Tag Archives: cookbooks

My favorite “fancy”, crowd-pleasing cracker spread

Now at the outset, I need to credit my mother with this recipe because it is just absolutely divine. Anytime we would have guests over, she would whip up a quick batch of pesto and create a “wow”-worthy dip with another ingredient always in our kitchen: goat cheese logs.

Most days, I don’t have the time to whip up pesto, so I just grab a small container at the grocery store around the corner. But if you have time, make your own pesto for an even better version of this delicious spread.


  • 1 batch pesto (see below for pesto recipe)
  • 1 log of your favorite plain goat cheese, at cool room temperature
  • basil leaf, for garnish
  • favorite crackers

Press goat cheese into bottom of serving dish to make a thin layer. Spread pesto over goat cheese, completely covering the cheese. Add basil leaf in center of pesto as a garnish. Serve. Receive lots of compliments and silently thank my mother for giving you the easiest appetizer recipe ever. Enjoy!

Annie’s Mom’s Famous Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup walnuts (my mom uses whole walnuts)
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 freshly grated romano cheese

Process first 3 ingredients together until moderately chopped. Add Olive Oil in drizzle while processing, then add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until use, although I recommend using immediately.

adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook



Filed under cooking, eating, snacks

My Cookbook Wishlist

I love cookbooks. There’s nothing like opening one and having inspiration and creativity wash over you when you’re trying to come up with new ideas for your family’s table. I am fortunate enough to have amassed a very extensive cookbook collection. So extensive that I can’t keep most of the cookbooks in my apartment because I don’t have enough room. Most of the cookbooks that I have were my grandmothers, so I love pouring over them finding little notes about a particular dish. It’s as if she is reaching out to me with these notes to let me know that she is in the kitchen with me.

Despite the volume of resources in front of me, I can’t help but want for more cookbooks. Each one a source of that magical power that puts the chef in the kitchen with me. Here are the books I am currently craving:
Macarons by Annie Rigg (I found this book last night at a One-Year Anniversary Party for the Anthropologie on State St in Chicago – so fun, but that’s another story. I was totally inspired by the flavor combinations and the artful presentation of the macarons.)
The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (As an avid reader of the New York Times – I read it almost religiously – I have had my eye on this book since I found out last summer that it was being published. It came out in October of 2010, but Santa didn’t hear my pleas this year, so it made the list.)
Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis (Another Anthro find – I love their book selections – and after flipping through a couple pages, I couldn’t wait to read more. I love hearing the memories associated with particular recipes. It makes the dish so much more special.)
Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan (Dorie makes great French recipes so accessible to the average reader and also encourages improvisation with the recipes themselves based on what is currently in your pantry/refrigerator.)
Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours  by Sarabeth Levine (Breads and Pastries? Yes please!)
Tartine by Elisabeth Pruiett and Chad Robertson (The famous bakery in San Francisco compiled some of their customers and their own favorite recipes complete with gorgeous photos.)
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson (The more grown-up sister of the above book, Tartine is solely about bread. While I would initially be reading this book more for inspiration, I hope that one day my skills are up to snuff where I can make loaves as pretty as they do.)
The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (The first cookbook I ever loved was Fanny at Chez Panisse. The Art of Simple Food is a must have for any kitchen – hence why it made the list.)

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