Tag: cookbooks

The Gift: Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook



What it is: The Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook from Food Network breakouts The Fabulous Beekman Boys (aka Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge). It celebrates all things organic, slow, and old-fashioned vegetable-based.

Who it’s perfect for:

The Foodie in Your Life: On one side of the cooking-trend spectrum there’s the high-tech molecular gastronomy stuff. But on the other side, there’s the back-to-basics craze that any true food lover knows is all the rage. No one goes simpler than the Beekman Boys with this embrace of heirloom vegetables.

The College Kid: Hoping that freshman (or sophomore, or senior) year won’t just mean night after night of ramen noodles and Kraft dinner for your college kid? You can nudge them toward healthier (and hipper) options with this book that makes vegetables seem accessible, easy, and cool.

Your Celebrity Chef Fanatic Relative: You know the out-of-town relative who always asks if you’ve ever met Duff and the gang? Or if you’ve been to that Cupcake Wars-winning cupcakery in town? Get a head start on holiday gift shopping by nabbing a copy at the Book Festival and getting it signed by the authors.

The Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook is available at the Baltimore Book Festival and at your local bookstore.

Food For Thought Stage at the Baltimore Book Festival



catch of the day fish (2)Sure, we love books. We love reading. Really. But if you’ve ever pored over a gorgeously photographed and well-written cook book, you know that a great book about food can be just as page turning as a juicy novel. The folks behind this year’s book festival know that, and so they’ve invited a slew of amazing chefs from around the country to discuss their books, their recipes, and even to give cooking demonstrations. It’s all happening at the Food for Thought Stage, which is certainly where we’ll be planted all weekend.

Breathe Bookstore & Cafe is Open to New Owners – Time to Make Your Dream Come True


If you live a holistic and Ayurvedic lifestyle, or just appreciate good food, good karma and good company, you have been to Breathe Bookstore and Cafe in Hampden.  Twice this week I have been spotted sitting on the large wrap around porch among the beautiful trees, enjoying a gentle breeze and a light rain while listening to the song of the wind chimes over a cup of ginger tea.  I love this place and the people inside it, and was a little saddened to hear the news that Owner Susan WeisBohlen is moving on to the next stage in her journey, and looking to pass the torch to new owners.  The following message from Susan went out today in the Breathe Books e-newsletter:

When one door opens, well, another one opens.

Breathe bookstore café’s door is open to new owners…

Larry and I recently moved to a beautiful home in Reisterstown, in part, because the previous owners had a cooking school there and built a beautiful state-of-the-art teaching kitchen — my dream kitchen! My jaw literally dropped when we walked in. Larry knew it had to be our house. And so it is. 


And I knew I would be expanding my business to our home, but what I didn’tknow was that I would want to concentrate ALL of my business there. 


It’s become crystal clear to me that to be true to my heart and soul, I want to spend more time teaching and offering consultations and less time running a café. My thoughts when opening the café were to add a little boost to the bookstore business. The demand for our amazing food has been great, and my vision of a bookstore with some café items became a café with some books. 

(Naively I thought I would be able to cook for the café! But running both bookstore, café, events, etc. has left me little time to be in the kitchen.) 

To operate at the creative and efficient level I am used to and to best serve the community I want to be fully present with my Ayurvedic clients, lead workshops, organize events, teach cooking and meditation, and lecture around the region. 

So breathe bookstore café is for sale. My lease can be taken over at any time. If you have a dream to run a vegetarian café or want to create your own concept, let me know. We have a brand new kitchen with the top equipment, a fabulous historic house (two floors and a carriage house) and great karma! Everything is negotiable. And my staff would LOVE to continue working here!


I am sad to no longer run this business in Hampden, and I’m sorry about thedisruption to our community, but I know it is the right decision. We’ll make the transition as smooth as possible. Our classes go on as usual until we move. I will keep you up-to-date. 


I thank you for your 10 years of support. It’s been an incredible ride! I can’t wait to see new adventures unfold. I hope you can come along with me! I look forward to serving you in another capacity and another place soon. 


In the meantime we are currently selling our inventory at a 20% discount (not including food items, Ayurvedic products or used books). Please come in to pick up some special things before they are gone!







            With love and deep gratitude, 






Lunch with Ina


I love having parties. It’s so much fun to get people together to share great food and drink. It doesn’t have to be fancy. For me, it’s about the people, not just what’s on the plate. Whether it’s a barbeque, dinner party or holiday soiree, I’m in. So, years ago when I saw Ina Garten’s book, Parties, I snatched it right up.

In the cookbook, she describes a terrible party she gave early on – a sort of cautionary tale of what not to do. She tried to do too much and everything just fell apart. Not many people would put their mistakes out there for the world to see, so naturally I liked her right away.

She gives great advice for folks who might be new to cooking or intimidated by entertaining. For example, she recommends buying some simple hors d’ouvres like tapenade, pate, cheeses, nuts, olives, etc. Don’t make things that are too complicated and prepare as much as you can ahead of time. You should be with your guests having fun, not working in the kitchen while they’re noshing. After cooking from the Parties book, I began buying the rest of her cookbooks over the next few years. 

Then, something really fun happened.

My best friend of 30 years is an architect in Paris and she often works with American clients who have homes there. She told me she was designing an apartment for Ina and her husband Jeffrey. I must admit, I was thrilled. Like, silly giddy, actually. When she came home for the holidays, she took my Parties book back to Paris and had Ina sign it for me. Oh, how I love my bestie. 

Fast forward a few years: I took an amazing trip to London and Paris for my 40th birthday – the trip of a lifetime for sure. Before I left London for Paris, my friend called to say that Ina was going to be there at the same time as me and that we might have lunch with her. Deep breaths. This is sort of like one of my five brothers grabbing a beer with one of theRavens…seriously. After my friend set up lunch, I’m sure she was hoping to God that I didn’t flip out and completely mortify her. I had to be on my best behavior.

As I walked with my best friend, in my favorite city, about to meet someone I admire immensely…I felt so, so lucky. How did I get here? What would we have in common? What could we talk about? Would she be as nice as she seems on television? Would it be awkward or fun or what?

It was perfect. Ina is incredibly warm, funny, engaging and full of life. We talked about food, music, travel, wine, flowers, parties, Paris, etc. I told her that I was really getting into cooking at 40 and that she’d been very, very helpful to me. She seemed pleased and kind of touched, actually. I also had the pleasure of meeting her husband, Jeffrey. He’s quite friendly and genuine. As we sat in their lovely, yet simple, Paris living room, he asked about my work and life in Baltimore. Seriously nice people.

I have no idea what we ate at lunch, but remember that we had chilled red wine. Don’t you just love Paris…wine with lunch. Wish the US would embrace that concept. As we neared the end of our visit, I felt a little silly asking her to sign favorite of her cookbooks, the first one – The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook – but she was so nice about it. We chatted some more and said our goodbyes.

Best day ever. Ever.

To me, Ina makes everything she does look un-scary. You think, “I could do that.” And then you actually do. I made roast chicken for the first time after I saw on her show. Grilled a pizza on the grill for the first time after I saw it on her show. Bought my first Le Creuset dutch oven after I saw it on her show. Yes, I’m a nerd, but I know what I like. Of course, I do use other cookbooks, but I tend to look in my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks first. For the most part, her recipes are not super complicated, with very few ingredients you can’t find at an area grocery store. I like that.

Here are some of my favorite Ina recipes.

Perfect Roast Chicken
Cheddar Corn Chowder
Fresh Pea Soup
Bibb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
California Pizzas
Mac and Cheese
Outrageous Brownies
Coconut Cake

Being able to meet someone who’s inspired you and thank them for that, well…that’s something special.
Thank you, Ina.