Category Archives: Cookbooks

Lidia Bastianich An Inspiration and A Gala Guest

Lidia Bastianich Visits Vancouver – Honoured at Les Dames d’Escoffier Gala

If memory serves me right, Lidia Bastianich, the Italian-born American restaurateur, cookbook author and television host, last visited Vancouver in 2013 with her newest book at the time, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking. This is in fact, exactly how Bastianich presents herself, as a person with a lot of common sense, one who worked so very hard to get to where she is today, because, well, that’s just what one does.

lidia bastianich

Life did not begin simply for Bastianich, as a child her family escaped post-war Yugoslavia to Italy and eventually were granted passage to America under the displaced persons act when she was twelve.  She met her husband in 1966 and they opened their first restaurant in Queens in 1971, and a second there before selling both and moving on to Manhattan. From there the Bastianich empire grew and Lidia eventually took over after her husband and she divorced, and he passed his shares on to the two children they’d had. These children eventually became a key part of the Bastianich empire.

Television fame came to Lidia through the beloved Julia Child,  in 1993, when Child  invited her to tape and episode for Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs, which featured acclaimed chefs from around the U.S., preparing dishes in their own home kitchens. From their Bastianich went on to have her own show.

Bastianich’s has much success in the restaurant world, and she has managed to do it all; a mother, wife, restaurateur, TV Host and more, all in a world when men were usually, and are still, at the helm. The Vancouver chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, will honour her on September 23, 2016 at a Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel and we can’t wait to spend the evening among her and some of the other chefs and characters that are joining us to present this special evening.

Lidia Bastianich

Bastianich was asked during her last visit, “How did you get your children into the business?” and her answer shows that despite the fact she’d blazed a trail, she still didn’t want this difficult and challenging life for them.

“The children would come to the restaurant and eat. There was always unity. I always told them this is not what you want to do with your life. My son, Joe Bastianich, completed a Master of Business and daughter, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, a PhD in Art History and Joe went on to spend several years on Wall Street.
Every summer the kids came to Italy and they must have just naturally absorbed it, despite my warnings. One day Joe sat at the bar at Felidia (theie flagship restaurant) and told me he was quitting his job to spend time with with me at the restaurant. After a discussion, I gave in and we went to Italy for a year and worked in a variety of kitchens, absorbing the knowledge, and learning much along the way. Back in America, we opened our first restaurant together, and then we meet Mario Batali and I credit a lot of our success to his sense of business.”

Her daughter was a Professor at Syracuse in Italy and, after finishing her degree, moved back to the states to start a family and moved just two blocks away. After Tanya’s first child was born, Lidia asked her to do some of the research and now Tanya assists in production and has alleviated the workload. Tanya’s husband, a lawyer, is also involved.

Lidia’s advice? Know when you need to be Mother and Grandmother and know when you need to be a business women. Something that can’t be easy to draw the line at always, I am sure.

Lidia Bastianich will be in Vancouver for a variety of television appearances, a book signing at Gourmet Warehouse on September 22 and the Les Dames d”Escoffier Gala on September 23.

Les Dames D’Escoffier Present Una Bella Notte Con Lidia Bastianich
Gala Dinner with Chef/Owner/TV Personality Fundraises
For Les Dames d’Escoffier Scholarships

An unforgettable evening of Italian food, wine and song is in store for fans of Lidia Bastianich as the BC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier honours the Emmy award-winning TV personality, cookbook author and restaurateur. Sit down for a Gala dinner with Lidia on September 23, 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and support Les Dames d’Escoffier’s outreach and scholarship programs. Now, that’s amore!

Una Bella Notte con Lidia begins with a Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve reception and is followed by a multi-course dinner prepared by Vancouver’s leading chefs with exquisite wine pairings. The evening closes with an after lounge party. The witty and genial Fanny Kiefer raises a glass or two amidst the dinner party chatter as special guests share their favourite Lidia stories.

In conjunction with the participating luminary chefs, Les Dames member and Executive Chef Margaret Chisholm of Culinary Capers Catering has created the following menu for the magical evening of food and wine.

Lidia Bastianich

Les Dames D’Escoffier Gala Honours Lidia Bastianich


Lidia’s Octopus Salad on Potato
Frico, Moscato Poached Pear, Black Pepper Mascarpone
Gnocchi with Rosemary Brined Walnut, Roast Squash and Brown Butter
Margaret Chisholm, Culinary Capers Catering
Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve


Albacore Tuna Tonnato
JC Poirier, Ask for Luigi, Pizzeria Farina and Pourhouse
Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Grilled Sea Scallops, Cauliflower Salad and Green Herbs Coulis
Weimar Gomez, YEW seafood + bar, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
Tightrope Winery Riesling 2015

Cannelloni of Chocolate with Duck Confit
Pino Posteraro, Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
Tenuta Olim Bauda Rocchette Barbera D’Asti 2012

Mixed Mushroom Carnaroli Risotto
with Truffle, Parmesan, Cherry Reduction, Arugula Pesto
Les Dames alumni and Season 2 Chopped Canada champion, Alana Peckham,
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver/Alligga
Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2008

Lo Stock Farms Squab, Painted Mountain Corn Polenta, Lacinto Kale, Anise
Robert Belcham, Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma
Tommasi Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2014

Primo Bistecca Tagliata
Jean-Claude Douguet, Gotham Steakhouse & Bar
Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2013

Chocolate Almond Torte, Poached Pears, Pecan Wafers, Blackberry Ice Cream
Rhonda Viani, West
Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port

After Lounge

Artisanal Limoncello Cheesecake Gelato
James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria
Terra Serena Prosecco – D.O.C. Treviso and Gillespie’s Fine Spirits Lemoncello


Each guest receives a signed copy of Lidia’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine as a memento of the evening. All funds raised benefit the outreach and scholarship programs of the BC Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, including Project Chef and Growing Chefs. Seating is limited for this one special evening and once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet an iconic personality and fellow New York based Les Dames d’Escoffier member, Lidia Bastianich. Tickets are selling fast for this Italian inspired evening.

Les Dames d’Escoffier Gala
September 23, 2016
Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC  V6C 2V4
Reception: 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Dinner: 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm
After Lounge: 11:00 pm onwards

Cookbook – Butter Celebrates

Butter Celebrates – Rosie Daykin Shares her Fabulous Sweets

Butter Celebrates, is bakery owner Rosie Daykin’s second cookbook (Butter Baked Goods was released in 2013) and this time she is sharing a year of celebratory recipes. From Valentine’s Day to New Year’s and everything in between, Daykin has recipes for every festive occasion.

If you define celebrations as time with family and friends, full of laughter, love, witty toasts, good music, general chaos and delicious food, as Daykin does, you’ll love this book and the anecdotes that make both a great resource for baking,  and an entertaining read. Full of pretty pictures that inspired me to not only update my tableware, but also get back working on my journey in food photography, Butter Celebrates leads aspiring and advanced bakers through the seasons.

From Heart-Shaped Raspberry Pop Tarts for Valentines Day, Bunny Buns for Easter, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts at Halloween, you’ll likely want to bake many of these delicacies out of season.

There’s also a well written section on tips for entertaining, a list of necessities for baking and some ‘gentle reminders’, a list of tips to keep in mind when baking.

Butter Celebrates

For more on Rosie Daykin and Butter Celebrates, check out this interview on CBC’s North by Northwest with Sheryl Mackay.

We recently enjoyed these Brownies and I think they’ll be another batch on the go soon!

Butter Celebrateses

Irish Whiskey Brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup dark cocoa
2 1⁄2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
4 large eggs
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
MAKES:  16 bars

YOU WILL NEED:  1 (9- x 9-inch) baking pan, buttered and lined with parchment paper

STORAGE:  These brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. On a large piece of parchment paper, sift the flour and cocoa. Set aside.
3. In a double boiler, or a small heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt 2 cups of the chocolate chips and the but- ter, and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the whiskey (that’s fun to say!). Set aside.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and salt until very pale yellow.
5. With the mixer running on low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat again until well combined.
6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the remaining cup chocolate chips.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the brownies are firm to the touch.
8. Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Avocado Tools

Avocado tools that up your avocado game!

So you say you love avocados? As you well know so do I, but when it comes to presenting them perfectly, they can sometimes turn out a bit less appealing if you don’t wield your knife right. After all these fruits are delicate creatures. So, I thought I’d do a round up this week of some tools to help you with your Avocados From Mexico!

oxo 3 in 1 avocado tool

First up is this 3 in one Oxo Avocado Tool. Perfect slices of peeled avocado are just seconds away with this task-specific, three-part tool. Serrated plastic blade easily slices the skin, circular pitter scoops out the pit, and plastic blades create clean, uniform slices. $9.95 at Crate and Barrel.

avocado tool

Next up this lever avocado shaped saver from Evriholder really does keep a cut avocado fresher longer. It reduces surface exposure and slows the oxidation process and my avocado was usable without cutting off the top flesh 3 days later. $10.95 Amazon.


Thirdly you need a proper Molcajete to mash and serve your guacamole. $49.95 Crate and Barrel

frontera margaritas guacamoles and snacks

AND….the cookbook for guacamole lovers is Rick and Groen Bayless,Mexican cocktail and snack primer with recipes and tips for 35 variations on the margarita, along with modern mezcal versions and margaritas for every season, taste and budget — plus refreshing cocktails with fruit agua frescas. For cocktail bites, there’s a gourmet guacamole for every month of the year and recipes for nut and vegetable snacks! Now you’re set up for entertaining. $26.50 Crate & Barrel.

Enjoy you avocados responsibly and be sure to share.

Please note I am the Avocados from Mexico official Western Canadian Ambassador and I am compensated for my avocados and avocado news! But…you know I’d eat them regardless!


Cookbook – Grilling with House of Q

BBQ season is all year round in Vancouver, so pick up Grilling with House of Q and continue on grilling!

The secret to good barbecue is a the proper grilling temperature, some great meat and Brian Misko’s new book “Grilling With House of Q”. For good measure a set of his sauces and rubs doesn’t hurt either.

Misko is a competitive BBQ’er, and this book is geared for the home BBQ’er who is looking  to replicate those award winning flavours. It’s full of grilling tips, stores from his travels, and lots of amazingly simple recipes with endless flavour.

The book has everything from appetizers to vegetables and desserts, and is a step by step guide to getting more comfortable with your grill. While there’s lots of classics like ribs and burgers, there’s plenty of innovative dishes such as the Thai-style shrimp stuffed chicken breasts and cedar-planked brie too.  There’s also a section on brines, sauces and spreads, desserts and lots of great grilling and prepping tips along the way. Sit down with this one and have a good read before heating up that grill and making many of these memorable dishes.

Here’s one of our favs!

baconwrappedturkey8292 print cmyk (671x1024)


img 2387

The books….and ours….still looked pretty damn edible!

Bacon-wrapped Turkey Skewers

Start these turkey skewers early in the day so the meat has time to marinate before you grill it. Have ready some wooden or metal skewers, or look for more decorative, creative options such as sticks of rosemary.

Serves 4 to 6

2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon or savory, leaves only
1/4 to 1/3 cup House of Q Slow Smoke Gold BBQ Sauce or your favourite prepared mustard
1 to 2 lbs skinless, boneless turkey thighs, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 lb bacon, cut in thin slices

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the garlic, tarragon (or savory) and BBQ sauce (or mustard). Shake until well mixed, and then add the turkey cubes. Mix well to ensure the meat is well coated, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Cut the bacon in half widthwise, and arrange the slices on a clean work surface. Place a turkey cube at one end of each piece of bacon. Roll the bacon around the turkey, and thread 2 or 3 pieces of wrapped turkey on each skewer for a small portion, or 5 to 6 pieces for a larger portion. Before discarding the marinade, make sure each skewer is well coated with the mustard sauce.

Prepare your grill for direct cooking, low to medium heat. Brush or wipe the grates with oil, if necessary. Place the skewers on the grill, close the lid and cook until the bacon has rendered and crisped. Turn the skewers over a couple of times to cook them evenly and give the meat some colour. The turkey is done when the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, place the skewers on a platter, or plate them individually for your guests.

Brian Misko House of Q

About Brian Misko

BBQ Brian is as an award winning competition cook and now a cookbook author. At the 2014 World Food Championships his team placed first in the rib category as well as being awarded the 2014 Team of the Year by the Canadian BBQ Society. When he is not on the competition circuit, BBQ Brian can be seen providing grilling tips on television, giving demos at national and international trade shows, and developing new products for his House of Q line of BBQ sauces and rubs.

Whitewater Cooks with Passion

As an addict of cookbooks, and an owner of many, I was eager to get my hands on the newest Whitewater Cooks with Passion Cookbook, the fourth in the serious. This book is indeed filled with passionate recipes, and just flipping through the pages reignited my own cooking passion. I’ve whipped up many of the easy to follow and extremely tasty recipes.

Shelley Adams, the author, is the owner of Whitewater Ski Resort and the director of the Fresh Tracks Cafe in Nelson. She’s sharing the innovative recipes she’s become known for at the cafe, a collection of multicultural recipes that span from Indonesian Chicken to the all-Canadian Tourtiere with Homemade Ketchup.

From breakfast to dessert the book guides you with  recipes accompanied by gorgeous photos and serving suggestions. You could cook from this book year-round and your family would never have feasted better.

Be sure to try the Tuscan Beef Involtini with Pancetta and Pamigiano. The result was far tastier than the picture reflects!

Breakfast is easy with the Spanish Frittata. Mix up the veggies for endless combinations.

AND you’ll never want to cook with butter again once you’ve tried this olive oil cake! Well maybe not quite, but it’s certainly shows how moist olive oil is to bake with! I can’t wait to dive further into the book. Really need more nights at home!

Luscious Olive oil cake, marsala blood oranges, mascarpone cream

Luscious Olive Oil Cake

(Whitewater Cooks with Passion, 2014) Serves 8


2 cups all purpose flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cups whole milk
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tbsp orange zest
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup Grand Marnier or sherry


Preheat oven to 350F

Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray on sides and bottom and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a mixing bowl
Whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, orange juice and Grand Marnier in another bowl
Add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and skewer comes out clean when inserted
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes
Run a knife around the edge of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, remove pan and let cool completely for 2 hours.

Garnish with any type of edible flowers or kumquats and sliced oranges.



bitter cookbook

Jennifer McLagan will be at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks in the shop today. Author of Bones, Fat, Odd Bits, and now Bitter, Jennifer is someone we admire and look forward to welcoming back to the shop each time she comes. We always learn so much.

Before our sold out dinner tonight, Jennifer will host an apero in the shop in the traditional French fashion. One hour before dinner with a chat from Jennifer and a bitter drink to sip – made with her homemade Tonic Water.

Cost: $45, includes a copy of Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor and a refreshing beverage.

  •  – 
  • Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks 1740 West 2nd Ave Vancouver, BC

Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

It’s not too late to be that person that makes all of their Christmas gifts. You don’t need to channel Martha Stewart;  there’s many fairly low effort items that you can whip up in your kitchen and look like a superstar with something either savoury or sweet.

Thanks to the cookbook from Alison Walker, Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen, if you can follow some straightforward instructions and you know how to tie a bow, you can wrap up everything from Bourbon Peaches to mini Christmas Cakes and please all sorts of hungry people on your holiday gift list.

We recently made the Rosemary Grissini (page 127) and served it up with some Marinated Goat Cheese from her recipe on the opposite page.

Apricot am Homemade Gifts

Apricot Jam

Summer apricots made there way into a Apricot and Almond Jelly and we’ve got some pears marinating right now as we substituted them for the peaches in Walker’s Bourbon Peaches recipe.

Make cookies, marshmallows, or popcorn bark, there’s everything in here to show that special someone you really do care. Better yet, give them the book as well and maybe they’ll return the favour.

Check out this recipe for peanut brittle and you’ll have something sweet in very little time. Substitute hazelnuts from one of the great local Agassiz nut producers and make it full of locally sourced ingredients.

Peanut Brittle


PREPARATION: 15 minutes, plus cooling
COOKING: 20 minutes
MAKES: about 1 lb 6 oz

1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 2⁄3 cups salted roasted peanuts
scant 2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
scant 2⁄3 cup water

Whether you like to snap a sweet nutty piece onto ice cream or just
nibble on some when you feel the need, this brittle also makes a perfect foodie gift. Don’t feel wedded to peanuts, though; toasted almonds, macadamias, or pistachios are all admirable substitutes.

Liberally grease a cookie sheet or a marble slab measuring around
12 inches x 16 inches. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Sprinkle the nuts on to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven.
Put the butter, sugars, and corn syrup into a large deep pan along
with the water. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals.
When the sugar is completely dissolved, bring to a boil. Boil steadily
without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 300°F (the hard
crack stage). If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a teaspoon of the
mixture into a bowl of cold water and it should snap easily.
Quickly and thoroughly stir in the warmed nuts. Pour the mixture
onto the greased cookie sheet or slab and spread out thinly. Leave to
cool completely, then break into pieces. This brittle keeps for up to two weeks in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

Excerpted from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen.  Copyright © 2014 Alison Walker.  Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Cocktails & Conversation with Yotam Ottolenghi


As part of the Jewish Book Festival on Tuesday Oct 21 at 6:30pm Yotam Ottonlenghi will mix and mingle at a meet and greet that will certainly attract all of Vancouver’s true cooks and food lovers.
$150, includes a signed copy of his newest book, Plenty More, hors d’ oeuvres and beverages.
Space is extremely limited, contact Nicole Nozick to reserve your ticket 604 638-7278

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet Yotam Ottolenghi in a relaxed and social atmosphere while enjoying a variety of appetizers from his latest book. This intimate meet and greet immediately precedes the main event and will give you a chance to get to know a little more about the man behind the famous restaurants and books.

More here



Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands at Books to Cooks

food-artisansAuthor Don Genova will be at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks to celebrate the publication of his book, Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Don will be visiting from Vancouver Island to lead a salon discussion about the food artisans of these regions.

It’s also a celebration the anniversary of Don and his wife who were married in Books to Cook’s Yaletown shop. Another great pairing!

Cost: $35, includes a copy of Food Artisans of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and refreshments.

  • Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks (map)

Jennifer Schell Puts the Okanagan on the Culinary World Map

an okanagan cookbook cover shot copy 3First there was one award, then another, another, and yet another, bringing the trophy count now to an impressive five for Okanagan-based writer Jennifer Schell.

Schell grew up in the sunny Okanagan, a farm girl at heart, who’s equally comfortable dressing to the nines to check out the latest hot spot in dining. She’s traveled the world but has come home to her roots to promote the Valley she grew up in.

The result? The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook a celebration of the Okanagan Valleys farmers, artisans and chefs. The book is full of not only recipes, but the intimate stories of those behind them.

While Schell is already working on her next book, a similar work but this time focusing on the characters of Vancouver, The Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, this initial masterpiece continues to garner worldwide attention.

The awards?
• Gold Medal IPPY – Best Non-Fiction Western Canada Independent Publisher Award
• Winner – Gourmand World Cookbook Award – Best Local Cuisine Cookbook,
Canada and shortlisted for Best in the World at Gourmand World Cookbook Ceremony
on May 21, 2014 (fingers crossed).
• Winner – Best Cookbook – Paris Book Festival
• Winner – Best Cookbook – San Francisco Book Festival
• Honourable Mention – Green Book Festival


I am pleased to call Jennifer Schell not only just my editor (BC Food and Wine Trails Magazine) but also a friend. We are all looking forward to watching her unravel the culinary secrets on the next leg of her adventures. Congratulations pal!