Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fun and Interesting Farmers' Market Finds & August's LOL Food Blogger Posts

Many of you are probably familiar with some of these. But for me, there have been so many fun discoveries over these past weeks. Here are some of my more unusual finds:

Orange Turkish Eggplants - colorful, little and striped. What's not to love?
Sour Mexican Gherkins - slightly larger than a grape
with a sour spicy flavor.
Graffiti Cauliflower - yellow and purple funky!
Avocado Squash - smooth creamy flavor.
Cranberry Beans - The shells were so pretty,
I felt guilty throwing them away.
Baby White Eggplants - So cute!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fund for Jennie: Update! Media Coaching Session Package Auction Extended

UPDATE! I have had no bidder as of yet but this post sure gets A LOT of traffic. So if you are interested please email me with your bids at:


Bidding starts at $150.00.

Once more, here are the details below:

Bloggers Without Borders has created #AFundForJennie as well as put an online auction to raise money for Jennifer and her daughters. Here is the list of the current items up for auction. There is a wide range of products and services offered as well as some lovely handmade items.

Being an Emmy nominated television producer with over 20 years in the television business, one area of my expertise is training, coaching and branding talent. I have worked with a lot of household names including many top networks and production companies in the USA and Europe. I specialize in talk, news, entertainment and reality programming.

As part of the Fund for Jennie, I am auctioning off a media training session for those of you interested in either making videos for your blog or those who have already created some but would like some professional guidance. This session would focus solely on performance. If you do not reside in the NYC area, no problem. I often coach by Skype.

Many bloggers have done an incredible job with their food blogs with design, branding and recipe but many have no confidence to make the leap to video. I can't promise you I will turn you into a household name but I can definitely help you polish up your act, make you more comfortable and set you in a more professional direction. Although the coaching is focused on camera performance, it can also help you with live demos and presentations. If you have a book coming out and are soon facing a press tour, this could help prepare you.

The coaching package includes:

-Analysis of existing videos (I ask for what you think is your best video and your worst)
-Branding consultation - Developing your unique on air presence
-Script writing and preparation
-Voice and body language coaching
-Styling tips

If you do not have a video, you can make a rough one for the purpose of the coaching. I will work with you to break it down step by step both beforehand and after. I specialize in addressing fears and handholding so if your fear has been holding you back, now may be a good time to do this.

At the end of the coaching (between 2 and 3 sessions) I will provide a written recap.

If you do not want to participate in the auction, please think of donating whatever you can to #AFundForJennie by clicking on the badge below:

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lavender Macarons with Orchid Buttercream

This little bottle of orchid liqueur was picked up in Assisi, Italy several years ago and has been sitting in the back of the liquor cabinet patiently waiting it's turn. Before leaving Germany, I was on a bit of a macaron making tear making several batches flavored with my stash of unusual liqueurs that soon would be left behind. I picked these to post for this month's Kick it Up! Mactweets challenge

Those bubbly and fun ladies Jamie & Deeba concocted a challenge of adding an alcoholic flavor injection to a french macaron. For those of you who are not familiar with Mactweets, head on over and check out the amazing macarons from many talented participants. Every month the ladies present a creative and fun challenge. Anyone, whether experienced macaron maker or someone like me who never made one before I participated in my first challenge can bake along inventing their own version. At the end of the month Mactweets posts a round up of everyones creations.

Assisi is a magical place. Unfortunately the travel pictures that would illustrate this post are back in Germany, but most people know of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. However, most don't know about St. Francis' homegirl, St. Clare who became the patron saint of TV.  

TV, Animals and Italian food. Assisi is my kind of place.

One of the most interesting sites we visited was the tomb of St. Francis. It's in a beautiful medieval crypt and people from around the world visit to pray for their sick or dead animals. The energy collected there from all the devoted animal lovers is just spectacular.

We also visited the monastery where St. Clare supposedly had her visions. I heard somewhere her name is where the word "Clairvoyant" comes from. In the late 50's the then Pope decided that television would be an important medium in the future so he named St. Clare it's patron saint. I was actually visiting Assisi with a friend who is also famous TV psychic (and a big animal lover.) We both got a kick out of the whole clairvoyant thing.

Anywho, back to these macarons. Last December I bought a bag of organic lavender to bake with at a Christmas market in Hamburg.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

United Nations Medical Service Low Fat and Non Fat Cupcakes

These were a special order from my husband last week for his colleagues at his new job. What better way to ingratiate yourself than with cupcakes? Smart guy.

To save face with the medical department, he requested something "healthy". This was a great opportunity to try out some low and non fat cupcakes recipes, not something I make (ever) often.

The UN medical cookies I made for Dr. B's birthday were such a hit I decorated these with the same fondant decorations. Also, since I made four flavors of cupcakes, each design signified a different flavor.

Bandaids = Low Fat Vanilla
Red Crosses = Low Fat Red Velvet
Stethoscopes = Low Fat Lemon
Non-Pareils = Non Fat Chocolate

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Performance Media Training for Fund for Jennie Auction

Most everyone in the food blogging world knows about what happened to Jennifer Perillo by now. The a pie for Mikey movement gathered incredible momentum, turning into a tsunami of support by an amazing and caring community.

In addition to the overwhelming task of picking up the pieces of her life after the loss of her husband, I understand Jennifer is facing some tough financial times. Bloggers Without Borders has created #AFundForJennie as well as put an online auction to raise money for Jennifer and her daughters. Here is the list of the current items up for auction. There is a wide range of products and services offered as well as some lovely handmade items.

Most of you know me as that crazy beeyatch in the kitchen who has serious flavor boundary issues. Some of you maybe even think I wear dirndls every day. The truth is I have spent most of my life as a working TV professional in both the USA and Germany. As an Emmy nominated television producer, another area of my expertise is training, coaching and branding talent. I have worked with a lot of household names. I won't list them here because it would sound like bragging, but I have worked for many top networks and production companies in the USA and Europe specializing in talk, news, entertainment and reality programming.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Cucumber Salsa

Stalking the farmers markets almost daily has become part of my new routine these past weeks. I've made no secret of my heirloom tomato obsession.

Late to the heirloom tomato party, mostly because I had no access to them in Germany, I plan to enjoy them until the last day of the season. A few days ago I managed to avert my eyes from these dazzling beauties to find something I never heard of, lemon cucumbers.

Although these cucumbers resemble lemons in shape and color, they don't taste anything like them but are delicious nonetheless. When we had guests over last week I combined them with some of the 1,000 heirloom tomatos I have in captivity to make a lovely summer salad.

Turning the leftovers into salsa and serving them with whole grain tortilla chips was a no brainer. Fresh, colorful and delicious, this salsa was a nice change from the traditional recipe. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bamboo Pasta with Sweet Almond Pesto

One of the items I could not bear to leave behind in my pantry in Germany was this organic bamboo pasta. It was just sitting there. After being overlooked and ignored for several weeks, it was practically screaming "Pack me!" So last minute, I threw it in one of my suitcases.

The pasta is made with bamboo powder and had been a surprise discovery in the organic section of a local store. I was intrigued and bought two bags immediately. 

One of the reasons it was one of the last items standing in my pantry was because I kept changing my mind on what to make with it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lavender Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

This is the last of the ice cream flavors I made before leaving Germany. In the days leading up to my departure I found myself making batch after batch of ice cream and macarons.

A bag of lavender and a half jar of Nutella were sitting next to each other in the pantry so the flavor kind of suggested itself.

This flavor combination probably is not for everyone but I really liked the way the rich Nutella played off the flowery perfume of the lavender. Because of the strong flavors, a small portion goes a long way.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A peanut Butter Pie of Grateful and Sad

This past weekend wave after wave of other bloggers tributes to Jennifer Perillo's husband, Mikey flooded my google reader, many of them from bloggers I greatly admire. I read them all and marveled at the outpouring of love and support for the devastating loss of this talented and much beloved food blogger. The reaction grew and grew. CNN, Food Network and Tastespotting all joined in to spread the love.

After losing her husband Mikey to a heart attack, Jennifer asked bloggers to make his favorite dessert, a peanut butter pie. She asked that it be shared with people you love to celebrate life.

I did not know Jennifer other than occasionally visiting her lovely blog. So while I was deeply affected by reading her heartbreaking story, I was a little shy about jumping on the peanut butter pie train. Here it is three days late because it took me awhile to understand why I had to make it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Whole Wheat Parmesan Crust

The main focus of this blog is obviously baking, but the truth is I love to cook almost as much as I love to bake and frequently whip up elaborate dinners, even if they are just for me. Now that I have my husband back full time, I will share some of these recipes more often in the future. Let's start with a tart.

Since arriving in NYC I have not been able to stay away from the Farmers markets. There are numerous varieties of fruits and vegetables not seen in Germany.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strawberry Milk Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here is the third and final ice cream recipe in my Banana Macsplits from the last Mactweet's Challenge

Following the traditional strawberry, vanilla, chocolate ice cream flavors, this is my take on strawberry. To be honest I've been a bit obsessed lately experimenting with strawberry milk powder. The one we get in Germany is, I believe, a bit healthier than what's available in the USA. It's sweetened mostly with fruit sugar.

This ice cream tasted exactly like strawberry milk. It was sweet and light and the bittersweet chocolate chips added just the right balance to the overall flavor.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Funfetti Macarons at Frosting for the Cause

Once again I am honored to pinch hit for Frosting for the Cause. If you are not familiar with this amazing cancer awareness project created by the wonderful Paula at Vanilla Bean Baker, every day a different baker/blogger shares their story of how their lives have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer. All participants submit their post with a recipe and donate $25 to a women's cancer research organization of their choosing. The bakers also donate their baked goods to a local hospice, hospital or organization.

Frosting for the Cause

The official day for my post was August 1st (thanks to everyone who followed me over there) but sometimes not all the bakers are able to honor their commitment on time so some of have volunteered to submit an extra recipe so Paula can keep to her schedule. Please check out my post featuring these Funfetti French Macarons and to learn more about this great project. 

Head over there now to show some love for the cause!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen Germany, Streuseltaler and Choice Jet Lag Treats

So here it is. Off to the next chapter of our lives. Off to a helluva town, to bite the big apple in the city that never sleeps. We're trading in the cow neighbors for human ones. Lots of them. As Dr. B has accepted a new position at the United Nations headquarters, my next post will be from NYC.

I am thrilled he is finally getting out of Iraq but have mixed feelings about leaving Germany. It's been exhilarating, inspiring, educational and so darn fun living in Europe these past ten years and it will always be my home. My passport reassures me of that with it's permanent residency sticker. Going back to NYC, a place I've loved and lived in already for many years (12!) is like donning a pair of familiar, comfortable, yet fabulously stylish shoes.

But this time it will be different. I lived there as a single woman and am returning as a married one. To experience what New York City has to offer all over again with Dr. B by my side will be yet another exciting adventure.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pink Raspberry Rose Affirmation Cookies for Frosting for the Cause

Want to know the secret messages inside these pink sparkly beauties?

Hop on over to Frosting for the Cause 'cause I'm baking a difference today!

Frosting for the Cause