Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tired brain

Sheena and I had a photoshoot this last Friday and I just had to share a few. I feel like with each photoshoot, Sheena is pulling out the stops more and more.

Beautiful, right?

Cookbook recipe development is starting to wrap up. Over 100 recipes, from my tired brain. Even after coming up with all these recipes, I still have a running list of recipes for the next book. I just can't stop thinking of new ideas. Like the perfect lemon bundt cake and a spicy potato salad. Writing recipes has become the perfect outlet for me. I don't think I will ever stop developing new ideas. But one thing i have learned while doing this first book is that I won't write the book and photograph it at the same time. It has been quite stressful at times. But I knew this first book would be a learning experience and thank heavens for it!

I hope you are enjoying your Thanksgiving preparations and it is more enjoyable than stressful. Me? I am in charge of the relish tray and an apple pie. The apple pie is actually in my book. Wanna a sneak peak?

Hello gorgeous!

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to roast red peppers

Yes, the jar is more convenient, but what if you have a grip of red peppers that are on the verge of turning? Here is how you can make good use of them.

Set your broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut each red pepper in half lengthwise and remove the core, seeds and ribs. Set the red pepper halves cut side down on the baking sheet.

Broil pepper for about 10 minuets, until they are blackened. Remove pan from the oven and immediately place peppers in an air-tight container, like a plastic bag, seal tightly and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Remove peppers from the container and once cool enough to handle, with your hands, peel the skins off and discard. 

Now you have so delicious, smoky roasted red peppers! Use them in all sorts of great stuff. Paninis, pasta, pizzas, popcorn!

Okay fine, just kidding, not popcorn.

What else could you use them in? "The Family Flavor" will have two recipes that use roasted red peppers. Creamy vegetable turnovers with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and spinach and grilled flat bread with goat cheese, roasted red peppers and fennel. Good stuff people, good stuff.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Posts have been scarce around these parts. And for good reason. Recipe development has been going full speed. The recipe development countdown has begun- 25 left to go. An end is in sight!

Today we photographed cupcakes. Coconut cupcakes with mango buttercream. And yes, they taste as good as they look.

Friday, August 12, 2011


For some reason, it is assumed that men have a thing for meat, especially grilled meat. If you happen to be attached to one of those type of men, I have been working on the perfect grilled meat for you to surprise him with. Succulent, tender-as-can-be ribs. And approachable enough for any female unfamiliar with the grill.

photos by Sheena Jibson

And even simple-to-make homemade barbecue sauce. This recipe is going to make your man so happy.

When will this recipe be ready for your kitchen and eating pleasure? The hope is to have "The Family Flavor: Practical Recipes for the Simple and Delicious" to be done and ready to send to my project manager by mid-November. From there, we go through editing, layout and design. So maybe another month or two after that. If you want a job done right, you take the right amount of time. In complete honesty, I am ready to see a finished product. I know the day I get my first copy of my book in the mail, I will cry like a big baby.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late-night recipe love

It isn't often that I stay up until 1am to work on recipes, but I did tonight.

Crispy Polenta with Sausage and Fresh Tomato Ragu
Orange and Herb Marinated Tri-Tip Steak
Ham and Cheese Frittata

Couldn't get more diverse than that, eh?

Writing these recipes comes with chopping, weighing, measuring, tasting, smelling, stirring and CLEANING.

Gosh, I sure love food. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anything for the shot

Sheena, on my table, 
taking pictures of my food. 
Not an unusual sight. 

Thoughts currently swirling around my head:

Creative idea for a new rice crispie treat recipe.

Another recipe idea for a bake. 
I say bake because the word "casserole" makes me think of 
cream of something soup slippy sliding out of a can. Eww. 

What television show I am supposed to get hooked on
now that I finished "Friday Night Lights".

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mid-photoshoot food prep

Hey there, I just thought I would pop in and say hello. At the moment, I am prepping for my weekly cookbook photoshoot. 4 salads today. One is a fruit salad with favorite summer fruits and all of it is drizzled with a sweet lime syrup. Another one is a quinoa and white bean salad. It is full of fresh herbs, spring vegetables and a delicious vinaigrette. Third is a whole-meal salad, the best kind of salad. Chicken, tortellini, vegetables and pesto. Delicious! The last one to have it's photo debut today is the best pasta salad in the whole wide world. Vegetables, pasta and all of it is doused in a perfect red wine vinaigrette. I am so anxious to share these recipes with people.

At the moment, my two little boys have made a fort in the front yard with a tarp and blankets and patio chairs. I think I might go peek in.

I hope you are enjoying your summer day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie SUCCESS!

Me and trusty cookbook notebook. Scribbled, stained, torn and filled. 

I think I did it! The perfect chocolate chip cookie! Well, at least MY perfect chocolate chip cookie. Chewy on the outside, soft in the middle, big fat pieces of melty chocolate, not too sweet and ever-so-slightly salty. 1 month, lots of research, 5 attempts. Now it goes out for testing. Please bless it works for others as well as it worked for me!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Research, research, research.

Research about food properties and what ingredients will do when they are combined and exposed to heat. Heat that might be low or high. Heat that might be from an oven or a stove or a grill.

Research about natural sugar content, fat content and moisture content. Research about how those work with different types of heat.

Research about creative, complimentary flavors. Research about preparations methods and techniques. Research about traditional preparations and innovative preparations.

Research about ingredients. Everything from apples to shrimp to butter to ground beef to semisweet chocolate to mustard.

Among the research comes realization. Realization that I know so little. I have so much to learn. Every recipe is teaching me more and more about food. Things like the fact that if you simmer pomegranate juice with even the tiniest bit of olive oil, that pomegranate juice is going to explode like fireworks on the Fourth of July. That was a fun kitchen clean up.

I love food. That is no secret. But what really lures me in is that I will never know everything. I will always be able to learn something new. And that is what makes food and cooking so addicting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A great foodie quote for your Sunday (and hopefully it is as sunny as mine)

"I look at the carts at the supermarket laden with frozen dinners and other quickie food that need only to be heated in the sterile microwave. I often feel sorry for the people who are missing out on the endlessly rewarding experience of cooking, even if it is just for oneself."

-Judith Jones, "The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Carrot Cake FAIL!

What is the latest on The Book? Oh, just that apparently I can't properly handle a carrot cake.

Sure, the picture is pretty. But notice the middle has some how collapsed. Then we have the frosting slippy sliding off the sides of the cake. So this one is a reshoot. I guess we can't get them all right on the first try. But I will say this cake was a delicious mistake. Sweet, moist cake with dots of plump raisins and crunchy walnuts. Paired with a creamy, sweet cream cheese frosting, it was perfection. Especially when I just went at the whole thing with a fork the next morning for breakfast.

Currently, I am in a bit of slump with recipe development. Gosh darn kids, they make recipe development hard. I have three young children. Jack is 6, Van almost 3 and Violet is 1. I have to be able to completely concentrate when I am working on recipes, but those three little delights make that hard sometimes.

When Sheena and I have our weekly photoshoot, we have 5 kids between the 2 of us. It can get a little crazy. But sometimes, they behave. See, look:

Little Lucy and Violet. Little girls gotta stick together.

Friday, April 22, 2011

34 and rolling right along

 The other night, I counted how many recipes I have done. Done as in developed, tested, edited and written. 34! That is about a 1/3. The goal is 100 recipes, which can feel overwhelming. But seeing 34 done is inspiring! 

What recipes am I doing? What can you expect? You can expect some of my old favorites from my blog and a ton of new ones. And yes, I have taken those ones down from the blog. I know, rude rude. But after going through them, I saw that they have a lot of errors and room for improvement. So your favorites will be back with improved writing and a MUCH better picture. And yes, we can go ahead and talk about my lack of quality pictures on Rookie Cookie. But hey, I can only do so much with my little pink Sony Cybershot. 

The cookbook pictures are EONS better than the ones on my old blog. Sheena and I meet once a week to shoot a few recipes and each week, we are turning out some beautiful photos. For example, here are a few quick shots of my hands rolling up an egg roll during our most recent photoshoot.

Pretty, eh? And before I tossed some mushrooms in a pan for a dish, I told Sheena we needed a picture of them. I am not a mushroom fan, but I can appreciate their flavor and pretty colors and textures. Who would have thought the simplicity of a mushroom could be so beautiful?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You didn't think I couldn't stop developing recipes forever, did you?

I am excited to introduce you to my new project in the works. I am currently up to my elbows in writing my first cookbook, "The Family Flavor: Practical Recipes for the Simple and Delicious", hopefully due out at the end of 2011.

The goal of this cookbook is to get you and yours enjoying a meal around the table together, while using accessible, diverse recipes. You will find dishes that everyone can be pleased with, even the vegetarians in your life.

Each recipe is being double tested by people just like you. Mom's with children at their knee while they cook. Women with 9 to 5 jobs and don't have all day to prep a meal. Family's that want to gather around the table for a slow Sunday meal. Using "real people" to test my recipes gives the recipes the true test of real life.

Another great part about this cookbook is the photography. I have been collaborating with the ever-talented and creative Sheena Jibson. The photographs are vibrant, beautiful and real. There are no studio lights or pretend props. The photos depict what you will see on your own table.

Follow along as this beautiful cookbook progresses.