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Welcome to the Cooking with C.C. Blog. I will be discussing all things food and travel related. Be sure to join me for information from recipes, cookbooks, restaurants and places to visit. I look forward to hearing from you!

2015 More Christmas Gift Ideas

As Christmas quickly approaches, you may be looking for those great presents for the food lover in your life. Here are some suggestions..... I'll start with the shameless plug - a fantastic gift would be a reservation for the 2016 California Wine Country Extravaganza. I also have Gift Certificates available for cooking classes. Let me know if you would like either of these. Now that we've got that out of the way.....

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Christmas Spice Cookies

Seems at Christmas we end up making all kinds of cookies. This is one cookie that I've had at Christmas for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my dad made these every year. We called them "Greek Christmas Cookies," but we've been making them so long, no one remembers WHY. In fact, I asked my dad where this recipe came from - was it handed down in our family? Unfortunately, he doesn't remember where the recipe came from. It is not a family heirloom recipe (although, now, it may be as I'm the second generation making them). He told me he tried the recipe a long time ago and liked them, so he made them every year. Well, that's about the best we are going to do on the history of these. Let me know if you have any ideas.... For this post, I'm calling these "Christmas Spice Cookies" because that's what they make me think of, plus they have a cherry on top! What's not to like?  After they cool, they harden and get crunchy. The dough does not have much liquid - only the butter and 1 egg yolk. When you are getting the dough together,…

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2015 Cookbooks for Under the Christmas Tree

For me, cookbooks provide information, instruction, inspiration and of course recipes. I end up buying quite a few cookbooks and added more than 20 to my collection in 2015 - and still have several others I would like to purchase. The books range from classics that I find on Ebay or in used book stores to more recent books to brand spanking new-just released books. I will say that since I have been working on writing my first book, I have a new found appreciation for the effort it takes to produce a quality cookbook. If you are looking for books to buy for gifts under the Christmas tree - here are my suggestions. This year, I found some real classics including the 1961 version of the New York Times cookbook (Compiled by Craig Claiborne) to several books from one of the grand writers I know - Anne Willan. I found a print copy of La Varenne Practique on Ebay (Ebook version in 4 parts was released in 2103) and another volume of the Grand Diplome Cooking Course. I found a few other older books as well, but these were the most notable. One of the aspects I enjoy of…

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2015 Champagne Tasting

Tuesday night was the annual Grower Champagne Tasting at The Wine Celllar. The line up this year included a number of champagnes along with some other sparkling wines from other parts of the Europe. In order for a sparkling wine to be Champagne, it has grown and made in the Champagne region of France (Around Reims) using the Méthode Champenoise. This method of making Champagne, uses a primary fermentation usually in tanks. A second fermentation occurs in the bottle which creates the legendary bubbles. Over the last number of years, the popularity of "Grower Champagnes" has increased. A Grower Champagne is where the person who grows the grapes also makes the Champagne as opposed to a large Champagne House such as Krug or Veuve Clicquot.   There were 10 wines in the tasting including 6 grower champagnes. My comments about the champagnes are what I think about what I like and tasted - your mileage may vary...... There were three that were my favorites. The first one was also my favorite from last year: Mousse Fils "Cuvee Noire Reserve" Brut and the A. Margaine Demi Sec. The Mousse Fils is 90% Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir. The retail on this one is…

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