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Entries in Cookbooks (43)


Westport Barnes & Noble Book Signing May 17th: Come Meet Amy & Stephanie

We hate to shamelessly promote ourselves, but we would be remiss if we failed to mention our upcoming book signing at Westport Barnes & Noble on May 17th.

Come meet CTbites Founders, Amy Kundrat and Stephanie Webster @ Barnes & Noble in Westport on Saturday, May 17th @ 1PM. 

If you haven't heard the news, check out our post on our recently published book featuring over 50 of the best restaurants and chefs in Fairfield County.

BONUS: Chef Jon Vaast from Sugar & Olives will be with us serving up their recipe from the book.  

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"Small, Sweet, and Italian" from Sweet Maria's (Waterbury Bakery)

The arrival of the holiday season gives rise to lots of thoughts. Plans for Christmas, and wish lists for gift-giving and receiving rank high at the moment, and interwoven with those is another shared, defining theme—food, as in feasts, finer and heartier fare than in fairer weather and a seasonal amnesty from sweet-treat restrictions.

That’s where Maria Bruscino Sanchez—aka Sweet Maria—comes in.

The owner and baker for nearly 24 years at Sweet Maria’s in Waterbury, a Connecticut destination bakery for cakes, cookies, biscotti and more, Bruscino Sanchez recently released her latest cookbook, and it’s a perfect one both for this time of year and for how we like to live, and eat, now. 

In Small, Sweet and Italian, with 75 recipes and simple, straightforward instructions, “The mini sweet trend takes an Italian holiday with recipes like Cappuccino Hazelnut Cupcakes, tiny Torta Caprese, mini Italian cream horns, cannoli, Bellini and Limoncello cupcakes.”

The word “mini” is the key here; these are small bites that are far more delicious and satisfying than they are filling—meaning you can sample a variety without guilt.

“Mini everything has taken hold of the entire bakery industry,” Bruscino Sanchez writes at the beginning of the book, which, before digging into the recipes, offers an ingredients/pantry section, notes on the necessary equipment, helpful mini primers on baking techniques and even a section on pairing desserts with dessert wines. 

“I grew up in a family where small portions meant a meal to serve twelve!” she writes in an opening section of the new book entitled La Dolce Vita means “The Sweet Life.” “Many of us love keeping up traditions, yet our lifestyles have changed to eat smaller and lighter. By baking minis, you can have it all: flavor, tradition, and variety.”

Read the full article on 

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CTbites Speaks With Lidia Bastianich

Like Oprah or Madonna in pop culture, Lidia is one-name-famous to foodies,  a television star  (Lidia's Italy -- PBS), renowned restaurateur (Felidia, Eataly, Delposto, Becco), a worldwide brand  (Lidia's Sauces and Pasta), bestselling author (Lidia’s Commonsense Guide to Italian Cooking is her latest), mom, grandmother, whew,  one name so many roles. 

So CTBites was delighted that Lidia carved out time from her hectic schedule to chat with us prior to her book signing this Saturday at Stamford's Fairway Market (details below.)

Incidentally, Lidia is no stranger to Connecticut.  Her son Joe and his family live in Greenwich, she tapes her PBS show in Norwalk, and of course the Bastianich clan is associated with Tarry Lodge in both Westport and Port Chester. 

We began the conversation, wondering what Lidia the little girl would think if she could peer into a crystal ball and see the famous Lidia of today.   

“When I was nine years old we had fled from Communist Yugoslavia and my family was in a refugee camp,” she told us, “I think that little girl, her mouth would be open at what I’ve accomplished.”   Then Lidia thought about that youngster for a moment and resolutely stated, “But you know, I always had confidence I was going to amount to something   And food was so very important to me, because we didn’t have much.”

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Debra Ponzek's The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook

Debra Ponzek, owner of Aux Delices Fine Foods, knows a few things about getting food on the table. She cooks for her family and has a successful catering and restaurant business with locations in both Westport and Greenwich. Ponzek’s fourth cookbook The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook, comes out on April 1st 2013 as an answer to the age old question, What’s for dinner?

“You write different cookbooks at different times in your life,” says Ponzek. “I have kids and the question of what will I serve for dinner is a constant.” 

To approach this mealtime conundrum, Ponzek has written her book with the organizing principle of,” What do I feel like eating tonight?” 

The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook is divided into basic mealtime genres such as: "Everybody Loves Burgers", "Pasta & Beyond", "On The Slow Side" for braises, "If You Love Chicken", as well as "Breakfast For Dinner" (my personal favorite). The concept is to take an ingredient your family enjoys and expand on what you already know. 

“I found that people tend to make the same 5 of 6 dishes every week,” states Ponzek. “I hope that people will be inspired by the recipes in The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook and find that they are simple enough to add these to their repertoire.” 

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Interview & Recipe with Slow Cooker Author Dina Cheney

Dina Cheney is a Connecticut-based food writer and author of Year-Round Slow Cooker, published in 2013 by The Taunton Press. I recently chatted with her about her latest book, what makes Connecticut a special place for dining out, and her inspiration for fellow food writers. 

As a CT resident, what do you think makes CT a special place for food and dining culture?  I love living in Connecticut! We moved from Manhattan nearly 10 years ago, and I haven't felt at all deprived from a culinary perspective. Being on the coast, the seafood is terrific! I also think CT residents are educated and discerning, so the restaurants and shops that cater to them are top-notch, many quite sophisticated. 

As a mother of two, what are some of your favorite family-friendly places to eat out? So many! We love City Limits and Coromandel. This sounds strange, but—being part Syrian—I love exposing them to Middle Eastern food. So, we enjoy taking them to Safita in Fairfield (plus Shiraz in Elmsford, which is in Westchester County). Other Connecticut favorites are SoNo Baking in South Norwalk for breakfast and The Bedford Post Inn in Bedford (also for breakfast) and ReNapoli Pizza in Old Greenwich.

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Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Connecticut Foodie

As is always the case, one holiday ends and another is launched into our consciousness almost instantly. Those crumbs from the pumpkin pies are just being swept away, but The Holiday Season is officially here and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa shopping has begun. What to get? Where to get it? It’s the annual quest. We’d like to make things a wee bit easier for you, as we’ve found some great items for the food lovers on your list. Buy one, buy several! Either way, you will seen as one of those “good gift givers”!

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Chefs & Cookbook Authors @ Ferguson Library

As part of the Friend of The Ferguson Author Series, Food Writers Katie Workman of The Mom 100 Cookbook, Michele Stuart of the award winning Michele's Pies & Claire Criscuolo, and owner of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven will be speaking about their experiences and signing books on Wednesday, November 7 from 6-8pm. 

Wine reception will begin at 6 p.m. Appetizers courtesy of Bar Rosso and Capriccio Cafe. Discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. followed by a book sale and signing. Tickets are $15. Proceeds benefit the Library.  Register Here 

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TATE'S Bake Shop Creator & Author @ King's Market Oct 13

In celebration of Kathleen King's new cookbook, BAKING FOR FRIENDS: Over 120 scrumptious recipes from Southampton's favorite baker, Kings Food Markets will host a book signing and Q&A with Kathleen at its Old Greenwich, Connecticut store location on Saturday, October 13th at 12p.m. Guests attending will have the opportunity to meet the author and taste some of Tate's delicious sweets.

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Food Porn: Apple Tart Recipe


Tina Rupp is a professional food photographer who works with Food & Wine Magazine and Weight Watchers and also photographs many cookbooks and national print ads. 

Today just after this tart came out of the oven, I FINALLY realized why I bake and don’t really cook.  I burned applesauce. Who does that? The running joke between me and my husband is that I can burn just about anything I cook: eggs, toast, fishies for my daughters and then today it was applesauce made from all of the extra apples I sliced for the shoot.  It finally hit me.  When I bake, I have a timer!  When I cook on the stovetop, no timer!  Eureka moment for sure. Thankfully, my husband is an amazing cook, beef bourguignon, the works. Nice balance with all the baking I do and fortunately I can also make a mean salad. No timer needed.

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John Barricelli's "The Seasonal Baker" Cookbook in Stores August 21

The most appealing aspect of John Barricelli’s new cookbook “The Seasonal Baker: Easy Recipes From My Home Kitchen to Make Year-Round” is the reassuring conversational tone of his introductions and tips, which are not just sprinkled, but dolloped throughout the book.  The title is a mouthful, but accurate, with the emphasis on the home kitchen. If you want to recreate the multi-layered Chocolate Ganache Cake or Crème Brulee Tartlets from the Sono Baking Company’s repertoire, go to John’s first cookbook of the same name.  The Seasonal Baker is a go-to resource of thoughtfully selected and approachable recipes, both sweet and savory, meant to be prepared in a home kitchen. They will dazzle the diners, and not daunt the baker.

The book is well organized, dividing its 135 recipes into 9 clear sections from Muffins, Quick Breads and Breakfast Treats through Crisps, Cobblers and Other Fruit Spoon Desserts to the savory Tarts, Quiches, Pastas and More, and finally Focaccia and Pizza on the Grill.  With few exceptions, the recipes are designed for everyday baking and John’s heartfelt introduction sets you up for all you will encounter in the book, essentially a mash-up of food and family. 

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