Tag Archives: jennifer carden

2014 Cool Stuff for People

6 Dec

I realized recently that I know a lot of amazing people who create things like books and products and experiences. I want to share of the amazing things they have created with you. When I put the call out for my colleagues and friends to remind me what they have been doing I was flooded with ideas for my Local-ish Holiday Gift Guide but I couldn’t add every item so if you have an amazing friend who makes cool food related stuff please add them in the comments below. I believe in sharing the love!  Of course a few of these goodies come from me and my husband and our crazy projects!
I have no shame!

Be on the look out for my Gingerbread House Cookbook Kit in 2016~

Happy holidays to you!

ox, Jennifer
Pretty Little Baking Kit Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – My latest project this adorable kit of petite cakes to make and give.

The Toddler Cafe Jennifer Carden Author / Matthew Carden Photography – An oldie but a goodie, getting your kids to eat more foods the fun way

These books below are all projects from Matthew Carden Photography/Jennifer Carden Food Styling / Author Lara Starr
Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies Comes with Yoda, Darth Vader, and R2-D2–shaped cookie cutters to create 30 sweet and savory treats!

Ice Sabers 30 Chilled Treats Using the Force of Your Freezer


9781452104669_large_1 9781452107615_star-wars-cookbook_norm








Chef Olivia Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit






The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cookie Cutter Cookbook



Featuring Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar™, this cookbook contains 25 delicious recipes as well as 3 shaped cookie cutters: the beloved caterpillar, a circle for the caterpillar to crawl through, and the beautiful butterfly. Recipes range from breakfast and snacks to beverages and sweets. Perfect for everyday fun as well as book-themed parties, very hungry kids will rejoice in cooking and eating as well as immersing themselves in the world of their favorite characters.




Giving Thanks Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving illuminated with the exquisite illustrations of cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton, this picture book offers a stunningly beautiful photos by Matthew Carden 
World of Doughnuts by Stephanie Rosenbaum Who doesn’t love a doughnut? With 50 mouth-wateringly delicious recipes from around the globe, these sweet treats are universally loved no matter where you go. 
Whoopie Pies Amy Treadwell s it a cake? Is it a cookie? With such deliciously soft and sweet cream-filled snacks, does it matter? The Internet is abuzz with recipes and stories of whoopie pie folklore, while customers everywhere are descending on bakeries in droves demanding these delectable treats.
Sodium Girl Cookbook Jessica Goldman Foung – Hilariously funny gal who can teach you how to eliminate salt from your diet.

How about a subscription to…

Edible Marin Wine Country Contributors Jennifer Carden and Matthew Carden

or a gift certificate for a local culinary tour with

West Marin Food and Farm Tours with Elizabeth Anne Hill see what is amazing right around the corner.

Or a very local visit to

Super Fresh Gallery ART ART ART Food art is where it’s at and we carry photography, painting and much more including all the cookbooks mentioned above by Matthew and Jennifer (that’s us) purchase online 

Heidrun Meadery in Point Reyes for a glass of Mead!

Teeny Cake Seriously the best cupcakes around Marin.

Trek Winery began as a family owned and operated winery in 2007 after years experience in the wine business and amateur winemaking. Opening its first public tasting room in September 2012 in Downtown Novato, Trek Winery has become a premier venue for live entertainment including professional stand up comedy and live music, as well as a venue for private gatherings, weddings, and other large events. As Trek continues to serve the greater Marin community by making excellent wine at an affordable price, we invite you to take the first step and experience the adventure that is Trek Wine!

 Orion’s Kitchen A caterer for your next party, Orion’s Kitchen offers a wide range of personalized culinary services including event catering, one-on-one or group instruction, and an on-demand market place.











Fantastic Food Jewelery by Carrie Tilly at our Square shop!
The Warm Kitchen Cookbook Amy Benigno Fothergill Amy’s book is a fantastic guide for Gluten free goodies of all kinds!

Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings Michele Anna Jordan  Radio host, writer, chef  
In Jennies Kitchen fab culinary shop and recipes too to make cooking simple

Cooking for Isaiah Sylvana Nardone New Gluten free flour blends born out of the need to cook for her son
Erika Lenkert Just came out with a beautiful, very cool quarterly magazine, GFF (Gluten Free Forever)
Trick Dog Treats  Liz Smith -Wholesome tasty treats for your dog

The Foobler Dog treat dispenser for when you have to leave your pet alone

Natures Habit Granola Matthew Carden and Jennifer Carden produced the labels and recipes for this yummy snack.
Hive Napa Julia Scanell Hive Napa is a passionate creative/culinary resource to the food and wine industry, offering savvy, appropriate packaging design; honest, down-to-earth recipe development; and inspired cookbook design solutions.
Barn Raiser Eileen Gorden – From healthy and artisanal foods to community kitchens and organic farms, when we put our collective support behind these innovators, we create a healthy food future for us all. Crowd funding for the food world!
Rancho Gordo Steve Sando features glorious heirloom bean varieties, corn, rice and herbs and spices

Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese Melt isn’t your average mac and cheese cookbook. I’m cooking withreal cheeses here, combining nostalgia of the old-school dish with high-quality ingredients to produce recipes that are both classic and chic. In Melt, you’ll find dishes that comfort and intrigue.

Whole Spice Company kosher artesian freshly ground in house spices certified Kosher

The Veggie Queen  Author, Chef Jill Nussinow is a cookbook author and Pressure cooker expert!

Parini’s Chocolate Cakes These gluten-free cakes are truly flourless and loved by all, even those who are free to eat gluten.
They are made from four locally sourced, organic ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs and cream) and contain no added sugar.
Flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Espresso, Chocolate Peppermint and White Chocolate Peppermint.
Sizes: 9-inch ($45), 6-inch ($25) and Minis (sold by the dozen for $30).
Can be picked up in San Rafael. Contact information: Christine at 415.306.4796 or christineparini@me.com


Happy 2014!!

31 Dec


Hoping 2014 will bring everything you wish for

A Cheese Wiz

2 Nov

Humboldt Fog with Grilled Peaches and Orzo

melt-cover500-241x300I can’t totally recall but I think I met Stepahanie Stiavetti at an IACP conference (not the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference) it’s the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Stephanie is a food writer and recipe developer and I am excited to announce that she has just written her first cookbook.


Humboldt Fog Cheese

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her book, Melt the Art of Macaroni and Cheese.  I get a lot of books to review and most of the time I don’t love every book I get and rarely review them. I wanted to review Stephanie’s because it’s her first and because we both like to dye various strands of our hair bright red. (Not really, but that is true about the hair, her hair always looks great!)

I’ll start by telling you that unfortunately cheese is not my friend, I love cheese but it really hates me. UNLESS of course…..it’s very expensive, made and by hand from Pygmy goats in an obscure smallish town somewhere. Are you still with me? When I looked through Melt I instantly knew what recipe I would make, one that was kid friendly and made with a cheese I was very familiar with.


Humboldt Fog Cheese

About 8 years ago my husband and I did all the photography for Cypress Grove Cheve Cheese Company. No joke, we had about 100 pounds of cheese to shoot! In that in that excessive amount of cheese were three wheels of Humboldt Fog deliciousness. We ended up having a party and inviting strangers in to take cheese home! That’s when the love affair started with a beautiful creamy wheel of snowy white goat cheese. Humboldt Fog could be mistaken at first glance for Blue cheese, but it’s so not a blue cheese. Cheese maker Mary Keehn of Humboldt County, California invented this cheese named for our famous coastal fog. We have toured Mary’s cheese making facility in Arcadia and it is fascinating, they make some of our favorite cheese. The story goes that in the morning the cream would be set into the molds and then a layer of charred vegetable ash laid atop the cream to separate the cream from the afternoon milking, creating a distinct dark green blue line of ash in the center of each wedge.

Now that you know the back story about my slight obsession with this cheese, I can tell you about the yummy recipe I made from Stephanie’s book.


She even spelled her name in Orzo and alphabet pasta!

Yes, Yes I know it’s not peach season but the weather is warm and the grill is right out front and begging to be used. I was lucky enough to find peaches, really beautiful ones locally and I was also trying to pick a kid friendly recipe to share from Melt. I knew my family liked grilled peaches, we usually make them for a sweet dessert with whipped cream, we haven’t eaten them in a savory dish.  Another way I thought I could to add a kid zip to this dish was to use alphabet pasta mixed with the orzo, this was a hit!


Juicy Grilled Peaches

We left out the mint but could have added it just as easily, ours was sad and brown and better left alone in the garden to wither. We all loved the dish, with sweet hints of peach, tart vinegar and creamy sharp cheese flavors mingling together. I loved the addition of pistachios, the kid could have done with out them but I think the added saltiness and crunch was needed. I highly recommend this dish for a summer party, I repeat summer, don’t be a seasonal rule breaker like I am! I like Melt it’s good for a twist on Mac and Cheese and is full of other great ideas.

There is a great MELT giveaway here be sure to go over to The Culinary Life and enter win a set of Le Crueset cookware

Humboldt Fog with Grilled Peaches and Orzo


What could be nicer than a blushing peach? The sun-kissed color, the ticklish feel of the fuzz, the sweet-as-sugar-cane flavor. This simple orzo salad lets these traits shine—and without the nuisance of peach juice dribbling down your arm. Summer in a bowl, this is.


Peaches awaiting the grill

Serves 4

3 freestone yellow peaches

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

S ea salt

10 ounces orzo (or 5 oz orzo and 5 oz alphabet pasta can be cooked together)

¼ cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

¼ cup chopped spearmint

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces Humboldt Fog, rind removed and crumbled into large chunks

1. Using a barely damp paper towel, lightly scrub the peaches of any extraneous fuzz. Don’t wash the peaches, as they will soak up excess water. Using a sharp knife, cut each peach in half lengthwise around the pit, using the peach’s crevices as a guide. Discard the pits.

2. Set the peach halves in a zip-top bag and toss with honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Allow the peaches to marinate for 10 minutes.

3. While the peaches marinate, cook the orzo in some salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and set aside.

4. Once the peaches are done marinating, reserve the marinade and place the peach halves on a hot, oiled grill, cut-side down. Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the peaches are soft and have developed some charming dark grill marks. Roughly chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.

5. Combine the peaches, marinade, orzo, parsley, spearmint, and pistachios in a bowl and toss. Add a bit more sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper to taste. Plonk in the Humboldt Fog and toss once or twice, just enough to bring everything together.

Overmixing will melt the cheese, and our goal here is to maintain its chunky texture.

Alternative cheeses: Though Humboldt Fog is widely available, a good stand-in would be Goat’s Leap Eclipse, Bermuda Triangle, or any stellar chèvre.

Wine pairings: rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Gewürztraminer

Additional pairings for the cheese: plums, cherries, balsamic vinegar reduction

Eating Your Curds And Whey

25 Apr

I wanted to share this article I wrote and styled for Edible Magazine. My husband is the photographer and my daughter was the taster.  I use the whey from the cheese making as my liquid in the biscuits, it creates less waste and adds flavor.


EMWC Spring 13 Stone's Soup Corner_Page_1

EMWC Spring 13 Stone's Soup Corner_Page_2Here is a photo from the Spring Issue by Matthew Carden emwc-cherry-on-top-winter-2012

Thanksgiving is heading our way…OY VEY! (getting ready for the big day) Post 2 of 2

18 Nov

Thyme and Gruyère icebox crackers

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, yes it is a TON of work but when it is all ready and the table is set it is the best feeling. (for me at least)  I know it can be stressful, battling your way down the grocery isle trying not to get your feet run over. Going around in circles looking for ingredients that have migrated to the end caps. Freaking out because the turkey is taking three days to thaw, and you are trying desperately to rip the frozen bag of giblets from the icy cavity.  I get it, really I do so instead of freaking out let’s just take a deep breath and start slow. I am going to help you get on track for the holiday, get somewhat organized and start NOW!!! It is less than a week away and whether you do the whole spread or take one or two dishes to a potluck, I can help.

Not only do I love this holiday but it is also one I tend to take total control of. (This is not a positive attribute of my personality) Asking people to bring a dish was/is not my style, I’d rather work myself to a nub rather than ask for help. Those days are over…this year I asked my guests to bring a dish (ok maybe I sent them a particular recipe and instructions, habits are hard to break) I plan on not stressing out and having a great time this year. Part of the reason for this post is to test out my method and see if it worked, I will keep you posted after the big event!  If you haven’t checked out my previous post on my marinated cheese appetizer check it out first before you jump in to this post.

Tying it all together

1. Make a huge coffee or tea carve out some alone time and scour the net for recipes and ideas.  (I know, I know…the kids, just wait until they are asleep) your husband or wife may become a Thanksgiving widow for a bit, it’s ok they will get you back in a few days.

Decide on the style of turkey too, bbq, roasted, Turducken or store prepared.  This year I am going to make a version of  Michael Symon’s Juicy Turkey Cooked in Cheese Cloth found here.

Don’t forget appetizers, just easy ones, your real focus needs to be on the meal.

2. Print ALL of the recipes even of you are just using them as a guide, you may need to check for ingredients or a quick tip. It will save you time in the long run. We all know finding a recipe you saw online 2 weeks ago will be a fruitless effort.

3.  Pick a cocktail and stick with it, don’t bother with a million bottles and ice filled coolers.

4. Make a comprehensive grocery list, one you keep adding to daily. Add things you think you will remember but won’t like whipped cream or  coffee and tea for dessert course. I love my printable grocery list, I have a small one for normal weeks and a large one for holidays or work when I am writing recipes or styling photos. Printable grocery list Sheet1

5. Decide what can be prepared ahead of time, cranberry sauce and turkey stock. I have a Foodsaver and that comes in handy for times like these.

6. Decide on your decorations, whether it’s just leaves from the yard and some votive candles or crafts galore add all the items to your shopping list. Get the kids involved here, do a paper place mat with a turkey hand print or name tags, something easy and fun.

7. Two days before get out all your serving dishes and utensils and label each one with a slip of paper reminding you what food will go in what dish. You really don’t want to be running all over looking for dishes when everyone is ready to eat.

8. 2 days before check your turkey to make sure it is thawing well.

I am a total traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving so our menu is pretty standard, I will post a bunch of my recipes below as ideas or inspiration for you.

Our Menu


Bread cornucopia (made 2 days before) filled with

Gruyère and Thyme crackers (made ahead of time) , assorted nuts in the shells, figs with honey

marinated Dry Jack cheese (made 5 days before)

The cocktail

Prosecco Pomegranate Sparkler

The meal

Turkey (prep day before)

Stuffing (prep day before)

Gravy (made ahead of time)

Roux for thickening gravy (made ahead and frozen)

Cranberry sauce (made ahead and frozen)

Mashed potatoes (made by a guest)

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows (made by a guest) (yes, for real)

Bean casserole (made by a guest)


Pumpkin pie with Biscoff cookie crust (made ahead and frozen) whip cream

Pumpkin cakes with Praline and toasted marshmallow topping (made day before, topping added just before serving)

Ice box cake (brought by guest)

coffee and tea

I have already done a few thing to get started, If you love lots of gravy then make a turkey stock to stretch the drippings with. Turkey necks and butts, yes I said butts or as mom used to call them,  “puppicks” or as Zedi used to call it…the part that goes over the fence last.  Anywho….Make a nice reduced stock with lots of veggies that you can use to moisten your stuffing and as a base for your gravy. Also after Thanksgiving add the carcass to your leftover stock to make delicious soup base.

Why do I need roux?

Because using cornstarch to thicken gravy doesn’t add any flavor or sheen.  A roux is a cooked mix of equal parts flour and a  fat such as butter or oil, Roux is used to  thicken sauces, and soup.  Roux can be made light, medium, dark or black-ish, for turkey gravy a light roux is fine. I never season my roux because the dish I end up using it in may already be too salty.

Roux recipe

cooking time 5-10 minutes
Will thicken aprox 6 cups sauce
6 tbsp flour
6 tbs butter and or turkey drippings
Heat up a small skillet, add butter and melt. Before it browns add the flour and stir constantly until the smell of fresh biscuits wafts up. When you smell the biscuits it is done. Now, you can add this to your gravy hot. Always add hot roux hot to hot liquid.
To store, freeze in an ice cube tray.
Fast method:
But…if it’s been in the freezer take it out and let it thaw a bit.
My trick is to take the slightly frozen roux and put it inside a small whisk. Slowly whisk it into the hot liquid, barely simmer it until thickened.

Turkey stock for gravy and stuffing

Make Ahead Turkey Stock

(adapted from Bon Appetite)
  • 4 pounds assorted turkey wings, backs, butts and necks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 3 carrots, sliced in coins
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 onions, sliced in 1/2 moons
  • Giblets (heart, gizzard, liver) of 1 turkey
  • Thyme
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • bay leaf
  • 1/4  lemon
  • 10 garlic cloves smashed

Preheat oven to 450°. Spread turkey wings and turkey neck on a rack set in a large heavy roasting pan. Brush with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil; roast until browned, about 1 hour. Chop carrots, celery stalks, and onions; toss with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Arrange around turkey parts. Roast until vegetables brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large pot. Add giblets and 1 gallon water and remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow simmer, and cook, skimming surface occasionally, for 3 hours. Strain into another pot and reserve the necks for their meat to be used in soup. Reduce the stock about 20 minutes more, cool down and freeze or refrigerate.

Gruyère and thyme icebox crackers 

(adapted from Martha Stewart)

If you grate the cheese first in the food processor then empty bowl and start recipe it will be much less work. You can avoid  a dirty grater and grating your knuckles too! These are delicious, I wish I had made two batches!

Thyme and Gruyere icebox crackers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, de-stemmed
  • 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup finely grated (2 1/2 ounces) Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus
  1. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add cheese; pulse until combined. With machine running, add the milk; process until dough comes together and is well combined.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape dough into a 2-inch-wide log. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Or freeze until  one hour before you are ready to bake them.
  3. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Slice chilled log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer slices to a parchment-lined  or non stick foil lined baking sheet. Bake immediately, rotating sheet once, until crackers are golden brown and firm in the center, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Thyme and Gruyère cracker dough


Fresh Cranberry Sauce

I also made my fail proof Cranberry sauce ahead and froze it in a food saver baggie.  If you buy two oranges you can probably get enough juice from them with out supplementing.

  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar (scant)
  1. Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, stir and cook on medium-high for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced, stirring occasionally. Sugar burns easily so keep a good watch.  The cranberries will pop that’s a good thing. When almost reduced to the consistency you want remove from heat, it will thicken as it cools. Cranberry sauce can be made days ahead and brought to room temperature or slightly heated before serving.

Ready Set Go…Thanksgiving 2012 (post 1 of 2)

17 Nov

Marinated Dry Jack

Yes, it is RIGHT around the corner, you know, TD, Turkey Day! I wanted to give a few ideas to help spruce up your gobble gobble party (I made that one up)  So I wrote a post on getting organized and shared some recipes for make ahead foods but you can’t see that yet! I couldn’t resist sharing this scrumptiously easy appetizer with you first.
So if you are going out or having the whole family over you may be needing some recipe ideas. This one is easy, beautiful and can be morphed into many many different ideas. This is a cheese you can marinate for up to a week (he hem, it’s less than a week away..panic sets in)
If you have some pretty jars around, mason jars or French Jelly jars save them! Never toss pretty jars, thy come in handy a lot, I especially love to give gifts in them. When my guests arrive I don’t want them to fill up on chips and junk, I want them to have small nibbles of highly flavored snacks. When I saw this recipe I knew it fit the bill, who doesn’t like cheese, olive oil and garlic?
The herbs are in the in the garden, the only thing I didn’t have on hand was the cheese. A Parmesan Reggiano would be fantastic or  marinate a fresh mozzarella or even olives. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my next post on getting organized  and see my menu for Thanksgiving.

 Cheese Marinated in Herby Olive Oil

Do not store this for more than 10 days, garlic in oil can eventually have botulism and can pose a health risk. Use the oil up for cooking a few days after you eat the cheese, and always refrigerate this recipe.

  • 7 oz dry jack cheese, rind removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh sage leaves (I didn’t add sage)
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 sprig(s) fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon(s) pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) black peppercorns
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled,smashed
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oi

Layer the cheese, sage, basil, and rosemary, the peppercorns and garlic  in a decorative jar and pour the oil over the top until the cheese is almost completely covered.  I leave the tops of the cheese dry so the guest can pick up the cheese stick without getting greasy.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, I used a large jar and wanted to eliminate air on the cheese so I used some seal wrap, pressing it down directly on the olive oil and on the sides of the jar.  for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.


%d bloggers like this: