You guys already know that I love cooking. What you might not know is that my family is packed with fantastic cooks. My Mom's baking is the stuff of legend. That woman is a bonified perfectionist who can work miracles with only her trusty kitchenaid and a few simple ingredients. For example, when Scott and I got married she made us the most amazing favors.
These tiny strawberry and yellow cakes were each topped with white chocolate ganache and handmade gum paste cherries! Plus, she made all of the little boxes and bows by hand. She's a maniac. She seems to have inherited a special "baking gene" from my grandmother. Grandma Fanny worked in a bakery in Bangor, Maine, where according to family legend, the whoopie pie was first invented. Pretty epic.
Then there is my Dad. His culinary gene pool is of a more savory nature. His grandfather, my Poppy, owned a bakery and two well known French restaurants back in his glory days. You can read all about them here. Poppy was always doing one of three things: gardening, cooking, or eating. He was a very focused person, and his collection of family recipes is still treasured, the most illustrious of which is the French family Lobster Bisque.
Here's my Dad working on the bechamel base for the bisque. This special recipe has never been written down (at least not since the restaurant closed). Instead, it's handed down to the next generation by watching and listening while it's made. I've made this delicious bisque myself twice now, once with my Dad, and once alone. This year, I'll be making it again since my folks are still settling in their new home in Switzerland.
But it's not just my parents who ooze culinary genius. Each of my sisters have extraordinary talents when it comes to the edible. Sarah was the first to blossom in the kitchen. Long before any of the rest of us knew what we were doing, Sarah was making her famous vegetarian chili and black bean soup. Later on, she developed a talent for making cakes. She makes her own fondant, and then sculpts incredible nommable works of art. Here's one she made for our sister Heather's birthday. (She was born smack dab in the middle of Christmas, poor kid.)
My younger sisters, Heather and Caity have both become fantastic bakers as well. Heather has baked delicious breads, heaps of yummy cookies, and just about everything you could possibly think to put ginger into. I should also mention that she makes a mean roasted beet. Caity, has been dabbling in both cooking and baking for a few years now, and with more than a little help from The Pioneer Woman, she has become quite savvy in the kitchen.
So as if a family full of marvelous cooks was not enough, I seem to have moved to the foodiest city in America. Everywhere you turn something yummy is right there to slap you in the face. Writing about all of it are my new friends at The Austin Food Blogger Alliance. I've met so many exceptional bloggers over the past year, many of which were also involved in Austin Bakes and ATX Swappers. It's a wonder I haven't doubled my dress size. Anyway, I could go on forever about each of these blogs/people, but this post is getting awfully long. Here's a quick list of some of my favorite bloggers that I have had the pleasure of meeting here in Austin. Keep in mind this is just a tiny sample of the talent here in ATX. To check out even more food bloggers, click here.
- Hilah Cooking - Hilah's cooking videos are both hilarious and educational. She's a real fire cracker in person too, and she was recently named one of YouTube's Next Chefs! How cool is that?
- Biscuits of Today - Meredith's blog blows my mind on a regular basis. Everything she makes seems to be unfathomably complicated, ingenious and delicious. Visit Meredith's blog to find some truly special recipes and food projects.
- Stetted - Megan's blog features recipes that are sometimes simple and sometimes gourmet. She often shares stories and pictures of her son, making the blog super cozy and warm. Megan is also one of the wonderful hosts of ATX Swappers.
- Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking - Kate is the author of Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, a really neat book that helps folks transform from a clueless dweller to a cooking, canning, decorating pro. She also runs workshops and classes here in Austin, and to top it all off, hosts ATX Swappers. She's sort of a foodie hero.
- Epicuriosities - Christy is one of those people that seems to know everyone everywhere. It's no wonder, as she is incredibly friendly and funny. She's also super knowledgable when it comes to the science & mechanics of food. We both share a love for Serious Eats, whose influence you will definitely see on her blog.
- Eat This Lens - Marshall is an exceptional photographer that I had the pleasure to meet at an AFBA photography workshop. I was lucky to get some very helpful tips on my food photos, as well as some encouragement from him. No small thing coming from somone whose work you respect and admire.
- Blinded by the Bite - Rachelle was one of the first foodie friends that I made her in Austin. She's a warm, lovely person, and happens to be quite an expert on gluten free cooking and living.
- Kitschn Calamities - Julie and I met at an AFBA Copyright panel. Though that does sound a little dull, it was actually pretty inforative. Having a friendly neighbor in the next seat certainly made it all a little more enjoyable though. Since then, we've been Twitter and blog buddies.
- Austin Gastronomist - Kathryn started Austin Bakes, one of the most heartwarming, (and certainly one of the most delicious) fund raising projects I've ever been a part of. Her blog features beautiful photos and well thought out, creative recipes, the most recent series being all about beer! What's not to love?