Jean Marie Brownson's Chorizo and Seafood Stew (Photo © Bill Hogan, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Agate Publishing.)
Jean Marie Brownson’s Chorizo and Seafood Stew (Photo © Bill Hogan, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and Agate Publishing.)

Between all the exciting holiday parties is the option to entertain yourself at home. Open a bottle of wine. Read a book that has been collecting dust since it was gifted last year. And, make a fancy or simple dinner. The inspiration? JeanMarie Brownson’s Dinner at Home cookbook.

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Jocelyn Delk Adams German Chocolate Cake
Photo © Jocelyn Delk Adams

In the back of my mind, Jocelyn Delk Adams, author and founder of GrandBaby Cakes blog, is family. I’ve never personally talked with or met her, but we’ve communicated via email or social media on several occasions. Her messages are as sweet as her blog, which is full of comfort, down home, Southern desserts with a few savory dishes between the cake recipes.

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Haitian Carrot Crab Salad

Haiti is a country of courageous people. During the period of America’s colonial past, it was the only country to have a successful slave rebellion, and they continue to pay for their fighting spirit into our modern time. Besides an eventful past, Haiti also boasts a rich cuisine. Its dishes are influenced by Taino (Native American), Spanish, French and African cultures. When Haitian-American culinary curator Nadege Fleurimond decided to write a book about her motherland, she knew the research started with a journey to each of the Haiti’s ten regions. Although she already knew the recipes, she wanted to learn the soul of Haitian cuisine.

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Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Olives

Morocco’s sweet and savory fragrances of olives, tender meat, dried fruit and rich spices is swirling around American cuisine. As a North African country bordering the Mediterranean, it has for thousands of years imported Asian, European and Arabic flavors into its own rich culinary history. As an elegant and colorful cuisine, it’s a welcome addition to the forever expanding American palate. Caroline Hofberg’s cookbook, Morocco on a Plate, showcases various bread, vegetarian, meat and dessert recipes for curious minds who wish to explore Moroccan cuisine.

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Vinegar Chicken. Photo by Åsa Dahlgren
Vinegar Chicken. Photo by Åsa Dahlgren

Don’t have an American heart attack when I reveal this simple truth about food: Rich and memorable recipes start with butter. It’s why I’m loving Maria Zihammou’s new cookbook, French Bistro. It goes after my heart, and it also demonstrates how to enjoy French homestyle seasonal and fresh ingredients in a beautifully designed cookbook with photographs and illustrations reflecting glimpses of Zihammou’s life in one of the world’s most romantic cities.

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