy Henderson:
“Petals and Produce is a wonderful business in eastern North Carolina that offers fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables. But, what I really want to brag about is their mouth-watering salsas, jams and relishes. The prices are amazing (just $5.50 per pint) and the quality is outstanding. The raspberry jalapeno jam  has become a holiday family tradition. We serve it with cream cheese and crackers as an hors d’oeuvre and everyone loves it!”

8. Chandelier Chardonnay Fire Grilled Garlic Marinade from Tavern on the Green in Rochester, N.Y.
FOF Jyl Ferris:
“I always make my own marinades but I fell in love with these from Tavern on the Green. They are produced in Napa Valley using the finest ingredients. The owner, Lou, donates 50 cents for every product sold to The National Foundation for Missing and Exploited Children.”

9. Rack of Ribs from Montgomery Inn in Cincinnati, OH
FOF Linda McCoy:
“If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, a trip to the Montgomery Inn is a must! They have the best ribs on the planet. When we took my family there for dinner, my brother-in-law asked for a knife. The waiter said ‘Sir if you need to use a knife, I’ll be takin’ those back to the kitchen!’ The meat falls off the bone, the sauce is scrumptious. If you can’t make it, they ship all over the U.S. They’re legendary!”

10. Bumbleberry Pie from Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, MN.
FOF Petra Hennek:
“Everyone along the Superior shore in Minnesota knows about Betty’s. They have cream pies and fruit pies, my favorites are usually the fruits. I like the bumbleberry with ice cream and whipped cream. My kids like the French silk. My husband loves the toffee cream. They’re crazy, crazy good.”

11. Goat’s Milk Caramel from Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield, VT
FOF Kathleen Dolan
: “Delicious with a lovely, smooth texture. I put it over ice cream with pound cake and berries. It does not taste like goat’s milk or goat cheese. Recently, my friend who absolutely hates goat cheese tried it and loved it.”

{Food} We tested your (salad) recipes.

We asked the FOFoodie Gurus for their favorite summer salads and received hundreds of ideas for out-of-the-ordinary greens. After much debating, recipe-testing and tasting, we narrowed it down to these four favorites. Add them to your recipe repertoire, ASAP.

1. Watermelon-feta-mint salad
FOF Amy Mayer: “This salad is refreshing, healthy and uses the ingredients I most associate with summer: watermelon and mint! The best part — no measuring necessary — add as much as you like of everything.”


Ingredients:
Watermelon (cut into bite sized chunks)
Arugula
Mint leaves (julienned)
Feta (cut into cubes or chunks)
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

Method:
Mix together watermelon, arugula, mint leaves and feta. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.


2. Grilled peach and arugula salad
FOF Cathy Barrow (of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen blog): “There’s sweet fruit, salty pancetta and the crisp bite of arugula. It’s refreshing and complex — fancy and easy to pull together all at the same time.”


Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 freestone peaches, quartered and pitted
8 thin slices of pancetta
8 oz baby arugula
Walnut oil
Balsamic vinegar
Honey
Salt and pepper

Wrap the pancetta slices around each quarter of peach and secure with a toothpick or skewer. Grill the peaches for about 2-3 minutes per side, until the pancetta crisps. Divide the arugula between two chilled plates. Set four peaches on each plate. Scatter chiffonade basil leaves over the peaches.
Drizzle with honey, balsamic and walnut oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Fennel and orange salad
FOF Susan Van Tol: “It’s simple, stunning and satisfying — the way all summer salad recipes should be. It’s flavorful, elegant and when I serve it, I receive rave reviews.”


Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large fennel bulb
2 oranges
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar

Method:
Slice fennel bulb and oranges thinly.  Mix together or arrange artfully on a platter.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4. Rosemary sweet potato salad
FOF Karen McKinney: “I first tasted this salad at the University of Tampa’s Panache Restaurant and fell in love with the great flavors. The chef was nice enough to share it with me. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, do not use dried but, feel free to substitute fresh basil or mint.”

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
5 large sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups diced celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions

For the honey rosemary vinaigrette:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher or sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes with the skins on until just done (don’t overcook or the cubes will be mushy) about 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate potatoes until cooled.

Mix honey, vinegar, rosemary and garlic in a blender until smooth. With blender running on low speed, add olive oil very slowly until dressing is thick and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, gently mix sweet potatoes, green onions, celery and vinaigrette until evenly covered. Chill until serving time. The flavors intensify if the salad sits out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Photographs by Katherine Miles Jones for FabOverFifty

{Food} Add these 5 cookbooks to your collection!

It may not be as glamorous as Oscar season, but cookbook season shouldn’t be overlooked. Around this time each year, the best new cookbooks go head-to-head for prestigious industry awards, including the James Beard Cookbook Awards and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Awards . Discover and win this year’s leading contenders and then, meet the FOFs who wrote them.

Enter to win by answering this question in the comments below: Which cookbook would you most want to win?

1. Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners by Sara Moulton

Former Food Network star and Gourmet test kitchen chef Sara Moulton jokes that she’s “unemployed.” With a new cookbook, an in-the-works iPhone app and a slew of freelance gigs, we beg to differ. [Read the entire interview here.]

What was your mission with this cookbook?
To help people get dinner on the table during the work week. Most people really like the idea of making a home cooked meal but can’t figure out how to make it happen. They have kids, they don’t get home until 7, or they tend to make the same boring 5-10 dishes over and over again.

How does this cookbook help?
I came home from work at Gourmet at 5 or 6 p.m. and I had to get dinner on the table for my family. I came up with all these tips and tricks about how to do it that I wanted to share. I also want to free people from this idea that dinner should be a protein, a starch and a vegetable. There are other ways to get a healthy dinner on the table. Why not have breakfast for dinner? Or soup? Or a substantial sandwich?

Where did you get inspiration for the recipes?
Sometimes I took a classic and updated it. Or I took a dish I like — a Reuben sandwich, for instance — and put it on a pizza instead. I tried to make the book international because it’s more interesting. Grocery stores have so many worldly ingredients now.

Do you have a favorite recipe from this book?
I have so many favorites. I can’t believe I have to pick. There’s a smoky fish chowder with Canadian bacon, smoked trout and potatoes. I’m from New England so I love chowders. Can I give you one more favorite?

Sure.
A hearty salad with hearts of palm, smoked salmon and watercress with buttermilk dressing. It’s a meal in a salad and I love that the buttermilk dressing is low fat.

2. Bon Appétit Desserts by Barbara Fairchild

Last September, when Bon Appétit magazine relocated from California to New York City, FOF Barbara Fairchild stepped down as editor-in-chief after a 32-year career there. Her final “course” at the magazine? Bon Appétit Desserts, the ultimate ode to sweets.

Has Bon Appétit Desserts been a sweet success so far?
As Bon Appétit transitioned to New York with an entirely new staff, Bon Appétit Desserts made the New York Times Bestseller list. No pun intended, it was ‘the icing on the cake.’

Why did you decide to publish a book on desserts?
There are books about pies, books about cakes, and books about cookies… but there was nothing as broad of a resource on desserts as this book.

What do you think readers enjoy most about this book?
Each recipe is rated from one to five whisks based on how complicated it is. In the back, we have the recipes listed by the number of whisks, so you can do the whole Julie & Julia thing and start with the one-whisk recipes and work your way up.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?
The ‘Deep, Dark Chocolate Cheesecake.’ It’s every bit as seductive and delicious as it sounds.

When you’re not baking from Bon Appetit desserts, where do you go for baked goods?
I love City Bakery in New York. I’m a big fan of their pretzel croissants. Here in L.A., I like Joan’s on 3rd. She does wonderful cookies and a fantastic chocolate peanut butter cup cake.

Your ideal birthday cake?
An all-chocolate cake from Pierre Hermé in Paris.

3. Around my French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

At age 13 she burned down her parents’ kitchen and vowed never to cook again. Today, FOF Dorie Greenspan has published 10 cookbooks (five of them are award-winning and one she wrote for Julia Child). Her newest, Around My French Table, is up for a International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) award and has a cult of fans (French Fridays with Dorie) who cook one recipe from the book each week.

Are you French?
I’m not. The first time I went to Paris, I came home to my mother in Brooklyn, and said ‘I love you madly, but you made this terrible mistake and had me in Brooklyn.’ I teasingly say I forgave her and spent the rest of my life making up for her poor judgment.

Do you live in Paris now?
Four months of the year. I have three kitchens; New York, Connecticut and Paris. I wrote Around my French Table after I bought a place in France.

You published quite a few successful books before Around my French Table, is that correct?
Up until this book, all my books were about pastry. This book is proof that in all those years I was feeding my kids cookies and cakes, I was making them eat their dinner first.

What’s the essence of this cookbook?
It’s not Escoffier, it’s not Julia Child, it’s not a textbook. It’s a kitchen journal. It’s the food I cook in my kitchen, that my French friends cook and recipes from working with French chefs. It’s a snapshot of what French food is like today.

What is French food like today?
It’s lighter, it’s more diverse. French cuisine is taking influences from all around the world now.

Where do you shop for your ingredients?
For Around my French Table I shopped in the supermarket. I wanted all my readers, no matter where they live, to be able to replicate the recipes.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?
‘Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake.’ She’s my editor and a great cook. She makes this cake I adore but doesn’t use a recipe. I worked and worked to get the recipe right, just the way she wanted.

4. Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort your Soul by Julia della Croce

“My favorite Italian cookbook author,” Julia Child once said of FOF Julia della Croce. Julia is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian food. Her newest book, up for an IACP award, is an ode to cucina casalinga or Italian comfort food.

On your website, you call Italian home cooking “endangered.” Why?
Women passed the torch of Italian cuisine for thousands of years. When they started going into the workplace, they weren’t home cooking. Also, young Italian chefs want to cook new cuisine, not what their grandmothers made. It’s not profitable to make home cooking in a restaurant. You don’t spend 6 hours making gnocchi if you can’t charge for it.

Why did you write this cookbook?
This cookbook looks at what we could lose. I’m not saying women should be in the kitchen—it’s a good thing they are in the workplace. I’m saying that [Italian home cooking] is a precious thing, let’s keep it.

When did you start cooking?
I lived in Edinburgh while I did graduate work. The food was awful, although there were great ingredients, so I cooked. My professor gave me Italian Food by Elizabeth David. I read the book backwards, forwards and cooked everything in it.

Are you Italian?
Both of my parents were born in Italy. I’m first generation American. When my first cookbook came out in 1986, Italian cooking was very hot, so I specialized in it.

Do you have a favorite recipe in the book?
On the cover, what looks like lasagna is actually pasticciata di polenta. It’s like a lasagna with polenta in place of the pasta. This dish came from my grandmother, who was from Sardinia.

Where do you shop for ingredients?
Di Palo Fine Foods in New York City. They must have over 300 Italian cheeses although it’s not a big store. It’s been family owned for six generations.

5. The Wild Table by Connie Green and Sarah Scott

When Napa Valley chefs want the newest, most unique and seasonal ingredients, they turn to FOF Connie Green. Connie is the a top forager and purveyor of food. Thirty years ago, she turned chefs onto chanterelle mushrooms, an unheard of ingredient at the time.

Sarah Scott has been a chef in Napa for 30 years and has worked with culinary greats such as Jacques Pepin, Daniel Boulud and Alice Waters. The two joined forces to write The Wild Table, perhaps the most comprehensive guide to foraging and cooking earth-to-table cuisine at home.

Tell me about the structure of this book.
Connie: It’s structured by season. We have five seasons including Indian Summer. Readers can refer to the upcoming season and learn how to deal with what’s on hand. ‘The wild’ can include peoples’ backyards as well as wilderness areas.

Why did you write this book?
Sarah: An interest in foraging and raw foods is emerging. Connie wanted to make sure foraging isn’t just about survival—about being stuck in the wild and chewing on tree bark. It’s about finding these incredible ingredients that have delicious flavor and nuances.

How did you come up with the recipes?
Sarah: I created these recipes to be accessible. There are 10-12 chef recipes in here from Connie’s clients—chefs who actually use these ingredients in their kitchens. I took those recipes and adapted them for the home cook.

What if someone couldn’t find the ingredients in their area?
Sarah: We’ve offered substitutions as well so it’s not daunting. If you can find some but not all of the ingredients, you can still learn from and enjoy the book.

What’s an under-the-radar, wild ingredient everyone should know about?
Connie: Sea beans. They’re thick, spaghetti-shaped, crunchy and salty. I expect that two to three years from now they’ll be very well known. Sara does this incredible Nicoise-inspired salad which uses sea beans instead of haricot vert.

Enter to win one of five award-nominated cookbooks by answering this question in the comments below: Which cookbook would you most want to win?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Five winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes April 21, 2011.)


{Giveaway} 7 FOFs will win the “greenest” kitchen containers on Earth!

FOF is giving away seven 10-piece sets of Kinetic Go Green Glasslock food storage containers. Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Have you ever been to a Tupperware party?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

The party may be over for Tuppwerare. Those ubiquitous plastic containers are taking the heat for their possible risks to human health and the environment. A new study has shown a link between a chemical in plasticware (BPA or bisphenol-A) and breast cancer. (Read more here.)

One company, Kinetic, is ahead of the curve with their line of environmentally-friendly, BPA-free glass storage containers, Go Green Glasslock. They were named a top contender in Good Housekeeping’s rigorous test of 28 different food storage products. Editors at Real Simple named them the “Best Container for Leftovers” and Cooks Illustrated highly recommended Kinetic Glasslock in a review. “A neat, tight, reliable seal, good capacity, and solid performance in every test made this container a standout,” they wrote. “If you are concerned about microwaving food in plastic storage containers, this is the one to choose.”

In addition to the health benefits, the environmental arguments for using glass food storage over plastic are compelling. Glasslock products are made from a natural organic compound that is 100% recyclable. Plastic is made from artificial substances and can take up to a millennium to break down in a landfill. So, don’t rush to trash all your plastic containers just yet, but when thinking about your health and the environment, glass may just be the plastic of the future.

Enter to win one of seven, 10-piece sets of Kinetic Go Green Glasslock food storage containers by commenting below and answering: Have you ever been to a Tupperware party?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Seven winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes March 31, 2011.)

{Fabulous Things of 2010} The results are in… Vote!

Last month, we asked FOFs to fill out a survey about the fabulous things they discovered in 2010, from foodie finds and beauty products to to exercise routines and tech gadgets. Hundreds of women responded, and we’ve got their top three picks in each category. Now it’s a run-off: the Number 1 winner in each group is up to you.  Vote now!

Plus, ENTER TO WIN a gift basket containing 6 of the nominees (including an e-reader, perfume and beauty product) by leaving a comment, below!

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Contest and voting close on March 26, 2011. See complete contest rules, here. See all our past winners, here.

{Giveaway} Win a tower of chocolate-drizzled popcorn!

FOFs Elaine Wyatt and Paula Kauffman are giving away this tower of chocolate-drizzled popcorn from their brilliant biz, b’drizzled. Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Do you prefer to snack on candy or popcorn when you go to the movies?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.


Every holiday season for as long as they can remember, sisters-in-law and FOFs Elaine Wyatt and Paula Kauffman made their signature treat: double-drizzled chocolate popcorn. “Our family friends lovingly call it ‘crack corn’ because it’s so addicting,” says Elaine. “People love the sweet and salty combination of popcorn and candy when they go to the movies, and that’s exactly what our snack embodies.”

Elaine and Paula began to sell the treat at fundraisers to make money for their children’s student activities. “It sold great,” says Elaine. “People told us ‘you should take this into stores.'”

A longtime marketing consultant for high-end shopping centers, Elaine had an in with Hiller’s Markets, a Michigan-based gourmet chain. “We took it to their corporate headquarters for them to sample and they just loved it,” she remembers.

In 2006, Hiller’s Markets became the first stores to carry b’drizzled popcorn (the name Elaine and Paula decided on) and from there, business popped off.

Their popcorn is now sold in 30 gourmet markets in Michigan as well as Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in five states. Their bestsellers include “Double Chocolate Supreme,” “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup,” and “Chocolate Cherry Cordial.” (Elaine’s favorite is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Paula’s favorite is White Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream.) Elaine and Paula employ up to twenty employees at a time at their factory in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where they kettle pop and double-drizzle their premium popcorn each day.

Enter to win a b’drizzled popcorn tower, by answering this question in the comments, below: Do you prefer to snack on candy or popcorn when you go to the movies?

(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes March 3, 2011