Posts from January 2021

Book Distancing Number 1, Friday Twofer Giveaway, Treats Truck Baking and Eat It Up No Fridge Waste Cookbook

Book Distancing Number 1, Friday Giveaway, 

Each Giveaway will a Twofer, today. book cleaning before Spring.

Eat It Up! no fridge waste cookbook (Da Capo Lifelong, 2016) by Sherri Brooks Vinton 

Eat it up

Treats Truck Baking Book ! (William Morrow, 2011) by Kim Ima

Treats truck baking

Answer 2 questions, and you win, first come first serve 

-Question 1: What can you do with carrots greens?

-Question 2: On brownie sheet, do you prefer corner, center or side?

First come first serve.

E-mail your answers to: [at] mediterraneanworkandplay [dot] com

Book Distancing, 2 Book Giveaway Each Friday, Starting Tomorrow Friday, January 22, Mostly Cookbooks

I will be practicing book distancing with 2 Book Giveaway each Friday until I run out of giveaways.

It will start tomorrow Friday, January 22.


A 2 question quiz will determine each weekly 2 Book winner.

Mary Kondo did not ask me to do it.

Who is It For? What is the Occasion? When? Budget? 4 Questions I Ask Before I Order Flowers...Add Color

Who is it For? What is the occasion? When? Budget?

The 4 questions I ask before I get flowers for my New Jersey Concierges clients.

Over the years, I have ordered and, in most cases, picked up and delivered many flower arrangements, mostly bouquets.

When you add a vase to the mix, it raises the price significantly, so I often skip the vase.

In a small number of cases, I had to place order with out of state florists which makes the process a bit more challenging.

For local clients, I tend to rely on the same florist. 

Bouquets march 2020

Bringing a shop repeat business allows me to get orders filled on short notice and guarantees quality.

Color scheme is an element I add to the 4 main ones. It can add cheer to someone's day. 

Keeping some variety of color keeps repetition at bay.

Flowers of Happiness for Concierge Mondays # 3

Chicken-Dos, No Weaves, V Comb to Buttercup, From Upcoming 'Chickenology' via Princeton Architectural Press

Chicken-Dos, no weaves, V Comb to Buttercup, from upcoming Chickenology (Princeton Architectural Press, February 2021) by Barbara Sandri, Francesco Giubbilini, Camilla Pintonato

Chicken-do princeton architectural press

(* Image above from upcoming 'Chickenology' courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press)

Low Tech Brew, Great Coffee Taste, You Can't Rush Taste, My Pick, Chemex Glass Coffee Maker

After my last coffee maker died, I was planning to buy a new, better, fancier one, I had somehow settled on the Brewsly 15 Bar (at just under $200).

Since it would take a week to 10 days for it to be delivered, I hit pause on my buy and decided to give the Chemex (6 Cups) Glass Coffee Maker a chance (around $45).

It was in stock at my local Williams Sonoma so I placed the order and picked it up a couple hours later.

Chemex 6 cups

After my first brew and sip, I was sold and decided to forgo getting a new machine.

It does take a bit more time, call it slow coffee if you wish, as you have to boil the water and pour it a couple ounces at a time.

You can't rush taste.

(* According to Chemex website, due to current high demand, it can take up to 2 weeks to receive your Coffee Maker if you order directly from them)

Take 5, Traditional or Eclectic Cheese Platters from A Field Guide to Cheese by Tristan Sicard

Take 5, Cheese Platters via A Field Guide to Cheese (Artisan Books, September 2020) by Tristan Sicard.


Traditional take 5 cheeses

Or Eclectic

Eclectic take 5 cheeses

(*Excerpted from A Field Guide to Cheese by Tristan Sicard -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Illustrations by Yannis Varoutsikos.)

Follow the Scent of Cranberry ­Ginger Upside ­Down Cakes from Baking at the 20th Century Cafe by Michelle Polzine

Follow the scent of these Cranberry ­Ginger Upside ­Down Cakes from Baking at the 20th Century Cafe 'Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake' (Artisan Books, October 2020) by San Francisco baker extraordinaire Michelle Polzine all the way to the kitchen.

Cranberry-­Ginger Upside-­Down Cakes

These cakes have a warming, homey quality that fits perfectly into the Christmas season. With lots of spice from fresh ginger, bitterness from blackstrap molasses, and brightness from tart cranberries, the cakes produce a smell while baking that will surely put you in the holiday spirit (even if you’re like me and can’t have a Christmas tree because your crazy cats will break all of your antique ornaments). Just the batter baked on its own—without its cranberry-­caramel topper—makes a damn fine cake, and it’s practically healthy with the good amount of iron from the molasses.

Be sure that all the cranberries have popped and deflated before you pour the batter over them; if they are not fully popped, the berries will lift from the bed of caramel, up and into the cake. Serve with Meyer Lemon Cream if you like.

Makes 8 to 12 individual cakes, depending on the ramekins you use

Cranberry Ginger Upside Down Cake from BAKING AT THE 20th CENTURY CAFE


For the Caramel

½ cup (99 grams) sugar

4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter

2 cups (210 grams) fresh cranberries

For the Cake

½ cup (99 grams) sugar

½ cup (118 milliliters) grapeseed or vegetable oil

¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons (222 milliliters) blackstrap molasses

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup (118 milliliters) boiling water

1 teaspoon baking soda

One 2½-­ounce (71-gram) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about ¼ cup)

1¼ cups (150 grams) all-­purpose flour

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter eight 8-­ounce (237-­milliliter) or twelve 6-­ounce (178-­milliliter) ramekins.

Make the caramel: Heat the sugar in a medium heavy-­bottomed saucepan over medium-­high heat. As the sugar begins to melt at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to pull the melted sugar into the center, then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is a deep reddish-­amber color. If at any point it looks grainy or clumpy, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter; the mixture will foam vigorously.

Divide the caramel among the ramekins, then top with the ­cranberries. Set the ramekins on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are popped and deflated. Remove from the oven and stab the cranberries with a fork to ensure that they’re fully popped. Return the ramekins to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let the ramekins and caramel cool completely before proceeding. (You can pop the ramekins into the fridge to speed the process, or even do this step a day ahead.)

Make the cake: In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, molasses, and honey. Combine the boiling water and baking soda in a measuring cup, then pour into the sugar mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the ginger. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cloves, and cinnamon, then add to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the egg until the batter is homogeneous.

Divide the batter among the ramekins. Bake until the cakes are puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack set over a baking sheet for 5 minutes, then run an offset spatula (with its tip pointed outward, so it doesn’t cut into the cake) around the edge of each cake, turn out onto the wire rack, and let cool completely. (Or, if you are making these cakes ahead, let cool completely in their ramekins—do not turn them out—and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

When you’re ready to serve, warm the cakes in a 350°F/175°C degree oven until the cakes and the ramekin bottoms are hot, then invert onto plates.)

COVER. Baking at the 20th Century Cafe

(*Excerpted from Baking at the 20th Century Cafe by Michelle Polzine -Artisan Books-. Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Aya Brackett.)

Angling for A Triangle Stamp, Isle of Man Post Office and Year of the Ox, 4 Stamps by Jay Cover, January 7

Angling for a triangle stamp, Isle of Man Post Office marks Year of the Ox with a collection of 4 stamps created by Jay Cover.

62p Chicken and Ox Stamp

Looking for link-credit for illustrator Sei Koo for recipe I recently shared led me to creatives site It's Nice That where I discovered the stamp collection.

4 stamps released to the public today, January 7 in 4 prices: 62p, 158p, 244p and 322p.

(* Illustration from Isle of Man Post Office website)

Easy Vegan Version of Indian Dish, Saag Tofu Recipe from Pantry to Plate cookbook by Emily Stephenson

Easy Vegan version of Indian Dish, Saag Tofu recipe from Pantry to Plate (Chronicle Books, October 2020) by Emily Stephenson.


Here’s an easy and vegan version of the very popular Indian dish. Depending on how your pantry looks, this dish could end up several steps away from the inspiration—a coconut, kale, and tofu curry— but it still makes for a hearty meal served with Plain White Rice. If you like your dish a little saucier—this is pretty thick— you can add an additional half can of coconut milk (but I opted to not have half a can languishing in the refrigerator).

Serves 4

Saag Tofu


One 14 oz [400 g] block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained (see page 120)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, preferably yellow, peeled and chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

One 1 in [2.5 cm] piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

11/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on your affinity for heat

One 14 oz [420 ml] can coconut milk

1 lb [455 g] frozen spinach or kale, thawed

1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges, for serving


Cut the tofu into ½ in [12 mm] cubes. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it shimmers, then add the onion, garlic, ginger, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring often and lowering the heat if the onion starts to burn, until the onion is soft and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, and red pepper flakes and cook until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the coconut milk, spinach, and tofu and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so it simmers steadily and cook, stirring only occasionally, until the tofu has warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve hot with lemon or lime wedges.


Instead of the red pepper flakes, chop 1 fresh green chile (like a serrano or jalapeño), and garnish the final dish with 1/4 cup [10 g] of chopped fresh cilantro.

Pantry To Cover

(* Reprinted from Pantry to Plate by Emily Stephenson with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020- Illustrations © Sein Koo)