Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cookbook Spotlight: Gale Gand's Brunch!


Sometimes, you just know when something's a good fit for you.

A style of jeans, a radio station, a restaurant...you realize 'this is it; what I've been waiting for'.

This can happen with people, as well.

When Cath & I first 'met', by way of Blog Party, I knew. And when I discovered her OCF (Obsessive-Compulsive Foodieness) during the first Brunch party, it was a done deal. I'd found my soul mate.
Friend, sister, cheer squad, sounding board...I'm lucky to get all that, because we both realized we 'fit'.

It can happen with chefs, too!

The first time I watched the now-defunct "Sweet Dreams" on television, I knew Gale Gand was a perfect fit for me, as well.

She looked like someone who actually ate the foods she made. She was sweet & funny & kind of dorky, which I can relate to.

And the food? Oh, yes, the food. All those pastries & candies. I was in love.

It wasn't until later that I learned about her restaurant, and her 'savory' side, if you will.

And I thought 'this just keeps getting better & better!'

Since then, I've bought & baked from her cookbooks. Loved everything I tried. She was still a good 'fit' for me.

So when Cath suggested we dust off Cookbook Spotlight with Gale's new cookbook, I was all for it.

I mean...it's a cookbook about brunch by Gale Gand. Falls under the heading of 'no brainer'.

And that was more or less the response I got from those I asked to join Cookbook Spotlight.

Deb was not the first one to lament the unreasonable task of choosing just one recipe to test.
But she managed to narrow down her options & baked up these beautiful Cranberry Angel-Food Muffins.
According to Deb, they were light, sweet & deceptively good. Perhaps the name should be changed to 'Devil's Food'!

Ashley had mixed results, despite trying out two recipes.
Admitting her preference for cooking versus baking, Ashley made both Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Muffins & Corn & Parmesan Fritters. The muffin tops were a hit, but the base not as much. The fritters, apparently, were 'OK', but she's not sold on them.

Erin scratched an item off her culinary to-do list as she baked up scones for the very first time.
With the help of her trusty Kitchenaid, she tried out the Ginger Scones with Peaches & Cream. Knowing her as I do, it was no great surprise to learn she loved them. Girl loves her ginger.

Judith didn't let Cookbook Spotlight falling in the middle of Passover stop her from making something tasty; turns out Gale included a very good recipe for Fried Motzah.
Despite insisting it's not the most photogenic dish, her Matzoh Brei looks good to me.

Abby was very excited to test this book; seems she's as big a fan as I am!
Going with the Basic Waffles, because how can that be wrong, she was very happy with the finished product.

barbie2be invited a few friends over, to help her try out the book. Selecting the Asparagus with Poached Eggs & Parmesan (as well as the Bacon Scallion Scones), it was declared a success, even by a nine year old! High praise, indeed.

Bellini Valli echoed a common response among those asked to join Cookbook Spoltight...overwhelming enthusiasm.
And like most of us, she struggled to pick just one recipe to make, finally settling on Spiced Apple-Raisin Turnovers. Let's just say...she's loving this book!

Melody was just one more enthusiastic tester, and I recognized those all-too familiar sticky tabs blooming a-top her copy.
Proving how easy it is to use, she was able to whip up these Caramelized Apple Crepes with ingredients she had on hand.
And yes, she really really loved them.

girlichef overcame obstacles of almost-comedic proportions to join in, but it all worked out in the end. And her reward? A steaming hot cup of White Hot Chocolate! Much better than devouring the book...

Natashya, like everyone else, wondered what one dish to make...but made an excellent choice in the Cucurumao; a baked egg dish. Yes, she loved it. And yes, she's hanging on to that book.

Someone smack me! How could I forget about my own book winner?

Pam couldn't help herself; she tried out three different recipes. And every one was good. Strawberry Lemonade, Frittata & Hand-Formed Pear & Almond Tartlets made for an excellent dinner! Hey, we do breakfast for dinner, why not brunch?

Ok...I couldn't do it. I couldn't make just one recipe. Because...see? It's me. Cath knows this!

So for Easter, I made Brunch!

I made too much food, as is customary in this house, but every single thing was a hit.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Turnovers

Crunchy, flaky outside, the peanut butter & jelly worked very well, & the thin glaze on top gave it enough sweetness to be a dessert without being overly so.

Cheddar, Pancetta & Spinach Frittata

Just enough prosciutto to make itself known without overwhelming the other flavors, & substantial without being heavy.

Ginger Scones

Mmmmm....Ginger. Scones.

Basic Waffles

Light & flavorful.

Goat Cheese & Chive Hash Browns

Excellent crunch, lots of flavor. The goat cheese is unexpected, but goes surprisingly well with the latkes.

So, my take on Brunch! It rocks. It's great. It's heavily sticky-tabbed. I'll use it again & again, because even here I had to limit myself to what I could make in a few hours.

Everything is easy to make, nothing too complex. It's a book anyone can use, and should. Wide range of recipes, so if you can't find something here to make, I'm afraid the fault lies with you.

Be sure to visit Cath to read about the other half of the Cookbook Spotlight reviews.

13 Thoughts for food:

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Cath said...

Outstanding hon! Can't wait to catch up soon so we can go brunch crazy again. Wanna meet me in Napa?

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Bellini Valli said...

I really enjoyed participating in this cookbook release. Since then I have also made the Tomato & Cheese Galette which was also a huge hit:D

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Pam said...

My review didn't make it on the list, so here's the link to my post. I, too, had a hard time choosing one recipe, so I didn't. I made three! :)

At 6:51 PM, Blogger barbie2be said...

thanks for asking me to join in, stephanie. i am still drooling over the recipes in the book.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Natashya said...

I loved being a part of this, so much fun!
Now, I think I will have brunch for dinner...

At 8:32 PM, Blogger Debinhawaii said...

Thank you again for the Brunch! invitation. I have a feeling I will be going back to this book again and again!

At 11:54 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Cath...why do you torment me so??? You know how badly I'd love to!

Yes, we'll have to find some time to meet up...I still haven't seen the little one.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

BV; so glad you had fun! It's a book that keeps giving...so many yummy recipes. Thanks again for being a part of this.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Pam...my bad! All fixed now.

Yeah...that was tough, one dish??? Thanks for testing with us!

At 11:56 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Barbie...thank you for joining in!

(I recommend laminating the book...)

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Natashya...so glad you could be a part!

Hey, brunch for dinner is always a good idea.

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Deb, you are so welcome! Glad you could be with us...and I promise I'll be back for Soup one of these days...

At 8:46 AM, Blogger breadchick said...


Thanks so much for being the "other half" of the Cookbook Spotlight and for asking me to participate. I can't wait to visit everyone's blogs to check out the wonderful looking brunch.

I so wanted to do the peanut butter and jelly turnovers so I was glad to see how yummy they turned out. I'm definitely getting some puff pastry this weekend.


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