Bonnie's Book Clubs
News and Events
When Bonnie Stern started her cooking school in 1973 she wanted people
to have more fun in the kitchen, eat more healthfully and nourish their
families and friends with delicious food. That goal has never changed.
Bonnie is still sharing her love of cooking in everything she does.
Bonnie is an award winning author of twelve best-selling cookbooks and
writes weekly in the National Post. As well as offering a wide variety
of corporate services, cooking classes and unique book clubs where
authors actually attend and dinner is included. She is the recipient of
the 2007 Premier’s Award.
I’m always so surprised when the cold weather arrives. I was born in Toronto, have lived here my whole life, winter has come every year without fail – how can I be so surprised! Even so I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. But I do seem to travel a lot.
Charleston has become a top North American food destination in the last few years, with an exciting local cuisine. Growers and producers are reviving heritage grains and vegetables and many chefs are featuring South Carolina Low Country cuisine. That’s one of the reasons I was glad to be invited, with other friends in media, to ‘Cook It Raw’, a chef’s retreat, of sorts, that was taking place in Charleston. ‘Cook It Raw’ was started in 2009 by Alessandro Porcelli and this year organized by Toronto’s Arlene Stein. It is a type of boot camp for chefs from around the world, with activities like hunting, foraging, butchering and fishing. It is held in places with indigenous cuisines and ‘raw’ refers to the chefs’ experience of being away from their comfort zone rather than actual 'raw' food. The chefs especially enjoyed the camaraderie, the opportunity to share global ideas and the chance to cook a 16-course dinner for 50 guests featuring what they learned about Low Country cuisine. This year, three Canadian chefs took part — Jeremy Charles (Raymonds, St John’s) and Connie DeSousa & John Jackson (Charcut Roast House, Calgary) — who joined such luminaries as Albert Adria from Barcelona, Ben Shewry from Melbourne, Dan Barber from New York and ten other chefs.
At the end of the week there was an afternoon BBQ - BBQ Perspectives - on Bowens Island, where for the first time, Cook It Raw opened an event to the public. Chefs from Charleston and Toronto joined the Cook It Raw chefs and cooked BBQ for 500 people. Toronto chefs included Ted Corrado, Tyler Shedden, Matt Duffy, Matty Matheson, Alex Molitz, Amanda Ray, Nick Liu, Alexandra Feswick, Bertrand Alepee, bartender Dave Mitton and Chef Mark Lepine from Ottawa. It was a huge success!
While I was in Charleston I was able to reconnect with a friend and colleague, Nathalie Dupree, the co-author of the definitive cookbook on southern cooking Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking and enjoyed many wonderful restaurant meals. See Featured Recipes and Restaurant Recommendation below for more details.
It was also great to see Southern Hospitality in action. My friend, Gabriella and I were on the freeway when one of the tires on our rental car blew out. As we waited for AAA to arrive, a tow truck stopped and the driver asked if he could help us. He confirmed he was with South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and his job was to patrol the highway for people who needed help. He changed the tire, wouldn’t take any money but did accept a loaf of homemade bread from the amazing deli Butcher and Bee. Southerners are so hospitable and also have great taste.
Our recent books clubs with Lawrence Hill, Roberta Rich and Conrad Black were so diverse and fascinating. Don’t miss the chance to meet authors and share a wonderful dinner. Check out our new book clubs for January and February.
Wishing you a happy holiday season – I’m baking shortbread. See my fave recipe below.
|Bonnie's Book Club|
|Bonnie's Book Club is a labour of love. Nothing pleases Bonnie more than to have the opportunity to bring readers and writers together in a truly unique way that offers the rare opportunity to meet some of the country's leading authors, discuss their work and enjoy a delicious meal inspired by the book.|
Drawing on her degree in English and her passion for food and cooking, Bonnie Stern invites you to a literary feast you won't soon forget - Oprah's book club never tasted this good!
*Small print: All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Cancellations can be accepted only up to 14 days before event date, a $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. At any time you may send someone in your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to mark their calendar with the date, time and location of the event.
|CRAIG DAVIDSON: CATARACT CITY|
To kick off 2014, Bonnie welcomes one of Canada’s most
exciting authors to the Book Club. Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominee Craig
Davidson will talk about his critically acclaimed, bestselling novel Cataract
With the publication of his debut collection of short stories, Rust
and Bone, in 2005, Canadian writer Craig Davidson attracted considerable
attention from the international literary community. The hard-hitting
collection of fiction introduced readers to extraordinary world of fighting
dogs, down-on-their-luck pugilists, and others held captive by their own bad
luck and bad decisions. In 2006, Davidson followed up on the promise of Rust
and Bone with The Fighter, a powerful debut novel that explores the
lives of two very different young men heading down the road of
In 2012, Davidson’s star soared even more with the release of celebrated
French filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s adaptation of two of the stories featured in
Rust and Bone. The film, Rust and Bone, starred Academy
Award-winner Marion Cotillard, was a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival and
received rave reviews around the world.
With Cataract City, Davidson chronicles the story of two lifelong
friends, Duncan Diggs and Owen Stuckey, who come of age in Niagara Falls. Over
the years, their lives take different paths in respect to the law, as they
struggle to find a place for themselves in the world. In a powerful novel
about hope, friendship and the search for redemption, Cataract City will generate an enormous amount of discussion.
Date: Monday, January 27, 2014
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: Rose and Sons - Big Crow
176 Dupont Street (in the back), Toronto
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of Cataract City sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810
|REBECCA MEAD: MY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH|
Many readers will recognize Rebecca Mead as a contributing writer to The
New Yorker. Bonnie is pleased to welcome her to the book club to discuss
her wonderful new book, My Life in Middlemarch.
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in a coastal town of England when she
first read George Eliot's Middlemarch. After gaining admission to
Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several
love affairs and then marriage and family, Rebecca Mead reread Middlemarch.
The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few
English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that
modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca
Mead leads the reader into the life that her favorite book made for her, as
well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a
structure that perfectly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch
takes the themes of Eliot's novel and brings them into our world. Offering both
a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an uncanny portrait of the ways
in which Mead's life echoes that of the author herself, My Life in
Middlemarch is a book for those who wonder about the power of literature to
shape our lives.
|Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014|
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: The Grove
1214 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Fee: $150 plus HST*
(includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of My Life in Middlemarch sent out as soon as possible after registration)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810
|Book Club Locations|
Rose and Sons - Big Crow
We love the cozy deliciousness of Rose and Sons and everyone agreed when we held our book club there for Linda Spalding and ‘The Purchase’. I took Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi there and they loved Anthony’s cooking too.
And now we love Big Crow – Rose and Sons backyard bbq patio. It was so successful this summer, in order to keep it open all year, they winterized it with walls, ceilings, heaters and blankets and now it’s warm and toasty. The perfect place for Cataract City.
176 Dupont Street
(in the back)
647 748 3287
“And while The Grove serves English food, it’s not ye olde English pub food, or high-WASP English. The restaurant’s chef, Ben Heaton, does modern British with a light touch and seasonal groceries, the way much of Britain has eaten for more than a decade now. It’s intelligent, stylish, sexy even – think Carey Mulligan wearing Stella McCartney. The Grove has some of the freshest cooking in town right now.” Chris Nuttall-Smith, The Globe and Mail, June, 2012.
In Sept 2012 Jacob Richler in McLean’s magazine said The Grove was the best new restaurant in Canada of 2012.
1214 Dundas Street West
416 588 2299
Corporate culinary events are a great way to host a corporate function. Great food always brings co-workers and staff together. People have fun, learn a lot and take home delicious memories.
Events are customized to meet your location, schedule, objectives and food preferences. Bonnie works with nutritionists, food producers, restaurants, etiquette experts and authors to create exciting programs.
All events will be planned and hosted by Bonnie personally.
Bonnie Stern has worked with various food manufacturers, grocery chains, restaurants, chefs, health professionals as well as cookware manufacturers, etc., offering a wide variety of corporate services, such as:
Corporate culinary events
Private cooking classes
Personal chef training
Menu consulting for parties
For detailed information,
please call: 416 484 4810
Friday Night Dinners
Bonnie's newest cookbook with her favourite menus, recipes, photos and stories. Over 170 delicious recipes for every occasion - holidays, barbecues, fast suppers and fabulous feasts - and Bonnie makes sure you can make fantastic meals and still enjoy the food and fun with everyone else. You'll want to use this book every day of the week.
Published by Random House of Canada, 2010, 320 pages, paperback
Essentials of Home Cooking
Winner of the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. A beautiful cookbook filled with Bonnie’s personal favourites - dishes that reflect the way we are cooking today.
Published by Random House of Canada, 2003, 208 pages, paperback
This wonderful compendium is a must for every kitchen featuring over 300 favourite recipes from the bestselling Simply HeartSmart Cooking, More HeartSmart Cooking and HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends, as well as 75 brand-new recipes to add to your HeartSmart repertoire. Many of the classic recipes have been fully updated to incorporate current food trends and new nutritional information.
Published by Random House of Canada, 2006, 480 pages, paperback.
Cuisiner au gout du coeur
Published by Trecarre, 2006, 512 pages
A very special collection of over 150 mouth-watering recipes including soups, spreads, salads, hors d'oeuvre, pastas and much more. Complete with presentation, entertaining, menu planning tips and over 50 detailed illustrations.
Published by Random House of Canada, 1990, 176 pages, paperback
Over 120 recipes for decadent cakes, pies and pastries, scrumptious cookies, creamy mousses and ice creams – A collection of recipes from a master that stand the test, and tastes, of time.
Also provided are elegant decorating tips, helpful information on equipment and ingredients, and black-and-white illustrations throughout demonstrating basic techniques that will make these recipes absolutely no-fail.
Published by Random House Canada, 1998, 214 pages, paperback
for Family and Friends
Featuring nine entertaining menus (over 200 recipes) with complete work plans, presentation ideas and wine suggestions, as well as complete nutritional analysis for each recipe, plus the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Food Choice Values. Colour photos and black and white instructional illustrations throughout.
Published by Random House of Canada, 2000, 320 pages, paperback
Recevoir au gout du coeur:
recettes, menus et conseils pour des réunions de famille et d’amis
Published by Trecarre, 2000, 320 pages, paperback
Out of Print Cookbooks
Here is a list of Bonnie Stern classics that are out of print. Limited used copies are sometimes available on line.
Food Processor Cuisine
At My Table
In the Kitchen
with Bonnie Stern
Cooking with Bonnie Stern
Simply HeartSmart Cooking
More HeartSmart Cooking
|News And Events|
|GIFTS THAT MATTER|
|Looking for a meaningful holiday gift for your staff, clients, friends, teachers or anyone else on your list this year? By making a $25 donation to The Stop Community Food Centre, you can purchase a food hamper for a family in need on behalf of the special people on your list. The Stop sends them a lovely card letting them know that you’ve done so. Imagine stress-free holiday shopping that makes a difference!|
For more information, visit http://thestop.org/gifts-that-matter-0
|WINTERLICIOUS: JANUARY 31 TO FEBRUARY 13, 2014|
|From delicious prix fixe menus created by some of Toronto's best chefs to unique ticketed culinary events, Winterlicious is one of Toronto's most anticipated culinary celebrations and offers something for everyone.|
Event details and menus will be available on December 11, 2013
|CHEF'S CHALLENGE FOR A CURE|
|Chef's Challenge for a Cure, hosted by Celebrity Chef Giada de Laurentiis, is the ultimate culinary competition in support of research and care in women's cancers at Mount Sinai Hospital. The Top 50 Fundraisers who have raised over $2,500 will duke it out in five teams led by some of the world's top chefs. Chef's Challenge is the pinnacle of foodie fantasies, so register now and help the fight against women's cancers. A brighter future is only a whisk away...|
Date: Saturday, February 8, 2014
Time: 7pm to 10pm
Place: Toronto Congress Centre
650 Dixon Road, Toronto
Attendee Ticket: $1000
Participants: Register to fundraise with the goal of being a Top 50 Fundraiser
For more information, visit www.chefschallengeforacure.com/
|CULINARY TOUR TO ISRAEL|
WITH RABBI ELYSE GOLDSTEIN AND BONNIE STERN
"FOOD FOR THOUGHT TOUR"
|FEBRUARY 2 TO FEBRUARY 9, 2015|
Save the date for our next Food for Thought Culinary Tour to Israel – Monday, February 2 to Monday, February 9, 2015. Many people have been asking about our next trip and we are working hard to get an itinerary and price. As soon as we have that we can start taking registrations. Please let us know if you are interested so we can contact you directly when we do. The tour will be eight full days of culinary and cultural adventures in and around Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the south – market tours, cooking classes, restaurant meals, tastings and an optional post trip excursion to Petra.
To be on the mailing for future trips email: email@example.com
|Restaurant Recommendations and More|
1221 Bay Street
416 920 2323
|Pangaea is one of our favourite restaurants for our book clubs. Chef/owner Martin Kuprie goes above and beyond linking the menu to a theme in the book and our recent dinner to celebrate Blood, the Stuff of Life with Lawrence Hill was no exception. The blood theme was highlighted in the menu and included: pomegranate and Prosecco welcome drink; marinated beet salad; borscht; beef tartar; bloody Mary ice; ocean trout with blood oranges; raspberry layered cheesecake and more. With two private rooms, it is a great place to have a party but their regular menus are also delicious and service is always friendly and professional.|
|Tabule on Queen|
810 Queen Street East
416 465 2500
|Tabule on Yonge near Eglinton has been one of my favourite go-to restaurants since it opened. Their new restaurant on Queen Street East is now a favourite too. The bright, modern space is inviting and the food is as delicious as ever. Our book club with Roberta Rich and her newest novel Harem Midwife was a huge success – between Roberta and the Middle Eastern menu, it was the perfect combination.|
|Drake One Fifty|
150 York Street
416 363 6150
|In keeping with The Drake Hotel fun, friendly yet chic brand, this new, very popular downtown restaurant is the place to be. The drinks are yummy and so is the food. Lobster pizza, nonna’s meatballs, and roast lamb with Greek yogurt and roasted baby eggplant were so delish.|
Moderate to Expensive
|Roof Top Lounge|
Park Hyatt Toronto
4 Avenue Road
416 924 5471
|This dark and sophisticated bar on top of the Park Hyatt has always been one of Toronto’s hidden gems. Very quiet and discreet, with beautiful views of the city, you can have a great cocktail or a glass of wine and snacks that could easily count as dinner. We loved the pulled pork sliders and delicious lamb meatballs.|
606 King Street West
416 363 8388
|The best part of going to Valdez was having dinner with Rene Redzepi, Noma chef and author of A work in Progress, Lars Williams, Arlene Stein, Ivy Knight and Peter Tittiger. Steve Gonzales’ new Latin street food resto is busy, noisy, fun and has a secret bar in the back. Ceviche 5 ways, guacamole, empanadas, beef skewers, fajitas and tres leches rice pudding – we had it all. |
|Momofuku Noodle Bar|
190 University Avenue
|Noodle Bar is my favourite place in the theatre district for a quick meal. It’s always delicious and exciting with fast, efficient and friendly service. My faves are ramen, pork buns (and now Rueben, chicken and shitake buns too), roasted rice cakes, and a new favourite, okomomiyaki (Japanese yam pancake with toppings). Chocolate pudding - delicious.|
1 Langdon Drive
519 740 2100
|After speaking at a Diabetes Symposium with nutritionist Fran Berkoff one Saturday morning in Kitchener, what else could we do but go for lunch to Langdon Hall. Even though Chef Jonathan Gushue had left to open his own place in Toronto (next summer), the food was great and the welcome as warm as ever. Our appetizer of mozzarella and arugula salad with spiced pumpkin and pumpkin seed oil was delicious and our special dessert from talented pastry chef Sarah Villamere was amazing. Wishing the best to new Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and the wonderful team at Langdon Hall.|
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
2 Unity Alley
843 577 0025
|This high end, elegant restaurant is from one of Charleston’s favourite chefs, Sean Brock. They celebrate South Carolina products in the best possible way. You can order the multicourse menu or a la carte. The menu changes all the time but Carolina Gold Ice Cream is always there – it isn’t ice cream at all but Carolina’s heritage rice that has been resurrected and so delicious they call it ice cream! Don’t miss it whether you understand this or not.|
76 Queen Street
843 577 2500
|Also from Sean Brock, Husk is the casual answer to McCrady’s. Don’t miss brunch at Husk. Just a few of the delicious dishes we loved: shrimp and grits; biscuits with black pepper and sausage gravy; fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese; rabbit pot pie; chocolate pudding meringue; panna cotta and buttermilk pie.|
|Butcher and Bee|
654 King Street
843 619 0202
|This crazy sandwich shop, tucked away in an (almost) up and coming area of Charleston, is from Michael Shemtov, someone who takes sandwiches very seriously. Not only are the sandwiches delicious but soups, salads and appetizer plates are all amazing. And there is an incredible juice menu. They are open 11am to 3pm and 11pm to 3am.|
Reasonable to Moderate
|Two Boroughs Larder|
186 Coming Street
843 637 3722
|This eclectic spot combines a market and restaurant and has been eagerly adopted by the food community. We went in for a snack before dinner and had a great charcuterie plate.|
544 King Street
843 414 7060
|The Ordinary specializes in seafood and oysters in a very beautiful, two storied restaurant. Don’t miss the oyster sliders, pickled shrimp and swordfish schnitzel.|
Moderate to Expensive
207 Rutledge Avenue
843 937 0930
|Breakfast, lunch and dinner – Hominy Grill is always busy. Generous portions of Charleston specialties are served all day. If you are waiting for a table you can always get some biscuits at the take-out window to tide you over.|
Reasonable to Moderate
|Martha Lou's Kitchen|
1068 Morrison Drive
843 577 9583
|For soul food and the best fried chicken ever, if you are in Charleston, don’t miss this unassuming chefs’ favourite. We did take-out, on our way to yet another meal and then decided to eat in and soak up the atmosphere. Fried chicken, pork chops, mac and cheese, cabbage and cornbread.|
112 North Market Street
843 723 070
|We couldn’t leave Charleston without a piece of Peninsula Grill’s famous 12 layer coconut cake. Although we didn’t have time for a meal, we were staying at Planters Inn where the restaurant is located so we had the coconut cake as a night cap via room service. Six layers of cake, five layers of coconut custard filling and then cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut made it well worth it. (Try my eight layer version in the recipe section.)|
at Middleton Place
4290 Ashley River Road
800 543 4774
|The Inn at Middleton Place is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Charleston. The award-winning designed inn is in a country setting and walking distance from the historic landmark Middleton Place, plantation and America's oldest landscaped gardens - both a major part of South Carolina's history. Entrance and tours are included in the price of the rooms. Very unusual and very beautiful place to stay.|
Moderate to Expensive
112 North Market Street
843 722 2345
|This lovely inn, located in downtown Charleston, delivers everything you have come to expect from a Relais & Chateaux property. Luxurious rooms, incredible service and the home of Peninsula Grill where you can order a piece of their famous Coconut Cake room service. What else is there to say.|
|TEARS OF THE PROPHETS|
|1 1/2 oz orange vodka (eg Absolut Mandarin)1 piece orange peel2 oz pomegranate juice (1/4 cup)1 tbsp pomegranate seedsorange bitters, optional||A perfect holiday drink in flavour, colour and name. I first had it about ten years ago in San Diego at Parallel 33, a terrific restaurant that unfortunately is now closed. It is hard to imagine that pomegranate juice was new and exciting and hard to find then – we take so much for granted! Make it a mocktail by subbing orange juice for the orange vodka.|
1. Place vodka, orange peel, pomegranate juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake about 10 times until container is very cold.
2. Pour into a martini glass, with or without ice, and top with 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds and orange twist. Add a few drops of orange bitters if using.
makes 1 drink
|BEET AND RED GRAPEFRUIT SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE AND RICOTTA|
|2 lbs red beets, washed and trimmed3 red (or pink) grapefruits12 oz firm ricotta, sliced or cubed1/2 cup pomegranate seeds2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves|
dressing:3 tbsp pomegranate molasses1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice1 small clove garlic, grated or pressed (about 1/2 tsp)1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil1/2 tsp kosher salt pinch freshly ground black pepper
|This beautiful salad is a perfect holiday starter or a great lunch or brunch.|
1. Wrap beets in a single layer in aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 400F oven 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beets are tender when pierced with a knife. The smaller the beets, the faster they will cook. Unwrap and while still slightly warm, rub off skins. Cut into wedges.
2. Segment grapefruits by cutting a slice off the top and bottom so that they stand up securely on a cutting board. Cut off the peel from top to bottom removing as much pith as possible. Holding the grapefruit over a bowl to catch the juices, cut between the membranes to remove segments. Squeeze out any remaining juice from the leftover membranes.
3. For the dressing whisk pomegranate molasses with grapefruit juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Arrange beets, grapefruit sections and ricotta on individual plates.
5. Drizzle dressing on top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
makes 6 servings
|MARCELLA HAZAN’S RIGATONI WITH SWEET PEPPER, GARLIC AND BASIL|
|3 large or 5 medium sweet peppers, preferably red and yellow2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil4 whole cloves garlic, peeledkosher salt20 fresh basil leaves, torn if large3/4 lb rigatoni2 tbsp butter2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese||I was sad to hear that Marcella Hazan died recently. I was lucky enough to take one of her first cooking programs in Bologna in the 70’s and she had a profound influence on the way I cook. She introduced me to mascarpone, extra virgin olive oil, traditional balsamic long before they were popular here. This is one of my favourite Marcella pasta recipes when she taught at my cooking school.|
1. Peel peppers with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half, discard ribs and seeds and cut into chunks or 1/2-by-2-inch strips.
2. Heat olive oil and garlic over medium high heat in a large deep skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until garlic becomes light brown. Discard garlic.
3. Add peppers and cook over medium heat 12 to 15 minutes until peppers are tender but not mushy. Stir often and reduce heat if peppers are browning.
4. Season with 1 to 2 tsp salt. If you are making this ahead, remove from heat and reheat 2 to 3 minutes on medium high when the pasta is almost cooked.
5. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 10 to 12 minutes until just tender — al dente. Drain pasta well and toss in a heated bowl with sauce, butter, cheese and basil. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Notes for cooking pasta:
- Cook pasta in lots of boiling, salted water.
- Add salt (at least 1 tbsp) to the boiling water just before adding the pasta.
- Don’t add oil to the water. If there is enough water, the pasta won’t stick together and oil prevents the sauce from clinging properly.
- Don’t rinse pasta after draining or the sauce will not cling properly; toss pasta and sauce in a warm, shallow serving bowl.
- Serve pasta in shallow bowls because deep bowls make it sticky.
- Serve pasta immediately after tossing with sauce.
|2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour3 1/2 tsp baking powder1 tsp kosher salt1/2 cup butter, lard or shortening, very cold - half cut into 1/4" dice and half cut into 1/2" dice1 cup buttermilk2 tbsp soft or melted butter, lard or shortening for finishing||When I was in Charleston biscuits were served at almost every meal. If you are having guests this holiday and want to serve homemade bread – this is the best – so quick and easy and so delicious.|
This is based on a recipe from Nathalie Dupree, teacher, television host and co-author with Cynthia Graubart, of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking. Nathalie's advice for great biscuits is to work quickly and keep everything very cold. She uses self-rising cake and pastry flour for the more traditional softer biscuits - in which case omit baking powder and salt but I think I like the version below the best.
1. In a bowl, whisk flour with baking powder and salt until thoroughly mixed. Transfer 2 cups of mixture to a large, wide bowl.
2. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips rub 1/4 cup cold butter diced in 1/4" pieces into the flour until it is in tiny pieces. Then rub the remaining 1/4 cup butter (1/2" pieces) into the flour until only small pieces of butter remain.
3. Make a deep well in the centre of the flour and add 3/4 cup buttermilk mixing quickly until a wet dough is formed. If there is any un-incorporated flour, add additional buttermilk by the tablespoon until dough comes together. Turn dough out on floured work surface, flour top lightly and gently flatten about 3/4" thick. Fold dough in half and flatten again. Brush any flour off the surface and fold and flatten again. Dip 2" round cutter in flour and cut out biscuits (do not twist cutter) as close together as possible. Gently gather extra dough together to make more biscuits. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with sides touching each other for softer biscuits or apart for crisper ones.
4. Bake biscuits in the middle or upper third of a preheated 425F oven, for 12 to 14 minutes, turning pan after 6 minutes until puffed and golden.
5. Brush baked biscuits with soft or melted butter.
makes 8 biscuits
|COCONUT LAYER CAKE|
|1 cup butter1 3/4 cups sugar4 eggs2 tsp pure vanilla extract2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp kosher salt1 cup coconut milk1 cup sweetened grated coconut|
icing:1 cup butter6 cups icing sugar, sifted1/2 cup coconut milk2 tsp pure vanilla extract1 1/2 cups sweetened grated or flaked coconut
|I couldn’t leave Charleston without a piece of the famous twelve layer coconut cake from The Peninsula Grill at Planters Inn. It was worth every bite. There are many versions of coconut cake - some with lemon curd filling, some with custard and others with cream cheese frosting. Here's mine – only eight layers but also worth every bite. It is now our favourite birthday cake too.|
1. Cream butter until light. Add sugar gradually and beat until very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
2. In a bowl, whisk flour with baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in coconut.
3. Divide batter between two 8" baking pans that have been buttered and lined with a round of parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (or an instant read thermometer reaches 185F.) Cool completely.
4. For icing, beat butter until light. Add 4 cups of the icing sugar, coconut milk and vanilla. Beat until very fluffy. Gradually add enough remaining sugar until spreadable.
5. Carefully cut each cake into 2 layers. Brush cut sides with a little coconut milk. Line a cake plate with strips of waxed paper and place one cake round, cut side up on it. Ice layer and repeat with all layers. Ice sides and top. Press coconut into sides of cake (and top if you wish). Remove strips of paper. Refrigerate but serve at room temperature.
makes 12 to 16 servings
|CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES|
|2 cups salted butter1 cup fruit sugar3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour1/2 cup rice flour||If you are making holiday gifts this year, these cookies are the best. Fruit sugar (sometimes called bar, instant dissolving or superfine sugar) is just finely ground granulated sugar – if you cannot find it simply process about 1 cup regular granulated sugar in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds and then re-measure. Rice flour is available at supermarkets and health food stores.|
1. Cut butter into small chunks and place in a mixer. Beat until butter is very light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat until very creamy.
2. Whisk all-purpose flour together with rice flour for about one minute. Add to butter mixture and stir in by hand or on low speed just until flour is incorporated.
3. Shape dough into 1" balls. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down with a fork, bottom of a glass or cookie press. Bake in a preheated 300F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until ever so lightly browned around the edges.
Makes about 60 cookies
© Copyright 2013, Bonnie Stern Cooking Schools Ltd.